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  • richardmitnick 11:26 am on August 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CSU, Lyme disease research,   

    From CSU: “New test differentiates between Lyme disease, similar illness” 

    Colorado State University

    16 Aug, 2017
    Mary Guiden

    Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States, but it can be confused with similar conditions, including Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI). A team of researchers led by Colorado State University has identified a way to distinguish Lyme disease from similar conditions, according to a new study published Aug. 16 in Science Translational Medicine.

    Senior author John Belisle, a professor in CSU’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, said the findings are significant.

    “We were able to tell the difference between early Lyme disease and Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness by using biomarkers that show us how the body reacts to these illnesses,” Belisle said. “This could be important in helping to more accurately detect early Lyme disease, which is crucial because the longer people wait for Lyme disease treatment, the higher the potential risk for having more severe symptoms.”

    The research team, which also included scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hopes the findings will lay the groundwork for other studies that could lead to better early testing for Lyme disease.

    1
    A female lone star tick, found through the eastern and south-central states. Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Lyme disease versus STARI

    Current laboratory tests aren’t sensitive enough to detect Lyme disease infection with high accuracy in the first few weeks of illness. Adding to the complexity, researchers have yet to identify what pathogen causes STARI, which presents a rash and other symptoms nearly indistinguishable from that of Lyme disease: fatigue, fever, headache, and muscle pains. STARI cannot be diagnosed with the current test for Lyme disease.

    The geographic boundaries of both diseases are expanding and will overlap even more in the years to come, making the need for a more accurate early test for Lyme disease all the more urgent.

    The researchers used mass spectrometry to identify biomarkers of metabolic differences in the two diseases. In doing this, they were able to differentiate early Lyme disease from STARI with an accuracy of up to 98 percent.

    2
    The blacklegged or deer tick, no bigger than the size of a period at the end of this sentence, transmits Lyme disease. Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Proper diagnosis of Lyme disease important

    An estimated 300,000 cases of Lyme disease occur annually in the U.S., with most of the cases occurring in the northeast and upper Midwest. In 2015, 95 percent of confirmed Lyme disease cases were reported from 14 states (see sidebar). Lyme disease is transmitted when blacklegged ticks infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi bite people. Lone star ticks, which cause STARI, do not transmit B. burgdorferi.

    People with untreated Lyme disease may experience a fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis. More severe long-term symptoms include severe headaches, heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat, nerve pain, problems with short-term memory and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

    “It is extremely important to be able to tell a patient they have Lyme disease as early as possible so they can be treated as quickly as possible,” said Claudia Molins, first author of the study and a microbiologist in the CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. “Most Lyme disease infections are successfully treated with a two- to three-week course of oral antibiotics.”

    Researchers have also found that Lyme disease-related health care costs are huge. In a 2015 report published in PLOS ONE, a team from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that Lyme disease costs the U.S. health-care system between $712 million and $1.3 billion a year in return doctor visits and testing.

    CSU tuberculosis, leprosy research offers insight

    Belisle saw that the approaches his team has taken with tuberculosis and leprosy — developing biomarkers or biosignatures for diagnosing a disease or the prognosis for a disease — could be applied to developing a diagnostic test for STARI and improving Lyme disease diagnostic tests.

    “We have found that all of these infections and diseases are associated with an inflammatory response, but the alteration of the immune response and the metabolic profiles aren’t all the same,” Belisle said.

    Metabolic pathways are a linked series of chemical reactions occurring within a cell. “To some extent, your metabolism is going to change based on what your ailments are,” Molins explained. The studies performed were based on this idea that unique metabolic differences are associated with an illness or disease. The research team looked at metabolites, very small molecules produced by the body that include things like sugars, peptides, amino acids, and lipids.

    Fine-tuning the test for broader use

    Next steps for the team include developing a test that could be used in a diagnostic lab, outside of a research setting.

    “The focus of our efforts is to develop a test that has a much greater sensitivity, and maintains that same level of specificity,” Belisle said. “We don’t want people to receive unnecessary treatment if they don’t have Lyme disease, but we want to identify those who have the disease as quickly as possible.”

    In the longer-term, Belisle said researchers also hope to monitor how patients respond to treatment.

    Study coauthors also include researchers from New York Medical College and the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida.

    See the full article here .

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    Colorado State University (also referred to as Colorado State, State, and CSU) is a public research university in the U.S. state of Colorado. The university is the state’s land grant university, and the flagship university of the Colorado State University System.

    The current enrollment is approximately 37,198 students, including resident and non-resident instruction students and the University is planning on having 42,000 students by 2020. The university has approximately 2,000 faculty in eight colleges and 55 academic departments. Bachelor’s degrees are offered in 65 fields of study, with master’s degrees in 55 fields. Colorado State confers doctoral degrees in 40 fields of study, in addition to a professional degree in veterinary medicine.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:49 pm on April 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Lyme disease research, ,   

    From UCSC: “Lyme disease researchers seek consensus as number of cases grows” 

    UC Santa Cruz

    UC Santa Cruz

    April 24, 2017
    Tim Stephens

    1
    Several species of ticks in the genus Ixodes transmit the Lyme disease bacteria. (Photo by Catherine Bouchard)

    2
    Lizards are a key host for ticks in the western United States. Interestingly, a protein in the blood of western lizards eliminates the Lyme disease bacteria from ticks that feed on them. (Photo by Ervic Aquino, California Department of Public Health)

    Scientists have built a large body of knowledge about Lyme disease over the past 40 years, yet controversies remain and the number of cases continues to rise. In the United States, reported cases of Lyme disease, which is transmitted from wild animals to humans by tick bites, have tripled in the past 20 years.

    A multitude of interacting factors are driving the increase in Lyme disease cases, but their relative importance remains unclear, according to Marm Kilpatrick, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz. Nevertheless, he noted that there are a number of promising strategies for controlling the disease that have not been widely implemented.

    Kilpatrick is lead author of a paper published April 24 in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B that examines the complex array of factors influencing the prevalence of Lyme disease and identifies the major gaps in understanding that must be filled to control this important disease.

    Areas of agreement

    Some of the unresolved issues are highly contentious, so Kilpatrick sought input for the paper from a wide range of Lyme disease researchers and developed a consensus on areas of agreement. “I wanted to address these big disputes. We’ve done so much work, let’s identify what the gaps are and fill them so we can move on,” he said.

    A key missing piece in the Lyme disease puzzle is that scientists lack a detailed understanding of what limits populations of the Ixodes ticks that transmit the disease. Deer are the most important hosts for adult ticks, so the ticks are mostly absent from areas with no deer. But efforts to control ticks by reducing deer populations have had mixed results.

    “If you eliminate deer completely, you can usually eliminate ticks. But is there a number to which you can reduce the deer population and have an impact on Lyme disease? We don’t have a good answer right now. There have been experiments where the deer population was reduced by 50 percent or more without any measurable decrease in the tick population,” Kilpatrick said.

    The Borrelia bacteria that cause Lyme disease are carried by small mammals such as mice and shrews, from which the ticks pick up the infection and transmit it to humans. It may be that in some areas, the most important drivers of tick abundance are the factors that control small mammal populations, including their food supply and predators, Kilpatrick said.

    “One group of scientists has argued that the major drivers are not so much deer populations but how we’ve changed the forest ecosystems and small mammal communities,” he said. “Each group’s research focuses on one part of the story, but in working on this paper we found that when they look at all the data together, they tend to agree on many things.”

    Multiple strains

    Another complicating factor is the existence of multiple strains of the bacteria, which appear to be associated with different small mammal hosts. The strains found in infected humans are often associated with a subset of tick hosts, Kilpatrick said. But the role of each host species, including mice, chipmunks, and squirrels, in sustaining tick populations and infecting them with strains of bacteria that cause disease in humans is still unclear.

    “There are many factors causing variation in Lyme disease incidence, and this complexity of factors makes it challenging to make strong predictions about where the hotspots are going to be,” Kilpatrick said.

    Pesticides that kill ticks (acaricides) are available and can be effective at reducing the numbers of ticks, but they are only useful on a small scale. In some regions, many infections are thought to be acquired from ticks in suburban backyards, but homeowners are often reluctant to spray pesticides in their yards. Other strategies targeting host animals with acaricides have shown promise in some trials. For example, deer can be lured to feeding stations where they rub against rollers that apply acaricide to their fur, which kills the ticks they carry. Another approach involves putting out treated cotton for mice to take back to their nests where it kills ticks.

    A vaccine that was 80 percent effective in protecting people from getting the disease was available for several years, but was withdrawn from the market in 2002 due to lack of interest.

    “We have a bunch of tools, but they have been underutilized,” Kilpatrick said. “With ticks, the responsibility for protecting yourself is yours, unlike with mosquitoes where we have mosquito control agencies. It’s an interesting contrast.”

    The paper appears in a special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B on the theme of Conservation, biodiversity and infectious disease: scientific evidence and policy implications. Kilpatrick is lead author of another paper in this issue on Conservation of biodiversity as a strategy for improving human health and well-being, in which he examined the evidence linking biodiversity to disease risk and outlined the steps needed to develop biodiversity conservation into a public health control strategy.

    See the full article here .

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    UCO Lick Shane Telescope
    UCO Lick Shane Telescope interior
    Shane Telescope at UCO Lick Observatory, UCSC

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    Lick Automated Planet Finder telescope, Mount Hamilton, CA, USA

    UC Santa Cruz campus
    The University of California, Santa Cruz, opened in 1965 and grew, one college at a time, to its current (2008-09) enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Undergraduates pursue more than 60 majors supervised by divisional deans of humanities, physical & biological sciences, social sciences, and arts. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in more than 30 academic fields under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans. The dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering oversees the campus’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs.

    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

    Lick Observatory's Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building
    Lick Observatory’s Great Lick 91-centimeter (36-inch) telescope housed in the South (large) Dome of main building

    Search for extraterrestrial intelligence expands at Lick Observatory
    New instrument scans the sky for pulses of infrared light
    March 23, 2015
    By Hilary Lebow
    1
    The NIROSETI instrument saw first light on the Nickel 1-meter Telescope at Lick Observatory on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Laurie Hatch) UCSC Lick Nickel telescope

    Astronomers are expanding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light at UC’s Lick Observatory. A new instrument, called NIROSETI, will soon scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

    “Infrared light would be an excellent means of interstellar communication,” said Shelley Wright, an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego who led the development of the new instrument while at the University of Toronto’s Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    Wright worked on an earlier SETI project at Lick Observatory as a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate, when she built an optical instrument designed by UC Berkeley researchers. The infrared project takes advantage of new technology not available for that first optical search.

    Infrared light would be a good way for extraterrestrials to get our attention here on Earth, since pulses from a powerful infrared laser could outshine a star, if only for a billionth of a second. Interstellar gas and dust is almost transparent to near infrared, so these signals can be seen from great distances. It also takes less energy to send information using infrared signals than with visible light.

    5
    UCSC alumna Shelley Wright, now an assistant professor of physics at UC San Diego, discusses the dichroic filter of the NIROSETI instrument. (Photo by Laurie Hatch)

    Frank Drake, professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and director emeritus of the SETI Institute, said there are several additional advantages to a search in the infrared realm.

    “The signals are so strong that we only need a small telescope to receive them. Smaller telescopes can offer more observational time, and that is good because we need to search many stars for a chance of success,” said Drake.

    The only downside is that extraterrestrials would need to be transmitting their signals in our direction, Drake said, though he sees this as a positive side to that limitation. “If we get a signal from someone who’s aiming for us, it could mean there’s altruism in the universe. I like that idea. If they want to be friendly, that’s who we will find.”

    Scientists have searched the skies for radio signals for more than 50 years and expanded their search into the optical realm more than a decade ago. The idea of searching in the infrared is not a new one, but instruments capable of capturing pulses of infrared light only recently became available.

    “We had to wait,” Wright said. “I spent eight years waiting and watching as new technology emerged.”

    Now that technology has caught up, the search will extend to stars thousands of light years away, rather than just hundreds. NIROSETI, or Near-Infrared Optical Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, could also uncover new information about the physical universe.

    “This is the first time Earthlings have looked at the universe at infrared wavelengths with nanosecond time scales,” said Dan Werthimer, UC Berkeley SETI Project Director. “The instrument could discover new astrophysical phenomena, or perhaps answer the question of whether we are alone.”

    NIROSETI will also gather more information than previous optical detectors by recording levels of light over time so that patterns can be analyzed for potential signs of other civilizations.

    “Searching for intelligent life in the universe is both thrilling and somewhat unorthodox,” said Claire Max, director of UC Observatories and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. “Lick Observatory has already been the site of several previous SETI searches, so this is a very exciting addition to the current research taking place.”

    NIROSETI will be fully operational by early summer and will scan the skies several times a week on the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory, located on Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose.

    The NIROSETI team also includes Geoffrey Marcy and Andrew Siemion from UC Berkeley; Patrick Dorval, a Dunlap undergraduate, and Elliot Meyer, a Dunlap graduate student; and Richard Treffers of Starman Systems. Funding for the project comes from the generous support of Bill and Susan Bloomfield.

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    UCSC is the home base for the Lick Observatory.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:05 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Lyme disease research, , , Ticks on the march   

    From NS: “Lyme disease is set to explode, and you can’t protect yourself” 

    NewScientist

    New Scientist

    29 March 2017
    Chelsea Whyte

    A new prediction says 2017 and 2018 will see major Lyme disease outbreaks in new areas. This could lead to lifelong health consequences, so where’s the vaccine?

    1
    Tick tock. Mike Peres/Custom Medical Stock Photo/SPL

    BY THE time he had finished his walk through the woods in New York state, Rick Ostfeld was ready to declare a public health emergency. He could read the warning signs in the acorns that littered the forest floor – seeds of a chain of events that will culminate in an unprecedented outbreak of Lyme disease this year.

    Since that day in 2015, Ostfeld has been publicising the coming outbreak. Thanks to a changing climate it could be one of the worst on record: the ticks that carry the disease have been found in places where it has never before been a problem – and where most people don’t know how to respond. The danger zone isn’t confined to the US: similar signs are flagging potential outbreaks in Europe. Polish researchers predict a major outbreak there in 2018.

    In theory, Ostfeld’s early warning system gives public health officials a two-year window to prepare. In many other cases, this would be enough time to roll out a vaccination programme. But there is no human vaccine for Lyme disease. Why not? And what can you do to protect yourself in the meantime?

    Lyme disease is the most common infection following an insect bite in the US: the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 300,000 Americans contract Lyme disease each year, calling it “a major US public health problem”. While it is easy enough to treat if caught early, we are still getting to grips with lifelong health problems that can stem from not catching it in time (see “Do I have Lyme disease?“).

    This is less of a problem when Lyme is confined to a few small areas of the US, but thanks in part to warmer winters, the disease is spreading beyond its usual territory, extending across the US (see map) and into Europe and forested areas of Asia. In Europe in particular, confirmed cases have been steadily rising for 30 years – today, the World Health Organization estimates that 65,000 people get Lyme disease each year in the region. In the UK, 2000 to 3000 cases are diagnosed each year, up tenfold from 2001, estimates the UK’s National Health Service.

    So how could a floor of acorns two years ago tell Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, that 2017 would see an outbreak of Lyme disease? It’s all down to what happens next.

    A bumper crop of the seeds – “like you were walking on ball bearings” – comes along every two to five years in Millbrook. Crucially, these nutrient-packed meals swell the mouse population: “2016 was a real mouse plague of a year,” he says. And mouse plagues bring tick plagues.

    Soon after hatching, young ticks start “questing” – grasping onto grasses or leaves with their hind legs and waving their forelegs, ready to hitch a ride on whatever passes by, usually a mouse.

    Gut reaction

    Once on board, the feast begins. Just one mouse can carry hundreds of immature ticks in their post-larval nymph stage.

    This is where the problems for us start. Mouse blood carries the Lyme-causing bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which passes to a tick’s gut as it feeds. The tick itself is unharmed, but each time it latches onto a new host to feed, the bacteria can move from its gut to the blood – including that of any human passers-by.

    “We predict the mice population based on the acorns and we predict infected nymph ticks with the mice numbers. Each step has a one year lag,” Ostfeld says.

    Ostfeld published his discovery of this chain of causation in 2006 [PLOS Biology]. Last year, researchers in Poland found the same trend there, with the same implications. “Last year we had a lot of oak acorns, so we might expect 2018 will pose a high risk of Lyme,” says Jakub Szymkowiak at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland.

    Those who live in traditional Lyme disease zones are well versed in tick awareness – wear long trousers in the woods, check yourself thoroughly afterwards, and more. But this advice will be less familiar in places that used to sit outside Lyme zones – like Poland. “That’s sort of the perfect storm,” says Ostfeld. “The public is unaware, so they’re not looking for it and they don’t get treated.”

    It’s not obvious when you have been bitten or infected: ticks are the size of a poppy seed, and not everyone gets the classic “bullseye” rash that is supposed to tip you off. The flu-like symptoms that follow are also easy to misdiagnose. And because antibodies to Lyme disease take a few weeks to develop, early tests can miss it. “That’s when you get late-stage, untreated, supremely problematic Lyme disease,” Ostfeld says.

    The best approach would be to vaccinate people at risk – but there is currently no vaccine. We used to have one, but thanks to anti-vaccination activists, that is no longer the case.

    In the late 1990s, a race was on to make the first Lyme disease vaccine. By December 1998, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the release of Lymerix, developed by SmithKline Beecham, now GSK. But the company voluntarily withdrew the drug after only four years.

    This followed a series of lawsuits – including one where recipients claimed Lymerix caused chronic arthritis. Influenced by now-discredited research purporting to show a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, activists raised the question of whether the Lyme disease vaccine could cause arthritis.

    Media coverage and the anti-Lyme-vaccination groups gave a voice to those who believed their pain was due to the vaccine, and public support for the vaccine declined. “The chronic arthritis was not associated with Lyme,” says Stanley Plotkin, an adviser to pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur. “When you’re dealing with adults, all kinds of things happen to them. They get arthritis, they get strokes, heart attacks. So unless you have a control group, you’re in la-la land.”

    But there was a control group – the rest of the US population. And when the FDA reviewed the vaccine’s adverse event reports in a retrospective study, they found only 905 reports for 1.4 million doses. Still, the damage was done, and the vaccine was benched.

    After that, “no one touched it”, says Thomas Lingelbach, CEO at Valneva, a biotech company based in France. Until now: Valneva has a vaccine in early human trials. It will improve on Lymerix, acting against all five strains of the disease instead of just the one most common in the US, and it will be suitable for children.

    Lingelbach knows the battles his firm will face. “It will be hard to convince anti-vax lobbyists,” he says. That fight is still some way off: any public roll-out is at least six years away.

    What makes this wait especially galling for some is that there is a vaccine for your pet. “It’s ironic that you can vaccinate your animal and you can’t vaccinate yourself,” Plotkin says.

    In the animal vaccine, instead of exposing Fido to a weakened version of the antigen to trigger antibodies, it works within the tick, neutralising B. burgdorferi by altering the expression of a protein on the bacterium before it enters the bloodstream. This is how a human version would work. “The underlying scientific principle is not very far away from what it is in the veterinary environment,” says Lingelbach.

    Some people have suggested taking the animal vaccine, but Plotkin doesn’t recommend this as it hasn’t been tested in people so there is insufficient safety data. “You just don’t have classical efficacy data in humans,” he says. It is also illegal in the US and UK for vets to practise medicine on humans.

    While we wait for a human vaccine, you might start keeping track of your local acorn populations – but brush up on your anti-tick measures before you hit the woods.

    See the full article here .

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    • stbarbebaker 4:50 pm on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on stbarbebaker and commented:
      Here is an intriguing article about ticks and Lyme disease. Get your tea tree oil and diatomaceous earth now before Easter arrives, around about when the ticks begin to show up.

      Like

  • richardmitnick 12:56 pm on November 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Lyme disease research,   

    From Hopkins: “Johns Hopkins receives $10M to expand research into Lyme disease cause, treatments” 

    Johns Hopkins
    Johns Hopkins University

    11.8.16
    Staff

    1
    Image credit: istock photo

    Grants from Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation support existing research on post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, new therapies, vulnerable populations

    Johns Hopkins University has received a $10 million grant from the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation to explore Lyme disease and develop potential new therapies to address the illness.

    The grant will be divided among three Johns Hopkins research teams led by John Aucott, Ying Zhang, and Brian Schwartz.

    Aucott, assistant professor of medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center, and colleague Mark Soloski, professor of medicine, received a five-year grant for $6 million to support the continuation of the center’s Study of Lyme Disease Immunology and Clinical Events, a longitudinal effort that identifies patients at the onset of Lyme disease, initiates standard treatment, and follows them over a one-year period.

    The aim is to characterize those patients that develop post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome and analyze the immunological pathways triggered as the disease progresses in those patients.

    “This grant allows us to expand our research and gain a better understanding of the disease,” Aucott says. “It also allows for greater diversity among participants so we can get more substantive information that can inform future developments in the field of Lyme research and discovery.”

    Discovered more than four decades ago, Lyme disease has now spread rapidly throughout the East Coast and Midwest. It is estimated to afflict more than 300,000 people per year, making it the sixth most common reportable infectious disease in the U.S. However, little is understood about the complex pathogenesis of the disease, which costs the U.S. economy up to $1.3 billion per year in treatment costs alone.

    With support from the grant, Aucott plans to open a new research site each year of the grant. For year one, he has already begun expanding the Green Spring Station clinical research site in Lutherville, Maryland, nearly doubling the number of exam rooms. Aucott also plans to build a Lyme research clinic at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. For the second year, he is looking to set up a site in Howard County, Maryland. For year three, he hopes to expand into Pennsylvania. His plans for years four and five will explore sites throughout the East Coast.

    “As Lyme cases continue to increase in the U.S., there is an increasing need to understand the disease and its outcomes,” Aucott says. “We have no way of predicting who will recover and who won’t. This grant will allow us to explore why post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome exists, the mechanisms behind the disease and the pathways through which it causes symptoms so that one day, we can use that information to develop ways to prevent the disease or develop more effective drugs. Currently, we don’t have a full understanding of the disease or the most effective ways to treat those it impacts.”

    Zhang, professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, received $2.5 million from the foundation for a five-year grant that will allow him and his team to test potential new ways to treat Lyme disease. The grant will support Zhang’s efforts to develop optimal drug combinations to more effectively combat post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, focusing on developing effective oral drug combination regimens.

    “This grant is very important for us because it provides stability to the Lyme research program here at Johns Hopkins,” Zhang says. “It will allow us to advance potential new and more effective therapies for this complex and intriguing disease.”

    Schwartz, professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Bloomberg School, received more than $1 million from the foundation to conduct a three-year, two-phase investigation of Lyme disease in Pennsylvania, one of the hardest-hit regions for the disease.

    In phase I, Schwartz and colleagues will conduct a large-scale, population-based study of the epidemiology of Lyme disease using data from electronic health records from the Geisinger Clinic. These data are available for over 500,000 patients from 2001 to present. Schwartz and colleagues will link that information to community data on land use and land cover—for example, agricultural land, forested land, and low-density suburban development.

    In addition, Schwartz will evaluate populations vulnerable to Lyme disease, delayed diagnosis, and treatment by looking at these features by age, sex, race/ethnicity, family socioeconomic status, community socioeconomic status, and a variety of other community and environmental variables.

    For phase II, a questionnaire-based study will be performed to assess vulnerabilities within the population. This will include aspects of individual, occupational and community risks, as well as an assessment of people’s knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding Lyme disease diagnosis, treatment and long-term prognosis. Investigators will also analyze who is getting Lyme disease and why, how long it takes until diagnosis, and appropriate treatment. This research will allow for the evaluation of Lyme disease risk, and assess diagnosis and treatment patterns, with a goal of identifying new management strategies to address Lyme disease.

    See the full article here .

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    Johns Hopkins Campus

    The Johns Hopkins University opened in 1876, with the inauguration of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman. “What are we aiming at?” Gilman asked in his installation address. “The encouragement of research … and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell.”

    The mission laid out by Gilman remains the university’s mission today, summed up in a simple but powerful restatement of Gilman’s own words: “Knowledge for the world.”

    What Gilman created was a research university, dedicated to advancing both students’ knowledge and the state of human knowledge through research and scholarship. Gilman believed that teaching and research are interdependent, that success in one depends on success in the other. A modern university, he believed, must do both well. The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Johns Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Johns Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the research university system as it exists today.

     
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