Syphilis screening, lithium fights neurodegeneration, monoclonal antibodies against avian flu

In this weeks press release:

  • - Rapid test would save babies from syphilis

  • Lithium shows promise in mouse model of devastating neurodegenerative disorder

  • Monoclonal neutralizing antibodies show promise against avian flu

  • Human Herpes Virus 6B is associated with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy

  • HIV impairs opsonic phagocytic clearance of pregnancy-associated malaria parasites

Please mention PLoS Medicine in your report and use the links below to take your readers straight to the online articles

Rapid test would save babies from syphilis

Screening pregnant women with newer, rapid syphilis tests would improve the survival and health of babies, according to research from Haiti.

About half of pregnancies in women with untreated syphilis end in death of the baby before or shortly after birth, and surviving infants may suffer lifelong effects such as mental disability, deafness, or blindness. Testing for syphilis infection during pregnancy can prevent these outcomes, but only if the mothers receive prompt treatment. Syphilis tests currently in use require a woman to make a second trip to the clinic to receive her test results. In practice, this means that many mothers in poor countries, especially in rural areas, dont find out they are infected in time to receive treatment to save their babies.

In a study published in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine (www.plosmedicine.org), Bruce Schackman and colleagues from Weill Medical College of Cornell University and the GHESKIO Center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti calculated the cost-effectiveness of newer syphilis tests that provide rapid results, allowing women to receive treatment (usually the antibiotic penicillin) immediately. Even though the cost of rapid test kits is higher than for older tests, the researchers found that better outcomes in fetal health and su

Contact: Andrew Hyde
Public Library of Science

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