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NIH Record  
Vol. LX, No. 8
  April 18, 2008
 Features
Panel Highlights Urgent Challenges Of Emergency Medicine
New Horizons For Vaccines Is Subject of LaMontagne Lecture
Women’s History Month Reflects on Women’s Art, Vision
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STEP Forum Explores Natural Product Drug Discovery
  Panel members include (from l) Dr. Alice Clark of the University of Mississippi, Dr. William Gerwick of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC-San Diego and NCI’s Dr. Gordon Cragg.
  Panel members include (from l) Dr. Alice Clark of the University of Mississippi, Dr. William Gerwick of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC-San Diego and NCI’s Dr. Gordon Cragg.

Your cold capsule. Dad’s aspirin. Nana’s eye drops. We may take such therapies for granted, but safe and effective medications don’t grow on trees—or do they? In fact, their sources may. Since modern chemistry has not kept pace with the need to treat many illnesses, scientists are returning to nature as the inspiration for new drugs.

Mother Nature is making a comeback.

“The NIH has always played an important role in the discovery of drugs to improve public health,” moderator Chris Ketchum told the crowd in Natcher Conference Center, where a recent Staff Training in Extramural Programs (STEP) forum explored “Drug Discovery: Is Nature the Answer?”
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Iraqi Woman Has Early Success in Dysphagia Study
  Sanaa Ibrahim can eat and drink again, thanks to an NINDS study.
  Sanaa Ibrahim can eat and drink again, thanks to an NINDS study.

Since suffering a stroke in May 2003, Sanaa Ibrahim—an Iraqi pharmacist and mother of three—had been unable to swallow anything. For 4 years she tried numerous treatments to no avail. Her search for an effective therapy led her to the United States, where she eventually entered Dr. Christy Ludlow’s clinical trial, “Comparison of an Implanted Neuroprosthesis with Sensory Training for Improving Airway Protection in Chronic Dysphagia.” Today Ibrahim is nearly back to normal.

“This experiment has changed my life,” she said. “I was using a feeding tube through my stomach to eat. I couldn’t even taste the food.
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