Almost One-Fourth of U.S. Women Suffer
Pelvic Floor Disorders
According to a new study funded in part by NICHD, NIDDK and the Office of Research on Women’s Health, close to 24 percent of women in the U.S. are affected with one or more pelvic floor disorders. The study is the first to document
the extent of pelvic floor disorders—a cluster of problems that cause physical discomfort
and can limit activity—in a nationally representative
sample. The research, published in the Sept. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, also revealed that the frequency
of pelvic floor disorders increases with age: it affects more than 40 percent of women ages 60 to 79, and about 50 percent of women
80 and older. Researchers said the findings point to the need to identify the causes of the disorders and to determine the best ways to prevent and treat them.
|Researchers have for the first time identified gene variations strongly associated with kidney diseases that disproportionately affect African Americans.
Genetic Reasons for Kidney Disease
Researchers at NIH and Johns Hopkins University have for the first time identified
gene variations strongly associated with kidney diseases that disproportionately
affect African Americans. The findings,
published in two papers online and in the October issue of Nature Genetics, show that several variations in the MYH9 gene were much more frequent among people of African ancestry than among whites. The increased risk among African Americans with these variants is more than 300 percent
for focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a disease that leads to kidney failure
in more than half of those with it over a period of about 10 years; more than 500 percent for HIV-associated FSGS; and more than 100 percent for all nondiabetic kidney failure. Sixty percent of African Americans carry the risk variants, compared to just 4 percent
of whites. Researchers hope the findings will lead to new therapies, as chronic kidney disease
currently affects 26 million Americans.
Anti-Herpes Drug, Once Altered, Hinders AIDS Virus
Acyclovir, a drug known to suppress outbreaks of oral and genital herpes, can also hinder the AIDS virus once it is altered. A study, led by NICHD researchers and published online in Cell Host & Microbe, shows that after the herpes
virus alters the drug, acyclovir also interferes
with the AIDS virus’s ability to reproduce. Researchers said that though it will take additional
studies to confirm this, the results of the study suggest that acyclovir might make a useful addition to the cocktail of drugs used to suppress HIV in people infected with both HIV and one of the many forms of herpes virus. There is also the possibility that in future studies,
acyclovir could be chemically modified in the same way it is by herpes viruses to get the same results.
Insights into the Most Common Form of Brain Cancer
The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network has reported the first results of its comprehensive, large-scale study of glioblastoma
(GBM), the most common form of brain cancer. The team from TCGA, a collaborative effort funded by NCI and NHGRI, discovered new genetic mutations and other types of DNA alterations that have potential implications for the diagnosis and treatment of GBM. Their findings were published Sept. 4 in the advance online edition of Nature. Among the most exciting
results is an unexpected observation pointing
to a potential mechanism of resistance to a common chemotherapy drug used for brain cancer. More than 21,000 new cases of brain cancer are predicted in the U.S. this year, and 13,000 people are likely to die from the disease.
Scientists said learning about the molecular
basis of GBM will more quickly lead to better ways of helping patients with the disease, and that these findings show large-scale studies like this are much needed.—