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NIH Record  
Vol. LXVI, No. 24
  November 21, 2014
From Ebola to E-Cigarettes: Experts Discuss Global Challenges
Kumanyika To Give Gordon Lecture
NICHD Co-Sponsors White House Disability Summit
Spong Named NICHD Deputy Director
NIDCD Speaker Series Presents Advances in Plain Language
NICHD’s Loh To Give Roberts Lecture, Dec. 11
NIH’ers Participate in 30th Army Ten-Miler
Association of Vision Science Librarians Meets at NIH
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At Kinyoun Lecture
Blaser Explores Link Between Obesity, Antibiotic Use

Dr. Martin Blaser gives Kinyoun Lecture at NIH.
Dr. Martin Blaser gives Kinyoun Lecture at NIH.
Evidence is mounting that the epidemic of obesity now girdling the globe might be traceable to alterations in the human microbiome introduced by widespread exposure to antibiotics, not only as medication for people but also possibly in our diet; farm animals are fattened for market with sub-therapeutic antibiotic treatment introduced in animal feed and water from an early age.

Such was the case made at this year’s NIAID Joseph J. Kinyoun Lecture by Dr. Martin Blaser, Muriel and George Singer professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center. His talk, “Early Life Microbiome Influences on Metabolism, Immunity and Disease Risk,” argued that human exposure to antibiotics early in life induces permanent changes in the microbiome, with obesity being a type of changed physiology imposed by the drugs.

Melanoma: Both Disease and Treatments Ramp Up

Among all the types of cancer affecting Americans, none is increasing faster than melanoma, the diagnosis of which has been steadily growing at a rate of about 4 percent each year since 1973. It is the sixth most common malignancy among men and the seventh most common malignancy among women. But that onslaught is being countered by a slew of new therapies, six of which have been approved since 2011.

“Immunotherapy [for melanoma] has never been as exciting as it is right now,” said Dr. Rhoda Alani, who gave a Contemporary Clinical Medicine: Great Teachers lecture recently in Lipsett Amphitheater. “New therapies and targets are being anticipated on almost a monthly basis.”

Alani is Herbert Mescon professor and chair in the department of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine and dermatologist-in-chief at Boston Medical Center. No stranger to NIH, she was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute research scholar on campus in 1988-1989.