The Supervisory Board of Jadran dd from Crikvenica, a tourist company that owns 8 hotels, 2 campsites and a tourist resort on the Crikvenica Riviera, at today’s session approved the company’s Management Board to implement an investment plan worth over 83 million kuna.After the completion of this year’s investment cycle worth over 40 million kuna, which resulted in raising the categories of hotels Katarina and Omorika to four stars and expanding the offer of mobile homes in the camp Selce, the Adriatic Administration has begun preparations for a new investment cycle in 2017. the team made an estimate of all these investments. The investments include six facilities, and the realization depends on the speed of obtaining the necessary permits and the financing model.The accepted plan envisages landscaping hotel Esplanade in Crikvenica, and after renovation the facility will be positioned as a family boutique hotel with a high four star instead of the current three star category. The renovation will include a complete reconstruction of the new and old part of the hotel built in 1929, which has not been in operation since the fire that engulfed it in 2001, the creation of a wellness and SPA zone, infrastructure works and landscaping. The value of the total investment is HRK 32,8 million, and the planned completion of the works is expected in July next year, provided that a building permit is obtained soon, for which all the necessary documentation has been submitted.”Our goal is to return Crikvenica to where it belongs – to the top of Croatian tourism” Dino Manestar, President of the Management Board of Jadran ddStrategic business plan for the period from 2016 to 2025 All investments are also foreseen in the Strategic Business Plan for the period from 2016 to 2025, which was adopted in February this year, but for certain investments the dynamics were accelerated. In addition to the Esplanade, a third phase of landscaping is planned Hotel Omorika which, after the four-star categorization was confirmed in June, will further enrich its content by arranging a wellness center with a swimming pool in the former disco club “Oleander” with an investment value of 11,3 million kuna. The second phase of landscaping will continue in Selce hotel Katarina with an emphasis on the arrangement of the health center, wellness, indoor pool and SPA zone, as well as the arrangement of congress halls, parking and the environment of the facility to complete the positioning of the facility as a four-star spa hotel. The total amount of the investment is estimated at just over HRK 15 million, and the end of the works is expected in May 2017.In addition to Katarina, the old part of Selce is planned to be renovated by June next year Hotel Slaven which is currently not in use, as a three-star holiday hotel with an investment value of HRK 10,2 million. Further landscaping is also planned camp Selce in order to further raise the categorization to the level of four stars, which includes the arrangement of toilets, children’s playground, entrance road, check-in zone, parking with charging stations for electric vehicles, environment, households and services, accommodation for seasonal staff, etc. with total value investments of HRK 15,2 million.”By accepting the investment plan, we show that we are continuing with the planned path of development of the Adriatic with a clear vision of the company in the future. It is a successful, modern and strong tourist company that provides a high level of service to its guests in all facilities, and everything we have achieved in the past gives us a strong motivation and impetus for future success with the support of all our employees and all people of Crikvenica. Since we came out of bankruptcy, I repeat that our goal is to return Crikvenica to where it belongs – to the top of Croatian tourism, and that goal is getting closer to us with each project.” said Dino Manestar, President of the Management Board of Jadran ddIn addition to accepting the investment plan, the Management Board informed the Supervisory Board about the recapitalization procedure, which will, in accordance with the Strategic Business Plan adopted in February this year, try to attract investors needed to implement an investment plan worth over 300 million kuna. In 2021, most of the Adriatic facilities were categorized with 4 stars.
LinkedIn Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Pinterest Share Email Most people feel down, tired and inactive when they’re injured or ill. This “sickness behaviour” is caused by the activation of the body’s immune response. It’s the brain’s way of conserving energy so the body can heal.This immune response can also occur in people with depression. This has prompted some researchers and clinicians to hypothesise that depression is actually a side effect of the inflammatory process.But while there may be a connection between inflammation and depression, one doesn’t necessarily lead to the other. So it’s too simplistic to say depression is a physical, rather than a psychiatric, illness. The inflammation hypothesisUniversity of California clinical psychologist and researcher George Slavich is one of the key recent proponents of depression as a physical illness. He hypothesises that social threats and adversity trigger the production of pro-inflammatory “cytokines”. These are messenger molecules of the immune system that play a critical role in orchestrating the host’s response to injury and infection.This inflammatory process, Slavich argues, can initiate profound behavioural changes, including the induction of depression.The idea that the activation of the immune response may trigger depression in some people is by no means a new one. Early descriptions of post-influenza depression appeared in the 19th century in the writings of English physician Daniel Tuke.But it was not until the 1988 seminal paper, published by veterinarian Benjamin Hart, that the phenomenon of acute “sickness behaviour” caught the interest of the scientific community.Hart described his detailed observations of the “behaviour of sick animals”. During acute infection, and in response to fever, the animals sought sleep, lost their appetite, showed a reduction in activity, grooming and social interactions, as well as showing signs of “depression”.Just like the immune response itself, these changes reflect an evolved survival strategy that shifts priorities toward energy conservation and recovery.Putting the theory into practiceCytokine-induced sickness behaviour has subsequently been studied as an example of communication between the immune system and the brain.The behavioural changes during sickness resemble those associated with depression, so it didn’t take long for researchers to make a connection between the phenomenon of sickness behaviour and mental disorders.Such speculation was strengthened by research showing that depressive states can be experimentally induced by administering cytokines and other immunogenic agents (such as vaccines) that cause an inflammatory response.Depression is frequently associated with inflammatory illnesses such as heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. It’s also a side effect of treatment with cytokines to enhance the immune system.Over recent decades, researchers have made progress in understanding how inflammation may impact on the activity of signalling pathways to and from the brain, as well as on the functioning of key neural systems involved in mood regulation.But there’s not always a linkFrom the available evidence it’s clear, however, that not everyone who suffers from depression has evidence of inflammation. And not all people with high levels of inflammation develop depression.Trajectories of depression depend on a complex interplay of a spectrum of additional risk and resilience factors, which may be present to varying degrees and in a different combination in any individual at different times. These factors include the person’s:genetic vulnerabilities affecting the intensity of our inflammatory responseother medical conditionsacquired hyper-vigilance in the stress response systems due to early life trauma, current adversities, or physical stressorscoping strategies, including social supporthealth behaviours, such as sleep, diet and exercise.Implications for treatmentIn line with the notion that inflammation drives depression, some researchers have already trialled the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory therapy as a treatment for depression.While some recipients (such as those with high levels of inflammation) showed benefit from the treatment, others without increased inflammation did not. This supports the general hypothesis.However, in our desire to find more effective treatments for depression, we should not forget that the immune response, including inflammation, has a specific purpose. It protects us from infection, disease and injury.Cytokines act at many different levels, and often in subtle ways, to fulfil their numerous roles in the orchestration of the immune response. Undermining their vital role could have negative consequences.Mind versus bodyThe recent enthusiasm to embrace inflammation as the major culprit in psychiatric conditions ignores the reality that “depression” is not a single condition. Some depressive states, such as melancholia, are diseases; some are reactions to the environment; some are existential; and some normal.Such separate states have differing contributions of biological, social and psychological causes. So any attempt to invoke a single all-explanatory “cause” should be rejected. Where living organisms are concerned it is almost never that simple.In the end, we cannot escape the reality that changes must occur at the level of the brain, in regions responsible for mood regulation, for “depression” to be experienced.By Ute Vollmer-Conna, UNSW Australia and Gordon Parker, UNSW AustraliaUte Vollmer-Conna is Associate Professor, School of Psychiatry at UNSW Australia.Gordon Parker is Scientia Professor at UNSW Australia.This article was originally published on The Conversation.Read the original article.
Gnedeva tested these proteins’ involvement in hair cell formation by altering their expression. When both genes were shut down, she found that the entire inner ear, not just the utricle, developed abnormally. In other experiments, she turned on the genes in older mice whose hair cells were fully matured, and discovered that this gene activation could induce the production of new hair cells within a fully developed utricle.She is now exploring the series of molecular interactions that normally lead to the activation of these proteins and the steps that follow. “Our ultimate goal is to find a target that would allow us to restore hair cells later on in life. It appears possible that these proteins, or perhaps other steps in the same pathway, might be potential targets,” she says. Email Share on Twitter Loud noise, trauma, infections, plain old aging–many things can destroy hair cells, the delicate sensors of balance and sound within the inner ear. And once these sensors are gone, that’s it; the delicate hair cells don’t grow back in humans, leading to hearing loss and problems with balance.But scientists hope to find a way to regenerate these cells by examining how they develop in the first place. New research at Rockefeller University, in A. James Hudspeth’s Laboratory of Sensory Neuroscience, has identified two genes pivotal to the production of hair cells in young mice, who, just like human babies, lose the ability to generate these sensors shortly after birth. The study was published the week of October 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.First author, Ksenia Gnedeva, a postdoc in the lab, began by examining changes in gene expression in the utricle, a hair cell-lined organ within the inner ear that detects motion. She saw that the activity of two genes dropped dramatically shortly after the mice were born and hair cells ceased to develop in their utricles. These genes code for the proteins Sox4 and Sox11, which play a role in shaping the identity cells assume by regulating the expression of other genes. Share Pinterest Share on Facebook LinkedIn
Bipolar disorder affects more than five million Americans and is often a challenge to treat. If patients’ severe mood swings aren’t helped with lithium, doctors often piece together treatment plans with antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants and mood stabilizers. But they often help only the depressive swings of bipolar or the opposing manic swings, not both.To study the underlying cause of bipolar disorder, Gage and his colleagues collected skin cells from six bipolar patients, reprogrammed the cells to become stem cells, and then coaxed the stem cells to develop into neurons. They then compared those neurons to ones from healthy people.“Neurons are normally activated by a stimuli and respond,” says Jerome Mertens, a postdoctoral research fellow and first author of the new paper. “The cells we have from all six patients are much more sensitive in that you don’t need to activate them very strongly to see a response.” And the mitochondria–energy-generating powerhouses–inside the cells were also more active.Since three of the patients that the cells were collected from had responded well to lithium, and three others hadn’t seen lithium help their mood swings, the researchers next tested how the patient cells reacted to lithium. The team let some of the neurons grow in liquid containing lithium and then re-measured how sensitive the cells were.Surprisingly–although neurons from the two groups of patients had seemed identical (and equally sensitive) in the first tests–they behaved differently when exposed to the lithium. Cells from lithium responder patients showed weakened excitability after growing in the lithium. But cells from patients who hadn’t been helped by the drug remained hyperexcitable. The findings don’t yet explain why lithium works for some patients and not others, but offers a starting point to probe what the differences between the cells are. And the bipolar neurons also offer a platform to ask other questions about biopolar disorder.“Now that we have neurons that show differences in excitability, we can use these to screen for better drugs,” Mertens says. If a new drug, for instance, reverses the hyperexcitability at the cellular level, it would likely treat bipolar disorder in patients.Gage and Mertens next plan to follow the affected cells for longer periods of time to see whether the hyperexcitability they measured is only an initial manic stage of the neurons’ lives or is long-lasting.“After a few months, it’s possible that this hyperexcitability becomes too much for the cell to handle and it crashes into a less excitable state,” says Gage. “That could signal the shift between the depression and mania that patients experience.” Share on Twitter The brain cells of patients with bipolar disorder, characterized by severe swings between depression and elation, are more sensitive to stimuli than other people’s brain cells, researchers have discovered.The finding, published October 28, 2015 in the journal Nature, is among the first to show at a cellular level how the disorder affects the brain. Moreover, it reveals why some patients respond to treatment with lithium while others don’t.“Researchers hadn’t all agreed that there was a cellular cause to bipolar disorder,” says Rusty Gage, a professor in Salk’s Laboratory of Genetics and senior author of the new work. “So our study is important validation that the cells of these patients really are different.” Email Share on Facebook Share LinkedIn Pinterest
LinkedIn Pinterest Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email New research provides more clues about the brain processes involved in honesty and cheating. “Honesty is a fundamental value in many societies,” explained one of the study’s authors, Alain Cohn of the University of Chicago. “Nevertheless, people often cheat when they can privately benefit from their dishonesty. Institutions cannot always prevent people from behaving dishonestly. Thus, we often have to rely on the intrinsic honesty of our fellow citizens.”The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that honest behavior could be increased by means of non-invasive brain stimulation. The researchers found that using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to stimulate a region in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (rDLPFC) made participants less likely to cheat. “We still know relatively little about the biological basis of intrinsic honesty,” Cohn told PsyPost. “One brain imaging study (Greene and Paxton, 2009 PNAS) found that a specific area in the brain (rDLPFC) was more active when subjects pondered the trade-off between honesty and financial gain. However, the brain imaging study cannot tell us in which direction causality is running or whether the identified brain area is actually involved in this decision process or whether it is merely a byproduct. Applying tDCS allowed us to test whether the rDLPFC is causally involved when people face the trade-off between honesty and financial gain.”The researchers used a die-rolling task to test honesty. The researchers told 145 university students to roll a six-sided die ten times for the opportunity to win 90 Swiss Francs in total. Because the participants entered their results into a computer in total anonymity, they could easily lie about whether they won money. But the researchers could measure the amount of lying by comparing the percentage of reported successful die rolls against the statistical 50% benchmark that would be expected if everyone was honest.“This is basic research and not meant for direct practical applications,” Cohn told PsyPost. “Our findings should be taken as a first step in identifying the brain processes that allow people to remain honest when faced with a material incentive to cheat. These brain processes could lie at the heart of individual differences in honest behavior and we show that they can, in principle, be altered through external, non-invasive interventions. “However, it is important to note that our results suggest that such interventions may not work with pathological cheaters because in our experiments, only people who felt a moral conflict responded to the intervention. Nevertheless, our results can have implications for jurisdiction, such as to what extent people can be made fully liable for their wrongdoings.”“The next step would be to identify the network of neural processes that are involved in decisions of honesty,” Cohn said. “The rDLPFC is most likely not the only brain region responsible for honest behavior. Our results suggest that the rDLPFC regulates the trade-off between honesty and personal material gain.”The study, “Increasing honesty in humans with noninvasive brain stimulation“, was also co-authored by Michel André Maréchal, Giuseppe Ugazio, and Christian C. Ruffa.
Pinterest A new study published in Biological Psychology sheds light on the neurobiological processes that link stress to cravings for cocaine. “Despite intensive research efforts, drug addiction persists as one of society’s most significant health-related issues, and treatment options are limited,” explained study author John R. Mantsch, the chair of the Biomedical Sciences Department at Marquette University. “The development of interventions aimed at relapse prevention is particularly important for improved outcomes in patients with substance use disorders. Much evidence suggests that stress is a critical contributor to drug use and relapse. While it is clear that there is a relationship between stress and drug seeking, the exact nature of this relationship and the underlying mechanisms are unclear.” Email Share LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter “The goals of this study were to develop a new model for studying the contribution of stress to drug seeking and to examine the mechanisms in the prefrontal cortex through which stressful stimuli promote drug seeking,” Mantsch said.Previous research has established a link between stress and drug cravings, and some studies indicate that stress can act as trigger for cravings.The findings from new study, which was conducted on rats, suggests that stress can set the stage for — but not necessarily directly trigger — cocaine-seeking behavior. Stress appears to set the stage for cravings through its actions on the medial prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that plays a major role in executive functions such as planning.“Clinical reports suggest that, rather than directly driving cocaine use, stress may create a biological context within which other triggers for drug use become more potent,” Mantsch told PsyPost. “In this paper, we use a preclinical rodent model to demonstrate that, during periods of stress, elevated glucocorticoids mobilize endocannabinoid signaling in the prelimbic prefrontal cortex to attenuate inhibitory transmission and promote cocaine seeking behavior.” “Our findings establish a novel mechanism through which stress can promote susceptibility to relapse in individuals with substance use disorder and therefore may reveal opportunities for new and more effective treatment strategies aimed at relapse prevention,” Mantsch explained.But there is still much that scientists don’t understand about the link between stress and drug abuse.“There are several important questions yet to be addressed,” Mantsch told PsyPost. “First, the time-course of stress effects is suggestive of a glucocorticoid mechanism that this not mediated by the canonical glucocorticoid receptor, which typically functions by regulating gene transcription, resulting in effects that take time to develop.”“Secondly, the output pathway from the prefrontal cortex that is regulated by stress and mediates drug seeking needs to be confirmed. Third, it is unclear if the effects of endocannabinoids on drug seeking can be reproduced by cannabis exposure. Such an observation could suggest that acute cannabis use can promote relapse.” “However, it should be noted that in contrast to cannabis effects which will be exerted throughout the brain, the effects of stress on endocannabinoids are likely not uniform throughout the brain,” Mantsch said. “Moreover, THC (the primarily active cannabinoid constituent in cannabis products) and endocannabinoids have different actions at receptors that may predict distinct effects on cortical signaling and behavior.”“Finally, we are in the process of determining if there are sex differences in the effects of stress and glucocorticoids on relapse susceptibility.”The study, “Stress Promotes Drug Seeking Through Glucocorticoid-Dependent Endocannabinoid Mobilization in the Prelimbic Cortex“, was co-authored by Jayme R. McReynolds, Elizabeth M. Doncheck, Yan Lib, Oliver Vranjkovic, Evan N.Graf, Daisuke Ogasawara, Benjamin F.Cravatt, David A.Baker, Qing-Song Liu, and Cecilia J.Hillard.
Even kids in rural South Carolina now spend more time in front of screens than outdoors in nature, according to a new study that appears in Environment and Behavior. The research found that this trend was more pronounced for girls, African American students, and older youth.“Over the past 20 years, society has become increasingly concerned by a dramatic rise in children’s ‘screen time’ (for example, see this report on media in the lives of youth) and an associated decline in time spent outdoors in nature (for example, see the book Last Child in the Woods),” explained study author Lincoln R. Larson of North Carolina State University.“The implications of this shift could have profound negative implications for youth development. However, much of this evidence is anecdotal and few studies have directly compared the screen time and outdoor time of youth — especially youth living in rural areas. We wanted to explore relationships between these two potentially competing activities and determine if participation rates differed among different groups of youth.” Share on Facebook The researchers surveyed 543 sixth- to eighth-grade students across rural South Carolina. Overall, about 70% of the students reported spending at least 30 minutes outdoors in nature each day, while 40% reported spending more than 2 hours outdoors. Students who spent more time outdoors were more likely to agree with statements like “I feel very connected to all living things and the Earth,” “I notice plants and animals wherever I am,” and “I think about how what I do affects the Earth.”But screen time was higher than outdoor time for almost every demographic group that the researchers examined. Students who reported increased screen time tended to also report lower levels of connectedness to nature.“In our study of middle school-aged youth we found that although most youth spent time outdoors, they spent more time with electronic media. The outdoor vs. screen time discrepancy was particularly pronounced for girls, African Americans, and 8th graders (compared to 6th and 7th graders),” Larson told PsyPost.“These groups were also less connected to nature than their peers. The alarming patterns we observed could have significant implications for children’s physical, mental, and social health and well-being — especially among those groups at higher risk (e.g., girls and youth of color). We need to think about ways to moderate screen time and integrate more outdoor time into children’s lives to ensure that all youth are able to enjoy benefits associated with both activities.”Some studies have indicated that too much screen time is linked to heightened levels of anxiety or depression, and reduced curiosity, self-control, and emotional stability. But more research is needed to better understand consequences of declining outdoor time and escalating screen time.“This study provided some unique insight into the screen time vs. outdoor time conflict for youth, but many questions remain unanswered. How much outdoor time is needed to for children to experience developmental benefits, and what types of ‘natural’ settings are preferable?” Larson explained.“Are trends and patterns in urban areas more pronounced than those observed in our rural sample? How do we create programs and opportunities that foster more time outdoors across diverse populations of youth? Are there ways to blend electronic media and nature to facilitate positive, technology-mediated outdoor engagement?”“While the movement to connect children and nature is growing (for more on that, see the Children & Nature Network), some disciplines have been slow to embrace it,” Larson added.“For example, in psychology and public health, the powerful influence of nature on health and well-being is slowly being recognized and integrated into intervention design and decision making processes. If we can enhance awareness by clearly communicating the evidence-based developmental benefits that nature provides (and the consequences associated with diminishing time outdoors), we can expedite this process and help to create a healthier and more sustainable future.”The study, “Outdoor Time, Screen Time, and Connection to Nature: Troubling Trends Among Rural Youth?“, was authored by Lincoln R. Larson, Rachel Szczytko, Edmond P. Bowers, Lauren E. Stephens, Kathryn T. Stevenson, and Myron F. Floyd. Pinterest LinkedIn Share on Twitter Email Share
Share For their study, Jones and his colleagues recruited 409 American participants from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, 351 students from a university in Iran, and 209 individuals living on the Juarez/El Paso border region between Mexico and the United States.The two American samples were provided with a list of stories, concepts, and people — and were told that they all appeared in the Christian Bible. The participants were then asked to indicate how familiar they were with each item. But many of the items on the list, such as The Army Seventeen and Soren’s Temple, did not actually appear in the Bible. The Iranian sample completed a similar task regarding concepts from the Quran.The researchers found that those who claimed to be familiar with concepts that did not exist also tended to report being more supportive of religious aggression. In other words, individuals who claimed to have knowledge of fictitious religious concepts were more likely to agree with statements such as “I would shoot someone if I believed God wanted me to” and “The modern world needs a no mercy attitude toward the wicked.”“Overconfidence in what you think God supports or what scripture says is toxic. Thus, humility is a critical feature that is needed to bring out the best and most benevolent aspects of religion,” Jones told PsyPost.“Further, although overclaiming is toxic, actual religious knowledge (or admitting what you did not know) has the reverse effect such that it correlates with a peaceful disposition. In this way, knowing true vs. false stories in one’s Holy Book is associated with peaceful attitudes whereas claiming familiarity with false stories from one’s Holy Book is associated with violent attitudes.”“It is important to note that all of these findings are similar in Islam (with the Quran) and Christianity (with the Bible). Muslim participants were peaceful when they were accurate in their knowledge of the Quran (or at least honest about what they did not know), and supported violence when they were overconfident in their knowledge of the Quran; identical findings emerged for Christian participants with the Bible,” Jones explained.But there is still much to learn about the relationship between overclaiming religious knowledge and religious aggression.“We still need to understand the mechanisms behind why these correlations emerge. In other words, we need to further research what exactly drives religious overclaiming and why religious overclaiming translates into violent attitudes,” Jones said.“Further, we need to determine if these attitudes are merely supporting a violent agenda in the name of God, or if they actually predict real violent behavior. Finally, we need to know why religious accuracy predicts peaceful attitudes, and if indeed learning one’s Holy Book (accurately) can reduce violence and violent attitudes.”“The idea for this study was partially inspired by the fantastic work of my PhD mentor, Del Paulhus, who generated the overclaiming technique,” Jones added.“However, the impetus to further develop the idea emanated from a discussion I had with my mother. In a way, the origin of the idea was partially predicated on a bet with her. Origin notwithstanding, the outstanding team of researchers on this paper made tremendous contributions, and because of them, it became a far better paper.”The study, “Religious Overclaiming and Support for Religious Aggression“, was authored by Daniel N. Jones, Adon L. Neria, Farzad A. Helm, Reza N. Sahlan, and Jessica R. Carre.(Image by StockSnap from Pixabay) Email Share on Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest Share on Facebook Individuals who claim knowledge of fake religious concepts are more supportive of religious aggression, while individuals with accurate religious knowledge are less supportive, according to new research published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.“Although many quote the Christian Bible, few have read it. Thus, religious books are often incorrectly cited or cited in a way that serves personal prejudices and/or distorted worldviews,” said study author Daniel N. Jones, an assistant professor at the University of Nevada Reno.“Not only do people ‘pick and choose’ the stories of a religious book to support their worldview, they inaccurately attribute messages and interpretations to that Holy Book. Thus, we wanted to determine the consequences of this tendency towards overconfidence in religious scripture.”
Mar 26, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – Flu indicators are showing signs of increased and sustained pandemic flu activity in some Southeastern states, though rates remain steady at the national level, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.Today’s CDC report tracks closely with media reports this week of a rise in flu hospitalizations in Georgia and rising flu-like illnesses in Louisiana and surrounding states. The report of increased activity in the Southeast is also consistent with regional flu activity at college campuses in the Southeast reported by the American College Health Association.Three of the CDC’s 10 regions reported increases in doctors visits for flu-like illnesses, including the one encompassing Southeastern states; the region that includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska; and the area that covers Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada. The increases were over regional, not national, baselines. On a national level, the doctor’s visit flu barometer stayed below the national baseline.No states are reporting widespread flu activity, and only three—Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina—are reporting regional activity. Local activity was reported by Puerto Rico and eight states: Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.Some Southeastern states are reporting recent increases in flu-related hospitalization, though very few hospitalizations involving lab-confirmed pandemic H1N1 were reported in the rest of the nation, the CDC said.The nation’s deaths from pneumonia and flu increased slightly during the previous week to above the seasonal baseline, but the level is still below the epidemic threshold.Only one new pediatric flu death was reported, which was linked to an undetermined influenza A subtype, which health officially typically assume is the pandemic H1N1 virus. The death occurred in a Mississippi child during the week that ended on Mar 6.The pandemic H1N1 virus is still the dominant flu strain, the CDC reported. Though several other countries are increasingly detecting influenza B cases, only two of the 3,050 respiratory specimens tested in the United States last week were that strain.One more case of oseltamivir-resistant pandemic flu was reported to the CDC last week. Most patients have been given oseltamivir (Tamiflu) for treatment or prophylaxis.The CDC is still recommending the pandemic flu vaccine for anyone who is age 6 months or older, and officials strongly urge that people with underlying health conditions, the very young, and people age 65 or older get vaccinated. Vaccine supplies are plentiful and the circulating virus still closely matches the one in the pandemic vaccine.See also:Mar 26 CDC flu update
Aug 26, 2011 Hong Kong pigs produce recombinant H3N2-pH1N1 flu virusHong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety announced today that 16 pig samples collected in June and July were found to contain a swine influenza H3N2 virus that had picked up some genes from the human 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. According to a 7th Space Interactive report, Malik Peiris, the Hong Kong University (HKU) expert in charge of Hong Kong’s surveillance program, said it is unlikely the H3N2 virus poses a threat to human health or food safety. Peiris said, “Given the fact that the human swine influenza virus has spread worldwide in humans and pigs have also been infected by this virus, the recent finding is not a cause for surprise. HKU is conducting further tests to learn more about this particular strain.” Hong Kong officials identified a swine-origin H1N1 virus early in 2010 that also contained genes from pandemic 2009 H1N1.Aug 26 7th Space report Pregnant women, obese more commonly prioritized globally for flu vaccineThose placed in priority groups to receive seasonal or the 2009 pandemic flu vaccine vary broadly among countries, with pregnant women, obese patients, and healthcare workers (HCWs) becoming increasingly targeted, according to researchers who studied policies in 72 countries over the past several years. Scientists from the University of Hong Kong analyzed target groups in 33 countries for whom policies were accessible for seasonal flu vaccine in 2009 (Southern Hemisphere) and 2009-10, 72 countries for monovalent 2009 H1N1 vaccine, and 34 countries for seasonal 2010 and 2010-11 vaccines. They found that for seasonal 2009-10 vaccines, which were produced before the pandemic, 97% of nations placed the elderly in the priority group, followed by those with chronic conditions (91%), HCWs (70%), and nursing home residents (52%). Pregnant women were included in only 46% of plans, and the obese in only 3%. For the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, pregnant women, HCWs, and those with chronic illnesses were targeted in about 90% of plans. One-fifth to one-fourth targeted obese patients and close contacts. Compared with the seasonal 2009-10 vaccine, the elderly, nursing home residents, and close contacts were less commonly targeted. Priority groups for post-pandemic seasonal flu vaccine were similar to those for 2009-10 seasonal flu vaccine, except pregnant women, obese persons, HCWs, and close contacts were more commonly targeted. The elderly were most commonly prioritized (82%), followed by those with chronic illnesses (79%), pregnant women (57%), HCWs (50%), nursing home residents (39%), close contacts (36%), and the obese (25%).Aug 26 BMC Infect Dis abstract Almost century-old data show 1918 pandemic flu was moderately transmissibleA study of a previously unpublished large household survey conducted in Baltimore during the fall wave of the 1918 pandemic suggests that the virus was moderately transmissible, similar to the 2009 H1N1 virus, with few asymptomatic infections. The report, led by researchers at Imperial College London and Johns Hopkins University, appears in the September issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. The team found the survey of 7,287 households in archives at Johns Hopkins. It had been led by Wade Hampton Frost, a pioneer in epidemiological field studies and modeling. In the new analysis of the data, the researchers used Frost’s original models and modern ones that included more variables such as preexisting immunity and asymptomatic infections. They compared the data with estimates for seasonal and 2009 H1N1 flu.Sep 1 Am J Epidemiol abstract Gene study plots differences in human immune response to fluIn what is thought to be the most extensive investigation of human response to influenza exposure, researchers from the University of Michigan and Duke University have found gene expression patterns that provide clues about how disease progresses in symptomatic and asymptomatic people. As detailed in Public Library of Science (PLoS) Genetics, they exposed 17 healthy volunteers to influenza A (H3N2), and took peripheral blood samples 16 times over 132 hours. To identify gene expression patterns, they used a recognition tool called Bayes linear unmixing, which has previously been used to process satellite images of earth, according to a University of Michigan press release. They found a molecular signature that correlated with clinical disease and biomarkers that distinguished early from late infection phases and suggested that the findings could be used to identify new treatment targets and provide diagnostic assessment for seasonal and pandemic flu.Aug 25 PLoS Genetics abstractAug 25 University of Michigan press release