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Daily Rounds: HIV 'Breakthrough'; Gamers Beat Scientists; Dana-Farber Tracking; Is HPV Vaccine Oversold?

Researchers Announce a Breakthrough on HIV/AIDS Treatment - Technology Review "For the first time, researchers have shown that a cell-based therapy for HIV/AIDS can reduce the amount of virus in infected people. The breakthrough—big news for researchers, who have struggled for decades to create vaccines and cell-based therapies for HIV—was announced on Sunday at the 51st Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in Chicago. To date, the sole treatment for HIV has been multidrug regimens that prolong life but never eliminate the virus." (MIT Technology Review)

Gamers succeed where scientists fail "Gamers have solved the structure of a retrovirus enzyme whose configuration had stumped scientists for more than a decade. The gamers achieved their discovery by playing Foldit, an online game that allows players to collaborate and compete in predicting the structure of protein molecules. After scientists repeatedly failed to piece together the structure of a protein-cutting enzyme from an AIDS-like virus, they called in the Foldit players. The scientists challenged the gamers to produce an accurate model of the enzyme. They did it in only three weeks." (Hat-tip: Karen Weintraub) (EurekAlert)

Location system aims to improve cancer care - The Boston Globe "In the old days, nurses would listen at exam room doors, straining to hear if anyone was inside. They would hunt down a doctor by knocking on doors or paging a beeper. Signs in the waiting room asked patients waiting more than 20 minutes to go to the front desk. Now, a new technology deployed on two floors of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s recently opened Yawkey Center for Cancer Care is working to make the process more efficient - ensuring people never wait so long that they feel forgotten. Patients and medical staff wear badges that track their locations in real time, providing basic information intended to streamline a patient’s visit, show bottlenecks, and increase communication between staff members supervising different aspects of a patient’s care." (bostonglobe.com)

HPV Vaccine: The Science Behind The Controversy : NPR "The first vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer, came out five years ago. But now it's become a hot political topic, thanks to a Republican presidential debate in which candidate Michelle Bachmann inveighed against "innocent little 12-year-old girls" being "forced to have a government injection." Behind the political fireworks is a quieter backlash against a public health strategy that's won powerful advocates in the medical and public health community. It appears this vaccine gets people riled up because it involves sex and 11-year-old girls." (npr.org)

‘Community Paramedics’ Seek to Prevent Emergencies, Too - NYTimes.com EAGLE, Colo. — "Emergency medicine carries a deep aura of romance in America, with its first-responder traditions of adrenaline, acuity and bravery. But here in this rural mountain area of the West, and in a handful of other places around the nation, a new vision is gaining ground — that emergency workers should not wait around for crises to happen, but rather go out and prevent them." (nytimes.com)

Autistic and Seeking a Place in an Adult World - NYTimes.com "People with autism, whose unusual behaviors are believed to stem from variations in early brain development, typically disappear from public view after they leave school. As few as one in 10 hold even part-time jobs. Some live in state-supported group homes; even those who attend college often end up unemployed and isolated, living with parents. But Justin is among the first generation of autistic youths who have benefited throughout childhood from more effective therapies and hard-won educational opportunities. And Ms. Stanton-Paule’s program here is based on the somewhat radical premise that with intensive coaching in the workplace and community — and some stretching by others to include them — students like Justin can achieve a level of lifelong independence that has eluded their predecessors." (nytimes.com)

Utah cities among lowest in spending for health care | Deseret News "Utah has a healthier population and a younger population," said Jill Vicory, spokeswoman for the Utah Hospitals and Health Systems Association, a nonprofit group that represents Utah hospitals and health systems. She said the state also has the lowest number of smokers and cancer prevalence as well, which likely helps keep health care costs low. The recently implemented Clinical Health Information Exchange, Vicory said, is helping to create a general awareness about healthy lifestyles and keeping people in the loop on their own health. But perhaps the biggest factor that is driving costs down in Utah is that there are four major health care providers that create a more competitive environment." (Deseret News)

This program aired on September 19, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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