Research Report: Vaccine could create immunity against cocaine’s highBy Lynne Friedmann
Long-lasting, anti-cocaine immunity has been achieved in mice by giving them a vaccine that combines bits of the common cold virus with a particle that mimics cocaine. The vaccine does not interfere with the neurological targets of the drug, but instead blocks cocaine from ever reaching the brain in the first place. In the study, the vaccine effect on mice lasted for at least 13 weeks.
If ultimately shown effective in humans, the strategy might offer cocaine addicts a way to break and reverse their habit as well as be useful in treating other addictions, such as to nicotine, heroin, and methamphetamine.
Results of the study, by researchers from The Scripps Research Institute, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Cornell University, appear in the journal Molecular Therapy. News release at http://bit.ly/flt4Hz.
Consumer and genetic tests
A major concern regarding the availability of personal genetic testing is the possibility of high levels of anxiety if consumers learn they have high genetic risk(s). A study led by Scripps Health and the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) provides data suggesting this is not the case.
The SGHI study found no evidence that the screenings induced psychological anxiety among its 2,037 participants. Also, among participants whose scans showed a high risk for developing a disease, a significant proportion expressed a strong, positive intent to undergo the corresponding health screening test.
Launched in October 2008, this is the first scientific study to assess how these tests affect consumers’ health and well being. STSI is an initiative of Scripps Health in collaboration with The Scripps Research Institute.
Results from the study appear on in the New England Journal of Medicine. News release http://bit.ly/fLSi2i.
Boosting solar power
Optimizing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems requires maximizing their power input. With this in mind, researchers at the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering are developing technologies and methods to better predict how much power can actually be harnessed from the sun by the strategic placement of solar installations.
They conclude that along California coastal areas solar panels installed to face 10-degrees west of south “see” the sun longer meaning that the energy generated is larger during the peak demand hours (3 to 5 p.m.), and, thus, more valuable to consumers as they can reduce consumption of power from the energy grid.
In conjunction with this research, UCSD research engineers have improved the solar map for the state of California, which allows homeowners, photovoltaic installers, and utilities to better predict how much energy they will get out of their solar systems. The map can be viewed via Google Earth for free.
More information on the research and the California Solar Irradiance Map at http://solar.ucsd.edu.
Lynne Friedmann is a science writer based in Solana Beach.
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