Research roundup: UCSD study indicates vitamin D may help prevent skin infections


A study led by researchers at the UC San Diego School of Medicine suggests that use of oral Vitamin D supplements bolsters production of a protective chemical normally found in the skin, and may help prevent skin infections that are a common result of the most common form of eczema.

The study found that use of oral vitamin D appeared to correct a defect in the immune systems in patients with this skin disease. The findings were published in the Oct. 3 edition of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.

Researchers protected

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a state bill that aims to protect academic researchers - especially those who use animals in their studies - from the types of attacks that animal rights groups have employed.

“The legislation is an important first step in providing protections for all biomedical researchers, facility employees, and their families,” said Marianne Generales, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research at UCSD.

The Researcher Protection Act of 2008 makes it illegal for protesters to publish the names, addresses, photographs, or other identifying information of university researchers or their immediate families in California with the intent to aid in or commit a crime against them.

Tracking laptops

Researchers at the University of Washington and UCSD have created a laptop theft-protection tool that will help locate a lost or stolen laptop while at the same time ensuring that no third party can use the system to monitor the owner’s whereabouts.

The tool, called Adeona, works by using the Internet as a homing beacon. It will help find the location of a lost or stolen laptop, but only after someone connects it to the Internet. Named Adeona after the Roman goddess of safe returns, the system can be downloaded for free at


HIV progress reported

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Burnham Institute for Medical Research identified 295 host cell factors that are involved in HIV infection. The study, published in the Oct. 3 issue of Cell, could lead to the development of a new class of HIV therapeutics aimed at disrupting the human-HIV interactions that lead to viral infection.

Although more than two dozen drugs are available for the treatment of HIV infection, there is a growing need for new antiviral therapies. Recent studies indicate that HIV remains “hidden” in a latent form, even after long-term suppression with highly active antiretroviral therapy.