MHF TOP PICKS FOR FEBRUARY
Every month, we at the Mueller Health Foundation like to showcase interesting news and updates in the field of tuberculosis. Below are our top 3 picks for February:
- New Vaccine May Provide Better Treatment for Tuberculosis
A new study at Oslo University Hospital shows that the so-called H56: IC31 vaccine, developed in Denmark, also can be given to people who have already become ill. The vaccine can help the immune system to attack and fight the tuberculosis bacteria, and can be a relevant treatment option in addition to antibiotics. The most important finding in this study is that it is safe to give this therapeutic vaccine, i.e. a vaccine used as treatment, to patients who have ongoing tuberculosis disease. The study also shows that the vaccine strengthens the part of the immune system that is to fight the tuberculosis bacteria. To learn more, you can access the full article at: https://www.miragenews.com/new-vaccine-may-provide-better- treatment-for-714674/
- Metabolite of TB-Causing Bacteria May Provide New Approach to Assess Severity of TB Infection
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered a molecule in the lungs of tuberculosis patients that reflects the levels of TB-causing bacteria in the lungs. The new research identifies a molecule in people with active TB and shows that levels of this molecule are higher in those with more severe infections. The molecule is a derivative of cholesterol known as cholestenone. While cholestenone was previously thought to be an intermediate required for cholesterol degradation by M. tuberculosis, the researchers found that M. tuberculosis can utilize cholesterol for growth without making cholestenone. Thus, the accumulation of cholestenone in clinical samples suggests it has an alternative role in pathogenesis and could be a clinically useful biomarker of TB infection.
DID YOU KNOW?
This month, we would like to continue to highlight some surprising shifts in social behavior and changes in public health policy that came out of the TB epidemic in the US in the early 1900s:
- No More Beards: Most men at the turn of the century in America featured stylish beards or mustaches, but showing off a smooth face became a new trend once public health officials maintained that men could transmit dangerous infectious particles, such as TB Bacteria, through the scruff of their facial hair. Therefore, a more clean-shaven look became a symbol of the new middle-class man during that time.
- No More Spitting: Up until the late 19th century, spitting in public was considered acceptable social behavior in America, whether it was merely spitting saliva or discarding one’s chewing tobacco. With the increased knowledge into the contagious nature of tuberculosis and other diseases at the turn of the century, many communities banned spitting in shops, theaters, and taverns and required public gathering places to provide spittoons.
- City Parks and Outdoor Recreation: Around the 1920s, public health reformers argued that the health of the nation should not be dependent on sanatoria or hospitals, but should instead rely on recreation in the readily available outdoors. In an effort to encourage more active lifestyles, and thus help to stave off diseases like tuberculosis, cities launched initiatives to beautify parks with trees and lively vegetation and to build public recreation areas in order to create more pleasant environments.