Chlamydia has no vaccine yet. Why?

Chlamydia is a genus of bacteria. It has a lot of different types. Chlamydia trachomatis is a sexually transmitted human pathogen is the most common cause of preventable blindness in the world. There are more than 5330 publications about Chlamydia trachomatis, as we can see on the figure below majority of them – 2745 – were published in USA  followed by UK and Canada. The most cited publication on this topic is called “Genome sequences of Chlamydia trachomatis MoPn and Chlamydia pneumoniae AR39.” ( 232 citations), and it’s a good place to start your in-depth study.

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Most people recover from Chlamydia trachomatis infection without symptoms, but in the meantime, infect their sexual partners. Interestingly, this type of bacteria pathogen infects many other animal species. For example, it was recently identified as one of the major causes of declining numbers in world’s koala population. It’s not a surprise, that the majority of research on chlamydia incidence in koalas is done in Australia. There are only 49 publications about koalas and chlamydia so far. So if you are interested in this lovely eucalyptus-eater (…and chlamydia research), here is a place for you to start.

There are more than 2840 publications about another type of chlamydia, Chlamydia pneumoniaeThis bacteria causes pneumonia in humans. It is also quite valuable for the research in evolutionary biology of pathogens, because it’s primary host is human and apparently, has no animal or bird host. This disease was evolving with us, since our beginning as a spices. Sadly, we didn’t get rid of this unwanted fellow traveler yet. Currently, Chlamydia pneumoniae is responsible for approximately 10% of all pneumonia cases.

Chlamydia psittaci is the causative agent of psittacosis, a disease characterized by pneumonia, headache, altered mentation, and hepatosplenomegaly (simultaneous enlargement of both the liver and the spleen). Psittacosis is acquired from infected birds.  Luckily, psittacosis is a rare disease. Only 100 to 200 cases are reported annually in United States. It’s rare occurrence could be a partial explanation of the fact, that the global research for this type of chlamydia is nearly 13-times smaller than the research for Chlamydia trachomatis.

From above-mentioned, it’s obvious that potential invention of broad-spectrum vaccines against chlamydia could improve the quality of life for many humans (… and koalas!). Why don’t we have it yet and do scientists even try to develop it?  Oh yes, they do. The first attempts were made in late 1960s. However, these attempts backfired and as a result, the vaccine increased the vulnerability to the disease in treated patients. This case is often articulated as evidence for vaccination pitfalls by anti-wax groups. However, what they fail to mention is that the tests detected the unwanted reaction in early stages of development (as it should be) and thus, researches discontinued research. The burden of topic was holding researches back for several decades and the effect of this can be observed even today.

Due to an unsuccessful attempt in 1960s, miscommunicated by media, the further trials for chlamydia vaccines were dropped. But when we look at the figure below, we can see that tides are changing. In the last 15 years, there was rising trend in chlamydia vaccine research, although, the size of the research is much smaller compared to the research on measles a mumps vaccines. We need to push more.

 

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Do you want Alzheimer’s? Because that’s how you get Alzheimer’s!

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and cognitive skills. In later stages of disease, patients eventually loose the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. Most people with AD develop symptoms in their mid-60s. It is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the US. More recent estimations indicate, that this neurological disorder may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death of elderly people.

AD is one of the types of dementia. We wrote about the research of different types of dementia previously, here. Today we will look at the research effort made in discovering the causes of AD. Why? Because scientists estimate that more than 135 million people will have dementia by 2050. And the most common form of dementia, which accounts for 60%–70% of cases, is Alzheimer’s disease. What are scientifically most observed life-style related factors increasing the occurence of AD in polulation?

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Diabetes has friends too. Ignore your therapy and you might just meet them all!

It’s nearly impossible not to know what diabetes is. Everyone has at least one person in their life diagnosed with this disease. In 2013 it was estimated, that over 382 million people throughout the world suffer from diabetes. Diabetes type 2 is considered to be the pandemic of 21. century. One of the hottest questions in current diabetes research, is the level of diabetes’ co-occurrence with other diseases and syndromes. Exploring the nature of their mutual relation, could bring us the key to more efficient therapies in near future.

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Vitamin supplements are mostly non-effective, potentially harmful.

Vitamin supplements became a part of everyday life for many people. But are they really helping? The new findings from University of Colorado Cancer Center, which follows the study from 2012: “Dietary supplements and cancer prevention: balancing potential benefits against proven harms.”, suggests it is not necessarily true. One of the researchers, Tim Byers, reported: “we have discovered that taking extra vitamins and minerals does more harm than good.” Study concludes, that the amount of vitamins from the natural sources are sufficient for most of worlds population.

What about the research on the connection between different vitamins and cancer? Are these topics interesting for scientists? What we can learn from wast amounts of unstructured research data available?

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Microchimerism: let your child’s cells help you.

Have you ever heard of microchimerism? It is the harboring of small numbers of cells that originated in a genetically different individual. This happens naturally during pregnancies, when the cells of the mother are transported to the fetus and vice versa. Such cells can be found in different regions of body. Currently it is still not clear, whether they are harmful or helpful for the women’s organism.

The broadest research in microchimerism(MC) is dedicated to finding a link between autoimmune diseases and MC. So far, there are 200 papers published on MC-autoimmune disease coincidence. Nearly half of them, as seen on the figure below, are from USA. Studies suggests that the number of male cell DNA in women with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, thyroiditis, etc., are higher than in women without these conditions. The most cited research paper on relationship between MC and autoimmune disease is “Microchimerism and HLA-compatible relationships of pregnancy in scleroderma.” with 55 citations.

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Do you want to disrupt some scientific paradigms? Research gut microbiota!

The notion that the state of our gut governs our state of mind dates back more than 100 years. Many thinkers and scientists believed, that accumulating wastes in the colon triggers a state of “auto-intoxication,” at which the poisons emanating from the gut produced infections, that could be linked to depression, anxiety or psychosis. But is it really true? Do we have a cumulative scientific evidence backing the hundreds of on-line articles presented on popular health-and-diet portals? What are the other diseases related affected by lower quality of gut microbiota?

The word “microbiota” represents an ensemble of microorganisms, located in a previously established environment. Human beings have clusters of such bacteria in different parts of the body – on the surface and deep layers of skin (skin microbiota), in the mouth (oral microbiota), or in vagina (vaginal microbiota). Gut microbiota (also called gut flora) is the name given to specific microbe population living in our intestines.

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HIV never walks alone! See the deadliest complications killing our patients.

On 26th  March 2015, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana declared an emergency in Scott County due to what was being described as the worst HIV outbreak in the state’s history. The cases were all caused by intravenous drug use, but some health officials fear that a rapid, short-term response will not be enough in the face of a large drug abuse problem. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. The virus attacks the immune system, and decreases your ability to fight infections and disease. There are no treatments for people with HIV yet, but researchers are doing their best to develop effective therapies. We already have rather successful disease management programs, based on the control of HIV phase development via chemical medication, so people with HIV are living longer nowadays than ever. However, in the past years scientists start to observe the fact, that HIV patients are more likely to develop other health complications, such as cardiovascular, respiratory or even neurocognitive diseases. More shokingly,these are the most frequent causes of death in HIV patients. Let’s take a closer look on effects, these secondary diagnoses have on HIV-positive patients.

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Hunting Down The Alzheimer’s disease.

Those who love reading fantasy couldn’t miss the information that one of the most famous writers of this genre Sir Terry Pratchett has died aged 66. Eight years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. What are the trends in Alzheimer’s disease research?

Nearly 3 million Americans re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease each year. Most cases are people aged 40 and higher. Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain cell connections and the cells themselves degenerate and die, eventually destroying memory and other important mental functions of patients. There is no definitive cure yet, but medications and therapy management strategies may temporarily lessen the symptoms of disease. Alzheimer’s disease is not a stand alone condition. It belongs to a group of Dementia diseases and it is the the most common type. We were interested in how the today’s research in Dementia looks like and what are the trends in Alzheimer’s disease research?

Vascular dementia is the second most common type of Dementia, accounting for 10 percent of cases, so one should think that it will too have a well-developed research paradigm. However, the bellow figure shows that the second place in the research publication activity belongs to Parkinson’s disease, also type of Dementia related to Alzheimer’s disease. Huntington’s disease, although its prevalence is much lower than the prevalence of Vascular dementia, is two times more popular research topic than Vascular dementia.

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Mr. Spock is dead. The killer walks free!

Did you know that 15 millions of Americans suffer of the disorder that killed Leonard Nimoy, the actor best known for his role as Mr. Spock on Star Trek?  The disease is called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it’@s  a progressive illness often linked to smoking. COPD is a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make it difficult to breathe. It’s possible to manage the illness medically, but this varies from case to case. The majority of patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are people aged 40 and higher. The problem is, that the damage caused by COPD cannot be reversed. Furthermore, researchers link the occurrence of COPD with asthma and lung cancer. As patients with COPD have frequent complications with breathing, they slip into rather unhealthy life style, lowering their physical activity and often, developing a clinical depression. So who are the real heroes trying to find new cures and therapies for this disease?

Brain enhancement research trends: drugs, implants and electrical stimulation.

Thync is new impressive technology, that promises to help its users “conquer life” by allowing them to change their mood on demand. Although it sounds like science fiction, the company expects to receive FDA approval by end of 2015. Researchers today try to improve our bodies and extend the limits of our consciousness in many ways. But do you know what’s the reason for this?

Why do scientists try to enhance our minds?

It’s sure, that the undying motivation of homo sapiens spices to know more, to get further, to speed up its own evolution and expand the inherited functions of human mind, plays the role here. However, it’s not just that. The cognitive enhancement research has great potential to assist us in future eradication of many neurological, psychiatric and psychological diseases, such as various types of dementia and depression, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease or in brain stroke rehabilitation. We expect them to come either in the form of powerful diagnostic tools or as next generation of highly effective therapies.