Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
U.S. Scientists Win Nobel Prize for Work on Cell Receptors
Two American scientists have been awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize
in chemistry for their work on protein receptors that enable body
cells to sense and respond to outside signals -- research that
plays an important role in developing more effective drugs.
Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka made groundbreaking
discoveries on an important family of receptors called
G-protein-coupled receptors, according to the Royal Swedish Academy
of Sciences, the
About half of all medications act on these receptors, so knowing
more about them helps scientists create better drugs.
Lefkowitz, 69, is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical
Institute and professor at Duke University Medical Center in
Durham, North Carolina. Kobilka, 57, is a professor at Stanford
University School of Medicine in California, the
It was long a mystery how cells interact with their surroundings
and adapt to new situations, such as when adrenaline boosts blood
pressure and heart rate, the academy noted. It was believed that
cell surfaces had some type of receptor for hormones.
Lefkowitz identified such receptors, including the receptor for
adrenaline, and started delving into how it works. Kobilka's
research helped scientists realize that there is an entire family
of receptors that look alike - the family of G-protein-coupled
The Nobel Prize is "fantastic recognition for helping us further
understand the intricate details of biochemical systems in our
bodies," said American Chemical Society President Bassam Z.
"They both have made great contributions to our understanding of health and disease," Shakhashiri told the AP. "This is going to help us a great deal to develop new pharmaceuticals, new medicines for combating disease."
The important role played by receptors is now taken for granted,
noted Mark Downs, chief executive of Britain's Society of
"This ground breaking work spanning genetics and biochemistry has laid the basis for much of our understanding of modern pharmacology as well as how cells in different parts of living organisms can react differently to external stimulation, such as light and smell, or the internal systems which control our bodies such as hormones," Downs said in a statement, the APreported.
Feds Ask for Full Appeals Court Rehearing on Cigarette Warning
A petition asking a federal appeals court to rehear a challenge
to a Food and Drug Administration requirement that cigarette
packages carry large graphic health warnings was filed Tuesday by
the U.S. Justice Department.
The warnings are meant to show consumers that smoking can
disfigure and kill people. In August, a three-judge panel of the
U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington affirmed a lower court ruling
blocking the requirement, saying it contradicted the First
Amendment's free speech protections, the
The federal government wants the full appeals court to rehear
the case, but the court rarely grants such appeals.
Some of the nation's largest tobacco companies sued to block the
requirement for the nine graphic warnings, which included photos of
dead and diseased smokers, such as a man exhaling cigarette smoke
through a tracheotomy hole in his throat and a cloud of cigarette
smoke surrounding an infant receiving a mother's kiss, the
Graco High Chairs Recalled
Graco Classic Wood high chairs are being recalled in the United
States and Canada because the chair's seat can loosen or detach
from the base, posing a fall hazard to the child.
The recall by Graco Children's Products Inc. of Atlanta, Ga.
covers about 86,000 chairs in the U.S. and 3,400 in Canada. The
company has received 58 reports of chair seats loosening or
detaching from the base, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety
There have been nine reports of children falling when the seat
detached from the base, resulting in injuries such as bumps,
bruises and scratches. There was one report of a child in Canada
suffering a concussion.
The recalled chairs have the following model numbers printed on
a label on the underside of the seat assembly: 3C00BPN, 3C00BPN TC,
3C00CHY, 3C00CHY TC, 3C00CPO or 3C00CPO TC. The chairs were sold at
retail stores across the U.S. and online between September 2007 and
Consumers with the high chairs should immediately stop using
them and contact Graco for a free repair kit. For more information,
phone Graco at 1-800-345-4109 or go to the company's website, the
Dengue Epidemic Declared in Puerto Rico
A dengue epidemic was declared Monday by Puerto Rico's health
At least six people have died, including two children younger
than 10, according to Health Secretary Lorenzo Gonzalez. There have
been 4,816 cases reported, including 21 cases of potentially fatal
hemorrhagic dengue, the
There were 342 new cases reported in one week last month, twice
the number of cases during the same period last year, the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
The dengue virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. Symptoms include
fever, headaches and joint and muscle pain. In 2010, a dengue
epidemic in Puerto Rico resulted in more than 12,000 suspected
cases and claimed a record 31 lives, the
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