Scientists believe a little girl born with HIV has been cured of the infection.
She’s the first child and only the second person in the world known to have been cured since the virus touched off a global pandemic nearly 32 years ago.
Doctors aren’t releasing the child’s name, but we know she was born in Mississippi and is now 2 ½ years old – and healthy. Scientists presented details of the case on Sunday at a scientific conference in Atlanta.
The case has big implications. While fewer than 130 such children are born each year in the U.S., an estimated 330,000 children around the world get infected with HIV at or around birth every year, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
Until now, such children have been considered permanently infected. Specialists thought they needed lifelong antiviral drugs to prevent HIV from destroying their immune system and killing them of AIDS.
The Mississippi child’s surprising cure came about from happenstance – and the quick thinking of a University of Mississippi pediatric infectious disease specialist named Hannah Gay.
Microscopy image of HIV infecting an immune cell from the NIAID Flickr stream.
This is amazing, I hope that A.) the science community doesn’t downplay studies or observations such as this one and B.) that these observations are implemented and used wisely.
The Neon Boneyard
There are over 150 signs, some dating back to the 1930s, from the original Moulin Rouge to Liberace’s signature.
There’s some great photos. Take a look.
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Music has been incorporated into medical practice since before the ancient Greeks. However, though practitioners have been convinced of music’s health benefits for thousands of years, there had been little peer-reviewed research to back them up. But recent studies are providing an empirical backbone for the anecdotal evidence. A 2012 scientific review, published in the journal Nutrition, collects information from a number of studies to support music’s influence on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the immune system. These results support the experiences of complementary practitioners, who have long used music to help heal.
“As an integrative physician and traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, the healing power of music has always been an important part of my practice and family life,” says integrative medicine pioneer Isaac Eliaz, M.D. “Harmony and tempo help synchronize the rhythms of the natural world with the music of the heart – each person’s individual energetic pattern, expressed in their pulse.”
The review highlighted a number of studies that confirm music’s healing potential. For example, music reduces levels of serum cortisol in the blood. An important player in the HPA axis, cortisol increases metabolic activity, suppresses the immune system and has been associated with both anxiety and depression. A number of studies have shown that exposing post-operative patients to music dramatically lowers their cortisol levels, enhancing their ability to heal.
Other studies in the review measured music’s impact on congestive heart failure, premature infants, immunity, digestive function and pain perception. In particular, music’s effects on the limbic and hypothalamic systems reduced the incidence of heart failure. Other studies showed that surgical patients required less sedation and post-operative pain medication.
“These results only confirm what I have observed for many years in my practice,” says Dr. Eliaz. “Music produces quantifiable healing. For example, my daughter Amity, a professional musician, regularly plays her songs for chronically ill patients who express how uplifting her music is. These performances do more than encourage good feelings, they help the body heal on a molecular level.”
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of music’s healing properties is how widespread they are. For example, music also aided recovery time following strenuous exercise. Other studies showed that fast-paced music can increase resting metabolism, which may prove helpful for people trying to lose weight.
“Modern science has just begun to scratch the surface of music and sound in terms of healing potential,” says Dr. Eliaz. “However, traditional medical systems from around the world have long revered the beneficial vibrations of music, harmony and rhythm for health and vitality. The effects are instant and tangible, but they are also powerful and long lasting.”
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