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Test for Lyme vs.
By Nathan Seppa
Proteins found in spinal fluid may serve
as biomarkers to help doctors distinguish chronic fatigue syndrome from
the lingering effects of Lyme disease.
Different sets of proteins discovered in
people with the two conditions indicate
that the two groups have distinct and
distinguishable disorders, researchers
report in the February PLoS One.
“This provides strong evidence
of a biological component” in these
conditions, says study coauthor Steven
Schutzer, a physician and immunologist at the University of Medicine and
Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark. But
he cautions that the findings represent
a first step in seeking biomarkers for
the conditions and don’t reveal whether
these different protein signatures cause
the syndromes or result from them.
Proteins found only in people who have
had Lyme disease (green) or only in
those with chronic fatigue (red) could
help in diagnosing those disorders.
post-treatment lyme disease
Chronic fatigue is a baffling condition marked by prolonged and severe
tiredness that isn’t resolved by rest. Its
cause is unknown, and it is often difficult
to diagnose and treat. Women are most
Lyme disease results from infection by
Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacterium spread
by deer ticks. It is treatable with anti-
biotics, but infections can go unnoticed,
delaying treatment. Also, despite clear-
ing the bacterial infection, some patients
continue to have long-term symptoms,
including fatigue. Scientists have won-
dered whether those symptoms are a
form of chronic fatigue, but a connection
has never been ascertained.
Half of adult males may carry HPV
sexually transmitted virus can linger for months, study finds
By Nathan Seppa
The virus notorious for causing cervical
cancer in women also turns up frequently
in men and can hang on unnoticed for
months or even years, researchers report
online March 1 in Lancet. The study
solidifies earlier research indicating that
human papillomavirus is highly prevalent in men and strengthens the case for
vaccinating men and boys against it, the
report’s authors say.
Two vaccines, Merck’s Gardasil and
GlaxoSmithKline’s Cervarix, protect
against two types of cancer-causing
HPV. Both vaccines are approved and
recommended for girls and young
women. Gardasil is approved for use
in males age 9 to 26, and its protection
extends to two additional types of HPV
that cause genital warts in both sexes.
least one HPV type upon enrollment.
The new study results “are of substantial interest,” says Joseph Monsonego
of the Institute of the Cervix in Paris,
writing in the Lancet.
Over a median of 28 months, the group
acquired 1,572 new HPV infections.
The human immune system can clear
HPV from the body, and the men wiped
out most of their new infections in a
median of 7. 5 months. Clearance times
didn’t vary substantially among the countries but did vary between HPV types.
Some cases lingered as long as 20 months.
Male circumcision and the use of
condoms have shown little protection
against HPV infection, Monsonego says.
“HPV vaccination in men will protect not
only them but will also have implications
for their sexual partners,” he says.