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Archive for July, 2012

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Monday, July 30th, 2012

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Study Offers New Data on How Indoor Insecticide Spraying Cuts Malaria Infections

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

A study by researchers at North Carolina Central University and Duke University offers new evidence supporting indoor insecticide spraying as a way to sharply reduce malaria deaths. In the most comprehensive review to date of the effectiveness of indoor insecticide treatments, a team led by Dohyeong Kim, Ph.D., associate professor in NCCU’s Department of Public Administration, found that over the last decade, the treatments have reduced infections in communities with high rates of malaria by an average of 62 percent, despite rising insecticide resistance among mosquitoes.

The investigators say the more important contribution of the study is its identification of factors — one of which is the use of the widely banned insecticide DDT — that appear to influence the success of indoor residual spraying (IRS). Their review appears in the July issue of The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Kim and his Duke co-authors, Kristen Fedak and Randall Kramer, conducted a meta-analysis — a form of research that synthesizes the results from previous studies — of 13 peer-reviewed reports published between 2000 and 2010 that considered how IRS affects malaria transmission in various settings, mostly in Africa. IRS involves coating the walls of homes or community buildings with insecticides in an effort to curb infections by killing malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

“Our findings show that during the last decade IRS has remained a powerful tool for fighting malaria, eventhough mosquitoes, particularly in Africa, are developing the ability to evade widely used insecticides,” Kim said.

It is widely accepted that IRS can significantly reduce malaria infections, Kim said, but what is less known are the factors that can influence the extent of success. The researchers found that IRS appears to be best at reducing malaria infections in areas experiencing a high rate of disease and where there is a threat from both Plasmodium falciparum parasites — the most deadly form of the disease — and Plasmodium vivax parasites.

The IRS campaigns were found to be more effective if they involved several rounds of spraying. Another factor that appeared to improve IRS effectiveness was the use of DDT. “Our (study) results show that DDT is more effective at reducing malaria prevalence thanpyrethroids or other insecticides,” the authors state. Pyrethroids are the most widely used class of insecticides in IRS programs. But over the last decademosquito populations in many malaria-endemic areas have developed traits that make them resistant to these compounds.

DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) has been banned in the United States since 1972 and subsequently in many other countries over concerns about its toxicity to humans and animals. Those dangers were primarily the result of widespread use of DDT in agricultural settings, however, and applications for IRS are small by comparison. Kim and his colleagues note that recent studies indicate that even at low levels, DDT may still be harmful to those exposed. But he said the study’s findings indicate that the advantages may outweigh the hazards in places where malaria transmission is particularly intense. The environmental dangers would need to be weighed against DDT’s potential to reduce malaria illnesses and deaths, he said.

Kim and his colleagues note that the finding of substantial effectiveness (62 percent with considerablevariation) for indoor spraying implies that mosquito control methods have “improved substantially during the past decade.” They also called for more studies that consider the effectiveness of IRS and insecticide-treated bed nets together to see whether “there is any additional benefit of combining” the two in the same households.

The review by Kim’s group is one of two major articles about the battle against malaria in the July issue of The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. In the other study, scientists affirmed the effectiveness of a critical anti-malarial drug, Artesunate, in a West African malaria “hot zone,” even though malaria-carrying parasites in Southeast Asia have developed resistance to the drug.

“Both of these studies demonstrate the incremental successes and long-term challenges faced by ourdrive to prevent needless deaths due to malaria,” said James W. Kazura, M.D., president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the organization that publishes the journal. “Make no mistake, this is a winnable battle. We can and will ultimately eradicate malaria from its strongholds in Africa and Asia.”

Dohyeong Kim joined the NCCU faculty in 2008, one year after receiving his doctorate in City and Regional Planning from UNC–Chapel Hill. A native of South Korea, he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Public Administration from Yonsei University in Seoul.

The full article can beviewed here: http://www.ajtmh.org/content/87/1/117.full

(Note: Dr. Kim is currently in South Korea but can be reached for interviews. Interview inquiries should be directed to Bridget DeSimone at 301-280-5735 or [email protected]ions.com.)

Etta James

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Born January 25, 1938, Etta James was a gospel prodigy. In 1954, she moved to Los Angeles to record The Wallflower. By 1960, her career began to soar. Despite her continued drug problems, she earned a Grammy nomination for her 1973 eponymous album. In 2006, she released the album All the Way. She is considered one of the most dynamic singers in music.

My mother always told me, even if a song has been done a thousand times, you can still bring something of your own to it. I’d like to think I did that. – Etta James

Early Life

Born Jamesetta Hawkins on January 25, 1938, in Los Angeles. As a child, Etta was a gospel prodigy, singing in her church choir and on the radio at the age of 5. When she turned 12, she moved north to San Francisco where she formed a trio and was soon working for bandleaderJohnny Otis.

In 1954, she moved to Los Angeles to record “The Wallflower” (a tamer title for the then-risqué “Roll with Me Henry”) with the Otis band. It was that year that the young singer became Etta James (an shortened version of her first name) and her vocal group was dubbed The Peaches (also Etta’s nickname). Soon after, James launched her solo career with such hits as “Good Rockin’ Daddy” in 1955.

Mid-career

After signing with Chicago’s Chess Records in 1960, James’ career began to soar. Chart toppers included duets with then-boyfriend Harvey Fuqua, the heart-breaking ballad “All I Could Do Was Cry,” “At Last” and “Trust in Me.” But James’ talents weren’t reserved for powerful ballads. She knew how to rock a house, and did so with such gospel-charged tunes as “Something’s Got a Hold On Me” in 1962 and “In The Basement” in 1966. James continued to work with Chess throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. Sadly, heroin addiction affected both her personal and professional life, but despite her continued drug problems she persisted in making new albums. In 1967, James recorded with the Muscle Shoals house band in the Fame studios, and the collaboration resulted in the triumphant Tell Mama album.

James’ work gained positive attention from critics as well as fans, and her 1973 album Etta James earned a Grammy nomination, in part for its creative combination of rock and funk sounds. After completing her contract with Chess in 1977, James signed on with Warner Brothers Records. A renewed public profile followed her appearance at the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. Subsequent albums, including Deep In The Night and Seven Year Itch, received high critical acclaim. She was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1993, prior to her signing a new recording contract with Private Records.

Later Career

With suggestive stage antics and a sassy attitude, James continued to perform and record well into the 1990s. Always soulful, her extraordinary voice was showcased to great effect on her recent private releases, including Blue Gardenia, which rose to the top of the Billboard jazz chart. In 2003, James underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost over 200 pounds. The dramatic weight loss had an impact on her voice, as she told Ebony magazine that year. “I can sing lower, higher and louder,” James explained.

That same year, Etta James released Let’s Roll, which won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Her sons, Donto and Sametto James, served as producers on the recording, along with Josh Sklair. This team regrouped for her next effort,Blues to the Bone (2004), which brought James her third Grammy Award—this time in the Best Traditional Blues Album category. In 2006, James released the album All the Way, which featured cover versions of songs by Prince, Marvin Gaye and James Brown. She participated in a tribute album the following year for jazz great Ella Fitzgerald, called We Love Ella.

Controversy with Beyoncé

The story of the early days of Chess Records was brought to the big screen as Cadillac Records in 2008, with singer Beyoncè Knowles playing Etta James in the film. Beyoncè also recorded her own version of James’ signature song, “At Last” for the soundtrack.

While James publicly supported the film, she was reportedly miffed when Beyoncè sang the song at President Barack Obama‘s inaugural ball in January 2009. James allegedly told concert-goers in Seattle in February that Beyoncè “had no business … singing my song that I been singing forever.” Despite some media attention over her comments, James was unfazed by the incident, and pressed on with her busy performing schedule.

Recent Years

As she entered her seventies, Etta James began struggling with health issues. James was hospitalized in 2010 for a blood infection, along with other ailments. It was later revealed that the legendary singer suffered from dementia, and was receiving treatment for leukemia. Her medical problems came to light in court papers filed by her husband, Artis Mills. Mills sought to gain control over $1 million of James’ money, but he was challenged by James’ two sons, Donto and Sametto. The two parties later worked out an agreement.

James released her latest studio album, The Dreamer, in November 2011, which received warm reviews. A few weeks later, James’ doctor announced that the singer was terminally ill. “She’s in the final stages of leukemia. She has also been diagnosed with dementia and Hepatitis C,” Dr. Elaine James (not related to the singer) told a local newspaper. James’ sons also acknowledged that Etta’s health was declining and was receiving care at her Riverside, California, home. She passed away on January 20, 2012.