Now we know
June 2, 2010 |  by Dale Keiger

…For a decade, birds have been prime suspects in the spread of avian flu across the United States. But expansion of the disease did not match their migration patterns. New research led by Jason L. Rasgon, associate professor in the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, points to Culex tarsalis mosquitoes as the more likely culprits. Birds pass the virus to C. tarsalis, whose movement pattern more closely matches its spread. The research appeared in the March 2 issue of Molecular Ecology.

…In 2008, almost 9 million children under age 5 died around the world, two-thirds of them from preventable infectious disease, according to a study published May 12 online by The Lancet. A team led by Robert Black, professor of international health at the Bloomberg School, found that malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia persist as the most common killers of children, and pre-term birth complications and birth asphyxia were the leading causes of death among newborns.

…A School of Medicine team has found that the protein TRPA1 enables fruit flies to taste and thus avoid eating noxious substances. Writing in the May 4 edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers noted that the protein could be targeted by chemicals that would make plants taste bad to destructive pests. Authors included William B. Guggino, professor of physiology, and Craig Montell, professor of biological chemistry.

…Elderly Americans are dying at a faster rate from falls, unintentional poisonings, accidents with machinery, drowning, even motorcycle crashes. Research appearing in the February issue of Injury Prevention found that from 2002 to 2006, there was only a 3 percent increase in overall injury mortality among adults 65 or older, but deaths from falls, for example, increased 42 percent and from machinery 46 percent. Susan Baker, a professor in the Bloomberg School’s Center for Injury Research and Policy, was a co-author on the study.

…Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center say that sexually active teenage boys do not get enough counseling about sexually transmitted infections (STI) when they visit doctors. A study published online in February by Journal of Adolescent Health found that only 26 percent of boys who admitted engaging in high-risk sex received advice from doctors about prevention of HIV/STI. Arik V. Marcell, a pediatrician at the Children’s Center, was lead investigator.