Currents

    Bees Threatened by Fungal Infection

    UC San Francisco researchers have found that a type of fungus, notorious for destroying bee colonies in Europe and Asia, is now a possible source of similar problems in the United States.

    Scientists speculate that the fungus, a single-celled parasite known as Nosema ceranae, is responsible for Colony Collapse Disorder, an inexplicable phenomenon killing bee colonies across the country.

    However, speculations are “”highly preliminary,”” according to UC San Francisco biochemist Joe DeRisi. So far, only samples from hives in Merced County have contained the fungus.

    “”We don’t want to give anybody the impression that this thing has been solved,”” DeRisi said.

    UC Riverside Opens Autism Center

    UC Riverside has announced the launch of a new autism research center for families dealing with the disorder.

    The center was founded as a response to the complexity of the condition, as well as a recent rise in diagnosed autism cases.

    “”With six out of every 1,000 children diagnosed with autism in the U.S., we saw a need to bridge the gap between diagnosis and available services,”” said Jan Blacher, professor of UC Riverside’s Graduate School of Education. “”Autism is complex and families need to know where to go for educational services once they discover their child is affected.””

    The program’s aim is to provide families with information on the diagnosis and treatment of autism, as well as educate them on intervention options, medical and legal services.

    UCSF Tests Opiate-Abuse Treatment

    Researchers at UC San Francisco are testing a new anti-addiction medication to determine whether it will be able to effectively treat people addicted to prescription opiate-based drugs such as Vicodin and OxyContin.

    The drug, called Suboxone, is part of a research project conducted at 11 sites nationally by the groundbreaking Prescription Opiate Addiction Treatment Study.

    Researchers found that addicts abusing prescription opiates were more likely to be younger and affluent.

    Additionally, users tended to have fewer problems with dependency than people abusing illicit opiates, like heroin.

    “”Opiate addiction is well-studied in heroin dependence, but very little is known about what treatments are effective with this group of people,”” co-principal investigator Yong Song said. “”We think this is a different demographic, but it’s not well-studied. This trial will confirm whether they really do look different.””

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