Lab notes

Lab notes

News about research from around UF Health

Pasteurized for your health

The milk-heating process known as pasteurization is routinely used in the United States to kill bacteria in dairy products. Its use has eliminated — or kept at bay — many diseases, including a devastating condition known as brucellosis, which affects both livestock and people. But in many other countries, pasteurization is not routine and the incidence of brucellosis — which is caused most commonly by eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy products — is much higher, said David Pascual, Ph.D., a professor of mucosal immunology in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Pascual and his colleagues are now developing and testing brucellosis vaccine varieties in cattle with the hope that humans will ultimately benefit as well. —Sarah Carey

Combination therapy for diabetes

Inside the pancreas, beta cells produce insulin, the hormone that helps the body properly metabolize food. However, in patients with Type 1 diabetes, these beta cells are under attack and unable to produce the insulin the body needs, which is why patients with this condition typically must take insulin for the rest of their lives. However, the results of a new UF pilot study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Dec. 15 show that combining two medical treatments preserved beta cell function in patients, allowing them to produce at least some of their own insulin after one year. Patients who produce some of their own insulin often fare better, with fewer complications and better control of blood glucose levels. Now the international diabetes research network TrialNet, in conjunction with UF researchers, is poised to take the next step in this research by launching the study in a larger, national population of participants newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. — April Frawley

What’s your haptoglobin type?

UF Health researchers have found a possible predictor for little understood — but often disabling or even fatal — stroke complications. The findings, published recently in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may extend to other neurological disorders, said Sylvain Doré, Ph.D., lead author and a professor of anesthesiology, neurology, psychiatry, pharmaceutics and neuroscience in the College of Medicine. For the study, Doré and his team looked at patients who had suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a type of stroke that affects as many as 30,000 Americans each year and accounts for 5 percent of all strokes. After recovery, two-thirds of these patients still face a  life-threatening complication known as cerebral vasospasm. Researchers found that understanding what haptoglobin phenotype a person has could reveal their risk for this complication. Haptoglobin nullifies the toxic effects of hemoglobin — which has been linked to cerebral vasospasm. — Marilee Griffin