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Maryland researchers Identify New Tick-Borne Disease

The Gilmer Free Press

BALTIMORE, MD—Tick-borne disease infections are on the rise. And each year, it seems, researchers discover new diseases delivered by the bloodsucker’s bite. Recently, doctors in Maryland and China identified a never-before-seen tick-borne disease.

Scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine partnered with researchers in China in studying blood samples from 477 patients in northeastern China who were bitten by a tick during a monthlong period in 2014.

Their analysis showed that 28 patients (6%) had been infected with a previously unidentified type bacteria. Scientists named the bacteria species Anaplasma capra.

“This is an entirely new species of bacteria,“ study author Dr. J. Stephen Dumler, a professor of pathology at Maryland, confirmed in a press release. “This had never been seen in humans before. We still have a lot to learn about this species, but it may be that this bacteria is infecting humans over a wide area.“

Like other tick-bite infections, the bacteria’s presence can cause a range of symptoms, including fever, headache, fatigue, dizziness and muscle aches. Doctors were able to best the infection with antibiotics.

In the United States, the bacteria that causes the more common tick-borne disease relies on larger hosts like mice, deer and cattle. The ticks simply act as transportation and delivery vectors. Researchers believe the newly identified bacteria comes from goat populations, and is delivered by a species known as the taiga tick. The disease’s scientific name is half-derived from the Latin word for goat, “capra.“

In addition to China, the taiga tick can also be found in Eastern Europe, Russia and Asia, including Japan. More than a fifth of the world’s population lives within the taiga tick’s range.

The new disease is detailed in the latest issue of the journal Lancet Infectious Disease.

Bon Appétit: PINEAPPLE CORE CEVICHE

The Gilmer Free Press

Ingredients:

Servings: 6

1 pound raw shrimp, any size, shelled and deveined, cut into ¼-inch pieces
½ cup lime juice
½ cup orange juice
1/3 cup finely chopped pineapple core (or the core of one large pineapple)
½ small sweet onion, finely diced
2 serrano or jalapeno chilies, finely diced (for less heat, remove the seeds)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (optional)
1 medium avocado, halved, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Small butter lettuce leaves, to serve
Sliced radishes, to serve
Lime wedges, to serve


Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, lime juice and orange juice. Toss well, then refrigerate. For a tender ceviche, marinate for 30 minutes. For a firmer texture, let marinate for 1 to 2 hours.

Once the shrimp has marinated, drain and discard the juice. Return the shrimp to the bowl and add the chopped pineapple core, onion, chilies, ginger (if using), avocado and cilantro. Toss well, then season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with butter lettuce leaves (to use as wraps and cups). Offer sliced radishes and lime wedges on the side as toppings.

The dish can be prepared ahead. To do so, cover tightly after draining and tossing with the onion and pepper, then refrigerate. About 30 minutes before serving, add the avocado and cilantro.

To Repeat: Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism

The Gilmer Free Press

WASHINGTON, D.C.—If it seems redundant, it’s because it is. Every major peer-reviewed study examining the relationship between vaccines and autism has come to the same conclusion—there is no link between the two.

Now there is another study—a big one—and the findings are the same. There is still no link between the MMR vaccine and autism. The MMR vaccine is the immunization vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella; its underutilization is blamed for recent outbreaks of measles in the United States.

The authors of the latest study—published this week in JAMA—weren’t oblivious to the obviousness of their findings. They argued their work was necessary because it looked specifically at populations that are at an increased risk of developing autism.

“Could it be that if all the requisite genetic and other risks are present, MMR can lead to the development of autism?“ Bryan H. King, a psychiatrist at the Seattle Childrens Hospital, asked in an editorial accompanying the new study. “If so, the population in which there might be such a signal would be families already affected by autism.“

While environmental conditions may promote autism, the disorder is largely correlated with genetic factors. In other words, it is a mostly inherited disorder. For this reason, brothers and sisters of children on the autism spectrum are more likely to be diagnosed with the autism than those with no family history.

The new study—conducted by researchers with the Lewin Group, a healthcare consulting firm—found no correlation between MMR and autism. The confirmation was derived from information about the family health and vaccination history of some 95,000 children.

“Our study confirmed that in kids with older siblings who we know are at increased risk of developing autism themselves, those kids are being vaccinated less,“ Dr. Anjali Jain, lead researcher, told TIME. “But in the kids who did develop autism who were vaccinated, there was no increased risk from the vaccine compared to kids who did not get the vaccine.“

Bon Appétit: ROASTED CARROTS WITH PORT RAISINS AND SPICY PEANUT-HERB SAUCE

The Gilmer Free Press

Ingredients:

Servings: 4

1/3 cup port wine
½ cup golden raisins
1 pound medium carrots
Olive oil
Kosher salt
½ fresh basil leaves
½ cup fresh parsley leaves
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Pinch sugar
½ cup chopped unsalted (or lightly salted) roasted peanuts
Ground black pepper


Directions:

Heat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the port to a bare simmer. Add the raisins, stir to submerge, then set aside to soak.

Cut each carrot into quarters lengthwise. Pile the carrots onto the prepared baking sheet, then drizzle them with a bit of oil and a sprinkle of salt. Toss to coat evenly, then arrange in an even layer. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are just golden and tender.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, in a blender or food processor combine the basil, parsley, 1/3 cup olive oil, the vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes and sugar. Pulse until the greens and garlic are well chopped, but not pureed. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the peanuts.

When the carrots are done, transfer to a serving dish. Spoon the sauce over them. Drain and discard any excess liquid from the raisins, then sprinkle those over the carrots. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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