News In Brief

UCI to Hold Event to Spread Awareness of Hepatitis B

To spread awareness of what has been deemed “the silent killer,” UCI is organizing “B Here,” a campus-wide event to be held on Oct. 5, 2009. According to a statement released by the sponsors of the event and maker of medicines specifically for hepatitis, Gilead Sciences, hepatitis B is the second leading cause of cancer after tobacco usage. Hepatitis B is not detectable early on without a blood test. It attacks the liver and eventually cripples most of the body.

The magnitude of this sickness sparked the idea for “B Here,” which will feature numerous mediums of expression.

First, an art exhibit featuring the work of Esther Oh and the photography of Lawrence Kim will be shown in the Student Center Pacific Ballroom from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Then, the event will feature an evening of live performances from Kaba Modern, comedian HappySlip and YouTube star KevJumba who will be hosting the show. This portion of the event will be in the Barclay Theater, from 6 to 9 p.m. All showings are free of charge.

Professors Study Malaria to Help Create Vaccine

Francisco Ayala, university professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and his colleagues have made massive movements in the study of malaria – one of the deadliest viruses prevalent in the world today.

The UCI affiliates have made the discovery that malaria may have jumped to humans from chimpanzees, as AIDS did. They found that the parasite that largely causes the sickness is closely related to a genetic parasite found in chimps.

Officially named Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite may have been transferred to humans as early as 10,000 years ago.

Today, malaria kills nearly 1 million people wordwide, most of which are children. Over 300 million will suffer from the sickness this year. Ayala describes malaria as something that became “very severe, very quickly.” Malaria is powerful, and therefore resistant to many drugs. Still, Ayala and his crew say this new information is helpful in the search of a vaccine, and are hopeful that one strong enough will be made soon.

Cure for Cocaine Addiction Found in UCI Labs

UC Irvine neuroscientists have discovered a drug that can not only treat cancer, but can also help keep cocaine addicts in remission from relapsing. The drug, called Sodium Butyrate, has been tested on lab mice to determine effects. The mice ingested cocaine for a prolonged period of time, and then were cut off from the drug. After that, the mice were given Sodium Butyrate and were re-introduced to cocaine.

The researchers found that the mice who had been previously given cocaine and then given the sodium butyrate, showed a notable amount of disinterest in the cocaine when they were re-introduced to it.

According to The Daily Pilot, the study was co-designed by Neurobiology and Behavior assistant Professor Marcelo Wood, and was published on Tuesday on the online journal Biological Psychiatry, a prominent online scientific haven where UCI has been mentioned numerous times.