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Scientists may be getting closer to creating a universal flu vaccine

We already have vaccines that prevent influenza, but there is a catch. Specialists have to keep creating vaccines that target specific flu strains if they want this preventive strategy to be effective. Influenza which people commonly refer to as the flu is one of the most widespread illnesses worldwide. Two virus strains — influenza virus strain A and strain B — are responsible for the flu. This disease has led to between 9.3 million and 49 million estimated cases of illness each year since 2010 in the United States alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As there are different viral strains, and each strain has many different subtypes, doctors must administer the correct vaccine each time. They need to use one that targets the specific strains and subtypes that are circulating in the population for this preventive approach to be successful. So far, there has been no universal vaccine that can target all influenza viruses effectively. But are researchers getting closer to developing one? A team of investigators from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, NY in collaboration with colleagues from other institutions has come up with a new approach that could change how scientists think about targeting viruses. This approach may also, in the future, provide a pathway to the universal flu vaccine, as the researchers suggest in the study paper that they recently published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. (Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

Work and family demands may impact women's heart health

Researchers believe that stress and cardiovascular health are linked in some way, but the association is not yet fully clear. A large-scale new study has recently delved into the effects of a unique kind of stress. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), stress may affect factors that increase the risk of heart disease, including blood pressure and cholesterol level. One major source of stress is the workplace. In fact, a 2015 review of 27 studies that appeared in the journal Current Cardiology Reports Trusted Source found an association between work stress and a moderately elevated risk of incident coronary heart disease and stroke. However, one type of stress that researchers often leave out of studies is that felt by a person who needs to simultaneously balance the demands of work and family life. Examining this in more depth may eventually help health professionals better identify and treat cardiovascular issues. This is according to the authors of the new study, which now appears in the Journal of the American Heart Association. (Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)