Entries in France (6)


Study Found Adults 'Functionally Cured' of HIV Before Mississippi Baby

ABC News Radio(NEW YORK) -- On the heels of the supposed first "functional cure" for HIV in a baby born in Mississippi, French researchers reported Friday that they had studied 14 adult patients who had experienced a similar remission from the virus. The patients in the French study had been off HIV medications for up to 10 years.

The French researchers followed patients who underwent treatment with antiretroviral drugs soon after they'd become infected with HIV. After taking the medications for several years, they stopped taking the antiretrovirals. That was "fashionable at the time," said Christine Rouzioux, a professor at Necker Hospital and University of Paris Descartes. They are all now in what Rouzioux calls "HIV remission," because the virus has not worsened and they have not shown symptoms for years.

"I know that the U.S. term is 'functional cure,'" Rouzioux told "In France, we speak about 'remission.' … The patient controls the virus, but they still have the virus."

The study, which was published Friday in the journal PLOS Pathogens, may show that the baby was not the first documented case of someone "functionally cured" of HIV as researchers announced earlier this month.

Rouzioux and Public Library of Science representatives told that they did not rush their study into publication when the case of the Mississippi baby was announced.

Dr. Deborah Persaud, who works at Johns Hopkins Children's Center and studied the Mississippi baby, said there were similarities between the 14 French patients and the baby, but that the baby had even lower HIV levels than the French patients.

While Rouzioux and Asier Sáez-Cirión, a senior HIV researcher at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, reported about 100 copies of HIV DNA or RNA per 1 million cells in their patients, Persaud said she found less than five copies of HIV DNA or RNA per 1 million cells in the Mississippi baby.

"I'm not sure anybody knows what that means," said Dr. Mark Kline, a pediatric HIV and AIDS specialist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. "I don't know that someone with five is necessarily going to be better off in the long term than someone with 100."

Kline said he, too, has had patients who were technically HIV-positive but have had no need for antiretroviral medication. He has also heard of patients who started antiretroviral therapy and were able to stop without experiencing worsening symptoms.

"This phenomenon that they're describing has been appreciated and known," Kline said. "I think there's a good rationale for saying if you can identify these people and do treatment earlier, you can decrease the viral burden and decrease the reservoirs of infected cells in the body and probably alter the long-term course."

It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years after infection for a person to show symptoms of HIV. As such, early treatment isn't always an option, according to Kline.

Rouzioux's patients all experienced symptoms very early, which is why they were able to get swift antiretroviral treatment, she said. Rouzioux and her colleagues followed their patients for about 11 years, she said.

Although these types of patients have been written about before, Kline said this particular study was important because it identified which patients had a genetic predisposition that allowed them to naturally keep HIV at bay and which patients did not, and therefore went into remission because of treatment.

Rouzioux's colleague, Sáez-Cirión, said about 0.5 percent of all HIV-positive patients were able to control the virus without medication because of a genetic predisposition, but the 14 people in the study did not have this advantage.

The researchers concluded that HIV-positive patients who undergo early treatment for at least one year have a 15 percent chance of going into HIV remission for at least two years after stopping treatment.

"The probability was 10 to 15 percent, which is amazing when compared with the probability of natural (non-drug-induced) control," Sáez-Cirión said.

Still, it's not wise for HIV-positive patients to stop taking medications because they can develop resistance to them, Kline said.

"Those are bridges you can burn that you can never rebuild," he said. "If you just stop treatment or take treatment intermittently, it's very likely that you'll develop a resistance to one or more medications. Once a resistance is present in an individual, it's there to stay. There may be no going back to those particular medications."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Dukan Diet Doctor Faces Ethics Hearing over Remarks

Hemera/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- The doctor behind the Dukan Diet is under fire for suggesting teenage students should meet a weight requirement to pass an exam in France.

Dr. Pierre Dukan, whose Atkins-like diet has been credited for the famous figures of Kate Middleton and Gisele Bundchen, faces a disciplinary hearing for “remarks, which could harm teenagers already struggling with obesity or anorexia,” according to a complaint filed Sunday by the French College of Physicians.

In January, Dukan said France’s Baccalaureate exam — a test 17-year-olds have to take to finish high school and go on to college — should include an anti-obesity option, which students could satisfy by staying within their recommended weight ranges, the BBC reported. The French College of Physicians said Dukan was in breach of France’s medical ethics code, which says “a doctor must be aware of the repercussions his views can have on the public.”

“Everything about this is wrong,” said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “It’s wrong because it invites eating disorders. It’s wrong because weight has nothing to do with academic performance…and the notion that weight is a behavior that should be incentivized is just wrong. Weight is an outcome. We should incentivize things people can control.”

Katz said the emphasis should be on physical activity and diet choices.

“If we apply rewards to weight, we’re mistaking weight for a behavior. Some people who eat well and are physically active are heavy. And some people who eat poorly and don’t exercise are thin,” he said. “This misses the mark in every conceivable way.”

Roughly 18 percent of American adolescents are obese, up from 5 percent in 1980, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a second complaint, the French College of Physicians said Dukan was more focused on making money than on medicine — another ethics breach. Dukan has sold more than seven million copies of his dieting books, the BBC reported.

“People in public health and medicine should first and foremost be committed to doing good,” said Katz, adding that he does not know Dukan’s motivations. “As long as they’re being honest and honorable and using the available scientific evidence, I think it’s OK [to make money as well]. I think when money is the priority; you don’t belong in public health or medicine in the first place. If you want to make money, work on Wall Street.”

Dukan’s diet, which consists of four phases dubbed “attack,” “cruise,” “consolidation,” and “stabilization,” has been criticized for being too restrictive. In July 2011, Dukan lost a libel case against Dr. Jean-Michel Cohen, who described the famous diet as dangerous.

“I certainly think there’s potential for it to do harm,” said Katz. “There’s a real danger to health if people stay in the restrictive [attack] phase. But the biggest danger is it sets you up to fail.”

Katz said the stabilization phase, in which dieters reintroduce foods that were once restricted, almost inevitably leads people to gain back lost weight — a common criticism of the Atkins diet, too.

“I think the Dukan Diet is a discredited Atkins diet with a French accent,” said Katz.

The ethics hearing will take place in the next six months. If he’s found guilty, Dukan could be removed from France’s medical registry.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


30,000 French Women Urged to Remove Rupturing Breast Implants

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- French authorities are reportedly urging 30,000 women to remove potentially life-threatening, rupturing breast implants.

The concerns are that the implants, supplied by Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), used an unauthorized silicone gel in their implants, making them prone to splitting.

Government spokeswoman Valerie Pecresse, part of a special committee formed to investigate the issue, highly recommended that “All women who have PIP implants should return to see their surgeons urgently.”

Since the defects were discovered, 523 implants have been removed and eight cases of cancer had been reported in patients with PIP implant. Although there has not been concrete proof of a direct link between the silicone used in PIP implants and cancer, investigations by the French Society of Plastic Surgeons came to the conclusion that the silicone used was not suitable for medical use. One PIP implant patient died of cancer in 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: Maggots May Speed Large Wound Cleaning

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CAEN, France) -- Maggots may be a source of relief for patients with large wounds, according to French researchers.

When doctors clean large wounds, they typically use enzymes or scalpels. A new study, however, found that maggots may offer a faster solution to removing dead tissue.

Researchers with leg ulcers were subjected to maggot therapy twice a week. The study compared the maggot treatment with the more conventional method, and found that the maggot patients were far cleaner.

While the maggots were more effective in cleaning the wounds, the study said that ultimately there was no difference in the speed of healing over the course of the study.

The maggot patients, who were blindfolded, did not report any sensations that made their skin crawl.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Creepy or Cute? French Company Sells Lingerie for Girls 4 to 12 Years Old

Used to be "dress up" meant putting on a pair of Mommy's shoes. Ryan McVay/Thinkstock (PARIS) -- Little girls, clad only in bras and underwear, pose carelessly cool, wearing sunglasses and heavy makeup, in an online photo gallery of Jours Après Lunes' new clothing line. They're far from the age where they might need bras, but the "loungerie" line is meant for girls as young as 3 months.

While the French company's babywear consists of typical onesies for infants, click on the fille (girls) section of the site and find little girls dressed in lacy, frilly, silky undergarments with tousled beehive updos and mascaraed stares.

The Jours Après Lunes website says it is the first designer brand dedicated to "loungerie," calling it an "innovative" and "unexpected" brand in the current realm of teenage and children's fashion.

Some call it fashion. Others call it appalling.

"This kind of marketing does sexualize young girls, it does serve as a model that inspires very young girls to think that minimizing what they wear and revealing as much of their body as possible is appropriate, and 'fashionable' and 'cool,' and that this is the way that they should think of themselves," Paul Miller, associate professor of psychology at Arizona State University in Phoenix, wrote in an email to ABC News.

Jours Après Lunes' did not return calls from ABC News requesting comment.

"The cultural message goes beyond 'lingerie' but to girls' self-image, body image, and what it takes to build a 'good' image of one's self," continued Miller.

But the "loungerie" line is only the latest kiddie fashion craze to cause public outrage.

Two weeks ago, 10-year-old French model Thylane Loubry Blondeau made headlines when she graced the cover of Vogue France. Many believed her high-fashion posing put her in an exceptionally mature position that was too sexual for her age.

This week, clothing retailer American Eagle drew ire after marketing a push-up bra that promises to add two cup sizes to girls as young as 15.

American Eagle's website has one review of the bra, claiming that "it gives so much push-up that other bras don't let me show off," reported ABC affiliate WTVD.

"Girls want to look pretty, but they do not want that icky sexual attention," Ann Soket, editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine, told ABC News. "They just want to feel good in their clothes, they just want to feel pretty, and that's what these bras are about."

But many child development experts would disagree with Soket. The American Psychological Association recently created a task force to respond to the "increasing problem" of the sexualization of girls in the media, which it found could influence a girl's well-being.

"We don't want kids to grow up too fast," Shari Miles-Cohen, senior director of women's programs for the American Psychological Association, told earlier this month. "We want them to be able to develop physically, emotionally, psychologically and socially at appropriate rates for their age."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Man Sues Drug Maker Over Gambling, Gay Sex Addiction

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NANTES, France) -- Didier Jambart, 51, of Nantes, France, is suing the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, claiming the drug he took to treat his Parkinson's symptoms, Requip, turned him into a gambling and gay sex addict.

The married father of two said he blew through his family's savings and even took to stealing to finance his online gambling habit, the French Press Agency reported.  He also became addicted to gay sex and risky sexual encounters that led to him being raped, his lawyers said.

Parkinson's disease destroys neurons deep within the brain that release the "feel-good" neurotransmitter dopamine.  Requip belongs to a class of drugs called dopamine agonists that relieve motor symptoms, such as shaking, stiffness, slowness and trouble balancing, by activating dopamine receptors.  But the drugs have side effects that, while rare, are serious.

"There are plenty of reports of people developing side effects from Parkinson's drugs, such as hypersexuality, gambling and excessive shopping," said Dr. David Standaert, professor and interim chairman of neurology and director of the Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  "It's uncommon, but very dramatic when it happens."

It's estimated that 13.6 percent of people with Parkinson's disease who take dopamine agonists experience behavioral side effects, according to Dr. Mark Stacy, a neurologist at Duke University Medical Center, who first linked the drugs to gambling in 2000.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio