33MD for March 6, 2009

POSTED: Friday, March 6, 2009 - 9:12pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:57pm

Topping 33MD tonight, scientists have identified a compound that may block the transmission of HIV. The University of Minnesota study says it comes in the form of a gel, called Glycerol Monolaurate, or GML. It’s a widely used ingredient already in some foods and cosmetics. Pat Schlievert says, “It’s found naturally in breast milk. It’s also added to ice cream and gravy so every time you eat those things you eat it.” Scientists say when applied vaginally, the gel blocked the primate version of HIV from infecting all five monkeys tested. They say it works by suppressing the body’s immune response that helps the virus infect. Ashley Haase says, “We want to be circumspect about the claims we make right now but we think we have a promising lead here that can really contribute to the prevention story.” Researchers hope the findings will not only lead to a cost effective way of treating HIV, but also a new way to prevent the spread of STDs in women. The research appears in the journal, “Nature.”

And in other medical headlines, a positive attitude could be the best prescription for a long and healthy life! Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh say women who are optimists are 14% less likely to die from any cause than women who have a pessimistic outlook on life. Experts also found women who saw the glass half-full were 30% less likely to die from heart disease. Scientists say happy people tend to have better lifestyle habits and deal with stress better.