ART ON THE INTERNET: Tuberculosis, by Fidelio Ponce

When Fidelio Ponce (1895-1949) portrayed some of his life experiences (as would seem to be the case), the ambience of his canvas looked like that we have met on dreams.

This view is oneiric. Characters look like specters. They look at the spectator as if they were taking a long hard look at us and simultaneously, feeling pity. We do not see tuberculosis sufferers, but those who watch closely to the sick people.

Somnolence results in some diseases: in the eyes of those suffering from them, the people and other elements become ghostly shadows: fabrication of delusion.

In this classical piece of Cuban modernism, that morbid perception of the world is brought to mind, fertile ground to art.

The illusion caused by fever may figure out master pieces.

Fidelio Ponce: Tuberculosis, 1934. Oil on canvas; 92 x 122 cm. Collection Surgimiento del Arte Moderno (1957-1938) at the National Museum of Fine Arts.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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Aspirin to fight an expensive global killer infection

Research led by the Centenary Institute in Sydney has found a brand new target for treating drug-resistant tuberculosis; our scientists have uncovered that the tuberculosis bacterium hijacks platelets from the body's blood clotting system to weaken our immune systems.

Tuberculosis is far from eradicated around the world and still infects more than 1,400 people per year in Australia. Antibiotic resistant tuberculosis is particularly deadly and expensive to treat, costing up to $250,000 to treat a single case in Australia. Scientists at the Centenary Institute have been working on new ways to treat tuberculosis by increasing the effectiveness of the immune system.

Using the zebrafish model of tuberculosis, the researchers used fluorescent microscopy to observe the build-up of clots and activation of platelets around sites of infection. Senior author and head of the Centenary's Immune-Vascular Interactions laboratory, Dr Stefan Oehlers, says "the zebrafish gives us literal insight into disease processes by watching cells interacting in real time."

Following their hunch that these platelets were being tricked by the infection into getting in the way of the body's immune system, the researchers treated infections with anti-platelet drugs, including widely available aspirin, and were able to prevent hijacking and allow the body to control infection better.

Dr Elinor Hortle, lead author of the paper published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, and Research Officer in Centenary's Immune-Vascular Interactions laboratory says "This is the first time that platelets have been found to worsen tuberculosis in an animal model. It opens up the possibility that anti-platelet drugs could be used to help the immune system fight off drug resistant TB."

There are over 1.2 million Australians living with latent tuberculosis, a non-infectious form of TB that puts them at risk of developing the active disease. "Our study provides more crucial evidence that widely available aspirin could be used to treat patients with severe tuberculosis infection and save lives," says Dr Hortle.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Centenary Institute. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

New Tuberculosis Vaccine under Pre-clinical Tests in Cuba

Cuban scientists are undertaking studies on the effectiveness of a new  candidate vaccine against tuberculosis, a disease considered as  sanitary emergency in the world since 1993.

Doctor Iliana Valdes, from the Havana-based Pedro Kouri Tropical Medicine Institute, told reporters that her experts’ team adopted the strategy to use a micro-bacterium isolated in Cuban labs since 1971, which has proven its possible protection against tuberculosis, given the results obtained from tests in animals. “We are now in the pre-clinical stage using lab animals and we still have to go through other models before considering human beings,” said the specialist.

  • Published in Cuba

WHO: Cuba Might Eradicate Tuberculosis by 2035

Cuba is one of the countries that might eliminate tuberculosis by the year 2035, said the World Health Organization (WHO), thanks to the application of control programs, prevention and effective disease treatment.

  • Published in Cuba
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