warming that started around 10,000 years ago.
But previous genetic studies by Professor Burger’s group indicated that agriculture and a sedentary lifestyle were brought to Central Europe
around 7,500 years ago by immigrant farmers.
From that time on, little trace of hunter-gathering
can be seen in the archaeological record, and
it was widely assumed that the hunter-gatherers
died out or were absorbed into the farming populations.
The relationship between these immigrant agriculturalists and local hunter-gatherers has been
poorly researched to date. The Mainz anthropologists have now determined that the foragers
stayed in close proximity to farmers, had contact
with them for thousands of years, and buried their
dead in the same cave. This contact was not
without consequences, because hunter-gatherer
women sometimes married into the farming communities, while no genetic lines of farmer women
have been found in hunter-gatherers.
His palaeogenetics team is a worldwide
leader in the field. For the study published in
Science, the team examined the DNA from the
bones from the Blätterhöhle cave in Westphalia,
which is being excavated by the Berlin archaeologist Jörg Orschiedt. It is one of the rare pieces
of evidence of the continuing presence of foragers over a period of about 5,000 years.
For a long time the Mainz researchers were
unable to make sense of the findings. “It was only
through the analysis of isotopes in the human remains, performed by our Canadian colleagues, that
the pieces of the puzzle began to fit,” says Bollongino. “This showed that the hunter-gatherers sustained themselves in Central and Northern Europe
on a very specialized diet that included fish, among
other things, until 5,000 years ago.
The team also pursued the question of what
impact both groups had on the gene pool of
modern Europeans. Dr. Adam Powell, population
geneticist at the JGU Institute of Anthropology,
explains, “Neither hunter-gatherers nor farmers
can be regarded as the sole ancestors of mod-
ern-day Central Europeans. European ancestry
will reflect a mixture of both populations, and the
ongoing question is how and to what extent this
It seems that the hunter-gatherers’ lifestyle
only died out in Central Europe 5,000 years ago.
Agriculture and animal husbandry became the
way of life from then on. However, some of the
prehistoric farmers had foragers as ancestors,
and the hunter-gatherer genes are found in Cen-
tral Europeans today.
Human Milk Facility Opens
Prolacta Bioscience, a provider of human milk-based nutritional products for premature infants
in the neonatal intensive care unit, will open a
new facility in City of Industry, Calif. The 67,000
ft2 building will be home to a pharmaceutical
grade manufacturing facility for human breast
milk-based products. The facility will contain a
115,560 ft3 human milk freezer, which will provide controlled frozen storage capacity for more
than 29,000 gallons of breast milk. The new facility also includes one ISO 7 and two ISO 8
cleanrooms totaling over 10,000 ft2.
“The Prolacta team could not be happier
about what we have achieved for preemies and
hospital NICUs across the country,” says Scott
Elster, CEO of Prolacta. “We now have a facility
that can provide human milk nutritional products
for every NICU in the U.S.”
Prolacta’s services include a safety combina-
tion of DNA matching of mom to milk, testing for
drugs and bovine contamination, as well as HIV-
1, HCV, and HBV of the final product using PCR
testing, among other safety steps.
CDC Update on 2012 Fungal
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention activated its Emergency Operations Center in October 2012 as part of the response to
the tragic outbreak of fungal meningitis linked
to three contaminated lots of preservative-free
methylprednisolone acetate produced by the
New England Compounding Center. There have
been at least 751 cases of fungal meningitis and
other infections associated with this outbreak;
64 of these patients have died. Since July 2013,
one new case has been diagnosed.
The CDC has two papers in the New England
Journal of Medicine, one describing the clinical
aspects of the infections associated with this out-
break and the other summarizing the epidemiolog-
ic investigation. The clinical paper, focusing on the
early stages of the outbreak, describes patients
who experienced a wide variety of illnesses, includ-
ing meningitis, stroke, arachnoiditis, and epidural or
paraspinal infections which ranged in severity from
very mild to life-threatening. The paper finalizes the
original preliminary report published by the New
England Journal of Medicine and details the ef-
forts to identify and stop the outbreak.
This outbreak affected hundreds of people
across the nation. Many patients continue to
struggle with complications from fungal infections, including side effects of the antifungal
drugs used to fight the infections. Many other
people who received MPA or other NECC products, but who may not meet the CDC case definition, have faced anxiety surrounding their risk
To learn more about the long-term impacts of
this outbreak, CDC awarded a contract to the
University of Alabama at Birmingham to follow
as many as 500 people with infections identified
as a part of this outbreak. The study, which will
run through at least August 2015, is designed
to help answer questions about the longer-term
health impacts on patients, which treatments
were most effective and what their side effects
are, how long treatment is needed, and whether
and how often patients relapse after stopping
therapy. Patients are being enrolled in the study
by their infectious disease physicians. This information will be used to improve the care of
current patients and any future patients linked
to this outbreak, and potentially can inform treatment decisions in future cases of meningitis
caused by similar types of fungal organisms.
This has been the largest outbreak of health-care-associated infections ever reported in the
United States. Since the outbreak began, additional outbreaks have been identified and linked
to contaminated products from other compounding pharmacies.
These outbreaks show the urgent need to
address shortfalls in the oversight and safety of
compounded drugs to reduce the inherent risks
associated with these products, which have not
undergone review and approval by the FDA.
CDC supports efforts by FDA and state Boards
of Pharmacy to provide appropriate and effective
oversight of compounding pharmacies.
Massachusetts state officials found a contaminated cleanroom at the New England Compounding Center in October 2012.
News continued from page 19
The 67,000 ft2 building will be home to a pharmaceutical grade manufacturing facility for human
breast milk-based products.