October 22, 2006, 10:57 PM CT
Excalia Combination Therapy To Treat Obesity
Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held clinical-stage neuroscience company developing novel strategic approaches to the therapy of obesity, today announced that ExcaliaTM
, a combination of two centrally-acting medications intended to provide and sustain clinically important weight loss, demonstrated significant weight loss in a six month, double-blind, phase IIa clinical study. The magnitude of weight reduction exceeded that seen with placebo. The findings showed that patients completing the blinded 24-week phase lost on average 9.2% of their weight from baseline using Excalia in comparison to an average of 0.4% weight loss from baseline for patients using placebo. The study results further demonstrate that weight loss continued through an additional 24 week open-label period achieving an average weight loss of 12% from baseline by 48 weeks. These top line phase IIa data for Excalia were presented at the annual meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO) in Boston.
"Excalia is designed to achieve an aggressive weight loss trajectory and then to delay the typical weight loss 'plateau' by offsetting one of the body's natural compensatory pathways. These phase II data suggest a level of efficacy that exceeded our expectations in relation to existing approaches," said Gary Tollefson, M.D., Ph.D., OREXIGEN president and CEO. "Excalia is designed to act on a specific reciprocally paired group of hypothalamic neurons that we believe will yield a clinically meaningful weight loss trajectory among significantly overweight individuals. We think that these positive data support our theoretical approach".........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
October 22, 2006, 8:47 PM CT
Portable 'lab on a chip'
This micropump allows high speed flows through microchannels with an input of only a few volts of electricity.
Testing soldiers to see if they have been exposed to biological or chemical weapons could soon be much faster and easier, thanks to MIT scientists who are helping to develop a tiny diagnostic device that could be carried into battle.
By tweaking the design of a tiny pump, scientists affiliated with MIT's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies have taken a major step towards making an existing miniature "lab on a chip" fully portable, so the tiny device can perform hundreds of chemical experiments in any setting.
"In the same way that miniaturization led to a revolution in computing, the idea is that miniature laboratories of fluid being pumped from one channel to another, with reactions going on here and there, can revolutionize biology and chemistry," says Martin Bazant, associate professor of applied mathematics and leader of the research team.
Within the lab on a chip, biological fluids such as blood are pumped through channels about 10 microns, or millionths of a meter, wide. (A red blood cell is about 8 microns in diameter.) Each channel has its own pumps, which direct the fluids to certain areas of the chip so they can be tested for the presence of specific molecules.
Until now, researchers have been limited to two approaches to designing labs on a chip, neither of which offer portability. The first is to mechanically force fluid through microchannels, but this requires bulky external plumbing and scales poorly with miniaturization.........
Posted by: Scott Permalink Source
October 22, 2006, 8:32 PM CT
Smoking Impedes Healing
Orthopaedic surgery scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified yet another reason not to smoke. Studying rotator cuff injury in rats, the research team found exposure to nicotine delays tendon-to-bone healing, suggesting this could cause failure of rotator cuff repair following surgery in human patients.
Smoking is implicated in a host of physical problems, from cardiovascular disease to lung disorders. A number of of us probably don't think about smoking's effects on orthopaedic conditions, but several studies have shown that nicotine interferes with healing of bone fractures and also inhibits bone fusion processes - a number of spine surgeons, for example, won't do certain operations on people who smoke because of the risk of failure. But little is known about the effects of cigarettes on tendon and ligament healing.
There also are some gaps in medical knowledge about the prevalence of rotator cuff injuries. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and their tendons in the shoulder that provide rotation, elevate the arm and stabilize the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff tears involve one or more of the tendons. The injuries are more common as people age and more common in the dominant arm. The true occurence rate of the injuries is hard to determine because between 5 percent and 40 percent of people who may have a torn rotator cuff have no accompanying shoulder pain.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
October 19, 2006, 9:44 PM CT
Beliefs Could Have Adverse Effect On HIV Rates
A review of research on the prevalence of HIV in the Middle East and North Africa has observed that whilst cultural and religious practices may be behind a low prevalence of HIV in the region, they could potentially contribute to increasing the spread of HIV.
Research from the World Health Organisation, published in this week's BMJ, argues it is possible that some practices which are common among Muslim populations may contribute to decreasing the risk of HIV transmission. One is low alcohol consumption, which reduces 'risky' behaviours and another is potentially male circumcision which was shown in a recent clinical trial to have a protective effect but application of these results to other epidemiological, cultural and social settings still needs to be confirmed.
At the same time other population trends, beliefs and practices in the region may have an adverse effect. Most countries in the region have young populations with a rapidly increasing age at marriage, but young people may be ill-equipped to protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections. Traditional Muslim approaches have tended to be very conservative, and it is difficult to break the silence around issues of sexual behaviour particularly those which deviate from religious norms.
A detailed analysis of religious publications and doctrinal pronouncements revealed that strong moralising views were common HIV was seen as divine retribution and religion was presented as a protection. This can mean that those with HIV/AIDS are stigmatised.........
Posted by: Mark Permalink Source
October 19, 2006, 9:40 PM CT
Reducing Knee Pain And Reliance On Painkillers
Older people with knee pain who receive their main care from physiotherapists and pharmacists are more likely to experience improvements in pain levels and knee function, and are less likely to need NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, eg asprin and ibuprofen), as per a BMJ study.
Scientists from Keele University undertook a study involving over 300 people with knee pain. The participants (aged over 55), were split into three groups.
The first group took part in an 'enhanced pharmacy review' with up to 6 appointments with an experienced community pharmacist to monitor the appropriateness and effectiveness of medication. A second group received up to 6 sessions with a physiotherapist, which included general aerobic exercise and specific muscle strengthening and stretching exercises. A final 'control' group received an information and advice leaflet which was also issued to the other two groups plus a telephone call to reinforce the information in the leaflet and address any specific concerns about putting the advice into practice.
When compared with the control group, those in the physiotherapy group reported a significant improvement in pain levels and in knee function after three months of therapy. Participants in the pharmacy group also reported improvements in pain levels.........
Posted by: Mark Permalink Source
October 18, 2006, 10:49 PM CT
Newspaper Articles Skew Coverage Of Comas
Newspaper articles skew coverage of comas by focusing heavily on patients who are more likely to awaken and recover, thus possibly leading the public to think that coma patients have better odds than they truly do.
These findings of a Mayo Clinic study on how U.S. newspapers cover comas are reported in the recent issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. This study is the first of its kind and follows a study published earlier this year in Neurology on how comas are represented in film. The lead author of both articles is Eelco F.M. Wijdicks, M.D., a neurointensivist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
Dr. Wijdicks traces the public's interest in coma patients to the Terri Schiavo case, which created intense interest in how coma patients are treated. Schiavo's situation illustrates the need for the public to be well informed about comas, Dr. Wijdicks says. The number of newspaper stories about coma increased in Florida after the Schiavo case.
For the Mayo Clinic study published in Proceedings, Dr. Wijdicks and his daughter, Marilou Wijdicks, identified 340 newspaper articles in 50 leading newspapers, one in each state, over five years to ascertain how well newspapers cover comas. California and Florida had the highest number of newspaper articles concerning coma. Few articles had misrepresentations or inaccuracies, but newspaper editors and reporters struggled with a few key issues.........
Posted by: Daniel Permalink Source
October 18, 2006, 10:43 PM CT
Hospital food not good enough
Montclair, NJ - October 18, 2006 -- Substantial nutrient loss in food occurs in hospital foodservice operations, according to research recently published in the Journal of Foodservice. The study quantifies how much Vitamin C, as a marker of nutrient quality, is retained at various stages of processing at two New Jersey hospitals.
The nutrient quality of Vitamin C was significantly reduced as a food sample progressed to patients by as much as 86% at a hospital in an inner-city neighborhood. Since many nutrients, including Vitamin C, degrade at high temperatures, this loss may be result from food being heated to a temperature much higher than recommended by hospital foodservice so as to still be warm when served to patients.
As improved nutritional status correlates with faster healing and recovery, leading to reduced hospital stays, hospitals need improved cooking methods to reduce the loss of nutrients in foods served to patients. Physicians, dietitians, and menu planners rely on published standard nutritional values, but these standards are derived from experiments made in ideal conditions and fail to consider the various handling, holding, and delivery methods that are common in hospitals. A more vigorous approach to patient nutrition is needed, both in terms of food preparation methods and in assessing the actual nutritional status of patients.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
October 17, 2006, 9:26 PM CT
Childhood Cancer Survivors May Have Low Birth Weight Children
Female childhood cancer survivors may face pregnancy problems, including early deliveries and low birth weight children, as per a research studyin the October 19 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
New therapies for childhood cancer patients have increased survival, but a number of researchers are concerned about the long-term effects of the therapys, especially for patients exposed to radiation and chemotherapy.
Lisa B. Signorello, Sc.D., of the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville, Md., and his colleagues assessed the records of 1,264 female participants in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study and their 2,201 children. They compared them with 601 cancer-free siblings of survivors and their 1,175 children. The authors assessed possible long-term effects from therapy, such as preterm births, low birth weight, and having babies who were small for their gestational age.
The authors observed that survivors' children were more likely than those of siblings to be born early or underweight. The risk was highest when a survivor had their uterus exposed to pelvic radiation as a child.
"Radiotherapy to the pelvis may raise the risks of both preterm birth and restricted fetal growth," they write.
In an accompanying editorial, Leslie Schover, Ph.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, discusses the study and the overall interest in preserving fertility for childhood cancer survivors. "Given the complex terrain our young survivors need to traverse, we should design patient and professional education materials that map out the paths to making informed decisions".........
Posted by: Emily Permalink Source
October 17, 2006, 5:02 AM CT
Older Breast Cancer Patients May Be Under-treated
Elderly breast cancer patients who received care in a community hospital setting may have been under-diagnosed, under-staged and under-treated, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
The number of older patients with breast cancer has increased along with overall elderly population, as per background information in the article. About half of patients with breast cancer are older than 65 years and 35 percent are older than 70; 77 percent of breast cancer deaths occur in women older than 55. Choosing the appropriate therapy for older patients is a challenge, because a number of have other serious illnesses in addition to their cancer that may threaten their health and shorten their lives. Questions remain about the best screening protocols for elderly women, as well. Some current guidelines suggest that women stop having mammograms at age 70, while others provide no upper limit.
David A. Litvak, M.D., then of Michigan State University, Lansing, and now at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Orange County, Calif., and Rajeev Arora, M.D., used a tumor registry database to identify 354 women age 70 or older who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1992 and 2002 at a community hospital. The scientists studied the group of women as a whole and also divided them into three age groups for analysis: ages 70 to 74 (136 patients), 75 to 79 (115 patients) and 80 or older (103 patients).........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
October 17, 2006, 4:29 AM CT
Broccoli's Cancer Fighting Secrets
After all these years, mom was right. She knew broccoli was good for you, she just didn't know it was this good.
"Everyone knows broccoli is good for you and that it contains compounds known to lessen the occurrence of some types of cancer. We want to know how these compounds work and what their specific targets may be," says Janet V. Cross, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pathology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
Cross and her colleague Dennis J. Templeton, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the UVa Department of Pathology have received a $1.3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to study how specific nutrients in healthy vegetables like broccoli work to prevent cancer.
Cross and Templeton observed that nutrients in broccoli unexpectedly bond with a specific enzyme in cells. This enzyme had been clearly associated with inflammatory disease processes, but Cross solidified a link with cancer when she observed that mice who did not have the gene for this enzyme developed far fewer cancers when given carcinogens.
"If we can determine that this specific enzyme is the reason the compounds in broccoli work to prevent cancer, then these nutrients or similar chemicals could be turned into anti-cancer compounds," she says.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source