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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Heart


Celebrex disrupts heart rhythm in fruit flies

Drug Abuse • • HeartJan 29 08

Celebrex, an arthritis drug in the same class as the recalled painkiller Vioxx, caused irregular heartbeats in fruit flies and in heart cells taken from laboratory rats, U.S. researchers said on Friday.

“When we tried this drug on the fly heart it became clear that it gave rise to very pronounced arrhythmia,” said Dr. Satpal Singh, a pharmacologist at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

“It slows down and becomes irregular,” said Singh, whose study appears in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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Aspirin reduces death rate in heart patients

Drug News • • HeartJan 29 08

In people with stable heart disease, low-dose aspirin reduces the occurrence of heart attacks, strokes, and deaths from all causes, according to a new analysis.

Although aspirin also increases the risk of bleeding, the benefits outweigh the risk, lead author Dr. Jeffrey S. Berger, of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, North Carolina, and his associates conclude in their report in the American Journal of Medicine.

Unlike previous analyses that combined various populations with treated with different blood-thinning drugs and dosages, the researchers point out, “our study focuses on low-dose aspirin in a population with stable cardiovascular disease.”

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Over-the-counter eardrops may cause hearing loss or damage

Hearing lossJan 28 08

A new study, led by researchers at The Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH) of the MUHC, has revealed that certain over-the-counter earwax softeners can cause severe inflammation and damage to the eardrum and inner ear. The results of the study, recently published in The Laryngoscope, suggest that use of these medications should be discouraged.

“Patients often complain that wax is blocking their ears and is causing discomfort and sometimes deafness,” says Dr. Sam Daniel principal investigator of the study and director of McGill Auditory Sciences Laboratory at The Children’s. “Over-the-counter earwax softeners are used to breakup and disperse this excess wax. However, the effects of these medications on the cells of the ear had not been thoroughly analyzed.”

“Because some of these products are readily available to the public without a consultation with or prescription from a physician, it is important to make sure they are safe to use. Our study shows that in a well-established animal model, one such product, Cerumenex, is in fact, toxic to the cells of the ear,” says Dr. Daniel.

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Anti-Inflammatory Drug May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

DiabetesJan 28 08

Researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center are reporting that an inexpensive anti-inflammatory drug similar to aspirin, salsalate, may prevent type 2 diabetes by lowering blood glucose and reducing inflammation.

The study, which appears in the February issue of Diabetes Care, is a small, proof-of-principal clinical trial, but is promising enough to spur three more trials to see if the drug, salsalate, can also treat diabetes by lowering blood glucose, slow the progression of coronary artery disease in those with metabolic syndrome, and perhaps prevent diabetes in those at high risk.

“This is exciting because salsalate has a good safety profile after many years of use, is inexpensive to make and appears to have the potential to lower blood glucose,” said Allison B. Goldfine, M.D., lead researcher on the study, Head of Clinical Research at Joslin and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. “It may be useful in preventing diabetes.”

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Study Finds Genetic Link to Herpes Susceptibility

Genetics • • Sexual HealthJan 28 08

There’s a high probability that people who are prone to herpes simplex virus (HSV) outbreaks can inherit that susceptibility through their genes, University of Utah researchers report in a new study.

In the Feb. 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, the researchers identify a region on the long arm of human chromosome 21 with high odds—at least 1,000-to-1—of being linked to cold sore susceptibility. The researchers further say they pinpointed six specific genes in that chromosomal region as candidates for making people prone to outbreaks of cold sores (also called “fever blisters”). Cold sores occur when the herpes virus reactivates from its quiescent state within the nerve, infecting the lip, nose, or face.

Discovery of the probable link could lead to the development of new drugs that reduce the frequency of herpes outbreaks, according to John D. Kriesel, M.D., the study’s corresponding author and research associate professor in the U School of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases.

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Number of Russian women smokers has doubled since Soviet collapse

Gender: Female • • Tobacco & MarijuanaJan 28 08

In 1992, seven per cent of women smoked, compared to almost 15 per cent by 2003. In the same period, the number of men who smoke has risen from 57 per cent to 63 per cent.

The researchers behind the study, published in the journal Tobacco Control, blame the privatisation of the previously state owned tobacco industry and the behaviour of the transnational tobacco companies (TTCs) for what they describe as a “very worrying increase”.

Between 1992 and 2000, TTCs such as Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International invested approximately US$1.7 billion to gain a 60 per cent share of the privatised Russian tobacco market.

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New insights into vaccination for HIV

AIDS/HIVJan 25 08

A group of Australian researchers at the Universities of Melbourne and New South Wales have developed new tools and paradigms to understand immune evasion from HIV. The study, published Friday, January 25 in PLoS Pathogens, shows that both prior vaccination and timing influence the rates of immune escape, providing further insight into the effectiveness of T cell immunity to HIV.

An HIV vaccine is urgently needed. A major hurdle is the rapid evolution of HIV and its ability to mutate to escape effective immunity. Low levels of mutant virus cannot be detected with standard techniques, making it difficult to study the evolution of mutant viruses.

The group, led by PhD student Liyen Loh and Dr. Stephen Kent, developed highly sensitive assays to track mutant viruses. They show that vaccination of macaques against SIV (a simian AIDS virus) results in the rapid selection of mutant viruses. In contrast, escape mutants evolve much more slowly when they appear later during infection.

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Deficient regulators in the immune system responsible for type 1 diabetes

Diabetes • • ImmunologyJan 24 08

The main regulators of the immune system, called CD4+Treg cells, are thought to be highly involved in a large range of immune diseases. The gradual reduction in their regulating capacity seems to play a critical role in the onset of type 1 diabetes, as demonstrated in the latest study by Dr. Ciriaco Piccirillo, a researcher in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and the principal investigator for this project. This study was published this month in the journal Diabetes.

The immune system needs to be regulated so that it attacks only the site of an inflammation and focuses its attack on pathogens rather than on the body tissues, causing an autoimmune disease.

In a healthy patient, CD4+Treg cells deactivate any T lymphocytes, a type of immune cell, that are misprogrammed and could attack the body. Dr Piccirillo’s research indicates that in type 1 diabetic patients this control mechanism may be deficient, thereby allowing the misprogrammed T lymphocytes to proliferate and gain the ability to destroy the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. This leads to type 1 diabetes.

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Women, Children Face Higher Cancer Risk from CT Scans

CancerJan 24 08

The lifetime risk of cancer associated with radiation exposure from a computer tomography coronary angiography (CTCA) varies widely, but women and younger patients appear to be at increased risk, according to the July 18 Journal of the American Medical Association.

CTCA, which combines 64 images to produce cross-sectional views of the heart and coronary arteries, has been predicted to be the diagnostic tool of choice for patients with a high risk of developing coronary artery disease. Little data, however, are available on CTCA and its associated cancer risk from radiation exposure.

Researchers led by Andrew J. Einstein, MD, PhD, found that the lifetime attributable risk of cancer incidence associated with radiation exposure varied with age, sex, and scan protocol. Lifetime cancer risk estimates for standard cardiac scans ranged from one in 143 for women for a 20-year-old woman to one in 3,261 for an 80-year-old man.

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FluJan 24 08

When AVIAN INFLUENZA (or SARS or Bioterrorism) Fills the ED, WILL THE STAFF SHOW UP?

When the American Academy of Pediatrics, along with the group Trust for America’s Health, issued a report in late October citing serious gaps in preparedness for an avian flu epidemic, at least one medical group had already beaten them to the punch, if unofficially.

Nearly a week earlier, at the Scientific Assembly of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the results of an ACEP poll showed a majority of those surveyed believe their own emergency departments are unlikely to fully meet the demand of a such an outbreak. In interviews, several of them speculated on the reasons why, ranging from a suspected dearth of specialty support to a paucity of essential equipment.

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Promising Treatment for Cocaine

Tobacco & MarijuanaJan 24 08

A treatment for cocaine’s effects on the human cardiovascular system has been discovered, according to a report in the August 14 Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center led by Wanpen Vongpatanasin, MD, examined results from 22 healthy adults who reported to have never used cocaine. The researchers administered a small medically approved dose of cocaine nose drops to the subjects, which doubled their sympathetic nerve activity, resulting in increased heart rate, blood pressure, and vascular resistance. Subjects were then either treated with dexmedetomidine, a drug currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for anesthetic purposes, or intravenous saline as a placebo.

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Eat breakfast to curb middle-age weight gain

Dieting • • Dieting To Lose Weight • • Weight LossJan 23 08

Looking for ways to limit middle-age weight gain? Eat more at breakfast and less later in the day, researchers suggest.

“Shifting a greater proportion of a day’s total calorie intake to breakfast time is potentially beneficial for lower weight gain over time among middle-aged men and women,” Dr. Nita Forouhi told Reuters Health.

Forouhi, of the Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, UK, and colleagues studied 6,764 men and women, 40 to 75 years old, who were assessed at the start of the study and an average of 3.7 years later.

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Study gives scientific weight to high-protein diet

Dieting • • Weight LossJan 23 08

New research suggests that high-protein foods may be better at curbing a key “hunger hormone” than either fats or carbohydrates.

In a study of 16 healthy adults, researchers found that a high-protein drink was more effective than either a high-fat or high-carb drink at suppressing an appetite-stimulating hormone called ghrelin.

All three beverages caused blood levels of ghrelin to dip, but the fatty drink was least effective. The high-carb drink, by comparison, was most effective at curbing the hormone in the first three hours after the “meal,” but over the next three hours ghrelin levels shot back up to levels that were higher than before the test meal.

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Ovary removal may raise Parkinson’s risk

NeurologyJan 23 08

Women who undergo removal of one or both ovaries prior to menopause appear to be at increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease or similar conditions, investigators report.

Numerous animal studies have indicated that estrogen protects the brain’s neurons and thereby decreases the risk of Parkinson’s disease, Dr. W. A. Rocca and associates note in the medical journal Neurology—but clinical evidence has been inconclusive.

The researchers, at the at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, studied more than 2300 premenopausal women who had undergone single or double ovary removal, and 2368 age-matched “controls” with intact ovaries.

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Meat, diet soda linked to heart disease - US study

HeartJan 23 08

People who eat two or more servings of red meat a day are much more likely to develop conditions leading to heart disease and diabetes, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

Eating two or more servings of meat a day increases the risk of suffering from a cluster of risk factors known as metabolic syndrome by 25 percent compared to those who had only two servings of meat a week, the researchers reported in the journal Circulation.

The symptoms of metabolic syndrome include excessive fat around the waist, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure.

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