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THE PHARMA REVIEW MAY JUNE 2015
 

'Liquid Biopsy' Using Blood Test is Latest Weapon Against Cancer
In the usual cancer biopsy, a surgeon cuts out a piece of the patient's tumor, but researchers in labs in the US are testing a potentially transformative innovation. They call it the liquid biopsy, and it is a blood test that has only recently become feasible with the latest exquisitely sensitive techniques. It is showing promise in finding tiny snippets of cancer DNA in a patient's blood. The hope is that a simple blood draw — far less onerous for patients than a biopsy or a CT scan — will enable oncologists to quickly figure out whether a treatment is working and, if it is, to continue monitoring in case the cancer develops resistance. Failing treatments could be abandoned quickly. "This could change forever the way we follow up response to treatments but also the emergence of resistance for really early diagnosis," said Dr. Jose Baselga of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

 
A Drug Soon to Fix Heart Attack Tear?
A revolutionary drug that could repair the damage done by a heart attack, potentially saving thousands of lives, is now a real possibility, one of the UK's leading cardiologists has said. Unimaginable only a few years ago, Scientists have "the groundwork" in place to begin searching for a cocktail of chemicals that could awaken cells within the heart, encouraging it to repair itself, said professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation (BHF). As many as 1, 75,000 people in the UK suffer a heart attack each year. However, more and more people are surviving such attacks, thanks to improved emergency treatments, but are left with irreparable damage to the organ. In severe cases, this leads to heart failure - a long-term, debilitating and often fatal condition that affects around half a million people in the UK. In recent years, scientists have begun to investigate the possibility that stem cells or cells within the heart itself could be used to regenerate the damaged heart muscle, literally fixing a broken heart. A major milestone has now been reached with the publication of two BHF-funded With recent studies that pointing to the possibility of a drug treatment that could stimulate the heart's own "repair kit" a major milestone has been reached, Professor Weissberg said. told The Independent. One of the country's most senior cardiologists, Professor Weissberg said that the studies had separately identified groups of previously unknown cells in mice which "can do the job of repairing the damage that occurs during a heart attack, but for some reason, do not". Similar mechanisms are likely to exist in the human heart. "The exciting thing is that It raises the possibility - in a few years' time - of identifying the molecular signals that can wake those cells up," he said. "You would give someone who has had a heart attack a drug in the form of an injection, or possibly tablets, which has a cocktail of the chemicals that home in to the heart and wake up its dormant repair cells." One of the studies, carried out at Imperial College London, identified a group of stem cells in mice hearts that show great promise in repairing damaged heart muscle. The second, at the University of Oxford, revealed for the first time that a group of vessels grown by the heart after a heart attack can aid muscle repair - and these can be encouraged to grow at a quicker rate using a specific protein called PDGFRa.

 
Blood Test Spots Tumors Earlier Than CT Scans
Researchers caution that more evaluations of the test's accuracy and reliability are needed. So far, there have been only small studies in particular cancers, including lung, colon and blood cancer. But early results are encouraging. A National Cancer Institute study published this month in The Lancet Oncology, involving 126 patients with the most common form of lymphoma, found the test predicted recurrences more than three months before they were noticeable on CT scans. The liquid biopsies also identified patients unlikely to respond to therapy. Oncologists who are not using the new test say they are looking on with fascination. "Our lab doesn't do it, but we are very interested," said Dr. Levi Garraway of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "It's exciting," he added. "It's a top priority." Researchers are finding out things about individuals' cancers that astonish them. Mary Susan Sabini, a fifth-grade teacher from Gardiner, NY, has lung cancer that resisted two attempts at chemotherapy and a round of radiation. Her doctors at Sloan Kettering saw cancer DNA in her blood when she began taking an experimental drug in October that was her last hope. Four days later, the cancer DNA shards had vanished, a sign, the doctors hoped, that the treatment was working. But they dared not tell her the good tidings. The blood test itself was so new they were afraid to rely on it. Within weeks, Sabini began to breathe easier. Months later, she had a CT scan, an X-ray test that uses a computer to assemble detailed images of slices of tumor tissue. It confirmed her tumors were shrinking. "Every cancer has a mutation that can be followed with this method," said Dr. David Hyman, the oncologist at Sloan Kettering who is leading the study of the experimental drug Ms. Sabini takes. "It is like bar coding the cancer in the blood."
 

 

 

THE PHARMA REVIEW MARCH APRIL 2015
 

Viagra Could Help Cure Cancer: Study
New York: Anti-impotence drug Viagra may help treat certain cancers and neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, a new study claims. Viagra in combination with new drugs can block chaperone proteins, with anti-cancer, antibacterial, and other therapeutic effects, researchers said. Chaperone proteins play an important role in protein folding in human cells and in bacteria and are promising new targets for drugs to treat cancer and Alzheimer's disease and for novel antiviral drugs and antibiotics. Researchers described how Viagra and a derivative of the drug Celebrex, for example, can reduce the activity of a specific chaperone protein, with the potential for anti-tumour and anti-Alzheimer's disease effects. Laurence Booth, Jane Roberts and Paul Dent, from the Virginia Commonwealth University, US, provided a comprehensive discussion of the HSPA5/Dna K chaperone protein and the published evidence for its role in various human diseases. The authors describe how OSU-03012, an experimental compound derived from the drug celecoxib (Celebrex) interacts with Viagra or Cialis to reduce levels of chaperone proteins. Reduced levels of HSPA5 and DNA K can interfere with virus replication, promote bacterial cell death, and even make drug-resistant "superbugs" susceptible to existing antibiotics. "Drugs like Celebrex and Viagra are readily available and generally recognised as safe. This study by Booth and colleagues may lead to new applications of these relatively new medicines," said Carol Shoshkes Reiss, Professor, Departments of Biology and Neural Science, New York University. "The potential impact, if the experiments described are translatable to human disease, could be paradigm-shifting. The potential applications are serious antibiotic resistant infections, chemotherapy-resistant cancers and neurodegenerative disease ranging from Parkinson's disease to Huntington's or Alzheimer's disease," Reiss added. The research was published in the journal DNA and Cell Biology.

 
Drinking a Cup of Tea Can Help Prevent Diabetes, New Research Shows
Drinking cups of tea can help prevent type-2 diabetes, according to a growing body of scientific research. A new study from researchers in the US found that black tea inhibits the body from absorbing glucose sugars, too much of which can cause type-2 diabetes. The researchers, who brewed the tea under laboratory conditions, said tea could help control diabetes in humans. “Our findings suggest that black tea and black tea pomace has potential for carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzyme inhibition and this activity depends on high molecular weight phenolic compounds,” the authors of the paper wrote. The research, which was conducted by researchers at Framingham State University in the United States, builds on work done by Japanese scientists two decades earlier. A 1995 study from the Hokkaido Pharmaceutical University School of Pharmacy found that black tea has what scientists call “anti-hyperglycaemic effects”. The study found that rats had “significantly” reduced levels of blood glocuse and that black tea could both prevent and cure rats with diabetes. “The study reveals that, like green tea, black tea also possesses antidiabetic activity,” the researchers found. According to NHS statistics there are approximately 3.1 million adults with diabetes in the UK, with the number expected to rise of 4.6 million by 2030. 90 per cent of those suffering from the condition have type 2 diabetes, which is affect by black tea consumption. Health officials say the increased level in type 2 diabetes is due to increasing level of obesity, a lack of exercise and unhealthy diets. One study funded by pharmaceutical companies and carried out by the York Health Economic Consortium found that the cost of the direct treatment of diabetes to the NHS would increase from £9.8 billion to £16.9 billion over the next 25 years.

 
Diet Soda Can Give Older Adults Pot Belly
Washington: People who regularly consume diet soda in later life are more likely to develop a pot belly, new research suggests. The study shows that increasing diet soda intake is directly linked to greater abdominal obesity in adults 65 years of age and older. Findings raise concerns about the safety of chronic diet soda consumption, which may increase belly fat and contribute to greater risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases, researchers said. Metabolic syndrome - a combination of risk factors that may lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke - is one of the results of the obesity epidemic. In an effort to combat obesity, many adults try to reduce sugar intake by turning to non nutritive or artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin, or sucralose. "Our study seeks to fill the age gap by exploring the adverse health effects of diet soda intake in individuals 65 years of age and older," said lead author Sharon Fowler, from the University of Texas Health Science Centre at San Antonio. "The burden of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease, along with health-care costs, is great in the ever-increasing senior population," said Fowler.
 

 

 

THE PHARMA REVIEW JANUARY FEBRUARY 2015
 

E-Cigarettes as Bad for Lungs as Traditional Ones

London: E-cigarettes have for the first time been found to be harmful to the lungs in the same way as traditional nicotine cigarettes. Scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health confirmed that e-cigarette vapours contain the same potentially dangerous chemicals. Research has also found that e-cigarette vapours contain free radical chemicals previously thought only to be found in tobacco cigarettes and air pollutants.Free radicals are highly reactive agents that can damage molecules within cells resulting in cell death. Cigarette smoke contains 1014 free radicals per puff.
Though e-cigarette vapour contains far fewer free radicals than cigarette smoke their presence in e-cigarettes still suggests potential health risks, the researchers said.
For their study, researchers divided mice into two groups: one was exposed to cigarette vapour in an inhalation chamber in amounts that approximated actual human e-cigarette inhalation for two weeks while the other group was just exposed to air. The researchers then divided each group into three subgroups. One received nasal drops containing Streptococcus pneumonia, bacteria responsible for pneumonia and sinusitis, among other illnesses, in humans. A second received nasal drops of the virus Influenza A and the third subgroup did not receive either virus or bacteria.
The mice exposed to e-cigarette vapour were significantly more likely to develop compromised immune responses to both the virus and the bacteria which in some cases killed the mice, the researchers found. Experts say that both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes are sources of nicotine. E-cigarettes contain less nicotine than cigarettes, but actual nicotine intake by e-cigarette users can approximate that of cigarette smokers.
 

Green Tea Can Fight Side Effects of Supplements
Washington: Drinking green tea for several weeks or months before you start taking green tea-based dietary supplements for weight loss can protect from potential side effects, a new study has claimed.
As high doses of green tea extract supplements for weight loss become more popular, potential liver toxicity becomes a concern, researchers said. Experts in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences gave mice high doses of the green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).
The dosage was equivalent to the amount of the polyphenol that is present in some dietary supplements taken by humans.
One group of mice was pre treated with a diet containing a low level of EGCG for two weeks prior to receiving high doses of the polyphenol.
Another group was fed a diet that did not include EGCG prior to receiving the high, supplement-like doses. After three days of high doses, pretreated mice had a 75% reduction in liver toxicity compared to untreated mice. The research data shows that dietary pretreatment with the green tea polyphenol protects mice from liver toxicity caused by subsequent high oral doses of the same compound, said Josh Lambert, associate professor of food science.
"We believe this study indicates that those who are chronic green tea consumers would be less sensitive to potential liver toxicity from green-tea-based dietary supplements," he said.
"If you are going to take green tea supplements, drinking green tea for several weeks or months ahead of time may reduce your potential side effects," Lambert said.
Tea is rich in catechins, polyphenols that are natural antioxidants. A number of animal studies have shown the preventive effects of green tea polyphenols against obesity.
Lambert pointed out that a recent analysis of 11 human trials with green tea preparations reported a nearly three-pound average body weight loss in intervention groups compared to control groups. Another recently published research in Food and Chemical Toxicology, has revealed a unique property of the green tea polyphenol EGCG.
"It appears that EGCG can modulate its own bioavailability and that dietary treatment may reduce the toxic potential of acute high oral doses of EGCG," said lead researcher Sarah Forester, assistant professor of chemistry, California State University, Bakersfield, a former Penn State post doctoral fellow.
"These data may partly explain the observed variation in liver toxicity response to dietary supplements containing green tea," Forester said. Lambert suggests that people considering green tea supplements should drink green tea instead.
"Drinking green tea rather than taking supplements will allow you to realise the benefits and avoid the risk of liver toxicity," he said.
 

Optimistic people have healthier hearts: Study
Washington: Optimistic people have significantly better cardiovascular health than pessimistic peers, a study of over 5,000 adults has found. US researchers found that people who were the most optimistic were twice as likely to have ideal cardiovascular health with better blood sugar and total cholesterol levels.
"Individuals with the highest levels of optimism have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to their more pessimistic counterparts," said lead author Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois.
"This association remains significant, even after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and poor mental health," Hernandez said. Participants' cardiovascular health was assessed using seven metrics: blood pressure, body mass index, fasting plasma glucose and serum cholesterol levels, dietary intake, physical activity and tobacco use - the same metrics used by the American Heart Association to define heart health.
In accordance with AHA's heart-health criteria, the researchers allocated 0, 1 or 2 points - representing poor, intermediate and ideal scores, respectively - to participants on each of the seven health metrics, which were then summed to arrive at a total cardiovascular health score. Participants' total health scores ranged from 0 to 14, with a higher total score indicative of better health.
The participants, who ranged in age from 45-84, also completed surveys that assessed their mental health, levels of optimism, and physical health, based upon self-reported extant medical diagnoses of arthritis, liver and kidney disease. Individuals' total health scores increased in tandem with their levels of optimism. People who were the most optimistic were 50 and 76% more likely to have total health scores in the intermediate or ideal ranges, respectively.
The association between optimism and cardiovascular health was even stronger when socio-demographic characteristics such as age, race and ethnicity, income and education status were factored in. People who were the most optimistic were twice as likely to have ideal cardiovascular health, and 55% more likely to have a total health score in the intermediate range, the researchers found. Optimists had significantly better blood sugar and total cholesterol levels than their counterparts.
They also were more physically active, had healthier body mass indexes and were less likely to smoke. A paper on the research appears in the journal Health Behavior and Policy Review.

 
Universal Anti-Venom for Snake Bite Planned by Researchers
London: A universal life-saving anti-venom against the bite of every deadly snake is all set to become a reality. Scientists from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine are attempting to develop the first universal anti-venom in sub-Saharan Africa. LSTM has more than 400 snakes in its institute using venom milked from up to 80 of the reptiles each week. Snake bites kill an estimated 30,000 people a year in the region.
The current need to give many vials to treat a patient not only increases the risk of side-effects but often makes treatment unaffordable to the rural, impoverished subsistence farmers that are at greatest risk.
The current limitations to multi-species anti-venoms arise from the process used to make them. Venom is extracted from several species before being injected in low doses into horses or sheep. This does not cause illness in the animals but induces an immune response causing the animals to produce antibodies. These antibodies are then purified from the blood to create anti-venom.
Using multiple snake species, however, means that the animals only make a small amount of antibody to any one species, and the resulting anti-venom is quite weak.
Dr. Robert Harrison, the lead scientist for the research, said "Not only do we expect that our anti-venom will be cheaper, and safer and much more effective than anything else, but it will be able to be used anywhere south of the Sahara". "There are over 20 species of deadly snakes in Sub-Saharan Africa and doctors often rely on the victim's description of the animal to help them decide which treatment to administer," says Dr. Harrison.
"The preferred option therefore is to give a broad-spectrum or poly-specific, anti-venom to cover all the possible snake species that could be responsible. Because these treatments are generally not very effective against any one species, the doctor therefore administers many vials. However, each dose carries a risk of serious side effects and this risk increases with each additional vial." The research team at LSTM, and their collaborators at the Instituto Clodomiro Picado, San Jose, Costa Rica and the Institute de Biomdedicina de Valencia, Spain, have devised a plan to vastly improve the potency of poly-specific anti-venom using a new technique called 'antivenomics' which will significantly expand the effectiveness of the anti-venom, covering all of the most medically-important snakes of sub-Saharan Africa.
Researchers will use the proteins from all of the collected venom to make the universal snake bite treatment. They will add stabilizing chemicals so that it can be stored in the African heat.

 

 

 

THE PHARMA REVIEW JULY AUGUST 2014
 

An Injection To Permanently Reduce Cholesterol In Humans Soon
London: A single injection may soon permanently lower cholesterol levels in humans reducing their risk of heart attack by 90%. Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) scientists collaborating with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a "genome-editing" approach for permanently reducing cholesterol levels in mice through a single injection. The work focused on altering the function of a liver gene called PCSK9. In 2003, a group of researchers in France studying families with very high cholesterol levels and very early heart attacks discovered that PCSK9 was a cholesterol regulator because they found that mutations in this gene seemed to be responsible for the high cholesterol levels and the heart attacks. A research group in Texas discovered that about 3% of the population has mutations in PCSK9 that have the opposite effect. Those with the mutations have low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad) cholesterol levels about 15 to 28% lower than the average level. And the people with that good defect have heart attack risks that range from about 47 to 88% below average. The project to turn normal PCSK9 genes into those with the good defect started last year after a technology called CRISPR/Cas9, was discovered. "Cas9 is a protein that will create a break in DNA and the CRISPR is an RNA component that will bind to a matching sequence. It directs the Cas9 to that sequence in the DNA in which we are interested. This creates a break where you want it. The cell can then repair itself though often with errors which is useful if you want to disrupt a gene," said Kiran Musunuru of HSCI. "Our reasoning was that nature has already done the experiment; you have people who have won the genetic lottery," said Musunuru. "They are protected from heart attack, and there are no known adverse consequences. So that led us to reason that if we could find a way to replicate this, we could significantly protect people from heart attack," the scientist added. "The PCSK9 gene is expressed primarily in the liver producing a protein that is active in the bloodstream and prevents the removal of cholesterol from the blood. Several drug companies have been developing antibodies to it but the problem with antibody-based drugs is they don't last forever; you'd need an injection every few weeks. The main option for reducing cholesterol is statin drugs such as Lipitor but many people taking statin drugs every day still have heart attacks. So there is still a great need for other approaches," Musunuru said.

 
'Cigarette Substitutes Too Could Be Cancerous'
Washington: Nicotine patches may have helped many smokers kick the butt, but new research led by an Indian-origin scientist suggests that they may actually do more harm than good. Nicotine is proving to be a formidable carcinogen, say researchers who warn that nicotine-infused smoking cessation products may not be the safest way to help smokers quit. Nicotine is one of 4,000 chemicals found in cigarette smoke. While many of these chemicals are recognized as carcinogens, nicotine has up until now only been considered addictive rather than carcinogenic. It is heavily used in smoking cessation products in patches, gum, and now in the increasingly popular electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette. Researchers at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute found that nicotine excessively mutates a cell's DNA. Geneticist Jasmin Bavarva and Harold Garner a professor of biological science, computer science, and basic science affiliated with the College of Scie8nce, the College of Engineering, and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, found that nicotine causes thousands of mutations called single nucleotide polymorphisms in exposed cells, compared with control cells that were not exposed. These patterns are similar to those identified in cells experiencing oxidative stress, which is a known precursor to cancer, according to the study published in Oncotarget. A previous study in journal PLOS One by the researchers looked at gene expression patterns caused by nicotine. "We now have a broad picture of genomic effects in nicotine," said Bavarva, lead author of both studies. "These results are important because for the first time they directly measure large numbers of genetic variations caused only by nicotine, showing that nicotine alone can mutate the genome and initiate a cancer state," said Garner, director of the institute's Medical Informatics and Systems Division. "This is particularly timely since nicotine is used as a smoking cessation therapeutic," Garner added.

 

 

 

THE PHARMA REVIEW MAY JUNE 2014
 

Prostate Cancer May Be Sexually Transmitted
Prostate cancer could be a sexually transmitted disease caused by a common infection passed on during intercourse, scientists are claiming. Research by the University of California found a sex infection called trichomoniasis supported cancer growth when a team of scientists tested human prostate cells in a laboratory.
Trichomoniasis is the most common non-viral sexually transmitted infection and is understood to have infected an estimated 275 million people around the world. Infected men can experience pain during urination and thin white discharge from the penis. In women, the infection may trigger soreness and itching around the vagina and a change in discharge, although half of all men and women show no symptoms at all.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), discusses how the STI could make men more vulnerable to cancer. However, Cancer Research UK has said it is too early to add prostate cancer to a list of other cancers caused by infections.
This research follows a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health in 2009, which found a quarter of men with prostate cancer showed signs of trichomoniasis and were more likely to have advanced tumours.
A team led by professor Patricia Johnson found the parasite responsible for causing trichomoniasis, Trichomonas vaginalis, produces a protein that in turn promotes the growth and progression of benign and cancerous prostate cells.
The authors say more research should look into developing their findings as the cause of prostate cancer remains unknown and their study is not a definitive link between the STI and cancer of the prostate. Nicola Smith, health information officer at Cancer Research UK, told the BBC: "This study suggests a possible way the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis could encourage prostate cancer cells to grow and develop more quickly. But the research was only done in the lab, and previous evidence in patients failed to show a clear link between prostate cancer and this common sexually transmitted infection. There are still no known lifestyle factors that seem to affect the risk of developing the disease - and no convincing evidence for a link with infection."'

 
Strawberries Lower Cholesterol, Study Suggests
A team of volunteers ate half a kilo of strawberries a day for a month to see whether it altered their blood parameters in any way. At the end of this unusual treatment, their levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides reduced significantly, according to the analyses conducted by Italian and Spanish scientists.
Several studies had already demonstrated the antioxidant capacity of strawberries, but now researchers from the Università Politecnica delle Marche (UNIVPM, Italy), together with colleagues from the Universities of Salamanca, Granada and Seville (Spain), conducted an analysis that revealed that these fruits also help to reduce cholesterol.
The team set up an experiment in which they added 500 g of strawberries to the daily diets of 23 healthy volunteers over a month. They took blood samples before and after this period to compare data. The results, which are published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, show that the total amount of cholesterol, the levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL or bad cholesterol) and the quantity of triglycerides fell to 8.78%, 13.72% and 20.8% respectively. The high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol) remained unchanged.
Eating strawberries also improved other parameters such as the general plasma lipid profile, antioxidant biomarkers (such as vitamin C or oxygen radical absorbance capacity), antihemolytic defences and platelet function. All parameters returned to their initial values 15 days after abandoning 'treatment' with strawberries. As Maurizio Battino, researcher at UNIVPM and Director of the study, said: "This is the first time a study has been published that supports the protective role of the bioactive compounds in strawberries in tackling recognised markers and risk factors for cardiovascular diseases."
The researcher admits that there is still no direct evidence about which compounds of this fruit are behind their beneficial effects, "but all the signs and epidemiological studies point towards anthocyanins, the vegetable pigments that afford them their red colour."
The research team confirmed in other studies that eating strawberries also protects against ultraviolet radiation, reduces the damage that alcohol can have on the gastric mucosa, strengthens erythrocytes, or red blood cells, and improves the antioxidant capacity of the blood.
In fact, this year they will publish another study in the journal 'Food Chemistry' in which they will demonstrate that consuming strawberries increases the antioxidant function of blood flow, erythrocytes and mononuclear cells.

 

 

 

THE PHARMA REVIEW MARCH APRIL 2014
 

Angry People at Increased Risk of Heart Attacks
London: Scientists have confirmed hot headed people with outbursts of anger are more prone to heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular problems in the two hours immediately afterwards. Five episodes of anger a day would result in around 158 extra heart attacks per 10,000 people with a low cardiovascular risk per year, increasing to about 657 extra heart attacks per 10,000 among those with a high cardiovascular risk. The Harvard School of Public Health researchers say the risk with a single outburst of anger is relatively low - one extra heart attack per 10,000 people per year could be expected among people with low cardiovascular risk who were angry only once a month, increasing to an extra four per 10,000 people with a high cardiovascular risk. Rage often precedes an attack and may be the trigger, say the US researchers who trawled medical literature. They identified a dangerous period of about two hours following an outburst when people were at heightened risk. The meta-analysis found in the two hours immediately after feeling angry, a person's risk of a heart attack increased nearly five-fold (4.74%), the risk of stroke increased more than three-fold (3.62%). Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation Doireann Maddock said, "This research found that people's risk of heart attack and stroke increased for a short time after they lost their temper. It's not clear what causes this effect. It may be linked to the physiological changes that anger causes to our bodies, but more research is needed to explore the biology behind this.''

 
Loneliness, Not Obesity, Biggest Killer of Elderly
London: Loneliness is a major health risk for the elderly and it can increase the risk of premature death by 14%, warns a new research. A meta-analysis showed loneliness has twice the impact on early death as obesity. The consequences to health are dramatic, as feeling isolated from others can disrupt sleep, elevate blood pressure, increase morning rises in the stress hormone cortisol, alter gene expression in immune cells and increase depression and lower overall subjective well-being. John Cacioppo, professor of psychology at the University of Chicagowho conducted the study, said the impact of loneliness on premature death is nearly as strong as the impact of disadvantaged socioeconomic status, which they found increases the chances of dying early by 19%. It is not solitude or physical isolation itself, but rather the subjective sense of isolation that shows to be so profoundly disruptive. Older people living alone are not necessary lonely if they remain socially engaged and enjoy the company of those around them. The research has identified three core dimensions to healthy relationships-intimate connectedness, which comes from having someone in your life you feel affirms who you are; relational connectedness, which comes from having face-to-face contacts that are mutually rewarding; and collective connectedness, which comes from feeling that you're part of a group or collective beyond individual existence. But some aspects of aging, such as blindness and loss of hearing, place people at a special risk for becoming isolated and lonely. The study should come as an eye opener for Indian families as data from India's health ministry show the number of people in the 60-plus age group in country is expected to increase from 100 million in 2013 to 198 million in 2030. India's Planning Commission says the country's elderly population will rise to 12% of the total population by 2025, 10% of which would be bedridden, requiring utmost care.

 
Simple Blood Test To Predict Sudden
Cardiac Death Risk

London: A simple blood test can now predict your risk of sudden cardiac death. Samuel C Dudley, a lifespan researcher from the Cardiovascular Institute at Rhode Island in the US has found that a simple blood test can predict a person's risk for Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) enabling physicians to more quickly and accurately assess a patient's need for an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD). Currently risk assessments are determined by measuring the fraction of blood ejected from the heart in any one heartbeat, the ejection fraction. When the ejection fraction falls below 35%, a patient may benefit from an ICD. It is believed that approximately 60% of patients who receive defibrillators as a result of these assessments may not actually need one. This blood test will determine more accurately which patients do in fact need the defibrillator. Sudden cardiac death is an unexpected death caused by loss of heart function, or sudden cardiac arrest. It is the most common cause of natural death in the US resulting in approximately 325,000 adult deaths in the country each year. The incidence rate is quite high in India - about 10% of all cardiac-related deaths are sudden while the mean age of the patients who die is lower than 60 years. Studies have showed that one-third of the patients who die of SCD had heart attacks in the past and 80% of them were smokers or had risk factors like hypertension and diabetes. Dudley said, "This is the first test of its kind. Never before have clinicians been able to accurately assess a patient's risk of sudden cardiac death by performing a blood test. The primary prevention model for at-risk patients in the US is to implant an ICD before a cardiac event happens. While it's better to be safe this has led to widespread overuse of ICDs throughout the US and abroad." SCD is a condition in which the heart unexpectedly stops beating. When this occurs, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. If not treated the sufferer dies within minutes. Our heart has an electrical system that controls the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. Abnormal functioning of this electrical system can cause irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow or with an irregular rhythm. Some arrhythmias can cause the heart to stop pumping blood to the body and this leads to SCA. This, however, is not the same as a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to part of the heart muscle is blocked but the heart usually doesn't stop beating. People who have heart disease are at higher risk. But people who appear healthy and have no known risk factors can also fall prey to this killer.

 
Alzheimer’s Risk: Blood Test Can Tell
Paris: Scientists have developed a blood test that can predict with more than 90% accuracy if a healthy person will develop mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease within three years. The blood test can identify 10 lipids, or fats, in the blood that predict Alzheimer's disease onset. It could be ready for use in clinical studies in as few as two years, researchers said. "Our novel blood test offers the potential to identify people at risk for progressive cognitive decline and can change how patients, their families and treating physicians plan for and manage the disorder," said the study's corresponding author Howard J Federoff , professor of neurology and executive vice president for health sciences at Georgetown University Medical Center. Federoff said that the efforts to develop drugs to slow or reverse the progression of Alzheimer's disease may have failed because the drugs were evaluated too late in the disease process. "The preclinical state of the disease offers a window of opportunity for timely disease-modifying intervention," Federoff said. "Biomarkers such as ours that define this asymptomatic period are critical for successful development and application of these therapeutics," he added. The study included 525 healthy participants aged 70 and older who gave blood samples upon enrolling and at various points in the study. Over the course of the five-year study, 74 participants met the criteria for either mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) or a condition known as amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), in which memory loss is prominent. Of these, 46 were diagnosed upon enrolment and 28 developed aMCI or mild AD during the study (the latter group called converters). In the study's third year, the researchers selected 53 participants who developed aMCI/AD (including 18 converters) and 53 cognitively normal matched controls for the lipid biomarker discovery phase of the study. A panel of 10 lipids was discovered, which appears to reveal the breakdown of neural cell membranes in participants who develop symptoms of cognitive impairment or AD. The panel was validated using the remaining 21 aMCI/AD participants (including 10 converters), and 20 controls. Blinded data were analysed to determine if the subjects could be characterised into the correct diagnostic categories based solely on the 10 lipids identified by researchers.

 

 

 

THE PHARMA REVIEW JAN FEB 2014
 

New Stem Cell Tech May Revolutionize Treatments
New York: A simple lab treatment can turn ordinary cells from mice into stem cells, according to a surprising study that hints at a possible new way to grow tissue for treating illnesses like diabetes and Parkinson's disease. The feat is being hailed as a "game-changer" in the quest to grow transplant tissue in the lab. Researchers in Boston and Japan exposed cells from spleens of newborn mice to a more acidic environment that they're used to. In lab tests, that turned them into stem cells, showing enough versatility to produce the tissues of a mouse embryo, for example. Cells from skin, muscle, fat and other tissue of newborn mice appeared to go through the same change, which could be triggered by exposing cells to any of a variety of stressful situations, researchers said. Scientists hope to harness stem cells to replace defective tissue in a wide variety of diseases. By making stem cells from the patient, they can get around the problem of transplant rejection. The new approach - provided it overcomes safety hurdles - could smash cost and technical barriers in stem-cell research, said independent commentators. "If it works in man, this could be the game-changer that makes a wide range of cell therapies available usingthe patient's own cells as starting material," said Chris Mason, a professor of regenerative medicine at University College London.
 
Anxiety Related to Stroke Risk
Could anxiety boost the risk for stroke? A new long-term study suggests just that - the greater the anxiety, the greater the risk for stroke. Respondents who suffered the most anxiety had a 33 percent higher risk for stroke compared to those with the lowest anxiety levels, found the research, published in the online edition of the journal Stroke. Everyone has some anxiety now and then. But when it's elevated and! or chronic, it may have an effect on your blood vessel system years down the road. Also, people with high anxiety levels are more likely to smoke and be physically inactive that further increases the risk of stroke.
 

Longer Breastfeeding Tied to Better Development
Children who are breastfed for more than six months have better developed cognitive, language and motor skills as toddlers, a new study has found. The recent study shows there are significant medical benefits of breast-feeding. When the babies were nine months old, the mothers were asked when they started breastfeeding and how long they breastfed. Children were also tested for cognitive abilities, language skills and motor development at 18 months. Children who were breastfed for any amount of time scored higher on the cognitive, receptive communication and fine motor portions of the test than children who weren't breastfed.
 

Fiber-Rich Foods Cut Heart Disease Risk
Boosting the amount of fiber in your diet may lower your risk for heart disease, a new study has found. With so much controversy causing many to avoid Carbohydrates and grains, this new study reassures of the importance of fiber in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. The researchers analysed data from various countries to assess different kinds of fiber intake from sources such as whole grains, potato skins, legumes, nuts, and oats etc. The more fiber people consumed, the lower was their risk of heart disease. Fiber through cereals reduces the risk of coronary heart disease more than the risk of cardiovascular disease.
 

Dark Side to Beta - Carotene Overdose
New research suggests that there could be health hazards associated with consuming excessive amounts of betacarotenethe pigment that gives color to foods such as carrots, Sweet potatoes and certain greens. Scientists have found that certain molecules that derive from betacarotene have an opposite effect in the body: they actually block some actions of vitamin A, which is critical to human vision and immune function. Vitamin A provides its health benefits by activating hundreds of genes. This means that if compounds contained in a typical source of the vitamin are actually lowering its activity instead of promoting its benefits, too much beta-carotene could paradoxically result in too little vitaminA.
 

 

THE PHARMA REVIEW NOV DEC 2013
 

Baby Born With HIV May be Cured
Doctors now have convincing evidence that they put HlV into remission, hopefully for good, in a Mississippi baby born with the AIDS virus - a medical first. The case was reported earlier this year but some doctors were skeptical that the baby was really infected rather than testing positive because of exposure to virus in the mom's blood-The new report, published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, makes clear that the girl, now 3, was infected in the womb. She was treated unusually aggressively and shows no active infection despite stopping AIDS medicines 18 months ago. Doctors won't call it a cure because they don't know what proof or how much time is needed to declare someone free of HIV infection, long feared to be permanent. "We want to be very cautious here. We're calling it remission because we'd like to observe the child for a longer time and be absolutely sure there's no rebound," said Dr Katherine Luzuriaga an AlDS expert.

Cancer Shot Tied to Auto-Immune Conditions?
Paris: One of France's top medical experts appealed for calm as a scare over a widely-administered vaccine to prevent cervical cancer gathered momentum. Daniel Floret, the chair of the national committee that oversees vaccinations, said there was no evidence to link Gardasil, a vaccine against, the human papilloma virus (HPV), with serious auto-immune conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Floret was responding to a criminal complaint filed by an 18-year-Old woman against Gardasil's French distributor, Sanofi Pasteur MSD. The case was being given prominent play by France's media. "The fact that a complaint has been made does not mean there is a problem. We are putting all the focus on the Potential side effects and forgetting what this vaccine brings," said Floret, arguing that the formula had prevented many deaths from cancer. "None of the international medical safety controls has showed up any link between this vaccine and any kind of auto-immune disease, and millions of doses have been administered," Floret added. Licensed for use in 120 countries, Gardasil has been given to 2.3 million French adolescents. It is one of two blockbuster HPV vaccines used around the world on the basis of research showing a link between HPV and cervical, oral and anal cancer. In Britain, where the vaccine is offered to all girls between the ages of 12 and 13, the National Health Service estimates that the programme saves 400 lives per year. The woman who has initiated criminal proceedings in France was vaccinated with Gardasil at the end of 2010 when she was 15. Within two months she had developed symptoms that included vertigo, vomiting, temporary loss of sight and the use of her legs, and facial paralysis. According to her lawyer, Jean-Christophe Coubris, she has been diagnosed as suffering from either an acute form of encephalomyelitis, a generalized inflammation of the inunune system, or multiple sclerosis. Her legal case seeks to establish the liability of both Sanofi and France's medicines safety agency (ANSM), arguing that the latter body failed in its statutory duty of care when it authorized the vaccine.

Co2 Could Warm Earth for Centuries
Washington: Even if carbon dioxide emissions came to a sudden halt, the greenhouse gas already present in the Earth's atmosphere could continue to warm our planet for hundreds of years, a new study has found. The study led by Princeton University researchers suggests that it might take a lot less carbon than previously thought to reach the global temperature scientists deem unsafe. The researchers simulated an Earth on which, after 1,800 billion tonnes of carbon entered the atmosphere, all carbon dioxide emissions suddenly stopped. Scientists commonly use the scenario of emissions screeching to a stop to gauge the heat-trapping staying power of carbon dioxide. Within a millennium of this simulated shutoff, the carbon itself faded steadily with 40% absorbed by Earth's oceans and landmasses within 20 years and 80% soaked up at the end of the 1,000 years. By itself, such a decrease of atmospheric carbon dioxide should lead to cooling. But the heat trapped by the carbon dioxide took a divergent track. After a century of cooling, the planet warmed by 0.37"C during the next 400 years as the ocean absorbed less and less heat.

Milk May Protect us From Pollution
London: Scottish Scientists are exploring the Pollution protecting powers of milk produced by cows in the 48 hours after giving birth. Researchers at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland want to find out whether drinking the milk produced by cows in the 48 hours after giving birth could protect athletes lungs from the effects of air pollution. Known as bovine colostrum, the early-milk which is rich in antioxidants has already been found to aid gut problems like diarrhoea and boost athletic performance. Now, it is hoped it could be used to protect athletes in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio - a city known for its elevated levels of air pollution. Dr Elisa Gomes, who is leading the study, said," We are testing competitive Cyclists, who will be given boVine colostrum every day for 2 weeks. We will then monitor their performance as they cycle in a Special environmental Chamber which is able to replicate the hot, humid and ozone-polluted environment athletes will face in Rio."

 

 

THE PHARMA REVIEW SEPT OCT 2013
 

Keep Teeth Clean
"Chronic gum disease may lead to heart trouble as bacteria from infected gums often enter the bloodstream and attach to the fatty deposits in heart, leading to formation of clots," warns Dr Vivek Soni of DY Patil Duntal College and Hospital, Mumbai. So brush twice a day.

Get A Pet
Research by Dr Warwick Anderson and his team at Australia's Baker Medical Research Institute suggests that pets help cut stress, regulate blood pressure and control triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Playing with your dog or simply watching your gold fish swim in his little bowl can slow your heart beat and lower shooting blood pressure.

Stay Happy
A Study published in the American Journal of Cardiology this June states that happy, cheerful people are less likely to be afflicted with heart issues. So if you don't have a natural positive disposition, work consciously at developing one.

Exercise is Non-Negotiable
It boosts immunity, makes the arteries supple (bring down BP), burns calories and helps develop alternate circulation routes to keep attacks at bay. "Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day (like running jogging, skipping, cross training etc)," advises Dr Ramakanta Panda, Vice Chairman and chief cardiovascular thoracic surgeon, Asian Heart Institute Mumbai.

Get Musical
A study presented at this year's European Society of Cardiology Congress in Amsterdam states that when you listen to music you enjoy, endorphins released from the brain improve your vascular health. Choose your music carefully though. Tunes that makes you anxious have the opposite effect.

Score Enough D
People with the lowest Vitamin D levels are at more than twice the risk of dying from a heart disease compared to those who have the highest Vitamin D levels. Get out in the morning and let your body make some D.

Sleep Enough
A team of Netherlands-based researchers have found that adding daily shut eye of seven hours of more to an already healthy lifestyle (regular exercise, good diet, no smoking and moderate alcohol drinking) results in a massive 65% lowering of cardiovascular disease risk.

Take More Naps
A 30-minute nap in the middle of the day may actually save your heart, according to a 2007 Greek study. Researchers found that a siesta helps lower stress levels and fends off heart disease. Find a couch and sign out for half an hour or put your head down on the office desk after every office meeting.

Nix Alcohol
"Not only does it damage the liver [by increasing triglyceride levels], it also damages the heart muscles, weakening the heart's pumping capacity," says Dr Panda. "If you must drink, draw the line at a single (30ml) serving for women and two drink, for men per day. Or switch to red wine (max 60 ml per day) to soak up its antioxidants."

Grapes Aren't Sour
If you don't drink wine, chug grape or munch juice on a bunch of grapes. A study by the University of Connecticut (Published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences) found that grapes contain the same powerful disease - fighting antioxidants that give wine its heart-friendly benefits. Just skip the added sugar.

Halt The Salt
A little salt is wonderful, but even a little more than your daily requirement of five grams (or one teaspoon) is bad for your heart. It triggers high blood pressure, excess salt calcifies, scars and destroys the muscles, valves and arteries of the entire coronary route. Avoid processed foods - the biggest culprit - even if you have low BP.

Cut Saturated Fats
Butter, mayonnaise, pork, red meat, hydrogenated oils (vanaspati), cheese, full-fat milk are all high in saturated fats that elevate bad cholestrol, leading to plaque build-up in arteries.

 

 
THE PHARMA REVIEW JULY AUGUST 2013

Does Skipping Breakfast Lead to Heart Diseases?
Men who regularly start the morning without a meal are 27 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack or develop fatal heart disease, researchers found. The link could be explained by problems like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes which are more common in those who miss breakfast and can lead to heart problems. The study, published in the Circulation Journal, tracked the health of 26,902 men aged 45 to 82 over 16 years, during which time 1,572 developed heart problems. Previous studies have found that people who eat breakfast each day are at lower risk of obesity because they are less likely to snack between meals.

 
Now, Ultrasound Via a Skin Patch
London: Ultrasound could soon be delivered through a Bandaid-like skin patch. Researchers have successfully tested a skin-patch ultrasound that heals venous ulcers, significantly accelerates tissue repair and reduces costs for chronic wound management.
The team from Drexel University, Philadelphia, administered a new method for treating chronic wounds using a novel ultrasound applicator that can be worn like a sticking plaster. The applicator delivers low-frequency, low-intensity ultrasound directly to wounds, and was found to significantly accelerate healing in five patients with venous ulcers. Venous ulcers are caused when valves in the veins mal- function, causing blood to pool in the leg instead of returning to the heart. This pooling, called venous stasis, can cause proteins and cells in the vein to leak into the surrounding tissue, leading to inflammation and formation of an ulcer. The technology was developed by the researchers with funding from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, part of the National Institutes of Health, itself an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Standard treatment for venous ulcers involves a technique in which patients wear elastic socks that squeeze the leg to prevent blood from flowing backwards. Despite these measures, wounds often take months or years to heal.

Stem Cells Harvested from Urine
London: A simple urine sample may soon help doctors harvest the lifesaving stem cells. Doctors have for the first time successfully directed stem cells from urine to become bladder-type cells, such as smooth muscle which lines the bladder. Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine in the US have identified stem cells in urine that can be directed to become multiple cell types. Doctors say urine-derived cells could also form bone, cartilage, fat, skeletal muscle, nerve, and endothelial cells, which line blood vessels. The multi potency of the cells suggests their use in a variety of therapies. "These cells can be obtained through a simple, non-invasive low-cost approach that avoids surgical procedures," said Yuanyuan Zhang, expert of regenerative medicine in the project. "These stem cells represent virtually a limitless supply of autologous cells for treating not only urology-related conditions such 'as kidney disease, urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction, but could be used in other fields as well," he said.

 
Indian ‘Cigarette Snatcher’ Passes Away in Dubai
An Indian cancer patient, who campaigned against smoking in unusual ways such as confronting strangers in public places and pleading with them to quit smoking, succumbed to lung cancer in a Dubai hospital. Abraham Samuel, 53, popularly known as 'cigarette snatcher' died on Sunday evening. Samuel is survived by his wife and two daughters aged 22 and 20. He smoked two packets a day for 35 years and was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010. It was then that he turned to approaching strangers in public places and pleading with them to quit smoking earning the title of 'cigarette snatcher', the Gulf News report said. Samuel's method of taking upon him-self to "convert" smokers around him instead of indulging in self-pity had its effect on a lot of people who chose to stop smoking. "When I see someone smoking, I simply walk up to them and ask them to give it up. People don't always like it, but I don't stop myself. Sometime I even open my shirt and show the my radiation marks-so they understand the severity of my condition. "I don't know how much time I have left in this world, but I will do as much as I can to tell people to give up smoking," Samuel had told a newspaper few months back.

 

 

THE PHARMA REVIEW MAY JUNE 2013

Pop This Pill to Prevent Brain Aging, Prolong Life
New York: A pill that can mimic the beneficial effects of calorie restriction may help prevent brain aging and even prolong life span, a new study has claimed. Previous studies have suggested that sharply reducing calorie intake, by as much as 40% could slow aging in cells and may even prolong life span. Now, researchers say they have found a way to mimic the beneficial effects of calorie restriction on the brain with a drug. The pill can activate an enzyme in brain cells, and the study showed the drug delayed both the cognitive impairment associated with aging and Alzheimer's disease, and the loss of nerve cells that happens with ageing, 'My Health News Daily' reported. The new study done in mice suggests scientists could develop drugs that stave off decline in human brain function. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology focused on how calorie restriction affects brain cells. They showed that restricting the calorie intake of laboratory mice by 30% boosted levels of an enzyme in the brain, and delayed the loss of nerve cells that can accompany decline in brain function. The calorie-deprived mice also did better on memory tests, compared with their well-fed counterparts. Researchers fed the mice a regular diet, but also gave them the enzyme-blocking drug. These mice had better functioning brain cells, and did better on cognitive tests, just as the mice that were fed a calorie-restricted diet.
 
Passive Smoking Can Make Kids Aggressive
Toronto: Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke in early childhood are more likely to grow up to be physically aggressive and antisocial, a new study warned.
Researchers from Univerrsity of Montreal in Canada found that aggressive behaviour in kids was linked specifically to secondhand smoke exposure in childhood regardless of whether they were exposed during pregnancy or their parents have a history of being antisocial. "Secondhand smoke is in fact more dangerous that inhaled smoke, and 40'0 of children worldwide are exposed to it. "Moreover, exposure to this smoke at early childhood is particularly dangerous, as the child's brain is still developing,” said researcher Linda Pagani.
 
Smoking Right After Waking up Raises Cancer Risk
Washington: Smoking a cigarette immediately after waking up in the morning may increase the risk of developing lung or oral cancer, a new study has warned. "We found that smokers who consume cigarettes immediately after waking have higher levels of NNAL - a metabolite of the tobacco- specific carcinogen NNK in their blood than smokers who refrain from smoking a half hour or more after waking, regardless of how many cigarettes they smoke per day,"said Steven Branstetter, assistant professor of biobehavioural health in Pennsylvania State University. According to Branstetter, other research has shown that NNK induces lung tumours in several rodent species. Levels of NNAL in the blood can therefore predict lung cancer risk in rodents as well as in humans. In addition, NNAL levels are stable in smokers over time, and a single measurement can accurately reflect an individual's exposure. Branstetter and his colleague Joshua Muscat, professor of public health sciences, examined data on 1,945 smoking adult participants from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey who had provided urine samples for analysis of NNAL.
The researchers found that around 32% of the participants they examined smoked their cigarette of the day within 5 minutes of waking; 31% smoked within 6 to 30 minutes of walking; 18% smoked within 31 to 60 minutes of walking; and 19% smoked more than one hour after waking. In addition, the researchers found that the NNAL level in the participants' blood was correlated with the participants' age, the age they started smoking and their gender. "Most importantly, we found that NNAL level was highest among people who smoked the soonest up on waking, regardless of the frequency of smoking and other factors that predict NNAL concentrations," Branstetter said. People who smoke sooner after waking inhale more deeply and more thoroughly, which could explain the higher levels of NNAL in their blood.”
 
Iodine Deficiency During Pregnancy
Lowers Child’s IQ
 
London: Iodine deficiency during pregnancy, something rampant among Indian women, adversely affects the child’s mental development. A UK study published in medical journal The Lancet on Thursday has shown that iodine - which is consumed mainly via dairy products and seafood - is essential for producing hormones made by the thyroid gland, which have a direct impact on fetal brain development. A recent Indian health ministry survey conducted in 324 districts across the country found that 263 districts are still endemic with Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) like brain damage, miscarriages, dwarfism and mental retardation. A group of researchers from survey and Bristol universities, followed 1000 pregnant UK women and measured the iodine concentration in urine samples taken in the first trimester. Following WHO guidelines on recommended concentrations of iodine during pregnancy, they classified women who had an iodine-to-creatinine ratio of less than 150 as being iodine deficient, and those with a ratio of 150 or more as iodine sufficient. Over 67% of the women fell into the category of less than 150. Mental development of the women's children was then assessed by measuring child IQ at age 8 and reading ability at age 9. The researchers found that children of women in the iodine-deficient group were significantly more likely to have low scores of verbal IQ, reading accuracy, and reading comprehension.
 
Going Grey too Soon? Finally, There’s a Cure 
London: Using hair dyes may soon be a thing of the past. Scientists have for the first time reversed premature greying of hair. British and German scientists have created a new compound that reverses oxidative stress, thus curing loss of hair or skin colour. The researchers found that people who are going grey develop massive oxidative stress via accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in the hair follicles, which causes hair to bleach itself from the inside out. The research now shows that this massive accumulation of hydrogen peroxide can be cured with a treatment developed by the researchers described as a topical UVB-activated compound called PC-KUS (a modified pseudocatalase). The study also shows that the same treatment works for the skin condition vitiligo-a disease that causes skin depigmentation to almost 65 million people globally. Treatment options for vitiligo are presently limited. Current options include phototherapy, which needs to be administered for three days every week for three years to achieve even partial pigmentation-that too in only 30% of the patients. “To treat vitiligo, we analyzed an international group of 2,211 patients with vitiligo,” said Karin Schallreuter, author of the study from the Institute for Pigmentary Disorders. Of that group, 57 or 2.4% were diagnosed with strictly segmental vitiligo (SSV), and 76 or 3.2% were diagnosed with mixed vitiligo.

 
THE PHARMA REVIEW MARCH APRIL 2013

Antibiotic Resitance as Bad as Terror Threat?
London: Resistance to antibiotics is all set to get listed alongside catastrophic terrorist attacks, severe gas-rich volcanic eruptions, coastal flooding and pandemic influenza in UK’s National Risk Civil Emergencies. England’s chief medical officer professor Dame Sally Davies has called antibiotic resistance a “ticking time bomb” with the world facing an “apocalyptic scenario” where 7% of all hospital admissions are taking place due to drug-resistant infections. She has warned that the global health system could slip back by 200 years unless the catastrophic threat of antibiotic resistance is successfully tackled. UK’s Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (the Act) describes a civil emergency as “an event which threatens serious damage to human welfare-loss of human life.” Professor Davies says globally, in another 20 years, people will die more often following even a minor surgery. “A simple cut to your finger could leave you fighting for your life. Cases of E Coli and Klebsiella bacteria have increased by two-thirds in recent years. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland 99,000 cases of bloodstream infections were reported in 2011-12. E Coli alone accounted for 36% of cases compared with just 1.6% due to MRSA. Around 5,000 patients a year die from such blood poisoning each year, half with an antibiotic-resistant organism,” Davies said. According to her, while a new infectious disease has been discovered nearly every year over the past 30 years, there have been no new antibiotics since 1987, leaving our armoury nearly empty as diseases become resistant to existing drugs. Professor Davies said, “Antimicrobial resistance poses a catastrophic threat. If we don’t act now, routine operations like hip replacements or organ transplants could be deadly because of the risk of infection. That’s why governments across the world, including the World Health Organization and G8, need to take this seriously”. UK will also publish a five year UK Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy shortly which will advocate the responsible use of antibiotics and strengthened surveillance. Dame Sally urged the government to raise the issue during next month’s G8 Summit in London. Resistance to antibiotics is becoming a serious threat for India because of a popular habit to pop pills at will. Even the WHO recently warned that the world is staring at a post-antibiotic era, when common infections will no longer have a cure.
 
Sperm are Healthiest in Winter
America: Autumn is the time of year most associated with bumper crops of babies, and according to an Israeli study, there may be a scientific reason for it: Human sperm are generally at their healthiest in winter and early spring. Based on samples from more than 6,000 men treated for infertility, researchers writing in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found sperm in greater numbers, with a steady decline in quality from spring onward. “The winter and spring semen patterns are compatible with increased fecund ability and may be a plausible explanation of the peak number of deliveries during the fall,” wrote lead researchers Eliahu Levitas from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva in Israel. If there is a seasonal pattern, they said, that knowledge may “be of paramount importance, especially in couples with male-related infertility struggling with unsuccessful and prolonged fertility treatments.” For the study, Levitas and his colleagues analyzed 6.455 semen samples.
 
Heart Diseases not a Modern Ill, Mummies Show
London: Like 4.6 crore Indians at present, ancient hunter-gatherers also suffered from clogged arteries, revealing that the plaque build-up causing blood clots, heart attacks and strokes is not just a result of fatty diets or couch potato habits. Ground-breaking research announced on Monday in the British medical journal ‘The Lancet’ after studying 137 mummies from ancient Egypt, Peru, south-west America and the Aleutian Island in Alaska, spanning 4,000 years of human history has revealed that atherosclerosis or hardening and narrowing of the arteries – the disease that causes heart attacks and strokes-may have been much more common among ancient peoples than previously thought. CT scans to look for the characteristic signs of atherosclerosis-vascular calcification or build-up of a hard calcified substance along the walls of arteries found that over a third (34%) of the mummies examined showed signs of probable or definite atherosclerosis. Older people were more likely to show signs of the disease which was equally common in mummies identified as male or female. Professor Randall Thompson, of Saint Luke’s Heart Institute in Kansas City, said, “The fact that we found similar levels of atherosclerosis in all of the different cultures we studied, all of whom had very different lifestyles and diets, suggests that atherosclerosis may have been far more common in the ancient world than it is thought to be.
 

THE PHARMA REVIEW JANUARY FEBRUARY 2013
 
Brewing a Healthy Drink: Tea made from Coffee Leaves
London: Scientists have discovered a ‘super brew’ – tea made from coffee leaves – which they claim is healthier than both of the drinks. The coffee leaf tea, which is said to have an ‘earthy’ taste that is less bitter than tea and not as strong as coffee, boasts high levels of compounds which lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease, experts said. It also carries far less caffeine than traditional tea or coffee and contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported. The coffee leaves were analysed by researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, South-West London, together with researchers in Montpellier, France. They believe the drink – from the leaves of the coffee plant – has thus far been overlooked because of the preoccupation with the plant’s seeds, coffee beans, which are nowhere near as healthy. While there is evidence coffee leaf tea is drunk in places such as Ethiopia, South Sudan and Indonesia, previous attempts to import it into Britain from as early as the 1800s have been unsuccessful. After analysing 23 species of coffee plant and finding many health benefits, the researchers now hope the coffee tea could rival the well established types of coffee and black and green teas in Britain.

3 Babies Per Day Hooked on Heroin in UK
London: Three babies a day born in the UK are addicted to heroin, crack cocaine and other drugs, a new study claims. Figures show over the past five years in Britain, more than 5,500 babies have been born hooked on the drugs because of their mother’s own addictions. Statistics from the department of health show that of all the newborn babies were showing “neonatal withdrawal symptoms” within the first few hours of drawing breath, the Daily Mail said. This can see the babies who need specialist care to cope with fever, severe vomiting and diarrhea and are so addicted they fit within the first few hours of life – given opiates to “wean them off” heroine. The figures, revealed by Conservative MP for Enfield North Nick de Bois, show the highest rate of addicted baby births is in the North West Strategic Health Authority, which covers Liverpool and Manchester.
 
Myth Busted: Smoking Can’t Relieve Stress
London: Contrary to the popular perception, smoking does not relieve stress, while quitting does, a study has found. UK researchers measured anxiety levels in almost 500 smokers – before and after they tried to give up and found the claims of benefits associated with nicotine are a myth. One in five people said they smoked to help them deal with stress, the Daily mail reported. All took part in a National Health Service smoking cessation programme, which involved being given nicotine patches and attending two monthly appointments. Six months after signing up for the course, 68 of the 491 participants were still abstaining – and they were less anxious than before. However, those who tried to give up and failed were more stressed than in the beginning, according to the findings published in the British Journal of Poychiatry.
 
Insulin Code Out, Say Bye to Needles
Melbourne: In a major breakthrough that could help millions of diabetics, Australian researchers have solved a 20-year mystery that could which could spell the end of daily injections. The new knowledge on how insulin works at a molecular level could be exploited to develop improved insulin medications to treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, they said. Researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research have captured the first three-dimensional images of insulin “docking” to its receptor, a mystery scientists have been trying to solve for two decades. Previously, scientists remained unsure as to how insulin binds to the receptor on the surface of cells to allow them to take up sugar from the blood and transform it into energy. The international research team was led by scientists from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in Melbourne, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Chicago, the University of York and the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry in Prague. Lead researchers Mike Lawrence, an Associate Professor at the institute’s Structural Biology division said, “This discovery could be given in ways other than injection, or an insulin that has improved properties or longer activity so that it doesn’t need to be taken as often. “It may also have ramifications for diabetes treatment in developing nations, by creating insulin that is more stable and less likely to degrade when not kept cold, an angle being pursued by our collaborators. Our findings are a new platform for developing these kinds of medications,” Lawrence said. The insulin is a key treatment for diabetics, but there are many ways that its properties could potentially be improved, the Gizmag website reported. ‘Understanding how insulin interacts with the insulin receptor is fundamental to the development of novel insulin’s for the treatment of diabetes. “We can now exploit this knowledge to design new insulin medications with improved properties, which is very exciting,” he said.
 
 
THE PHARMA REVIEW NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2012

Dark Secret: Gorge on Chocolates to Stay Slim
London: Here’s the perfect excuse to gorge on chocolates – eating the mouth watering snack regularly can help people stay slim, say researchers. The findings come from a study of nearly 1,000 American people which looked at diet, calorie intake and body mass index – a measure of obesity. It found those who ate chocolate a few times a week were slimmer than those who ate it occasionally. Even though chocolate is loaded with calories, it contains ingredients that may favour weight loss rather than fat synthesis. So, despite boosting calorie intake regular chocolate consumption was related to lower BMI in the study, say the researchers. The link remained even when other factors, like how much exercise individuals did, were taken into account. And it appears it is how often one eats chocolate that is important, rather than how much of it ones eats. The study found no link with quantity consumed. And, according to the researchers, there is only one chance in a hundred that their findings could be explained by chance alone. ‘’Our findings appear to add to a body of information suggesting that the composition of calories, not just number of them, matters for determining their ultimate impact on weight,’’ lead author Beatrice Golomb at the University of California at San Diego, was quoted by the ‘BBC’ as saying. Golomb and her team believe that antioxidant compounds, called catechines, can improve lean muscle mass and reduce weight at least studies in rodents would suggest this might be so. Mice fed for 15 days with epicatechin (present in dark chocolate) had improved exercise performance and observable changes to their muscle composition. They say clinical trails are now needed in humans to see if this is the case.
 
New Imaging Tech that Can help Detect Cancer Early
London: A new imaging technique developed at the University of Oxford may be able to detect cancers that have spread to the brain even when tumours are small. The study, carried out on mice, investigated a new ‘dye’ that shows up in MRI scans, a university release said. The scientists showed that the dye or contrast agent, recognizes and sticks to a molecule called VCAM-1. This molecule is present in large amounts on blood vessels associated with cancer that has spread to the brain from other parts of the body. MRI scans show the distribution of the dye in the brain, enabling much smaller tumours to be detected than can be done using current techniques. Small tumours can be treated with whole brain radiotherapy or surgery, and there are new chemotherapy treatments in development. But currently, it is only possible to detect larger secondary brains tumours, and these are more difficult to treat, the release added. Lead researcher Dr. Nicola Sibson of the Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology at the University of Oxford said: ‘’We urgently need to find ways to diagnose these cancers at an earlier stage to improve survival rates. Our research suggests a new possible approach to do just this. The next stage is to build on these results and carry out clinical trails.’’

‘Night Shift raise risk of Breast cancer in women’
London: Women who regularly work into the early hours can be nearly four times as likely to develop breast cancer, scientist have warned. The risk is highest among women who are naturally early risers. But even night owls are in danger. The threat rose with the more night shifts they did, the study found. And overall there was a 40% bigger risk compared to women worked days. ‘’The results indicate frequent night shift work increases the risk for breast cancer and suggest a higher risk with longer duration of night shift,’’ the Mirror quoted Dr. Johnni Hansen, of the Danish Cancer Society that did study, as saying. ‘’Those with morning preference tended to have a higher risk than those with evening preference,’’ Dr. Hansen stated. Women who worked nights three or more times a week for over six years were more than twice as likely to have the disease as those who had not. The risk almost quadrupled if they were early bird types – possibly because they are more susceptible to body clock disruption, said the study. Night owls were twice as likely to have breast cancer, according to the findings published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The results were based on 692 responses, of which 141 were from women with the disease.
 

 
THE PHARMA REVIEW JULY AUGUST 2012

Chest Pain Not Must For Stroke
Mumbai: For long, a sudden chest pain was considered the main symptom of a heart attack, but a comprehensive study conducted by a Florida based chest pain center has found that many patients taken to hospitals for heart attacks never had chest pain. Consequently, they were less likely to be treated aggressively, according to a report on the NYT WEBSITE. The study done at the chest pain center of Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Florida, showed that of 1.1 million people, 42% of women admitted to hospital to hospitals for heart attack never experienced chest pain, while the figure was 30.7% in the case of men. The study, of which the Center’s director John G Canto is an author, was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to leading cardiologist Ashwin Mehta, well over 20to30% of people admitted to hospitals in India have had painless heart attack. ‘’My observation is that people suffering from hypertension and diabetes may have a painless heart attack. In such cases, the signals of discomfort are vague and weak. As a result, they get less opportunity for treatment,’’ Mehta said. Endorsing Mehta’s views, JJ Hospital cardiology professor Anil Kumar said the silent heart attack phenomenon was not new. In most people suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes, the tendency to have no or less chest pain is quite high. ‘’In my opinion, people with high risk should take more care. Event if there is a slight doubt, they must be rushed to a cardiologist for basic treatment,’’ said Kumar. The Florida survey also revealed that women were more likely to succumb after a heart attack – the mortality rate for women was 15% and men 10%. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women not just in the US, but around the world too, killing about seven million people a year, said the NYT website. Until the 1980s, heart disease was largely considered a male problem and many studies that focused only on men drew a narrow picture of the typical signs of a heart attack. The researchers used data from a national registry of people admitted to hospitals for heart attack from 1994 to 2006 to look at differences in symptoms and mortality rates among men and women. The analysis, covering over 1.1 million people, showed that while chest pain was the most frequent symptom of a heart attack in both men and women, a sizable minority of patients – about 35% - had suffered heart attacks without having chest pain.

Humour in Men is Linked to Aggression
London: Humour in most men develops from aggression – an it all starts at puberty, says a new study. Researchers at Newcastle University have based their findings on an analysis of the reactions of men and women on seeing a trick cyclist, the ‘Journal of Psychology Research and Behaviour Management’ reported. The results revealed big differences between male and female response – nine out of 10women would make warm, kind and encouraging remarks, while young children were interested and curious. But as boys grew older, their reactions became increasingly unpleasant. Curiosity typically turned into physical and they would throw stones or attempt to obstruct the rider by shouting, ‘’Fall off!’’ Grown men suppressed the urge to injure the rider, but became snide and aggressive, and would often make jokes about the single wheel. In fact, the researchers led by Prof Sam Shuster, studied data from more than 30 unicyclists aged between 15 and 69, from the UK and across the world, with up to 40 years’ experience.
 
Woman Make Better Bosses than Men
Washington: Woman in management positions are often perceived as more demanding and difficult to work with, but a new study has found that they are actually better bosses compared to men. According to the Spanish survey, women in top posts are more democratic, allow employees to participate in decision – making and establish interpersonal channels of communication much better than men. ‘’We find that in workplaces with more women managers, more individualized employee feedback is carried out ,’’ study author Eduardo Melero, a professor at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, said. The increased communication between management and employees in companies with women in management positions has a two – fold benefit. First, these companies are able to make more well – informed decisions, since employee feedback will be utilized in the decision – making process. Also, employees will also have the feeling of contributing to and having their opinions heard at work. ‘’Women managers seem to be more inclined to use these types of practices, individually, as well as promoting them among the rest of the management team,’’ Melero said.
 

 
THE PHARMA REVIEW MAY JUNE 2012

 
Remote-control drugs may spell ends for pills, jabs
Mumbai: Soon, you may be spared the inconvenience of popping multiple pills or getting repeated injection. Instead, medication could be remote controlled to be dispensed straight into the body through a small embedded chip. This implantable device was successfully tested for the first time in human trials where researchers used it to administer daily doses of an osteoporosis drug, normally given by injection. The device was tested on a group of woman suffering from osteoporosis through a wireless link which dispensed drugs at regular intervals within the body.Billed as a ‘pharmacy-on-a-chip’, this could provide a major breakthrough in treatment to patients suffering from chronic ailments like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and where there is need to take multiple drugs and frequent injections. The chip could be filled with a variety of drugs of treat long-term chronic conditions, and programmed to dispense them automatically, experts say. Speaking to TOI, Robert Farra, president and CEO of MicroCHIPS Inc-the company behind the implantable drug-delivery device, and the study’s lead author, said, ‘’The microchip is well suited for potent drugs. Disease to be treated include osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis and acute conditions such as treatment after hard attack. Indian doctors welcomed the development as it would simplify treatment for people with critical conditions. The company plans to file for regulatory approval for its first microchip device in 2014.
 

Now, a vest that alerts you of heart attack
London: Scientists have developed a new cardiac vest that can diagnose heart attacks as soon as they happen, a feat they say could lead to new ways of treating heart patients. The electrocardiograph (ECG) technology, which has been around for the past 60 years, has its limitations and patients have to face delays of up to 12 hours for blood test results, during which continuing damage may be done. But the new cardiac vest, developed by a British company, can give doctors detailed information within minutes about whether a patient as suffering an attack and where within the heart the problem is situated.
The UK’s Bradford Royal Infirmary will be the first hospital in the world to use the revolutionary cardiac vest, which contains 80 sensors attached to a patient’s chest and back. If trails of the new ‘’heart -scape’’ device are successful, sufferers could be diagnosed up to 12 hours earlier than usual, the researchers said. Dr James Dunbar, consultant physician at the Bradford Royal Infirmary, said the vest would enable speedier treatment for heart attack patients and also detect sings of heart disease. ‘’It will help us gain an instant in-depth 3D view, making it easier to interpret if a patient is having a heart attack, enabling treatment to start earlier,’’ he said.

Synthetic windpipe saves cancer patient’s life
Surgeons in Sweden have replaced the cancerous windpipe of a Maryland man with one made in a laboratory and seeded with the man’s cells. The windpipe, or trachea, made from minuscule plastic fibers and covered in stem cells taken from the man’s bone marrow, was implanted in November. The patient, Christopher Lyles, 30, whose tracheal cancer had progressed to the point where it was considered inoperable, arrived home in Baltimore on Wednesday. It was the second procedure of its kind and the first for an American. ‘’I’ m feeling good,’’ Lyles said in a telephone interview. ‘’I am just thankful for a second chance at life.’’ He said he hoped to resume his job, as an electrical engineer as soon as he regained full strength.

‘Exercise’ hormone may help fight obesity, diabetes
A newly discovered hormone produced in response to exercise may be turning people’s white fat brown, a ground-breaking new study, suggests, and in the process lessening their susceptibility to obesity, diabetes and other health problems. The study, published on Wednesday in nature and let by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical school, provides remarkable new insights into how exercise affects the body at a cellular level. For the study, the researchers studied mouse and human muscle cells. Scientist have believed for some time that muscle cells influence biological processes elsewhere in the body, beyond the muscles themselves. In particular, they have suspected that muscle cells communicate biochemically with body fat. But how muscle cells ‘’talk’’ what they tell the fat and what role exercise has in sparking or sustaining that conversation have been mysteries – until, in the new study, scientists closely examined the operations of a substance called PGCI-alpha, which is produced in abundance in muscle during and after exercise.
 

 
THE PHARMA REVIEW MARCH APRIL 2012
 
Oranges and Grapes Cut the Risk of Stroke : Study
London: Want to reduce the risk of a stroke? Eat oranges and grapefruit daily, if possible, says a study. Researchers at Norwich Medical School in the University of East Anglia have found that oranges and grapefruit protect against a ‘brain attack’ due to anti-inflammatory properties, the Stroke journal reported. For their study, researchers analysed 69,622 women who were talking part in the ongoing Nurses’ Health Study in US. They investigated the strength of protection from flavonoids, a class of antioxidant compounds present in fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate and red wine. The study used 14 years of follow-up data provided by 69,622 women who reported their fruit and vegetable intake every four years. The team examined the relationship of the six main subclasses of flavonoids with risk of ischemic, hemorrhagic and total stroke. Women who ate high amounts of flavanones in citrus had a 19% lower risk of blood clot-related (ischemic) stroke than women who consumed the least amounts, the Daily Mail reported.
 
Painkiller abuse drills holes in teen’s stomach
Mumbai: Nikhil Thorat, a 16 year-old student, paid a heavy price for popping painkillers indiscriminately when he started experiencing severe stomach and back aches early this year. After three months of turning to over-the-counter painkillers – he had found one that gave him instant relief and started taking it 4-5 times a day-he landed up in hospital in debilitating pain, where doctors discovered perforations in his stomach, caused by the misuse of the medication. The gastric contents from the stomach had entered the cavity. In a complicated surgery, doctors had to use a layer of fat from his abdomen to cover the perforations, and after one month recovery period, Thorat was able to give his Class XII board exams. Doctors say that more and more youth are self-medicating and overusing painkillers, unaware of the danger. Depending on the kind of painkiller-narcotic, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug-and the frequency of ingestion, a person’s gastro-intestinal tract, heart and kidney can be affected.
 
Green Tea Can Beat Bad Breath and Cancer
London: Green tea’s status as a superfood is growing gradually, as a new study has claimed that drinking the beverage could help you fight bad breath and even mouth cancer. The study by a team from Israel’s Institute of Technology found that antioxidants found in the tea, called polyphenols, destroy a number of compounds in the mouth that can lead to bad breath, tooth decay and even mouth cancer. The new findings will add to green tea’s status as one of nature’s so-called “superfoods”, the Daily Mail reported. Past studies have suggested that green tea helps prevent cancer and heart disease and lower cholesterol – and even ward off Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
In the latest study, the researchers examined the properties of the polyphenol called epigallocatechin 3 gallate (EGCG) in particular. “EGCG constitute the most interesting components in green tea leaves,” the researchers reported in the journal Archives or Oral Biology. “All together, there is increasing interest in the health benefits of green tea in the field of oral health,” they said. Green tea is made from the same plant as black tea but processed in a different way that means it retains less caffeine and more polyphenols. It has been drunk in China and the Far East for thousands of years and is fast becoming popular in UK because of its health benefits. Its drunk without milk, sugar so it is low in calories.

Statin Drugs Cut Parkinson’s Risk?
Regular use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may be associated with a modest reduction in the risk of developing Parkinson’s desease, particularly among younger patients, a new study has claimed. Statins are one of the most prescribed classes of drugs in the US and some researchers have hypothesized that the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects of these medications may be neuroprotective. However, statins also may have unfavourable effects on lowering the level of plasma coenzyme Q10, which may be neuroprotective in Parkinson’s patients.
 
Stressed Women Eat More
Women who are fed up with their jobs may be more likely to turn to food for comfort in times of stress, according to a Finnish study. The study, reported in Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that those who reported work burnout were also more likely to have a habit of “emotional” eating, or a eating when stressed, rather than just hungry.
 

 
THE PHARMA REVIEW JANUARY FEBRUARY 2012
 
To Stay Slim, Eat lots of Protein 
Melbourne: Want to stay slim? Make sure that you eat enough protein in your diet, rather than simply cutting calories, says a new study. Researchers at the University of Sydney have carried out the study and found that low protein in diets can lead to excessive energy intake and drive people to eat more snacks. On the contrary, they have found that enough protein in their diets help people in curbing appetites and preventing excessive eating of fats and carbohydrates. The results represent the first scientifically supported evidence that dietary protein plays an important role in appetite in humans, and are an important step in addressing the global obesity epidemic.
“Humans have a particularly strong appetite for protein, and when the proportion of protein in the diet is low this appetite can drive excess energy intake. Our finding have considerable implications for body weight management in the current nutritional environment, where foods rich in fat and carbohydrates are cheap, palatable, and available to an extent unprecedented in our history” author Alison Gos by said. Protein is the driving force for appetite in many animals, say researchers. Although it has previously been suggested that protein lays an important role in determining overall energy intake in humans, until now experimental verification was lacking.
 
Men, Kick the Butt to Light up Your Sex Life
New York: Lighting up could be slowing you drown in the bedroom. A US study suggests that men who successfully stopped smoking improved on lab measurements of sexual health more than those who relapsed after a quit-smoking program, showing that smoking may be affecting the sexual health of men who consider themselves perfectly all right in bed, researchers said. “With younger men, the risks of smoking in that population appear more far off. They think, ‘I don’t really need to worry about this until much farther down the road,” said study author Christopher Here, from the VA Boston Healthcare System. Harte and co-author Cindy Meston from the University of Texas at Austin enrolled 65 men without self-reported impotence in an eight – week quit smoking program using nicotine patches. Before treatment, halfway through and a few weeks after, they brought it he men into a locked lab and showed them a racy film. While they watched, men kept track of how aroused they were and a device measured how much their penis grew or shrank. By the end of the study, there were 20 men that hadn’t lit up in at least a week, while 45 men were still smoking. Quitters saw a greater increase in penile growth, measured by width and not length, compared to non-quitters. By their own scoring, those men reached their peak level of arousal sooner than men who were still lighting up.
 
Suffering From Bad Body Odour? Blame it on Genetic Disorder 
New York: For some people with troublesome, unexplained body odour, an uncommon genetic disorder once known as “fish-odour syndrome” may be to blame, according to a study. The condition, known clinically as trimethylaminuria, is caused by emitting excessive amounts of the compound trimethylamine (TMA). TMA is produced when people digest foods rich in a substance called choline including saltwater fish, eggs, liver and certain legumes, such as soy and kidney beans. “Individuals with the metabolic disorder trimethylaminuria may sporadically to duce malodors despite & hygiene,” wrote study Lee Paul Wise, at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philaadelphia, in the American Journal of Medicine. “The psychoseology impact of trimethylaminuria may be considerable. However, trimethylaminuria is difficult to diagnose without specialized tests. “Trimethylaminuria is caused by defects in a gene know as FMO3, which hinder the body’s ability to metabolize TMA and turn it into odor-free compounds. TMA itself has strong fishy smell, but only about 10 to 15% of people with trimethylaminuria have that specificmalodor, which may make it tougher to get a diagnosis. For someone to have the disorder, he or she must inherit a defective copy of FMO3 gene from both parents, who themselves would be unaffected “carriers”. Of course, if either of parents had the disorder, they would also pass it on.
 
Flaxseeds Can Cut Breast Cancer 
Heidelberg: Eating a diet rich in flaxseeds can help cut the risk of dying from breast cancer later in life by 40%, a new study has claimed. Researchers at the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg found that foods including seeds, vegetables and wheat contain special plant compounds, called phytoestrogens, which kill off cancer cells and prevent secondary tumours by stopping the growth of new blood vessels. Among the most important phytoestrogens are the lignans which are found abundantly in flaxseeds, the researchers said.
 

 
THE PHARMA REVIEW NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2011
 
Cardamom
This is a thermogenic herb that increases metabolism and helps burn body fat. Cardamom is considered one of the best digestive aids and is believed to soothe the digestive system and help the body process other foods more efficiently.
 
Chillies
Foods containing chillies are said to be as foods that burn fat. Chillies contain capsaicin that helps in increasing the metabolism. Capsaicin is a thermogenic food, so it causes the body to burn calories for 20 minutes after you eat the chillies.

Curry leaves
Incorporating curry leaves into your daily diet can help you lose weight. These leaves flush out fat and toxins, reducing fat deposits that are stored in the body, as well as reducing bad cholesterol levels. If you are overweight, incorporate eight to 10 curry leaves into your diet daily. Chop them finely and mix them into a drink, or sprinkle them over a meal.
 
Garlic
An effective fat-burning food, garlic contains the sulphur compound allicin which has anti-bacterial effects and helps reduce cholesterol and unhealthy fats.
 
Moong dal
The bean sprouts are rich in Vitamin A, B, C and E and many minerals, such as calcium, iron and potassium. It is recommended as a food replacement in many slimming programmes, as it has a very low fat content. It is a rich source of protein and fibre, which helps lower blood cholesterol level. The high fibre content yields complex carbohydrates, which aid digestion, are effective in stabilising blood sugar and prevent its rapid rise after meal consumption.
 
Honey
It is a home remedy for obesity. It mobilises the extra fat deposits in the body allowing it to be utilised as energy for normal functions. One should start with about 10 grams or a tablespoon, taken with hot water early in the morning.
 
Buttermilk
It is the somewhat sour, residual fluid that is left after butter is churned. The probiotic food contains just 2.2 grams of fat and about 99 calories, as compared to whole milk that contains 8.9 grams fat and 157 calories. Regular intake provides the body with all essential nutrients and does not add fats and calories to the body. It is thus helpful in weight loss.

Millets
 Fibre-rich foods such as millets - jowar, bajra, ragi, etc - absorb cholesterol and help increase the secretion of the bile that emulsifies fats. Cinnamon and cloves: Used extensively in Indian cooking, the spices have been found to improve the function of insulin and to lower glucose, total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes.

Turmeric
Curcumin, the active component of turmeric, is an object of research owing to its properties that suggest they may help to turn off certain genes that cause scarring and enlargement of the heart. Regular intake may help reduce low density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol and high blood pressure, increase blood circulation and prevent blood clotting, helping to prevent heart attack.
 

 
THE PHARMA REVIEW SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2011
 
Sleeping with your contact lens on can make you blind 
Here’s a word of caution for those who wear contacts – going to sleep in your lenses can blind you, experts have warned. According to them, people should make it a point to take out and rinse contact lenses as poor lens hygiene can lead to a range of nasty eye ailments, including microbial keratitis, an infection of cornea, the front-al part of the eye where lenses sit. Left untreated, it can lead to permanent visual damage – and, in extreme cases, blindness, they have warned. The eye has natural protection against the foreign bodies – through a fluid covering the eye that contains protective enzymes and by blinking, which prevents anything sticking to the eye’s surface. Yet minute air and waterborne microbes sometimes break through these defenses, penetrating the protective layer of cells on the cornea. The bacteria pseudomonas is the most common keratinize-causing microbe, breeds in dirty lens case, say the experts.
 
Rude colleague can disrupt personal life 
How cool is your workplace?. A fellow worker’s rudeness can be so intense that it could ruin your personal life, scientists say. Researchers at Baylor University in Taxes found that stress created by incivility can impact the well-being of a workers’ family and their partner. Since the person comes home more stressed and distracted, the partner is likely to pick up more of the family responsibilities, and those demands may interfere with the partner’s work life, the researchers found. Such stress, they said, also affected the worker’s and the partner’s marital satisfaction. Researcher Meredith Ferguson said Employees who experience such incivility at work bring home stress, negative emotion and perceived ostracism. This affects more than their family life it also creates problems for the partner’s life at work.”
 
Milk rehydrates better than sports drinks 
Active children are better off drinking milk than water or sports drinks, especially in hot and humid weather. A part from being a source of high-quality protein, carbohydrates, calcium and electrolytes, milk efficiently replaces body salts lost through sweat and helps the body retain fluids longer. Milk also provides protein – not found in the other rehydration drinks – needed by children for muscle development and growth.
 
Predicting future clot formation in the veins 
UK researchers have developed the first ever primary care tool to predict a person’s future risk of developing potentially life threatening blood clots. The algorithm uses lifestyle factors and medical history to predict the absolute risk of venous thromboembolism (blood clots in the veins that can trigger heart attacks) over one and five years, expressed as a percentage. The tool is available online at www. qthrombosis.org. Increasing age, smoking; obesity, and existing vascular, and renal diseases are risk factors for clots.
 
Old age creeps up on spiders too 
Alike humans, old age creeps up on spiders too the insects lose ability to weave neat webs as they approach the twilight of their life, says a new study by French researchers. The researchers at the University of Nancy have found that while youngsters produce tidy circles with perfect angles and evenly spaced gaps, their older counterparts’ efforts include gaping holes and eccentric patterns. Older the spider gets, the more chaotic its web becomes.
 
Wine for weight loss 
A glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away. Light-to-moderate alcohol intake, especially of wine, lowers your risk of diabetes by 30% and helps you lose weight, report researchers from the Navarro University in Spain. They also found that moderate drinkers are between 16% and 25 % less likely to develop the metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors – high bad cholesterol, low good cholesterol, high triglyceride (blood fats) and insulinresistance – for heart attack, stroke and diabetes. Due to the notion that alcohol causes weight gain, rather than a weight loss, experts now want to carry out further research on the role alcohol plays in people’s diet.
 
Foods that interfere with cancer treatment 
Acai berry, cumin, herbal tea, turmeric and long – term use of garlic – commonly believed to be beneficial to your health – may negatively impact chemotherapy treatment. US researchers say there is growing evidence that these popular herbs, roots and fruits may intensify or weaken the effect of chemotherapy drugs and in some cases, may cause a toxic, even lethal reaction. The fact that food and herbal supplements are natural does not necessarily mean they are safe, they warned.
 

 
THE PHARMA REVIEW MAY - JUNE 2011
 
In AIDS fight. Cure may be better than prevention
After 30 years of AIDS prevention efforts. global leaders may now need to shift their focus to spending more on drugs used to treat the disease as new data show this is also the best way to prevent the virus from spreading. The UN General Assembly will take up the issue as it assesses progress in fighting the disease -first reported on June 5, 1981 - that has infected more than 60 million people and claimed nearly 30 million lives. Guiding the meeting is ground breaking new data that shows early treatment of HIV can out its transmission to a sexual partner by 96 per cent. UNAIDS said at least $22 billion will be needed to combat the disease by 2015.

Diabetes may shorten working life
New York: People with diabetes may leave the workforce sooner than employees without diabetes -suggesting, French researchers say that the disease could be taking a large economic toll. “Diabetes can impact individuals’ ability to maintain employment through different pathways,” said senior researcher Dr Rosemary Dray-Spira, of the French national research institute INSERM. For example, diabetes complications such as vision loss and nerve damage can lead to mobility problems or amputations that make it difficult for people to do their jobs. Dray-Spira’s team found obesity seemed to explain much of the higher risk of work disability among people with diabetes.

“Brain can’t handle more than 150 friends’
London: You may boast of having an impressive list of friends on social networking sites like Facebook and Orkut, but a new study suggests that your brain can’t handle more than 150 friends.
Researchers, led by Robin Dunbar of Oxford University, have carried out the study and concluded human beings cannot develop close bonds with more than 150 people. Indeed, so intense has been Dunbar’s research of the magic number that is has earned him a measure of fame. It is now referred to as “Dunbar’s Number”, a term ironically coined on Face book among fans of his work. He has researched societies and businesses around the world and has found that 150 is the optimum group for social cohesion and interaction.
From African and Native American tribes to successful companies, a typical community is about 150 people. The reason 150 is the optimal number for a community comes form our primate ancestors, according to Dunbar. Dunbar’s Number faces certain modern day complications. He said: “You grow up somewhere, you go to school on the other side of the country, you get a job, you go to Europe for a bit-it’s much harder for us to keep those relationships working and good when they’re that distributed.

5 cups of Coffee a day may lead to hallucinations
Washington: Drinking coffee in moderation may be okay, but downing too much-say five or more cups of the beverage daily – can cause hallucinations, says a study. Researchers at La Trobe University have found that drinking five cups of coffees ore more a day may be enough to increase one’s tendency to hallucinate because of caffeine in it. Coffee and other caffeinated beverages such as tea, soft-drink and energy drinks access the stimulant and when taken in large quantities increase tendencies to hallucinate according to lead researcher Simon Crowe. In their study, the researchers measured the effect of stress and caffeine with 92 nonclinical participants. Five coffees a day or more was found to be enough to increase the participant’s tendency to hallucinate, said Crowe.

Drugs war not winnable, world govts. told
New York: The Global Commission on Drug Policy, a high-profile group of global leaders which includes former presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Switzerland, said the ‘war on drugs’, a decades-long strategy of outlawing drugs and jailing drug users while battling cartels that control the trade, had not worked. The commission urged governments to consider decriminalizing drugs in a bid to cut consumption and weaken the power of organized crime gangs. “lt’s not peace instead of war its a more intelligent way to fight the use of drugs,” former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Chair of the Commission, told a news conference in New York.

Pomegranate juice could ease workplace stress
Edinburgh: Drinking pomegranate juice daily could ease one’s stress at the workplace by reducing blood pressure and lowering stress hormone levels. Researchers at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, in Britain, studied the physiological effect of daily consumption of half litre of pomegranate juice over a two-week period. They found that all 60 volunteers, from a range of working environments, reported being more enthusiastic and less distressed after having the drink.
 

 
THE PHARMA REVIEW MARCH - APRIL 2011

Breast Cancer: Lymph node op not a must
Chicago: Women with early breast cancer may not need to have surgery to remove cancerous lymph nodes under the armpit. The finding may spare many women the pain and years of side effects related to this long-standing procedure. Certain women with breast cancer who had only their sentinel lymph node removed - the lymph node closed to the cancer – survived just as long as women who had more extensive surgery to remove lymph nodes in the armpit, know as ancillary lymph node dissection or ALND, researchers found. For the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Armando Giuliano of Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, and colleagues analyzed the two procedures in women with invasive breast cancer who had their tumors removed and underwent radiation and chemotherapy.

Being nice or nasty is linked to genes
London : Being nice or being nasty is in your genes particularly is your’re a women, say researchers. A new study of almost 1,000 pairs of identical and non-identical twins had found that genetic factors appeared to how likely one was to do charitable deeds or work hard in one’s job, the Biology Letters journal reported. However, the researches at Edinburgh University in Scotland also said the environment in which people live still plays a part in how nice they are, meaning they cannot just blame their genes if they’re feeling a bit basty. Twins make good research subjects because, in the case of identical twins, they have the same genetic make-up. Comparing them to non-identical twins, whose genes vary, allows researchers to look at what impact genetics has in certain situations compared to other factors such as the environment in which they live.

 Late to bed & rising early ups heart risk
London: Are you among those who get up early but go to bed very late? Beware, your sleeping habit may be a “ticking time bomb” for your health and it could lead to heart attack and stroke, scientists claim. Going to bed late but waking up early because of hectic work schedule has become a trend for many, but scientist said having such a habit means inviting serious health hazards. Researchers at the University of Warwick Medical School in the UK found those who could not afford to sleep for at least six hours a day are more likely to die from a heart attack of stroke.
For their study, Cappuccio and colleagues looked at the sleeping habits of 475,000 participants from 15 previous studies across eight countries. It was found that those who slept for less than six hours were 48% more likely to develop or die from heart disease and 15% more likely to develop or die from a stroke. According to them, not having enough sleep decreases the levels of leptin in our blood, which means we do not feel as satisfied after eating. Experts recommend adults get at least six or seven hours’ shut eye a night to stay healthy.

Handheld heath
London: German scientists have developed a new handheld scanner which they say can tell accurately in less than 30 seconds how healthy or unhealthy you are. Developed by a team at the Charite medical school in Berlin, the device has the ability to gauge the damage that bad habits such as smoking or a fondness for junk food are having on the body.
They expected that a version suitable for home use could be on sale by this summer for as little as $ 175, the Daily Mail reported. A similar gadget called “tricorder” has already been shown in TV series “Star Trek” in which Dr McCoy aboard the fictional Starship Enterprise used it to diagnose and treat the crew.
But, researchers said the real life equivalent will shock people into leading healthy lifestyles.

  

THE PHARMA REVIEW JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2011

Achieve your Ideal BMI and Aim for a flat belly
Follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly to achieve an ideal body mass index <23Kg/m2, waist circumference <80 cms (women) and < 90 cms (men). Buy yourself a good weighing scale, better still the kind that gives your body composition analysis.

Practise Mindful Eating
Plan your diet daily – like you plan your budget, meetings and time. Choose a diet rich in whole grains like oats, barley, brown rice and whole wheat; pulses, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy, seafood, lean meats, nuts, seeds and cold pressed oils.

Include Functional Foods
Foods that provide special health benefits, which go beyond nutritional components like energy, vitamins, minerals etc. Are called functional foods. They are natural or formulated foods that enhance physiological performance or prevent diseases. These include garlic, onions, whole grains, legumes, flaxseeds, soy and broccoli; grapes, barriers and nuts.

Maintain A Food Diary
The first step towards improving your diet is reaching for a pen and paper. A food diary helps to increase your awareness on what you eat, when you eat and how much you eat. It’s virtually a ‘reality check’. You can analyse the foods you’ve listed by comparing them to the five recommendations for healthy eating. Undoubtedly, one of the most powerful tools to start with.

Shop and Stock Smart
Learn to read labels. Do not buy only on the basis of claims like ‘fat-free’, ‘sugar-free’ or ‘cholesterol-free’. Buy and stock appropriate snack food like nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, vegetables and roasted snacks. Avoid storing unhealthy foods on a regular basis.

Use Organic/Locally Grown Foods
Organic is no longer a fashion statement or a fad. Indiscriminate use of fertilisers and pesticides has resulted in a number health hazards. Consumed on a regular basis, these chemicals form deposits in our tissues and vital organs, particularly liver, kidney, and brain. Organic food is grown without pesticides and chemical inputs. Consuming locally and regionally grown foods too is more sensible approach as it ensures that food is fresh, more nutritious, has fewer “travel miles” and less handling or processing.

Experiment with Healthy Cooking
BE creative and invest in healthy recipe books. Involve your family to make healthy eating a fun experience. Getting children involved in menu planning ad cooking will help them start young.

Exercise Regularly
Exercise is a must. It helps strengthen heart muscles, improve blood cholesterol levels, decrease blood pressure, guard against over-weight, obesity, diabetes, bone loss associated with osteoporosis and reduce risk for other chronic diseases. In addition, it can help you manage stress and boost your sense of well-being.

Manage Stress
Best time to learn how to manage your stress is before stress strikes you. Some practical tips include: Be optimistic and productive 85-10 minutes of meditation daily* Deep breathing exercises anywhere * 10-15 minutes of yoga *Try and get 6 to 8 hours of sleep daily *Spend atleas4t 1 hr a day with family *Take regular breaks. Rmember you are unique. Good nutrition can play a powerful role in helping cope with stress along with other stres manaement techniques.

Get Regular Health Checks Done
Visit your physician and nutritionist regularly and review your supplements. These should include a thorough physical examination, blood pressure measurement, blood glucose level, fasting lipid profile, along with a thorough assessment of dietary & exercise habits and assessment of stress levels.

Identify Problem Areas
Check your diet, exercise, thoughts and habits like addiction, cravings, alcohol, eating disorders etc. Which conflict with your health goals. Work on these to apply corrections and seek professional help, if necessary.
Source: Indian Express News Paper
 

 
THE PHARMA REVIEW NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2010

No Strong Evidence Dad’s Age Affects IVF Success
While age is key factor in a woman’s chances of conceiving, naturally or via assisted reproduction, there is no consistent evidence that a man’s age affects the chances of success with infertility treatment, according to a study published in Fertility and Sterility. In an analysis of 10 studies conducted in the last decade, researchers from Israel’s Carmel Medical Center found there was no clear relationship between men’s age and success. Studies indicated that men do have a biological clock of sorts. Sperm quality may decline after age 40, and also the chances of having a baby; a study also found that a couple’s risk of miscarriage was higher with a man above 40.

Early Hearing Screening Improves Child Development
Screening for hearing problems within the first weeks of life benefits children, especially when interventions quickly follow, suggests a new study published in the journal of the American Medical Association. Analyzing the test reports of nearly 600,000 babies, researchers from Leaden University Medical Center compared children born in regions in which newborn hearing screening is the norm to those not screened. They found that newborn screening led to more spoken and fewer signed words, as well as better social and motor development at 3 to 5 years of age.

Fathers on Fatty Diet May Give Diabetes to Daughters
Fathers who eat a high fat diet may give their daughters diabetes, a study using rats has suggested. But if this is true in humans, it may be potentially contributing to the obesity and diabetes epidemic, report researchers from the University of New South Wales in Nature. Past studies found that a pregnant woman’s weight and the father’s health and lifestyle may also be important. Fathers have been advised to stop smoking and consume less alcohol around conception but maybe the advice ought to be stronger.

Vitamin B12 Tied to Alzheimer’s Disease Control
Vitamin B12 may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study published in Neurology. The researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm took Blood Samples from 271 seniors without Dementia. At a second examination about seven years later, they found 17 had developed Alzheimer’s, Those who did no, had higher levels of holotranscobalamin—the active portion of vitamin B12—and lower levels of homo cysteine, an amino acid tied to mental decline, stroke and heart disease.

Conception is a rare event, fertility study shows
Fewer than 8% of all tries at making a baby in a lab dish will succeed. Researchers from shady Grove Fertility Center in Maryland, US reviewed all IVF cycles at their center between 2004 and 2008, out of 110,000 fertilised egg cells, only 31,437 resulted in viable embryos. Usually just one or two embryos are implanted at a time, and the others are frozen. But assuming that all the frozen embryos would eventually be used, 8,366 babies would theoretically be born-just 7.5 percent of all fertilised eggs.

When do babies start sleeping through the night?
Sleep deprived new moms and dads can’t wait to have their baby sleep through the night. A study conducted at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand suggests that about half of babies will be sleeping through the night after about two or three months. After looking at the sleep patterns over the first year of life for 75 healthy, full-term newborns, the researchers concluded that from five months on, parents can realistically expect to experience an uninterrupted sleep. But there will still be an unlucky few who won’t get reprieve until after their child’s first birthday, the researchers reported in Pediatrics.

‘Evening types’ more likely to smoke
Night owls may be more likely than early birds to smoke, and less likely to kick the habit over time, Researchers from University of Helsinki found that among over 23,000 twin pairs followed for 30 years, those who described themselves as "evening types" alert at night and bleary-eyed in the morning were more likely to be current smokers and less likely to quit over time. The findings, reported in the journal Addiction, do not necessarily mean that there is something about being a night person that raises smoking risk. One possibility is that nicotine, which is a stimulant, tends to keep smokers up at night, the researchers reported.

Brisk walkers have lower breast cancer risk
Women who take brisk walks regularly have a lower risk of developing breast cancer after menopause and it’s never too late to start. Reviewing data collected from nearly 100,000 postmenopausal women, researchers from the Harvard Medical University found that women who scheduled at least an hour of brisk walking per day were 15% less likely to get breast cancer. Those boosted activity levels after menopause were 10% less likely to develop the disease, the researchers said in the study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
 

 
THE PHARMA REVIEW  SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2010

Quitting Smoking Helps After Serious Heart Attack Damage
It’s never too late for smokers to do their hearts good by kicking the habit – even after a heart attack has left them with significant damage to the organ’s main pumping chamber, say researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Among 2,231 patients with left ventricular dysfunction – where damage to the heart’s main pumping chamber significantly reduces its blood – pumping efficiency – those who quit smoking within six months of heart attack were less likely to die within five years of suffering a repeat attack than smokers who continued the habit. Smoking cessation itself was linked to a 40% reduction in the risk of death compared with persistent smoking, the team reported in American Journal of Cardiology.

Even when Prostate Cancer Returns, Most Survive
Men who show signs that their disease has returned after prostate cancer treatment are still more likely to die of other causes. Researchers from VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven and Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven looked at 623 men diagnosed with prostate cancer and followed them for up to 16 years after treatment. Only 12% of them died of prostate cancer. The risk of dying for these men were found to be was 11% at 5years, 20% 10, and 42% at 15years, the researchers reported in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Vitamins C, E Show no Effect on Preterm Birth Risk
Taking high doses of vitamins C and E during pregnancy may not change a woman’s risk of preterm delivery. Past studies found a connection between vitamin C deficiency and an elevated risk of preterm birth. Plus, Vitamin C has been thought to play a role in maintaining the placenta and the membranes that surround the fetus. The study – a new analysis from a clinical trial published earlier this year – show no benefit of vitamins C and E in lowering preeclampsia risk. The researchers randomly assigned 10,154 pregnant women to take either a combination of vitamins C and E of inactive placebo pills. All of the women had uncomplicated pregnancies and only 7% of women in both the vitamin and placebo groups had a preterm birth, reported the study, published in Obstetrics @ Gynecology.

Parten Abuse Tied to Corporal Punishment in Children
Violence and psychological abuse between parents often go hand in hand with corporal punishment of their kids, reports a new study published in Pediatrics. The children who had the highest odds of being spanked were those whose parents were aggressive toward each other, found the researchers from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans. Interviewing a broad swath of families from 20 big cities, the researchers found that mothers were more likely to be the one swatting the kid, although both parents tended to use spanking more if they had been victims of aggression by their partner.

Sugar Does not Relieve Pain in Newborns: Study
Contrary to international guidelines sugar given to newborn babies does not ease pain, according to a study published on Thursday in the Lancet. In 2001, doctors published recommendations, based on a series of trials, that oral sucrose be administered to newborns to help relieve pain from invasive procedures. But a new look suggests that sucrose does not reduce pain signals in the brain of spinal cord, but merely changes the babies; facial expression, which gives a false impression that pain is being relieved. Rebecca Slater of University College London and colleagues pricked the heels of 59 newborns with a small blade and monitored pain activity in the brain and spine using electrode caps. The infants were assigned either sterile water or a sucrose solution, placed on the tongue by a tiny syringe. Pain activity did not differ significantly between the two groups.

2-Year-Old Gets Artificial Lung
A two-year-old boy has made medical history by becoming the world’s youngest person to receive and artificial lung. Owen Stark seemed a happy and healthy toddler until his collapse during a shopping trip near his home in Missouri, US. Doctors at St Louls Children’s Hospital took Stark off the heart-lung bypass machine and fitted him with a German-built artificial lung.

Antibiotics Concept 2000 Years Old
Scientists have discovered green fluorescence in Nubian skeletons indicating a tetracycline-labeled bone, a finding that shows that antibiotics were already in use nearly 2,000 years ago. A chemical analysis they were regularly consuming tetracycline, most likely in their beer. "It’s becoming increasingly clear that this prehistoric population was using empirical have no doubt that they knew what they were doing" said Emory anthropologist George Armelagos.


THE PHARMA REVIEW  JULY-AUGUST 2010

A Big Nose can Shield from Cold, FLU
Here’s some good news for people with a big nose. It offers greater protection from illnesses, says a new study. Researchers have carried out the study and found that although commonly mocked, a prominent nose helps prevent one from catching cold and flu viruses. And, the bigger the nose, the larger the natural barrier which can physically stop dust particles and airborne bacteria from entering the body. The study found larger noses inhaled almost 7% fewer pollutants and they also act as a barrier to deflect germs away form the mouth and could even reduce the effects of hayfever.

Zero to Twenty Dog Bites can Leave Children with Emotional Scars too
When animals attack, some children might develop post traumatic stress disorder, of PTSD. That’s the message of a new study that followed children suffering from animal bites. Researchers from the Peking Union Medical College Hospital in Beijing studied 358 kids aged 5-17 years who were attacked by animals. Most had dog bites, but some had been bitten by cats, rabbits, rats, or guinea pigs. After three months’ observation, 19 children were diagnosed with PTSD. Those hospitalized for severe bites were most at risk-10 out of 38 of them developed PTSD. The study – published in the journal Pediatrics – underscores the need for psychological evaluation of children after animal bites, said the researchers.

Eating Walnuts Every Day Keeps Dementia Away
Want to stave off dementia? All you need to do is to eat walnuts everyday, according to a new study, led by an Indian-origin researcher. Dr. Abha Chauhan and his colleagues at New York State Institute have carried out the study and found eating walnuts on a regular basis can keep one’s mental skills up. According to the researchers, vitamin E and flavonoids in walnuts actually help in destroying harmful free radical chemicals that cause dementia.

Cholesterol Tests Must for Kids, Say Docs
Tens of thousands of kids may benefit from cholesterol-lowering medication, but no one would know because screening guidelines exclude too many children, US doctors said on Monday. In a report published in the journal Pediatrics, they call for screening of all children, expanding one set of current recommendations that target only those whose parents of grandparents have heart disease or high cholesterol.

Twenty to Forty before Going on A Diet, Watch your Vitamin Intake
When weighing the benefits of one weight–loss plan over another, dieters should consider what else might get cut along with the calories. The focus of popular diets rests on the amount of food consumed and the quantities of proteins, fats and carbs. Vitamins and minerals tend to be overlooked. As a result, deficiencies arise that increase the risk of serious health problems, including low blood count, osteoporosis and neurological damage. After analyzing data form 300 women following a weight–loss diet–Atkins, Zone, LEARN (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitudes, Relationships, Nutrition) of Ornish-researchers from California’s Standford University found them at risk of inadequate levels of these nutrients. Vitamin E posed the biggest problem, said the report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Now, A Jab to Stop Cancer in Tracks
In what could be called a major breakthrough, scientists claim to have created a jab which can cure even the most deadly cancers – by shrinking tumors and stopping them from spreading. The injection, which is already being tested on patients with breast, bowel, pancreatic, cervical and ovarian cancers, could hit the market in as little as five years, its creator Prof Ray Iles of Middlesex University said. The drug, which is being developed in conjunction with US firm Celldex Therapeutics, revs up the immune system, directing it to destroy Human chorionic gonadotropin of hCG which is made by some breast, bowel, ovarian, cervical tumours and around half of bladder and pancreatic cancers. The drug shrinks tumours and, crucially, stops them from spreading, or metastasizing, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported. Prof IIes said: "Not only are you causing the cancer to shrink, it is not metastasizing. If you come in with chemotherapy and surgery, you’ve got a cure." Tests on animals have already had "extremely good" results and preliminary trials on people show it to be safe. The jab is now being given to 60 men and women newly diagnosed with bladder cancer. Further, larger trials will be needed before it is deemed suitable for wide fertility spread se. professor Iles said: "The vaccine has the potential to help us make rapid advances in the treatment of this inversive cancer." The destruction of hCG would also mean the jab acted as a contraceptive. However, women’s fertility should return to normal within a year after completing treatment.


THE PHARMA REVIEW  MAY-JUNE 2010
 
Preemies May Face Lifetime Lung Trouble  
Children born extremely early at 25 weeks or before may risk a lifetime of lung problems, including asthma, suggests a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Researchers from University College London found that extremely pre-term babies who lived to age 11 often had abnormal lung function and were twice as likely as children born at a full 39 or 40 weeks to be diagnosed with asthma. They studied all babies born at or before 25 weeks gestation. The children were examined and their lung function and respiratory health checked when they were 2, 6 and 11. 56 per cent had abnormal spirometry results -a test of blowing into an instrument to assess lung strength. One in four had asthma. But 65 per cent had not had any respiratory symptoms for the last 12 months.

Hospitalisation for Choking Rare, Deadly
While it's extremely rare for a child to be admitted to the hospital after choking on food, tiny toy pieces or other foreign bodies, they are "surprisingly likely" to die in hospital, suggests a study published in the Archives of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery. Researchers from Children's National Medical Center at The George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, found about one in 30 children hospitalized for choking, die. Discharge reports from 3,438 hospitals suggest that procedures performed most often were bronchoscopy (52%) esophagoscopy (28%). Tracheotomy is done in 2% cases.

Too Much Sugar Increases Heart Risks
Eating a lot of sugar not only makes you fat it may also increase a person's risk for heart disease, suggests a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers from the Emory School of Medicine found that people who ate more added sugar were more likely to have higher risk factors for heart disease, such as higher triglyceride and lower levels of protective high-density lipoprotein or HElL cholesterol. Too much sugar not only contributes to obesity, but also is a key culprit in diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.

Diet may be linked to lower Alzheimer's Risk among the elderly
Older adults appear to be at lower risk for Alzheimer's disease if they eat a diet rich in fish, poultry, fruit, nuts, dark leafy greens, vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, and oil-and-vinegar dressing, suggests a study published in the Journal Archives of Neurology. Researchers from Taub Institute at Columbia University found that among older people whose diet included most of these foods, the risk for Alzheimer's was more than one-third lower over the course of four years than among those who ate the least such foods and more high-fat dairy products, butter, red meat and organ meat. The food combination associated with lower risk is low in saturated fat and rich in nutrients like folate, vitamin E and Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

Four Bad Habits add 12 Years to Your Age Smoking, Drinking, Inactivity and a Poor Diet Combine to Pose Huge Health Risk: Researchers
Four common bad habits combined-smoking, drinking too much, inactivity and poor diet - can age you by 12 years, sobering new research suggests. The findings are from a study that tracked nearly 5,000 British adults for 20 years, and they highlight yet another reason to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Overall, 314 people studied had all four unhealthy behaviors. Among them, 91, or 29%, died during the study. Among the 387 healthiest people with none of the four habits, only 32 or about 8%: died. The risky behaviors were: smoking tobacco; downing more than three alcoholic drinks per day for men and more than two daily for women; getting less than two hours of physical activity per week; and eating fruits and vegetables fewer than three times daily. These habits combined substantially increased the risk of death and made people who engaged in them seem 12 years older than people in the healthiest group, said lead researcher Elisabeth Kvaavik of the University of Oslo. The study appeared in Archives of Internal Medicine. The healthiest group included never-smokers and those who had quit; teetotalers, women who had fewer than two drinks daily and men who had fewer than three; those who got at least two hours of physical activity weekly; and those who ate fruits and vegetables at least three times daily.

 
 
 
 

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