March 16, 2011

May Lower Need for Some Meds

1 Tai Chi Minimizes Depression in Seniors

Tai chi, in combination with medical treatment, minimizes depression in the elderly, heightens memory and cognition and improves quality of life, say UCLA researchers. For the study, depressed adults, ages 60 and older, were treated with the antidepressant escitalopram. Some participants took a tai chi class while others received health education. Researchers found significant improvement in symptoms of depression for 94% of tai chi participants versus 77% improvement for those who received health education. "... adding a mind-body exercise like tai chi that is widely available in the community can improve the outcomes of treating depression in older adults, who may also have other, co-existing medical conditions, or cognitive impairment,” says first author Dr. Helen Lavretsky.

More at Eurekalert.org | Posted 7 years ago by Melody Lesser

Previously: New Guidelines for Preventing Falls in Elderly

Tags: Cognition, Depression, Memory, Mind Body Connection, Tai Chi, Tai Chi for Elderly, UCLA, Dr. Helen Lavretsky, Tai Chi Minimizes Depression

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (50%) / No! (50%)

Adults May Have Reaction to Pill

2 Buying Potassium Iodide Pills May Be Unnecessary

Stores across the West Coast are selling out of potassium iodide pills, but experts say the precaution is probably unnecessary at this time in the U.S., and the pill shouldn't be taken unless radioactive iodine is present at high levels. Oregonian reports that potassium iodide pills protect the thyroid from cancer in the event of exposure to radioactive iodine, but they may also cause a life-threatening allergic reaction that may result in anaphylactic shock, particularly among adults over 40. Children have the most to gain from taking the pills since they're more at risk of developing thyroid cancer after radioactive exposure. Potassium iodide pills, which may cause nausea and vomiting, may also damage the thyroid gland in people with thyroid problems, which are sometimes undiagnosed.

More at The Oregonian | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Radioactivity Could Enter Japan's Food Supply

Tags: Potassium Iodide Pills, Panic in U.S. over Radiation, Fear of Radiation from Japan, Nuclear Meltdown Effects on U.S., anaphylactic shock

Read the Comments (1) | Was this Interesting? Yes! (48%) / No! (52%)

Asthma Inhaler Bad for Ozone

3 Primatene Mist Discontinued This Year

"I find it difficult to understand why the company has been unable to find a more suitable and safe propellant to continue the manufacturing process."
- Bill in the comments

Primatene Mist inhalers will be discontinued as part of an international agreement to stop using chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which harm the environment by decreasing the earth's ozone layer. According to the FDA, Primatene Mist (epinephrine) may be harder to find on store shelves even before the last day it will be available, December 31, 2011. The FDA advises users of the inhaler to see a health care professional to start on another medicine. Primatene Mist is the only OTC asthma inhaler sold in the U.S. Patients who have trouble paying for replacement medicines which may cost more can contact the Partnership for Prescription Assistance at 1-888-477-2669.

More at FDA | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: FDA Cautions on 4 LABA Asthma Inhalers

Tags: Chlorofluorocarbons, Primatene Mist, Epinephrine, OTC Asthma Drug Discontinued, Primatene Mist No Longer Available

Read the Comments (12) | Was this Interesting? Yes! (48%) / No! (52%)

Safer Alternative Available

4 Assessing the Risks of Full-Body Scanners

While individual risk of dying from cancer after two screening scans with backscatter X-rays at airports is only around one in 10 million, that number also means that 100 cancer cases may result each year from a billion X-ray backscatter scans. WebMD reports on two recent articles in Radiology which assess the risks of using backscatter X-rays. David J. Brenner, PhD, DSc, of Columbia University Medical Center says that children, flight personnel and super frequent travelers are at increased risk of cancer from the use of the scans. David A. Schauer, ScD, CHP says that people should only be exposed to ionizing radiation when a threat exists that may be detected. Schauer thinks that backscatter X-rays shouldn't be used when a safer alternative, the millimeter wave scanner, exists.

More at WebMD | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Full-Body Scan Cuts Life Span by 42 Minutes

Tags: Columbia University Medical Center, Full Body Scans, Backscatter X-Rays, Screening Scans, Ionizing Radiation Exposure, David J. Brenner, David A. Schauer, Journal Radiology, Millimeter Wave Scanner

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Sigh of Relief

5 Xolair Fights Seasonal Asthma Attacks

Xolair (omalizumab), a new anti-asthma drug, dramatically cut increases in seasonal asthma attacks for young adults and children with allergic asthma, find researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center. "The increased number of asthma attacks we typically see in the fall and spring nearly was eliminated in the children and adolescents who received the drug," notes Dr. Rebecca Gruchalla, co-author of the study. When used in concert with National Institutes of Health-based treatment guidelines, Xolair nearly eliminated seasonal attacks, improved asthma control and reduced the need for controller drugs. The research findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

More at Eurekalert | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Scientists Identify Cat Allergy Trigger

Tags: UT Southwestern Medical Center, Seasonal Asthma Attacks, Allergic Asthma, Xolair, Omalizumab, New Asthma Drug

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (45%) / No! (55%)

The Insulin Switch

6 Protein That Induces Insulin Secretion Discovered

Researchers at John Hopkins discovered a protein, Snapin that regulates the secretion of insulin, offering insight the mechanism of type 2 diabetes and potentially new treatments. Mice were created to have their Snapin gene in the pancreas turned “on” all the time. Those cells and cells from normal mice were harvested and put in a petri dish with glucose. The amount of insulin secreted from the engineered mice cells was 7.3 billionths of a gram of insulin per cell compared to 2.8 billionths of a gram of insulin per cell in the normal cells. Turning off the gene reduced the insulin secretion by 80 percent and genetically modified pancreatic cells of mice with type 2 diabetes had the initial release of insulin that is absent in type 2 diabetics were restored.

More at Science Daily | Posted 7 years ago by Kristie Hayes

Previously: Half of Americans Will Have Diabetes by 2020

Tags: Insulin, Type 2 Diabetes, Snapin, Pancreatic Beta Cells

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (49%) / No! (51%)

Restores GABA Production

7 Gene Therapy for Parkinson’s Shows Promise

People with Parkinson’s who received gene therapy did 23 percent better on a standard tests six months after the procedure compared to a 13 percent in those who got the sham treatment. Of the 37 patients involved in the study, 21 had holes drilled into their brains while awake and a virus linked to the GABA gene put in so it would enter the neurons and use its machinery to make copies of the gene. Sixteen only got holes drilled halfway through their skull. GABA is an inhibitory chemical in the brain that decreases in the people suffering from degenerative disease and making them overactive. Researchers are excited because this offers hope to those with Parkinson’s and demonstrates that gene therapy is not simply theoretical. The long term benefits and consequences are not known.

More at Yahoo! AP | Posted 7 years ago by Kristie Hayes

Previously: Mystery of Parkinson’s Transplant Problems Solved

Tags: GABA, Gene Therapy, Parkinson’s, Gene Therapy for Parkinson's

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (44%) / No! (56%)

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