Hypertension Drugs Can Significantly Reduce Cerebral Malaria Deaths

By jeremyc | September 26, 2016

Including an angiotensin influencing drug, which is used for control blood pressure, improved survival rate in malaria infected mice by three times, according to a new research.

While malaria, a life-threatening blood disease caused by a mosquito bite, has been long since eradicated in the US, hundreds of thousands of cases of malaria deaths are registered every year in different parts of the world.

In this study, the researchers studied cerebral malaria, which accounts for one percent of all malaria cases worldwide (Nearly 216 million people develop malaria in a year.). Almost 20 percent of cerebral malaria patient died last year because of their condition (that is, 432,000 deaths).

Nearly one cerebral malaria patient in every five does not survive for longer than 48 hours after contacting the disease. These patients might survive malaria if they receive a haemorrhage stopping drug during the first 48 hours window.

The researchers carried tests on mice in laboratory. Mice were divided into three groups. The first one received only chloroquine, a common malaria treatment medication. The second group was given irbersartan, angiotensin influencing drug, while the third group was given a new experimental drug, also an angiotensin influencing drug, along with chloroquine.

The researchers noted that survival rate was only 18 percent in the first group. The second group recorded a 65 percent survival rate, whereas 73 percent mice of the third group survived.

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An Experiment Drug Might Prevent Multiple Sclerosis

By jeremyc | September 25, 2016

According to a new research, an experimental drug called laquinimod might stop the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS for short), a lifelong condition that worsens with time and for which there’s no cure at present. It is estimated that there are 2.5 million people affected by MS worldwide. In the US alone, nearly 400,000 people have MS.

A chronic illness, MS involves the central nervous system. In MS, myelin, the protective coating over nerve fibers, is attacked by the immune system. This, in turn, triggers inflammation and causes scar tissue. There are different types of MS and symptoms may vary from patient to patient. With that said, more than two-thirds of patients experience fatigue. Other common symptoms include difficulty balancing, muscle spasticity, muscle weakness, and numbness in the feet or legs.

Patients of MS are recommended a combination of symptomatic and disease-modifying therapies. The symptomatic treatments focus on relieving MS symptoms and improving the quality of life. On the other hand, the aim of disease-modifying treatments is to reduce relapse frequency and slow the progression of the disease.

In the new research, the scientists found that laquinimod might be effective in preventing MS or slowing its progression in mice.

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Ilaris Gains FDA Approval for Three New Indications

By jeremyc | September 24, 2016

The FDA has approved Ilaris for 3 new indications, each a rare auto inflammatory condition. Ilaris has obtained approval for the following 3 indications:

· Familial Mediterranean Fever

· Mevalonate Kinase Deficiency

· Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Associated Periodic Syndrome

Each of these conditions is hereditary. Patients of all three conditions experience severe pain in muscles and periodic inflammation and fever attacks. Until now, no other approved therapy is available for Mevalonate Kinase Deficiency and Tumour Necrosis Factor Receptor Associated Periodic Syndrome. With Ilaris gaining approval for these two conditions, the patients will get an access to a therapy which might provide relief for the very first time.

Earlier Ilaris had received approval for two conditions: active systematic juvenile idiopathic arthritis and cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome, which is also an auto inflammatory condition marked by periodic episodes of fever.

Ilaris obtained approval for 3 new conditions after producing satisfactory results in clinical studies. Two common side effects associated with Ilaris use are reactions at the injection site and increased risk of catching colds.

Serious side effects can occur because of Ilaris, including, but not limited to, a greater risk of contacting severe infections, a reduced capability to fight infections, and allergy.

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FDA Gives Approval to Amjevita

By jeremyc | September 23, 2016

The FDA has given approval to Amjevita. The drug is biosimilar to Humira. Amjevita has received FDA’s approval as a biosimilar for more than one inflammatory condition.

Amjevita has received FDA’s approval for treating adult patients with:

· Rheumatoid arthritis

· Ankylosing spondylitis

· Psoriatic arthritis

· Plaque psoriasis

· Crohn’s disease

· Ulcerative Colitis

Amjevita has also received approval for treatment in four-year-old and older children suffering with active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Products which are termed as biological are obtained from an animal, human, microorganism, or any other living organism. A biological product that gets approval because of its high similarity with another biological product that has already received approval from FDA is called a biosimilar. A biosimilar product is approved after it demonstrates almost identical levels of efficacy and safety as its referenced biological product.

Like other drugs, Amjevita can cause side effects. Common adverse effects associated with it include are reactions at the injection site and infections. Serious side effects are also possible. The drug can cause malignancies and comes with a Boxed warning which states that it increases risk of serious infections.

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Nicotine Might Prevent Neurodegeneration

By jeremyc | September 22, 2016

According to a new study, nicotine might be effective in reducing neurodegeneration. Nicotine is an addictive chemical in tobacco, whose intake is linked with many health conditions.

Cognitive benefits of nicotine are attributed to its ability to bind with and activate certain receptors inside the brain, called nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. How nicotine does that is not clear, but lab tests show its association with nicotinic acetylcholine receptors prevents neurodegeneration in mice.

In the present study, the researchers checked the affect nicotine has at different doses on anxiety, weight, appetite, and levels of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

The researchers divided mice into three groups on the basis of the dose of nicotine they received. There was no change in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors levels, food intake, or weight in mice that received nicotine in medium or low doses.

An increase in the levels of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors was found in mice that took nicotine in high doses, while their food intake and consequently weight decreased. However, no increase in the anxiety levels was seen among these mice.

The results of this study are encouraging; however, many important questions, like how effective nicotine is in offering protection against brain damage in humans and whether it is safe when used as a medicine, need to be yet answered.

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Environmental Conditions Might Influence Efficacy of Depression Medication

By jeremyc | September 21, 2016

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most common type of antidepressants. While an effective treatment for depression, SSRIs don’t work for everyone. Until now there was no way to tell in which case the SSRI treatment is likely to work and in which case not. Thankfully, a new study sheds some light on this. According to it, environmental conditions influence efficacy of SSRIs. This finding might help treat depression more effectively in future.

SSRIs work by upping the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain which sends signals between the brain and nerve cells. Increased levels of serotonin relieve depression symptoms and improve the feeling of overall well being. Increasing serotonin levels also help improve patient’s response to psychotherapy.

However, it is estimated that in about 30-50 percent of depression cases, SSRIs don’t work. Doctors don’t have a clue why. The recent research explains the reason.

In this study, the researchers induced depression-like symptoms in mice by putting them under stressful conditions. All mice were treated with SSRIs, but they were separated into two groups. One group continued to be under stressful conditions, while the other group was put under favourable conditions.

The researchers noted the second group responded to SSRI, but not the first group. In other words, the efficacy of SSRI treatment depends on the environmental conditions during the treatment. If they are favourable, there are more chances of treatment working. On the other hand, if the patient is under stressful conditions during his or her treatment, depression might not abate or even worsen.

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Gut Bacteria Might Influence Obesity in Young Adults

By jeremyc | September 20, 2016

With obesity rising sharply in children and adolescents in the last few decades, there’s a strong need for a new strategy to tackle it. Thankfully, a new study brings us closer to dealing with the obesity menace. According to this study, gut bacteria might influence weight gain in growing years. The researchers noticed that children who were obese had a different gut population than children who were of normal weight.

Data suggests that in the last 3 decades, obesity has increased four times in adolescents and two times in children. The risk of obesity in adulthood increases if you are obese or overweight as a child or adolescent. Obesity in adults is a major risk factor for a range of diseases, like heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and diabetes type II.

For their study, the researchers enrolled 84 young adults and children. The age bracket of the studied group was 7 to 20 years. Out of these 84 participants, 35 were labelled as severely obese, 27 as obese, 15 as normal weight, and 7 as overweight.

The researchers checked the gut microbiota of each participant. Gut microbiota refers to the population of bacteria in the gut. The researchers noticed 8 gut bacteria were linked with body fat levels, out of which 4 were present in significantly higher levels in children who were obese.

In other words, presence of certain gut bacteria in higher levels in young adults increases the risk of obesity. This finding might help in formulating a strategy to fight obesity in children and adolescents in future.

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Stopping Protein Clumps Formation Prevents ALS

By jeremyc | September 19, 2016

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (or ALS for short) is a neurological condition that worsens with time. The disease affects nerves which are responsible for controlling muscle movement.

There’s no cure for ALS at present. Medications help relieve symptoms and slow progression. A recent study has come up with encouraging results, which may bring us a few stop closer to a cure. In this study, researchers have found a way to stop formation of protein clumps, which in turn prevents degeneration of motor neuron.

In the earlier stages of ALS, the patient typically experiences symptoms such as cramps, weakness in the legs or arms, stiffness in the muscles, or problems in swallowing and speaking. The condition progresses rapidly, leading to increased muscle weakness and a reduced ability to use muscles. In the later stages, ALS affects nerves responsible for controlling breathing as well as other vital bodily functions, leading to death.

In majority of cases, the disease comes about abruptly. In some cases, the disease is inherited, and in nearly 20 percent of these cases the condition occurs because of SOD1 mutation. SOD1 is a gene which in ALS patients starts forming protein clumps, and these protein clumps in turn kill motor neurons.

In their study, the scientists found a way to stabilise this gene and prevent formation of protein clumps. When SOD1 was stopped forming protein clumps, motor neuron degeneration also stopped.

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Preterm birth Increases the Risk of High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease Later in Life

By jeremyc | September 17, 2016

Children born prematurely have high blood pressure and smaller than normal kidneys in adulthood, according to a recent research. The researchers found that although the classical risk factors for cardiovascular disease might be absent in adults who were born preterm, they have a greater risk of high blood pressure as well as insulin resistance.

For their research, the team first checked blood pressure, the size of the kidneys, and kidney function in adults who were born preterm. The average age of the group was 23.6 years. Next, the researchers checked the same things in adults who born full-term. The average age of this group was 23.3 years.

On comparing the data between the two groups, the researchers noticed adults who were born prematurely had smaller kidneys. They also had a higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic is the upper reading and diastolic the lower reading.

The difference between the readings of blood pressure of the preterm group was not significantly higher than of the full-term group. However, the results do raise concerns about the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in adults who were born prematurely. This is because people whose blood pressure is higher than usual in young adulthood years are at a greater risk of high blood pressure when they grow older.

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Soon Ear Infections in Children Might Be Treated With Antibiotic Gel

By jeremyc | September 16, 2016

Nearly 95 percent of children experience at least one ear infection in childhood. Just like in adults, ear infections in children are treated with antibiotics. However, administering antibiotics to a toddler even once is a task in itself, and most parents will agree that forcing medicine down the throat of a child multiple times a day for 5-7 days is no less difficult than sparring with someone 30 pounds bigger than you.

Thankfully, soon things might become easier for the child—and the parents. Researchers are developing an antibiotic gel that can be directly squirted into a child’s ear. The gel will treat the infection in a single administration. Early research shows the gel to be effective in treating ear infections.

The most common ear infection in children is the infection of the middle ear, known as otitis media. A course of antibiotics effectively treats the infection in most cases; however, antibiotics are far from the perfect solution for children.

For one, as said above, children don’t take antibiotics easily. Two, often parents usually stop the medication when the symptoms disappear, even when a few days’ medicine is remaining. This, in turn, increases the risk of recurrence of the infection.

Three, antibiotics have to struggle to reach the infection site, so high doses are prescribed. High doses mean more severe side effects, like oral thrush, rashes, and diarrhoea.

The antibiotic gel, on the other hand, reaches the site easily and is also easy to administer. In an animal-study, the researchers found it to be effective in treating middle ear infections without causing any severe side effects. Thanks to this encouraging initial development, the researchers have won a 5-year grant to do further research on this antibiotic gel.

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