Anxiety Treatment Today

2011-01-29 / Mental Health / 0 Comments

Alleged Ponzi schemer to get drug treatment in jail

TEXAS, United States, Thursday January 27, 2011 – Fraud accused Allen Stanford will have to remain in jail to get the treatment he needs for an addiction to anti-anxiety medication, a judge ruled yesterday as he put in writing an earlier ruling that the former billionaire is unfit to stand trial.

US District David Hittner said that the alleged Ponzi schemer would not be allowed to go to a private facility as his lawyers had requested. He said Stanford would get what he needed at a prison hospital and would also receive further psychiatric testing to determine his competence to stand trial later on.

“The court’s finding that Stanford is incompetent…does not alter the court’s finding that Stanford is a flight risk and that no combination of conditions of pretrial release can reasonably assure his appearance at trial,” Hittner wrote.

Stanford’s trial stems from allegations that he defrauded investors of US$7 billion through the sale of certificates of deposit at the Stanford International Bank in Antigua. Prosecutors say he conducted a Ponzi scheme in which earlier investors are paid not from returns on their investments, but with the money paid in by later investors.

He was to face 21 charges in a trial that was scheduled to start Monday. But after Hittner heard from one government and two defence psychiatrists earlier this month that Stanford had been taking high doses of anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs that left him unable to assist in preparing his own defence, the judge postponed the trial indefinitely and said he would set a new date only after Stanford’s had detoxified and was declared competent.

In his written ruling, Judge Hittner said while the three psychiatrists could not identify the exact cause of Stanford’s diminished mental capacity, they all agreed it could be one or a combination of over-medication, which has led to an addiction; brain damage caused by the head injury he sustained in September 2009 in a prison fight; and/or Major Depressive Disorder, also known as clinical depression.

All the psychiatrists agreed that Stanford should be withdrawn from his medications, a process that could take up to six months.

Judge Hittner has advised both the defence and prosecutors to diligently prepare their cases in the meantime.

When Worries Never End: Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Some people are worriers, or are just a little more anxious than others. But when that anxiety starts to take over your life, when you find you can’t make it through the day without getting worked up about something, it’s more than just anxiety. It might be generalized anxiety disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Endless Worry

Unlike phobias or other more specific anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, isn’t a fear or worry about one particular thing or things. Instead, it’s constant worry — not about major events, but about the little things that you do every day. This level of anxiety is usually considered a disorder when it continues for more than six months and starts to affect daily life. People with generalized anxiety disorder excessively worry about things like their job, their money situation, their health problems, and their loved ones.

“People who have generalized anxiety feel it in multiple situations. They describe feeling tensions that they cannot first label as tension-producing, that they feel are innocuous situations, and in effect they live a life in which they have a sense of foreboding about everything,” says Charles Goodstein, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center. “They cannot localize it.”

Other symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include:
Always feeling edgy or tense
Constant anxiety and worrying
Anxiety that is excessive given the circumstances (irrational anxiety)
Having a hard time concentrating
Feeling shaky, tired, and cranky
Frequent headaches
Insomnia and other sleep problems
Physical symptoms like upset stomach or diarrhea, difficulty catching your breath, rapid heart rate, and sweating

Almost seven million adults in the United States deal with generalized anxiety disorder, a little over 3 percent of the total population. While anyone can get the disorder, twice as many women as men have it. And generalized anxiety disorder can strike as early as childhood, although symptoms may not show up until middle age or later.

Hypericum perforatum treatment: effect on behaviour and neurogenesis in a chronic stress model in mice

Extracts of Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort) have been traditionally recommended for a wide range of medical conditions, in particular mild-to-moderate depression.

The present study was designed to investigate the effect of Hypericum perforatum treatment in a mouse model of anxiety/depressive-like behavior, induced by chronic corticosterone administration.

Methods: CD1 mice were submitted to 7 weeks corticosterone administration and then behavioral tests as Open Field (OF), Novelty-Suppressed Feeding (NSF), Forced Swim Test (FST) were performed. Cell proliferation in hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) was investigated by both5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU) and doublecortin (DCX) immunohistochemistry techniques and stereological procedure was used to quantify labeled cells.

Golgi-impregnation method was used to evaluate changes in dendritic spines in DG. Hypericum perforatum (30mg/Kg) has been administered for 3 weeks and then neural development in the adult hippocampus and behavioral changes have been examined.

Results: The anxiety/depressive-like state due to chronic corticosterone treatment was reversed by exogenous administration of Hypericum perforatum; the proliferation of progenitor cells in mice hippocampus was significantly reduced under chronic corticosterone treatment, whereas a long term treatment with Hypericum perforatum prevented the corticosterone-induced decrease in hippocampal cell proliferation.

Corticosterone-treated mice exhibited a reduced spine density that was ameliorated by Hypericum perforatum administration.

Conclusion: These results provide evidence of morphological adaptations occurring in mature hippocampal neurons that might underlie resilient responses to chronic stress and contribute to the therapeutic effects of chronic Hypericum perforatum treatment.

Read More

Nutrition News

2011-01-28 / Nutrition & Diets / 0 Comments

Mead Johnson 4Q profit jumps 56 percent

GLENVIEW, Ill. (AP) — Infant formula maker Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. said Thursday its profit climbed 56 percent in the fourth quarter as sales in Asia and Latin America continued to improve. But its forecast for 2011 was short of Wall Street estimates.

The maker of Enfamil said its net income increased to $99.6 million, or 48 cents per share, in the last three months of 2010 from $64 million, or 31 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time costs related to its initial public offering, severance expenses, legal costs, and other items, the company said it earned 57 cents per share.

Its revenue rose 13 percent to $803.7 million from $714.4 million.

Analysts expected earnings of 56 cents per share on revenue of $806.3 million, according to estimates compiled by FactSet.

Mead Johnson said revenue in Latin America and Asia rose a combined 20 percent to $509.7 million. It said business was especially strong throughout Latin America and in China and Hong Kong. Sales in North America and Europe rose 2 percent to $294 million. It added that changes in foreign currency exchange rates boosted its sales by about 2 percent.

Mead Johnson was a wholly owned unit of drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. until it completed its IPO in February 2009. The company was fully separated from Bristol-Myers in December 2009.

Its annual profit grew 13 percent to $452.7 million, or $2.20 per share, from $399.6 million, or $1.99 per share, in 2009. Revenue increased 11 percent to $3.14 billion from $2.83 billion.

Mead Johnson said it expects an adjusted profit of $2.55 to $2.65 per share in 2011. Net sales are expected to grow 7 to 8 percent, which suggests a total of $3.36 billion to $3.39 billion. On average, analysts are forecasting a profit of $2.73 per share and $3.44 billion in revenue.

Shares of Mead Johnson Nutrition fell 28 cents to $59.74 in afternoon trading.

‘Nutrition Keys’ Coming to the Front of Food Packages

MORGANTOWN — The Grocery Manufacturers Association along with the Food Marketing Institute has started putting some labels on the front of their products called “Nutrition Keys”.
“With it being on the front of the package it’s hoped that its going to be noticeable and more informative to consumers.”

Certified dietician Cindy Fitch with the West Virginia University Extension Service says the more visible the information the better.

The labels list calories, saturated fat, sugar, sodium and other nutrients.

“The more that we draw attention to the food that we eat and what’s in the food that we eat the better off we are,” says Fitch.

“I don’t think that people realize how much fat or sodium is in the foods that they buy,” she said.

Some critics say the nutrition keys are a way to get out of using labels that are already being developed by the Food and Drug Administration.

Fitch says she noticed the keys are lacking a very important feature; the serving size.

“We have a big misconception about serving sizes in this country. We tend to eat a pretty large serving sizes and not pay attention to what the nutrition facts label says the serving size is and that’s not on the front of the package and I think it should be,” says Fitch.

The government had the Institute of Medicine conduct a study about the labels to be reviewed by the FDA.

Michelle Obama in SC, sees Army fitness, food

FORT JACKSON, S.C. (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama is visiting the Army’s largest training post to see how the military turns couch potato recruits into strong and nutrition-minded soldiers.

The first lady arrived Thursday to address the latest crop of new soldiers at their graduation ceremony at Fort Jackson in central South Carolina. She also was to hear about Army efforts to turn unfit teens into warriors.

Obama’s focus on making children healthier intersects with the nation’s need to field tough troops for the Army.

Fort Jackson trains more than 60,000 soldiers annually, including more than half of the Army’s female soldiers.

Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling is briefing the first lady on how new soldiers are given exercises for core body strength and stamina. Mess halls now feature more dark greens, whole grains and fat-free milk.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama is visiting the Army’s largest training post to see how the military turns couch potato recruits into strong and nutrition-minded soldiers.

The first lady, who has taken on the cause of battling childhood obesity, was to speak Thursday to the latest crop of new soldiers at their graduation ceremony at Fort Jackson in central South Carolina.

Her battle against children’s lack of fitness intersects with the nation’s need to field fit troops for the Army.

Fort Jackson, which trains more than 60,000 soldiers annually and more than half the Army’s female soldiers, is one of the service’s five major posts for basic and advanced individual training.

Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, who recently overhauled the way the Army feeds its troops during training, also revamped the Army’s physical training regimen.

Hertling was slated to brief the first lady on how new soldiers are given exercises for core body strength and stamina. Bayonet drills have been dropped in favor of zigzag sprints, pugil stick workouts and stepped up calisthenics to increase power, strength and agility for soldiers facing rigorous campaigns in places like Afghanistan.

Mess halls now feature dark greens, whole grains and no-fat milk instead of calorie-laden fried foods, sugary desserts and sodas.

Red, yellow and green markings above each food item tell soldiers which foods are good for their energy level, which ones will keep them full, and which should be eaten in moderation.

Drill sergeants now call out recruits who don’t put enough fruits and veggies on their plates, and hold hour-long sessions on performance nutrition to help them understand the Army wants “soldier athletes.”

Army officials worry the nation’s security is at risk because fewer than one in four 17 to 24 year-olds are fully qualified to enter the military because of health, weight, or legal reasons.

Read More

Obesity Treatment News

2011-01-27 / Weight Loss & Obesity / 0 Comments

Obesity puts children and adults at risk

According to a new study at the Pediatrics Department of the University of Chicago, children who sleep for at least nine hours do not have problems of obesity and the accompanying metabolic disorders like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The study indicated that children who consistently get nine to 10 hours of sleep on both weekdays and weekends have the healthiest metabolic profile. “Good sleep routines and sleeping the right amount is the best healthy proposition,” lead author David Gozal said.
Parents should watch for symptoms that indicate their children need to sleep more. Being cranky or less alert are just two of these. Consequences seen during school would probably be behavior problems, poorer execution of cognitive tests and physical injuries.
Catching up on sleep over the weekend is believed to help to a certain extent but those children who were obese already had shorter and more irregular patterns of sleep. These are also the ones who had higher insulin levels — which can lead to type 2 diabetes over a prolonged period — higher levels of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and higher levels of C-reactive protein, which has been linked to heart disease in later life.
Obesity is defined as an excessively high amount of body fat (or adipose tissue) in relation to lean body mass. The amount of body fat includes concern for both the distribution of fat throughout the body and the size of adipose tissue deposits. Weight standards can be measured in many different ways. The most common is body mass index.
BMI represents weight levels associated with the lowest overall risk to health. BMI is a mathematical formula in which a person’s body weight in kilograms is divided by the square of his or her height in meters. BMI is more highly correlated with body fat than any other indicator of height and weight. Desirable BMI levels may vary with age. According to the National Institutes of Health clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation and treatment of overweight and obese adults, all adults (aged 18 years or older) who have a BMI of 25 or more are considered at risk for premature death and disability. Individuals with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese. Health risks increase as severity of the person’s obesity increases.
Other weight tables have been created by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Theirs is based on their client population.
Factors that contribute to child, adolescent and adult obesity include:
Modifiable (things that can be changed) causes such as:
• Physical activity: lack of regular exercise
• Sedentary behavior: high frequency of television viewing, computer usage and similar behavior that takes up time that could be used for physical activity
• Socioeconomic status: low family incomes and non-working parents
• Eating habits: over-consumption of high-calorie foods and eating patterns such as eating when not hungry, eating while watching TV or doing homework
• Environment: factors include over-exposure to advertising of foods that promote high-calorie foods and lack of recreational facilities
Non-changeable causes include:
• Genetics: children of obese and overweight parents are at greater risk of obesity
Obese people are at risk of developing one or more serious medical conditions, which can cause poor health and premature death. Obesity is associated with more than 30 medical conditions and scientific evidence has established strong relationships with increases in deaths from all causes due to obesity. Preliminary data also shows the impact of obesity on various other conditions. Weight loss of about 10 percent of body weight, for people who are overweight or obese, can improve some obesity-related medical conditions including diabetes and hypertension.
Just a few facts on obesity-related medical conditions:
• More than 75 percent of hypertension cases are reported to be directly linked to obesity.
• Obesity contributes to the main cause of gout — the deposit of uric acid crystals in joints and tissue.
• As many as 90 percent of individuals with type 2 diabetes are reported to be overweight or obese. Obesity has been found to be the largest environmental factor on the prevalence of diabetes in a population.
• Postmenopausal women with obesity have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. In addition, weight gain after menopause may also increase breast cancer risk. Women who gain nearly 45 pounds or more after age 18 are twice as likely to develop breast cancer after menopause than those who remain at a stable weight.
• Women with obesity have three to four times the risk of endometrial cancer than women with lower BMI.
• The effects of obesity on cardiovascular health can begin in childhood, which increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease as an adult.
• Obesity has been found to decrease the body’s resistance to harmful organisms. A decrease in the activity of scavenger cells, which destroy bacteria and foreign organisms in the body, has been observed in patients with obesity.
If losing weight is high on your list of New Year’s resolutions for your child or yourself, check out “The Top 10 Habits That Can Help You Lose Weight” by Kathleen M. Zelman on WEBMD.

Obesity, Legacy of Smoking Leave Americans Behind in Life Expectancy

America lags many other nations in life expectancy, largely because of obesity and, in years past, lots of smoking. That, at least, is the conclusion of a new study from the National Research Council, the main operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

The report mainly blames the nation’s once-prevalent smoking habit. While only 20 percent of the adult population smokes today, the figure was 40 percent in 1960, and many 1960 smokers are still suffering the effects.

“Fifty years ago, smoking was much more widespread in the United States than in Europe or Japan: a greater proportion of Americans smoked and smoked more intensively than was the case in other countries,” the authors wrote, as Reuters reports.

“Other factors, such as obesity, diet, exercise, and economic inequality, also have likely played a role in the current gap and divergence between the United States and other countries,” the study said.

At 78.3 years, U.S. life expectancy at birth ranks 36th in the world, behind most of Europe, parts of Asia and even Cuba, according to the United Nations. Japan’s life expectancy of 83 years is the world’s highest.

The report had some good news for Americans, however. The authors said that the nation’s declining smoking numbers will result in higher life expectancies in the coming decades.

Turn down the thermostat, your heater may be making you fat

Linda Carroll writes: Lowering your thermostat may reduce not only your spending, but also your weight, a new study suggests.

Researchers suspect that rising indoor temperatures in British and American homes may have contributed to the obesity epidemic. The theory is that we burn fewer calories when our bodies don’t have to work as hard to stay warm, according to a report published in Obesity Reviews.
“Research into the environmental drivers behind obesity, rather than the genetic ones, has tended to focus on diet and exercise – which are undoubtedly the major contributors,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Fiona Johnson, of the UK Health Behavior Research Centre at University College, London. “However, it is possible that other environmental factors, such as winter indoor temperatures, may also have a contributing role.”

Johnson and her colleagues scrutinized data on indoor temperatures in both the United Kingdom and the United States. They found that both British and American households have bumped up their thermostats several degrees over the last few decades.

For example, bedrooms in the U.S. were heated to an average of 66.7 degrees in the late 1980s, versus 68.4 degrees in 2005. The differences were more striking in British bedrooms, where the average temperature climbed from 59.4 degrees in 1978 to 65.3 degrees in 1996.

Studies have shown that slightly chillier temperatures can lead to increased energy expenditures, Johnson noted. And that’s true even when people bundle up.

“Increased time spent indoors, widespread access to central heating and air conditioning, and increased expectations of thermal comfort all contribute to restricting the range of temperatures we experience in daily life and reduce the time our bodies spend under mild thermal stress – meaning we’re burning less energy,” Johnson said.

Read More

Gout Treatment News

2011-01-26 / Pain Management / 0 Comments

Dealing with gout — the malady of kings

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. —

Gout is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis in the United States and the number of cases has doubled in the last two decades. An attack usually involves a single joint in the legs or feet, particularly the big toe, and may cause severe pain for up to a week.

At the heart of gout is a class of molecules called “purines.” Most purines are part of the structure of DNA and because DNA is found in cells, cellular foods like meat have a lot of purines. When purines are broken down into uric acid, it may accumulate in a joint and create symptoms of pain, redness, and swelling.

Impaired uric acid excretion by our kidneys is worsened by many prescription and some over-the-counter drugs. Diuretics and low-dose aspirin are the big offenders. High-fructose sweeteners and alcohol are food sources that also impair uric acid excretion.

Diabetes and a pre-diabetic condition called “metabolic syndrome” are now epidemic in the United States. These conditions contribute to gout by both altering uric acid metabolism and by creating renal insufficiency. Sixty percent of gout sufferers now have metabolic syndrome.

There is often no relationship between blood levels of uric acid and the timing of an acute attack of gout. For diagnosis, the best strategy is to have your doctor perform testing two weeks after the attack.

At that time, if your blood level of uric acid is elevated, you likely have gout. The diagnosis is unlikely if the level is less than 4 mgj dl. In the event of a positive diagnosis, you probably have a problem excreting uric acid instead of overproducing it if your 24-hour urine uric acid is less than 800 mg.

Treatment of an acute gout attack is often best handled with early use of a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug like indomethacin. Colchicine is a drug that has been used for gout in one form or another for centuries but has only recently been approved by the FDA for this purpose. Two pills at onset of symptoms and one more in two hours is all that should be used. Higher doses do not work better and may have toxic effects. Oral or intramuscular steroids may also be helpful.

A drug called probenecid helps promote excretion of uric acid. It may be useful if someone cannot take indomethacin or colchine.

For those that have had three or more gout attacks in a given year, a preventive medicine that limits uric acid production may be helpful. Allopurinol has been widely used for this purpose. Another drug in the same category is now available. There is no good evidence that it works better and it is considerably more expensive. A new drug is in the pipeline that uses a slightly different mechanism to decrease uric acid production. Expect it to be expensive also.

Always discuss strategy with your doctor before considering medicine use, but remember, as with most maladies, the best management of gout is still prevention.

A study of 89,000 older female nurses shows that drinking one to three cups of coffee daily can reduce the risk of developing gout by 22 percent. Four cups or more can reduce the risk by 57 percent. Decaf does not carry the same risk reduction and other caffeinated drinks do not work.

Vitamin C can promote uric acid excretion by limiting its re-absorption in the kidneys. A 20-year study of 47,000 men showed that daily intake of at least 250 mg of Vitamin C was associated with fewer attacks of gout. There was a 17 percent decrease in risk for each 500 mg increase in Vitamin C consumed.

Losing weight and increasing exercise can decrease the risk of gout from diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Limiting alcohol and refined high-fructose foods like soft drinks will also significantly decrease the risk. Decreasing meat consumption, particularly organ and game meats, as well as seafood can decrease the likelihood of gout. Increasing low-fat dairy can also decrease the risk.

Moderate intake of purine-rich vegetables like spinach, beans, peas, mushrooms, oatmeal, and wheat bran have not been found to significantly increase the risk of gout.

Trauma can precipitate an attack of gout, so always protect your feet and knees.

Gout may have once been the malady of kings, but now we have another reason to live longer and healthier lives than Henry the VIII. We know what causes gout and we know how to treat it and prevent it.

Ardea Follows Positive Gout Results with $71.5M Offering

January already had been a pretty good month for Ardea Biosciences Inc. and it got even better on Thursday.

San Diego-based Ardea followed up its announcement earlier this month of positive, preliminary, top-line results from its Phase IIb study of RDEA594 in combination with the current standard of care for the treatment of gout, allopurinol, with an underwritten public offering of 2.75 million shares of common stock priced at $26 a share, about 3 percent below Wednesday’s closing price. The company expects gross proceeds of about $71.5 million.

Ardea stock (NASDAQ:RDEA) was down 56 cents, to close at $26.25 Thursday.

Ardea also earned a $15 million milestone payment earlier this month from partner Bayer HealthCare AG under a 2009 license agreement concerning MEK inhibitor compounds. Bayer’s initiation of a Phase II trial of BAY 86-9766 with sorafenib in hepatocellular carcinoma triggered the payment. The payment brought Ardea’s total under the agreement to $50 million to date, and the company could receive as much as $357 million more in future milestones. (See BioWorld Today, April 29, 2009.)

BofA Merrill Lynch and Jefferies & Co. Inc. are joint book-running managers with JMP Securities, Brean Murray, Carret & Co. and Roth Capital Partners acting as co-managers. The underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase an additional 412,500 shares to cover overallotments, which potentially could raise an additional $10.7 million. The offering is expected to close Jan. 25.

The company said it anticipates using the proceeds for clinical trial expenses – including RDEA594, which is expected to enter Phase III testing this year – research and development expenses and working capital.

John Beck, Ardea’s CFO and senior vice president finance/operations, told BioWorld Today that he expects some of the funds to go toward the Phase III program for RDEA594, but said that it is too soon to pin down specifics.

“Because we have not yet had our end of Phase II meetings with U.S. and EU regulatory authorities, we are unable at this time to provide specifics regarding the scope of our Phase III program for RDEA594,” Beck said. “However, we do believe that the proceeds from this raise, together with our existing resources, provide a strong financial foundation as we plan for Phase III.”

Beck said that the company’s preliminary, unaudited cash balance at the end of 2010 was approximately $80 million. Proceeds from the new financing, net of expenses and conservatively assuming the underwriter’s allotment is not exercised, plus the $15 million milestone payment from Bayer brings Ardea’s post-transaction cash position to approximately $162 million, less cash used in operating activities during the first few weeks of January, he said. The company plans to release its 2010 earnings and file its annual financial report on March 11.

A number of analysts have had good things to say about Ardea since the company reported that the primary and key secondary endpoints of a Phase IIb study of RDEA594 in combination with the allopurinol were achieved, with highly statistically significant reductions in serum uric acid (sUA) and up to 89 percent of patients taking a combination of RDEA594 600 mg and allopurinol reaching target sUA. Allopurinol accounts for more than 90 percent of the unit sales of chronic gout prescription medications, the company said.

Jefferies & Co. analyst Thomas Wei wrote earlier this month that RDEA594. “could become the standard-of-care for second-line gout treatment.”

Wei added that “the next major strategic decision will be whether to partner RDEA594 or retain rights through Phase III trials, a decision which we expect the company to make within the next six to 12 months.”

Leerink Swann Research analyst Joseph Schwartz wrote during the first week of January that “RDEA594 is the front-runner in the race to becoming the next new oral gout drug.”

Jonathan Aschoff, an analyst for Brean Murray, estimated “the U.S. market for RDEA594, which only includes the 60 percent of allopurinol patients that do not adequately respond to allopurinol, as about a $3 billion opportunity.”

Last week Piper Jaffray & Co. analyst M. Ian Somaiya said in a company note that after meeting with Ardea management, “we believe that Ardea will conduct two Phase IIIs to ensure sufficient data, namely safety, for approval. Furthermore, we expect key efficacy endpoints, beyond sUA reductions, to include benefit in flare rate, thus allowing a broader label and potentially encompassing all gout patients.”

Nine months ago Ardea netted proceeds of about $77.1 million in a public offering of about 4 million shares. (See BioWorld Today, April 7, 2010.)

There are limited treatment options currently on the shelves for gout. Allopurinol has been the standard of care with Osaka, Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.’s xanthine oxidase inhibitor Uloric (febuxostat) gaining approval early in 2009. Savient Pharmaceuticals Inc., of East Brunswick, N.J., gained FDA approval in September 2010 for Krystexxa (pegloticase), a pegylated uric acid-specific enzyme for chronic refractory gout. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 16, 2010.)

Beyond its gout program and MEK inhibitor partnership with Bayer, Ardea also has a Phase II-stage HIV program testing RDEA806, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor.

Read More

Cancer Treatment News

2011-01-25 / Cancer News / 0 Comments

Anti-Estrogen Drugs May Be Effective Lung Cancer Treatment

New research has found that a long-known drug to help treat breast cancer may also be used to reduce death risks from lung cancer as well. The drug is an anti-estrogen and has been known for nearly 30 years.

The study can be found in Cancer, a journal published online.

The drug, called tamoxifen, was shown to decrease lung cancer death risks in women with breast cancer. Researchers claim the results may be premature to use this drug as a treatment option for lung cancer patients, however.

Researchers believe this drug may be instrumental for lung cancer patients as lung cancer is believed to be caused at least somewhat by estrogen.

Another finding experts have explained is that in previous studies, lung cancer risks were shown to increase during menopause as women underwent hormone replacement therapy. Based on that, researchers believed the use of an anti-estrogen might be an effective treatment option for lung cancer as well.

For this study, researchers examined health records of 6,655 women. Each woman had a breast cancer diagnosis, and nearly half of the women were treated with an anti-estrogen drug, primarly tamoxifen.

For women receiving anti-estrogen treatment, lung cancer death risks were nearly 90 percent lower than in women who did not receive treatment.

Limitations on this study could have been the sample size, as only 40 women developed lung cancer.

Additionally, some studies involving mice have explained that tamoxifen may increase lung cancer risks.

Compiling all information, researchers firmly believe additional studies need to be performed.

New blood test key to future of cancer treatment

A new cancer test that performs a liquid biopsy in patients garnered widespread headlines last week, but it’s not going to immediately transform treatment of the disease.

In some ways the most significant aspect of the test may be that it highlights the promise of both early cancer detection and personalized medicine, two key areas of medical research that may, one day, combine to end much of the menace of cancer.

“I’m pretty optimistic about the future of cancer treatment,” said Dr. Kent Osborne, director of the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine.

“I think right now we’re just at the tip of the iceberg with the problem, but we now have the tools to work through them. It’s an exciting time.”

The new blood test, developed by Boston scientists and to be brought to market by Johnson & Johnson, is driven by something akin to a hairbrush with 78,000 tiny bristles.

Blood passes through the bristles, which are far enough apart to let red and white blood cells pass through but can trap larger tumor cells. In addition, there are biological particles on the bristles — antibodies – that stick to cancer cells. The goal is to capture stray cancer cells shed by tumors as they spread through the body – no easy thing as fewer than 1 out of billion cells in the blood may be cancerous even with an aggressively spreading disease.

Initially, scientists say, the test will be used on cancer patients who have undergone therapy to determine if the cancer has come back, and if so, how the resurgent cancer cells have mutated.
Tests for mutations

This is one of the areas that Massachusetts General Hospital, Sloan-Kettering, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston will study with a $15 million grant from the Stand Up to Cancer telethon, run by the American Association for Cancer Research.

“A tumor may shrink after initial treatment,” said Dr. John Heymach, an associate professor at M.D. Anderson who will be involved in the clinical trials in Houston.

“But afterward, individual cancer cells often develop secondary mutations. We want to know if we can use this test to identify those secondary mutations because, if so, we have different drugs that may be able to treat secondary mutations,” Heymach said.

The test, in essence, combines both cancer detection and personalized medicine in a tidy bundle. This may provide a glimpse into the future of cancer therapy.

In terms of detection, scientists have a ways to go. Indeed, it may never be possible to detect very early cancers from a single blood test, Heymach said.

Whereas a spreading cancer may not shed that many tumor cells, it produces hundreds to thousands times more cells than an early cancer.

For now the best way to detect tumors early is a CT scan, which can find tumors as small as a sugar cube.
Researching proteins

But in Houston labs and across the country, scientists are trying to develop an array of technologies to sniff out cancer in its early stages, when it’s most vulnerable.

In addition to looking for cancer cells in blood, scientists have also turned to identifying proteins associated with tumors as well as small bits of RNA – material like DNA that contains genetic information – that appear to correlate with cancer.

“A lot of groups are looking at different biomarkers,” said Osborne, the Baylor physician, who is working with RNA material. “You can see the potential if we find some markers that tell us there’s a cancer there before we can see it on an X-ray.”

The blood test, with its ability to capture cancer cells for analysis, extends the potential of personalized medicine, the notion that by better understanding the biological nature of a person’s illness, a better treatment can be tailored to the patient.

On average, drugs work in about 50 percent of patients, said David Gorenstein, associate dean for research at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Doctors want to do much better.

The classic example of personalized medicine comes from the drug Herceptin.
Complex challenge

Clinical trials initially showed the drug had only a mild beneficial effect on patients. Then scientists discovered that women whose breast cancer tumors produced an excessive amount of a certain protein, about one-quarter of patients, responded very well to treatment with Herceptin. Patients who didn’t produce large amounts of the protein saw no benefit.

The promise of personalized medicine is that, by understanding the genes and proteins involved in various cancers, doctors can gain a much better understanding of how to attack a disease with various drugs.

But the personalized medicine successes such as Herceptin are so far the exception, rather than the rule, when it comes to pinpointing the right drug for a disease.

“Biology is very, very complex,” Gorenstein said. “We have 20,000 genes, half a million proteins, and they all interact through signaling. We have mapped the human genome, but we don’t understand what all the genes are doing, nor all of the networks and pathways of protein interactions that constitute life.

“There’s a huge amount of unknowns. But the technologies that have developed over the last 10 years have rapidly accelerated the process by which we can understand these things.”

Read More

Acne Treatment Today

2011-01-21 / Skin Care / 0 Comments

Acne Treatment – Simple Steps to Treat Acne That Works

John Appleby, the founder of has been helping people cure their acne problems for a number of years now.

He recently undertook a study of a few young adults who were unable to get rid of their acne despite trying the most popular acne products and medications on the market and prescribed by doctors.

This confused John because he had done a lot of research into the acne problem and has seen how acne treatments can help. When he had enough people with so called untreatable acne he decided that he would look into each case individually and see if there was something that he could do.

What surprised John was that in each case the doctors had not given them some basic advice that he thought was essential. There was a sense that the doctors had looked at the problem and prescribed a medication and that was that. This struck him as being a bit of a one dimensional view on acne and he realized that he might just know what the issue was.

In the spirit of good research he decided that he would set up a test to see if what he thought was correct. So he told the acne sufferers to keep to their current routine but use these two tips as well and in one month’s time he would contact them again to see if there had been a marked improvement.

These two tips were:

– Drink plenty of water. This is such a simple tip and John couldn’t believe that the doctors where not asking the sufferers how much water they were drinking. Being constantly hydrated is essential to good skin health and every single one of the acne sufferers he spoke to were not drinking enough. So he said drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, every day.

– Don’t pick, squeeze or even touch your acne. Appreciating that this is difficult he gave them some advice on how to train their mind to not do it as he found that many were playing with their acne without even noticing they were doing it.

When the month was up and the results were in, every single acne sufferer had experienced at least some improvement. Some were even amazed at the difference this made to their condition.

Acne Treatment Toronto – having flawless skin

20th January 2011 – Every woman in this world thinks of becoming beautiful and dreams of having flawless skin. This is just because they are not satisfied with what they have and there is nothing wrong in asking for the above as it is in the human nature to do the same. There are many facilities all round the globe where doctors and experts are working at the same and trying to make you look beautiful.
It is to be noted that Acne Treatment Toronto has made quite a name in the last decade or so. They are certainly your help at hand as they would provide with the right complexion and flawless skin that you always dreamt of. One method of curing the problem of pimple and acnes is laser treatment which helps you get rid of the problem. Once you start searching the net you would get endless cure for the same, some of which would be temporary while others permanent. There is always a possibility of acne growing back if you do not take proper care of your skin and use harsh creams and chemicals.
Acne occurs because of bacterial growth and laser treatment can indeed help you solve the underline menace. This generally happens because of bad food habits and poor metabolism. When the acne is exposed to a specific wave length of light they get destroyed. Hence this prevents the future growth of acne on that part as well. However, you should remember taking food rich in nutrients and water of a substantial amount.
When the LuxV dual band emits a ray of light of around 400 to 700 nm and 870 to 1200 nm it removes the acne permanently. This beam of light falls under the blue spectrum and has a cooling sensation that destroys the same. People are at times apprehensive about this laser treatment however they should note that this laser treatment does not damage their skin. At times people report of minor side effects but they actually do not occur in the majority of people.
Acne Treatment Toronto has thus found many takers. It should be noted that the treatment is indeed very effective although that it requires a bit of money. You may report of acquiring scars but they can be removed quite easily by medication and ointments. Thus you can stop worrying now and rush for the treatment since the treatment is at hand.

Read More

Diabetes News and Treatment

2011-01-20 / Diabetes / 0 Comments

Coffee Can Curb Diabetes Risks

UCLA — Researchers at UCLA have discovered that coffee’s protective effects against Type 2 diabetes may be attributed to a protein that regulates sex hormones.

Sex hormone-binding globulin, or SHBG, regulates and biologically activates male and female sex hormones, which are commonly thought to play a crucial role in the development of Type 2 diabetes. By increasing coffee consumption, SHBG levels increase, lowering the subject’s risk of developing diabetes.

In a press release, UCLA professor of epidemiology Simon Liu and doctoral student Atsushi Goto reported that women who consumed four cups of coffee each day were 56 percent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes compared to nondrinkers. The coffee-drinkers were found to have higher concentrations of SHBG in their blood than those who abstained from the caffeinated beverage.

According to Goto, the study’s findings are not correlated to decaffeinated coffee.

“Consumption of decaffeinated coffee was not significantly associated with SHBG levels, nor diabetes risk, so you probably have to go for the octane!” Goto said in a press release.

Old Drug Helps Alcohol Addicts

UC San Francisco — A group of scientists at UC San Francisco recently published a study of an FDA-approved drug that could potentially treat alcoholism.

Chlorzoxazone, commonly prescribed as a muscle relaxant, has been confirmed to decrease alcohol consumption in heavy-drinking rats. According to lead author Woody Hopf, an assistant adjunct professor of neurology at UCSF, the drug could reduce neuronal excitability in a region of the brain’s reward system known as the nucleus accumbens, which perpetuates cravings for alcohol or other addictive substances.

In their current study, Hopf and his colleagues discovered that rats that drink heavily have fewer SK channels — ion channels that allow potassium to pass across a cell membrane — in their neurons than rats that do not drink heavily. Chlorzoxazone was found to activate those SK channels, resulting in a loss of excitability of the nucleus accumbens, which plays a large part in addiction and pleasure as well as the suppression of alcohol consumption in heavy-drinking rats.

“Chlorzoxazone might be exactly the kind of drug to take the edge off that craving, without side effects.” Hopf said in a press release.

According to Hopf, the next step is clinical trials, which he said can be expected to begin immediately, as the drug has already been approved by the FDA.

Geneticists Gaze Into Gut Genome

UC Berkeley — Scientists at UC Berkeley have sequenced the genomes of microbes that exist within the gut of prematurely born infants in order to achieve a better understanding of the intestinal problems that commonly plague the population.

Researchers are still unsure if the diseases, including deadly necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC, are caused by bacterial pathogens or imbalances within the population of organisms that live within the gut of premature infants.

As infants mature, the populations of organisms that reside in their gut change dynamically as various microbes compete for biological dominance. Babies born prematurely may have eccentricities in their cycle that lead to the proliferation of disease-causing bacteria, possibly resulting in illness.

According to assistant professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Michael J. Morowitz, in order to gain a better understanding of the microbe populations, an analysis of normal, healthy microbial population dynamics is needed before disease-causing factors can be found.

“It’s become very apparent that there are some fundamental unanswered questions just about the colonization process under normal circumstances,” Morowitz said in a press release. “It’s really important to get a handle on what the normal process is first, and then, eventually, we can look closely at babies with NEC and see if they deviate from what appears to be the normal colonization process.”

Jill Banfield, a professor of earth and planetary science and of environmental science, policy and management at UC Berkeley, said in a press release that a full genome sequence is needed due to the possibility of even a few genes having strong implications for the character of the bacteria.

“We already know that just a few genes can make one strain a pathogen and one beneficial or commensal,” Banfield said. “We expect that a lot of the issues with the colonization process in the gut that leads to disease may be tracked to subtle differences in strains.”

Glaxo Sets Aside Over £2bn to Cover Legal Fees

18 January 2011 – The global pharmaceutical group GlaxoSmithKline has set aside £2.2 billion during the fourth quarter of 2010 to cover possible legal fees related to its diabetes drug Avandia.

The European authorities banned Avandia during 2010 while its use has been restricted in the United States due to a suspected link to heart disease, according to news reports.

The drug giant said in a statement that the £2.2 billion charge primarily relates to “additional provisioning” which is related to a US state investigation into the group’s US sales, promotional activities and product liability cases related to Avandia.

Such legal fees are an occupational hazard for large drug groups operating in the complex pharmaceuticals market which has weathered the global economic downturn relatively well.

Outside the US, the Asia Pacific region is emerging as the fastest growing pharmaceutical industry in the global arena, according to a new report, entitled “Asia Pacific Pharma Sector Analysis”.

The region’s low labor and manufacturing costs have attracted huge investments from the global giants, including GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer among other companies.

In combination with increasing disposable income of regional consumers and the increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases, these factors will help the market to grow at double digit growth rate during the forecast years, according to the report which provides a comprehensive overview of the sector in the region.

Research and Markets: China Diabetes Management Devices Market Opportunity, Growth Trends & Forecasts Till 2016

The Market Intelligence report provides critical market data for China diabetes management devices market and its product categories. The data includes market size in terms of value and volume; average selling price for each product type, growth trends and market shares of companies at sector and category level. Its vital cross category comparison and cross sub-category comparison section makes analysis very handy for company professionals. The report helps professionals in mapping market size, competition, understanding historic and future growth trends. It covers important categories such as blood glucose monitoring systems and insulin delivery devices.
Market size in terms of value ($) and volume (units), for each level of segmentation from 2005 to 2010 and forecast till 2016.
Market growth in terms of value ($) and volume (units), for each level of segmentation from 2005 to 2010 and forecast till 2016.
Competitive Analysis: Market share (%) of companies is covered at sector and category level for 2010.
Pricing Analysis: Average selling price ($) for each product type from 2005 2010 and forecast till 2016.

Cross category comparison and cross sub-category comparison Forecast and historic market growth and market size comparison for various categories and sub-categories from 2005 to 2010 and 2010 to 2016.

We update this product from time to time in order to provide you with the most recent information. This process may take 24 to 36 hrs.

Key Topics Covered:


Scope of the Report

Chinese Market for Diabetes Management Devices (2005-2016)
Diabetes Management Devices
Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems
Insulin Delivery Devices
Diabetes Management Devices Overall Revenue ($ mn) by Category, (2005-2016)
Diabetes Management Devices Overall Company Shares, 2010

Chinese Market for Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems (2005-2016)
Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems
Blood Glucose Meters
Blood Glucose Test Strips
Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems
Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems Revenue ($ mn) by Sub-Category, (2005-2016)
Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems Volume (Units) by Sub-Category, (2005-2016)
Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems Average Price ($), (2005-2016)
Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems Company Share (%), 2010

Chinese Market for Insulin Delivery Devices (2005-2016)
Insulin Delivery Devices
Insulin Pens
Reusable Insulin Pens
Disposable Insulin Pens
Insulin Syringes
Insulin Pumps
Insulin Delivery Devices Revenue ($ mn) by Sub-Category, (2005-2016)
Insulin Delivery Devices Volume (Units) by Sub-Category, (2005-2016)
Insulin Delivery Devices Average Price ($), (2005-2016)
Insulin Delivery Devices Company Shares (%), 2010

Research Methodology
Contact us

Companies Mentioned:
Abbott Laboratories
Animas Corporation
Apex Biotechnology Corp
AViTA Corporation
Bayer HealthCare AG
Becton, Dickinson and Company
BIONIME Corporation
Eli Lilly and Company
F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd
LifeScan, Inc.
Medtronic, Inc.
Novo Nordisk A/S
San Meditech(Huzhou)Co.,Ltd
Smiths Medical
Terumo Corporation

Read More

Arthritis Treatment Today

2011-01-19 / Health News / 0 Comments

Tylenol issues another recall, but says products are safe for consumers

The maker of Tylenol is recalling several of its Tylenol products — as well as some cases of Benadryl, Sudafed and Sinutab products — because they were made in a Pennsylvania plant that has been shut down.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare is voluntarily recalling certain lots of Tylenol 8 Hour, Tylenol Arthritis Pain and Tylenol upper respiratory products that were distributed in the United States, the Caribbean and Brazil.

The products, which also include some lots of Sudafed PE, Sinutab and Benadryl, were manufactured at the McNeil plant in Fort Washington, Penn., before April 2010, when production at that plant was suspended because of insufficient cleaning procedures.

The company says that the recall is a precautionary measure taken after the company reviewed its quality procedures.

The company says that consumers do not need to take any action and may continue to use the products. “It is very unlikely that this impacted the quality of these products,” the company said in a statement.

In addition, McNeil also has recalled certain product lots of Rolaids Multi-Symptom Berry Tablets distributed in the United States, in order to update the labeling. The company initiated the recall after determining that the product labeling does not include the language “Does not meet USP” as required by regulation.

A USP label means that the product meets the standards of the United States Pharmacopeia, a non–governmental authority that sets standards for prescription and over-the-counter medicines and other healthcare products manufactured or sold in the United States.

Johnson & Johnson, which owns McNeil Consumer Healthcare, has come under scrutiny in the past year because it has recalled about 288 million items, including about 136 million bottles of liquid Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl for infants and children.

The problems stem from quality-control issues in multiple factories. Last year’s recalls were sparked because some of its consumer products contained bits of metal, while others came in bottles with a moldy smell.

McNeil, meanwhile, is conducting a comprehensive review of records at its U.S. manufacturing facilities.

Consumers can access full product details and other information about the recall on the website or by calling its Consumer Care Center at 1-888-222-6036 (available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time).

Master switch that triggers arthritis found

LONDON: In what may pave the way for an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis , scientists have identified what they claim is a “master switch” which triggers the condition .

A team at Imperial College London has, in fact, found a protein, called IRF5, that acts as a switch, telling immune system cells, called macrophages , to promote or stop inflammation , the Daily Express reported . “This is really exciting ,” lead researcher Irina Udalovasaid .

Rheumatoid arthritis is an incurable immune system disease where joints are swollen by inflammation. The body uses inflammation as a defence against infection and tissue damage, but too much is harmful .

Blocking the production of IRF5 could help in a range of diseases including RA, lupus and even MS , say the British scientists .

Petpals – Treating canine arthritis

Like humans, dogs can also get arthritis due to old age, joint infections, traumatic injury to joints, dietary imbalance, autoimmune diseases and hormonal imbalance. Genetic factors, breed susceptibility, being overweight and lack of exercise can act as predisposing factors for arthritis.

On an average, a dog’s skeletal system has 319 bones regardless of the breed type. The structure comprises of different kinds of bones and joints which undergo several changes due to environmental challenges during lifetime.

The first seven to eight months are very important in pup’s life as this is the period of rapid growth and development. Proper supplementation of essential minerals like Calcium and Phosphorous is important during this period. Along with oral supplementation, proper exercise for the dog is also needed to keep the body in proper shape and to ensure a strong skeletal system.

The most common form of arthritis in dogs is osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)


Favouring a particular limb

Hesitancy to jump, run or climb the stairs

Behavioural changes like prolonged sleeping

Reduction in alertness

Stiff, sore joints & lameness

Reluctance to play or work

Joint enlargement or swelling

Weight gain

Physical examination and an x-ray are required to diagnose arthritis.


Regular exercise

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) supplementation to reduce pain and inflammation, although with side effects.

Dietary provision of nutrients like Glucosamine, Chondritin sulfate and Hyaluronic acid salt formulations are very effective as they provide structural support

Therapy including NSAIDS , Glucosamine, Chondritin and Hyaluronic acid

Proper diet can be used as a preventive major for control of canine arthritis in older dogs.

(The author is CEO– Provimi Animal Nutrition India. He can be reached at

HOLD MY PAW Hi, I’m Sachin, a Pomeranian who went missing four months ago from Purasaiwalkam. Despite my family’s best efforts, they have been unable to find me. If you spot me, call them at 9789950787.

HERO OF THE WEEK Deepa nominates her father for rescuing a weak, hurt puppy. The pup was named Chotu and was then adopted by a friend who takes good care of him.

TAKE ME HOME This serene, handsome 2-month-old Indian puppy has been vaccinated and is very healthy. To adopt him, call 9283390693

A snow white kitten with a cheerful temperament is in search of a nice place to call home. To adopt her, call 9840634986

Read More

Weight Loss Today

2011-01-12 / Weight Loss & Obesity / 0 Comments

Biggest Loser Ashley Johnston promotes Rite Aid weight plan

She set the record for the most weight loss by a woman on the NBC-TV show “The Biggest Loser.” Now Ashley Johnston, the runner-up on season 9, is teaming with Rite Aid to promote the drugstore chain’s Rite Weight Plan.

One appealing feature is the cost: It’s free.

Here’s what it includes: a 12-page guide containing weight-loss tips and techniques; access to a medical weight-control program called Lindora for help losing up to 10 percent of your body weight in 10 weeks; online seminars, weight tracking tools and supportive daily e-mails. The website also includes recipes, healthy snack suggestions, a body mass index calculator and tools to decipher food labels.

In addition, pharmacists at the stores can answer questions about diet trends, drug therapy for weight loss, myths and medications used to control weight-related diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and stroke.

Pharmacist Shauna Morat, of the Rite Aid at 1820 Teall Ave. in Syracuse, says some people who resolve to lose weight this time of year struggle with popular myths about dieting.

One of the most popular: The less you eat, the better.

While portion control is important, Morat says, “that doesn’t mean if you skip a whole meal that you are controlling your portions.” That can backfire, she says, by messing up your body’s metabolism, which can cause you to gain weight.

Another popular myth: Low-fat means it’s good for you.

Morat cautions to read food labels closely. “Many that are marked ‘low-fat’ may be high in sugars, and calories.”

She reminds us that the average woman needs about 1,200 calories per day; the average man, about 1,500.

Through Jan. 22, enter a sweepstakes at for a chance to win a trip for two to The Biggest Loser Ranch in Los Angeles, where the reality show is filmed. Johnston lost 183 pounds on the show last year, dropping 48.93 percent of her weight. She placed second behind a man who lost 50.19 percent of his body weight, going from 526 pounds to 262 pounds.

100-pound weight loss

Adam Reitz, a teacher at Liberty High School, gets ready for his evening run on the steps of the school. Adam has lost over 100 pounds in the last three years simply by running and watching his eating habits. He runs every day, mornings before work and evenings, no matter what the weather conditions. (Douglas Kilpatrick, SPECIAL TO THE MORNING CALL / December 20, 2010)

When Adam Reitz doesn’t feel like waking up at 3:30 a.m. for his daily run, he reaches out for his phone and looks at the picture that changed his life.

Most days he doesn’t need to reach for the phone. The image of himself 100 pounds heavier is engraved in his mind, as are the feelings associated with that picture.

It was three years ago and two months before his wedding. He had just returned from a trip to Hawaii with his students and colleagues from Liberty High School in Bethlehem. The school nurse had taken the picture and left it in his mailbox for him to remember their trip. It was a pleasant image of him posing with his now-wife, Tara, who is also a teacher at Liberty.

Wayne L. Westcott: How do TV weight-loss shows work?

You may have watched television shows that feature people who have lost large amounts of weight in relatively short periods of time. For example, contestants are frequently reported to lose about 60 pounds of body weight in 12 weeks.

Let’s take a look at the math and physiological changes necessary to attain such a huge weight loss, at a rate of 5 pounds per week.

Most Americans have enough stored fat to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, which requires cutting 3,500 to 7,000 calories per week. Some very heavy adults may be able to lose 3 to 4 pounds of fat per week, which requires cutting 10,500 to 14,000 calories per week. But it would be almost impossible for someone to lose 5 pounds of fat per week, which requires slashing 17,500 calories.

What would it take for someone to achieve a 17,500-calorie deficit within a week? If a person normally eats 2,500 calories a day, a total food fast would produce a 17,500 weekly calorie deficit. Or, if a person continued to eat normally, he or she could burn 17,500 extra calories by running 175 miles a week (25 miles each day). Obviously, both scenarios are unlikely.

If a person loses 5 pounds a week, then the weight isn’t totally fat. A significant percentage of the weight loss is muscle, composed of about 75 percent water and 25 percent protein.

Losing muscle, which is always unwise and unhealthy, inevitably results in metabolic rate reduction and a rapid regain of fat weight. Research confirms that those who lose body weight rapidly will regain the lost weight almost as quickly. In fact, physiologically, there is no alternative. Ask veteran dieters how many times they have lost and then regained large amounts of weight. Almost all of the people who participate in our weight-loss program have previously succeeded and failed with at least a half of a dozen diet plans.

So what is the secret to losing fat and keeping it off? The same secret that makes you look better, feel better and function better. Namely, a purposeful exercise program that restores muscle, recharges the resting metabolic rate and reduces fat.

It is essential to understand that as we age, we lose about 6 pounds of muscle every decade, unless we do strength training. As a result, our resting metabolism decreases about 3 percent per decade. Unless we eat less food, our lower metabolism leads to increased fat stores, averaging about 16 pounds per decade.

The 6-pound muscle loss combined with the 16-pound fat gain shows up as a 10-pound-per-decade weight gain on the bathroom scale. However, it really represents a 22-pound-per-decade, undesirable change in body composition, personal appearance and physical function because of 6 pounds less muscle and 16 pounds more fat.

The solution to this problem is not just dieting. Dieting can reduce fat, but it routinely results in muscle loss and metabolic rate reduction. Likewise, the solution is not endurance exercise alone. Endurance exercise like walking, jogging, cycling and stepping can reduce fat, but it does not replace muscle or recharge resting metabolism. The solution is a sensible combination of strength exercise, endurance exercise and nutrition, with or without calorie restriction.

Consider the results of almost 3,000 participants in our fitness research program. After 10 weeks of performing 20 minutes of strength exercise and 20 minutes of endurance exercise two or three days a week, the participants averaged a 3-pound muscle gain and a 4-pound fat loss, along with reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

In another study, we divided about 100 overweight women into two groups for the purpose of fat loss and cellulite reduction. Both groups performed our basic exercise program, but one group followed a modestly reduced calorie plan of 1,600 calories per day.

After eight weeks of training, all of the women made excellent improvements in body composition and personal appearance. However, those who combined exercise and diet lost twice as much fat weight (11 pounds versus 5 pounds) and twice as many inches off their hip measurement (2 inches versus 1 inch) than those who only exercised.

My first recommendation to reverse the negative effects of the aging process is a basic fitness program that includes both strength training and endurance exercises. In addition to improving musculoskeletal fitness, strength training replaces muscle, recharges metabolism and reduces fat by burning extra calories during the exercise session and throughout the day. In addition to improving cardiovascular fitness, endurance exercise reduces fat by burning extra calories during the exercise session.

My second recommendation is a sound nutrition program that includes enough protein for muscle and bone building and a reasonable reduction in caloric intake. That is, a diet that provides enough energy for your activity sessions and keeps your metabolism from slowing, which is always counterproductive.

Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., teaches exercise science at Quincy College in Massachusetts and consults for the South Shore YMCA. He has written 24 books on physical fitness, and has been a featured speaker at Harvard Medical School’s International Conference on Practical Approaches to the Treatment of Obesity.

Read More

Anxiety News

2011-01-11 / Mental Health / 0 Comments

Amid anxiety and hope, southern Sudanese vote in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan. 9 (UPI) — The shriek echoed down the line and everyone turned. The shriek didn’t come from fear or anger. Instead it was filled with laughter, tears and happiness. Then, all the southern Sudanese women in the line joined in with ululations, jubilant changing and a chorus of “Hallelujah!”

Some carried the Christian cross, others waved the flag of southern Sudan,. A pregnant woman massaged her stomach to attract the cameras’ attention to what is written on her T-shirt: “The Mighty Moment: Go Southern Sudan. Go.”

More than 2,000 registered voters were expected to cast their ballots at just one of the polling places set up in Nairobi. Voters started queuing at 3 a.m., bracing against a chilly night, but everyone trying to be the first one to vote. There were pregnant women, mothers carrying babies, disabled people leaning on walking sticks, sons and daughters holding the hands of elderly parents. A blind woman chanted excitedly as she was led down a corridor.

“I am so excited,” said Ruot Chawgath Kai, who works with the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission in Kenya. “When God opens that door today, no one will be able to stop Southern Sudan from seceding.”

The 2011 Southern Sudan Referendum is giving the people of southern Sudan the opportunity to vote for secession from northern Sudan. If the vote is affirmed, then the world will get its newest state on July 9.

The voting will last a week, until Saturday, and will require a turnout of 60 percent. This means that more than 2.3 million out of the 3.9 million registered voters must vote for the referendum to count.

The SSRC, a body that is independent from the governments of Sudan or Southern Sudan, alongside the International Organization of Migration is running the Out-of-Country Voting and Registration.

The OCV will also take place in eight countries — Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, Ethiopia, Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom — in addition to Sudan.

The Referendum Commission said those eight countries were chosen because they are densely populated by communities of South Sudanese outside Sudan.

“It is a possibility that the referendum result will be accepted, given the successful voter registration, and this gives the commission high hope,” said Achuoth Philip Deng, the commission’s representative in Kenya.

About 4 million people are registered to vote in the referendum, he said. Kenya leads the way for out-of-country voting, with more than 15,000 southern Sudanese registered.

The referendum is taking place in eight centers around Kenya. Two centers are in Nairobi, one each in Eldoret, Nakuru, Kitale, one in the Dadaab refugee camp, and two more centers in Kakuma refugee camp.

Deng said Kenyan police officers will be deployed at the eight voting stations around the country during the seven-day process of voting.

At Blue Springs Hotel, one of the two voting centers in Nairobi, people were ecstatic.

As voters trickled into the center on time, there was mismanagement as to how they were supposed to line up. As disorder affected the queuing process, officials from the SSRC were at a loss on how to control the crowds, as voters started pushing each other for space.

Even so, voters were determined to stay in line until they vote.

“People are eager to vote” said Oliver Bakata Frazer, head of the Consideration Committee at the voting station. “They came here at 3 in the morning, and they are determined to finish the process.”

Electoral observers arrived early to witness the referendum kickoff at 8 a.m. Representatives from the Institute for Education, Sudan Council of Churches, All Africa Conference of Churches, the Carter Center and Kenya’s Interim Independent Electoral Commission were all in attendance.

“I believe us, the youth in Kenya, more than others, will change the future of southern Sudan,” said Stephen Duol, who was draped with a Southern Sudanese flag as he voted. “It is a change we believe in. Yes, we can.”

Wiederer: Duke turns anxiety into momentum in crunch time

If you’re looking for the time period of Sunday night’s ACC clash during which No. 1 Duke turned its anxiety into momentum, let me save you the research. It started with 17:23 left against Maryland with a peculiar substitution by coach Mike Krzyzewski and ended 6 minutes and 22 seconds later with any nerves the Blue Devils had been feeling replaced with a winning combination of aggression and positive energy.

So who’s to credit for the surge that allowed Duke to surface from a wild scrum at Cameron Indoor Stadium with a 71-64 win? Freshman Tyler Thornton.

Yes, that Tyler Thornton, the young guard who sat out Duke’s entire ACC opener against Miami last weekend and remained cemented to the bench for the entire first half Sunday.

Common sense said Thornton would be in his warm-ups for the entire night against Maryland. How could Coach K possibly feel comfortable throwing such an untested rookie into a game more feisty than any Duke had played this season?

Yet sometimes instinct overrules common sense. Which is why Krzyzewski gave Thornton a point with 17:23 remaining, sent him into the game to replace Andre Dawkins, then sat back for the next 6:22 and watched something special happen.

With a grin on his face as he played defense, Thornton delivered exactly the kind of focus and hustle that will make Duke so darn tough to beat this season.

Using his greatest asset, his fundamentally sound and spirited defense, Thornton lit a fire under the Blue Devils. He showed his teammates he was fearless, ready for all the chaos Sunday night’s game had to offer.

He made a steal from Terrapins guard Pe’Shon Howard and converted it into a pretty floater on the other end. He drew a charge against Howard.

He clapped his hands. He pumped his fists.

“We call Tyler ‘The Bulldog,” Dawkins said. “We put him into the game and we sic him on the other point guard. He was playing defense for 94 feet. He gave our entire team energy. You can’t put into words the boost he gave us tonight.”

Immediately after Thornton entered, Duke delivered a 14-2 run that turned a six-point deficit into a six-point lead.

“He was a difference maker,” Krzyzewski said. “How would you ever predict that?”

The initial surge of the second half had gone miserably for the Devils. Not only had they gone to halftime with plenty to worry about, up just 32-31 and digesting a first half in which they missed nine of 10 3-point attempts, but Maryland began the second half by scoring seven points in the first minute, staggering the defending national champions and leaving Krzyzewski looking for answers.

That the Hall of Fame coach got such a bold performance from Thornton seemed to surprise even him.

In 12 minutes, Thornton contributed four steals, drew two charges and had a strip of Maryland star Jordan Williams on a putback try with 4:00 left.

What’s more, on a night where the Terrapins harassed Nolan Smith all over the floor, Thornton’s ability to lighten Smith’s load by taking over point guard duty for significant stretches steadied Duke.

“Having not played in the first half and really not being part of that seven-man rotation (we have), for Tyler to play as well as he did tonight is really one of the things that make you love coaching,” Krzyzewski said.

Krzyzewski knew from the first day he recruited Thornton that the kid had something special. His big-game experience playing at Gonzaga High in Washington and with D.C. Assault in the AAU ranks has given him an obvious basketball maturity.

It would be an exaggeration to label Duke’s win season-changing. But it would be similarly naïve to dismiss the possibility that such a determined comeback fueled by Thornton’s hustle will propel the Blue Devils to be a more complete team.

“This is a great win for us. Are you kidding me?” Krzyzewski said. “We’re not this great basketball team. We’re a good basketball team that has to gain experience, gain maturity and learn.”

Read More