Asthma News and Treatment

2011-02-26 / Asthma / 0 Comments

The Wheezing Game: What Really Triggers Asthma?

According to the Mayo Clinic, asthma is a condition where the airways (the tubes that bring air into-and-out of) the lungs are obstructed. During an attack, the airways narrow and swell, producing extra mucus, and exhaling becomes difficult. The most common signs of asthma include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Asthma attacks vary. For some, they may be constant while others may have an attack only once a year. Asthma symptoms can be triggered by different variables including stress, dust, pet hair, dander, changes in weather, mold, pollen, exercise and even aspirin.

TREATMENT: Asthma can’t be cured but symptoms can be controlled and improve overtime. The ultimate goal of treatment is avoiding asthma triggers and monitoring symptoms. Doctors may take a series of blood tests, chest x-rays and lung function tests to first diagnose asthma and then determine the most appropriate treatment. Two medicines are prescribed for the treatment of asthma – medicine to prevent attacks and medicine to provide quick relief during an attack. (SOURCE: National Asthma Education and Prevention Program)

MANAGEMENT: With proper self-management and medical treatment, most people diagnosed with asthma can live normal lives. Those who have infrequent attacks may use quick relief medication as needed. Those with frequent episodes need to take medications on a regular basis to prevent symptoms. Complications from asthma can be severe: at the extreme level it can lead to death, severe chest pain, and changes in lung functionality. Persistent cough and drowsiness is also possible. (SOURCE: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

PREVENTATIVE TIPS: Keeping yourself far, far away from a flare-up is a key tenet of living with asthma. Just how to go about doing that isn’t always easy. The tips below should help.

– Avoiding triggers and substances that irritate the airways are possible.

– Cover bedding with “allergy proof” casings to reduce exposure to dust mites.

– Remove carpets from bedrooms and vacuum regularly around the house.

– Use unscented detergents and cleaning materials.

– Avoid smoking and/or homes/areas where tobacco use is common

Steroids to treat asthmatic children

A new University of Montreal study is evaluating the impact of steroid use on the immune system of kids.

The study has suggested that kids experiencing an asthma attack who are treated with a short burst of oral steroids may have a transient depression of immune response.

These findings have implications for asthmatic children who have flare-ups and who may be exposed to new contagious diseases.

“There is no question that the administration of corticosteroids reduces the risk and duration of hospital admission in children with acute asthma remain the most effective treatment for moderate and severe asthma exacerbations,” said first author Francine M. Ducharme of the University of Montreal.

“However, the safety profile of these medications continues to raise concerns among parents and physicians. New concerns over their possible impact on the immune system stem from rare reports linking or severe chickenpox infections linked with corticosteroid administration,” said Ducharme.

Ducharme and colleagues evaluated the immune response of children aged 3 to 17 years, who had arrived at the emergency department (ED) with an asthma attack.

“Several corticosteroid-treated children had a significantly lower immune response, as measured by the amount of antibody produced, than non-treated kids,” said Ducharme.

Children enrolled in the study were revaccinated with the antigen five weeks following their initial ED visit. Comparable immune responses were measured in children exposed to oral corticosteroids and not exposed to corticosteroids.

“These findings indicate there is a transient, not sustained, immune suppression in some children exposed to a new antigen at the same time as a corticosteroid administration.

In summary, our finding suggest a transient immune suppression occurs in some children who are concomitantly exposed to a new antigen and corticosteroids during an asthma attack, with a recovery within six weeks,” said Ducharme.

“Given the high frequency of use of these drugs over the past 20 years, the very rare occurrence of severe infectious disease is reassuring and would suggest that the window of risk is very small and only applies to exposure to a new antigen. However, before prescribing oral corticosteroids, it would appear prudent to systematically enquire about recent exposure to chickenpox in children who did not have chickenpox or the vaccine,” added Ducharme.

Mild asthma might not need to be treated daily

Mild asthma might not need to be treated every day, say US researchers.

A “preventer” inhaler containing corticosteroid is part of many asthma sufferers’ daily routine, but it can result in reduced growth and children often forget to take it.

This study, published in The Lancet, shows that it is possible to manage the symptoms without a daily dose.

Asthma UK said daily treatment was still the most effective, and concerned patients should speak to their doctor.

The disease causes inflammation of the tubes which carry air to and from the lungs. If they become irritated, then the airways narrow, sticky mucus is produced and breathing becomes difficult.

More than 5 million people in the UK are being treated for the illness and Asthma UK estimates 1.1 million have asthma which is mild and under control.
Missing doses

Researchers at the University of Arizona believe there is a problem with the way the disease is managed.

Two types of inhalers are used: “relievers” which are used when breathing is difficult and “preventers” which are taken every morning and evening.

However, the researchers said that many children stop taking the daily medication if their symptoms disappear.
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Professor Fernando Martinez, from the University of Arizona, told the BBC: “If you have a daily drug and a very significant number are not taking it, then that tells you it’s a losing strategy.”

“We want to find something which is more child- and parent-friendly as well as avoid the growth effect.”

In all, 288 children and teenagers with mild and persistent asthma took part in the 44-week trial.

The study showed that taking corticosteroids twice a day was still the most effective treatment, However, those taking the medication grew by 1.1cm (0.5in) less than children not taking the drug during the trial.
Potent combination

Importantly, asthma was also managed without daily treatment if the corticosteroids were combined with the “reliever” inhaler.

This eliminated the effect on growth and the researchers say it would be an easier form of treatment for children.

Further clinical trials will be needed to verify the results.

Professor Martinez said: “I’m continuing to recommend daily corticosteroid to my patients, but I know some of them will not take it.”

Asthma UK said the study confirmed that daily inhaled corticosteroids were the most effective treatment.

Dr Samantha Walker, executive director of research and policy at Asthma UK, said: “We know that long-term adherence to medicine treatment plans can be difficult, particularly when a child’s asthma seems to be under control.

“The use of combined ‘preventer’ and ‘reliever’ medicines as rescue therapy appears to be superior to ‘reliever’ inhalers alone and offers a new ‘step-down’ approach to the management of mild, well-controlled asthma in children and young people who find it difficult to adhere to long-term daily treatment with inhaled steroids.

“Many parents have concerns about their child’s steroid intake. However, research shows that children on low daily doses of ‘preventer’ medicines show no difference in growth. At higher doses, the picture is less clear. For all children, treatment plans should be reviewed at least every six months.

“If you have any concerns about your asthma treatment, Asthma UK recommends you speak to your doctor or asthma nurse.”

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Acne Treatment News

2011-02-25 / Skin Care / 0 Comments

New One-Step Acne Treatment Promises to Clear Acne Fast

AcneCare ClearTech™ Treatment by Skinheath Technology LLC. is a powerful, yet gentle, one-step solution to unsightly blemishes. This fast acting, highly effective lotion helps heal acne blemishes and prevents further break outs. Provides rapid relief and quickly reduces the redness and inflammation of mild, moderate and severe acne.

Ormond Beach, FL (PRWEB) February 23, 2011

AcneCare ClearTech™ Treatment –a patent-pending formula from Florida-based SkinHealth Technology, contains 5% Micronized Benzoyl Peroxide that is only 5 microns in size. The particle size is critical in the formula penetrating the skin and getting to the source of acne. (Conventional anti-acne formulas contain benzoyl peroxide with a particle size of 40 to 60 microns.) The powerful, yet gentle formula is designed for ease-of-use as a one-step treatment for Acne Treatment.

The special Micronized Benzoyl Peroxide is combined with a peptide and polysaccharides to provide rapid relief and quickly reduce the redness and inflammation of mild, moderate and severe acne.
Mexico pharmacy
AcneCare ClearTech™Treatment is also enriched with anti-oxidants to help revitalize skin, reduce cell damage and promote healthy, new skin cell growth.

Clinical trials on AcneCare ClearTech™Treatment showed:

87% had reduced inflammation within five (5) hours

77% found the product worked faster than any other products used

95% presented clinical improvement in seven (7) days

90% of participants had marked improvement in three (3) days

75% of participants with sensitive skin found the formula less irritating than other products

“Dermatologists are surprised by the effectiveness of this formula,” says Jack Surrette, Executive Director-SkinHealth Technology. “Their patients are experiencing reduced inflammation in just hours–not days or weeks–and no special washes or secondary steps are necessary.”

SkinHealth Technology, LLC, an R&D based development company which formulates advanced dermatological, therapeutic skincare products, was founded in 2008. Dermatologist, Jeffrey Parks, MD and a team of skincare professionals develop formulas that address bruising, acne, vitamin D deficiency and sun damage.

Best products to treat acne

Anyone who has ever had acne knows how frustrating it can be to deal with blemishes. Whether you suffer from occasional zits, adult acne or constant breakouts, many products are on the market that can help you. But which ones are best? Rather than try product after product to no avail, check out our list of the best products to treat acne.


Choose a cleanser that contains blemish-busting ingredients like salicylic acid. We love DDF Salicylic Wash 2%, which regulates excess oil production without drying it out. Also, try Murad Clarifying Cleanser, which deep-cleans acne-prone skin so it’s less likely to break out.


Moisturizing acne-prone skin can be tricky. You don’t want to clog pores or irritate skin, but you still need to hydrate. Choose a product that’s lightweight and helps control excess oil. Try Boscia Clear Complexion Moisturizer, which contains no synthetic dyes, parabens, sulphates or other unnatural ingredients that can irritate blemish-prone skin. We also love Bliss No Zit Sherlock Oil Control Moisturizer for its ability to calm skin and regulate oil production while delivering a double dose of hydration and zit-fighting salicylic acid.


Say goodbye to blemishes with a mask formulated to treat acne-prone skin. For serious breakout-fighting action, try Kate Somerville Clearing Mask, which heals blemishes while reducing the appearance of pores and acne scars. It can also serve as a spot treatment: Just dab a small amount on zits before you go to bed. Also, try REN ClearCalm 3 Anti-Acne Treatment Mask, which soothes skin and helps prevent the spread of acne-causing bacteria.

Acne treatment

The trick to finding a good acne treatment is to find something that treats blemishes without drying out skin. (Zits plus flaky, dry skin are even worse than breakouts alone!) One good option is Dr. Brandt blemishes no more intensolution, which helps clear up breakouts with a non-drying, alcohol-free formula. Also try REN ClearCalm 3 Replenishing Night Serum to reduce redness, minimize the appearance of scars, and calm and hydrate skin while you sleep.


You may think that having acne means not wearing foundation for fear of making blemishes worse, but some makeup actually helps fight breakouts. Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup helps tone down redness, treat existing blemishes and stop them from coming back. Also try Murad Acne Treatment Concealer, which treats zits while covering them with a smooth, oil-free tinted formula.

Homemade Skin Care and Acne Treatment Recipes

Green your skin care routine and save money while reducing your consumption of plastic container. If you have teenagers or are struggling to keep a clear complexion, you already know how costly acne products add to your monthly budget. Skip the pre-packaged commercial products and make your own skin care remedies at home. Many of the acne treatment products on store shelves use many of the same natural ingredients which you can purchase from the local grocery store for a fraction of the cost.

Even if you attempt to buy products made from recycled materials or recycle the plastic containers once they are empty; you could eliminate the need for the manufacture of so many colorful little plastic vials by making your own skin care treatments. Skin types vary and so do both commercial and homemade treatment recipes. You may have to try several of the Earth-friendly remedies before discovering the one which works best for your skin type. Homemade skin care recipes can help with the removal of acne, diminish acne scars, soften skin, tighten skin and reduce red spots.

Baking Soda Acne Mask

Mix baking soda and enough lukewarm water to moisten in a bowl. Coat your skin with the mixture and allow it to harden for approximately 30 minutes. Gently wash the mixture off and repeat several times a week for smoother and clearer skin.

Egg White Mask

Separate the yolk from three eggs and whip the whites into a froth. Apply the mixture to your face for 20 minutes before gently removing with a warm wash cloth. The mixture typically tightens skins and reduces red inflammation.

Egg Yolk Mask

Vitamin A, which is present in egg yolks, aids in diminishing scars. Simply use a whisk to whip the egg yolk and apply the mixture to your skin for 20 minutes. Wash the yolk off with a warm wash cloth.

Honey Mask

This may be the simplest recipe to tighten skin and reduce the appearance of large pores ever imagined. Simply smear honey onto the face for 20 to 30 minutes. You will feel the honey tighten around your skin. Wash the honey away gently with a warm cloth.

Acne Tonic


3 tablespoons of dried basil leaves
1 cup of boiling water
Blackhead remover mask
A half a cup of Fuller’s Earth
1 teaspoon of tincture of Benzoin
Distilled Witch Hazel

Pour all of the ingredients into a glass bowl and mix thoroughly. Naltrexone online pharmacy Smooth the mask onto your skin and allow it to harden. After approximately 40 minutes gently remove the mask with a warm wash cloth.

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Hepatitis Treatment News

2011-02-23 / Health News / 0 Comments

Bethlehem-based OraSure gets FDA approval for hepatitis C test

OraSure Technologies in Bethlehem has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for a rapid hepatitis C test, the company announced today.

The approval for the new OraQuick HCV Rapid Antibody finger-stick test follows about eight months after the FDA approved a similar blood-draw test for the blood-borne pathogen.

The difference between the tests is how the sample is obtained, said Ron Ticho, OraSure’s vice president of communications.
“This particular procedure now does not require … a blood draw. Instead it can be done with a simple prick of the finger and a smaller sample of blood,” similar to a diabetes blood test, Ticho said.
The approval makes the test more “versatile,” he said, and “will help health care professionals to identify more individuals with this disease.”

Hepatitis C affects an estimated 4.1 million Americans and 180 million people worldwide. The virus can cause cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.

The test was recognized by Popular Science magazine as one of the top 100 technology innovations of 2010.

The company has plans to make it even less invasive, eventually looking to obtain approval for an oral fluid version of the test, similar to the process used to develop its HIV tests, Ticho said.

Children With Hepatitis C May Benefit From Ribavirin

The combination of pegylated interferon (PEG) plus ribavirin is better than PEG plus placebo for treating children infected with hepatitis C virus, according to a study published in the February issue of Gastroenterology.

TUESDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) — The combination of pegylated interferon (PEG) plus ribavirin is better than PEG plus placebo for treating children infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), according to a study published in the February issue of Gastroenterology.

Kathleen B. Schwarz, M.D., from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues compared the outcomes of HCV patients aged 5 to 17 treated with either PEG and ribavirin or PEG and placebo. Fifty-five children received PEG alfa-2a subcutaneously each week, plus 15 mg/kg of ribavirin orally twice a day, and 59 children were treated with PEG and placebo. The primary end point was sustained virological response (SVR) for at least 24 weeks after ceasing therapy.

The investigators found a significantly improved SVR with PEG and ribavirin compared to PEG and placebo. Of the children receiving PEG and ribavirin, 53 percent achieved SVR, compared to 21 percent receiving PEG and placebo. Compliance at the two-year follow up was 82 percent with PEG plus ribavirin and 86 percent for PEG plus placebo, and virologic response was 100 percent durable in both groups.

“These results indicate that children with chronic hepatitis C should not receive PEG monotherapy,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry, including Roche, which provided the medications for this study.

Equitable hepatitis settlement

Hepatitis B sufferers and bereaved families who had filed lawsuits at 10 district courts in and after March 2008 for state compensation are holding negotiations with the government for a settlement. But the progress of the talks mediated by courts is hampered by the government’s position that people who have suffered from hepatitis B symptoms for more than 20 years as a result of mass vaccinations have no right to claim compensation because the statutory limit of 20 years has passed.

According to the health and welfare ministry, 1.1 million to 1.4 million people are infected with hepatitis B virus, with 90 percent of them not yet having developed symptoms. Up to 440,000 carriers are believed to have been infected through shared needles during mass vaccinations carried out since 1948 under the Preventive Vaccination Law. Only in January 1988 did the ministry issue instructions mandating a one-use policy for needles and syringes.

Under the terms of the negotiations, deceased patients and sufferers of liver cancer or serious cirrhosis would receive ¥36 million, sufferers of a mild case of cirrhosis ¥25 million and sufferers of chronic hepatitis B ¥12.5 million. A carrier without symptoms would receive ¥500,000 as “reconciliation money.”

A June 2006 Supreme Court ruling said that the state was responsible for causing hepatitis B infection because of its failure to order local governments to take preventive steps during mass vaccinations such as not reusing needles. The top court ordered the state to pay ¥5.5 million each in compensation to five sufferers.

The government says that it has a separate plan to take some relief measures for people who have suffered from hepatitis B symptoms for more than 20 years. But excluding them from compensation under the court-mediated settlement would be far from an equitable solution. The government estimates that the settlement would cost ¥3.2 trillion over 30 years. This is an enormous amount. It should seek a fair way of raising the necessary funds as part of its social welfare policy.

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Allergies Treatment News

2011-02-22 / Allergies / 0 Comments

Atopy is the culprit in dog’s skin troubles

Q: I have a six-year-old pug with food and environmental allergies. For many years, she experienced digestive upset, vomiting, skin problems and ear infections. For the past year, she has been eating a veterinary hypoallergenic formula diet and she no longer gets any treats or snacks. As a result, the digestive upsets, vomiting and ear infections are gone.

However, the skin problems persist. She scratches constantly, to the point that she starts to bleed and loses her fur, and she is always rubbing her face on her legs and licking her paws. Her ears and paws are also irritated. These symptoms seemed to worsen during the summer, leading the veterinarian to believe she also has environmental allergies. He prescribed Vanectyl P (a steroid combined with an antihistamine) on two occasions. Each time, the medication helped as she stopped scratching and her ears and paws were significantly less irritated. However, once the medication was done, the symptoms returned.

While the medication works well, I do not feel that it is a long-term solution because I am concerned with the side effects she experiences and the steroids in her medication. For the past month, to help soothe her skin, I have been giving her Omega-3 once a day in her food. I have also heard that bathing your dog once a week with an allergen-reducing shampoo can help. However, I have also heard that this frequency can be harmful and drying to their skin. Can you please clarify and perhaps recommend a course of treatment? I would appreciate any suggestions you may have regarding controlling and eliminating her environmental allergies.

A: Your dog has a disease called atopy, an allergic condition that can occur seasonally or all year long. Atopy causes your dog to lick, scratch, rub, chew and bite at herself (also known as pruritus) because of allergies to her environment.

In terms of controlling and eliminating her environmental allergies, you basically have three options.

First, you can continue with the Vanectyl P treatment on an ongoing longterm basis as needed. If you decide to go with this option, an annual blood and urine test is recommended to ensure that the medication is not causing harmful side effects.

With regard to other therapies, shampooing your dog on a regular basis as you are doing will be very effective in reducing the level of pruritus because it helps to remove allergens from the skin surface. Using the shampoos provided by your veterinarian, such as a colloidal Oatmeal or Episoothe Shampoo, helps reduce pruritus without harming or drying the skin.

Similarly, supplementation with an omega 3 fatty acid as you are doing is also very effective in reducing the level of pruritus in about 30 to 40 per cent of allergic patients and also helps decrease the amount of Vanectyl P required (and thereby the unwanted side effects).

A second option is to treat your dog with a drug called cyclosporine (Atopica). It is a very effective alternative to steroids with much fewer side effects. However, it can take up to six weeks to become effective and is given for life. In dogs that show serious side effects or have a poor response to Vanectyl P, this drug is a good alternative.

Your third option, which I would recommend, is to have an allergy test done on your dog to determine what she is allergic to and then start allergy injections, a procedure called immunotherapy. This is a very reliable and highly effective treatment for dogs that have allergies throughout the year. Allergy testing can be done via a simple blood test (serology) or via multiple skin injections (intradermal testing).

Treatment involves a series of injections usually administered once every two to three weeks by the owner.

Dr. Bernhard Pukay is an Ottawa veterinarian. address letters to Pet care, Ottawa citizen, P.O. Box 5020, Ottawa, K2c 3m4. e-mail:

Talk For Health Workers Tonight on Peanut Allergy Treatment

Members of the Connecticut medical community are invited to a talk tonight on treating peanut allergies through desensitization.

The New England Food Allergy Treatment Center is hosting the talk at its office, 836 Farmington Ave., Suite 138. Dr. Jeffrey Factor of the center will be the main speaker. The treatment works by introducing gradually increasing amounts of peanuts into the diets of patients with the allergies. The procedure was developed at Duke University.

Allergy Treatment Helps Kids Tolerate Some Peanuts

By Duke Medicine News and Communications – A peanut solution given under the tongue can desensitize a child’s deadly peanut allergies, but further testing will be needed to determine if it may permanently eliminate their reactions to the foods, according to researchers from Duke University Medical Center.

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, Duke researchers built up tolerance to the allergen in 11 children with a year of small but escalating daily doses of peanut. The therapy allowed the children to tolerate 20 times more peanut protein.

These protocols were done in a clinical setting with close observation and emergency resources close at hand.

“A treatment like this means that some families won’t need to be as concerned about their children taking a bite of something that has peanut in it and could cause a life-threatening reaction,” said Wesley Burks, MD, chief of the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Duke and senior author of the study. “It would really provide them a margin of safety.”

This form of therapy, called sublingual immunotherapy, is different from Burks’ previously published research on oral immunotherapy, which involves eating milligrams to grams of peanuts in the form of flour mixed in another food, such as applesauce. That research continues to help kids tolerate peanuts without reactions, and Burks is looking at how the therapy may help resolve their allergies.

Burks’ new research builds on a therapy that has been helpful to people with allergic rhinitis and asthma, but has not been studied extensively as a therapy for food allergy.

More than three million Americans have peanut or tree nut allergies and fewer than 20 percent will outgrow the allergy without therapy. Currently, there is no treatment for the disease. Once a diagnosis is made, physicians have to try to help the family avoid the food, which is not a perfect plan because accidental exposure can still happen.

That is one reason Burks and his team are trying to develop a new, successful therapy for peanut allergy sufferers.

“Ideally we want to eliminate the allergy,” Burks said. “But, we are not there yet.”

The study included 18 children who completed 12 months of dosing. One group (11 children) received the liquid peanut concentration, which was held under the tongue for one or two minutes and then swallowed.

The other group (seven children) received the placebo. The dose started at 0.25 micrograms of peanut protein administered in clinic and was increased biweekly by 25 to 100 percent until 2,000 micrograms was reached. In the time between the biweekly doses in the clinic, the children took daily doses of the previously administered dose at home. The 2,000 microgram dose was continued for six months.

After a year of dosing, the children on treatment tolerated significantly more peanuts when they were challenged. They tolerated the equivalent of six to seven peanuts compared to those that received placebo and tolerated less than one peanut.

“We were able to raise the threshold for the amount of peanuts these kids could tolerate,” Burks said. “But, we are not ready to take this approach to clinical practice,” he cautioned. “It’s not a long-term cure. That part of the process is still being studied now.”

Those that were on treatment are continuing and those that were on placebo have entered the treatment phase. Both groups will be followed three or four more years to determine if it’s feasible to eliminate their allergy.

“The good news is we have successfully helped these kids tolerate about five peanuts and that means accidental ingestion is less of a hazard,” Burks said. “Most kids with peanut allergies are not going to accidentally eat five peanuts and most reactions from accidental ingestions occur from just a trace of a peanut, well below the study groups’ new threshold.”

The study, which published online January 31, 2011 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, and the Wallace Research Foundation.

Co-authors of the study include Edwin H. Kim, J. Andrew Bird, Michael Kulis, Susan Laubach, Laurent Pons, Pamela Steele, Janet Kamilaris, and Brian Vickery, all of Duke University Medical Center, and Wayne Shreffler, of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Allergy treatment company fined for contempt of court

A DIRECTOR and his company have been fined $15,000 for contempt of court after breaching undertakings to stop claiming they could diagnose and cure allergies through ”muscle testing” and ”positive conditioning”.

Federal Court judge Ray Finkelstein found in August 2009 that Allergy Pathway had engaged in false, misleading and deceptive comments by advertising that it could safely eliminate allergies.

Yesterday he fined the company and its sole director, Paul Frederick Keir, for continuing to make the claims in contravention of those orders, including on the internet via a YouTube video, Facebook and Twitter.
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The company, which according to its website has five clinics in Australia and New Zealand, said it used muscle testing to diagnose allergies because ”a normal muscle will weaken when exposed to a substance the person is reacting to”.

”Positive conditioning” – stimulating a patient’s spine while exposing him or her to a vial of the allergy trigger – was said to ”retrain the body to no longer perceive the substance as something that is harmful”.

In a report to the court, Associate Professor Jo Douglass, head of The Alfred hospital’s allergy and asthma service, said she was unaware of any scientific evidence to support such practices, which were unsafe and, if followed, would ”expose some individuals to the risk of severe allergic reaction or even death”.

Justice Finkelstein ordered Keir and the company to publish corrective statements at the company’s clinics, on its website, on Facebook and Twitter, and in a letter to customers.

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Diabetes Prevention News

2011-02-19 / Diabetes / 0 Comments

A Short Group Immune to Diabetes and Cancer

Scientists are learning a lot about cancer and diabetes prevention from a group of short Ecuadorians who suffer from Laron syndrome, a rare disease that results in stunted growth. MSNBC reports that the Ecuadorians suffering from Laron syndrome have a mutation in a gene that regulates cell growth and division. Scientists have discovered that this mutation also leads to resistance to diabetes and cancer. The secret is in how the mutation affects a growth-signaling pathway in the body. In the Ecuadorians, a deficient growth hormone receptor caused lowered levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), which is associated with resistance to cancer and diabetes.

As Diabetes Explodes, Big Pharma Is Gearing Up

Diabetes is a growing global scourge, but for Big Pharma it’s more of a lifesaver. In the U.S. alone, a whopping 105 million people have diabetes or prediabetes, according to new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, a 10% increase from 2008. And an estimated 79 million adults have prediabetes, a staggering 39% increase from 2008. No wonder pharmaceuticals companies are eager to tap the market.

Characterized by high blood-sugar levels, diabetes results from the body’s difficulty to produce and/or use insulin — a hormone that helps the body use blood sugar for energy. Type 1 diabetes develops when the body can no longer make insulin. In Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90% to 95% of cases, the body gradually loses its ability to use and produce insulin.

In prediabetes, which affects 35% of the adult population, blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes, though, raises a person’s risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Hefty Price Tag

Despite its growing prevalence, the disease can’t be taken lightly. Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S. and is a major cause of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Diabetes is also the leading cause of kidney failure, nontraumatic feet and leg amputations, nervous system damage and new cases of blindness among adults in the U.S.

All that adds up to a hefty price tag. Diabetes, the CDC says, costs $174 billion annually. In November, health insurer UnitedHealth Group (UNH) released a study projecting that the disease will cost the nation $3.35 trillion over the next decade, with diabetes and prediabetes costing almost $500 billion annually. A 2007 study by the American Diabetes Association estimated that 1 in every 10 health care dollars is attributed to diabetes.

The CDC is working with the National Institute of Health on the National Diabetes Prevention Program, as provided for in the landmark Affordable Care Act. It estimates that if current trends continue, as many as 1 in 3 U.S. adults could have diabetes by 2050. Just in 2010, 1.9 million new cases were diagnosed in adult Americans. The CDC estimates that 84% of adults diagnosed with diabetes take insulin and/or oral medication.

The Top-Selling Drugs

In 2009, the U.S. diabetes market grew 17% from 2008, reaching $14.9 billion, according to data from health care information company IMS Health. Worldwide, the market generated sales of over $25 billion, according to independent business information provider Visionagain. By 2019, Morningstar projects the worldwide diabetes market, excluding insulin, will grow to over $55 billion.

That’s why pharmaceutical companies, in search for more revenue in light of the many high-price drugs that are coming off patent, are focusing much of their efforts on this growth market. According to IMS Health, the top-selling diabetes drugs in the U.S. now are Takeda’s oral drug Actos, with nearly $1.8 billion in sales in the first half on 2010; Sanofi-Aventis’s (SNY) Lantus products, with nearly $1.5 billion in sales, and Merck’s (MRK) Januvia, with $854 million in sales. The total diabetes market in the first half of 2010 was $8.7 billion, nearly as much as full-year 2005’s market of $9.3 billion.

Rounding out the top five diabetes drugs in the U.S. are Novo-Nordisk’s (NVO) Novolog and Eli-Lilly’s (LLY) Humalog, both of which are analog insulin drugs. Other players include Lilly and Amylin’s (AMLN) Byetta, which had fourth-quarter 2010 sales of $174.6 million, and Novo-Nordisk’s Victoza, which had sales of roughly $127 million in the third quarter. Both are antidiabetes hormone analog drugs. And then there’s the controversial oral pill Avandia from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), whose sales declined to roughly $112 million in the third quarter.

Drugs that are analogs of human insulin, such as Lantus, held 42% of the U.S. market, followed by so-called glitazones, such as Actos and Avandia, with 28% of the market, and DPP-4 Inhibitors, such as Januvia and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) and AstraZeneca’s (AZN) Onglyza, with 14% of the market, according to IMS Health data.

An Epidemic in China and India

Big Pharma continues to push ahead. In January alone, Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim announced an agreement to jointly develop diabetes compounds. And a new class of drugs, SGLT-2 inhibitors, holds the promise of becoming blockbusters, according to Morningstar, with Bristol and Astra further along in development of these compounds.

But diabetes research isn’t necessarily easy. MannKind’s (MNKD) inhaled insulin, for one, was rejected last week by the Food and Drug Administration. And when Roche faced setbacks with its once-weekly insulin, it resorted to massive job cuts.

Diabetes is also becoming a global problem, and in some countries, such as China and India, an epidemic. Pharmaceutical companies are paying attention. Lilly recently announced plans to open a research center focused on diabetes in China.

As long as diabetes cases keep expanding, this market will become increasingly important to Big Pharma.

Diabetes Prevention: Four Steps for Diabetes Prevention

Almost 26 million people in the United States now suffer from diabetes, according to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Feb. 11.

The report shows that one in three Americans has a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in his or her lifetime.

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects blood sugar levels and has serious complications, including eye problems, nerve damage in extremities, heart or kidney disease, and even death. Sufferers who have developed the disease are often not diagnosed until several years later, leading them to have higher chances of complications. Early diagnosis is vital to successfully treat the disease and to prevent or at least delay associated complications.

According to the CDC’s 2011 national fact sheet, 26 million Americans, or 8.3 percent of the U.S. population, are affected by diabetes, yet seven million of them remain undiagnosed.

Dr. Robert Henry, president of the American Diabetes Association’s Medicine and Science, said that the new CDC data are a “real wake-up call” and highlight the importance “for Americans to know if they are at risk and take action, if needed.”

“Let’s use these devastating new numbers as inspiration to work harder and stop diabetes in its tracks,” he said, according to the American Diabetes Association.

The CDC diabetes factsheet shows results of a prevention study, the Diabetes Prevention Program, which showed that lifestyle changes like weight loss and increased exercise lowered development of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent over three years and by as much as 71 percent in older people over 60 years old.

Here are some tips from the ADA to help you prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes:

1. Understand your risks
Inherent risk factors are a family history of diabetes, being over 45 years old, and ethnicity, with African Americans, American Indians, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders being more at risk.

Negative factors that can be controlled include being overweight, inactivity, having an unhealthy diet, smoking, and having above-average blood sugar, blood pressure, or cholesterol levels.

2. Get a check-up

Regular health checks for blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood lipid levels are very important. Measuring blood glucose shows whether someone has prediabetes or diabetes. For optimal health, maintain a healthy blood pressure, and have normal lipid levels.

3. Exercise
According to experts, 30 minutes of exercise almost daily is beneficial. People not used to this can begin with 10 minutes most days and increase activity levels through habits like taking the stairs or parking further away from destinations.

4. Diet
Make small diet changes, one at a time, for a healthier diet. Have a salad and one vegetable with dinner. Opt for low-calorie snacks, and take a salad and veggies with dinner.

For more information, visit the American Diabetes Association’s website where you will find these three free resources:

* My Health Advisor calculates your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, then shows simple lifestyle changes to help, like losing weight or stopping smoking.

* CheckUp America provides detailed information on risk factors and how to reduce your risk of diabetes.

* Call the Center for Information and Community Support at 1-800-DIABETES for advice and free information in English and Spanish, including the new booklet Top 5 Ways to Stop Diabetes and Get Healthy Right Now!

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Infections Treatment and Prevention Today

2011-02-18 / Health News / 0 Comments

1 in 5 Kids With Cold Develops Middle Ear Infection

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) — About one in five children with a cold or other respiratory viral infection develops a middle ear infection that may range from mild to severe, says a new study.

U.S. researchers looked at the number of cases of middle ear infection — acute otitis media — among 294 children, ages 6 months to 3 years. Overall, 22 percent of the children developed a middle ear infection during the first week of respiratory infection.

A diagnosis of acute otitis media was based on the presence of symptoms such as fever and earache, plus inflammation of the eardrum and fluid in the middle ear. Along with the 22 percent of children who developed the ear infection, another 7 percent had inflammation of the eardrum without fluid in the middle ear.

Among the children with the middle ear infection, eardrum inflammation was rated mild in 8 percent, moderate in 59 percent and severe in 35 percent. Of the 126 children who had the infection in both ears, the infection was more pronounced in one ear in 54 percent of the cases.

In general, children with the infection were treated without antibiotics whenever possible. Of the 28 children with mild middle ear infection, 24 improved without antibiotics, four got worse and three of them eventually required antibiotics.

The study appears in the February issue of The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

The findings suggest that many children with mild middle ear infections can be managed without antibiotics, said lead author Dr. Stella U. Kalu, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and colleagues, in a journal news release.

Infection Control Checklist Reduces CLABSIs, Mortality

Older Americans who were treated in Michigan intensive care units were less likely to die while hospitalized than similar ICU patients in other Midwestern hospitals, according to a new study evaluating an innovative quality improvement initiative funded by HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The initiative, known as the Keystone Project, targeted ways to reduce the number of healthcare-associated infections, which was found to also decrease the likelihood of mortality. The Keystone Project uses a comprehensive approach that includes promoting a culture of patient safety and improving communication among ICU staff teams. The Project also implements practices based on guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as checklists and hand washing, to reduce rates of catheter-related bloodstream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia.

Researchers analyzed Medicare data for ICU patients in Michigan hospitals and 364 hospitals in 11 other Midwestern states. They looked at data before the project was initiated, while it was being phased in, and up to 22 months after implementation. The researchers found that a person’s chance of dying decreased by approximately 24 percent in Michigan after the program was implemented, compared to by only 16 percent in surrounding Midwestern states where the program was not implemented.

First U.S. Cowpox Infection: Acquired From Lab Contamination

A student laboratory worker at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is the first person in the United States to come down with cowpox, a less dangerous relative of smallpox, and the culprit is lab contamination. Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last week at the International Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance in Vienna that the unvaccinated patient was infected by a genetically modified cowpox virus strain in her research lab, one she had never even worked with, by inadvertently handling contaminated materials.

Cowpox exists in the wild in Europe and Asia, where it is carried by rats and other animals and is often reported in veterinarians and zoo workers, but isn’t found in the United States except in research labs. It can severely affect immunocompromised patients, but is not normally lethal. CDC still recommends smallpox vaccination for all lab workers who come in contact with intact orthopoxviruses, a category that includes vaccinia, cowpox, and other animal viruses. The cowpox patient had declined vaccination since she had no intention of handling the virus, and the lab hadn’t worked on cowpox for 5 years previous to the incident.

However, CDC investigators found cowpox DNA in many locations around the lab and in stocks of purportedly harmless virus, although no live poxvirus was found on surfaces. The student said she didn’t recall an injury or needle stick prior to developing a painful lesion on her finger in July 2010, so it seemed the infection likely occurred from handling chemicals and contaminated samples. In October, a biopsy was sent to CDC, which worked with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to identify the disease as cowpox caused by one of the modified virus strains stored in the lab’s freezer.

Mary Reynolds, an epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology who worked on the study, said that CDC and IDPH have made safety recommendations to the University of Illinois’s biological safety department that are now under consideration. University spokesperson Robin Kaler said that while the investigation showed that the lab had been following established campus policy for storing hazardous materials, the campus is now taking steps to ensure that all people in a lab with such materials are aware of safety procedures. The laboratory personnel worked with investigators to track the course of the infection and concluded that no data from the contaminated samples had been published.

Gigi Kwik Gronvall of the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, calls the incident “one more example of many examples that speaks to the need for more vigilance” in lab practices. Infections from labs, she says, could be far more common than reported, partly because labs don’t want the blame and partly because in the absence of a needle stick, patients have trouble pinning down why they are sick. Identifying the cause may be particularly difficult in the case of infection by recombinant organisms, which must be reported to the National Institutes of Health and CDC. A patient’s symptoms may be different than those caused by a wild organism. Fortunately in this case the distinct pustule formed by cowpox was telling.

“We’re becoming quite interested in the concept of people inadvertently being infected with recombinant organisms, not necessarily because of a high safety risk but because of the challenge it provides to state health departments in confirming diagnosis,” says Reynolds. Genetic modification of viruses can confound the usual DNA sequencing methods used to identify the virus and make it even more difficult to track down the source. Reynolds says that CDC investigators are beginning to work with the National Institutes of Health Office of Biotechnology Activities and state public health agencies to discuss better ways to diagnose such infections.

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Obesity News and Treatment

2011-02-17 / Weight Loss & Obesity / 0 Comments

Campbell aims to reduce hunger and obesity among Camden kids

CAMDEN — Can you teach a kid to make a fresh fruit smoothie instead of popping a can of cola?

Campbell Soup Co. wants to give it a try.

The world’s largest soup maker today will launch a $10 million plan to reduce obesity and hunger over the next 10 years among children living in its hometown.

Initially, Campbell will focus on elementary schools and services in Parkside, where its headquarters is located, and in North Camden, the city’s poorest sector.

“We plan to concentrate our efforts on these sites in Camden and gradually expand to other locations until we have a citywide program,” said Denise Morrison, Campbell’s chief operating officer.

“Over time, we plan to extend it to other U.S. communities where we have operations,” added Morrison, who will become CEO in July.

Statistics show the need is great.

“Obesity is a national crisis, but it is even more acute in Camden,” said CEO Douglas R. Conant.

Nearly 40 percent of Camden’s children between ages 3 and 19 are obese, an 8 percent jump over the national average.

Working with schools and an array of nonprofits, Campbell’s goals are to increase access to affordable, healthy food; expand opportunities for physical exercise and increase nutrition and health education.

Founded in Camden in 1869, Campbell is the city’s and county’s only Fortune 500 company.

High on the company’s list of objectives is to help bring a second major supermarket to the city, a task residents and groups have been unable to accomplish for decades. Today, the city’s 78,000 residents are served by a single Pathmark on Mount Ephraim Avenue.

Meanwhile, the company will work with the Food Trust on a Healthy Corner Store Network to supply small mom-and-pop grocery stores with equipment and training to order, price and display fresh produce.

Campbell also will combine with the city and the Children’s Garden on the waterfront to convert abandoned urban lots into leafy green vegetable gardens.

Recognizing that physical exercise is integral to good health, the soup maker will fund recess and after-school activities at six pilot sites in conjunction with the YMCA of Burlington and Camden counties. Camden’s own YMCA closed more than two years ago due to lack of funding and membership.

And the last ingredient in a recipe for good health is knowledge. Campbell plans to teach free, six-week cooking courses at sites administered by the Food Bank of South Jersey and offer nutrition education directly to students. Campbell expects many of its 1,200 Camden employees to volunteer as part of the program.

The company released its plan to reduce childhood obesity and hunger in its 2010 corporate responsibility report. Kim Fremont Fortunato, hired by Campbell in November, will head the novel program.

Fortunato, 53, will work with government, nonprofit partners and the medical community at local, regional and national levels to build the program, according to a press release.

Before joining Campbell, Fortunato was president of Operation Warm, an organization that distributed more than 200,000 coats a year to the needy.

Michelle Obama portrayed as overweight in cartoon attacking her obesity campaign

US First Lady Michelle Obama has been portrayed as an overweight, hamburger-munching glutton in a very personal cartoon attack.
The offensive caricature, which was posted on, is a dig at her obesity campaign, which celebrated its one-year anniversary last week, reports the Daily Mail.

It comes as Barack Obama’s wife pushes her campaign to improve workplace rules for breastfeeding to reduce the number of overweight children.

Conservatives have criticised the campaign, calling her a hypocrite and suggesting it is not her place to tell Americans what they can and cannot eat.

In the cartoon, she is seen telling her husband: “I’ve stepped up my efforts to control America’s eating habits by telling restaurants to lower portion sizes and fat content.”

Obama, who is shown looking slender and eating some morsels of salad, dismisses her remark, saying: “Michelle, I want to get re-elected. What you’re doing is only going to annoy a lot of people.”

“Shut up and pass the bacon!” she replies.

The First Lady began her Let’s Move! initiative – which is dedicated to improving the disastrous U.S. childhood obesity rates within a generation – last year. (ANI)

Obesity in kids doubles over the last decade

COIMBATORE: In the backdrop of today’s fast food culture, it is hardly surprising that one in ten children in Coimbatore, between six and 12 years is obese. What is alarming is that an equal number of children in semi-rural areas are overweight and one in every twenty five children is obese.

Pediatricians say childhood obesity is signaling a distressingly new health trend. Of 10,229 children, aged between six to twelve years, treated as outpatients at a private hospital in Coimbatore in 2010, as many as 1,118 were obese. It is a disturbing fact that 10% of children in the city are obese. “Ten years ago, this was less than five per cent” says Dr C Srinivasan, chief paediatrician at the KG Hospitals.

The data showed that except for 10 children (among the 10,229) who had hormonal imbalances or genetic predisposition, obesity in the other children was largely due to lifestyle. With both parents working, and fast food affordable and easily available, it has become a major part of a child’s diet. Depending on height and age, children should ideally get about 1200 to 1700 calories a day. But with high fat, low protein food like burgers, pizza and French fries, children tend to eat about 2,500 calories a day. Add to this the sedentary lifestyle children lead, spending most of their free time watching TV or playing video games.

In 2009, the department of health found 9.59% of school children in Coimbatore district overweight and 4.6 per cent were obese. Studies done in Chennai by MV Hospital shows that 22% of girls from higher socio-economic group were overweight when compared to 9% from those of low income group. Among boys it was found to be 13% and 7% respectively. Obese children are at the risk of developing serious health problems that normally affect middle age adults. For instance, these children are more susceptible to chronic disorders like type-2 diabetes and heart ailments.

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Wellness Today

2011-02-16 / Health News / 0 Comments

Guidelines for wellness centres

New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) In order to promote wellness tourism, government today issued guidelines for defining the roadmap for the industry as well as accreditation of wellness centres in the country.
“The guidelines will be applicable to all wellness centres across the country,” Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai said here at a workshop on wellness tourism.
The new guidelines would be looking into aspects of functioning of wellness centres like identifying and correcting unhygienic service delivery practices and laying down a system for continuous monitoring of quality of services being provided.
Defining the concept of wellness, Sahai said, “It has been interpreted from several perspectives and we in India should relate it to our ancient system of living the tradition that is still preserved namely the constant, conscious pursuit of living life to its fullest in harmony with the environment.”
He said India has an ancient heritage of healing but is facing severe competition from several destinations who are positioning themselves as leading destinations for wellness tourism. “We should put our acts together and promote wellness tourism aggressively in the international and domestic markets,” he added.
Making a distinction between the health and the wellness aspects, Minister said medical tourism involves those visitors with medical conditions who travel for treatment of ailments.
A person who travels for wellness is generally healthy but seeks therapies to maintain his or her well-being.
The accreditation standards are prepared by National Accreditation Standards for Hospitals and Healthcare providers and approved by Department of AYUSH.
Only the accredited service providers would be eligible for any assistance from Tourism Ministry.
Among others, the guidelines will also look into the hygienic issue to prevent catching infections from the staff or the other customers by ensuring cleaning and disinfection practices for linen and equipment.
Centres have to display services and tariff list that the spa is providing to ensure uniform pricing policy, as per the guidelines.
Taking note of mushrooming of massage parlours, Sahai said, “There should be a mechanism to check whether all prescribed norms are being followed or not.”
On the implementation of guidelines, he said, “I think it should be mandatory as we are dealing directly with tourists and they should have good experience.
“But initially we are seeking voluntary implementation.
Later on we may opt for enforcing the guidelines.”
The Ministry is developing Haridwar-Rishikesh as well as Puducherry as wellness centres to give visitors a complete experience which is physically healing, spirituality enriching and mentally rejuvenating.

Troubled Wellness and World Music Festival dealt new blow

The producer that Desert Hot Springs paid $250,000 to put on a twice-delayed festival has not paid his associate producers, who have now backed out of the controversial project.

Baruch/Gayton Entertainment Group of Burbank wrote a Jan. 4 letter to producer Tony Clarke stating they would no longer be associated with his company, an e-mail the city released Monday shows.

“There have been financial problems with Tony. He owes us money. He owes others money, who we have brought into the project,” Wayne Baruch told The Desert Sun.

Clarke, who has been paid the entire $250,000 over seven installments to put on the Wellness and World Music Festival, did not return a message Monday. Tresed Ventures spokesman Ed Smith declined to comment.

The departure of the accomplished producers shook the confidence of several city leaders, including City Manager Rick Daniels, who still continued to voice optimism about the festival.

The city council has met in closed session at least three times to consider taking legal action against Clarke, whose claims of being an internationally known producer were never verified by the city.

The council will meet again today to discuss a lawsuit in closed session.

“I think we get a step closer there every day,” Daniels said. “The longer this stays an open issue, the longer it continues to be a problem.”

The producers’ departure is the latest in a series of blows to the festival, which is nowhere close to showtime more than 14 months after the council approved the contract.

The contract, which expires in June, specifies there is no guarantee the festival must happen, and producers have yet to announce a new date, music and performing acts or ticket sales.

The contract was drafted in part by city attorney Ruben Duran, who works for the Oakland-based Meyers Nave.

Duran is still accepting financial documents Clarke had been asked to turn over to the city by Jan. 18 to show his progress on the festival. Four weeks after that deadline, Duran also has not completed his review of the paperwork.

Duran said Monday he has received “quite a bit of information,” but declined to say when he expects to finish his review or what he would advise the council to do.

Mayor Pro Tem Russell Betts, who was the lone vote against the December 2009 contract with Clarke, said the unraveling of the festival frustrates him and he hopes the city could reach an informed conclusion soon.

“My confidence isn’t real high now at all, and the problem is we’re still reviewing these documents — three, four weeks later,” Betts said.

Friendship Elementary putting weight on wellness program

Teachers at Friendship Elementary are replacing classroom chairs with exercise balls as part of a new wellness program.

The school recently began an initiative that couples its academics with a focus on health and wellness.

Friendship Principal Berry Walton gave the Hall County school board an update at the Monday work session.

“I hope that this will become a program of choice,” he told the board. “Our goals are to focus on childhood obesity, nutrition and academic performance.”

Walton said childhood obesity is a growing epidemic. Georgia has the second-highest rate of childhood obesity in the United States.

“About 24 percent of third-graders are obese in the state,” he said. “We’re starting to see elementary school students with Type II diabetes, not Type 1, Type II.”

Friendship developed a committee last summer to research programs and best practices.

The school recently implemented strategies to improve nutrition such as offering healthier snacks. At a Valentine’s Day party, a teacher served smoothies rather than candy, Walton said.

The staff are also learning about fitness. Twice a week about 20 teachers work out with a personal trainer after school.

At the meeting, Walton showed the board members a Pilate ball, which is being used for classroom seating.

“It’s called active sitting,” he said, adding that it helps strengthen core muscles.

The school will measure their success using Fitnessgram, a district wide program that provides a fitness measure for each child. The school will also evaluate test scores, Walton added.

Down the road, Walton said the school hopes to add after-school activities such as karate, dance and gymnastics for a fee.

Superintendent Will Schofield said it has been exciting to watch the initiative build.

“We look forward to seeing where this takes us,” Schofield said.

In other business, the school board heard an update from the Early Language Development Center, established last year.

Lois Myers, who heads the center and is principal at Lyman Hall Elementary School said the program serves at-risk language students.

The center is housed in the former Jones Elementary School, and students learn half of the day in English and half of the day in Spanish.

She said students are progressing well, but a longer immersion experience will help students become more successful when they get to high school. The school is hoping to add pre-kindergarten and Head Start programs next year.

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Flu Treatment News

2011-02-15 / Health News / 0 Comments

BioCryst reports 4Q loss on revenue dip

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. on Thursday reported a fourth-quarter loss on a decline in revenue from emergency sales of its flu treatment.

The company lost $9.1 million, or 20 cents per share, compared with net income of $15.2 million, or 35 cents per share, during the same period a year prior. Revenue fell to $17.8 million from $54.9 million.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a loss of 21 cents per share on revenue of $16.9 million.

In 2009, the company had an exceptional boost to its revenue from emergency use sales of the flu treatment peramivir, mainly to the federal government. The drug is still under development, but the U.S. government had approved it as an emergency treatment for swine flu. The intravenous flu drug is intended for patients who are too sick to take an oral drug.

For the full year, the company lost $32.7 million, or 73 cents per share, compared with a loss of $13.5 million, or 35 cents per share, in 2009. Revenue fell to $63.5 million from $74.6 million.

Shares of BioCryst fell 13 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $3.92 in afternoon trading. The stock earlier reached a 52-week low of $3.87 and it has traded as high as $8.37 during that same period.

ACIP updates antiviral guidelines for flu treatment

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued revised guidelines for vaccinating patients against influenza. The ACIP report was published in Mortality and Morbidity Report Weekly.

The updated guidance suggests several significant changes to the 2008 committee recommendations, including revisions to the tables of contraindications and precautions to vaccination; restructuring reports to emphasize vaccine risk-benefit screening immediately after discussion of contraindications and vaccines; and establishing stricter criteria for selecting appropriate storage units for vaccines.

ACIP remained bullish on the benefits of using vaccine for the prevention and control of influenza. “Antiviral medications are effective for the prevention of influenza, and when used for treatment, can reduce the duration and severity of illness,” wrote Anthony E. Fiore, MD, and his colleagues.

However, the authors concluded, the emergence of strains resistant to 1 or more of the 4 licensed antiviral agents (oseltamivir, zanamivir, amantadine, and rimantadine) has made prevention and treatment far more complicated in the last 5 years.

Therefore, the authors stated, it is important to consider information about surveillance data and resistance patterns when making decisions on which vaccine to use.
In addition, ACIP recommended that antiviral treatment begin as soon as possible in patients with suspected or confirmed severe, complicated, or progressive influenza, or in outpatients with risk factors connected with age or underlying medical conditions.

The guidance was intended to help vaccination providers assess benefits and risks, recommend administration and storage practices, and understand the most effective strategies for ensuring vaccination coverage, according to CDC.

GlaxoSmithKline begins phase III trial of influenza treatment

GlaxoSmithKline is beginning a phase III clinical study of a potentially promising new treatment for influenza.

The pharmaceutical company has provided the first enrolled patient with a dose of intravenous zanamivir as part of the pivotal trial, which will aim to compare the efficacy of the therapy with oral oseltamivir.

Zanamivir is licensed from the manufacturer Biota and has been marketed globally in its inhaled form since 1999, but it has yet to be approved in any countries as an intravenous treatment.

This new study will involve 462 hospitalised influenza patients by the time enrolment is concluded, with subjects set to be drawn from more than 20 nations in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

GlaxoSmithKline expects the trial to last for three years and is hoping that the new treatment will deliver a faster clinical response among users than the control drug.

Last week, the company announced that it has also begun a new phase III trial of GSK1605786, a therapy for Crohn’s disease it is developing with ChemoCentryx.

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Cancer Treatment News

2011-02-12 / Cancer News / 0 Comments

Siemens join hands with HCG

Under this collaboration, Siemens will work with HCG to develop software, undertake research & development and conduct training programs that will ensure better alternatives to the clinicians & more effective treatment to the patients.
Siemens’ Ltd. has joined hands with Healthcare Global Enterprises Ltd. (HCG) to start the first Centre of Excellence for Cancer Care in Asia. With this initiative, HCG becomes the first hospital in Asia to collaborate with Siemens’ for a seven year period to focus on various projects in Oncology.

Under this collaboration, Siemens will work with HCG to develop software, undertake research & development and conduct training programs that will ensure better alternatives to the clinicians & more effective treatment to the patients.

Speaking to the media on this collaboration, Dr Bernd Montag, CEO, Imaging & Therapy Systems Division, Siemens Healthcare Sector, Siemens AG. said “HCG covers the complete spectrum of cancer care from early diagnosis to the most advanced therapy, and we are delighted to enter into this collaboration with them. Together, we are confident of making significant contribution to the evolution of modern Cancer Care“.

Ragavan, Country Head, Healthcare Sector, Siemens Ltd., and Head – Imaging and Therapy division of Siemens South Asia cluster further added, “In India, Cancer is the second largest killer in the spectrum of non-communicable diseases. The geographical spread of good quality cancer treatment centers is very poor as most of the centers are situated in main metros. HCG, over the past 10 years has contributed significantly to establish high quality Cancer Care centers in the Tier II and Tier III cities of India and we have been associated with them as the exclusive technology provider for the Radiation Oncology field. This new collaboration agreement takes our relationship from a transaction level to a strategic level and we are excited about this development.”

The objective of the collaboration is to bring together the clinical excellence and experience in managing and treating cancer patients of HCG and the unique innovations in technology from Siemens Ltd., which help ‘Fighting cancer – Fast and Focused’. For example, to ensure the exact location of the tumor in real time and target the radiation accordingly, Siemens has introduced the unique IM-RealART solution which allows for real-time re-planning; taking into account the actual tumor shapes on a particular day. This solution which includes the CT Vision system, Intelligent treatment replanning software, Artiste Linear Accelerator and 160 Leaf Multileaf Collimator is a revolutionary solution for advanced form of radiation therapy treatment – Adaptive Radiation Therapy (ART). This solution is available only at HCG- Bangalore and is a boon to the Cancer patients of India.

Dr B.S. Ajaikumar, Chairman, HCG said “Our vision is to be at the forefront of technology and introduce revolutionary methods to treat cancer patient, this can be only achieved by working with organisations with a similar vision. The earlier trend used to be of clinicians travelling overseas for training, research & development. Now they will be trained in India at HCG. The collaboration with Siemens is a step in this direction.”

Doctors Saying “Less is More” in Breast Cancer Treatment

Patty Molinaro, says, “Every advance that we make that makes the experience of breast cancer easier for the woman is a wonderful thing.” Patty Molinaro who is a breast cancer survivor and Nurse Navigator for the Susan G. Koeman Foundation is talking about the results of a study published this week by the American Medical Association Journal.

Between 1999 and 2004 doctors conducted a study at 115 different hospitals with roughly 450 patients who had lymph-nodes surgically removed and 450 who received only chemotherapy or radiation. The results showed that the survival rate was the same between the less invasive and surgical treatment.

Dr. Lydia Schrader, Breast Cancer Surgical Onchologist says, “If we can avoid doing that in these younger women and still have the same outcome, that’s a great advantage.” Meaning patients can avoid the horrible side effects associated with lymph node removal.

Dr. Lydia says, “Axillary lymph-node dissection have a higher risk of infection. A higher or long term issue related to fluid collections under the arms.”
So women who choose the less invasive treatment will have less to worry about in the long run as far as side effects go with this surgery. That way the main focus can be fighting for their lives. Patty says, “It’s just another reason why we need to continue to have research done. And we need to continue to try to find easier, more effective, less invasive, type treatments.”

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