Testing It Up

Mixing Medication and Dietary Supplements Can be Bad for Health

Dietary supplements could alter the way medication works, regardless of whether it is prescription or over-the-counter medicine.take vitamins

“Some dietary supplements may increase the effect of your medication, and other dietary supplements may decrease it,” Robert Mozersky, a medical officer at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said.

Certain dietary supplements may change absorption, metabolism, or excretion of a medication and therefore affect its potency.

“You may be getting either too much or too little of a medication you need,” Mozersky warned.

Combining dietary supplements and medications could even have life-threatening effects. For example, drugs for HIV/AIDS, heart disease, depression, treatments for organ transplants, and birth control pills are less effective when taken with the herbal supplement St. John’s Wort. Depending on the medication involved, the results can be serious.

Also, warfarin (a prescription blood thinner), ginkgo biloba (an herbal supplement), aspirin and vitamin E can each thin the blood, so taking any of these products together may increase the potential for internal bleeding or stroke.

Dietary supplements are widely used and include vitamins, minerals, and other less familiar substances—such as herbals, botanicals, amino acids, and enzymes.

October 27, 2014 at 8:19 am Comments (0)

3D Printing Technology Produces Printable Medicine Tablets

3D printing has given rise to several breakthroughs in many fields of study, including medicine. This time, new research embarks on a product that will revolutionize the way we think about 3D printers.

3d printed medicine tabletsScientists from the University of Central Lancashire in the U.K. have developed a 3D printer that can “print” medicine tablets. The tablets may be designed to custom-fit the needs of the patient who is going to take them. This is made possible by special 3D printer filaments created by the team of researchers. The tablets produced by the printer can replicate any existing medicine in terms of weight and dosage fairly accurately.

Study co-author Dr. Mohamed Albed Alhnan of the university’s School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences expressed the impact of their discovery to the field of medicine. “Thanks to this technology, the invented system can provide medical institutions with a new option and maintain dosage form properties while accurately adjusting the dose with simple software order, something that was considered before to be costly and required experienced staff and dedicated facilities. Eventually, we hope to see that units can be kept at home for patients who continuously need to change their daily dose,” said Alhnan in a news item.

Furthermore, Alhnan said that 3D printing technology has changed the way we do things. “3D printing has been embraced by lots of different industries … but we have shown how this technology can be harnessed to improve medical care, providing low-cost, personally tailored medicines for patients,” he added.

October 26, 2014 at 10:29 pm Comments (0)

Secondhand Smoke Exposes Non-Smokers To Excessive Air Pollutants

If you are a non-smoker living with someone who smokes indoors, you might as well inhale the fumes of your vehicle exhaust.

secondhand smoke at homeResearchers from Scotland’s University of Aberdeen discovered that people who don’t smoke but live in homes with a smoker are exposed to more than thrice the WHO limit for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), which are air pollutants such as soot or dust. The data was gathered from 93 smoking households and 17 that are non-smokers. Comparisons between the two home living conditions showed that PM 2.5 levels of smoking houses were ten times higher than the non-smoking counterpart.

In addition, air quality in smoking homes was comparable with the outdoor environment in polluted cities such as London. Researchers believe that living in a smoke-free house reduces the exposure of non-smokers to air pollutants by as much as 70 percent. “These measurements show that secondhand tobacco smoke can produce very high levels of toxic particles in your home: much higher than anything experienced outside in most towns and cities in the UK. Making your home smoke-free is the most effective way of dramatically reducing the amount of damaging fine particles you inhale,” said lead study author Dr. Sean Semple in a news release.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 2.5 million people who don’t smoke have died from secondhand smoke exposure since 1964.

October 23, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

Oscar de la Renta Dies Of Cancer

The fashion world is mourning the death of legendary designer Oscar de la Renta, who died October 20 at the age of 82. According to Reuters, de la Renta passed away in his Connecticut home. The fashion icon succumbed to cancer, which was diagnosed in 2006.

oscar de la rentaNews spread like wildfire over Twitter, other social networking sites, and in several newspapers.

In his home country of Dominican Republic, de la Renta was remembered as a cultural icon who never forgot where he came from. “The international fashion (world) and all the Dominican Republic is in mourning. We lost the great Oscar de la Renta,” said Dominican Republic president Danilo Medina. Meanwhile, the country’s foreign minister Andrés Navarro expressed the fashion legend’s impact not only on the runway but also on society. “He was a permanent ambassador of our country abroad. He diffused the qualities that adorn the Dominican Republic. With his departure, the nation says goodbye to one of its most universal sons and a promoter of the best Dominican qualities,” Navarro said.

De la Renta was famous for dressing all of the first ladies starting with Jacqueline Kennedy. The Clinton family expressed their tribute to the late fashion mogul in a statement as posted on CNN: “Oscar’s remarkable eye was matched only by his generous heart … His legacy of philanthropy extended from children in his home country who now have access to education and healthcare, to some of New York’s finest artists whose creativity has been sustained through his support.”

Prior to his death, de la Renta designed the much talked about wedding gown of Amal Alamuddin, who married George Clooney on September 29 of this year.

October 22, 2014 at 3:08 am Comments (0)

DNA Helps to Protect Some Hispanic Women from Breast Cancer

New research has found that some Hispanic women are less prone to breast cancer thanks to their DNA. mammogram showing breast cancer

Compared with women of European or African-American descent, fewer Hispanic women develop breast cancer and fewer of them die from it, medical statistics show, and an international team led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, recently said they now know the reason why this is.

A tiny difference in the DNA of certain women makes Latinas who inherit it about 40% less likely to develop breast cancer, medical geneticist Laura Fejerman and her colleagues reported in Nature Communications. And, if women have inherited the variation from both sides of their family, they are 80% less likely to get breast cancer.

“It is strongly protective,” said cancer specialist Elad Ziv at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, who helped conduct the study funded by the National Cancer Institute. “We really need to do more experiments to nail it down and understand what it is doing.”

Women who carry the genetic variant have breast tissue that appears less dense on mammograms. High-density breast tissue is a known risk factor for breast cancer.

The finding may lead to more effective genetic testing for women at risk, by helping to determine who most needs to take preventative measures.

October 20, 2014 at 7:33 am Comments (0)

Blue Light Controls New Type 2 Diabetes Drug to Improve Treatment

The erratic response of the human body to existing drugs for Type 2 diabetes has prompted a group of scientists to develop a new treatment that involves blue light technology.

blue light controlled antidiabetic drugA joint research from the UK’s Imperial College London Department of Medicine and Germany’s LMU Munich created JB253, an experimental drug that triggers pancreatic beta cells to release insulin. What’s unique about this new drug is that it is triggered by blue LED light exposure. The prototype medication is a hybrid of the antidiabetic drug sulfonylurea but with the ability to change shape in the presence of blue light.

The motivation behind this research is the fact that sulfonylurea may increase the risk of developing hypoglycemia and heart diseases. By using the new drug, the patient can control the activity of the medication by switching on a blue LED light source pointed at the abdomen. This causes the drug’s active ingredient to change shape and become active. When the light is switched off, the drug’s components become deactivated. This mechanism gives the patient more control over how the drug will function, so as to prevent side effects.

“In principle, this type of therapy may allow better control over blood sugar levels … because it can be switched on for a short time when required after a meal. It should also reduce complications by targeting drug activity to where it’s needed in the pancreas,” study co-author Dr. David Hodson said in a news release.

The prototype is still being developed, and has not reached human trials thus far. “There’s a long way to go before a therapy is available to patients, but this remains our ultimate goal,” Hodson added.

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October 18, 2014 at 12:00 am Comment (1)

Study: Smoking Causes Millions of Medical Conditions in the U.S.

The idea that millions of medical issues are attributable to smoking may sound far-fetched, but a recent study merely echoes what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said in the past decade.

smokingResearchers from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products analyzed deaths related to smoking based on data from national surveys. The results are astounding: about 14 million major medical conditions can be traced to smoking.

Despite the large number, the proponents of the study said that the figure was a conservative estimate because it did not include other recent discoveries on smoking-related diseases. Excluded in the study were ovarian cancer cases that may have been caused by smoking, or detrimental health effects of secondhand smoke. “Most of these conditions were chronic bronchitis and emphysema, often classified as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)… but these estimates and methods, to our knowledge, have not been subsequently updated or refined,” according to the study authors in a news item.

The study data came from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) between 2006 and 2012, as well as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

CDC’s version of the report, which was released in 2000, revealed that 12.7 million medical cases linked to smoking were experienced by more than 8 million people.

October 16, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

Dallas Nurse Condition Improving After Blood Transfusion From Ebola Survivor

The first person to contract the deadly Ebola virus on U.S. soil has been declared as “doing well” after receiving blood plasma from a virus survivor.

nina pham dallas nurse ebola virusThe patient was identified as Nina Pham, a nurse who was part of the medical team that took care of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to arrive in the U.S. carrying the Ebola virus. Pham received blood from Dr. Kent Brantley, an American doctor who successfully recovered from the virus after being treated using an experimental Ebola drug last August.

Pham is currently being treated at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas. Health inspectors continue to investigate the circumstances behind Pham’s contracting of the disease, citing a possible protocol breach. Standard procedures in the hospital require medical professionals to wear protective gear such as masks, gloves and gowns when caring for an Ebola patient.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chief Tom Frieden said in a news release that he should have sent a stronger and much larger response team during the first case of Ebola in Dallas. “Ebola is unfamiliar. It’s scary and getting it right is really important because the stakes are so high,” said Frieden. “(Sending a larger team) might have prevented this infection.”

The CDC continues to monitor Pham as well as other healthcare workers and people who have come in contact with Duncan, who died last week.

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October 15, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

New Drug Shows Promise in Fight Against Addiction

A new drug has been developed that could potentially help people kick their drug addictions. cocaine addiction

Developed by Dr. Stanley Glick, former head of the Department of Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience at Albany Medical College, 18-methoxycoronaridine (18-MC) has been successful in getting rats who are hooked on cocaine to completely stop craving the drug.

It has a similar effect on animals addicted to methamphetamine, morphine, alcohol, and nicotine and even seems to work with sugar, indicating potential as an obesity treatment.

“We hope it’s a paradigm shift in the way substance abuse is treated,” Steve Hurst, CEO of Savant HWP, which produces 18-MC, said. “But we’re still trying to figure out if it’s OK to give to people in doses that are safe enough to replicate what we see in animal models.”

18-MC works by blocking the pleasurable effects of cocaine and other substances by “dampening the response” to dopamine.

18-MC has its roots in ibogaine, a bitter white powder derived from the roots of a plant indigenous to the rainforests of Central Africa. Ibogaine is a potent hallucinogen used to induce spiritual visions during tribal ceremonies. Although side effects of ibogaine include nausea and intense hallucinations, Glick and other researchers have managed to formulate a strain of the drug that has the ability to block cravings while not producing any of the side effects.

The drug is ready to start human trials, but because ibogaine is a Schedule I drug in the United States and few pharmaceutical companies are interested in anti-addiction medicine, it has faced a lot of hurdles in its development.

October 14, 2014 at 8:37 am Comments (0)

Insulin-Producing Stem Cells: Hope For Type 1 Diabetes Patients

Type 1 Diabetes remains one of the top health issues that plague Americans to this day. This autoimmune disease renders the body unable to process sugars due to lack of insulin. The root cause is the disease’s attack on pancreatic beta cells, which are responsible for producing insulin.

insulin shot type 1 diabetes stem cell technologyA recent study aims to fix this health issue by using stem cell technology to replace the damaged pancreatic beta cells with new ones. Study lead author Douglas Melton, who serves as co-director of Harvard University’s Stem Cell Institute, revealed via HealthDay that they have developed pancreatic beta cells from human stem cells in large-scale proportions.

The study, published in the journal Cell Oct. 9, aims to “replace insulin injections using nature’s own solution, being the pancreatic beta cell,” according to Melton. Preliminary tests have been conducted on laboratory mice, to positive effects. What’s better is that unlike insulin shots that don’t cure the disease, pancreatic beta cells can actually circumvent Type 1 diabetes and its effects. “When provided to an immuno-compromised mouse, we can cure their diabetes right away, in less than 10 days,” Melton explained.

Melton’s team revealed that their product can survive for about six months inside test animals, but these fugures still need to be confirmed. Furthermore, the team hopes that human trials can be started soon.

October 14, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

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