Archive for the ‘Metabolism’ Category

New effort enlists businesses to correct health care disparities

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Washington — Offering health insurance is a first step employers can take to improve employees’ well-being. A second step increasingly is likely to be taken: ensuring that the health care employees receive adequately addresses the needs of an ever-more-diverse work force.

Striving to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care is now recognized as a good business practice by some large employers, and a new coalition of business, medicine and public health groups has been formed to help advance this goal.

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Antidepressants: Are They Necessary?

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Antidepressant medications like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft have become almost as common as bread and butter — but are depression rates rising, or are these medications just being overprescribed to people who don’t really need them?

A new study suggests despite the high rates of prescriptions, antidepressants only help patients suffering from severe depression. British researchers wanted to see if a patient’s response to antidepressants depends on how badly depressed they are. To do so, they reviewed clinical trials submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for four of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. Before antidepressants are be approved by the FDA, clinical trials must be conducted to evaluate their effectiveness.

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Rules aim for better patient safety through confidential error reports

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Washington — Federal regulators have proposed sweeping patient safety rules to give physicians and others a confidential, voluntary way to report medical errors and near mistakes. Several health care organizations applauded the release of the long-awaited regulations but want a closer look before making a final judgment.

The rules, published Feb. 12 by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, would implement the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005. The law, supported by the American Medical Association, authorizes creating patient safety organizations to which doctors, other health professionals, hospitals and other institutions could report mistakes.

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Say Goodbye to Wrinkles With CO2

Friday, February 15th, 2008

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Carbon dioxide gets a lot flack. It’s a culprit responsible for the growing hole in our ozone layer, leading to skin cancer, climate change and global warming. But CO2 has a surprising new role: reducing wrinkles and clearing up acne scars!

Trials of a new carbon dioxide-based fractional laser are underway at two medical centers in the United States. The laser — recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — is designed to treat facial wrinkles and acne scarring, alleviating dark pigmentation, and other conditions that the centers are investigating before making the laser widely available.

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Predicting Protstate Cancer Recurrence

Friday, February 15th, 2008

(Ivanhoe Newswire) Currently, pathology reports and PSA levels are all that doctors have to predictor whether a man’s prostate cancer will spread or come back. New research done at the Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute has uncovered a biomarker that can significantly improve on what’s available.

Dr. Joshua Alumakal, MD conducted a study on men with localized prostate caner examining DNA and a gene modification process called methylation in which tumor suppressing genes like CDH13 are turned off. With the tumor-suppressing gene turned off, there is nothing to put the brakes on cell growth and spread. 

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OIG approves hospital plans to share cost savings with doctors

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Two hospital agreements to share with physicians some of the cost savings derived from quality-of-care measures are not likely to violate federal fraud and anti-kickback statutes, according to a pair of Jan. 14 advisory opinions by the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.

Gainsharing agreements let hospitals pass to doctors some of the savings facilities reap due to, in part, the physicians’ efforts to increase quality and efficiency. Experts said the OIG letters not only offer added insight into what the government sees as acceptable collaboration but also may signal a recognition that gainsharing arrangements — if done right — can be a viable way to improve quality.

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Senate to act on Indian Health Service funding

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Washington — The Senate is poised to vote on new funding for the Indian Health Service that includes plans to combat a doctor shortage. But President Bush says he would veto it over cost and Medicaid documentation concerns.

The Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 2007 would authorize $35 billion from 2008 through 2017 for the IHS. The bill would establish doctor retention and recruitment bonuses of up to $25,000 and fund demonstration programs to recruit new physicians to the IHS. The agency’s physician vacancy rate is currently 13%. The measure also would:

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AstraZeneca withdraws Exanta

Friday, December 21st, 2007


AstraZeneca is to withdraw the anticoagulant Exanta (melagatran/ximelagatran) from the market and end its development. The venous thromboembolism (VTE) treatment has been withdrawn due to new data about the possibility of liver damage.

AstraZeneca chief executive David Brennan said: “We have decided to take this precautionary action in the interests of patient safety. “There are a number of alternative options for short-term post-operative anticoagulation following orthopaedic surgery. We would like to recognise the involvement of doctors, patients and scientists and their commitment to the development of Exanta over the past years.” He added: “Thrombosis is one of the greatest threats to human health and represents a significant public health burden. AstraZeneca remains committed to the discovery and development of new medicines in this area to help improve patients’ lives.”
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Merck KGaA profits up

Friday, December 21st, 2007


The German chemical and pharmaceutical company Merck KGaA had its profits rise for the final quarter of last year by 34 per cent to 109.5 million euros. The growth was said to be down to increased demand for liquid crystals for computer displays.

For 2005 as a whole, sales rose 9.9 per cent and profits were almost unchanged at 659 million euros. Merck executive board chairman Dr Michael Roemer said: “The year 2005 was very successful for Merck thanks to innovative products and the hard work of our employees. “As we see this level of success continuing, we expect our top and bottom lines for 2006 - excluding exceptional items - will improve by a high single-digit rate. In fact, we see no reason why this development should not continue beyond this year.”
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Femara (letrozole) offers new hope for ovarian cancer patients

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have shown that hormone therapy can extend life in ovarian cancer patients, giving women a new alternative to chemotherapy.

The study, published today in Clinical Cancer Research, has proved for the first time that the targeted use of an anti-oestrogen drug could prolong the life of some patients by up to three years, and delay the use of chemotherapy in others.

Letrozole hormone therapy – already used with great success in the treatment of breast tumours - attacks cancer by turning off its oestrogen supply. But scientists now believe that in those ovarian cancers which are highly sensitive to oestrogen, this blocking mechanism could slow the growth and spread of disease.

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