News & Information

Dr. Feelgoods's Corner - Honeysuckle used for flu Viruses?

Honeysuckle has been used for more than a century within traditional Chinese medicine, often consumed in the form of tea. Researchers have now identified a molecule within the plant that directly targets influenza A viruses, a family of viruses that includes Spanish flu and avian flu. The study was conducted by a team from Nanjing University, China, and is published in the journal Cell Research. The team believes the findings could be important in offering a novel therapeutic strategy for combating rapidly evolving influenza A viruses (IAV). They previously found that certain molecules in foods can regulate the physiology of the person that

has consumed them "by regulating host 'target' genes." Exponents of traditional Chinese medicine have already been drinking the sweet-smelling honeysuckle as a form of treatment for IAV, and now the research has been able to provide evidence of the medicinal merits of the plant. The team writes, "the results show that honeysuckle decoction has a broad-spectrum anti-viral activity." The molecule in question is MIR2911. The researchers found that the molecule was present in honeysuckle even after it had been mashed and boiled in water, in a process known as decoction. Mice were given the honeysuckle to drink in the form of a soup, delivering the molecule into their plasma and lung tissue. The team was then able to demonstrate that MIR2911 represses IAV by targeting two specific genes that have been identified as being essential for influenza viral replication: PB2 and NS1. In addition, the researchers found that both synthetic MIR2911 and the natural form of the molecule in honeysuckle decoction were able to protect animals effectively from H1N1 infection, an IAV also referred to as Spanish flu or swine flu. They believe that MIR2911 could be used as the "virological penicillin" to treat various viruses, much in the same way that Fleming's discovery of penicillin led to the development of antibiotics targeting bacterial infections and saving millions of lives. So far, the researchers have only observed these results in mice. Future studies will therefore need to assess the role of the molecule in human subjects before clinical judgment can be passed on its role in future treatments for IAV.

Anticholinergic medications linked to dementia

A large study links a significantly increased risk for developing dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, to taking commonly used medications with anticholinergic effects at higher doses or for a longer time. Many older people take these drugs, which include nonprescription diphenhydramine (Benadryl).The study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, tracked nearly 3,500 Group Health seniors participating in the long-running Adult Changes in Thought (ACT), a joint Group Health–University of Washington (UW) study funded by the National Institute on Aging. It used more rigorous methods, longer follow-up (more than 7 years), and better assessment of medication use via pharmacy records (including substantial nonprescription use) to confirm this previously reported link.It is the first study to show a dose response: Linking more risk for developing dementia to higher use of anticholinergic medications. And it is also the first to suggest that dementia risk linked to anticholinergic medications may persist—and may not be reversible even years after people stop taking these drugs.

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"Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all Mankind." —Emily P. Bissell

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Clinical Updates-Coronary Heart Disease Screening

FDA has cleared a new screening test for the prediction of future coronary heart disease (CHD) events, such as myocardial infarction. It is cleared for use in all adults who have no history of CHD.The activity of lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2), a biologic marker for vascular inflammation, in a patient's blood is measured by this new test known as the PLAC Test for Lp-PLA2 Activity (diaDexus, Inc.) Lp-PLA2 is associated with plaque buildup in the arteries, which can ultimately cause narrowing of the arteries and result in CHD. Anyone tested who is found to have Lp-PLA2 activity >225 nmol/min/mL is at increased risk for a future CHD event.Results from the PLAC Test for Lp-PLA2 Activity were reviewed by FDA and form the basis for their decision to clear the test. A total of 4598 individuals aged from 45 years to 92 years with no history of heart disease participated in the study. Women accounted for 58.3% of the study cohort, and men accounted for 41.7%. The group also was defined racially as 41.5% black and 58.5% white.Study participants with test results >225 nmol/min/mL were determined to have a 7% CHD event rate, versus 3.3% for those with test results below that level. Median follow-up was 5.3 years. Data analyses of various subgroups found that black women with test results >225 nmol/min/mL had a higher jump in CHD event rate compared with others in the study.

FDA approves new Alzheimer's drug

FDA approved the New Drug Application (NDA) for a new treatment for moderate to severe dementia in Alzheimer's patients.Namzaric, a fixed-dose combination (FDC) of memantine hydrochloride extended-release, a NMDA receptor antagonist, and donepezil hydrochloride, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, is manufacture red by Actavis plc and Adamas Pharmaceuticals Inc." Actavis expects to launch Namzaric in the United States in the second quarter of 2015.Namzaric is a once-daily oral capsule for patients currently taking memantine (10 mg twice daily or 28 mg. extended-release once-daily) and donepezil 10 mg. In addition, the capsules can be opened to allow the contents to be sprinkled on food to facilitate dosing for patients who have difficulty swallowing.Namzaric will be available in 2 dosage strengths: 28/10 mg (memantine extended release/donepezil) and 14/10mg (memantine extended release/donepezil) for patients with severe renal impairment.
One day, while strolling down the boardwalk, John bumped into an old friend of his, Rob, from high school. "You look great John, how do you stay looking so young? Why you must be 60 already but you don't look a day over 40!" Rob exclaimed. "I feel like I'm 40 too!" replied John. "That's incredible" exclaimed Rob, "Does it run in the family? How old was your dad when he passed?" "Did I say he was dead?" asked John. "He's 81 and is more active then ever. He just joined the neighborhood basketball team!" responded John. "Whoa! Well how old was your Grandfather when he died?" "Did I say he died" asked John. Rob was amazed. "He just had his 105th birthday and plays golf and goes swimming each day! He's actually getting married thisweek!" "Getting married?!" Rob asked. If he's 105, why on earth does he want to get married?! John looked at Rob and replied, "Did I say he wanted to?"

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