Saturday, April 28, 2012

antibiotic made by j&j to treat plague

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Levaquin, an antibiotic made by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) unit Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., for treatment of the now-rare plague.

The agency also approved the drug to reduce the risk of contracting the plague after exposure to Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes the disease.

The bug, despite its devastating track record before the advent of modern medicine, is now extremely rare in most parts of the world. There are about 1,000 to 2,000 cases each year.

Plague is a mainly animal disease that humans can contract from fleas, other animals or laboratory exposure. The disease could also be used as a bioterrorism agent, the FDA said.

The FDA based its approval on an efficacy study on African green monkeys because it isn't feasible or ethical to conduct trials on humans.

The agency granted Levaquin a priority review. It joins streptomycin, doxycycline, tetracycline and other antibacterial drugs among the FDA-approved treatments for plague.

J&J shares were recently up 22 cents at $64.97 Friday. The stock is off 0.9% this year.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Higher glucose levels mighthelp heart failure patients with diabetes

About 6 million Americans have heart failure, and 25% of them also have diabetes, a study finds.

Tight control of diabetic patients’ blood glucose levels often helps prevent them from developing complications, such as kidney disease and nerve damage. But for patients who have advanced heart failure and diabetes, significantly decreasing their glucose levels might raise their mortality risk, a study says.
Diabetic patients with heart failure who had lower levels of glycosylated hemoglobin were more likely to die or need urgent heart transplantation during two years of follow-up compared with those with higher HbA1c levels, according to the study published online March 29 in The American Journal of Cardiology.
One possible explanation for the finding is that patients with lower HbA1c levels might be taking an inappropriate medication to control their diabetes, such as insulin, said senior study author Tamara B. Horwich, MD. Though insulin might decrease glucose levels, it often is linked to poor health prognosis for people with heart failure, she said.
“We may find that doctors who treat patients who have advanced heart failure and diabetes may not need to focus on aggressively lowering blood [glucose], but rather keep it under moderate control,” said Dr. Horwich, assistant professor of cardiology at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
About 6 million people in the United States have heart failure, and about one in five dies within a year of being diagnosed with the condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An estimated 25% of those with heart failure also have diabetes, according to The American Journal of Cardiology study (
Researchers examined the medical records of 845 patients 18 and older who had advanced heart failure and received treatment at the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center between Jan. 1, 1999, and July 1, 2010.
Researchers found that of the studied patients, 358 (42%) had diabetes. The HbA1c levels of those with the chronic condition ranged from 4.5% to 14.3%. The American Diabetes Assn. recommends that people with diabetes keep their levels at 7% or lower to help prevent serious complications.
But in the study, event-free survival after two-years of follow-up was more common among heart failure patients with diabetes who had the highest HbA1c levels (65% survival) than those with the lowest levels (48%).
Researchers said the ideal HbA1c level for that patient population seems to be between 8.3% and 8.9%. But they said more research needs to be conducted to verify that range and to assess the best anti-diabetes medications for patients who also have advanced heart failure.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Vaccine to stop heart attacks could be here in 5 years

A vaccine delivered in an injection or nasal spray to prevent heart attacks could be available within five years.

Photograph by: Wayne Leidenfrost, Postmedia News

A vaccine delivered in an injection or nasal spray to prevent heart attacks could be available within five years.

Scientists have discovered that the drug stimulates the body's immune system to produce antibodies which prevent heart disease by stopping fat building up in the arteries.

It is the first time that the underlying cause of heart disease has been targeted. Current treatments focus on using drugs to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

The vaccine can cut the build up of fat in arteries by up to 70 per cent, according to tests by researchers at Lund University in Sweden. The fatty deposits cause arteries to narrow, meaning the body has to work harder to pump blood, and can lead to a heart attack.

Prof Peter Weissberg, the British Heart Foundation medical director, said the vaccine was "very promising".

Different ways of administering the vaccine are being developed and could be licensed within five years, the Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology conference at Imperial College London was told.

Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer in Britain, causing one in three deaths; 191,000 each year. There are 2.7?million people with heart disease and their treatment costs pounds 3.2?billion a year.

Prof Jan Nilsson, professor of experimental cardiovascular research at Lund University, acknowledged that treatments such as statins and blood pressure drugs reduced the risk of heart disease by 40 per cent, but added: "It should not be forgotten that 60 per cent of cardiovascular events continue to occur."

He said: "These treatments are far more like drugs: to be effective they'd need to be given long term. The antibody therapy in particularly is likely to be expensive, so you could probably only afford to give it to high-risk populations rather than everyone."

The team created a vaccine that reduced plaque build-up by 60 to 70 per cent in mice. The resulting injection is waiting regulatory clearance to start clinical trials. A second vaccine has been created as a nasal spray. A trial on 144 heart disease sufferers is under way in the U.S. and Canada.

A vaccine delivered in an injection or nasal spray to prevent heart attacks could be available within five years.

Photograph by: Wayne Leidenfrost, Postmedia News

Sunday, April 15, 2012

3 Simple Tips to Keep Your Kidneys (and Arteries) Clean


Kidneys play a key role in cleansing your body, including your arteries. If your kidneys are backed up or clogged, they aren’t able to clean out your blood as well as they should, which can lead to aging in your arteries. Follow these easy tips to help keep your kidneys working at their optimal levels.
  1. Drink water. Dehydration can increase your risk of kidney problems by 20%. An easy way to incorporate more water into your day is to carry a BPA-free water bottle with you as much as possible--in your car, at your desk and even when you’re eating a meal.
  2. Try yogurt or milk. Keep your blood pressure in check with 2 cups of yogurt and one glass of milk per day. The calcium in yogurt and milk can lower your risk of blood pressure surges by 25%.
  3. Reduce salt. Diets high in salt increase the risk of kidney stone, since extra salt in your diet pushes calcium into your kidneys, rather than into your bones, where it’s supposed to be. Try eating less processed food and substituting dried herbs as a food topping rather than table salt.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The reason your not lose weight.

Jamba Juice Original (24 ounces) Aloha Pineapple Smoothie (410 calories, 1.5 grams fat)
Sip it Jamba Juice 16 oz Apple ’n Greens Smoothie (220 calories, 1 g fat)
We applaud the high-fiber fruit and calcium-rich yogurt in the Aloha Pineapple. But sherbet adds mega sugar (91 g here!), and the shake falls too short on protein to make a balanced lunch. Swap it for the Apple ’n Greens to cut 190 calories and 51 g sugar. Our pick also has 2 g more fiber, thanks to extra fruit (mango, peach) and veg (spinach, kale). Pair it with 1 oz protein-packed nuts for a complete lunch.

At the coffee shop…

Skip it Starbucks Grande Iced Caramel Macchiato with whipped cream, extra vanilla syrup and caramel (440 calories, 21.5 g fat)
Sip it Starbucks Tall Coffee Frappuccino with skim milk, no whipped cream (160 calories, 0 g fat)
There’s room for treats in every diet, but the added syrup and caramel and whipped cream turn the Macchiato from a small splurge into a calorie and fat overload. Trade it for the Coffee Frappuccino: It has the same craveable qualities. (Creamy texture? Check! Tastes like a milk shake? Yep!) But forgoing the high-cal extras and opting for skim milk trims 280 calories and 21.5 g fat. And it’s still plenty flavorful, so the smaller cup is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.

At the convenience store…

Skip it Snapple Lemon Tea (160 calories, 0 g fat per 16-oz bottle)
Sip it Honest Tea Half & Half Organic Tea with Lemonade (100 calories, 0 g fat per 16.9-oz bottle)
Four of the Snapple ingredients—water, tea, citric acid and natural flavors—are virtually free of calories and sugar. That means the drink’s 36 g (3 tablespoons) of sugar come from the only other listed ingredient: added sugar. By contrast, Honest Tea delivers the same refreshing tea-and-lemon combo for 60 fewer calories. It does have some added sugar but 12 g less than Snapple does. Honest Tea also contains all-natural ingredients, making it a good alternative to soda, which has artificial stuff.

At the gym…

Skip it Juice Generation 24 oz Mucho Mango Smoothie (370 calories, 4 g fat)
Sip it Juice Generation 20 oz Pure Energy Juice (150 calories, 0 g fat)
Juice Generation’s blends are made with lots of produce and nothing artificial—bravo! But the smoothies are too high in calories to count as a snack, which shouldn’t exceed 200 calories. If you want a small pre- or postworkout pick-me-up, our choice, Pure Energy Juice, gives you 5 g energizing protein for 220 fewer calories. If it’s lunchtime, opt for the 24-oz Protein Buzz Smoothie (410 calories, 6 g fat). Blended with fruit and hemp, soy or whey protein, it’s more of a meal than other less caloric choices, and has the ideal combo of carbs and protein.

At happy hour…

Skip it Oaxaca old-fashioned with tequila, mezcal, agave and bitters (159 calories, 0 g fat)
Sip it Club soda and a splash of fresh lime juice with a shot (1.5 oz) of tequila (100 calories, 0 g fat)
You know a cocktail a day may help protect your heart, but we’d offer this advice: Order carefully. Specialty drinks often have multiple types of liquor, and every 1.5-oz shot adds an additional 97 calories. (Plus, some bartenders are heavy-handed.) Also, beware excess agave: The plant-based sweetener can be 80 percent fructose, a sugar shown to increase belly fat in a study at the University of California in Davis. Stick to one type of booze with a zero-calorie mixer like club soda. Cheers!
Making healthy choices doesn’t have to be boring! Impress guests and save on calories (without sacrificing taste) by whipping up one of these tasty yet light cocktails.
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