Posted by WBHI on Jan 29, 2013 in Think Twice
by Roni Caryn Rabin for The New York Times:
Most sleeping pills are designed to knock you out for eight hours. When the Food and Drug Administration was evaluating a new short-acting pill for people to take when they wake up in the middle of the night, agency scientists wanted to know how much of the drug would still be in users’ systems come morning.
Blood tests uncovered a gender gap: Men metabolized the drug, Intermezzo, faster than women. Ultimately the F.D.A. approved a 3.5 milligram pill for men, and a 1.75 milligram pill for women. The active ingredient in Intermezzo, zolpidem, is used in many other sleeping aids, including Ambien. But it wasn’t until earlier this month that the F.D.A reduced doses of Ambien for women by half.
Sleeping pills are hardly the only medications that may have unexpected, even dangerous, effects in women. Studies have shown that women respond differently than men to many drugs, from aspirin to anesthesia. Researchers are only beginning to understand the scope of the issue, but many believe that as a result, women experience a disproportionate share of adverse, often more severe, side effects.
Posted by WBHI on Oct 10, 2012 in Sooner Than You Think
by Michael C. Purdy for Washington University Newsroom:
Leading scientists have selected the first drugs to be evaluated in a worldwide clinical study to determine whether they can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
The pioneering trial, expected to start by early 2013, initially will test three promising drugs, each designed to target Alzheimer’s in different ways.
In people with inherited mutations that cause early-onset Alzheimer’s, the study will seek to identify whether the drugs can improve Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers and effectively prevent the loss of cognitive function.
“This trial is the result of a groundbreaking collaboration between academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies and patient advocacy groups, with key support from regulatory groups,” says principal investigator Randall Bateman, MD, the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Distinguished Professor in Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “We are excited that this diverse portfolio of drugs and approaches will accelerate the discovery of an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s.”
Posted by WBHI on Aug 1, 2012 in Wishful Thinking
by Gail Dutton for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News:
Optimism Fostered by More Than 150 Firms Working in Space and Countless Approaches.
The global market value of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) therapeutics could soar to the $8 billion range once therapeutics are approved that actually change the course of the disease. The current therapeutic market is valued at $3 to $4 billion, shared among drugs that temporarily delay disease progression or address the symptoms but do not alter the underlying disease, according to Ian Sanderson, senior analyst, Cowen & Company.
Progress to a cure for AD has been hampered by the lack of information about the biology of the disease, he points out. “Only recently have scientists confirmed that amyloid plaques are associated with the disease, and they still debate whether they are causative or symptomatic.”
by The Star:
The first Alzheimer’s-related changes begin to develop some 25 years before memory and thinking problems appear, according to a new study that may offer a valuable guide for companies looking to test new treatments in people at an earlier stage.
The study, published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers a timeline of changes in spinal fluid, brain size, the appearance of brain plaques and other factors that precede the onset of Alzheimer’s in people who are genetically predestined to develop the brain-wasting disease.
“It’s really the first report that we have in living people of these changes,” said Dr. Randall Bateman of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri who helped lead the study.
Current drugs for Alzheimer’s only treat symptoms and none have yet been able to keep the fatal disease from progressing. Some researchers think that may be because the disease has been studied too late in its progression.
Posted by WBHI on Jul 11, 2012 in Wishful Thinking
by Marilynn Marchione for Huffington Post:
We’re about to find out if there will be a way anytime soon to slow the course of Alzheimer’s disease. Results are due within a month or so from key studies of two drugs that aim to clear the sticky plaque gumming up patients’ brains.
A pivotal study of a third drug will end later this year, and results from a small, early test of it will be reported next week at an Alzheimer’s conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.
These three treatments are practically the “last men standing” in late-stage trials, after more than a decade of failed efforts to develop a drug to halt the mind-robbing disease. Current medicines such as Aricept and Namenda just temporarily ease symptoms. There is no known cure.
Experts say that if these fail, drug companies may pull out of the field in frustration, leaving little hope for the millions of people with the disease. An estimated 35 million people worldwide have dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s. In the U.S., experts say about 5 million have Alzheimer’s.
Posted by WBHI on Jun 8, 2012 in Think Outside The Box
by Medical XPress:
The drugs commonly used to treat memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients can make bones stronger, according to a recent study led by Faleh Tamimi, assistant professor at McGill University’s Faculty of Dentistry. The findings, published in Journal of Bone and Mineral Research and highlighted in Nature Reviews: Endocrinology, could help further research into the idea that bone strength is controlled centrally within the brain.
Two drugs frequently used to treat Alzheimer disease (AD), donepezil and rivastigmine, are known to stimulate a group of neurons in the brain that play a major role in maintaining memory. While these drugs have been widely used in the treatment of AD and other forms of dementia since the mid-1990s, their potential effect on bone biology had not been explored.
Posted by WBHI on May 21, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by Washington Post:
“Is it Alzheimer’s?” A concerned daughter silently mouthed that question to Marvin M. Lipman, Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser, after a lengthy office visit during which she had described her mother’s increasing loss of short-term memory and occasional erratic behavior.
The focus of this attention was an 85-year-old retired college professor, a seemingly healthy long-term patient of Lipman’s. In all the years she had been seeing him for routine examinations and an occasional infection, she had provided him with few or no clues that she might be slowly developing Alzheimer’s, a disorder that affects 5.5 million Americans.
For each of the incidents that troubled her daughter, she had an explanation: “If you had eight grandchildren, you’d get them mixed up, too.” “The reason I showed up at the wrong house for your birthday was that it was dark and the street signs were hard to read.” “The pot boiled over and ruined the kitchen floor because the timer didn’t ring.”
Posted by WBHI on May 9, 2012 in Wishful Thinking
by STL Today
Newer antidepressants have long been considered “effective and safe.” These antidepressants include escitalopram, citalopram, sertraline, paroxetine, and fluoxetine, commonly known by their old trade names Lexapro, Celexa, Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac. They are approved to treat clinical depression and various anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (worrying too much), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Recently, some have questioned whether they are effective, or safe, particularly in older adults. One summary of several clinical trials asserted that these antidepressants are no better than placebos, except in the most severe patients. Additionally, some observational studies have linked these antidepressants to falls and bone loss in older adults. These studies tend to get a lot of media attention.
What’s an older adult to do with this information? First, numerous clinical trials have demonstrated that antidepressants work — that is, they reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. How well they work and in whom — these are not questions that clinical trials in mental health can usually answer.
by The Mirror
Cholesterol-busting statins may help to ward off Alzheimer’s disease if prescribed early, say experts.
Earlier work showed simvastatin improves blood flow in the brains of year-old lab mice with Alzheimer’s. A new study found it also boosts learning and memory, but only in six-month-old mice when the dementia disorder has not progressed.
The drug had no effect on an Alzheimer’s hallmark – the build up of amyloid beta protein in the brain. Simvastatin can be bought over the counter but its effect on human Alzheimer’s is still unclear, Canada’s McGill University said.
Study leader Dr Edith Hamel added in the Journal of Neuroscience: “This study shows that simvastatin can protect against some of the damaging effects of Alzheimer’s disease on nerve cells involved in memory, if administered early in the disease process.”
Posted by WBHI on Mar 28, 2012 in Think About It
by Rich Nauert PhD for Psych Central
Emerging research suggests the primary method of treatment used today — prescription drugs — for the delusions experienced by individuals with dementia may be doing more harm than good.
Dementia is characterized by an acute loss of cognitive ability and is often associated with memory loss, decreased attention span, and disorientation.
In a new study, researchers investigate the practice of prescribing psychotropic drugs to mitigate symptoms such as delusions.
According to Jiska Cohen-Mansfield, Ph.D., many of the delusions experienced by dementia patients may have a rational basis and could be more effectively treated through behavioral therapy than by medications.