Eli Lilly and Co. has won federal approval to sell an injectable version of its top-selling anti-psychotic Zyprexa, giving doctors a new option to quickly calm agitated patients. March 31, 2004. AP
A 6-year-old Houston girl at Texas Children's Hospital on March 26th became the first patient in the world to receive a DeBakey child heart pump. AP
New Cholesterol Drug
Currently, the only HDL raiser in the market is the vitamin niacin, but its effects are modest and side effects such as itching and hot flashes bother many patients. Potentially offering an entirely new way to prevent heart attacks, researchers at University of Pennsylvania and Tufts University found that a drug doubled HDL in people with worrisomely low levels of the heart-healthy substance. The drug, called torcetrapib, also reduced LDL, the bad cholesterol. A study, paid for in part by Pfizer Inc., torcetrapib's maker, was published in April 8, 2004 New England Journal of Medicine.
Heart failure, where the heart muscle weakens until it cannot pump blood, is a major cause of ventricular arrhythmias. Heart failure afflicts about 4.6 million Americans. Half of patients suffer ventricular arrhythmias, racing irregular beats of the heart's lower chambers. If it worsens, the heart quits beating and instead quivers, a condition called ventricular fibrillation that can kill within minutes. It claims about 340,000 U.S. lives annually. Some patients inherit a form of exercise-induced ventricular arrhythmia. Patients have a leak in a tiny channel that regulates calcium levels inside their heart cells and triggers the deadly irregular heartbeat. An experimental drug, code-named JTV519, can literally plug the leak and prevent the irregular heartbeat, according to a report by scientists from Columbia's Center for Molecular Cardiology in April 8 issue of the journal Science.
Cyberkinetics Inc. of Foxboro, MA, has received Food and Drug Administration approval to begin a clinical trial in which four-square-millimeter chips will be placed beneath the skulls of paralyzed patients. If successful, the chips could allow patients to command a computer to act by thinking about the instructions they wish to send.
Lung cancer is one of the most common and lethal types of cancer, killing 85 percent of its sufferers. Only one other drug, cisplatin, has been shown to improve survival in early stages, and it adds only months. A Japanese study, reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, has found that a drug combination called uracil-tegafur or UFT, rejected as a cancer treatment in the United States, can add years to the lives of people with early lung cancer. In addition, the combination is a pill rather than intravenous, and it has few side effects. It works only against adenomas, also called non-small-cell cancers, and only among patients with small tumors that have not spread out of the lung. Uracil-tegafur was not tested for lung cancer in the United States. Bristol Myers Squibb and Taiho Pharmaceutical did test it against colon cancer, but the Food and Drug Administration rejected their application for approval. It is used in Asia, Europe and Latin America, reports AP.
Gasoline from Manure
An agricultural engineer at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign has reported success in turning hog manure into oil. Waste slurry is subjected to heat and pressure in a process called thermochemical conversion. Long hydrocarbon chains break down into shorter ones, and along with some methane, carbon dioxide and water, oil is produced. This process would also work with chicken or cow manure, though it would have to be modified. Human waste would work with little or no modification as humans are physiologically close to pigs, reports New York Times.
Tomatoes are known to contain the health-boosting antioxidant lycopene, a carotenoid that has attracted significant attention in recent years as it has been linked in some research to reduced risk for cancers, especially prostate cancer. New findings also suggest that it could have a protective effect on heart disease, the cause of more deaths among women than any other disease.
The lycopene market is expanding significantly, with growth rates forecast at over 100 per cent in a recent report on the carotenoids market from Frost & Sullivan. The report values the ingredient at $34 million in 2003, and with growing demand, new sources of the nutrient will attempt to lift this figure further, reports nutraingredients.com.
(Om! Lead the world from wrong path to the right path, from ignorance to knowledge, from mortality to immortality and peace!)
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