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Archive for  August 2009

Tuesday 25, Aug 2009

Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery effective in improving quality of life

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Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery effective in improving quality of lifeAccording to a study conducted at the Saint Louis University, tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy can prove to be effective in offering dramatic relief for treating sleep problems for 80-90 percent children who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

This study was aimed at potential factors such as ethnicity and age that could affect OSA diagnosis and surgery impact besides being the largest to date study looking at how children with different OSA severities fare before and after surgery with the use of both preoperative and postoperative sleep studies.

From News-Medical.Net:

Children who suffer from OSA stop breathing periodically throughout the night and snore very loudly. In normal weight children, the condition is caused by enlargement of the tonsils and adenoids that aggravate upper airway collapse during sleep, which disrupts normal breathing.

“Obstructive sleep apnea has a considerable impact on children’s quality of life, similar to chronic asthma or rheumatoid arthritis” says Ron Mitchell, M.D., professor of pediatric otolaryngology at Saint Louis University and the study’s author. “Our study has shown that surgery can have a profound positive effect on children’s lives.”

OSA affects boys and girls equally. Approximately 2 to 4 percent of children ages 4 to 6 years old have OSA, although Mitchell suspects the number is probably actually higher because parents don’t recognize or tell doctors about the problem.

All 79 children in the study showed significant improvement after the surgery, although some children had persistent OSA. The study found that the success of the surgery was directly related the preoperative severity of OSA.

The study defined resolution of OSA as experiencing less than five incidents of interrupted breathing throughout the course of a night. OSA was resolved in all children with mild preoperative OSA (five to nine incidents per night). For children with moderate preoperative OSA (10-19 incidents per night), 88 percent experienced resolution, while 64 percent of children with severe preoperative OSA (20 incidents or more) experienced resolution.

“The results of the surgery were dramatic, even for children who had persistent OSA,” Mitchell says. “To go from having 40 or more incidents of interrupted breathing in a night to having only five or six – that is a pretty remarkable improvement in their sleep that leads to a dramatic improvement in quality of life.”

In today’s times, the available options for OSA treatment include nasal steroids, additional surgery, allergy treatment, and CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask.

Tuesday 25, Aug 2009

Call for caution in prescribing inhaled corticosteroids to COPD patients

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Call for caution in prescribing inhaled corticosteroids to COPD patients  According to lung disease experts at Johns Hopkins, there is a great need for caution by physicians in prescribing inhaled corticosteroids for patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). This finding was revealed after it was found out that anti-inflammatory medications increase the risk of pneumonia by a full third.

It is presently estimated that more than 11 million Americans, most of them former or current smokers, are suffering from COPD that is characterized by the fatal and lung-diminishing conditions of emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

From News-Medical.Net:

Senior study investigator and critical care specialist Eddy Fan, M.D., says the results of the analysis should not alarm patients or cause them to stop taking their medications but should spur physicians to screen and monitor their patients to find the lowest possible steroid dose that works, especially in the elderly, people with immune system problems, and people who have had multiple bouts of pneumonia and for whom repeat bacterial infection might be a life-threatening complication.

Inhaled corticosteroids are not of equal benefit to all, and what we are seeing is that the treatment may be more harmful and pose a greater risk of harm to some,” says Fan, an instructor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“Physicians really need to strongly evaluate a patient’s individual characteristics before prescribing these steroid medications, and patients, in turn, should weigh the risks and benefits of taking the drugs, despite their proven record in providing symptomatic relief,” he says.

According to pulmonologist M. Brad Drummond, M.D., M.H.S., who led the study, “catching this bacterial infection can seriously disrupt quality of life, making it harder for COPD patients to breathe and possibly leading to hospitalization.”

Fan says that COPD is expected to become the third leading cause of death in the United States by 2020, behind heart ailments and cancer and ahead of stroke.

During the study, it was advised that physicians need to exercise a higher sense of caution than what is observed by them nowadays so that inhaled corticosteroids do not pose any danger to health of their patients. For this, patients and their families need to be made aware of the pros and cons of inhaled corticosteroid trearment.

Tuesday 25, Aug 2009

Aggression triggered by anabolic steroids

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Aggression triggered by anabolic steroids  Anabolic steroids not only turn teenagers more aggressive but also keep them stay aggressive into young childhood, as per new findings published in an issue of Behavioral Neuroscience. The traits of aggressiveness may wear off ultimately but the lasting repercussions can be experienced by the developing brain by then.

It was also found out that nearly half a million students, studying in 8th and 10th grades, abuse anabolic-androgenic steroid every year as per estimates from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Richard Melloni Jr., PhD, of Northeastern University in Boston, remarked that these study findings might be able to provide a new dimensional approach for doctors when it comes to finding effective ways to stand against the much-talked and debated relationship between steroid abuse and aggressiveness.

From News-Medical.Net:

Autopsy revealed that the outward aggressiveness correlated with inner changes in the brain. When the drugged hamsters were hostile hosts, a part of their brains called the anterior hypothalamus pumped out more of a neurotransmitter called vasopressin. By three weeks of withdrawal, vasopressin levels subsided in parallel with the aggressive behavior. The anterior hypothalamus regulates aggression and social behavior. Thus, vasopressin - already known to stimulate that area – appears to fuel the engine of aggression. And, says Melloni, “Steroids step on the gas for agression.”

Thus, the neuroscientists conclude that the aggressiveness triggered by anabolic steroids, although reversible, may last long enough to create serious behavioral problems for adults. Because this part of the rodent and human nervous systems are similar, researchers generalize their findings to humans. As a result, Melloni and his colleagues speculate that anabolic steroids can dramatically shorten teenage fuses (not known for length under the best of circumstances) and make young people “pop off” for years, a danger to themselves and to others. Melloni and others researchers also are concerned that drug use during a critical window in brain development can change their wiring for good. He says, “Because the developing brain is more adaptable and pliable, steroids could change the trajectory if administered during development.” His lab is releasing other new findings, as yet unpublished, that the serotonin system – implicated in depression – may never recover.

“If you hit the right areas of the brain at the right time, you make permanent changes,” Melloni concludes from the converging evidence.

Melloni and other researchers indicate that these insights may prove to be efficacious for treatments that are concerned with an aggressive behavior, with or without steroid abuse.

Tuesday 25, Aug 2009

Approval obtained for Temodar capsules for treating glioblastoma multiforme

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Approval obtained for Temodar capsules for treating glioblastoma multiformeAccording to a report by Schering-Plough, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given an approval for Temodar (temozolomide) capsules for treating adult patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in a combination with radiotherapy.

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a form of malignant brain cancer and can now be treated effectively with Temodar in combination with radiotherapy. It was also reported that the capsules have also been approved by the FDA for adult patients with refractory anaplastic astrocytoma (AA), another type of brain tumor.

From News-Medical.Net:

The approval of Temodar for newly diagnosed GBM was based on efficacy and safety data from a landmark Phase III study conducted by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)(1) in patients with newly diagnosed GBM. These data were published in the March 10, 2005 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.(2) In this multicenter trial of 573 patients, significant improvements in overall survival were observed in patients who were treated with Temodar in combination with radiotherapy. Myelosuppression was the dose-limiting adverse event. The most common adverse events across the cumulative Temodar experience were alopecia, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, headache, and constipation. Forty-nine percent of patients treated with Temodar reported one or more severe or life-threatening events, most commonly fatigue (13%), convulsions (6%), headache (5%) and thrombocytopenia (5%). There may be a higher occurrence of opportunistic infections such as pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) when Temodar is administered during a longer dosing regimen. However, all patients receiving Temodar, particularly patients receiving steroids, should be observed closely for the development of PCP regardless of the regimen.

Under the full approval, Temodar is now indicated for use in adult patients with newly diagnosed GBM concomitantly with radiotherapy and then as maintenance treatment after the patient has completed radiotherapy. In patients with refractory AA, Temodar is indicated for use in adult patients who have experienced disease progression on a drug regimen containing nitrosurea and procarbazine.

Robert J. Spiegel, M.D., chief medical officer and Senior Vice President Of Medical Affairs, Schering-Plough Research Institute, remarked that this approval signifies a significant advancement in brain cancer treatment, which is a disease for which very few effective treatments exist.

Monday 24, Aug 2009

Anabolic steroid flip brain switch to trigger aggression

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Anabolic steroid flip brain switch to trigger aggressionAccording to new findings published in an issue of Behavioral Neuroscience, anabolic steroids not only turn teens more aggressive but also keep them aggressive into young adulthood. These aggressiveness traits may wear off ultimately but lasting repercussions may have been witnessed by the developing brain by then.

In addition to that, neuroscientists showed their concerns over the fact that nearly half a million students (8th and 10th grades) abuse anabolic-androgenic steroid every year as per estimates from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

It was believed that steroid abuse by teen not only raises the level of aggressiveness but also gives birth to side effects such as high blood pressure, depression, stroke, and mood swings to name a few.

Richard Melloni Jr., PhD, of Northeastern University in Boston, said that these findings may offer a new paradigm to medical professionals when it comes to the much-debated relationship between steroid abuse and aggressiveness.

From News-Medical.Net:

Autopsy revealed that the outward aggressiveness correlated with inner changes in the brain. When the drugged hamsters were hostile hosts, a part of their brains called the anterior hypothalamus pumped out more of a neurotransmitter called vasopressin. By three weeks of withdrawal, vasopressin levels subsided in parallel with the aggressive behavior. The anterior hypothalamus regulates aggression and social behavior. Thus, vasopressin – already known to stimulate that area – appears to fuel the engine of aggression. And, says Melloni, “Steroids step on the gas for agression.”

Thus, the neuroscientists conclude that the aggressiveness triggered by anabolic steroids, although reversible, may last long enough to create serious behavioral problems for adults. Because this part of the rodent and human nervous systems are similar, researchers generalize their findings to humans. As a result, Melloni and his colleagues speculate that anabolic steroids can dramatically shorten teenage fuses (not known for length under the best of circumstances) and make young people “pop off” for years, a danger to themselves and to others. Melloni and others researchers also are concerned that drug use during a critical window in brain development can change their wiring for good. He says, “Because the developing brain is more adaptable and pliable, steroids could change the trajectory if administered during development.” His lab is releasing other new findings, as yet unpublished, that the serotonin system – implicated in depression – may never recover.

“If you hit the right areas of the brain at the right time, you make permanent changes,” Melloni concludes from the converging evidence.

Melloni and many other researchers are of the view that these new insights can prove effective for treatments concerned with aggressive behavior, with or without steroid abuse.

Monday 24, Aug 2009

Man caught with steroids strapped to his body

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Man caught with steroids strapped to his bodyAfter a flight from Bangkok, a man was detected to have carried steroids by strapping it to his legs. Custom officials ran a frisk search on the 35-year old man and found a total of 655 vials and 575 tablets strapped to his legs. There were additional vials, tablets seized totaling to almost 1,200, Customs, and Border Protection said in a statement.

Based on a questioning conducted by Melbourne Airport authority, the steroids were obtained in Thailand. Thailand, together with Mexico, is one of the few countries where these substances are available over the counter with or without a valid prescription.

During baggage examination, a device resembling a mobile phone was also confiscated. It was discovered to be an electric shock device.

In Australia, anabolic steroids must be obtained with a valid prescription, usually from a general practitioner. Without a prescription, a criminal offense is committed. Fines for importing performance enhancing drugs can reach $110,000 Australian dollars. Maximum imprisonment could last as long as five years. Whether steroids were obtained from other countries, bought online or from dealers, possession without a valid prescription is illegal.

Ignorance of the law excuses no one, not even Sly who was caught before with 48 vials of HGH as he visited the country.

From the Heraldsun:

A MAN allegedly detected with more than 1200 vials and tablets of steroids strapped to his legs has been intercepted by customs officials.

Monday 24, Aug 2009

More states conducting steroid testing in high schools

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More states conducting steroid testing in high schoolsFollowing the state of Illinois’ steroid testing program, New Jersey and Texas also conducted steroids testing among high school athletes. The biggest program so far is that of Texas, with the Texas government spending almost $6 million on the program.

Texas spokesperson Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said that test results clearly showed that the program is effective in preventing steroids abuse among high school athletes, due to a few numbers who tested positive. Dewhurst was the one who pushed the plan through the Legislature in 2007.

The initial round of testing was conducted from September to December of last year. Out of the 10,000-screened athletes, only four were found to test positive.

The second round of testing involved 19,000 athletes this year. It resulted to about the same outcome as last year, with only seven athletes testing positive.

Although the program showed as a deterrent in steroid use among high schools, several state officials think that the program is just a waste of money. Texas state Senator Dan Patrick referred to the program as a “colossal waste of money”. State lawmakers came to an agreement to slash the budget from $6 million down to $2 million within the next two years.

From The Eagle:

AUSTIN — The second round of steroid testing for Texas high school athletes found only seven positive results in nearly 19,000 tests, about the same outcome as the program’s debut last year.

The latest results, released by the University Interscholastic League on Friday, came from random tests on male and female athletes from September through December.

The initial round of testing in the nation’s largest high school screening program found only four cases of steroid use in 10,000 athletes. With such tiny numbers, some state lawmakers have questioned the value of the $6 million program. Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, has suggested it may need to be scaled down.

Monday 24, Aug 2009

Costa Mesa doctor admits to steroids sales

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Costa Mesa doctor admits to steroids salesDr. Ramon Scruggs, a former Costa Mesa doctor linked to the Mitchell report pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement. From 2000 to 2003, Scruggs illegally bought steroids and human growth hormone in China. Scruggs reportedly prescribed several Major League Baseball players with steroids and HGH.

He pleaded to two federal criminal charges. One for money laundering, and another for illegal distribution of steroids and human growth hormone. Evidence pointed out to the doctor transferring money worth $3,605 from his bank to a China account.

He faces a 25-year imprisonment and is set to pay $500,000 for fines related to illegal drug distribution.

Scruggs was in charge of the New Hope Health Center in Costa Mesa. He used the institution to distribute performance-enhancing drugs illegally. He usually did not require a personal consultation from his clients for them to obtain a prescription.

His license was revoked last 2007 for reportedly prescribing Nandrolone, an anabolic steroid, to former Angels’ 2002 World Series MVP Troy Glaus and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Scott Schoeneweis. He was also put on five-year probation by the medical board.

Scruggs is scheduled to be sentenced in a US District Court in San Jose, California on September 14.

According to NBC Sports:

NEW YORK – A doctor accused of supplying professional baseball players with illegal performance-enhancing drugs pleaded guilty to two federal criminal charges Monday, according to a newspaper report.

Sunday 23, Aug 2009

Use of Steroids among teen girls

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Use of Steroids among teen girlsAccording to results of a national survey published in the June issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, the use of steroids among teen girls is just not limited to those actively involved in competitive athletics. It was also revealed that the usage of steroids is often associated with cluster of other health-harming behaviors, including diet pills and smoking.

Diane L. Elliot, M.D., of the Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, and colleagues made assessments for use of anabolic steroid among teen girls and raised questions about use of ecstasy, steroids, and other behaviors.

From News-Medical.Net:

“Adolescent girls reporting anabolic steroid use had significantly more other health-harming behaviors,” they continue. “They were much more likely to use other unhealthy substances, including past 30-day use of cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana and cocaine.” Young female steroid users were also more likely to:

  • have had sexual intercourse before age 13
  • have been pregnant
  • drink and drive or have ridden with a drinking driver
  • carry a weapon
  • have been in a fight on school property in the past year
  • have feelings of sadness or hopelessness almost every
  • day for at least two weeks
  • have attempted suicide

More than two-thirds of the teen girls surveyed reported trying to change their weight. However, those who used steroids were more likely to turn to extreme weight-loss techniques, including vomiting and laxative use. “Anabolic steroids are body-shaping agents and cause a loss in body fat and an increase in lean tissue; therefore, their association with unhealthy weight loss practices was not surprising,” the authors write.

It was also found that high-risk adolescent girls received less attention than adolescent boys, which somehow suggest that their actions were found to be less socially and more personally destructive.

Sunday 23, Aug 2009

Steroids may cause muscle weakness

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Steroids may cause muscle weaknessAccording to Dr. Warwick and colleagues of the Department of Endocrinology at St. Vincent’s hospital in Melbourne, Australia, muscle weakness may result from the direct effects of steroids on circulating androgen levels, androgen receptors and the insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).

In a study conducted by the Australian endocrinologists, half of the participants had type 2 diabetes and half had normal fasting glucose. A daily dosage of 4mg Dexamethasone was administered for four days. Results showed that there was a reduction in the skeletal muscle-androgen receptor levels as well as in plasma testosterone. The reduction resulted to more than 30%.

If these androgen receptors are reduced in number, lesser receptors will be able to bind with testosterone. Testosterone is one hormone that promotes enlargement of skeletal muscle cells and also acts to enhance muscle function by acting on several types of skeletal muscle tissue.

Other results showed an increase in insulin-like growth factor 1 after Dexamethasone treatment. Treatment may sometimes lead to a condition called steroid diabetes. It is a term referring to prolonged hyperglycemia due to glucocorticoid therapy. There was no difference observed between the non-diabetes group and the diabetes group, except for the plasma glucose. Furthermore, dexamethasone exhibited the same effect on the androgen receptors of both men and women.

From the Endocrinology update:

Muscle weakness associated with glucocorticoid therapy may result from the direct effects of steroids on circulating androgen levels, androgen receptors in muscle, and IGF-1, Australian endocrinologists report.

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