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Saturday 17, Apr 2010

  Steroid hormones found affecting activity of genes

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Steroid hormones found affecting activity of genesAccording to a research that has major implications for understanding how steroids work and can open novel avenues for new therapies, scientists at the University of Bristol and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), USA have found that intermittent signaling by steroid hormones may affect the way genes are expressed in rodents.

The findings were published online and appeared in the September 2009 issue of Nature Cell Biology.

Professor Stafford Lightman, head of the Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Integrative Neuroscience and Endocrinology at the University of Bristol, said the results suggest that the pattern of hormone release is critical for good health besides offering a novel concept for new drug design.

Tuesday 13, Apr 2010

  Insensitivity to steroids reduced by Intravenous Immunoglobulin

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Insensitivity to steroids reduced by Intravenous ImmunoglobulinAccording to a research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, patients suffering from severe asthma and insensitive to steroids spend lesser time at the hospital beside needing less of the asthma medications while using intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) in conjunction with steroids.

It was remarked by Erwin Gelfand, M.D., a pediatric immunology and asthma specialist and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at National Jewish Medical and Research Center that many incidences have been noticed in which asthma patients need high doses of steroids for controlling the disease.

The researchers were of the view that IVIG increases the sensitivity of lungs to steroids to result in reduced lung inflammation.

Thursday 08, Apr 2010

  Steroids result in hypertension and diabetes

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Steroids result in hypertension and diabetesResearch at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has revealed that steroids called glucocorticoids, which are important for treating diseases such as asthma and arthritis, may trigger diabetes and hypertension.

It was found by the involved team that a protein called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPAR-alpha) is important in the process. The finding explained the high incidence of diabetes and hypertension in obese individuals.

The study appears online and in the August issue of the journal Nature Medicine. Bernal-Mizrachi led the study, in collaboration with Clay F. Semenkovich, M.D., professor of medicine and of cell biology and physiology and director of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Lipid Research, and Daniel P. Kelly, M.D., professor of medicine, of molecular biology and pharmacology and of pediatrics and director of the Center for Cardiovascular research.

Tuesday 17, Nov 2009

  Rituximab is safe and effective for treating rheumatoid arthritis

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Rituximab is safe and effective for treating rheumatoid arthritisAs per the biggest study of its kind, rituximab that is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is safe and effective at the same time. The results of this study were presented for the first time at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology, EULAR 2005, in Vienna.

It was remarked by lead author, Professor Paul Emery from the University of Leeds in the UK, of the DANCER Study (Double blind placebo controlled dose ranging study) that rituximab is very much effective and better option than a placebo.

Professor Emery said that findings of this study clearly suggest that rituximab is safe and well-tolerated for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.



Saturday 31, Oct 2009

  More effective drug discovered for steroid-induced bone loss

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More effective drug discovered for steroid-induced bone lossAlendronate used to be the drug of choice in patients with steroids-induced osteoporosis. Recently, however, researchers discovered that the drug teriparatide can help increase bone density better and is better at reducing incidence of vertebral fractures in osteoporotic patients.

Steroid induced osteoporosis is common among patients taking maintenance drugs like prednisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone and cortisone. These types of steroids are called glucocorticoids. They are hormones that are also produced naturally by the body. It helps reduce inflammation among patients with autoimmune disease. Patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and asthma usually take these types of medicines.

In a study conducted, 428 patients with confirmed osteoporosis were divided into two groups. The first group was given 5 mg of prednisone a day for three consecutive months or more. The second group received 10 mg of alendronate a day with an additional placebo injection. All participants received 1,000mg of calcium everyday and 800 International Units of Vitamin D a day.

Results showed patients who received teriparatide had an 11% increase in bone mineral density while patients who received alendronate and placebo showed a 5.3% increase in their bone mineral density.

Researchers concluded that teriparatide is a more effective and safe treatment for steroid induced osteoporosis

Saturday 12, Sep 2009

  Steroids may have greater impact on diabetics

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Steroids may have greater impact on diabeticsIf you are a diabetic and there is a need for you to undergo steroid therapy, your doctor should advise you on adjusting your diabetes therapy.

Steroids, particularly glucocorticoids can affect the glucose level in a person’s bloodstream. Glucocorticoids include hydrocortisone, prednisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone and betamethasone.

Since insulin is the only hormone that could overcome this effect, increase in insulin doses may be needed. The diabetic may also need to plan his meals or control his food intake since steroid can increase hunger.

Steroids can also make a non-diabetic increase their blood sugar levels. Steroids can make the liver produce sugar from substances such as proteins and fats. Steroids can also inhibit insulin release from the pancreas and its action in our body tissues.

The type of steroids and the form of administration can have various effects on sugar levels. Generally, inhaled and topical steroids have less effect on blood sugar levels compared to other types and routes of delivery.

Dosages also affect sugar levels. If steroids are given in low doses, it may have no effect on sugar levels, while moderate to higher doses can increase sugar levels significantly.

Fortunately, this effect is reversible. Once steroid therapy is stopped, blood sugar levels usually returns to normal.

Monday 13, Jul 2009

  Glucocorticoids Prevent Joint Damage From Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Glucocorticoids Prevent Joint Damage From Rheumatoid ArthritisRheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys healthy joint tissue. The hands and feet are frequently affected, and as the disease progresses it can cause pain, swelling, deformity and disability.

A review revealed that this disease can be treated with low doses of steroids which inhibit joint damage when used during the early phase of RA. The steroids studied in the review are known as glucocorticoids and include the well-known anti-inflammatory prednisone. This medication is often prescribed in the first few months after diagnosis to relieve the discomfort of RA until slower-acting drugs begin protecting the joints.

The most immediate concern of low dose of steroids in RA is the reduced bone mineral density. However, recent clinical trials have proven that this side effect can now be readily treated.

Friday 10, Jul 2009

  Intravenous Immunoglobulin Reduces Steroid Insensitivity

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Intravenous Immunoglobulin Reduces Steroid InsensitivityPeople with severe asthma who are insensitive to steroids need less of the medication, fewer bursts of it in emergencies and spend less time in the hospital when using intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) in conjunction with steroids.

IVIG is an antibody that is removed from the plasma portion of blood and is concentrated for use as a medication. IVIG regulates the immune system and has been shown to reduce inflammation in the lungs.

IVIG treatments cost several thousand dollars each month for people with severe asthma, but many health insurance companies cover the cost because, hence, IVIG can help lower emergency room and hospital use by patients with severe asthma.

Wednesday 24, Jun 2009


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MALE MOUSE CAN TRACK SIGNALS WITH STEROIDSAccording to researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, a female mouse has a steroid known as glucocorticoids (GCCs) in urine. These compounds are meant to activate nerve cells in nose of the male mouse with extraordinary effectiveness.

These steroids are believed to affect energy metabolism, stress and immune function, as remarked by senior author Timothy E. Holy, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy. By just sniffing physiology and theoretically, a mouse can get detailed insider’s view of the health of the animal they came from. Studies also showed that female mice or their odors caused male mice to sing.

We all aware of the fact that urine, sweat, and other bodily fluids contain chemical communication signals called pheromones that can trigger this kind of a behavior. A male mouse can identify the different aspects of female mouse’s health by individual pheromones. These signals might be helpful in gaining the information for social purposes, such as establishing territory, or dominance, or in courtship and mating. A male mouse has an ability to distinguish these pheromones with the help of an extensive olfactory system.

A male mouse has an ability to recognize 75% of female mouse pheromones as shown by the studies.

Thursday 18, Jun 2009

  Steroid Medications Ineffective In Treating Bronchiolitis

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Steroid Medications Ineffective In Treating BronchiolitisBronchiolitis infections begin most frequently with a fever, runny nose, coughing, and wheezing. Most children recover from the illness in eight to 15 days. The majority of children hospitalized for bronchiolitis infections are under 6 months old. This viral infection on infants is the leading cause of hospitalization for infants in the United States and accounts for more than 100,000 admissions each year.

This disease is usually treated with steroid medication called dexamethasone. This is a glucocorticoid form of steroid medication. But in the study made by the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN), steroid medications and the standard placebo treatment produce similar results.

The group concluded that glucocorticoids such as dexamethasone aren’t effective in treating bronchiolitis among infants. Although, experts still believe that steroid medications remain the best options in treating other respiratory illnesses such as asthma and croup.

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