Archives for the month of: July, 2012

According to The New England Journal of Medicine, an oral immunotherapy is an effective way to treat egg allergies in children. The experiment was conducted by increasing the dosage of egg white powder at 10 months and at 22 months. In result, after 10 months of therapy, those under oral immunotherapy had passed the food challenge and were considered to have been desensitized; after 22 months, 75% of the children treated with oral immunotherapy had passed the food challenge. A food challenge was to test the children’s unresponsiveness to egg-white powder and a cooked egg.

“At 30 months and 36 months, all children who had passed the oral food challenge at 24 months were consuming egg.” – NEJM

Fox News – Introducing the readers with a picture of white, fresh looking eggs, the article is informative and full of factual information you can also read for yourself in the NEJM. They also note that this is an on-going experiment and caution the readers not to try this in a non-clinical setting. There are credible resources cited throughout the article such as the following: researcher from University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Mayo Clinic, and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Journal of American Academy of Physician Assistants – A print via HealthDay News; a document similarly written to the actual study from NEJM.

ABC News – A picture of a child peeling the hard shell of a boiled egg is shown. The article aligns similarly to the NEJM and cites credible sources such as the researcher from UNC-Chapel Hill. An allergist at Winthrop University Hospital in New York states that if this experiment proves to be safe, it will be the “Holy Grail for food allergic patients.”

CNN blog – Along with the previous news media, CNN also reports similarly as NEJM study. CNN provides additional information of the importance of the development of oral immunotherapy. Egg products can be found in numerous food items which can be solved if oral immunotherapy can treat certain allergies. Closing the article, CNN presents a personal story of a 6 year old girl who is allergic to peanuts and nuts.

USA TodayWeb MD, International Business Times – All very similar report. They all derived their report from the actual study from NEJM. It informs the readers and also notes the results of the experiment conducted. They all warn the readers not to try this “experiment” in a non-clinical setting. This is an on-going experiment which should be monitored and supervised by medical researchers.

Many may worry that their privacy will be invaded by this new laser scanners. And rightfully so. The laser-based molecular scanner can trace the agents which it can “…get any information they want without even touching you. And without you knowing it.” And as Gizmodo reports, “…it’s extremely portable, will this technology extend beyone the airport or border crossings…?” Will it cause an over-exposure to electromagnetic radiation from the new laser scanner and create possible health problem? There is apparently a similar scanner in Russia which has been created over the course of five years by the Academy of Sciences. RT News based in Russia states that “It [laser] is totally safe to use, emitting less radiation than a cellphone” (read more here – http://www.rt.com/news/russia-laser-bomb-detector-947/).

Politicians Are Poody Heads

To an airport or border crossing near you.  Link.

 

“Within the next year or two, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will instantly know everything about your body, clothes, and luggage with a new laser-based molecular scanner fired from 164 feet (50 meters) away. From traces of drugs or gun powder on your clothes to what you had for breakfast to the adrenaline level in your body—agents will be able to get any information they want without even touching you. And without you knowing it.”

 

There.  Don’t you feel much safer now?

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On June 27, 2012, the Food and Drug Administration submitted a press release for the approval of Belviq (lorcaserin hydrochloride); a drug administered for those with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater, or a BMI of 27 or greater with a weight related problem such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.

The FDA approved drug is to help manage weight problems and is to be used as a supplement in addition to a healthier diet and exercise.

“The approval of this drug, used responsibly in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, provides a treatment option for Americans who are obese or are overweight and have at least one weight-related comorbid condition.” – Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research

According to the FDA, there have been three separate experiments conducted in order to research the safety and the efficacy of Belviq. For those who have been treated with Belviq for up to one year have experienced an average weight loss of 3 to 3.7 percent. This drug is not recommended during pregnancy and lists several side effects along with the usage of Belviq.

How Belviq works is by manipulating the serotonin receptors in the brain; specifically activating the serotonin 2C receptor (5-HT2CR). FDA states that the reason why Belviq is constructed to activate this specific receptor is that it “may help a person eat less and feel full after eating smaller amounts of food.” The neurotransmitter serotonin is well known for its key role in maintaining “energy homeostasis” (Marston & Heisler, 2009). In previous research, manipulating the activation or K/O (knock out) of the serotonin receptors in rats, specifically the 5-HT2CR, demonstrated that weight was indeed affected. By inactivating the gene for 5-HT2CR, it “produces hyperphagia and obesity in the mouse (Tecott et al, 1995)” Also by K/O of 5-HT2CR created a blunted response of fenfluramine production which is important in the production of serotonin neurotransmitters (5-HT).

  • On a side-note, neurotransmitters (serotonin) can be analogous as a “key” to one specific lock on a door.
  • A receptor (serotonin receptor) is similar to a “lock” on a door.
  • The door, which separates things from the inside to the outside has to be opened with the right key, unlocking the lock, allowing “things” to be produced and released in/out.
  • Serotonin receptors modulate and influence various biological responses such as anxiety, appetite, mood, sleep, and others. Serotonin receptors are a target of releasing different neurotransmitter which can either excite or inhibit neurotransmission (brain signals).

“Together, these data indicate that the 5-HT2CR is an attractive and tractable potential drug target for the treatment of obesity and/or type 2 diabetes” (Marston & Heisler, 2009).

In result, activating the receptor which allows for the release of serotonin, allows for the brain to be manipulated into “thinking” that a person is full faster. However, it is always tricky to manipulate one specific receptor because there could be unknown side-effects if accidentally interfering with other serotonin receptors. But that is why there are researchers and scientists who investigate those roles.

Yahoo News – Yahoo provides an informative Q & A of the new drug. It lists the reasoning behind why the FDA approved a new anti-obesity drug and how it works. It also provides the readers the biological explanation of how the drug works in response to the activation of serotonin receptor in the brain.

CBS News – There is a video introducing the news report of a woman named Lisa Sutter who participated in a clinical trial of Belviq. The video claims that she has lost approximately 40 pounds which is almost 20% of her body fat in one year. However, she has regained all the lost weight once the clinical trial was over and stopped taking Belviq. In a text report, CBS also provided the fact that FDA had  initially rejected Belviq in 2010. More interestingly, the comments on CBS news are overwhelmingly against the FDA and of its approval for Belviq. Several of the comments are ridiculing the FDA but also providing helpful weight managing tips to other readers by suggesting that they reduce their caloric-intakes and exercising.

Washington Post – Providing a similar video segment from CBS News. Statement such as “…tumors in animal study” could be scary to the viewers.

International Business Times – Below is a video introducing the new anti-obesity approved drug from IBTimes.

References – Marston, O. J., & Heisler, L. K. (2009). Targeting the serotonin 2c receptor for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Neuropsychopharmacology,34, 252-253. doi: 10.103

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