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New guidelines for blood pressure could mean less pill taking New guidelines for blood pressure could mean less pill taking
Date: 2013-12-18 18:22:22

More than 10 years ago, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute published guidelines regarding blood pressure treatment targets and recommendations for drug prescriptions. After initially stating it would not be updating new guidelines, the NIH has released an updated report and it could change how hypertension is treated across the board.

The previous guideline stated that all adults should aim to have a systolic blood pressure below 140 millimeters of mercury, or mm Hg. Individuals with diabetes had an even lower target number, sitting at less than 130 mm Hg. Although the NIH still recommends those numbers for adults under the age of 60, it states that those 60 years of age and older should strive for an easier target of 150 mm Hg or lower. Despite these changes, the definition of hypertension still remains the same.

One significant difference between the NIH guidelines and the cardiovascular guidelines released by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association last month is in risk assessment. According to Eric Peterson, M.D., in an editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the NIH's hypertension guidelines for assessing patient risk will result in less treatment for the elderly, while the ACC/AHA guidelines will lead to increased treatment in those individuals.

It is important to note that although the recommendations in the new guidelines are based on evidence from extensive research, they should not be used to replace clinical judgment from a medical professional.

Treating high blood pressure... Full Story

Link found between blood cancer in women and airborne allergies Link found between blood cancer in women and airborne allergens
Date: 2013-12-17 11:47:49

A research team looking into the interaction between cancer and the immune system has discovered a link between blood cancer risk in women and a history of airborne allergies. The lack of an association with men suggested that a possible gender-specific function in chronic stimulation of the immune system might lead to the development of blood-related cancers.

Published in the American Journal of Hematology, the study showed the immune system's probable role in causing cancer and is a central point of scientific interest. Materials for the study were gathered from previous lab tests on voluntary participants.

To get their results, Mazyar Shadman, Ph.D., and his team from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center drew on a large sample of men and women who were part of the VITamins and Lifestyle study, which examined the association between cancer risk and supplement use. The participants, aged 50 to 76 years old, answered a questionnaire that centered on three major factors: diet, health history and cancer risk factors, and medication and supplement use. They also provided personal information such as age, race/ethnicity, diet, medical history and family history of lymphoma.

Finding the link... Full Story

New drug approach could lead to cures for multiple diseases New drug approach could lead to cures for multiple diseases
Date: 2013-12-09 16:38:37

Following research conducted by the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, a new approach to treating misfolded proteins could lead to cures for a wide range of diseases. Lab tests carried out on mice may bring about revolutionary changes in treatment for ailments such as cystic fibrosis and cataracts.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was led by Michael Conn, Ph.D., former professor of physiology and pharmacology at OHSU. His team looked to discover a new method to fix misfolded proteins and restore them to make cells function correctly. Using male mice incapable of fathering offspring, the researchers were able to cure the mice and perfect the process through lab testing. They believe the same treatment could be used on humans.

"The opportunity here is going to be enormous because so many human diseases are caused by misfolded proteins. The ability of these drugs - called 'pharmacoperones' - to rescue misfolded proteins and return them to normalcy could someday be an underlying cure to a number of diseases," affirmed Conn.

Previously, scientists believed inactive proteins were naturally non functional. But Conn and his team of researchers showed that when the proteins were misfolded, their purpose was rerouted and caused a malfunction. The pharmacoperones are used to correct the routing problem and correctly fold proteins for functioning.

"We expect that these studies will change the way drug companies look for drugs, since current screening procedures would have missed many useful pharmacoperone drugs."

According to Conn, the next step in the process will be clinical trials on humans.

What are misfolded proteins?... Full Story

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