Health Alerts

If you don’t mind, I am going to keep a running tabulation on all the drugs that harm, while passing the info on to you all.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/03/health/meningitis-cases-are-linked-to-steroid-injections.html?_r=0

Meningitis Cases Are Linked to Steroid Injections in Spine
By DENISE GRADY
Published: October 2, 2012

===============

http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=steroids+giving+meningitis&ei=UTF-8&fr=moz35

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  1. Timbuk3’s avatar

    I pinned it to the sidebar to make it easier to find.

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  2. Uniformityville_horror’s avatar

    Thank you, Tim.
    To all:
    If I give a link to medscape, use mynewsspot ID with a password of mynews. Now you will have to log out on this ID when you are done so that others can use it. AND please do not alter it in any manner. Altering it does not harm me, but it does make others unable to log in, will not allow others to use it. Just know that I can always create another userID.

    I will next put news on about RX drugs and what they are finding about them. If there is a real alert, like the one above, I will say alert in front of it (I hope I remember).

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    Expired Medications May Maintain Potency for Decades Decades later, some medications retain active ingredients at full potency, a study finds.
    Medscape Medical News, October 2012
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/772269
    I still think you should respect the out-date on penicillin and any penicillin-like antibiotics. But there should be no left-overs on those drugs. It is essential that they are taken as directed for as long as directed to prevent antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

    Remember to sign out so others can use it.
    ==================

    Free Contraception Slashes Abortion Rates When adolescent and adult women were offered no-cost contraception for 3 years, abortion rates fell to between 62% and 78% below national levels, and teen birth rates also declined greatly.
    Medscape Medical News, October 2012
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/772210
    =====================

    Beta Blockers of No Use in Stable CAD Patients New trials of beta blockers need to be conducted in the era of contemporary PCI and medical therapy to better define the types of CAD patients who will benefit from this drug class, say researchers.
    Heartwire, October 2012
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/771995
    ===========================

    Pot should be legal for anyone and everyone, for whatever reason the individual deems appropriate.

    Just a sideline:
    Former DEA Heads Urge Holder to Speak out Against Marijuana Nine former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration urged Attorney General Eric Holder to take a stand against legalization of recreational marijuana in 3 western states.
    Reuters Health Information, September 2012
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/771831
    ===================

    New Form of Autism May Be Treatable With Supplement A homozygous mutation that shuts off the gene involved in metabolism of branched-chain amino acids has been identified in children who have autism and epilepsy or EEG abnormalities.
    Medscape Medical News, October 2012
    http://www.medscape.com/index/list_6346_6
    ===============================

    Low Vitamin D Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease Results of new meta-analyses provide sufficient evidence to warrant investigating a cause and effect relationship between vitamin D and cognition, researchers say.
    Medscape Medical News, September 2012
    http://www.medscape.com/index/list_6346_7
    ========================

    From Reuters Health Information
    New Book Says ‘Good Luck’ to Patients Looking for Good Care
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/771710

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/27/us-usa-healthcare-transparency-idUSBRE88Q0L520120927
    FEATURE-Looking for a good doctor? Good luck
    Thu, Sep 27 2012
    * Hopkins surgeon aims to break silence on bad medicine
    * Patient outcome data exists, but providers keep it hidden
    * Popular ratings and reviews don’t give full picture
    By Sharon Begley

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  4. Uniformityville_horror’s avatar

    Widely used sleeping pill ‘increases dementia’ risk
    http://www.nhs.uk/news/2012/09September/Pages/Widely-used-sleeping-pill-increases-dementia-risk.aspx

    Sleeping pills taken by millions are linked to dementia, according to The Daily Telegraph. Given that an estimated 10 million to 11 million prescriptions for benzodiazepines are reported to be issued each year in the UK, could we be at risk of “sleepwalking” into a public health disaster?

    The reports stem from the results of a French study that followed just over a thousand elderly adults (average age of 78) for 15 years. The participants were initially free from dementia but those who started taking benzodiazepines after the first three years of the study were 60% more likely to develop dementia than those who did not use the drugs.

    The main difficulty in this study is in establishing the exact cause of dementia and what role benzodiazepines play. Benzodiazepines are a commonly used group of sedatives prescribed for sleeping problems and anxiety.
    =========================

    From Geriatrics & Aging: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/579841

    The Older Brain on Drugs: Substances That May Cause Cognitive Impairment

    Jenny Rogers, MD; Bonnie S. Wiese, MD; Kiran Rabheru, MD, CCFP, FRCP

    Authors and Disclosures

    Posted: 10/10/2008; Geriatrics and Aging. 2008;11(5):284-289. © 2008 1453987 Ontario, Ltd.

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    New Anticancer Drugs Associated With Increased Toxicity

    Roxanne Nelson
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/769831

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    You will need the user name and password from the first post. Log off when done.

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/772321?src=nldne&uac=41475AT
    From Medscape Medical News

    Safety Issues Found in 24% of Newly Approved Drugs

    Lara C. Pullen, PhD

    Authors and Disclosures

    Print This Print This
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    October 9, 2012 — Serious safety issues were found after regulatory approval in approximately one quarter of new active substances (NASs) introduced in Canada between 1995 and 2010, and priority-review drugs were more likely than standard-review drugs to acquire serious safety warnings.

    Joel Lexchin, MD, from the School of Health Policy and Management, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, published the results in a research letter online October 8 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

    ——————–

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/772329?src=nldne&uac=41475AT

    From Medscape Medical News
    Nonprescription and Prescription Drugs Cause Poisonings

    Jennifer Garcia

    Authors and Disclosures

    Print This Print This
    ShareShare

    October 9, 2012 — A new study has found that nonprescription and prescription drugs are equally responsible for drug poisonings in the United States and has identified new trends in prescription drug abuse. The study, which analyzed data from the second annual report of the Toxicology Investigators Consortium (ToxIC), was published online October 2 in the Journal of Medical Toxicology.

    Researchers led by Timothy Wiegand, MD, from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, evaluated cumulative data on 10,392 toxicology cases collected during 2011 and compared the entries with data from 2010.

    The authors found that over half (53%) of toxicology consultations in 2011 occurred in emergency departments and were primarily for cases of pharmaceutical overdose (48%), which included both intentional (37%) and unintentional (11%) exposures. Consultation rates for prescription vs nonprescription drug abuse cases were similar in 2010; however, there was an increase in the number of prescription drug abuse consultations in 2011 compared with the number of nonprescription drug consults.

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    TOP NEWS
    Fungal Meningitis: Be Vigilant for Months

    From Medscape Medical News > Neurology

    Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Larger Than Predicted

    Megan Brooks
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/772517?src=mpnews&uac=41475AT
    Authors and Disclosures

    October 11, 2012 ( UPDATED October 12, 2012 ) — The number of people exposed to potentially contaminated methylprednisolone acetate produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Massachusetts, is closer to 14,000 — not 13,000 — as originally reported on October 8, federal health officials said today.

    “These 14,000 patients received the medication as a steroid injection either into the spinal area or into a joint space such as a knee, shoulder or ankle,” said J. Todd Weber, MD, incident manager of the multistate meningitis outbreak at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 12,000 of these people have been contacted to date, he said.

    As of today, the CDC said a total of 170 cases (including the 14 deaths) have been reported across 11 states: Florida (7 cases, 2 deaths), Idaho (1 case), Indiana (21 cases, 1 death), Maryland (13 cases, 1 death), Michigan (39 cases, 3 deaths), Minnesota (3 cases), New Jersey (2 cases), North Carolina (2 cases), Ohio (3 cases), Tennessee (49 cases, 6 deaths), and Virginia (30 cases, 1 death). (snip)

    At this time, CDC is recommending that patients with confirmed fungal meningitis receive 2 antifungal drugs — voriconazole, preferably at a dose of 6 mg/kg every 12 hours (intravenous initially) and to continue receiving this high dose for the duration of treatment, if possible; and liposomal amphotericin B, preferably at a dose of 7.5 mg/kg intravenously daily (higher than standard dose).

    “These drugs are very strong and can be very difficult for patients to tolerate over a long period of time. We are working with our clinical experts to determine the best dose and the best length of time to treat patients. As additional information comes, it is possible that these recommendations will change,” Dr. Weber said.

    At this time, the CDC does not recommend initiation of antifungal prophylaxis in exposed patients who are asymptomatic. These patients should be closely monitored for development of symptoms, with a low threshold for performing lumbar puncture should the patient become symptomatic.

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    On this one, there are other reports that say that anti-pyschotics are KILLING the elderly.
    i have seen it happen well over three times.

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    I put this here because sometimes food can also be a drug. My experience this morning:

    Last night, there were two additional boys spending the night. This morning, I went to the nearby dollar store to make them some egg sandwiches (there isn’t a grocery store anywhere nearby). I started to cook the bacon when there was a huge chemical smell that emoted from the bacon. Armour bacon. I took the bacon back , half cooked.

    Just a heads up that you need to be vigilant on the hickory-smoked Armour bacon.

    Have photographed the important numbers if you need them. Not downloaded yet.

    It could have been the hickory additive, since you know that that stuff comes in a bottle. But cooking it choked up my son, and his friends smelled it too. It was very overpowering with a chemical smell. Altered the smell of the bacon.

    Roberts distributed this bacon. Now I like Roberts for their voluntary labeling of not having growth hormones in their milk and dairy.

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    http://news.yahoo.com/fda-pharmacys-other-drugs-may-causing-illness-190649992.html

    The FDA on Monday expanded its advice to doctors to contact all patients who got any injection made by the company, including steroids and drugs used in eye surgery as well as heart operations.
    The agency said it took the step “out of an abundance of caution” as it investigates the new reports involving the heart surgery drug and the second steroid, called triamcinolone acetonide.

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    The fungi has killed 20 people now. Fungi is more difficult to erradicate than a virus or bacteria because fungal cells are so similar to that of human cells or so says my microbiology professor and the textbook we used.

    Meningitis Outbreak: Should Anti-Fungal Meds Be Given to Those at Risk?

    By Rachael Rettner, MyHealthNewsDaily Staff Writer | LiveScience.com – 6 hrs ago
    http://news.yahoo.com/meningitis-outbreak-anti-fungal-meds-given-those-risk-133954597.html

    An outbreak of deadly fungal meningitis linked to steroid injections has raised the question of whether people who received the shots, but don’t have meningitis symptoms, should take anti-fungal drugs to prevent disease.

    For now, health officials are not recommending use of the drugs as a preventative treatment, but that advice could change as officials learn more about the outbreak, experts say.

    So far, 257 people have been diagnosed with meningitis after receiving contaminated steroid injections in the spine as a treatment for back pain, and of these, 20 have died. More cases are expected as the outbreak continues to unfold.

    But around 14,000 people may have been exposed to the fungus through contaminated shots. Most of these people have been contacted by health officials to notify them of their potential risk for infection, and the Food and Drug Administration has warned about being vigilant for symptoms. The hope is that the disease can be diagnosed early so treatment can begin as soon as possible, said Curtis Allen, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Patients who develop meningitis are being treated with the anti-fungal drug voriconazole.

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    This is HUGE NEWS.
    http://www.nih.gov/news/health/oct2012/niddk-19.htm

    Look AHEAD Trial Halted
    Lifestyle Management Fails to Reduce CV Events in Patients With Diabetes
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/772490
    Michael O’Riordan
    Oct 19, 2012

    LOS ANGELES, California — The Action for Health Diabetes (Look AHEAD) study, a trial comparing an intensive lifestyle-intervention program aimed at achieving and maintaining weight loss and fitness in patients with type 2 diabetes, has been stopped for futility.

    A large cardiovascular-outcomes study funded by the National Institutes of Health that included 5145 adults with diabetes and a body mass index >25 kg/m2, Look AHEAD failed to show a difference in the rate of nonfatal MI, nonfatal stroke, death, or hospitalization for angina among patients randomized to an intensive lifestyle intervention and those randomized to a control arm consisting of education alone.

    Despite significant reductions in weight and improvements in physical-fitness levels among patients with diabetes, investigators concluded that the intervention arm, which included individual sessions with a nutritionist and/or personal trainer, as well as group sessions and refresher courses, failed to provide any benefit in terms of cardiovascular outcomes.

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    Fracture Risk Increases After Antihypertensive Initiation

    Nancy A. Melville, Oct 17, 2012

    Authors & Disclosures
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/772773?src=mpnews

    MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — Antihypertensive drugs, particularly angiotensin II–converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and beta-adrenergic blockers, are associated with an increased risk for falls and hip fracture among the elderly during the initiation of drug therapy, researchers reported here at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) 2012 Annual Meeting.

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    OCTOBER 21, 2012, http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/archive/201210/new-insight-managing-fungal-meningitis-outbreak

    New insight on managing fungal meningitis outbreak
    University of Michigan Health System physician authors New England Journal of Medicine report on best options for safe, effective patient treatment
    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — As the number of fungal meningitis cases continues to rise, physicians across the country are faced with how best to provide the early treatment that can save lives.

    A University of Michigan Health System infectious disease expert is the lead author of a New England Journal of Medicine report detailing how the outbreak evolved and the complexities of providing anti-fungal treatments.

    Carol F. Kauffman, M.D., has served as an advisor to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as it investigates the more than 200 cases of fungal meningitis linked to a contaminated steroid injected in patients for pain relief. A large number of patients in the outbreak are older adults, many of whom have substantial coexisting illnesses that make care decisions challenging.

    None of the contaminated medicines were administered by the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers.

    Kauffman, a former board member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, has focused her research career on diagnosis and treatment of fungal infections, especially in immunocompromised hosts, and prevention and treatment of infections in older adults.

    “Treatment recommendations will certainly evolve as clinicians gain more experience with managing these infections,” says Kauffman, chief of infectious diseases at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Health System.

    “Given the (lack) of data pertaining to treatment and the complexity of management, decisions about the treatment of patients with proven or suspected infection should be made with the input of an infectious diseases specialist,” she says.

    Patients found to be infected are being treated with a fairly high dose of voriconazole, which can cause side effects including visual disturbances, confusion, hallucinations, nausea, and liver test abnormalities.

    “There is appropriate concern about the toxicity of voriconazole, particularly at the doses recommended to treat meningitis,” Kauffman says. “Visual hallucinations have been especially problematic in patients treated in this outbreak and appear to be related to high serum levels. Decreasing the dose of the drug will obviate this effect.”

    There are also significant drug-drug interactions. Administering voriconazole to patients who are already taking agents such as blood thinners, statins, benzodiazepines, and certain seizure medicines, to name just a few, should be done with care, Kauffman and others advise. Doctors should play close attention to decreasing the doses of other medicines and monitoring blood levels.

    The CDC reports the death toll has risen to 20 people with 254 fungal meningitis cases confirmed in 16 states, including Michigan. Infections have only been found in patients injected with methylprednisolone acetate from the New England Compounding Center, which has been recalled.

    The CDC advises patients who feel ill and are concerned they were injected with recalled products to contact their physicians. Doctors should be aware of symptoms of fungal meningitis and seek rapid diagnosis and treatment to prevent serious complications and deaths.

    Typically in this outbreak, symptoms – such as headache, fever, nausea, and neck stiffness — have appeared one to four weeks following injection. But fungal infections can be slow to develop and patients should be vigilant about onset of symptoms for up to two months.

    ###

    Reference: “Fungal Infections associated with methylprednisolone injections – Preliminary Report,” Carol A. Kauffman, M.D., Peter G. Pappas, M.D., and Thomas F. Patterson, M.D. New England Journal of Medicine. Oct, 19, 2012DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1212617.

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    Last I heard or read, 28 deaths now.

    2nd Pharmacy Recalls Thousands of Drugs

    Daniel J. DeNoon
    Nov 01, 2012
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/773745?src=nldne&uac=41475AT
    Authors & Disclosures
    Ameridose, a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy closely linked to the NECC pharmacy at the heart of the fungal meningitis outbreak, today recalled thousands of drugs sold to hospitals across the U.S.

    There have been no reports of fungal meningitis or other infections in patients who received Ameridose products. An FDA inspection of Ameridose has yet to turn up evidence of contaminated drugs.

    But the company today said the “FDA has notified Ameridose that it will be seeking improvements in Ameridose’s sterility process. Ameridose and the FDA agree that the use of injectable products that are not sterile can represent a serious hazard to health and could lead to life-threatening illness and/or death.”

    Ameridose sold more than 2,200 sterile mixed IV solutions and prefilled oral syringes. It offered products ranging from delivery-room medications to neonatal and pediatric drugs to pain pumps for cancer patients. Product lines range from antibiotics to anesthetics to tranquilizers.

    The FDA says Ameridose will post a list of all recalled medications on its web site. Customers with Ameridose products should contact Ameridose at 888-820-0622 for instructions on how to return products to Ameridose.

    The FDA says it recommended the recall “out of an abundance of caution” after its ongoing inspection “raised concerns about a lack of sterility assurance” for Ameridose products.

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    Op-Ed: Canada & Europe ban Novartis flu vaccines

    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/335645#ixzz2BYCpj5Zr
    (Snipits)
    ” +
    Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland are joined by Canada in temporary ban. The pharmaceutical giant Novartis has repeatedly stated that flu vaccines are allegedly “safe.” It appears there are some countries who aren’t convinced.
    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/335645#ixzz2BYDGa8Ni

    “Novartis isn’t alone in trying to pass off something that is supposed to be safe that isn’t.
    Whistleblowers Merck virologists Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski claimed in their unsealed 2010 complaint that they “witnessed firsthand the improper testing and data falsification in which Merck engaged to artificially inflate the vaccine’s efficacy findings.” After a two year investigation the Justice Department has refused to rule on the case. Merck continues to deny the allegations.

    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/335645#ixzz2BYDRVrew

    That is Holder’s DOJ, BTW.

    “Merck is the sole provider of the MMR, 4 million doses of which are bought by the U.S. government and doctors. Pending lawsuits may show that MMR tests were falsified since two Merck whistleblowers have come forward to tell the truth.

    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/335645#ixzz2BYDs1IGa

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    And this:
    (Secondary) Spine Infections Hit Fungal Meningitis Survivors

    Daniel J. DeNoon
    Nov 06, 2012Authors & Disclosures
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/774040

    As many as a third of people suffering fungal meningitis linked to tainted steroids — and others who did not get meningitis — are coming down with dangerous infections in the spine.

    Some of these dangerous infections are epidural abscesses: pockets of fungus growing inside the spine. Others are arachnoiditis, a deeper and more serious infection. Both kinds of infection can be crippling or fatal. A few of these infections were seen at the beginning of the outbreak. Now many more cases are popping up.

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    8 quotes from a cancer surgeon that will set your hair on fire

    Friday, December 07, 2012 by: Jon Rappoport

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/038249_cancer_surgeon_John_Hopkins.html#ixzz2EOMmMjPd

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  19. Uniformityville_horror’s avatar

    I found this interesting:

    Public release date: 17-Jan-2013

    Contact: Wolfgang Linke
    wolfgang.linke@rub.de
    49-234-322-9101
    Ruhr-University Bochum
    RUB researchers find over active enzyme in failing hearts

    The enzyme CaM kinase II relaxes the muscle cells

    A certain enzyme, the CaM kinase II, keeps the cardiac muscle flexible. By transferring phosphate groups to the giant protein titin, it relaxes the muscle cells. This is reported by researchers led by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Linke of the Institute of Physiology at the Ruhr Universität in the journal Circulation Research. In failing hearts, which don’t pump enough blood around the body, the scientists found an overly active CaM kinase II. “The phosphorylation of titin could be a new starting point for the treatment of heart failure” Prof. Linke speculates.

    Titin phosphorylation determines the mechanical tension of the muscle cell

    Titin is the largest protein in the human body, and it acts like a spring which tenses or relaxes the muscle cell. The attachment of phosphate groups to specific titin sites – known as phosphorylation – relaxes the cell. It was already known that the calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase II, CaM kinase II for short, phosphorylates several proteins in heart cells. Whether it also targets the spring protein titin, has now been examined by the researchers in Bochum.

    CaM-Kinase II phosphorylates the giant protein titin

    For the study, the researchers used heart cells of “normal” mice, mice that have no CaM kinase II, and mice that produce more CaM kinase II than usual. In cells without the enzyme, titin phosphorylation was reduced by more than 50 percent compared to the normal state. In cells with excess enzyme, however, titin phosphorylation was twice as strong as in normal cells. The CaM kinase II is therefore crucial for the attachment of phosphate groups to the giant protein titin. Linke’s team identified two regions within the flexible segment of the titin molecule which are phosphorylated by the enzyme, namely the PEVK and N2Bus region. These sites contain several amino acids of the type serine and threonine, which have changed little in the course of evolution.

    The work of the CaM kinase II determines cell stiffness

    In further analyses, the research team also showed that a lack or an excess of CaM kinase II affected the stiffness of the muscle cells. Cells without the enzyme were stiffer, cells with the enzyme more flexible. If they added CaM kinase II to cells that were not able to produce the enzyme themselves, these relaxed. In failing human hearts, the team found increased activity of CaM kinase II in comparison with healthy hearts, and thus excessive phosphorylation in the PEVK and N2Bus titin regions. “This seems to alter the mechanical properties of the human heart muscle”, says Wolfgang Linke.

    ###
    Bibliographic record

    N. Hamdani, J. Krysiak, M.M. Kreusser, S. Neef, C.G. dos Remedios, L.S. Maier, M. Krüger, J.Backs, W.A. Linke (2012): Crucial role for Ca2+/Calmodulin-dependent Protein Kinase-II in regulating diastolic stress of normal and failing hearts via Titin phosphorylation, Circulation Research, DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.300105

    Figure online

    A figure related to this press release can be found online at: http://aktuell.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/pm2013/pm00013.html.en

    Further information

    Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Linke
    Department of Cardiovascular Physiology
    Institute of Physiology
    Faculty of Medicine at the Ruhr-Universität
    44780 Bochum, Germany

    Editor: Dr. Julia Weiler

    ——
    I have been busy recently. Went to Chicago prior to Christmas to bring back a BMW (2003 5 series, 87000 miles, no lien on car) we had bought to replace the one I had. Son with flu, but I didn’t get it (kefir and D3). I did get two hours of unexplained severe dizziness tho, where I could not sit, stand or lay down without being dizzy. So I opted for the safe supine position until it wore off a hour or two later. Extended family Christmas that lasted until New Years.

    Then i have been gun shopping. However all the Rugers are sold out an hour after they are on the self. The Demand is HUGE!!!!!!!!!! The Manufacture is the only thing controlling supply. Gun show tomorrow or sometime. Hope to get one or three there, or just go to my favorite gun dealer and see what he can come up with. I am so INTO buying guns at this point, since I don’t have a-one here. Got some others on order and will have them soon. The gods know I have enough land to practice on.

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    Lethal Virus Sample Vanishes From U.S. Biodefense Lab

    March 26, 2013

    By Diane Barnes

    Global Security Newswire
    A scientist works in a Biosafety Level 4 laboratory at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Md. Inspectors last week found a sample of a lethal virus had gone missing from a maximum-security area of the Galveston National Laboratory in Texas (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). A scientist works in a Biosafety Level 4 laboratory at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Md. Inspectors last week found a sample of a lethal virus had gone missing from a maximum-security area of the Galveston National Laboratory in Texas (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky).

    WASHINGTON — A high-security biodefense laboratory in Texas has lost track of a lethal hemorrhagic fever virus sample in an incident said to underscore recent government warnings about how the United States oversees the deadly disease agents it holds for study.

    Experts and researchers at other institutions have generally chalked up the Guanarito virus sample’s disappearance to an clerical slipup at the Galveston National Laboratory. Auditors last week failed to locate the material inside a freezer in the facility’s Biosafety Level 4 section, which is designated for handling potentially fatal, aerially transmissible pathogens that have no known cure.

    The head of the University of Texas Medical Branch, which oversees the laboratory, on Saturday said the virus had probably been destroyed but authorities were still pushing to identify the cause of the misplacement.

    Guanarito and related viruses typically spread to humans through contact with infected rodents or their excretions, but “infection can also occur by inhalation of tiny particles soiled with rodent urine or saliva,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The Venezuelan-origin virus “is not believed to be capable of surviving naturally in rodents in the United States” or between people, UTMB President David Callender noted in released remarks.

    Laboratory representatives could not be reached by press time to offer comment, but the site’s scientific director told USA Today the sample — one of five held in the same freezer — might have caught on a piece of protective clothing and then fallen to the ground, where it would have been removed with other materials for destruction. All five samples were in place when inspectors last checked for their presence in November, he said.

    “There’s really no possibility of anything leaving the lab in a viable form unless it is taken out intentionally,” science chief Scott Weaver added in comments to the newspaper. Decontamination showers required before leaving would complicate any effort to secrete a virus sample from the secured facility, he said.

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee has begun to scrutinize possible security threats at the nation’s biodefense laboratories. The Agriculture Department last year noted failures by its inspectors to identify unauthorized transfers of anthrax and plague samples, and congressional investigators this week released findings that the Obama administration had yet to follow through on their 2009 recommendation to establish a uniform code for planning, constructing and overseeing sensitive biological defense facilities.

    Even though the Galveston laboratory incident has generally been attributed to a benign cause, microbiologist John Palisano warned there is “no reason to be cavalier and say we don’t have anything to worry about.”

    “Sometime, someone’s going to see a lapse in security and then take advantage of it,” Palisano, an infectious disease specialist at the University of the South, said in a telephone interview. He called for more frequent federal inspections aimed at ensuring compliance with existing rules.

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  21. Uniformityville_horror’s avatar

    Just doing a scramble for professional continuing education. Came across this, which might interest you:
    http://www.medpagetoday.com/InfectiousDisease/GeneralInfectiousDisease/45628

    Registration is free.

    Infectious Disease
    MERS Surge: Many Questions, Few Answers
    Published: May 6, 2014 | Updated: May 7, 2014

    By Michael Smith, North American Correspondent, MedPage Today
    Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner
    save|AA
    Take Posttest

    After nearly 2 years with about 15 cases of Middle East coronavirus (MERS) respiratory disease per month, the number of cases started to climb dramatically in late March and early April.
    Note that the reason for the increase in cases is not clear, but research does not suggest that the virus has mutated so that it transmits more efficiently.
    The explosion in cases of Middle East coronavirus (MERS) in recent weeks raises a simple question: Why? Or more precisely, why now?

    After ticking along for nearly 2 years with about 15 cases of the respiratory disease a month, the number of cases started to climb dramatically in late March and early April.

    More than 250 cases have been reported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since March 22 — more than half of the 421 cases reported to date by the Middle East nation.

    Saudi Arabia is the center of the outbreak; depending on whose numbers are used, there are about 500 cases reported globally with at least some level of confirmation. But only Saudi Arabia has more than 50 cases, and most other countries have only a handful.

    The recent jump was “certainly unexpected on my part,” says Daniel Lucey, MD, an infectious diseases specialist at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

    Lucey, who joined the battle against the SARS coronavirus more than a decade ago, has been following MERS closely and has visited the Middle East several times during the outbreak.

    He, like other experts, is highly conscious of the risk that the virus could go global and very aware of several important gaps in scientific understanding of MERS.

    What Do We Know?

    Much is known, of course. The virus is a distant cousin of the SARS coronavirus. Its genes have been sequenced and tests for infection created. It is not really efficiently transmitted from person to person.

    But much is also unknown. There is, for instance, no specific treatment or vaccine. And the natural history of the disease remains unclear. In the early months of the outbreak, the virus had a very high case-fatality rate and it is still hovering around 30%, despite an increased number of confirmed cases without symptoms.

    Among the open questions:

    Do asymptomatic people whose infection is only detected by sensitive tests remain without symptoms? Or do some go on to have disease? If so, how many?
    Are asymptomatic people infectious? Or does contagion require respiratory symptoms to get MERS virus into the surrounding environment?
    How is transmission occurring — droplet and airborne infection alone, or can surfaces serve as transmission routes?
    What’s the original source of the infection? And what’s the route from the original host to humans?
    The answers will undoubtedly become known over time. But for now, the key question — which bears on many of the others — remains: Why are we seeing such a dramatic explosion of cases?

    There are “a couple” of possible explanations for the recent explosion in cases but none of them is definitive and it’s likely none stands alone, Lucey said.

    Why the Uptick?

    The first thing that jumps to mind is that the virus has changed, mutated so that it transmits more efficiently. But recent work by German virologist Christian Drosten, MD, of the University of Bonn Medical Centre seems to show that’s not the case.

    Drosten and colleagues sequenced virus isolated from some of the cases early in the recent surge and found the genes were almost identical to those seen earlier in the outbreak.

    In particular, the gene for the part of the so-called spike protein that binds to human cells was unchanged. Indeed, Drosten told Science magazine: “You really have to look quite hard to find any changes at all.”

    Lucey told MedPage Today that work suggests the virus hasn’t mutated, but doesn’t rule such changes out.

    “It’s preliminary in my view,” he said. “It’s possible that the part of the virus they sequenced is not the part that has mutated.”

    It’s also possible that the virus has a seasonal variation, much like influenza, Lucey said, although less marked.

    Indeed, the earliest cases, discovered retrospectively after the virus was recognized in September 2012, occurred in April of that year. And last year, there was also a spike in cases in April.

    Finally, there’s increased testing. Until recently, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region tested only people who came in with unexplained respiratory illness, following the World Health Organization’s case definition.

    Now they are testing contacts of confirmed cases, which might expand the number of people with confirmed — but asymptomatic — infection. Indeed, over the recent weeks Saudi Arabia’s status reports have routinely included one or two cases a day without symptoms.

    “There are a lot more people being tested,” Lucey says, “so I think that’s true.”

    But they would not be tested if there were not an underlying groundswell of confirmed cases, he says, so that increased testing is just part of the explanation.

    Parenthetically, the increased testing, which is often followed by hospital admission and isolation, is imposing an immense burden on hospitals in Jeddah, the center of a large cluster of cases, Drosten said.

    The Healthcare Connection

    Also puzzling is that the April clusters have tended to have their basis in hospitals among healthcare workers. In the earliest cases, that was natural — healthcare workers didn’t know what they were dealing with and several were infected.

    Since then, though, the protocols for dealing with possible MERS cases have been clear — full barrier precautions, isolation, the whole nine yards.

    “There is no more important question in my view” than why healthcare workers are getting infected, Lucey said. In his trips to the region, he said, he has been impressed by how knowledgeable healthcare workers there are about infection control.

    “And now we have this striking and concerning increase in the number of healthcare workers affected,” he said.

    Indeed, the single American so far affected by MERS was a healthcare worker in his 60s who had been working in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

    Lucey said either personnel are not adhering strictly enough to infection control guidelines or the virus is finding a way around them. Either scenario is a worry.

    But again, he asked, “why only now?”

    If there’s a bright spot, it’s that the virus has affected only a relative handful of people — perhaps 500 cases in a region with a population of 40 or 50 million — and it doesn’t seem to spread very efficiently.

    While there has been some human-to-human transmission, there is no documented case of a longer chain, according to William Schaffner, MD, of Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

    “The risk of acquiring MERS is much, much lower than the risk of acquiring influenza,” he told MedPage Today. “There has not yet been documented person-to-person-to-person transmission.”

    Without some connection to the Middle East, he said, an individual’s risk of catching MERS is “little.”

    At the moment, it’s true that the risk is “very, very low,” Lucey said. But that could change quickly and there is currently no treatment and no vaccine.

    “We have to remain vigilant,” he said. “This is a potentially very serious new international infectious disease.”

    But so far, he argued, “there’s no cause for panic or excessive fear.”

    De Groot and colleagues did not report any outside support for the study or any relevant relationships with industry.

    Schaffner did not report any relevant relationships with industry.

    Lucey did not report any relationships with industry.

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  22. Uniformityville_horror’s avatar

    I went to my pharmacist for something years back, at which time I told her that Lunesta gave me chest pains. She said no, it really doesn’t. I said that I was not asking for advice. Said that I was giving feedback on Lunesta, that it gives me chest pains.

    I don’t have cardiac issues that I know of, with last EKG in August.

    Now this, just in case it saves some life here on this blog:

    PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
    17-May-2014 http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-05/esoc-spi051414.php

    European Society of Cardiology
    Sleeping pills increase CV events in heart failure patients

    Athens, 17 May 2014: Sleeping pills increase the risk of cardiovascular events in heart failure patients by 8-fold, according to research from Japan. The study was presented today at the Heart Failure Congress 2014, held 17-20 May in Athens, Greece. The Congress is the main annual meeting of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology.

    Dr Masahiko Setoguchi said: “Sleeping problems are a frequent side effect of heart failure and it is common for patients to be prescribed sleeping pills when they are discharged from hospital. They also have other comorbidities and may be prescribed diuretics, antiplatelets, antihypertensives, anticoagulants and anti-arrhythmics.”

    He added: “Cardiac function of heart failure patients worsens with repeated hospitalisations. We therefore decided it was important to investigate the relationships between drugs prescribed at discharge, rehospitalisation and cardiovascular events in heart failure patients.”

    The researchers retrospectively examined the medical records of 111 heart failure patients admitted to Tokyo Yamate Medical Center from 2011 to 2013. Information was collected on the presence of coexisting cardiovascular and other medical conditions, medications administered during hospitalisation and those prescribed at discharge, laboratory test results, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and chest radiographic data and vital signs at admission and discharge.

    Study participants were followed up for 180 days after they were discharged from hospital. The study endpoint was readmission for heart failure, or cardiovascular related death.

    For the analysis, patients were divided into those who had heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) and those who had heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). Dr Setoguchi said: “Management and prognosis can vary between patients with HFpEF and HFrEF so we analysed the two groups separately.”

    Of the 47 HFpEF patients, 15 reached the study endpoint during the 180 day follow up period. The only differences between patients who had events and those who did not were prescription of sleeping pills (benzodiazepine hypnotics), blood sodium levels at admission and blood haemoglobin levels at discharge.

    Multivariate analysis showed that HFpEF patients who were prescribed sleeping pills were at eight times greater risk of rehospitalisation for heart failure or cardiovascular related death than HFpEF patients who were not prescribed sleeping pills (hazard ratio [HR]=8.063, p=0.010).

    Dr Setoguchi said: “Our study clearly shows that sleeping pills dramatically increase the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with HFpEF. The finding was consistent across univariate and multivariate analyses. Given that many heart failure patients have difficulty sleeping, this is an issue that needs further investigation in larger studies.”

    Of the 64 HFrEF patients, 24 reached the study endpoint during follow up. Multivariate analysis showed that HFrEF patients who were prescribed high blood pressure medications (ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers) had less than one-quarter the risk of cardiovascular events compared to HFrEF patients not prescribed these drugs (HR=0.234, p=0.012).

    Dr Setoguchi said: “The main finding of our study is that HFpEF patients prescribed sleeping pills have an increased risk of cardiovascular events. The number of HFpEF patients is increasing and becoming a larger proportion of heart failure patients overall. Our results therefore are of growing relevance to heart failure patients and the professionals who treat them.”

    He added: “Benzodiazepine hyptonics may have cardiodepressant actions. They may also exert respiratory depressant actions which could exacerbate sleep disordered breathing and lead to a worse prognosis.”

    Dr Setoguchi concluded: “Our results need confirmation in larger, prospective studies before heart failure patients can be advised to stop taking sleeping pills. But HFpEF patients who use sleeping pills, particularly those who have sleep disordered breathing, should be carefully monitored.”

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  23. Uniformityville_horror’s avatar

    Not a drug alert, but a healthful one
    My produce fella bought me, to my door, lots of potatoes this time.

    There is a newer piece of research on cold cooked potatoes, will see if I can find it. Just made some for the son’s lunch box, with vinegar dressing and some herbs I got in Madison and crom the yard. I used olive and coconut oils:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16034360
    Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Nov;59(11):1266-71.
    Vinegar dressing and cold storage of potatoes lowers postprandial glycaemic and insulinaemic responses in healthy subjects.
    Leeman M1, Ostman E, Björck I.
    Author information
    Abstract
    OBJECTIVE:

    To investigate the effects of cold storage and vinegar addition on glycaemic and insulinaemic responses to a potato meal in healthy subjects.
    SUBJECTS AND SETTING:

    A total of 13 healthy subjects volunteered for the study, and the tests were performed at Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Lund University, Sweden. Experimental design and test meals:The study included four meals; freshly boiled potatoes, boiled and cold stored potatoes (8 degrees C, 24 h), boiled and cold stored potatoes (8 degrees C, 24 h) with addition of vinaigrette sauce (8 g olive oil and 28 g white vinegar (6% acetic acid)) and white wheat bread as reference. All meals contained 50 g available carbohydrates and were served as a breakfast in random order after an overnight fast. Capillary blood samples were collected at time intervals during 120 min for analysis of blood glucose and serum insulin. Glycaemic (GI) and insulinaemic indices (II) were calculated from the incremental areas using white bread as reference.
    RESULTS:

    Cold storage of boiled potatoes increased resistant starch (RS) content significantly from 3.3 to 5.2% (starch basis). GI and II of cold potatoes added with vinegar (GI/II=96/128) were significantly reduced by 43 and 31%, respectively, compared with GI/II of freshly boiled potatoes (168/185). Furthermore, cold storage per se lowered II with 28% compared with the corresponding value for freshly boiled potatoes.
    CONCLUSION:

    Cold storage of boiled potatoes generated appreciable amounts of RS. Cold storage and addition of vinegar reduced acute glycaemia and insulinaemia in healthy subjects after a potato meal. The results show that the high glycaemic and insulinaemic features commonly associated with potato meals can be reduced by use of vinegar dressing and/or by serving cold potato products.

    PMID:
    16034360
    [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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  24. iconoclast_555’s avatar

    Sheesh, “ensalda campera” (based on boiled potatoes, olive oil, vineagar, plus boiled eggs, canned tuna, raw red and green peppers, olives, tomato, cucumber and onion is a summer staple hereabouts.

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  25. Uniformityville_horror’s avatar

    I got licorice root at bulk apothacary, both powdered and cut.
    I got elderberries from zanturalfoods.com, have already soaked my previous purchase in vodka and have a tincture of it now. But ordered more just in case. I heard there is a major run on elderberru syrup, which my spouse looked into.

    Make sure your Vit C. intake is way up (to much can give you the runs), to support your capillaries.

    Peppermint for nausea.

    If you don’t already take a multi vit and min, please, please, please start now.

    I am ready to bug out to the farm (which one I cannot decide, since both of us come from the farm), and wait the god dammed thing out.

    If ebola hits Oklahoma, I am pulling my son out of school and we are out of here. Headed that way this weekend, Will prepare the farm a bit so it is not so shocking for us.

    But you know, I just don’t think this is going to go very far. When I read the site that reflects future events, ebola is not in it. We are peaceful, my siblings and I, until the fall of 2015. I was looking last night, when I saw that something big effects California or Hollywood around 2020. and takes a couple of years to resolve.

    I know the day of my death. It is not near or soon. But every year it comes around, I purge a lot of emotional poop and make peace with all those I can think of with unresolved situations. Death won’t be for me, or those I love, from here to 2016, at least.

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  26. iconoclast_555’s avatar

    “I got licorice root at bulk apothacary, both powdered and cut.”

    Hereabouts it’s a weed.

    When I was a kid, if I was walking in the country and got thirsty (cottonmouth), picking a sprig from the side of the path was an instant cure…

    Since it’s a weed that grows just about anywhere, why not pick up some seeds and toss them by your driveway? No tending required, believe me…

    “have already soaked my previous purchase in vodka and have a tincture of it now. ”

    Here’s a hint – something I do pretty often. Take fresh cranberries (or any red berries), some brown sugar, a bit of vanilla, and a full cup of brandy, and boil with water on low heat (as if you’re making jam). Once it gets a little thick, take off the heat…. and pour over vanilla ice cream. I get raves from the family, and it’s packed with anti-oxidants.

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  27. iconoclast_555’s avatar

    FWIW, I have sage, basil, chives, mint, jasmine and ginger growing on my windowsills right now.

    The sage is on its 3rd year, doing great. Basil is hit or miss, depending on the bugs around town. Chives are easy as pie, jasmine was damaged by frost so the flowers weren’t too fragrant, and ginger was an afterthought which seems to be working out well.

    I only use neem oil for insects, which seems to work pretty well. I have no direct sunlight (which is a pity), but I still have frozen basil from last year (I coat it in olive oil before freezing so it doesn’t go black).

    I use my herbs regularly, far better than the store-bought, fresh or dried. My saltimbocca’s are legendary! And my pesto’s aren’t too bad either.

    …..

    FWIW, tomorrow’s menu;

    Spaghetti a la vongole (baby clams are excellent this year over here), seared red tuna with a ginger/grapefruit/sesame sauce, and vanilla icecream with a reduction of cranberries and vanilla sprinkled with mint leaves….

    Eat your heart out folks!

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