Pharmacology

New research suggests that a child's race may be a factor in determining his/her susceptibility to tobacco toxins associated with environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). The study, published in the March issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), reveals that African American children with asthma, who are exposed to ETS, have significantly higher toxin levels when compared to their Caucasian counterparts.

"African American children suffer from higher rates of tobacco-related disorders, such as asthma, sudden-infant death syndrome, and low birth weight, and we need to know why," said lead author Stephen Wilson MD, University of Cincinnati.

Acrux announced positive results from its Phase 1 clinical studies
using two unique contraceptive skin sprays, each containing a progestin and an estrogen.

The first study was a Phase I, pharmacokinetic study, investigating the delivery of a formulation combining Nestorone® and the synthetic estrogen, Ethinyl Estradiol. A single dose of the combination formulation was applied to the forearm of healthy volunteers.

The results showed that the dosing of the contraceptive spray provided effective delivery of both contraceptive agents, with blood concentrations of Nestorone® and Ethinyl Estradiol in the target range expected to provide effective contraception.

The spray was well tolerated, with no serious adverse events recorded.

Oregon Health & Science University research shows how calcium regulates the recharging of high-frequency auditory nerve cells after they've fired a burst of signals, and it may have implications for neurological disorders.

The study by scientists at OHSU's Vollum Institute and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, which appears in the current issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, shows that calcium ions play a greater role in keeping in check the brain's most powerful circuits, such as those used for processing sound signals, than previously thought.

There is no clear benefit from a hormone commonly prescribed to enhance the effectiveness of infertility treatments, according to a new review of studies.

The steroid hormones called glucocorticoids have potent effects on the body’s inflammatory and immune responses, so many fertility specialists prescribe them in hopes of making the lining of the uterus more receptive to embryo implantation. But lead review author Carolien Boomsma says that routine practice should stop.

“This meta-analysis shows that empirical use of glucocorticoids is not supported by evidence from studies,” she said. “Moreover, we don’t know enough about the possible adverse effects of glucocorticoids in early pregnancy.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo and the University of Utah are beginning a clinical trial to test whether aspirin can improve a woman's chances of becoming pregnant and of maintaining a pregnancy to term.

UB's portion of the study is funded by a $2.8 million grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Development.

The trial is aimed at women who have miscarried a pregnancy in the past year.

"In women who have had their first miscarriage, the reasons for losing that pregnancy are in many instances unknown," said Jean Wactawski-Wende, Ph.D., UB associate professor of social and preventive medicine and principal investigator of the UB clinical center.

Habitual intake of caffeinated beverages provides protection against heart disease mortality in the elderly, say researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Brooklyn College.

Using data from the first federal National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study, the researchers found that survey participants 65 or more years old with higher caffeinated beverage intake exhibited lower relative risk of coronary vascular disease and heart mortality than did participants with lower caffeinated beverage intake.

A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine shows that fluctuations in Vitamin D3 levels control the body's innate immune response, affecting a skin wound's ability to heal.

Richard L.

In recent years, scientists have discovered that a family of enzymes called sirtuins can dramatically extend life in organisms as diverse as yeast, worms, and flies. They may also be able to control age-associated metabolic disorders, including obesity and type II diabetes.

Naturally occurring substances have been shown to activate sirtuins, including a constituent of red wine called resveratrol -- although an individual would need to drink about two cases of wine a day to derive a clinically effective dose of resveratrol. Still, the findings have energized a number of scientific groups and biotechnology companies, all of which are now eagerly searching for drug candidates able to boost sirtuin activity.

A novel experiment conducted by Carnegie Mellon University Professor George Loewenstein and colleagues may explain why people try a drug, such as heroin, for the first time despite ample evidence that it is addictive. The results of the study, which are being published in the Journal of Health Economics, reveal that even longtime addicts underestimate the influence that drug cravings have over their behavior.

Almost all drugs produce a craving in their users. Loewenstein and his colleagues hypothesized that people experiment with drugs that they know are addictive in part because they can't appreciate the intensity of drug cravings, and thus underestimate the likelihood that they will become addicted.

During the evaluation of competitive athletes, a history or a documentation of cardiac arrhythmias has become particularly important because arrhythmias may be the initial expression of an underlying cardiac disease or of primary electrical disorders, sometimes early manifestations of potentially life-threatening events. Cardiac arrhythmias are among the most important causes of non-eligibility to sports activities, and some arrhythmogenic diseases are three times more frequent among athletes than among sedentary subjects of the same age.

Arrhythmias, in young competitive athletes and also the elite are usually "benign" or "paraphysiological" (duo to prolonged training).