Can vitamin B supplements help stave off stroke? ( 7% reduction in 6 months )

Contact: Rachel Seroka rseroka@aan.com 612-928-6129 American Academy of Neurology

MINNEAPOLIS – New evidence suggests that taking vitamin B supplements may help reduce the risk of stroke. The research appears in the September 18, 2013, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Previous studies have conflicting findings regarding the use of vitamin B supplements and stroke or heart attack,” said author Xu Yuming, with Zhengzhou University in Zhengzhou, China. “Some studies have even suggested that the supplements may increase the risk of these events.”

For the research, scientists analyzed 14 randomized clinical trials with a total of 54,913 participants. All of the studies compared B vitamin use with a placebo or a very low-dose B vitamin. Participants were then followed for a minimum of six months. There were 2,471 strokes throughout the studies, all of which showed some benefit of taking vitamin B.

Vitamin B lowered the risk of stroke in the studies overall by seven percent. However, taking supplements did not appear to affect the severity of strokes or risk of death from stroke.

Folic acid, a supplemental form of folate (vitamin B9), which is often found in fortified cereals, appeared to reduce the effect of vitamin B. Researchers did not find a reduction in stroke risk for vitamin B12.

“Based on our results, the ability of vitamin B to reduce stroke risk may be influenced by a number of other factors such as the body’s absorption rate, the amount of folic acid or vitamin B12 concentration in the blood, and whether a person has kidney disease or high blood pressure,” said Yuming. “Before you begin taking any supplements, you should always talk to your doctor.”

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To learn more about stroke, please visit http://www.aan.com/patients.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 26,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

Media Contacts: Rachel Seroka, rseroka@aan.com, (612) 928-6129 Michelle Uher, muher@aan.com, (612) 928-6120

Stopping cholesterol drugs may be associated with increased risk of Parkinson’s

Contact: Rachel Seroka rseroka@aan.com 612-928-6129 American Academy of Neurology

MINNEAPOLIS – People who stop taking cholesterol drugs may be at an increased risk for developing Parkinson’s disease, according to research that appears in the July 24, 2013, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Previous studies on the relationship between cholesterol drugs called statins and the risk of Parkinson’s disease have had inconsistent results.

The current study involved 43,810 people in Taiwan who were taking statins and did not have Parkinson’s disease. Taiwan’s compulsory national health insurance program reimbursement policy requests that doctors stop prescribing statins once the patient’s cholesterol reaches the treatment goal, which is contrary to standard treatment in the United States.

“This policy allowed us to see whether there was any difference in the risk of Parkinson’s in people who stopped taking statins compared to the ones who kept taking them,” said study author Jou-Wei Lin, MD, PhD, of National Taiwan University in Taipei.

The study found a difference between two types of statins. The use of lipophilic, or fat-soluble, statins such as simvastatin and atorvastatin was associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s, while no such association was found for hydrophilic, or water-soluble, statins such as pravastatin and rosuvastatin.

Those who stopped taking the fat-soluble statins were 58 percent more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who kept taking the drugs, an absolute risk of 2.65 cases per one million person-days. This result was consistent even after adjusting for other conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

The study also looked at how many people taking the two types of statins developed Parkinson’s disease, compared to the number of person-days spent on the medication to come up with an incidence rate. A total of 25 people taking fat-soluble statins developed Parkinson’s from a total of nearly 15 million person-days on the drugs, for a rate of 1.68 cases per one million person-days on the drugs. For the water-soluble statins, 14 people developed Parkinson’s from nearly four million person-days on the drugs, for a rate of 3.52 cases per one million person-days on the drugs.

“The fat-soluble statins are better able to cross the blood-brain barrier than the water-soluble statins,” Lin said.

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The study was supported by the Taiwan Ministry of Education.

To learn more about Parkinson’s disease, please visit http://www.aan.com/patients.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 26,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

Media Contacts: Rachel Seroka, rseroka@aan.com, (612) 928-6129 Michelle Uher, muher@aan.com, (612) 928-6120

Meds taken during pregnancy increase risk of Autism

 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Women who take valproate (Depacon) during pregnancy may increase the risk of childhood autism and its spectrum disorders in their children, a population-based study showed.

In utero exposure to the drug was associated with a five-fold elevated risk of autism and three-fold elevated risk for autism spectrum disorder, Jakob Christensen, PhD, of Denmark’s Aarhus University Hospital, and colleagues found.

The absolute risks were 2.5% and 4.4%, respectively, and remained significantly elevated after adjustment for parents’ epilepsy and psychiatric disease, the group reported in the April 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“For women of childbearing potential who use anti-epileptic medications, these findings must be balanced against the treatment benefits for women who require valproate for epilepsy control,” they concluded.

But “because autism spectrum disorders are serious conditions with lifelong implications for affected children and their families, even a moderate increase in risk may have major health importance,” they added.

The American Academy of Neurology recommends avoiding valproate in pregnancy whenever possible due to cognitive and physical birth defect problems for children exposed in utero.

 

http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/23192/54/

Sugary soft drinks may raise risk of depression – with diet versions causing the most harm

  • Four cans of pop a day raised depression  risk 30%
  • But drinking four cups of coffee decreased  risk by 10%

By  Fiona Macrae

PUBLISHED: 16:12 EST, 8  January 2013 |  UPDATED: 20:46 EST, 8 January 2013

Cutting out sweetened diet drinks could lower risk of depression, say researchers
Cutting out sweetened diet drinks could lower risk of  depression, say researchers

If you are feeling low, it may be best to lay  off the fizzy drinks and have a cup of coffee instead.

A study has linked soft drinks to depression  – with diet versions particularly problematic.

Coffee, however, appeared to have the  opposite effect.

The finding comes from US researchers who  studied the drink consumption of 265,000 men and women aged 50 to 71.

Ten years into the study, the volunteers were  asked if they had been diagnosed with depression in the previous five  years.

Those who drank more than four cans of soft  drinks a day were 30 per cent more likely to have had depression than those who  drank none, the American Academy of Neurology conference heard. The risk seemed  greater among those who preferred diet drinks.

The researchers said this may be due to the  presence of the artificial sweetener aspartame, which yesterday was  provisionally given a clean bill of health by the European Food Safety  Authority, following a review.

Unsweetened coffee could lower the risk of depression
Unsweetened coffee could lower the risk of  depression

Making the link does not prove soft  drinks  cause depression.

But researcher Honglei Chen said: ‘While our  findings are preliminary and the underlying biological mechanisms are  not  known, they are consistent with a small but growing body of evidence suggesting  that artificially sweetened beverages may be associated with poor health.’

The study found that those who had  four cups  of coffee a day were 10 per cent less likely to become  depressed than  non-coffee drinkers.

Dr Chen said this may be due to the  caffeine  in coffee stimulating the brain.

The British Soft Drinks Association  urged  caution over the findings and pointed out that the scientists  themselves said  that more research is needed.

Previous studies have linked soft drinks to  heart attacks, diabetes, weight gain, brittle bones and pancreatic  cancer.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2259047/Sugary-soft-drinks-raise-risk-depression–diet-versions-cause-harm.html#ixzz2HScIKApu Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Botox maker to pay $600M to resolve investigation

2010 report posted for filing

 

 

Botox maker to pay $600M to resolve investigation

 

By MATTHEW PERRONE, AP Health Writer Matthew Perrone, Ap Health Writer

Thu Sep 2, 4:01 am ET

 

WASHINGTON – Allergan Inc., the maker of wrinkle-smoothing Botox, has agreed to pay $600 million to settle a yearslong federal investigation into its marketing of the top-selling, botulin-based drug.

 

The Justice Department and the company said Wednesday in a statement it will plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge of “misbranding,” in which the company’s marketing led physicians to use Botox for unapproved uses. Those included the treatment of headache, pain, spasticity and cerebral palsy in children.

 

Companies are prohibited from promoting drugs for unapproved, or “off-label,” uses.

 

Allergan said it will pay $375 million in connection with the plea, which includes the forfeiture of $25 million in assets. Additionally, the company will pay $225 million in civil fines — $210 million to the federal governments and the rest to several states — related to the investigation, although the company denies liability for the civil claims.

 

Allergan, based in Irvine, Calif., also struck an agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General that requires the company to submit compliance reports, and to post on its website any payments to doctors, such as honoraria, travel or lodging.

 

Allergan “paid kickbacks to induce physicals to inject Botox for off-label uses and Allergan also taught doctors how to bill for off-label uses, including coaching doctors how to miscode Botox claims leading to millions of dollars of false claims being to submitted to federal and state programs,” Assistant Attorney General Tony West said.

 

Allergan officials will make their first appearance in federal court on Thursday. The settlement is not official until approved by a federal judge.

 

“The FDA had approved therapeutic uses of Botox for only four rare conditions, yet Allergan made it a top corporate priority to maximize sales of far more lucrative off-label uses that were not approved by the FDA,” said Sally Yates, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. “Allergan further demanded tremendous growth in these off-label sales year after year, even when there was little clinical evidence that these uses were effective.”

 

The investigation was sparked by a whistleblower complaint, officials said, and five whistleblowers will split $37.8 million of the government’s share of the settlement.

 

Allergan’s product sales topped $4.4 billion in 2009, with Botox accounting for more than $1.3 billion of that total.

 

The Justice Department’s investigation covered Allergan’s marketing of Botox from 2001 through at least 2008.

 

Wells Fargo analyst Larry Biegelsen said the settlement is a positive for the company’s stock because it removes uncertainty.

 

“We view the settlement as a positive for Allergan as it provides cost certainty … and eliminates additional related litigation cost,” Biegelsen wrote in a note to investors.

 

In recent years, federal investigators have reached multibillion dollar settlements with Pfizer, Eli Lilly and other drug companies over their marketing practices.

 

Botox is most famous for its ability to smooth frown lines on aging foreheads, but the drug — introduced in 1989 — is also approved to treat neck spasms, eye muscle disorders and excessive underarm sweating.

 

Last year the drug won approval to treat spasms in the elbows, wrists and fingers. The drug is also widely used off-label to treat cerebral palsy in children as well as in adults, and Allergan says it is in discussions with U.S. health regulators to approve the use of Botox for children with the neuromuscular disorder.

 

In guidelines published earlier this year, the American Academy of Neurology endorsed Botox as an “effective and generally safe treatment” for children with cerebral palsy. While the use is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the guidelines stated that there are more studies supporting Botox than other movement-disorder drugs.

 

Botox works by blocking the connections between nerves and muscle, temporarily paralyzing muscles that cause wrinkles as well as certain types of spasms. The drug is a purified form of botulinum, one of the most toxic substances in the world.

 

As part of the settlement, Allergan agreed to drop a lawsuit against the FDA in which the company pressed for greater leeway to discuss off-label uses with doctors.

 

The company argued it had a First Amendment right to educate doctors about how to safely use Botox, even for uses that are not currently approved. FDA’s rules are designed to stop companies from promoting drugs for uses that haven’t been federally confirmed as safe and effective.

 

Some legal experts speculated that Allergan’s lawsuit against FDA was primarily aimed at gaining leverage in its negotiations with the Justice Department, which was a separate matter.

 

Shares of Allergan rose $1.86, or 3 percent, to $63.28.

 

Ralph’s Note – Unless they start issuing criminal charges, these companies will always count the fines as nothing more than the cost of doing business.

Head injury + pesticide exposure = Triple the risk of Parkinson’s disease

Contact: Rachel Seroka
rseroka@aan.com
612-928-6129
American Academy of Neurology

MINNEAPOLIS – A new study shows that people who have had a head injury and have lived or worked near areas where the pesticide paraquat was used may be three times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. The study is published in the November 13, 2012, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Paraquat is a herbicide commonly used on crops to control weeds. It can be deadly to humans and animals.

“While each of these two factors is associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s on their own, the combination is associated with greater risk than just adding the two factors together,” said study author Beate Ritz, MD, PhD, of UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. “This study suggests that the physiological process that is triggered by a head injury may increase brain cells’ vulnerability to attacks from pesticides that can be toxic to the brain or the other way around, for example, chronic low dose exposure to pesticides may increase the risk of Parkinson’s after a head injury.”

The study involved 357 people with Parkinson’s disease and 754 people without the disease, all of whom lived in an agricultural area in central California. The participants reported any head injuries they had ever received with a loss of consciousness for more than five minutes.

The researchers determined participants’ exposure to the weed killer based on a 500-meter area around their home and work addresses, using a geographic information system (GIS) that combined data on paraquat use collected by the state of California’s Pesticide Use Reporting system with land use maps.

People with Parkinson’s disease were twice as likely to have had a head injury with loss of consciousness for more than five minutes as people who did not have the disease. Of the 357 people with Parkinson’s disease, 42, or 12 percent, reported ever having had such a head injury, compared to 50 of the 754 people without the disease, or 7 percent.

People with Parkinson’s disease were 36 percent more likely to have exposure to paraquat than those who did not have the disease. Of those with Parkinson’s, 169 had exposure to the weed killer, or 47 percent, compared to 291 of those without the disease, or 39 percent.

 

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The study was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health and American Parkinson Disease Association.

To learn more about Parkinson’s disease, visit http://www.aan.com/patients.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 25,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

Media Contacts:

Rachel Seroka, rseroka@aan.com, (612) 928-6129

Angela Babb, APR, ababb@aan.com, (612) 928-6102

Alzheimer’s disease may protect against cancer and vice versa

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Rachel Seroka rseroka@aan.com 651-695-2738 American Academy of Neurology

ST. PAUL, Minn. – People who have Alzheimer’s disease may be less likely to develop cancer, and people who have cancer may be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study published in the December 23, 2009, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Discovering the links between these two conditions may help us better understand both diseases and open up avenues for possible treatments,” said study author Catherine M. Roe, PhD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

For the study, researchers looked at a group of 3,020 people age 65 and older who were enrolled in the Cardiovascular Health Study and followed them for an average of five years to see whether they developed dementia and an average of eight years to see whether they developed cancer. At the start of the study, 164 people (5.4 percent) already had Alzheimer’s disease and 522 people (17.3 percent) already had a cancer diagnosis.

During the study, 478 people developed dementia and 376 people developed invasive cancer. For people who had Alzheimer’s disease at the start of the study, the risk of future cancer hospitalization was reduced by 69 percent compared to those who did not have Alzheimer’s disease when the study started. For Caucasian people who had cancer when the study started, their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease was reduced by 43 percent compared to people who did not have cancer at the start of the study, although that finding was not evident in minority groups.

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The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute on Aging, the National Center for Research Resources, and the Washington University Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com.

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Children with MS were 1.74 times more likely to have received a certain type of hepatitis B vaccine, called Engerix B®. Those children with MS developed symptoms three or more years after the vaccine.

Public release date: 25-Sep-2008 Re-Posted for Filing

Contact: Rachel Seroka
rseroka@aan.com
651-695-2738
American Academy of Neurology

Majority of children vaccinated against hepatitis B not at increased risk of MS

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The majority of children vaccinated against hepatitis B are not at an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study to be published in the October 8, 2008, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study based in France involved 349 children with MS and 2,941 children without the disease. The children were all under the age of 16. A total of 24.4 percent of the children with MS were vaccinated for hepatitis B in the three years before the study, compared to 27.3 percent for the children without MS.

Although the study found that hepatitis B vaccination does not generally increase the risk of multiple sclerosis, the children with MS were 1.74 times more likely to have received a certain type of hepatitis B vaccine, called Engerix B®. Those children with MS developed symptoms three or more years after the vaccine. The risk was only found for this specific type of hepatitis B vaccine and not found for all vaccines against hepatitis B.

This association cannot be taken as confirmation that the vaccine caused MS. Further studies are needed to determine whether this is a causal relationship.

 

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The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit www.aan.com.