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Healthcare online Keeping you up-to-date
VOL.  12     ISSUE:  August  2014 Medical Services Department

SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

Features

EDITORIAL TEAM

OMAR AKRAMUR RAB

MBBS, FCGP, FIAGP,

P G Dip. Business Management

MAHFUZUR RAHMAN

 MBBS, MBA

 

EDITORIAL

Dear Doctor,

Welcome to this edition of 'e-SQUARE'.

Our current issue focused on some interesting features like -
"
Ebola !", "Chemicals Warn !", "Hepatitis C Rare !", "Painkillers Halve Ca !",  "'Love Hormone' !", "Sleep Apnea & Ca !".

In our regular feature, we have some new products information of SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd. as well.

We will appreciate your feedback !

Click on to reply mode.

Yours sincerely,

 

Editorial Team

Reply Mode      : e-square@squaregroup.com

The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of its editor or SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

 Ebola !

Researchers Unlock Clues To How Ebola Disarms Immune System

Researchers say they've discovered how the deadly Ebola virus disables the immune system. They hope the findings will prove valuable in efforts to find treatments for the disease taking hundreds of lives in Africa. The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,000 people, and the death rate among those infected with the virus is up to 90 percent, according to the World Health Organization. There is no cure for Ebola. American researchers found that the Ebola protein VP24 disrupts a cell's natural immune response. They said this action is an important first step on Ebola's path to causing fatal disease, according to the study. "We've known for a long time that infection with Ebola obstructs an important immune compound called interferon. Now we know how Ebola does this, and that can guide the development of new treatments," researchers said. Ebola's VP24 protein prevents interferon's antiviral message from entering the cell's nucleus and triggering an immune response, the researchers explained. "One of the key reasons that Ebola virus is so deadly is because it disrupts the body's immune response to the infection," researchers said. "Figuring out how VP24 promotes this disruption will suggest new ways to defeat the virus." Further research on VP24 may lead to ways to prevent the protein from blocking immune response, the study authors said. 

SOURCE: HealthDay News, August 2014

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 Chemicals Warn !

                                                 Common Chemicals May Lower Testosterone Levels, Study Finds

Exposure to certain chemicals commonly found in plastics and other products is associated with lower levels of testosterone in men, women and children, a new study says. Testosterone is the main sex hormone in men, but it is also involved in a variety of functions in both men and women, including brain function, bone density, physical growth, strength and heart health. The University of Michigan researchers studied exposure to chemicals called phthalates and testosterone levels in more than 2,200 people who took part in the 2011-12 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Phthalates are found in flexible PVC plastics and many personal care products, according to the study. "We found evidence of reduced levels of circulating testosterone were associated with increased phthalate exposure in several key populations, including boys ages 6-12, and men and women ages 40-60," study author said. Higher levels of phthalates were associated with an 11 percent to 24 percent decline in testosterone levels among women aged 40 to 60, and a 24 percent to 34 percent drop in testosterone levels in boys ages 6 to 12. Though researchers found an association between phthalates and lower testosterone levels, it didn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship. The findings "may have important public health implications, since low testosterone levels in young boys can negatively impact reproductive development, and in middle age can impair sexual function, libido, energy, cognitive function and bone health in men and women," study author explained. In the last 50 years, there has been a decline in men's testosterone levels and a rise in related health problems, such as reduced semen quality in men and genital deformities in newborn boys, the researchers noted. The study results "support the hypothesis that environmental exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as phthalates could be contributing to the trend of declining testosterone and related disorders," he said. "With mounting evidence for adverse health effects, individuals and policymakers alike may want to take steps to limit human exposure to the degree possible," he concluded. 

SOURCE: HealthDay News, August 2014

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 Hepatitis C Rare !

                                                            Hepatitis C Could Become Rare Disease In 20 Years: Study

The once tough-to-treat liver infection hepatitis C could become a rare disease in the United States in the next two decades, a new study estimates. Hepatitis C, a viral infection that harms the liver, is usually passed through infected blood. For most people, the infection becomes chronic and it can eventually lead to scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) or liver cancer. U.S. health officials estimate that over 3 million Americans currently have chronic hepatitis C -- most of whom don't know it because the infection usually causes no symptoms. But with recent treatment advances, hepatitis C could become rare by 2036, researchers report. "Rare" refers to a disease that affects one in 1,500 people at most, said senior researcher. Right now, around one in 100 Americans has chronic hepatitis C. But that could quickly shift, since new drugs are changing the landscape of hepatitis C treatment, according to research team. "We're in the middle of a very interesting time for hepatitis C patients," senior researcher said. For decades, the only treatment for the disease involved the drug interferon -- which had to be injected and taken for up to a year. It also often caused fatigue and flu-like side effects. After all that, the cure rate was only 40 percent to 50 percent, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But in just the past few years, new drugs have been approved and more are on the way, he added. One is sofosbuvir, a pill the FDA approved last December. The treatment lasts just 12 weeks, with no need for interferon injections. "There are highly effective drugs becoming available, with a shorter duration of treatment," he said. "So, patients should be more amenable to taking them." For the new study, research team used a computer model to estimate the future effects of both hepatitis C screening and new drug regimens. The researchers predict that within the next 22 years, hepatitis C could become rare. What's more, nearly 79,000 cases of liver cancer, over 124,000 cases of cirrhosis and 126,500 deaths could be averted by 2050. The obstacle in all of this is money. Sofosbuvir costs $1,000 a day, or $84,000 for the typical 12-week course. Research team also looked at what could happen if all Americans -- not just baby boomers -- got a one-time hepatitis C screening test. They say that would nearly double the number of cases detected in the next decade -- from 487,000 to almost 934,000. What the study does not address, researcher said, is costs. He said more research is needed to see whether the costs of screening and treatment could be offset by the reduction in liver disease and liver transplants.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, August 2014

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 Painkillers Halve Ca !

                                Painkillers May Halve Risk Of Breast Cancer Return In Obese Women: Study

Obese women who have battled breast cancer might halve their chances of a recurrence if they take aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) regularly, new research suggests. The researchers followed 440 breast cancer survivors -- most of them past menopause and overweight or obese -- who were diagnosed between 1987 and 2011. The women had estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, which requires the hormone estrogen to grow. Over the seven-year follow-up, taking the pain medications was linked to a difference in recurrence: "Twelve percent of those not taking NSAIDs had a recurrence, but 6 percent of those taking the drugs did," said study author. Of the 440 women, 159 used painkillers and 281 did not. Most of those using painkillers took aspirin, she said, while some took other types of NSAIDs, such as Motrin or Aleve. The average body mass index (BMI) of the women was about 31. BMI is a measurement based on height and weight. A BMI of 30 and higher is termed obese; a BMI of 25 to 29.5 is considered overweight. At the time of diagnosis, the women were about age 55 to 60. If the cancer did recur, it took longer in those who took painkillers: 6.5 years compared to about 4.2 years for the nonusers, the investigators found. How could the painkillers, which the women took for arthritis and other problems, help? The key may be the anti-inflammatory properties of the medicines, she added. Researchers know that obese women who develop estrogen-positive cancers do worse when they are given hormone therapy known as aromatase inhibitors. "One of the key reasons that obese women do worse on hormone therapy is because of inflammation induced by obesity," study author said. Reducing the inflammation with aspirin and other NSAIDs, she explained, may improve how well the hormone therapies work. However, she noted, it's too soon to recommend taking NSAIDs for reducing either breast cancer recurrence or development. And while the researchers found an association between NSAID use and a reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence, the study was not designed to prove cause and effect. Also, painkillers have side effects, she added, such as a risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. If future research bears out the latest findings, she said, giving women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer a daily NSAID may reduce or delay the return of the breast cancer, and possibly spare them from needing additional treatments.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, August 2014

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 'Love Hormone' !

'Love Hormone' Oxytocin May Play Key Role In Kids' Social Skills

The "love hormone" oxytocin has a tremendous effect on kids' ability to function socially, Stanford University researchers report. Children blessed with naturally high levels of oxytocin are more savvy at communicating with others and interpreting social signals or situations, said study author. "The higher oxytocin [levels], the better social functioning," study author added. The findings also showed that oxytocin levels are highly inheritable. Oxytocin is released during most activities that cause people to bond to one another -- sex, hugging, kissing, holding hands, giving birth and breast-feeding, among them. The researchers noted that the original intent of their study was to determine whether children with autism had lower levels of oxytocin than children without the disorder. For years, impaired oxytocin function has been suspected as an underlying cause of autism, the researchers explained. Autism is a developmental disorder that causes significant difficulties in social interaction. It affects one out of every 68 children in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While oxytocin levels in the children with autism were similar to those of their unaffected siblings and children without autism in the study, the researchers did find that increasing oxytocin levels improved social functioning in all three groups. In their study, the Stanford researchers examined 79 children with autism, 52 of their unaffected siblings and 62 unrelated children without autism. All of the children were between the ages of 3 and 12. The team checked levels of oxytocin in the children's blood, and used a series of diagnostic tools to test for autism spectrum disorders and overall social ability. All children with autism have social deficits, but in the study these deficits were worst in those with the lowest blood oxytocin levels and mildest in those with the highest oxytocin levels. But the social skills of the kids without autism also corresponded to their oxytocin levels, the researchers found. "Oxytocin appears to be a universal regulator of social functioning in humans," author said. "That encompasses both typically developing children as well as those with the severe social deficits we see in children with autism." Comparisons between siblings with and without autism revealed that oxytocin levels in the blood are more than 85 percent heritable, the study authors noted. Oxytocin levels are influenced by inheritance to about the same degree as adult height, which is often described as being strongly influenced by genetics, the researchers added. "We found that social functioning was similar between related siblings, and oxytocin levels were way more similar between siblings," study author said. The researchers did not completely rule out a possible link between oxytocin levels and autism. They noted that they only checked oxytocin in the blood, and that levels of the hormone may be different in the cerebrospinal fluid that bathes and protects the brain. In the meantime, oxytocin therapy may prove helpful for children with autism and adults whose levels of the hormone are low, author added. "It may be there's a subpopulation of people with low oxytocin levels, and they may be the best responders to oxytocin treatment," author said. "This may help us handpick the people we think are going to benefit most from this therapy."  

SOURCE: HealthDay News, August 2014

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 Sleep Apnea & Ca !

No Link Between Sleep Apnea, Cancer, Study Finds

Canadian researchers have found no apparent connection between sleep apnea and cancer in a new study of more than 10,000 people with this common sleep disorder. People with sleep apnea experience repeated periods of disrupted breathing during sleep. Studies suggesting a link between the condition and cancer risk theorized that low oxygen levels might trigger cell mutations connected with cancer. "We were not able to confirm previous hypotheses that obstructive sleep apnea is a cause of overall cancer development through intermittent lack of oxygen," said lead author. The report, published Aug. 5 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, is unlikely to put the question to rest, however. "Additional studies are needed to find out whether there is an independent effect of sleep apnea on specific types of cancer," she said. For the study, lead author and colleagues studied about 10,150 patients suffering from sleep apnea who took part in a sleep study between 1994 and 2010. They linked this data to health databases from 1991 to 2013. At the start of the study, about 5 percent of the patients had cancer. Over an average of nearly eight years of follow-up, an additional 6.5 percent of the participants developed cancer. Most common were prostate, breast, colorectal and lung cancers, the researchers said. Although no link was seen for cancer in general, the researchers did find that low oxygen levels related to sleep apnea were associated with smoking-related cancers, such as lung cancer.

SOURCE: HealthDay News, August 2014

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 New Products of SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

  Product Flexi SR
  Generic Name Aceclofenac
  Strength 200 mg
  Dosage form Sustained Release Tablet
  Therapeutic Category NSAID
  Product Zimax  250
Generic Name

Azithromycin

Strength 250 mg
Dosage form Tablet
Therapeutic Category Macrolide Antibiotic
  Product Calboral-D
  Generic Name Coral Calcium +Vitamin D
  Strength 1250 mg+ 200 IU
  Dosage form Tablet
  Therapeutic Category Calcium Supplement

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