September 13, 2012 |
Last fall, Dena Harris went to a rehab facility to visit her 90-year-old mother, who was recovering from a broken hip. Harris knew something wasn't right: Her mother's skin was pale and her eyes glassy. The doctors diagnosed her with a raging gut infection of Clostridium difficile , a nasty bacterium that causes watery diarrhea. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that C. difficile kills 14,000 people each year in the U.S. alone. Harris' mother, Ann Hart, received the standard treatment - a hefty dose of antibiotics - but the drugs provided only temporary relief.
June 13, 2012 |
In a clinical trial, no one likes to be given the placebo. Research has shown again and again that many people who participate in clinical trials for new drugs, medical devices or procedures incorrectly assume that the aim of the study is to help the volunteers get better, a fallacy often called the "therapeutic misconception. " Now a new type of study, called an adaptive trial, aims to remedy this problem by increasing the percentage of people who receive a superior treatment during a trial.
June 7, 2012 |
The Austrian company AFFiRiS A.G. of Vienna said this week it has begun the first-ever clinical trials of a vaccine to treat Parkinson's disease. The study of as many as 32 patients is designed to test the safety and tolerability of the vaccine, called PD01A. Parkinson's is thought to result from the deposit of pathological forms of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain, causing the death of cells, particularly in the region known as the substantia nigra. The accumulation of alpha-synuclein disrupts the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, impairing movement and causing tremors.
May 18, 2012
At any one time, hundreds of clinical trials are underway in the U.S. to test simpler and more effective ways to treat and prevent HIV infection, which afflicts more than 1 million people in this country. Most of those in the U.S. with HIV - and with AIDs in its full-blown stage - are men. So, understandably, men make up the majority of the participants in the trials. However, women, who account for 25% of those living with HIV in the U.S., are significantly underrepresented in clinical trials, according to infectious disease researchers and health professionals who have studied this issue.
March 26, 2012 |
In findings that promise radical changes in the care of the 20 million U.S. patients with Type 2 diabetes, two new clinical trials have shown that weight-loss surgery brings about dramatically greater improvement of blood sugar control in obese diabetics than standard diabetes care. In both studies, even rigorously supervised regimens of diet, exercise and medications failed to bring blood sugar under good control after a year or more. In contrast, two teams of researchers - one in Italy, the other in the United States - reported that surgical procedures to reduce the size and sometimes the placement of the stomach often allowed subjects to discontinue diabetes medications within weeks.
February 27, 2012 |
Bonnie Addario didn't even know there was a word for what was happening to her. As if lung cancer weren't bad enough, the 54-year-old had lost 30 pounds off her normally 130-pound frame. Her life was limited to her husband's Barcalounger, where she had to recline because she lacked the strength to sit up straight. "It affected everything I did," says Addario, who is alive and well nine years later in San Carlos, Calif. "I literally could not get up and down the stairs. " There is a name for what Addario experienced: cachexia.