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Publication: Health Tips Weekly
New Stroke Treatment Is Developed

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       HEALTH TIPS WEEKLY - Thursday, October 4, 2007 
             "News That Keeps You Healthy"   
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         Leptin is linked with insulin secretion

BOSTON,-- A U.S.-led study has shown leptin, a hormone known
mainly for regulating appetite control and energy metabol-
ism, plays a major role in diabetes. Researchers at the 
Joslin Diabetes Center said their discovery leptin is invol-
ved in islet cell growth and insulin secretion might lead to
new treatments for diabetes. Previous in vitro studies sug-
gested leptin receptors, which are found in tissues through-
out the body, including the pancreas and the brain, mediate 
leptin-induced inhibition of insulin secretion in islet 
cells, also known as beta cells. "We wanted to further our 
understanding of leptin and its role in beta cells independ-
ent of its effects in the brain," said Dr. Rohit Kulkarni, 
principal investigator of the study and an assistant prof-
essor at Harvard Medical School. It is currently not known 
why obese individuals exhibit a high incidence of diabetes 
despite high levels of both insulin and leptin in their 
bloodstream. Obesity is a major risk factor for the develop-
ment of type2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.           

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                Recall fuels E. coli fears

WASHINGTON,--U.S. experts said the recall of frozen hambur-
ger meat that may have been contaminated by E. coli is like-
ly to create concerns of rising E. coli outbreaks. Last 
week's recall of 21.7 million pounds of Topps Meat frozen 
hamburger, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture has 
linked to 27 reported and three confirmed illnesses, comes 
three months after 5.7 million pounds of ground beef were 
recalled for E. coli-related reasons, USA Today reported 
Tuesday. The American Meat Institute said a slight rise has 
been recorded in positive E. coli tests by the U.S. govern-
ment over the summer. "It's caused us to pause," Randy 
Huffman, vice president of the AMI Foundation, said to the 
newspaper. "We've redoubled our efforts and focused on the 
things that work." The rate of positive E. coli tests has 
shrunk by 73 percent since 2000 but an increase was recorded
in 2007 when compared with the preceding three years. "Some-
thing has changed and it has not changed for the better," 
Bill Marler, a prominent E. coli plaintiff's attorney, told 
USA Today. However, Huffman said the rise could be the 
result of a "random event."
 
           FDA proposes 'behind-the-counter' drugs

WASHINGTON, -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is con-
sidering creating a "behind-the-counter," or BTC, drug des-
ignation to co-exist with over-the-counter drugs. The FDA 
posed a Federal Register Notice Tuesday, announcing a Nov. 
14 public hearing to obtain comments regarding the proposed 
classification. Currently, drugs are available as prescrip-
tion or non-prescription medications. Generally, non-pres-
cription products are available in an over-the-counter, or 
OTC, manner. The FDA said it's considering requiring certain
drugs to be available only in a BTC manner -- without a pre-
scription but only after intervention by a pharmacist. The 
hearing will be at the National Transportation Safety Board 
Conference Center in Washington.         

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             New stroke treatment is developed

TEL AVIV, Israel, -- Israeli scientists have determined peo-
ple treated with minocycline within six to 24 hours after a 
stroke suffer significantly fewer disabilities. The study's 
lead author, Dr. Yair Lampl of the Edith Wolfson Medical 
Center and Tel Aviv University, said minocycline might be 
an alternative treatment because current stroke treatments 
only work during the first few hours after symptom onset. 
For the study, 152 men and women received either minocycline
or placebo for five days following stroke. People receiving 
minocycline were treated an average of 13 hours after stroke
compared with 12 hours for the placebo group. The study 
found people treated with minocycline had significantly 
better outcomes. After three months, the minocycline group 
performed four times better than the placebo group on the 
National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale that measures 
vision, facial palsy, movement and speaking ability. "The 
improvement was already apparent within a week of the 
stroke," Lampl said. "This is exciting because many people 
who have had stroke cannot be treated if they don't get to 
the hospital within three hours after symptoms start, which
is the time frame for current available treatments." 
  
       Possible neuronal atrophy treatment found

ATLANTA, -- U.S. scientists have identified a compound in 
tree bark that mimics the chemical reactions of a naturally 
occurring molecule in the brain. Emory University research-
ers found the tree bark compound -- gambogic amide -- 
behaves much like nerve growth factor, or NGF, which is a 
molecule found in the brain. NGF binds to the neuronal rec-
eptor TrkA and activates neuronal signaling, researchers 
said. It's known that the loss of TrkA density correlates 
with neuronal atrophy and severe cognitive impairment, such 
as that associated with Alzheimer's disease. Since gambogic 
amide also binds to TrkA and activates neuronal signaling, 
the scientists believe it might have potential as a therap-
eutic treatment in people affected by neurodegenerative 
disease, such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease and peripheral 
diabetic neuropathies.    
 
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            Genes affect economic decisions

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, --Swedish-led researchers have determined
genes can significantly influence people's behavior in 
making economic choices. The study involved an experimental 
game in which a proposer makes an offer to a responder on 
how to divide a sum of money. The offer is an ultimatum, 
since if the responder rejects it, both parties receive 
nothing. To study genetic influence, the scientists recru-
ited twins and since identical twins share the same genes, 
but fraternal twins don't, the researchers were able to 
detect genetic influences by comparing the similarity with 
which identical and fraternal twins played the game. The 
findings suggest genetic influences account for as much as 
40 percent of the variation in people's economic behaviors, 
with identical twins more likely to play with the same stra-
tegy than fraternal twins. "This raises the intriguing poss-
ibility that many of our preferences and personal economic 
choices are subject to substantial genetic influence," said 
Bjorn Wallace and Magnus Johannesson of the Stockholm School
of Economics. 
    
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