Today's Medical Fact
Eating breakfast helps to burn calories throughout the day.
Scientists at DARPA, the high-tech research department of the Pentagon, may have found a cure for sleepiness. The promising nasal spray treatment works by replacing orexin A in the body, a naturally occurring brain hormone that is known to play a role in sleepiness.
The study has shown very promising results based on the testing of the drug on sleep deprived monkeys. Not only did the monkeys regain their cognitive abilities, but their brain looked wide awake in PET scans. It seems to reverse the effects of sleepiness, without any apparent negative side effects or other impacts on the brain.
This "sleep replacement" drug is not meant to replace sleep, but is meant to combat sleepiness without the side effects or addictive qualities of other stimulants currently being used, such as amphetamines and caffeine. Hopefully the drug can help in the treatment of narcolepsy, help military pilots stay awake on long flights, truckers on long hauls, and doctors working long shifts.
Although the drug has been successfully tested on monkeys, it will be quite a while before it’s offered to the public. It still needs to be tested on humans and approved by the FDA, a process which takes about 10 years to complete.
We've all heard about the dangers of tobacco, but recent research shows that nicotine, the main active ingredient of tobacco, may be just the treatment needed to help Parkinson's patients.
Studies completed by the Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center show that intermittent nicotine treatment can reduce dyskinesias (uncontrolled movements) by up to 50 percent. Dyskinesias is a complication that arises with long-term use of Levodopa, the most common drug used to treat Parkinson's disease.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system that affects muscle movements, walking, speech, and posture. It is caused by the destruction of nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine, the chemical messenger that controls muscle movement.
The focus on nicotine was prompted by research that showed smokers were 50% less likely to develop Parkinson's disease than nonsmokers as well as by studies indicating that nicotine stimulates the release of dopamine in the part of the brain affected by Parkinson's. No one is advocating smoking, but the information on nicotine can be used by researchers to develop an effective treatment that can help Parkinson's patients.
It has been reported that Viagra, a drug approved by the FDA in 1998 to treat male impotence, may have another useful application. Researchers at a Argentinian University state that findings from their study suggest that the drug could also be useful in treating jet lag and helping people cope with shift work.
The test subjects for this study were a group of adult male hamsters who were given doses of Viagra after the scientists manipulated the lights to induce the conditions of jet lag. The hamsters who were given Viagra recovered from jet lag up to 50% faster than the hamsters that were not given the drug. In order to avoid certain Viagra-induced side effects, the dosage was given at an intermediate strength rather than at full strength.
Viagra helps in the recovery of jet lag by interfering with an enzyme that plays a role in the regulation of the body's circadian cycle. The body's circadian rhythm, which is the body's biological clock, is roughly a 24-hour cycle. Jet lag, a sleep disorder that occurs when the body's circadian rhythm is out of sync, is most likely due to the disruption in the "light/dark" cycle that affects the circadian rhythm. Jet lag is not induced by the amount of travel time, but occurs when traveling from east to west across time zones.
While the finding could prove useful in treating jet lag, it is not reported how the researchers decided to test this application of Viagra.
A new weight loss drug that can also curb compulsive behaviors and addictions is the result of marijuana research done in the 1990's.
Scientists studying marijuana found that the body naturally produces substances similar to cannabinoids (known as endocannabinoids) and knowing that smoking marijuana makes people hungry, scientists researched the effects of cutting down the activity of endocannabinoids. Their results showed that it helped diminish the body cravings for food.
Developed by Sanofi-Aventis, Acomplia (rimonabant) is already sold in a number of European countries, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. The FDA is scheduled to review the drug for the U.S. market on June 13th. If approved, it will be marketed in the U.S. under the name Zimulti.
Acomplia works on the brain’s pleasure center, disrupting the cycle of craving and satisfaction that is connected with compulsive behaviors and addictions. The drugs ability to curb compulsive behaviors is also why the drug helps people stop smoking without the associated weight gain. The drug reportedly reduces your appetite, enabling you to eat in small portions, and thereby lose weight in an effectual way.
Dog obesity is on the rise...but help is on the way - or so says drug giant Pfizer. A new therapy to help manage obesity in overweight dogs is now available from your veterinarian. Slentrol, a prescription drug manufactured by Pfizer, was recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of obesity in dogs. According to drug literature, Slentrol promotes weight loss by reducing appetite and fat absorption.
A veterinarian will determine whether the dog should be treated, based on the dog's weight and general health. Adverse reactions associated with treatment with Slentrol include vomiting, loose stools, diarrhea, lethargy and loss of appetite.
To discourage human use, the label of Slentrol includes the standard warning:
The label further cites the adverse reactions associated with human use, including abdominal distention, abdominal pain, diarrhea, flatulence, headache, nausea and vomiting.
Walking the dog never sounded so good.