Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Artificial Sweeteners Could Make You Gain Weight

A study by scientists in the US suggests that eating artificial sweeteners could make people put on weight because experiments on laboratory rats showed that those eating food sweetened with artificial sweeteners ate more calories than their counterparts whose food was sweetened with normal sugar.

The study is the work of Drs Susan Swithers and Terry Davidson, two psychologists based at the Ingestive Behavior Research Center at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, and is to be published in the February 2008 issue of Behavioral Neuroscience, a journal of the American Psychological Association (APA).

The authors suggest that a sweet taste may cause animals to anticipate the calorie content of food, and eating artificial sweeteners with little or no calories undermines this connection, leading to energy imbalance by increasing food intake or reducing energy expenditure.

They conducted three sets of experiments on adult male laboratory rats who were put in two groups. One group was given yogurt sweetened with glucose (equivalent to table sugar, containing 15 calories a teaspoon), and the other group was given yogurt sweetened with zero-calorie saccharin.

The rats that had the saccharin-sweetened yogurt consumed more calories, put on more weight, gained more body fat, and did not cut back on their calorie consumption in the longer term.

All these results were statistically significant, said the authors, who argued that by breaking the link between the sweet taste and the anticipated high calorie food, the saccharin changed the body's ability to control food intake.

They also suggested that the change depends on experience, which might explain why the obesity epidemic in humans has gone up in line with increased use of artificial sweeteners, and why scientists fail to agree on the effect of artificial sweeteners on humans: some research shows weight loss, others show weight gain or no effect at all. Swithers said it could be because those studies did not take into account prior consumption and that people have different experiences with artificial and natural sweeteners.

The authors also measured changes in the core body temperature of the rats. Usually, when the body of an animal gets ready to eat, the "metabolic engine" revs up, which raises the core temperature of the body. But when they gave the rats fed on saccharin sweetened yogurt a new, sweet tasting, high calorie meal, their core body temperature did not go up as much as that of the rats who had been fed on yogurt sweetened with glucose.

Swithers and Davidson argued this was because the saccharin fed rats had a blunted response that had the double effect of making them eat more and making it harder for them to burn off calories. As they explained in their paper:

"The data clearly indicate that consuming a food sweetened with no-calorie saccharin can lead to greater body-weight gain and adiposity than would consuming the same food sweetened with a higher-calorie sugar."

Although they recognized that these results may be contrary to expectations, and indeed the news may not be well received by clinicians and health professionals who support the use of low and zero calorie sweeteners as a way to lose weight, and this data is based on rats and not humans, the authors pointed out their findings are in line with increasing similar evidence. More and more studies are showing that people who consume more articially sweetened diet drinks are at higher risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of health problems that increases risk of heart disease and diabetes, and includes high abdominal fat, high blood pressure and insulin resistance.

The authors suggest that other artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame K, probably have a similar effect as saccharin. They also said that although they anticipate the results on the rats would be similar in humans, this it is yet to be demonstrated with human subjects.

Swithers and Davidson pointed out that it is not all doom and gloom. Although it takes more conscious effort, counting calories is still a good way to keep control of weight.

"A Role for Sweet Taste: Calorie Predictive Relations in Energy Regulation by Rats."
Susan E. Swithers and Terry L. Davidson.
Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol. 122, No. 1, February 2008.

Sources: American Psychological Association press release.
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AMRIX, A New Once-Daily Extended-Release Muscle Relaxant, Superior To Placebo

Cephalon, Inc. (Nasdaq: CEPH) announced the pooled analysis of two pivotal randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials showing that AMRIX® (cyclobenzaprine hydrochloride extended-release capsules), a new once-daily extended-release skeletal muscle relaxant, was superior to placebo. AMRIX had similar efficacy to cyclobenzaprine immediate-release (CIR) taken three times a day in alleviating acute muscle spasm associated with lower back and neck pain. In addition, less daytime drowsiness was observed with AMRIX compared to CIR, although such a comparison was not pre-specified in the statistical analysis plan. These results were presented today at the 24th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine in Orlando, FL.

"Typically, muscle relaxants are taken multiple times a day, which can make it difficult for some of my patients with acute muscle spasm associated with lower back and neck pain to adhere to their treatment regimen," said Arnold J. Weil, MD, of Non-Surgical Orthopaedics in Atlanta, GA, and the lead investigator in these studies. "With data supporting AMRIX as an effective once-daily treatment, health care professionals now have an easy-to-administer treatment option to offer their patients who are suffering from acute muscle spasm."

The data, which were the basis for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of AMRIX, were pooled from two identical 14-day randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter studies, evaluating a total of 504 adults across four study arms (AMRIX 15 mg, AMRIX 30 mg, placebo, and CIR 10 mg three times daily). These participants had moderate-to-severe muscle spasm of cervical or lumbar origin associated with local pain, tenderness, limitation of motion, and restrictions of daily living. In these studies, patients and physicians assessed how helpful the medication was in the treatment of acute muscle spasm. Primary endpoints of the clinical trials were Patient's Rating of Medication Helpfulness at day four of treatment and Physician's Clinical Global Assessment at day four.

Study results of the Patient's Rating of Medication Helpfulness, a measure of efficacy, showed that a higher proportion of patients (p<0.025) taking AMRIX 15 mg (56.0 percent; n=116) and AMRIX 30 mg (56.7 percent; n=120) reported "good" to "excellent" responses compared with the placebo group (40.0 percent; n=115) at day four. The distribution of responses for AMRIX and CIR was similar. The trials did not demonstrate significant differences among the study groups on the Physician's Clinical Global Assessment at day four.

In a scale of Patient-Rated Daytime Drowsiness at day four, more patients in the AMRIX groups (15 mg, 50.4 percent, and 30 mg, 42.1 percent) had "no to very little" drowsiness compared with the CIR group (28.8 percent). As expected, more patients in the AMRIX groups had daytime drowsiness compared with placebo.

The majority of all adverse events reported in these trials were mild in intensity. The most common side effects of AMRIX (greater than or equal to three percent) were dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and constipation. Somnolence (a state of drowsiness) was the most common adverse event leading to discontinuation (two patients in the AMRIX 30 mg group and eight in the CIR group).


AMRIX is indicated for short-term use (up to two or three weeks) for relief of muscle spasm associated with acute, painful musculoskeletal conditions. The first and only once-daily muscle relaxant, AMRIX is available in 15 and 30 mg dosage strengths.

AMRIX is contraindicated with concomitant use of monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors or within 14 days after their discontinuation; in patients during the acute recovery phase of myocardial infarction; in patients with arrhythmias, heart block conduction disturbances, or congestive heart failure; and in patients with hyperthyroidism. AMRIX may enhance the effects of alcohol, barbiturates, and other CNS depressants. AMRIX should not be used in elderly patients or in patients with impaired hepatic function. AMRIX should be used with caution in patients with a history of urinary retention, angle-closure glaucoma, increased intraocular pressure, and in patients taking anticholinergic medication.

About Cephalon, Inc.

Founded in 1987, Cephalon, Inc. is an international biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative products in four core therapeutic areas: central nervous system, pain, oncology and addiction. A member of the Fortune 1000, Cephalon currently employs approximately 3,000 people in the United States and Europe. U.S. sites include the company's headquarters in Frazer, Pennsylvania, and offices, laboratories or manufacturing facilities in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Salt Lake City, Utah, and suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota. The company's European headquarters are located in Maisons-Alfort, France.

The company's proprietary products in the United States include: PROVIGIL® (modafinil) Tablets [C-IV], FENTORA® (fentanyl buccal tablet) [C-II], TRISENOX® (arsenic trioxide) injection, AMRIX, VIVITROL® (naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension), GABITRIL® (tiagabine hydrochloride), NUVIGIL™ (armodafinil) Tablets [C-IV] and ACTIQ® (oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate) [C-II]. The company also markets numerous products internationally.

Cephalon, Inc.
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LATISSE™ - New Prescription Product Increases Length, Thickness And Darkness Of Eyelashes

Allergan, Inc. (NYSE: AGN) today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved LATISSE™ (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) 0.03% as a novel treatment for hypotrichosis of the eyelashes. Eyelash hypotrichosis is another name for having inadequate or not enough eyelashes. LATISSE™ is the first and only science-based treatment approved by the FDA to enhance eyelash prominence as measured by increases in length, thickness and darkness of eyelashes.

"LATISSE™ fulfills a significant and previously unmet need in the medical aesthetic marketplace with a product approved by the FDA that increases the growth of eyelashes, making them longer, thicker and darker," said Scott Whitcup, M.D., Allergan's Executive Vice President of Research and Development. "As the global leader in medical aesthetics, LATISSE™ exemplifies our continuing commitment to developing innovative treatments that are studied in well-controlled clinical trials, manufactured to pharmaceutical standards, appropriately labeled for use, and available to consumers as a prescription product."

Available only through a doctor, LATISSE™ is a once-daily prescription treatment applied to the base of the upper eyelashes with a sterile, single-use-per-eye disposable applicator. LATISSE™ users can expect to experience longer, fuller and darker eyelashes in as little as eight weeks, with full results in 16 weeks. To maintain effect, continued treatment with LATISSE™ is required. If use of LATISSE™ is discontinued, eyelashes will gradually return to where they were prior to treatment over a period of weeks to months (average eyelash hair cycle).

Similar to Allergan's other medical aesthetic offerings, the benefits of LATISSE™ are derived from scientific evidence, its quality formulation, and medical origin. LATISSE™ was clinically tested in a pivotal Phase III, multi-center, double-masked, placebo-controlled study to assess its safety and efficacy in which all endpoints (improved eyelash prominence, length, thickness and darkness) were met. In addition, like BOTOX® (botulinum toxin type A), which was first approved by the FDA as a medical treatment for eye disorders and was later found to have an aesthetic benefit, bimatoprost, the active ingredient in LATISSE™, was first approved in 2001 as a medical product to lower intraocular pressure in people with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Patients treated with bimatoprost for this specific eye condition experienced eyelash growth as a side effect. The long-term safety of bimatoprost for therapeutic use has been recognized by the medical community and well established based on use in 32 clinical trials involving more than 5,700 glaucoma patients and more than 13 years of clinical trial experience. Given the existing and substantial clinical and post-marketing safety data with bimatoprost solution 0.03%, coupled with the positive results from the Phase III LATISSE™ study, LATISSE™ provides patients a clinically meaningful aesthetic benefit with a favorable safety profile.

Bimatoprost is the active pharmaceutical ingredient in the formulation of LATISSE™ and is a structural prostaglandin analog, a lipid compound derived from fatty acids designed to bind to prostaglandin (PG) receptors. PG receptors are present in hair, particularly in the dermal papilla and outer root sheath. Although the precise mechanism of action is unknown, PG receptors are thought to be involved in the development and regrowth of the hair follicle,1 by increasing the percent of hairs in, and the duration of, the anagen or growth phase.

"As an oculoplastic surgeon who has treated both medical eye conditions as well as aesthetic needs, I have extensive knowledge of and experience with the established therapeutic safety profile for bimatoprost," said Steven Fagien, M.D., F.A.C.S., in private practice at Aesthetic Eyelid Plastic Surgery in Boca Raton, Florida, and LATISSE™ clinical investigator. "In the clinical study with LATISSE™, I observed statistically significant differences in eyelash growth and resulting patient satisfaction. Now that LATISSE™ is FDA approved, I look forward to prescribing it to my patients who will enjoy the benefits of more prominent eyelashes while I remain confident in the treatment's favorable safety profile."

LATISSE™ will be available in the United States by prescription only and is subject to all U.S. guidelines applicable to dispensing a prescription product. Based on today's FDA approval, Allergan expects to launch the product nationwide in the first quarter of 2009. Doctors and consumers are encouraged to visit for further product and prescribing information.

Allergan estimates global peak sales of LATISSE™ could exceed $500 million per year. As the exclusive U.S. and foreign patent owner, Allergan obtains the rights to the use of bimatoprost and other prostaglandins and prostaglandin analogs as a treatment to stimulate eyelash growth.

LATISSE™ Clinical Development Program

In the pivotal Phase III study, 278 healthy adult patients with no active ocular disease and with baseline minimal or moderate eyelash prominence were randomized to apply either LATISSE™ or vehicle to both upper eyelid margins once daily for 16 weeks. The primary efficacy endpoint was overall eyelash prominence at the end of the 16-week treatment period as measured by a ≥1-grade improvement on a 4-point Global Eyelash Assessment Scale. Secondary efficacy endpoints were eyelash length, thickness, and darkness as determined by Digital Image Analysis of patient photographs taken in a standardized manner.

All of the endpoints in the LATISSE™ pivotal trial were met. By the end of the 16-week treatment period, patients treated with LATISSE™ experienced statistically significant greater improvement (p < 0.0001 for each endpoint) than those in the vehicle group in the measurements of eyelash prominence, length, thickness and darkness. LATISSE™ was also well tolerated with the most commonly reported adverse events being non-serious and cosmetic in nature. Common adverse events observed in the clinical trial included eye redness (3.6%), itchy eyes (3.6%) and skin hyperpigmentation (2.9%).

Important LATISSE™ Safety Information

LATISSE™ solution is intended for use on the skin of the upper eyelid margins at the base of the eyelashes. DO NOT APPLY to the lower eyelid. If you are using LUMIGAN® or other products in the same class for elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), or if you have a history of abnormal IOP, you should only use LATISSE™ under the close supervision of your doctor.

LATISSE™ use may cause darkening of the eyelid skin which may be reversible. Although not reported in clinical studies, LATISSE™ use may also cause increased brown pigmentation of the colored part of the eye which is likely to be permanent.

It is possible for hair growth to occur in other areas of your skin that LATISSE™ frequently touches. Any excess solution outside the upper eyelid margin should be blotted with a tissue or other absorbent material to reduce the chance of this from happening. It is also possible for a difference in eyelash length, thickness, fullness, pigmentation, number of eyelash hairs, and/or direction of eyelash growth to occur between eyes. These differences, should they occur, will usually go away if you stop using LATISSE™.

The most common side effects after using LATISSE™ solution are an itching sensation in the eyes and/or eye redness. This was reported in approximately 4% of patients. LATISSE™ solution may cause other less common side effects which typically occur on the skin close to where LATISSE™ is applied, or in the eyes. These include skin darkening, eye irritation, dryness of the eyes, and redness of the eyelids.

If you develop a new ocular condition (e.g., trauma or infection), experience a sudden decrease in visual acuity, have ocular surgery, or develop any ocular reactions, particularly conjunctivitis and eyelid reactions, you should immediately seek your doctor's advice concerning the continued use of LATISSE™ solution.

Full prescribing information is available at

Important BOTOX® and BOTOX® Cosmetic (Botulinum Toxin Type A) Information

BOTOX® is approved for the treatment of cervical dystonia in adults to decrease the severity of abnormal head position and neck pain associated with cervical dystonia.

BOTOX® is approved for the treatment of strabismus and blepharospasm associated with dystonia, including benign essential blepharospasm or VII nerve disorders in patients 12 years of age and above.

The efficacy of BOTOX® treatment in deviations over 50 prism diopters, in restrictive strabismus, in Duane's syndrome with lateral rectus weakness, and in secondary strabismus caused by prior surgical over-recession of the antagonist has not been established. BOTOX® is ineffective in chronic paralytic strabismus except when used in conjunction with surgical repair to reduce antagonist contracture.

And BOTOX® is approved for the treatment of severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis that is inadequately managed with topical agents.

BOTOX® Cosmetic is approved for the temporary treatment of moderate to severe frown lines between the brows in people ages 18 - 65.

Important Safety Information

Who should not be treated with BOTOX® and BOTOX® Cosmetic

BOTOX® injections should not be given to people who have an infection where the physician proposes to inject. They should not be given to people who are known to be sensitive to any ingredient in the BOTOX® product.


Serious heart problems and serious allergic reactions have been reported rarely. If you think you're having an allergic reaction or other reaction, such as difficulty swallowing, speaking, or breathing, call your doctor immediately.

Patients with certain neuromuscular disorders such as ALS, myasthenia gravis, or Lambert-Eaton syndrome may be at increased risk of serious side effects.

Patients with neuromuscular disorders may be at increased risk of clinically significant systemic effects including severe dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) and respiratory compromise from typical doses of BOTOX® and BOTOX® Cosmetic.

Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) is a commonly reported adverse event following treatment of cervical dystonia patients with all botulinum toxins. In these patients, there are reports of rare cases of dysphagia severe enough to warrant the insertion of a gastric feeding tube.


Patients or caregivers should be advised to seek immediate medical attention if swallowing, speech, or respiratory disorders arise.

Side Effects

Localized pain, infection, inflammation, tenderness, swelling, redness and/or bruising may be associated with the injection.

In cervical dystonia, the most common side effects following injection include difficulty swallowing (19%), upper respiratory infection (12%), neck pain (11%), and headache (11%).

In blepharospasm, the most common side effects following injection include ptosis (20.8%), inflammation of the cornea (6.3%), and eye dryness (6.3%).

In strabismus, the most common side effects following injection include ptosis (15.7%) and vertical deviation (16.9%).

In severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis, the most common side effects (3-10% of patients) include injection-site pain and bleeding, non-underarm sweating, infection, sore throat, flu, headache, fever, neck or back pain, itching and anxiety.

The most common side effects following BOTOX® Cosmetic injections include temporary eyelid droop and nausea.

Please see full product information at and

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains "forward-looking statements," including the statements by Dr. Whitcup, Dr. Fagien and other statements regarding the safety, effectiveness, approval and market potential associated with LATISSE™, BOTOX® and BOTOX® Cosmetic. These statements are based on current expectations of future events. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results could vary materially from Allergan's expectations and projections. Risks and uncertainties include, among other things, general industry, biologic and pharmaceutical market conditions; technological advances and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in the research and development and regulatory processes; inconsistency of treatment results among patients; potential difficulties in manufacturing; general economic conditions; and governmental laws and regulations affecting domestic and foreign operations. Allergan expressly disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements except as required by law. Additional information concerning these and other risk factors can be found in press releases issued by Allergan, as well as Allergan's public periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the discussion under the heading "Risk Factors" in Allergan's 2007 Form 10-K and subsequently filed Forms 10-Q.

About Allergan, Inc.

Founded in 1950, Allergan, Inc., with headquarters in Irvine, California, is a multi-specialty health care company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative pharmaceuticals, biologics and medical devices that enable people to live life to its greatest potential - to see more clearly, move more freely, express themselves more fully. The Company employs more than 8,500 people worldwide and operates state-of-the-art R&D facilities and world-class manufacturing plants. In addition to its discovery-to-development research organization, Allergan has global marketing and sales capabilities with a presence in more than 100 countries.

Allergan Medical, a division of Allergan, Inc., offers the most comprehensive, science-based, aesthetic product offerings under its Total Facial Rejuvenation™ portfolio, including BOTOX® Cosmetic; hyaluronic acid and collagen-based dermal fillers; and physician-dispensed skin care products. Allergan Medical also offers the industry's widest range of silicone gel-filled and saline-filled breast implant options for reconstructive and aesthetic breast surgery, and leading minimally invasive devices for obesity intervention treatment.
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VA Announces Changes To The Disability Rating Schedule For Traumatic Brain Injuries And Burn Scars

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced changes in the way VA will evaluate traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and burn scars for purposes of determining the appropriate level of compensation veterans receive for these injuries.

"These important regulatory changes will allow VA decision makers to better assess the consequences of these injuries and ensure veterans are properly compensated for their residual effects," stated Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake.

VA has revised the Disability Rating Schedule in light of current scientific and medical knowledge in order to provide VA employees with more detailed and up-to-date criteria for evaluating and compensating veterans with these injuries.

Two groups of veterans may be affected by these changes. The first group includes veterans who will be awarded disability compensation for TBI and burn injuries in the future. The second group includes veterans already receiving compensation for these injuries whose disabilities are reevaluated under the new criteria.

The effects of blast injuries resulting from roadside explosions of improvised explosive devices have been common sources of injury in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and appear to be somewhat different from the effects of trauma seen from other sources of injury.

As of September 2008, there are more than 22,000 veterans being compensated for TBI, of whom more than 5,800 are veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Traumatic brain injuries result in immediate effects such as loss or alteration of consciousness, amnesia and sometimes neurological impairments. These abnormalities may all be transient, but more prolonged or even permanent problems with a wide range of impairment in such areas as physical, mental, and emotional/behavioral functioning may occur.

More than 90 percent of combat-related TBIs are closed head injuries, with most service members sustaining a mild TBI or concussion. Difficulties after TBI may include headache, sleep difficulties, decreased memory and attention, slower thinking, irritability, and depression.

For the latest news releases and other information, visit VA on the Internet at To receive e-mail copies of news releases, subscribe to VA's list server at:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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Active Ingredient In Florastor Probiotic Clinically Proven To Boost Efficacy Of Treatment For Clostridium Difficile-Associated Disease

C. diff-associated disease (CDAD), otherwise known as severe intestinal disease brought on by the Clostridium difficile (C. diff) pathogen, has been the subject of heightened concern in the medical community. A new report released this month by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality revealed a 200 percent increase in potentially fatal diarrheal infections in U.S. hospitals between 2000 and 2005. Additionally, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) is launching the first national prevalence study for C. diff beginning May 1.

According to Patricia Raymond, MD, FACP, FACG, a Chesapeake, Virginia-based gastroenterologist, associate professor of clinical medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School and host of the soon-to-be-launched "Your Health Choice" radio program, traditional treatment for C. diff-associated disease is the use of powerful antibiotics such as metronidazole or vancomycin, but one of the most troublesome aspects of the disease is it's high rate of recurrence. But studies show that adding the yeast-based probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii (sold under the brand name Florastor®), can cut the rate of recurrence by about half.

"Almost one in four CDAD patients will experience a recurrence of symptoms after a round of antibiotic therapy alone," says Dr. Raymond. "C. difficile colitis has been in the news recently as more virulent strains are emerging. These more toxic bugs lead to higher rates of surgery for colon removal and death from the infection. Doctors are using everything in their toolboxes to combat C. difficile, and one of our proven tools is Saccharomyces boulardii. When a relapse occurs, use of Florastor during the antibiotic course can help protect against future relapses."

A recent meta-analysis of 31 studies compiled and published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology concluded that S. boulardii is the only probiotic that is effective in fighting recurrent C. diff-associated disease1 Additionally, an article in the March 2006 issue of Gastroenterology and Hepatology showed that use of S. boulardii provided an almost 50 percent decrease in subsequent recurrence among patients who suffered recurrent CDAD symptoms.2 "Because Florastor (S. boulardii) is a yeast and not a bacteria, it is not killed by the strong antibiotics that are being used to kill the C. diff bacteria, so it survives in the digestive tract," says Dr. Raymond. "When the 'baby' C. diff emerge from their spores, they are greeted by a well-colonized gut, rather than an empty playground."

CDAD is usually indicated by severe abdominal pain, diarrhea with mucous and blood passage, and fever. Dr. Raymond advises those exhibiting these symptoms to see a physician immediately to be tested for the presence of the C. diff toxins and to be prescribed proper antibiotics, since over-the-counter anti-diarrheal agents should be avoided.

"Traditional OTC anti-diarrheal products actually slow down the speed of fluids moving through your bowels, and, in the case of C. diff, keeping the bacteria in the bowels is actually a bad thing," she adds.

Healthcare practitioners are advised to adhere to strict hand-washing policies in offices and hospitals to help prevent the spread of this and other types of bacteria.

Florastor has shown in more than 50 years of extensive international use to be safe and effective, with an estimated 1.7 billion daily doses sold to date. It is mentioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) for use in the management of C.diff-associated disease.3


After recently undergoing voluntary testing, Florastor has been named to the list of Approved Quality products on, the leading provider of independent test results and information to help consumers and healthcare professionals evaluate health, wellness and nutrition products.

Florastor is available in most retail chain pharmacies, and at independent pharmacies.

Visit to find out where to purchase Florastor in your area. It is commonly found in the anti-diarrheal/stomach aid section, and can also be obtained by asking the pharmacist (many stores keep Florastor the product behind the counter).
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Does Weather Affect Arthritis Pain?

With the winter weather biting hard in many parts of the country, you may be one of the many arthritis sufferers who feel that their arthritis pain is influenced by the weather -- specifically, that they experience more arthritis pain on cold, rainy days and less arthritis pain on warm, dry days.

Johns Hopkins Health Alerts reports on two recent research studies on whether climate really does affect arthritis pain, which have produced conflicting results. The Johns Hopkins Health Alerts editors have also just released a free Special Report on Arthritis Pain Relief to help arthritis sufferers with the latest news on the most effective arthritis pain relief strategies.

What the Research on Arthritis Pain Shows

One study looked for a relationship between weather and arthritis pain in 151 people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or fibromyalgia (a rheumatic disorder that causes joint pain) as well as 32 people without arthritis. All participants lived in Cordoba City, Argentina, which has a warm climate. Participants kept a journal for one year recording the presence and features of any pain, and these daily reports were matched with weather conditions such as temperature, barometric pressure, and relative humidity.

Patients in all three groups experienced more pain on days when the temperature was low, while people in the control group were unaffected by any of the weather conditions. In addition, patients with rheumatoid arthritis were affected by high humidity and high pressure; osteoarthritis patients by high humidity; and those with fibromyalgia by high pressure. However, the associations were not strong enough to allow pain to predict weather, or vice versa.

Another study looked at 154 people (average age 72) who lived in Florida and had osteoarthritis of the neck, hand, shoulder, knee, or foot. Participants reported their arthritis pain scores for up to two years, then researchers matched the scores with the daily temperature, barometric pressure, and precipitation status. No significant associations were found between any of the weather conditions and osteoarthritis pain at any site, except for a slight association between rising barometric pressure and hand pain in women.

A Mild Case for Warmer Weather

Although some evidence exists that people living in warmer, drier climates experience fewer episodes of arthritis pain, climate does not affect the course of the disease. At most, it may affect symptoms of arthritis pain.

One theory holds that a drop in air pressure (which often accompanies cold, rainy weather) allows tissues in the body to expand to fill the space, meaning that already inflamed tissue can swell even more and cause increased arthritis pain. Other possibilities: Pain thresholds drop in colder weather; cold, rainy days affect mood; and during colder weather people are less likely to be outside and get the exercise that normally helps keep arthritis pain in check.

So does this possible link between cold, rainy weather and arthritis pain mean that people with arthritis should you should move to a dry, warm climate like Arizona? Not necessarily, especially if it means leaving your family, friends, doctors, and support system behind. If you are thinking of moving, first spend a considerable amount of time in your new location to see if the weather affects your arthritis pain symptoms.

But bear in mind that no environment is arthritis-proof: Even though the people in these research studies live in warm climates, they still struggle with arthritis pain. Similarly, it's possible to get relief from arthritis pain in any climate. For example, even if cold weather means you can't spend time outdoors, you can still get valuable exercise in a gym or heated pool.

Johns Hopkins Guide to Arthritis Pain Relief: A free Johns Hopkins Special Report

The free Johns Hopkins Guide to Arthritis Pain Relief is designed to give you an overview of the latest research and findings from Johns Hopkins' specialists on the dos and don'ts of arthritis pain relief.

The free Johns Hopkins Guide to Arthritis Pain Relief deals with both osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), to help keep you up to date on the latest news on the most safe, effective arthritis pain relief strategies.

To download your free copy of The free Johns Hopkins Guide to Arthritis Pain Relief, please visit: Johns Hopkins Health Alerts Arthritis Pain Relief Special Report

Johns Hopkins Medicine
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Clinical Trial Shows Ubiquinol Has Significant Effect On Patients With Congestive Heart Failure

Patients suffering from advanced congestive heart failure exhibited significantly improved heart function after supplementing with ubiquinol, according to a recent clinical trial. Ubiquinol, only available in supplement form since late 2006, is the active antioxidant form of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10, a vitamin-like substance found in every cell in the body, plays a vital role in cellular energy production and protects cells from free radical damage.

In the first clinical trial evaluating ubiquinol effects on late-stage congestive heart failure, cardiologist Peter Langsjoen found that critically ill patients who supplemented with ubiquinol for just three months experienced a 24 to 50 percent increase in their hearts' ability to pump blood. In some cases, patients' plasma levels of CoQ10, which are key to overall heart health, more than tripled. At the start of the study, each of the patients evaluated had a life expectancy of less than six months. However, all demonstrated significantly improved heart function by the trial's end, and survived past initial expectations.

"The effects of ubiquinol on late-stage heart failure patients resulted in striking improvements beyond anything I've seen in 25 years of cardiology practice," said Dr. Langsjoen, who conducted the research in Tyler, Texas. "It is my strong feeling that this ubiquinol product is a major breakthrough."

Scientists at Kaneka Corporation, the world's largest manufacturer of CoQ10, developed the method to produce ubiquinol, commercially available as KanekaQH™, for supplemental use. Because the reduced ubiquinol reverts back to CoQ10 when exposed to air and light, the process of stabilizing the nutrient outside of the body took more than a decade to test and perfect before it was launched a little more than a year ago.

"Over the last several years, our team of scientists have documented that KanekaQH can be several times more absorbable than CoQ10, but to see that higher bioavailability translate into such staggering improvements in these patients' lives is particularly gratifying," said Dr. Robert Barry of Kaneka Nutrients, L.P., who recently released a book entitled The Power of KanekaQH™ (Ubiquinol): The Key to Energy, Vitality and a Healthy Heart in which he documents some of the most intriguing research to date on CoQ10 and ubiquinol in regards to aging and heart health.

The oxidized form of CoQ10, ubiquinone, was first used as a dietary supplement for cardiac patients in Japan 40 years ago. It has since gained popularity worldwide for the many health and condition-specific benefits identified in the thousands of studies conducted since its discovery in 1957.

Two forms of CoQ10: Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol

Both ubiquinone and ubiquinol are essential to generating cellular energy and sustaining life; however, the reduced form, ubiquinol, is responsible for the powerful antioxidant benefits associated with CoQ10. More than 90 percent of the CoQ10 found in a healthy person's plasma is in its reduced ubiquinol form.

For the past 40 years, only ubiquinone was available as a supplement. KanekaQH™, the world's only supplemental ubiquinol, has only been available for the past year. The ingredient, manufactured exclusively by Kaneka, is currently available in more than 30 consumer supplements and is the subject of a number of new trials expected to begin in 2008.

"Cardiovascular patients, those fighting age-related diseases and even healthy people over the age of 40 have a critical need to optimize plasma CoQ10 levels within their bodies," explained Dr. Barry. "Because it's so much better absorbed by the body, KanekaQH™ can raise CoQ10 levels more effectively and, as we're seeing from Dr. Langsjoen's study, can have tremendous health impact on those suffering from debilitating diseases."

An abstract of Dr. Langsjoen's supplemental ubiquinol study is available at Full results of the study are expected to be published in a major scientific journal in 2008.

More information on supplemental ubiquinol is available at

For more information on the numerous clinical research conducted on CoQ10 over the past 50 years, visit

About Kaneka Nutrients

Kaneka Nutrients L.P. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kaneka Corporation (, headquartered in Japan. The company, based in Pasadena, Texas, manufactures an array of unique nutritional ingredients for the supplement and food & beverage industries. Kaneka is the largest manufacturer of CoQ10 in the world, and the only company that manufactures CoQ10 in the U.S.

Kaneka Nutrients
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Scientists Explain How Alcohol Causes Hypoglycemia (Too Low Blood Sugar)

Scientists at the leading Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have now disclosed the mystery how alcohol may cause exaggerated insulin secretion resulting in severe hypoglycemia (too low blood sugar). This mechanism, which is described in the latest number of Endocrinology, explains how alcohol ingestion may harm the human brain by decreasing the blood glucose concentration to inappropriately low levels.

Hypoglycemia induced by alcohol ingestion is a well known clinical problem in diabetic patients. However, the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon have largely remained elusive. Since insulin secretion can be rapidly tuned by changes in pancreatic microcirculation, scientists at the Stockholm South Hospital Diabetes Research Center, Karolinska Institutet, evaluated the influence of alcohol administration on pancreatic islet blood flow and dynamic changes in insulin secretion and blood sugar levels.

"We have now found that alcohol exerts substantial influences on pancreatic microcirculation by evoking a massive redistribution of pancreatic blood flow from the exocrine into the endocrine (insulin-producing) part via mechanisms mediated by the messenger molecule nitric oxide and the vagus nerve, augmenting late phase insulin secretion, and thereby evoking hypoglycemia" says lead investigator Åke Sjöholm.

According to Professor Sjöholm the discovery is very important. This novel mechanism may in part underlie the well known hypoglycemic properties of alcohol in diabetic patients or in alcoholics with hepatic failure.

Investigators note that their study might also be relevant to "the derailed metabolic situation in diabetic subjects." Alcohol intake might provoke sustained hypoglycemia in type 2 diabetes patients being treated with hypoglycemic sulfonylureas, such as glibenclamide, because many of these drugs have a long biological half-life. Furthermore, many alcoholics are malnourished and/or have liver cirrhosis and might therefore be unable to mount a gluconeogenetic response to hypoglycemia, Professor Sjöholm says.

Zhen Huang, and Åke Sjöholm.
"Ethanol acutely stimulates islet blood flow, amplifies insulin secretion, and induces hypoglycemia via NO and vagally mediated mechanisms"
Endocrinology (2008); 149: 232-236.

To the Research Group - KISO-S Diabetes Research Unit

Södersjukhuset (Stockholm South General Hospital) provides emergency medical care to half a million Stockholmers. Each year, close to 90, 000 people come here for emergency treatment, some 47, 000 patients are hospitalised and about 6, 000 children are delivered.

Södersjukhuset has the largest Emergency Care Unit in the Nordic region.

The high number of admissions ensures consistent refinement of staff skills as well as providing excellent opportunities for clinical research and teaching.

Stockholm South General Hospital
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10 Warning Signs You Might Have Kidney Disease

Twenty-six million Americans-more than the entire population of New York state-suffer from chronic kidney disease. And another 20 million are at increased risk - yet, many may not know it.

In observation of Kidney Disease Awareness and Education Week, Aug. 11-15, Fresenius Medical Care North America reminds people to look for symptoms that might be an indication of kidney disease.

"With so many people already diagnosed with conditions that can lead to kidney disease, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, educating the community is more important than ever," says Joseph Pulliam, M.D., a nephrologist (kidney specialist) at Fresenius Medical Care. "Unfortunately, far too many people don't recognize the warning signs until it's too late."

10 Symptoms of Kidney Disease

  • Changes in urination
  • Swelling of face, hands, and/or feet
  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Headache, feeling dizzy
  • Having trouble thinking clearly
  • Severe itching not related to a bite or rash
  • Shortness of breath, or feeling that you can't catch your breath
  • Loss of appetite, or change in the way foods taste
  • High blood pressure
If you have these symptoms, you should check with your doctor. Also, to help educate people about kidney disease, Fresenius offers a free Treatment Options Program (TOP) in local communities across the country. The program is targeted toward at-risk patients and their families. At the TOP sessions, Fresenius nurses and staff talk about managing chronic kidney disease, transplantation, dialysis choices and patient support services. The sessions are open to the public.

Kidney Disease Awareness and Education Week is sponsored annually by the American Nephrology Nurses' Association (ANNA) as a way to educate policy makers about the needs of patients suffering from, or at risk for, end stage renal disease.

"Early detection and treatment are the best tools for slowing or halting the progression of kidney disease," says ANNA President Sue Cary, M.N., A.P.R.N., N.P., C.N.N. "During Kidney Disease Awareness and Education Week, we are trying to make policy makers and the general public more aware of kidney disease, treatment options, and related legislative issues."

To learn more about general kidney health or to find a TOP session near you, please visit (in English and Spanish).
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Are Animals Stuck In Time?

Dog owners, who have noticed that their four-legged friend seem equally delighted to see them after five minutes away as five hours, may wonder if animals can tell when time passes. Newly published research from The University of Western Ontario may bring us closer to answering that very question.

The results of the research, entitled "Episodic-Like Memory in Rats: Is it Based on When or How Long Ago," appear in the current issue of the journal Science.

William Roberts and his colleagues in Western's Psychology Department found that rats are able to keep track of how much time has passed since they discovered a piece of cheese, be it a little or a lot, but they don't actually form memories of when the discovery occurred. That is, the rats can't place the memories in time.

The research team, led by Roberts, designed an experiment in which rats visited the 'arms' of a maze at different times of day. Some arms contained moderately desirable food pellets, and one arm contained a highly desirable piece of cheese. Rats were later returned to the maze with the cheese removed on certain trials and with the cheese replaced with a pellet on others.

All told, three groups of rats were tested in the research using three varying cues: when, how long ago or when plus how long ago.

Only the cue of how long ago food was encountered was used successfully by the rats.

These results, the researchers say, suggest that episodic-like memory in rats is qualitatively different from human episodic memory, which involves retention of the point in past time when an event occurred.

"The rats remember whether they did something, such as hoarded food a few hours or five days ago," explained Roberts. "The more time that has passed, the weaker the memory may be. Rats may learn to follow different courses of action using weak and strong memory traces as cues, thus responding differently depending on how long ago an event occurred. However, they do not remember that the event occurred at a specific point in past time."

Previous studies have suggested that rats and scrub jays (a relative of the crow and the blue jay) appear to remember storing or discovering various foods, but it hasn't been clear whether the animals were remembering exactly when these events happened or how much time had elapsed.

"This research," said Roberts, "supports the theory I introduced that animals are stuck in time, with no sense of time extending into the past or future."

Source: William Roberts
The University of Western Ontario
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Iced Tea's Hidden Risk Of Painful Kidney Stones

Mark Mulac was once an "avid lover" of iced tea, downing up to six glasses a day of the popular summertime thirst-quencher.

"I was a junkie on a bender. I had to have it every day," said Mulac, a resident of Brookfield, Ill. "Iced tea was very refreshing, cheap to buy and easy to make."

Unfortunately, Mulac was forced to go cold turkey. Iced tea helped to bring on an excruciating bout of kidney stones that led to surgery at Loyola University Hospital in Maywood, Ill.

"The pain was so bad that once it felt like I was delivering a child made out of razor blades," said the 46-year-old Mulac. "I really had no idea that iced tea could lead to that."

Iced tea contains high concentrations of oxalate, one of the key chemicals that lead to the formation of kidney stones, a common disorder of the urinary tract that affects about 10 percent of the population in the United States.

"For many people, iced tea is potentially one of the worst things they can drink," said Dr. John Milner, instructor, department of urology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Ill. "For people who have a tendency to form kidney stones, it's definitely one of the worst things you can drink."

Kidney stones are crystals that form in the kidneys or ureters, the small tubes that drain the urine from the kidney to the bladder. Men are four times more likely to develop kidney stones than women, and their risk rises dramatically once they reach their 40s.

The most common cause of kidney stones is the failure to drink enough fluids. During the summer, people are generally more dehydrated due to sweating. The dehydration combined with increase iced tea consumption raises the risk of kidney stones, especially in people who are prone to develop them.

"People are told that in the summertime they should drink more fluids," said Milner, who treated Mulac's kidney stones. "A lot of people choose to drink more iced tea, thinking it's a tastier alternative. However, in terms of kidney stones, they're getting it going and coming. They're actually doing themselves a disservice."

The popularity of iced tea has grown dramatically with a whopping 1.91 billon gallons consumed a year in the U.S., according to the Tea Association of the U.S.A. Nearly 128 million Americans drink the beverage daily.

Much of iced tea's appeal is due to the belief that it is healthier than other beverages such as soda and beer.

"I stayed away from carbonated drinks for a long time because I thought it was upsetting my stomach and that it wasn't as good for me, but I guess overdid it with the iced tea," Mulac said.

To quench thirst and to properly hydrate, there is no better alternative than water, Milner said. You might try flavoring it with lemon slices. Lemonade helps to ward off kidney stones.

"Lemons are very high in citrates, which inhibit the growth of kidney stones," Milner said. "Lemonade, not the powdered variety that uses artificial flavoring, actually slows the development of kidney stones for those who are prone to the development of kidney stones."

Milner also said people concerned about developing kidney stones should cut back on eating foods that also contain high concentrations of oxalates such as spinach, chocolate, rhubarb and nuts. They should easy up on salt, eat meat sparingly, drink several glasses a water a day and don't avoid foods high in calcium, which reduces the amount of oxalate the body absorbs.

Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, Loyola University Health System is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb hospital campus and 22 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 570 licensed bed facility. It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Health & Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 250-bed community hospital, the Gottlieb Health & Fitness Center and the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Care Center.

Loyola University Health System
2160 S First Ave.
Maywood, IL 60153
United States
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What is a Gene? What are Genes?

Every living organism has genes. Genes are a set of instructions that decide what the organism is like, how it survives, and how it behaves in its environment.

The genes lie in long strands of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) called chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes - or a total of 46. A donkey has 31 pairs of chromosomes, a hedgehog has 44, and a fruit fly has just 4.

A gene consists of a long combination of four different nucleotide bases (chemicals). There are many possible combinations. The four nucleotides are:

A (adenine)

C (cytosine)

G (guanine)

T (thymine)

Different combinations of the letters ACGT give people different characteristics. For example, a person with the following combination - AAACCGGTTTTT - may have green eyes, while somebody whose combination is - AAACCGGTTTAA - may have blue eyes. If fact, the last two letters - TT - and - AA - mean the color, and the first ten letters - AAACCGGTTT - mean the eye. (this gene formula is a simplification; in reality they would be much longer).

So, to recap in slightly more detail:
  • Genes carry the codes ACGT. We have thousands of genes. They are like our computer program and make each one of us what we are. A gene is a tiny section of a long DNA double helix molecule, which consists of a linear sequence of base pairs. A gene is any section along the DNA that has instructions encoded that allow a cell to produce a specific product - usually, a protein, such as an enzyme - that triggers one precise action. There are between 50,000 and 100,000 genes, and every single gene is made up of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of chemical bases.

  • Chromosomes comes from the Greek Chroma, which means color, and Soma, which means body (chromosomes are stained very strongly by some dyes). Chromosomes are the long strands of DNA. They are organized structures of DNA and protein and are found in cells. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. An enormous number of genes lie in each chromosome strand. Scientists say that a chromosome is a single piece of DNA which has many genes, regulatory elements and other nucleotide sequences (sequences of the letters ACGT).

A chromosome consists of DNA and has proteins attached to it. These chromosomes are located in your body's cells, which then contain this important genetic information held in the long strands of DNA.

  • DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the chemical that appears in strands (see picture - below right). Every cell in your body has the same DNA. Each person's DNA is different - this is what makes each of us unique. DNA is made up of two long-paired strands spiraled into the famous double helix. Each strand contains millions of chemical building blocks called bases.

Your genes make you what you are

DNA Strand
a DNA strand - gene is a short section of this strand
Your genes decide virtually everything about you. Here is a list of some of the basic features and characteristics than your genes are programmed to do.

Your genes decide..
  • whether you are tall or not
  • the color of your hair
  • the color of your skin
  • whether you are more likely to develop certain diseases
  • whether you are good at sports
  • how you respond to environmental triggers
  • what you look like inside and out

Our genes are our inheritance

We get our genes from our parents. Scientists say that a gene is a basic unit of heredity in a living organism. Anything that lives depends on genes. They possess the data to build and maintain cells and pass genetic information to offspring.
Each of your cells contains two sets of chromosomes - one set came from your mother while the other came from your father - male sperm and the female egg carry a single set of 23 chromosomes each - 22 autosomes and an X or Y sex chromosome. If you are female you inherited an X chromosome from each parent - if you are male you inherited an X chromosome from your mother and a Y from your father.

The Human Genome Project (HGP)

The Human Genome Project was a global project aimed at determining the sequence of the chemical pairs that make up human DNA. The HGP had another goal - to identify and map the 20,000-25,000 or so genes that make up the Human Genome.
The undertaking started in 1990, headed by James Watson who worked at the NIH (National Institutes of Health), along with other scientists from the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Great Britain. The researchers came up with a working draft in 2000. Three years later, in 2003, the Human Genome Project was just about completed. Further analysis is still being published today.
Scientists say that mapping the human genome brings us much closer to developing effective treatments for hundreds of diseases.
Not only did the HGP focus on humans, it also looked at other organisms and animals, such as the fruit fly and E. coli.
The HGP is the largest single research ever carried out in modern science. Over three billion nucleotide combinations have been found in the human genome (combinations of ACGT). The project had aimed to sequence 95% of human DNA, so far 99.99% has been sequenced.

What is Gene Therapy?

Genes are inserted into a patient's cells and tissues to treat a disease, usually a hereditary disease. This science is still in its early stages. However, there has been some success.
Scientists are currently studying various ways of treating cancer using gene therapy. One is to try to enhance a healthy cell's ability to fight cancer. Another is to target the cancer cells themselves - to destroy them or prevent their growth.

Gene testing a person's susceptibility to cancer

BRCA1 is a gene which significantly raises a woman's chances of developing breast cancer. Today, it is possible for woman to have a test to find out whether she carries that gene. BRCA1 carriers have a 50% chance of passing the anomaly to each of their children.

Genetic tests to find your ideal treatment

Scientists say that one day we will be able to test a patient to find out which specific medicines are best for him or her, depending on that person's genetic makeup. Some medicines work well for some patients, but not for others.

News on Genetics

The Medical News Today website includes an individual category on genetics news, allowing you to keep up-to-date with the latest research via website, RSS, weekly newsletter and daily news alerts.

Sources - The Genome Project, NIH, Wikipedia.
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Increase In Anal Intercourse Involving At-Risk Teens And Young Adults

A new study by researchers at the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center suggests that the incidence of heterosexual anal sex is increasing among teens and young adults - particularly those who have recently had unprotected vaginal sex. These findings mirror recent data that show anal sex rates among adults doubled between the years 1995 and 2004.

The study, published online by the American Journal of Public Health, is among the first to report on the little-known factors associated with heterosexual anal intercourse among adolescents and young adults.

"The topic of anal intercourse is often considered taboo - especially when discussed in the context of youth relationships - even though we know that this behavior is a significant risk factor for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. It's critical that we recognize that more and more young people are engaging in anal sex so we can open the lines of communications and help them protect their sexual health," says lead author Celia Lescano, PhD, of the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center (BHCRC).

Researchers assessed the sexual behavior of 1,348 adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 21 who had unprotected sex in the previous three months. They found that 16 percent had engaged in heterosexual anal intercourse within the timeframe, with condoms being used just 29 percent of the time.

Females who had heterosexual anal sex were more likely to be living with their partners, to have two or more sexual partners and to have previously experienced coerced intercourse. Males who engaged in heterosexual anal intercourse were more likely to identify themselves as being homosexual, bisexual or undecided.

"These findings suggest that the factors associated with anal intercourse among females in the study relate to the context and power balance of sexual relationships," says Lescano, who's also an assistant professor of psychiatry (research) at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. "We must teach teen girls and young women how to be assertive in sexual relationships, such as refusing unwanted sexual acts and negotiating for safer sex, whether it's anal or vaginal."

However, there were several factors related to anal intercourse that were consistent in both genders. In general, those who felt that using condoms decreased the pleasure of sex and those who used drugs at the time of intercourse engaged in riskier behaviors, suggesting that interventions should emphasize that sex can be both pleasurable and safe.

"An open dialogue between health care providers and their young patients about anal intercourse is becoming increasingly important, and clinicians should ask about anal sex during discussions about vaginal intercourse and protection - regardless of the patient's gender or reported sexual orientation," says Lescano.

Study participants in Atlanta, Miami and Providence completed a self-interview designed to measure sexual risk behaviors, relationships, sexual risk attitudes, substance use and mental health. The majority of the group (92 percent) defined themselves as being heterosexual. Overall, 56 percent were female; approximately half of the participants were African American, 24 percent were Hispanic and 20 percent were white.


The study was sponsored by grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research. In addition to Lescano, the research team included Christopher D. Houck and Larry K. Brown of the BHCRC and Alpert Medical School; David Pugatch of Rhode Island Hospital and Alpert Medical School; Ralph J. DiClemente of Emory University; M. Isabel Fernandez of the University of Miami; William E. Schlenger of the Research Triangle Institute; Barbara J. Silver of SAMHSA; and Glenn Doherty, formerly of the BHCRC.

This research was conducted with the support of the Project SHIELD Study Group - a federally-funded prevention/intervention program aimed at developing and testing ways to encourage and enable behavior change among two subgroups at high risk for HIV infection: adolescents/young adults and women.

Founded in 1931, Bradley Hospital, located in East Providence, RI, was the nation's first psychiatric hospital devoted exclusively for children and adolescents. Today, it remains a nationally recognized center for children's mental health care, training and research. A teaching hospital for The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Bradley Hospital offers a wide range of services for psychological, developmental and behavioral conditions, including inpatient, outpatient, residential and home-based treatment options. More than 30 postdoctoral residents and fellows in child psychiatry, psychology and pediatrics receive training in Bradley Hospital's programs every year. Its research arm, the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center, brings together a multidisciplinary team of investigators working to advance our knowledge of children's mental health through federally funded research projects. Bradley Hospital also operates the Bradley School, a fully certified special education school. A private, not-for-profit hospital, Bradley Hospital is a member of the Lifespan health system. For more information, please visit
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