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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Papamoka Medical News Round Up...

This sort of post may or may not pop up from time to time but one of the things that interest me is current medical research in a plethora of human maladies. Most people just scan the medical headlines and the first sentence or two but I’m gobbling up the information in my brain for reason still unknown to myself. Some people collect spoons or antiques or baseball cards, which makes sense. Why do I collect this stuff? That question I ask myself many times over.
Please note that no medical advice is offered from this site or the author of this post. For the full story please click on the links provided.

Parkinson’s Drug Pulled From Market

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Reports of heart valve damage are causing a drug used by thousands of patients with Parkinson's disease to be pulled from the market.
The Food and Drug Administration says pergolide, which is sold under the name Permax and also in generic versions, is being withdrawn at the agency's request.
– The New York Times 3/29/2007

Then I came across this piece over at Reuters...

Alzheimer's vaccine works on mice: Japan scientist

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese scientists have developed an oral vaccine for Alzheimer's disease that has proven effective and safe in mice, the director of a research institute behind the project said on Thursday.

The team is preparing to move to small-scale clinical trials in humans, possibly this year, said Takeshi Tabira, director of the National Institute for Longevity Sciences in Aichi, central Japan.
"We hope the Phase I trials go well," Tabira said. "Animals are able to recover their functions after developing symptoms, but humans are less able to do so. It may be that this only works in the early stages of the disease, when symptoms are light."

When administered to mice suffering from the disease, which causes dementia and is currently incurable, the vaccine reduced the amount of amyloid plaques in the brain and improved mental function.

Amyloid plaques are believed to be at the root of Alzheimer's -- a growing problem for aging populations around the world. The disease affects five million in the United States alone, the Alzheimer's Association said in a report last week.
– Reuters 3/29/07

For some medical problems there are indeed a few steps back while in others there is huge potential for great leaps forward. In both of the cases I focused on there is no known cure. Parkinson’s is such a devastating disease that has a huge family of other symptomatic relatives that also are not curable. If you have ever spent any time in a relatively small cities’ Neurology Clinic then you would really get a grasp at how vast the effects of it are and that it does not just afflict the seniors amongst us.

Alzheimer’s is supposedly going to be a very prominent part of the future lives for the now retiring Baby Boomers. Some reports estimate that 14 million of us will be afflicted with it and there is now hope on many fronts for those folks.

One of the reasons I wanted to do this piece was to show all the folks that America may have a huge piece of the medical research pie but there are other nations that are cutting into that piece of pie. It’s a big pie so there is enough room for all. Biotechnology and medical research is a growing industry in America and yet it is also growing around the world in places most people would not think of. Ireland, England, Germany, and Japan are investing heavily not only in their own nations but here in America as well.

I found this interesting highlight on one cities desire to lure the new technologies and research in biotechnology from around the world. The city of seven hills called Worcester located in central Massachusetts has the blue print for success for this booming industry…

Worcester is playing a key role in a new industrial revolution – the biomedical revolution. The Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Park stakes claim to the caption "The Center of Excellence in Biotechnology." The Research Park was created to support the growth and expansion of biotechnology and medical device companies throughout the region. The Park's occupants range from a world headquarters of internationally known industry leaders to promising young companies just emerging, each attracted to the continuous support and proven commitment of Worcester as New England's other Medical Capital. Abbott Bioresearch Center, ViaCell, Athena Diagnostics, Hypnion and Advanced Cell Technology are among the firms represented in Worcester's biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices industry. – Worcester. Right Place, Right Time

One thing that just amazes me about this great country of ours is that we are forever creating new industries for future generations to benefit from. As one is lost to overseas or border nations three or four others pop up to become the next inspiration for the world to try and keep up with.


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Cross posted at the Gun Toting Liberal

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