Platelet E-News: August 25, 2011

This e-newsletter is a monthly publication of the Platelet Disorder Support Association. The information in this newsletter is for educational purposes only. For advice on your unique medical condition, please consult a health care professional.


ITP and Platelet Disorders Research and Treatments

Hospitals, Insurance, and Medical Care

General Health and Medicine


ITP and Platelet Disorders Research and Treatments



Researchers at L'Hospitalet de Llobregat in Barcelona, Spain, analyzed the results from various blood tests and an indium-labeled platelet scan for 41 consecutive ITP patients who had a splenectomy, searching for something in these test results that would predict splenectomy success. Of the 41 splenectomies, 5 failed. After they looked at their data, the researchers concluded that the results of the indium-labeled spleen/liver scan, after 30 minutes, predicted splenectomy success 100% of the time.

Roca M et al. “The scintigraphic index spleen/liver at 30 minutes predicts the success of splenectomy in persistent and chronic primary immune thrombocytopenia.” Am J Hematol. e-publication July 21, 2011.

Note: Currently, the indium-labeled platelet screening test is offered only in London and Paris, although others are planning to make the test available in the future. For contact information see:




A new 5% liquid intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG-L) product, Nanogam, manufactured and marketed by Sanquin, a Netherlands company, is processed using an extremely small (15 nanometer) filter as well as solvent detergent to improve the viral inactivation. In a clinical study of ITP patients treated with IVIG-L, 83 % achieved a platelet count greater than 50,000. The product did not cause any relevant changes in vital signs or lab values.

For more information about IVIg as well as links to product comparison charts see:

van der Meer JW et al. “Efficacy and safety of a nanofiltered liquid intravenous immunoglobulin product in patients with primary immunodeficiency and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura.” Vox Sang. 2011 Aug;101(2):138-46.




Erythromycin is an antibiotic belonging to a class of drugs called macrolides, known to interact with the immune system in addition to killing bacteria. Three patients with ITP, two without h-Pylori infections, were treated first with clarithromycin, another macrolide, which was temporarily effective, and then with erythromycin, which raised their platelet count for a longer period of time. The authors conclude that macrolides were effective in treating these ITP patients.

Ohe M, Hashino S. “Successful treatment with erythromycin for idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura.” Korean J Hematol. 2011 Jun;46(2):139-42.




It is important to take the individual patient’s life, needs, and desires into account, Dr. Terry Gernsheimer, Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington, reminds everyone in an on-line tutorial, “ITP and the Patient's Life Cycle,” the final segment in the “How I Treat ITP” CME series from Hemedicus. Other tutorials in the series include ”Revisiting Our Practice Patterns” by Dr. David Kuter, “Is It Time for a New Standard of Care?” by Dr. James Bussel, and “What We Should Ask Our Patients” by Dr. Howard Liebman. All faculty in this series, sponsored by Amgen, are among PDSA’s medical advisors.

You can access the tutorials at:




Hospitals, Insurance, and Medical Care



Gluten, sticky proteins in wheat, rye, and barley, can cause many health problems, including low platelets, in those who have celiac disease and, in some doctor’s views, in people who are just sensitive to gluten. Since more manufacturers are now labeling their food ‘gluten-free’, the FDA is stepping in to make sure these food labels are consistent and accurate. The FDA has recently updated their Web site to help consumers understand more about gluten, gluten-free products and the proposed labeling requirements.

Note: Celiac disease, sometimes without symptoms, is more prevalent in people with ITP than the general population.

Altintas A et al. “Thyroid and celiac diseases autoantibodies in patients with adult chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. “ Platelets. 2008 Jun;19(4):252-7.




People have choices in health care just as they have choices in what they wear and what they eat, and it is these choices that are the focus of a new ad campaign by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The initiative features an update to AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program Web site, including help in navigating treatment options and patient success stories, as well as a health priorities tool to facilitate conversations with your doctor. Find the new Web site at

“New Ad Campaign Urges Patients To Consider Medical Treatment Options” AHRQ Press Release. June 30, 2011.




General Health and Medicine



Since researchers discovered that insomnia is associated with an increased temperature in the front part of the brain, they wondered if physically cooling the head might help people sleep. They were right. In a study comparing 12 people with insomnia and age/sex matched healthy controls, the insomnia patients who wore a special cap with cool, circulating water slept as soundly as those with normal sleep habits. According to Dr. Eric Nofzinger, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, this study gives a new option to the many people who have long sought a non-pharmacological treatment for their insomnia.

“Cooling the brain during sleep may be an easy, natural and effective treatment for insomnia” American Academy of Sleep Medicine Press Release June 13, 2011




In a study comparing marker chemicals in urine to thyroid output for 1,346 adults and 329 adolescents, researchers found that a greater exposure to BPA and phthalates was associated with a reduction in thyroid hormones. BPA is used in plastic water bottles and lines the cans of most canned food. The most disruptive phthalate they measured, DEHP, is commonly used in plastic manufacturing and can contaminate food stored or cooked in plastic.

Note: Many patients with ITP also have thyroid problems.

“Large Human Study Links Phthalates, BPA and Thyroid Hormone Levels.” Science Daily. July 11, 2011.

Meeker JD, Ferguson KK. “A Relationship between Urinary Phthalate and Bisphenol A Concentrations and Serum Thyroid Measures in U.S. Adults and Adolescents from NHANES 2007-08.” Environmental Health Perspectives. Published on-line July 11, 2011.

Cheung E, Liebman HA. “Thyroid disease in patients with immune thrombocytopenia.” Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2009 Dec;23(6):1251-60.





This e-newsletter is published by the Platelet Disorder Support Association, 133 Rollins Avenue, Suite 5, Rockville, MD 20852, phone 1-87-Platelet, fax: 301-770-6638, e-mail:

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