ITP & PLATELET DISORDERS RESEARCH & TREATMENTS
A Protein in Blood Helps Stop Bleeding and Also Prevents Life-Threatening Clots
Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada found the naturally occurring protein fibronectin stops bleeding and also prevents life-threatening clots. Fibronectin switches its function from stopping bleeding to stopping overactive blood clots. Most treatments that stop bleeding actually cause blood clots while treatments that prevent excessive blood clotting increase risk of serious bleeding. Dr. Heyu Ni, principal investigator, said when fibronectin was given to mice after an injury or given to mice treated with blood thinners, the fibronectin offered a win-win solution.
The findings are important for surgery and traumatic injuries, which often require large amounts of blood transfusions. Experts disagree as to which blood products are most helpful for controlling bleeding. More heavily refined blood products strip away most proteins found in the blood, including fibronectin. Dr. Ni's research indicates that the less-refined blood product that contains fibronectin helps stop bleeding more effectively.
St. Michael's Hospital. "Protein in plasma may one day change transfusions." Science Daily, 2 Sept 2014.
Wang Y, Reheman A, Spring CM, Kalantari J, et al. "Plasma fibronectin supports hemostasis and regulates thrombosis." Jour Clin Investigation, 2014; DOI: http://www.jci.org/articles/view/74630
Photo credit: St. Michael's Hospital
Buzzy® Gets FDA Approval for Controlling Needle Pain
If you've ever dreaded getting a blood draw or receiving your IVIg treatment, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now given the company, MMJ Labs LLC, 510(k) clearance with expanded indications for the Buzzy®. The approved handheld device controls pain associated with injections, blood draws, and IV starts. The Buzzy® device is a high-frequency vibrating ice pack that confuses the body's nerves thus dulling or eliminating sharp injection pain. The FDA's approval was supported by more than eight clinical trials. Buzzy® inventor and CEO of MMJ Labs, Amy Baxter, MD, said, "We are thrilled to gain FDA clearance of Buzzy's use for injections and intravenous access."
Note: Through its ITP Poke-R-Club for Kids PDSA is offering a Buzzy® to ITP children, whose parents are PDSA members. See details here: http://www.pdsa.org/resources/itp-poke-r-club.html
"Buzzy4PainRelief Announces 510(k) Clearance from FDA." Press Release, MMJ Labs LLC, 2014 September 11. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/09/prweb12158304.htm
For more about Buzzy® visit the Web site:
HOSPITALS, INSURANCE & MEDICAL CARE
New Federal Law Gives Patients Direct Access to Test Results
Patients can now see results for various medical tests, including complete blood counts (CBCs), allergy tests, and urinalysis. In April 2014 a new federal rule went into effect. Results must be available upon request within 30 days; no doctor's authorization is required. The 30-day window gives doctors a chance to review the test results and meet with the patient to discuss if findings are complex. Lab companies like Quest Diagnostics are launching new secure patient web sites, such as MyQuest by Care360. Patients can view their results for no cost.
Past research showed it was common for abnormal test results to fall through the cracks, delaying care for some patients. Some patients said doctors were too busy or even reluctant to share test results with them. In a 2013 Kaiser survey, patients who viewed their lab reports online overwhelmingly reacted positively. Many patients said ready access to their test results encouraged them to learn more about the cells in their blood and their own illnesses.
"Landro, L. "Medical Test Results Become Patient Friendly," Health & Wellness D2, The Wall Street Journal, 2014, Sept. 16. http://online.wsj.com/articles/medical-labs-make-test-results-easier-for-patients-to-understand-1410822452
GENERAL HEALTH & MEDICINE
Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Spikes in Blood Sugar Levels
Researchers found several widely used artificial sweeteners, including saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose, caused mice to experience higher risk of glucose intolerance. That condition can lead to diabetes and obesity. The sweeteners studied: saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose are commonly known as Sweet n' Low, Equal, and Splenda. The study's co-author, Eran Segal, biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, said, "We are talking about very dramatic increases."
In a separate study, the scientists analyzed 400 people and found gut bacteria of those who used artificial sweeteners were quite different from those who did not. Researchers said their findings are preliminary. They could not recommend whether people should or should not use artificial sweeteners. A scientist at the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest praised the research. She said people shouldn't see the findings as suggesting sugar-sweetened beverages are preferable to those with artificial sweeteners.
Dennis, B. "Artificial Sweeteners Could Cause Spikes in Blood Sugar." Politics & The Nation, A3, The Washington Post, 2014, Sept. 18. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/study-suggests-sweeteners-could-contribute-to-obesity-and-diabetes/2014/09/17/c3c04ea6-3dc2-11e4-b03f-de718edeb92f_story.html