Health Newsbrief
August 8, 2001
Vol. 2, No. 27
ISSN 1530-3616
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Bruce Maxwell, Editor - bmax@silverhammerpub.com
Silver Hammer Publishing - http://silverhammerpub.com

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The News
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FLOOD OF PROZAC GENERICS HEAD TO STORES
A generic form of the antidepressant drug Prozac, which Fortune
magazine hailed as "product of the century" in 1999, has started
reaching pharmacies around the United States. The generic form,
produced by Barr Laboratories Inc., is expected to cost about 30
percent less than the original. Prices will drop even lower in
six months when additional generic forms of Prozac hit the
market. Prozac is just one of numerous top-selling prescription
drugs that are expected to lose U.S. patent protection by 2005,
opening the way for cheaper generics. Meanwhile, the Far Eastern
Economic Review reports that the growing number of Asians who
suffer from depression typically don't seek help because of the
social stigma attached to mental illness.
Sources: Reuters - Aug. 2, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010802/bs/
health_prozac_dc_2.html

Far Eastern Economic Review - Aug. 9, 2001
http://www.feer.com/2001/0108_09/p026innov.html


MIXED MESSAGES ON ANTIOXIDANTS
Antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta carotene, and selenium are
touted by sellers of vitamin supplements as preventives or cures
for ailments ranging from heart disease to cancer. However, the
medical literature is decidedly mixed on whether they do any
good, and some studies suggest they may even cause harm. The
first sidebar looks at the case for and against vitamin E, and
the second sidebar explains antioxidant basics.
Source: Washington Post - Aug. 7, 2001
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/health/A39716-2001Aug6.html
Sidebar (vitamin E):
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40182-2001Aug6.html
Sidebar (antioxidant basics):
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40195-2001Aug6.html


RESEARCHERS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT
ALZHEIMER'S VACCINE
In a study involving mice that were genetically modified with a
human cell for Alzheimer's disease, a new vaccine sharply reduced
the growth of plaques that are one of the disease's hallmarks.
Human trials of the vaccine, which was developed by researchers
at New York University School of Medicine, could begin within a
year.
Source: Reuters - Aug. 3, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010803/hl/vaccine_1.html


BETTER THAN A NURSING HOME?
The glossy brochures for assisted living centers make them look
far more attractive than the typical nursing home. But widespread
allegations of poor care and neglect plague the industry, which
is largely unregulated.
Source: Time Magazine - Aug. 13, 2001
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/printout/0,8816,170025,00.html


WHEN MEDICAL DEVICES FAIL IN THE BODY
Between 20 million and 25 million Americans have some sort of
medical device implanted in their bodies - artificial hips,
artificial knees, heart pacemakers, and so on. Most work just
fine, but when they fail because of manufacturing defects the
patient is largely at the manufacturer's mercy to get corrective
action.
Source: New York Times - Aug. 7, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/07/health/anatomy/07BODY.html


BUCKYBALLS MAKE FANTASTIC VOYAGE
Microscopic bits of carbon called buckyballs may become a key
delivery agent for prescription drugs in coming years.
Buckyballs, which interact easily with cells and viruses, might
be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including AIDS,
osteoporosis, cancer, and Lou Gehrig's disease.
Source: Wired News - Aug. 1, 2001
http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,45481,00.html


A STAND FOR SCIENTIFIC INDEPENDENCE
Next month, the world's leading medical journals will publish a
joint editorial announcing a policy under which they may reject
studies sponsored by drug companies where researchers are not
granted scientific independence. Editors of the journals -
including the Journal of the American Medical Association, The
Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine - said they're
adopting the policy to limit the control that sponsors sometimes
exert over research results. The accompanying sidebar in the
Washington Post examines a study published in the Journal of the
American Medical Association that omitted some key data.
Source: Washington Post - Aug. 5, 2001
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33049-2001Aug4.html
Sidebar:
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33378-2001Aug4.html


DIABETES DRUG SHOWS PROMISE IN WOMEN
Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy can
sharply lower their risk of later developing Type II diabetes if
they take drugs that lower insulin resistance, according to
research presented at a meeting of the American Diabetes
Association. Women in the study originally took Rezulin, which
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration removed from the market
last year, and later were switched to Actos.
Source: HealthScout - Aug. 5, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/hsn/20010805/hl/
diabetes_drug_shows_promise_in_women_1.html



FDA CRITICIZED ON GENDER DIFFERENCES
It's well known that many prescription medicines can affect men
and women differently. Yet a new report by the U.S. General
Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, says the
Food and Drug Administration still isn't doing enough to explore
these differences when considering new drugs for approval.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that a study published in the Journal
of the American Medical Association found that women remain
severely underrepresented in clinical trials related to heart
disease.
Sources: Associated Press - Aug. 6, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010806/hl/fda_women_2.html
Reuters Health - Aug. 7, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010807/hl/studies_1.html
GAO report: http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?rptno=GAO-01-754


Need a Writer or Researcher?
______________________________________________________

The editor of this newsletter is a full-time freelance writer
and researcher who's available for a variety of assignments -
articles, brochures, books, Web consultations, or a nice e-mail
newsletter like this one - about health or other topics. He has
20 years of professional writing experience, and has written
several books about searching the Internet. If you'd like to
learn more, visit http://bmaxwell.home.mindspring.com, send an
e-mail to bmaxwell@mindspring.com, or call 703-532-6327.
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