The White House Announces H1N1 Flu Preparedness Summit

The White House announced that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan will host an all-day H1N1 Flu Preparedness Summit with states to further prepare this nation for the possibility of a more severe outbreak of H1N1 flu. The Summit will be held on July 9, 2009 at the Natcher Conference Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

WHO

Kathleen Sebelius, HHS Secretary
Janet Napolitano, DHS Secretary
Arne Duncan, Education Secretary
John Brennan, National Security Advisor

WHAT

H1NI Flu Preparedness Summit

WHEN

Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 8:30 a.m.

WHERE

Natcher Conference Center Auditorium (Bldg. 45)
National Institutes of Health
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Md. 20892

The H1N1 flu virus continues to circulate in this country and in at least 100 other countries around the world – especially in the Southern Hemisphere, where flu season is underway.

“Scientists and public health experts forecast that the impact of H1N1 may well worsen in the fall – when the regular flu season hits, or even earlier, when schools start to open – which is only five or six weeks away in some cases,” Secretary Sebelius said. “The goal of the Summit is to launch a national influenza campaign by bringing federal, state and local officials, emergency managers, educators and others together with the nation’s public health experts to build on and tailor states’ existing pandemic plans, share lessons learned and best practices during the spring and summer H1N1 wave, and discuss preparedness priorities.”

“The federal government remains vigilant and well coordinated with state, local, and international partners as we prepare for all possibilities as to how the H1N1 flu virus may impact us this fall,”said Secretary Napolitano.

“Prevention is everyone’s business. Parents, children, teachers, school leaders, communities, government and businesses, we need do our part individually and collectively prevent the spread of the flu virus,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We are emphasizing safety and the need to continue learning. We will continue following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and encouraging schools and districts to be in close communication with their local public health authorities and political leadership.”

Source
The Office of Minority Health

Inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics by NPs and MDs continues

Both nurse practitioners and physicians are prescribing inappropriate antibiotics to patients with viral upper-respiratory tract infections, a practice that may lead to increased rates of antimicrobial resistance. Researchers also found that highly marketed broad-spectrum antibiotics are being prescribed excessively, by both NPs and MDs, to patients with diagnoses of viral illnesses. It is well accepted that antibiotics have no clinical effect in the treatment of these illness.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, further found that antibiotic prescribing by nurse practitioners to patients with Medicaid insurance was more appropriate than that of physician prescribing for the same category of patients. This may suggest a difference in response, by NPs, to patient demand among this population and/or a keener awareness among NPs of the budget constraints that are affecting state Medicaid programs.

According to the study, increased adherence, especially by nurse practitioners, to well accepted clinical guidelines and involvement in system-based quality assurance programs are needed to decrease this excessive use of antibiotics.

This study is published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners . Media wishing to receive a PDF of the article, please contact medicalnewsbos.blackwellpublishing.

About the Journal

Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (JAANP) is a peer-reviewed professional journal that serves as the official publication of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Published since 1989, the JAANP is designed to serve the needs of nurse practitioners and other health care professionals who have a major interest in primary health care. The JAANP publishes timely original, peer-reviewed articles addressing clinical practice, clinical management, health policy, research, education and other issues affecting nurse practitioners and other primary health care providers.

About Blackwell Publishing

Blackwell Publishing is the world’s leading society publisher, partnering with more than 600 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 750 journals annually and, to date has published close to 6,000 text and reference books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

Sharon Agsalda
medicalnewsbos.blackwellpublishing
781-388-8507
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
blackwellpublishing

Promising Hormone Treatment For Alzheimer’s Disease And Stroke

Saint Louis University researchers have identified a novel way of getting a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and stroke into the brain where it can do its work.

“We found a unique approach for delivering drugs to the brain,” says William A. Banks, M.D., professor of geriatrics and pharmacological and physiological science at Saint Louis University. “We’re turning off the guardian that’s keeping the drugs out of the brain.”

The brain is protected by the blood-brain barrier (BBB), a gate-keeping system of cells that lets in nutrients and keeps out foreign substances. The blood-brain barrier passes no judgment on which foreign substances are trying to get into the brain to treat diseases and which are trying to do harm, so it blocks them without discrimination.

“The problem in treating a lot of diseases of the central nervous system – such as Alzheimer’s disease, HIV and stroke – is that we can’t get drugs past the blood-brain barrier and into the brain,” says Banks, who also is a staff physician at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Louis.

“Our new research shows a way of getting a promising treatment for these types of devastating diseases to where they need to be to work.”

The therapy – known as PACAP27 – is a hormone produced by the body that is a general neuro-protectant. PACAP stands for pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide. “It is a general protector of the brain against many types of insult and injury,” Banks says.

He compares a specific guarding mechanism in the BBB – efflux pumps – to bouncers at exclusive nightclubs. While they welcome those on the approved guest list, they look for trouble-makers trying to crash the party, refuse to let them in and evict them if they do get in.

The scientists isolated the particular gatekeeper than evicts PACAP27. Then they designed an antisense, a specific molecule that turned off the impediment.

“We went after the guard and essentially told him to go on break for a while so PACAP27 could get into the brain,” Banks says.

They used mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease and stroke to test what would happen if PACAP27 could get into the brain.

“We reversed the symptoms of the illnesses,” Banks says. “The mice that had a version of Alzheimer’s disease became smarter and in the stroke model, we reduced the amount of damage caused by the blockage of blood to the brain and improved brain recovery.”

Simply turning off the gatekeeper that kept PACAP27 out of the brain allowed enough of the hormone that already is in the body to get inside the brain, where it effectively treated strokes. However, the mice that had a version of Alzheimer’s disease needed both an extra dose of PACAP27 and the antisense that turned off the gatekeeper to improve learning.

“These findings are significant for three reasons. We have found a therapy that reverses symptoms of Alzheimers’s disease and stroke in a mouse model. We have isolated the particular roadblock that keeps the treatment from getting into the brain. And we have found a way to finesse that obstacle so the medicine can get into the brain to do its work,” Banks says. “This could have implications in treating many diseases of the central nervous system.”

The findings were published in the Nov. 12 early online issue of the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism.

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first M.D. degree west of the Mississippi River. Saint Louis University School of Medicine is a pioneer in geriatric medicine, organ transplantation, chronic disease prevention, cardiovascular disease, neurosciences and vaccine research, among others. The School of Medicine trains physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health services on a local, national and international level.

Source: Nancy Solomon

Saint Louis University

Welsh Assembly Government Encourages Parents To Have Children Under Five Vaccinated Against Swine Flu, Wales

The Welsh Assembly Government is encouraging parents/guardians of children aged from six months and under 5 years of age to have their children vaccinated against swine flu. Children in this age group are far more likely to end up in hospital if they contract the virus and vaccination offers the best protection against it.

To highlight the importance of vaccinating young children, Wales’ Senior Medical Officer, Dr Sara Hayes, is today visiting the Oaktree Surgery, Brackla, Bridgend to meet some of the first children in Wales to receive their jabs.

Parents should wait until they are contacted by their local GP or health service about arranging an appointment for their children. Letters to parents and guardians inviting them to make appointments with their local GP surgery have started to be issued in some areas.

Dr Sara Hayes said:

“Young children are particularly susceptible to swine flu and we want to do all we can to encourage parents to take up the invitation to have their children vaccinated against it. GPs are able to provide information on the virus and answer any questions a parent may have.

“Whilst the numbers of people contracting swine flu have gone down in the last few weeks it is too early for us to assume the threat of infection is over. Young children have higher rates of admission to critical care units than other age groups and unfortunately some children under 5 in the UK have died as a result of swine flu. I urge all parents to contact their GP as soon as they are offered an appointment for their child/children.

Vaccinating young children is the second phase in a programme of offering vaccination to the people most at risk from swine flu. The vaccine will continue to provide immunity for several years during which time the H1N1 swine flu virus is likely to still be circulating.

Health Minister, Edwina Hart said:
“We will be offering this important preventative measure to approximately 160,000 children. This is a huge undertaking and shows how the recently created seven local health boards, and GP surgeries, are working closely together to provide an excellent frontline service to the people of Wales.

“I would like to thank them for their commitment to protecting the public against swine flu and the work they have already done to vaccinate more than 300,000 people in the highest priority groups.”

Health professional organisations representing the health profession in Wales have given their support to the vaccination programme.

Chairman of the BMA’s GP Committee Wales, Dr David Bailey, said: “Regarding swine flu vaccination for the under 5s, GPs and health boards across Wales are working co-operatively to free up time to deliver this important public health measure for our children. The provision of protected time to deliver the programme quickly is a good example of the way practices can work with the NHS to benefit patients. Childhood vaccination is a vital part of protecting all our patients and GP practices remain firmly committed to supporting it within the holistic service we provide for our patients.”

Martin Semple, Head of RCN Institute in Wales said:
“The RCN in Wales is pleased that the vaccination programme for swine flu is being extended to young children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. While the vast majority of people with swine flu have a mild illness we know that young children are particularly vulnerable to severe illness as a result of swine flu and this has resulted in some young children being hospitalised. Vaccination against swine flu is the most effective method of protecting people from catching swine flu.”

Notes

The Welsh Assembly Government is providing communications support to local NHS organisations for the roll out of this next stage in the vaccination programme. A leaflet has been produced and is also available on the Welsh Assembly Government website and can be accessed here.

For most people Swine Flu is mild. Patients typically have a fever or a high temperature and two or more of the following symptoms: unusual tiredness, headache, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath or cough, loss of appetite, aching muscles, diarrhoea or vomiting.

Some people are more likely to be seriously ill with swine flu. These can include young children over six months and under five years of age with no underlying health conditions. They may need to go to hospital and, in the very worst cases, some may die.

Source
Welsh Assembly Government

CSHL Neuroscientist Awarded ‘Transformative’ NIH Research Grant

Anthony Zador, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Program Chair in Neuroscience at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), has been awarded a $2.17 million, 5-year grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s Transformative Research Projects Program (T-R01). The T-R01 program, supported by the NIH Common Fund (formerly the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research), is a unique research opportunity that encourages researchers to rethink the way science is conducted and propose truly daring ideas.

“Complex research projects, even exceptionally high impact ones, are tough to get funded without the necessary resources to assemble teams and collect preliminary data. The TR01 awards provide a way for these high impact projects to be pursued,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. Although these projects are deemed high-risk, they have the potential to create or overturn fundamental paradigms and impact a broad area of biomedicine.
Zador’s T-R01 -funded research project is aimed at one of neuroscience’s most fundamental, but as-yet-unknown entities: the ‘connectome’ or the complete wiring diagram of the brain. The brain is an extremely complex network, consisting of billions of neurons interconnected by trillions of synapses or junctions where electrical currents are transmitted. To understand brain function, detailed knowledge of these connections – questions such as which neurons connect synaptically with which other neurons, and where in the brain this interaction occurs – is critical.

“Disruption of this connectivity may cause many neuropsychiatric diseases including autism and schizophrenia, but only a minute fraction of these connections have been mapped to date,” explains Zador. “The goal of my project is to develop a novel, high-throughput method to probe the connectivity of neural circuits at the level of individual neurons in mice.” This method would allow Zador to analyze a large numbers of these connections in a rapid, economic way.

By compiling such a connectivity atlas in animal models, Zador hopes to determine if and how disruption of connectivity contributes to neuropsychiatric diseases such as mental retardation, autism and schizophrenia.

Zador is the third CSHL scientist to receive a T-R01 grant. His colleagues in the CSHL neuroscience program, Partha Mitra, Ph.D., and Josh Dubnau, Ph.D., received NIH’s transformative grants in 2009, when the T-R01 program was launched.
“My congratulations to Tony Zador on receiving this prestigious, highly competitive award,” said CSHL President and cancer researcher Bruce Stillman, Ph.D. “His achievement, and that of Drs. Mitra and Dubnau, are a testament to CSHL’s passionate commitment to nurture scientists in their pursuit of answers to the most important questions in biomedical research.”

Source:
Hema Bashyam
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

RCGP’s Comment On The Chief Medical Officer Advice To GPs On Annual Flu Campaign, UK

Commenting on this announcement, the Royal College of General
Practitioners (RCGP) said:

“We want to praise the work of GPs who last year delivered the highest
ever flu vaccination rate of 75.3% in the over 65s. With this latest
announcement GPs will need to have a good idea of how long we will be
without full stocks of the flu vaccine. In the meantime, we would urge
GPs to intensify their arrangements to deliver the vaccine they have
over a shorter period. Ideally additional protection from flu should be
offered to the at-risk groups before November when flu often begins to
set in. We also support the CMO’s recommendations on which at-risk
groups to target with the vaccine first to avoid pressure on GP
vaccination systems.”

Dr Douglas Fleming, Director of the RCGP Flu Unit

rcgp

Perceived Control Improves Asthma Health Status

Patients with asthma who believe they have control of their condition are likely to report improved asthma-related health status and have a decreased risk of severe asthma attacks. In a new study out of the University of California, San Francisco, researchers followed 865 patients (mean age 60 years) hospitalized for asthma for a median of 1.9 years after hospital discharge. Researchers collected demographic information, asthma history, perceived asthma control, and measured emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations for asthma. Results indicated that greater perceived control was associated with better physical health status, better asthma-related quality of life, fewer days of restricted activity due to asthma, and lower asthma severity scores. A multivariate model also showed that greater perceived control was associated with significantly decreased prospective risk of ED visits and hospitalizations for asthma. This study appears in the November issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Newsbriefs from the journal Chest, November 2006

Contact: Jennifer Stawarz

American College of Chest Physicians

Common Reasons for Not Taking Asthma Meds Don’t Hold Up

Financial and access barriers to health care are frequently cited reasons for people not taking prescribed medications; however, a new study shows that many patients do not refill their medication, even when these barriers are removed.

When researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Children’s Hospital of Alabama provided 296 children with asthma (ages 6 to 13) in Birmingham, AL, with free rescue and controller medication and instructed them to call in for a refill, the overwhelming majority did not.

To date, 213 children (72 percent), have never refilled their controller medication, and only 36 children (17 percent) have refilled their prescription at the expected rate.

CHEST 2005 abstract highlights

Jennifer Stawarz
jstawarzchestnet
American College of Chest Physicians
chestnet

Bronchial Thermoplasty Demonstrates Long Term Safety Benefits In Asthma Patients

Asthmatx Inc., presented positive five-year data from the Asthma Intervention Research (AIR) Trial, which evaluated the safety of bronchial thermoplasty (BT) with the Alair® System. The data demonstrated the absence of clinical complications and the maintenance of stable lung function over a five year period post-BT in patients with moderate to severe asthma. The data was presented in a poster at the annual meeting of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) in New Orleans.

“With the addition of this new long-term data, I can now confidently tell my patients whose disease is poorly controlled, despite receiving the highest doses of standard asthma medications, that the procedure has demonstrated a stable safety profile for at least five years,” stated Dr. Gerard Cox, Professor of Medicine, McMaster University (Ontario, Canada) and lead author of the poster. “The present findings from the AIR Trial echo data from other controlled trials that demonstrated BT is safe and beneficial for these patients in the first year after treatment.”

The data showed that over five years:

– The percent of patients reporting respiratory adverse events remained stable

– Hospitalizations and emergency room visits for respiratory symptoms remained stable

– Pulmonary function (FEV1) remained stable

– No incidences of pneumothorax, intubation, mechanical ventilation, cardiac arrhythmias or death as a result of BT treatment over the five year follow-up

BT, which is the first device-based asthma treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is a novel outpatient procedure that delivers precisely controlled thermal energy to reduce excess airway smooth muscle that is associated with airway constriction in patients with asthma. By decreasing the ability of the airways to constrict, this new treatment has been shown to help patients with severe asthma gain substantially better control over their disease.

In the period immediately following BT, there was an expected transient increase in the frequency and worsening of respiratory-related symptoms, which were of the type expected following bronchoscopy in patients with asthma. These events typically occurred within a day of the procedure and resolved on average within seven days with standard care.

The AIR Trial was a multicenter, randomized, controlled clinical study that evaluated the safety and effectiveness of BT in patients with moderate to severe asthma. Positive safety and effectiveness data at one year post-BT were published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in March 2007. BT-treated patients have been followed for five years post-procedure to evaluate longer-term safety.

“This demonstration of long-term safety, combined with the therapeutic benefits demonstrated in a series of three randomized controlled clinical studies, is extremely uncommon for a medical device at the time of FDA approval,” said Glen French, CEO of Asthmatx. “It provides strong support for the adoption of BT as a new therapeutic option for the treatment of severe asthma in adults.”

About Asthma

Asthma is one of the most common and costly diseases in the world. The prevalence of asthma has grown in recent decades, and there is no cure. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), more than 20 million Americans have asthma, and managing asthma consumes over $18 billion of healthcare resources each year. In the U.S. each year, asthma attacks result in approximately 10 million outpatient visits, 2 million emergency rooms visits, 500,000 hospitalizations, and 4,000 deaths.

About Bronchial Thermoplasty Delivered by the Alair System

The Alair® Bronchial Thermoplasty System is indicated for the treatment of severe persistent asthma in patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long acting beta agonists. The Alair® System is not for use in patients with an active implantable electronic device or known sensitivity to medications used in bronchoscopy. Previously treated airways of the lung should not be retreated with the Alair® System. Patients should be stable and suitable to undergo bronchoscopy. The most common side effect of BT is an expected transient increase in the frequency and worsening of respiratory-related symptoms.

Bronchial thermoplasty is performed through the working channel of a standard flexible bronchoscope that is introduced through a patient’s nose or mouth, and into their lungs. The tip of the small diameter Alair catheter is expanded to contact the walls of targeted airways. Controlled thermal energy is then delivered to the airway walls to reduce the presence of excess airway smooth muscle that narrows the airways in patients with asthma. The minimally invasive procedure, like many other flexible endoscopy procedures, is done under moderate sedation, and the patient returns home the same day.

About Asthmatx

Based in Sunnyvale, Calif., Asthmatx is a privately-held medical device company that designs, develops and manufactures catheter based medical devices incorporating thermal energy for patients with severe asthma. Asthmatx’s first offering, bronchial thermoplasty delivered by the Alair System, is a novel device-based treatment option for patients with severe asthma. The Alair System has been approved for use in the U.S. by the FDA and has received a CE Mark for use in the European Union.

Alair, Asthmatx and the Asthmatx logo are registered trademarks of Asthmatx, Inc.

Source: Asthmatx Inc

Adams Respiratory Therapeutics Completes Repurchase Of Manufacturing Assets And Operations In Fort Worth, Texas, From Cardinal Health

Adams Respiratory
Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARxT) today announced that it has completed its
previously announced repurchase of the manufacturing assets and operations
in Fort Worth, Texas, from Cardinal Health.

As disclosed in an SEC filing on Aug. 2, Adams consummated the
acquisition from Cardinal Health on July 31, 2006. Under the terms of the
Asset Purchase Agreement, the Company paid Cardinal $24 million upfront, as
part of the $28 million in total cash payments, as previously disclosed.
The remaining $4 million will be paid on a quarterly basis during fiscal
year 2007.

Investor Conference Call and Webcast

Adams management will conduct an investor conference call and webcast
on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2006, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT), to review financial and other
information related to the plant buyback. Michael J. Valentino, president
and CEO, and David P. Becker, executive vice president, CFO and treasurer,
will host the conference call. A slide presentation to accompany the audio
webcast of the conference call will be available by going to the Investor
Relations web site, investor.adamsrt.

To listen live to the call, dial 1-877-669-8882 or 1-706-758-9391. A
replay of the call will be available starting at approximately 11:30 a.m.
on Aug. 8 through 5 p.m. on Aug. 15. To listen to the replay, dial
1-800-642- 1687 or 1-706-645-9291 and enter the conference ID# 4040380.

A live audio webcast of the conference call also will be available by
going to the Calendar of Events section of Adams’ Investor Relations web
site, investor.adamsrt. A replay of the webcast will be
available starting at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 8 through 5 p.m. on
Sept. 8.

About Adams Respiratory Therapeutics, Inc.

Adams is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the late-stage
development, commercialization and marketing of over-the-counter and
prescription pharmaceuticals for the treatment of respiratory disorders.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain certain “forward-looking” statements.
Such forward-looking statements can be identified by the words “expect,”
“plan,” “seeks,” “believe,” “intend,” and similar expressions and are
subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to
differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Factors
that could cause actual results to differ materially include risk factors
set forth under the headings “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking
Statements”, “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of
Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Adams’ Rule 424(b)(4)
Prospectus filed with the SEC on December 9, 2005 and under Item 1A. Risk
Factors in Adams’ Quarterly Report on Form 10- Q for the period ended March
31, 2006. Except to the extent required by applicable securities laws,
Adams is not under any obligation to (and expressly disclaims any such
obligation to) update its forward-looking statements, whether as a result
of new information, future events, or otherwise. All statements contained
in this press release are made only as of the date of this presentation.

Adams Respiratory Therapeutics, Inc.
adamsrt