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Platelet E-News – September 16, 2003

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.


  • IVIG Response Predicts Splenectomy Success
  • Meditation Improves Moods
  • Learn Genetics in Your Home
  • Initial Treatment with Dexamethasone Improves Platelet Count
  • Vitamin K Helps Build Bones
  • Recombinant Factor VIIa Stops Bleeding



After reviewing the charts of thirty-two patients who had both IVIg followed by a splenectomy, researchers at the University of Florida found that 91.3 percent of the patients who had a good to excellent response to IVIg also had an excellent response to splenectomy. Of the patients who had a poor response to IVIg, only 33.3 percent had an excellent response to splenectomy. In their study, other factors such as age, gender, and response to prednisone did not predict splenectomy response.

Hold D, Brown J, Terrill K, et al. “Responses to intravenous immunoglobulin predicts splenectomy response in children with immune thrombocytopenic purpura. Pediatrics. 2003;111:87-90


Meditation helped patients improve their moods and stay calmer according to a recent study published in the July/August issue of Psychosomatic Medicine. Researchers Richard Davidson, Ph.D., and John Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., explained that there is a stress boundary in each person. They reported that after 8 weekly classes in mindfulness meditation, a seven-hour retreat, and daily sessions for an hour six days a week, this threshold began to move in a more positive direction, when compared to a control group. The immune system of meditation group participants produced more antibodies when given a flu shot than the control group, suggesting meditation also helps keep the practitioner healthy.


The National Library of Medicine launched a new web site that helps people who do not have a medical background understand genetics and the impact on disease. It features general genetics and disease specific information plus links to clinical trials. The National Library of Medicine is a part of the National Institutes of Health, included in the US Department of Health and Human Services.

(Note: search on “thrombocytopenia” for some interesting results. You can find out more about genetic causes of low platelets on our new page


Newly diagnosed ITP patients were given a high-dose of dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, for four days by researchers in Hong Kong. An initial good response was achieved by 85% of the patients. Of the patients with a good response, fifty percent sustained an increase in platelet count for at least six months. A platelet count of less than 90,000 on day 10 was associated with a high risk of relapse.

New England Journal of Medicine, August 18, 2003, Vol. 349. No. 9, pp. 831-836


Data from the Framingham Heart Study found that women with the lowest vitamin K intake had significantly lower mean bone density. Vitamin K helps proteins bind to calcium with is required for proper bone growth. Recommended levels of vitamin K can be met by eating leafy green vegetables and vegetable-derived oils and spreads.

Agricultural Research, September 2003, P. 19.

For information on vitamin K see: For information on foods that contains vitamin K see:

(Note: Vitamin K is important for those with ITP for two reasons. Many people have taken prednisone which can contribute to bone density problems. Vitamin K is also needed for your blood to clot.)


An eight year old child with ITP and severe bleeding was helped by administration of recombinant Factor VIIa (rFVIIa; Novoseven). After administration of the treatment her bleeding decreased within a few minutes and stopped within an hour. Recombinant Factor VIIa interacts with tissue factor at the site of the injury and also binds to platelets to increase their effectiveness. Recombinant Factor VIIa is often used to treat hemophilia patients.

British Journal of Haematology 120: 907-915

For more information on Factor VIIa see: