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Platelet E-News – February 17, 2005


  • Being Chilled and Developing Cold Symptoms
  • Building Your Inner Life
  • Placebos: Have Physical not Just Psychological Effect
  • Deer Muscle Found to Harbor Infectious Proteins
  • Phase III Clinical Trial for Eltrombopag Treating ITP
  • Is Streamlining Preclinical Testing Safe?
  • Improving Delivery of Medical Services



Research dating back 40 years ruling out a chill/cold connection is challenged by researchers at Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales. They randomized 180 healthy participants to dip their feet in ice water for 20 minutes or an empty bowl. There was no difference immediately after the experiment but in a few days 13 of the 90 participants who were chilled reported they were suffering from symptoms of a cold, compared to 5 of the 90 controls. The study does not address infection with a virus but only the development of symptoms after exposure. “The results of the present study demonstrate that chilling is associated with the onset of common cold symptoms but the study does not provide any objective evidence, such as virology, that the subjects were infected with a common cold virus.” The next step is tests to determine which viruses are actually causing the symptoms.
Primary Source: Family Practice. 2005;23.


Identifying the gaps between belief (values) and action can kindle an awakening of your inner life. Building or developing your inner life, can help in the control of stress and lead to a fuller more rewarding life. Douglas LaBier, a psychotherapist and business psychologist, finds many people he encounters in his practice and consulting struggle to balance work and home and find this frustrating. He suggests they frame the problem incorrectly. He says, “There is no way to balance work and home, because they exist on the same side of the scale—what I consider the ‘outer’ part. On the other side of the scale is their personal, private life—the ‘inner’ person. I encourage clients not to think about balancing work life and home life, but to balance outer and inner life.” He finds that when people do this they often find that the old conflicts, work vs. life, don’t cause the stress or dominate thoughts anymore.

LaBier, D. “The Inside Out Solution”, Washington Post, February 14, 2006, p. F1.


New research suggests that if you expect more from your medication, you may just get it. Doctors have long assumed the placebo effect was purely psychological. This new work points to physical, not just psychological, effects on your health. At the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, DC, researchers presented evidence of changing levels of brain chemicals and neuron firing patterns associated with placebo “treatment”. Other studies published in the United States and Europe report similar findings.

Washington Post, December 13, 2005, p F3.


It has been known that infectious proteins are harbored in brain and spinal cord tissue of animals infected with mad cow disease. Similarly for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer and elk infectious proteins are harbored in brain and spinal cord tissue. New work has demonstrated that in deer and elk, infectious proteins are found in muscle as well. This was determined by injecting a special strain of mice with both brain and muscle tissue of infected deer. Both groups, those receiving injections of brain tissue and those receiving injections of muscle tissue, developed CWD symptoms. It took longer for the mice receiving muscle tissue injections to develop symptoms than those receiving injections of brain tissue. The work demonstrated that exposure to infectious proteins from deer meat can cause disease but it is not known whether humans will be susceptible to CWD.

Brownlee, C., “Hunter Beware”, Science News, January, 28. 20006, vol 169, p52.


GlaxoSmithKline has announced commencement of an Eltrombopag Phase III worldwide clinical trial in adults previously treated for idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. The study will be double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel group design with sites in 33 countries. Eltrombopag is an investigational small-molecule thrombopoietin receptor agonist that is thought to stimulate the proliferation and differentiation of megakaryocytes, the bone marrow cells that give rise to blood platelets, and thus is considered a platelet growth factor. Clinical trial enrollment information can be obtained at: or

GlaxoSmithKline press release, February 9, 2006.


In January the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced significant relaxation of the rules governing at what stage of development experimental drugs can first be tested in people. These changes are intended to expedite drug development. The announced changes will allow scientists to test small doses of experimental drugs for seven days or less in people before full-scale clinical trials begin and before standard in vitro and animal tests are complete. These studies would not test safety or effectiveness, but would assess how the drug acts in the body and is metabolized. This type of testing will enable scientists to quickly identify and discard inappropriate drug candidates. Concerns have been voiced in some circles that these changes will increase the possibility that the drug will not be safe enough when it is tested in people. Others say that patients waiting for a medicine to solve their health problem are willing to take acceptable risks.

Nature Medicine, vol 12, no 2, February 2006.


PDSA has available a new patient information booklet, “Frequently Asked Questions - ITP and Pregnancy.” This 12 page booklet contains 31 questions and answers of interest to women and their families about thrombocytopenia and pregnancy. You will also find references to other related material.

The content of the booklet is available on the PDSA web site at

To obtain a printed copy, send a self-addressed, 6x9 envelope with a 63 cent stamp to PDSA, Pregnancy Booklet, PO Box 61533, Potomac, MD 20859. If you would like multiple copies, call us at 1-877-528-3538 or send an e-mail to

Berkeley Wellness Letter, December 2006, page 1.