Platelet E-News – April 10, 2008

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.

Contents:

ITP Treatments

Research On ITP

General Health Research Findings

Health Resources

Nutrition And Food

Environmental Concerns

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ITP Treatments

PROMACTA IN PRIORITY REVIEW AT FDA
GlaxoSmithKline have received priority review for the drug Promacta (eltrombopag) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The drug is an oral thrombopoietin receptor agonist for short-term treatment of chronic ITP. It increases platelet production.

http://www.ligand.com/
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/99355.php

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Research On ITP

CAN ITP BE TRIGGERED BY MMR VACCINE?
The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine that is given when a child is two years old is associated with an increased risk of ITP, according to a study by the CDC-supported Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) Project, a collaboration of eight large managed-care organizations.  In the study of more than 1 million children vaccinated, 259 developed ITP, for a rate of one (1) case of ITP per 40,000 vaccinations.

France EK, Glanz J, Xu S, Hambridge S, et al. Risk of Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura After Measles-Mumps-Rubella Immunization in Children. Pediatrics, March 2008, 121(3): e687-e692.

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vsd/

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General Health Research Findings

U.S. GOVERNMENT CONCLUDES VACCINE CONTRIBUTED TO GIRL’S AUTISM
The U.S. government concluded that mercury-containing vaccines contributed to symptoms of autism in 9-year-old Hannah Poling, who received the shots at 18 months.  Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Julie Gerberding, however, states there is no link between autism and vaccines.  The preservative thimerosol, which contains mercury, was removed from the majority of childhood vaccines in 2001.  However, it is still found in some flu vaccines. Today, 1 in 150 children have the complex brain disorder.

www.nytimes.com/2008/03/08/us/08vaccine.html
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/thimerosal.htm

BETTER SCREENING NEEDED FOR ABNORMAL MENSTRUAL BLEEDING IN ADOLESCENT FEMALES
A chart review of 84 adolescent female patients with abnormal menstrual bleeding (very heavy uterine bleeding or bleeding more than seven days) revealed that only a small minority were appropriately screened for blood clotting problems.  However, 20% to 40% of adolescents with abnormal uterine bleeding may have an underlying bleeding disorder, including platelet function abnormalities, von Willebrand disease, or clotting factor disorders.

Kulp JL et al. Screening for coagulation disorders in adolescents with abnormal uterine bleeding. Journal of Pediatric Adolescent Gynecology. Feb 2008;21:27.

IS DONATED BLOOD BEING STORED FOR TOO LONG?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows blood to be stored for transfusions up to six weeks, to endure shortages and maintain supplies of rare blood types.  Yet a new study suggests that heart surgery patients fare better if they receive blood that is less than two weeks old. Patients receiving older blood were more likely to die or suffer problems.  These results are similar to those in patients undergoing other forms of surgery.  About half of heart surgery patients get transfusions.

Koch CG, Li L, Sessler DI, Figueroa P, et al.  Duration of Red Cell Storage and Complications After Cardiac Surgery. New England Journal of Medicine, March 20, 2008;358:1229-1239.

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Health Resources

THE INTERNET IS TRANSFORMING DOCTOR-PATIENT RELATIONSHIPS
Patients are looking for information online before they seek out medical care, and doctors are having to learn how to work with patients eager to learn about their condition from Internet sources.  Representatives from online health Web sites such as WebMD and Revolution Health Group presented this perspective at a meeting of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, urging the doctors to embrace the trend and not feel threatened by it.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/571138

DEVELOPING NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR PHYSICIAN PERFORMANCE
Health insurers and physician groups have agreed to develop a set of national standards for ranking physicians based on quality of care as well as cost.

Abelson R. National Standards to Rank Physicians Planned. The New York Times, April 1, 2008.

DOCTORS WHO WRITE GUIDELINES OFTEN TIED TO INDUSTRY
Surveys have repeatedly suggested that too many physicians who write practice guidelines for disease treatments have ties to the pharmaceutical industry, which could potentially sway their recommendations.  A 2005 survey by the journal Nature found one third of authors who write practice guidelines have ties to the drug industry.  In a 2002 study, 87 percent of guideline authors had some form of interaction with the pharmaceutical industry.  In February, a Senate committee investigated doctors' potential conflicts of interest.  The committee chair, Sen. Herb Kohl (D, Wis.) is sponsoring a bill that would require large pharmaceutical, medical device, and biologic companies to disclose gifts to physicians exceeding $25.  Some doctors do not disclose their drug industry ties, even when guidelines require it.

Taylor R, Giles J. Cash interests taint drug advice. Nature, October 20, 2005;37(7062):1070.

Choudry NK, Stelfox HT, Detsky AS. Relationships Between Authors of Clinical Practice Guidelines and the Pharmaceutical Industry JAMA. 2002;287:612-617.

http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2008/03/17/gvsb0317.htm

NEW REPORTS AVAILABLE FROM FAMILIES USA
FamiliesUSA offers several new reports, covers topics such as universal health coverage, new regulations on Medicaid, and racial and ethnic disparities in U.S. healthcare.  For details visit their web site. www.familiesusa.org

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Nutrition And Food

VITAMIN K MAY FIGHT INFLAMMATION
People with high dietary intake of vitamin K had lower levels of 14 inflammatory markers, some of which are linked to chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes, according to research from Tufts University.  Good food sources of vitamin K are leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, kale, and cabbage, plus cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cereals, milk and soybeans.

Vitamin K May Fight Inflammation Linked to Chronic Diseases. Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, March 2008, pg. 1.

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Environmental Concerns

WATER SUPPLY CONTAINS TINY AMOUNTS OF MANY DRUGS
Trace amounts of numerous pharmaceuticals exist in tap water of 25 of 28 cities recently tested, according to an investigation by the Associated Press.  The list of drugs includes antibiotics, painkillers, oral contraceptives, and antidepressants.  The drugs reach the water supply when people flush unneeded meds down the toilet, or when the medications they take pass through the body and into the toilet.  Water treatment plants do not cleanse these drugs from the water supply.  While boiling water does not remove the drug traces, and can even concentrate some; some home filtering systems may remove a few of them, according to an article in the Washington Post.  Congress is planning hearings in April.

Squires S. Hearings on Tap Water Planned. The Washington Post, March 13, 2008. Pg. A2.

Doheny K. Low Levels of Drugs Found in Drinking Water. WebMDHealth. March 11, 2008.

CHEMICAL BPA IN HARD PLASTICS CAUSE FOR CONCERN
The chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, which is found in polycarbonate, may be harmful to fetuses, infants and children, yet it is found in plastic water bottles, sippy cups, disposable cutlery, the linings of most canned food, and some food storage containers.  The plastics to avoid are those with the recycling symbol “7” at the bottom.  Also, do not microwave food in polycarbonate plastic containers, as BPA may be released when the plastic is heated.  An upcoming PDSA newsletter will contain a more detailed report on BPAs.

Hard Questions about a Hard Plastic. Nutrition Action Healthletter, April 2008, pg. 8.

For further information about BPA, visit:  http://www.cspinet.org/new/pdf/nahbpa.pdf

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