Platelet E-News: May 18, 2010

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 Research and Treatments

Hospitals, Insurance, and Medical Care

General Health and Medicine

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ITP Research and Treatments

 

REPORTS OF THROMBOCYTOPENIA IN ASSOCIATION WITH COMPLEMENTARY/ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE ARE RARE

Researchers at the University of Oklahoma scoured the medical journals in search of food, herbs, and supplements that have been reported to reduce the number of platelets. After eliminating quinine beverages (tonic water, bitter lemon), widely known to be problems, they found five substances that met their causal criteria: cow’s milk*, cranberry juice, Jui (a Chinese herbal tea), Lupinus termis bean, and tahini (pulped sesame seeds)*. It is not known whether there are few substances in this category or if they are underreported.

*allergic reactions

Royer DJ et al, “Thrombocytopenia as an adverse effect of complementary and alternative medicines, herbal remedies, supplements, foods, and beverages.” Eur J Haematol. 2010. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20059530

Note: PDSA has recently updated the ‘Warnings’ page on the Web site to include these substances plus drugs and environmental toxins that can also reduce the platelet count. See: http://www.pdsa.org/about-itp/warnings.html

 

 

ALPS IDENTIFIED IN PATIENTS WITH EVANS SYNDROME SUGGESTING CAUTIOUS TREATMENT

Of 45 children diagnosed with Evans Syndrome, 21 were found to have autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS) instead, report researchers from data gathered from 22 institutions. Both diseases present with a reduced number of at least two types of blood cells, however there are important differences in their underlying characteristics. The researchers recommend that children diagnosed with Evans Syndrome be tested for ALPS, because there are different treatment approaches for the two diseases and a splenectomy or rituximab may be harmful to ALPS patients.

Seif AE et al, “Identifying autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome in children with Evans syndrome: a multi-institutional study.” Blood. 2010 Mar 18;115 (11):2142-5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20068224

For more information on ALPS see: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/alps/Pages/default.aspx

 

 

CANGENE CORPORATION ASSUMES U.S. COMMERCIALIZATION RIGHTS FOR WINRHO® SDF

Cangene, the Canadian company that manufactures WinRho, will also be marketing it in the US beginning June 1. Cangene is expanding its U.S. sales force to assure the availability of the product and ease the transition from Baxter, the company that has been marketing WinRho since 2005. WinRho is a type of anti-D approved by the FDA for raising the platelet count in patients with ITP.

Cangene press release: www.cangene.com

To read more about this type of product see http://www.pdsa.org/treatments/conventional/anti-d.html

 

 

ELTROMBOPAG (PROMACTA) REDUCES NEED FOR PLATELET TRANSFUSIONS IN PATIENTS WITH CHRONIC LIVER DISEASE AND THROMBOCYTOPENIA

Patients with chronic liver disease often have low platelets and need surgery. In a new study, the patients in this category who used eltrombopag (Promacta), a pill that stimulates the bone marrow to make more platelets, needed fewer platelet transfusions than the liver disease surgery patients who did not take the drug. In the treated group, there were a greater number of thrombotic events (blood clots), especially in patients with platelets greater than 200,000, prompting the study to be closed early.

Berrie C. “Eltrombopag Reduces Need for Platelet Transfusions in Patients with Chronic Liver Disease, Thrombocytopenia: Presented at EASL 2010” Search : http://www.docguide.com

 

 

 

 

Hospitals, Insurance, and Medical Care

 

HOSPITALS SEEING RISE OF NEW SUPERBUG INFECTIONS WITH C. DIFFICILE

The rate of C. difficile (C. diff.), a bacterium that causes diarrhea and possibly life-threatening inflammation of the colon, is 25 percent higher than MRSA, another hospital-acquired infection, according to data from 28 hospitals. Prevention methods have helped lower the rate of MRSA, a potentially deadly, antibiotic-resistant staph infection. Now C. diff is on the rise and difficult to treat, since one-fourth of those who respond to the initial course of antibiotics relapse.

Presented at the International Conference on Healthcare-Associated Infections, March 20, 2010. C. diff Infection Rate May Overtake MRSA

Warner J. “C. diff Infection Rate May Overtake MRSA.” WebMD Health News http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=114613

 

 

NEW FEDERAL HEALTH DATA SHOW HINTS OF COMPLICATIONS FROM H1N1

Federal health officials are investigating a ‘somewhat elevated rate’ of thrombocytopenia (low platelets), Guillain-Barre’ syndrome, and Bell’s palsy from H1N1 vaccinations. HHS officials stressed that this is only the first step in determining the validity of these reactions and that the danger of the flu is greater than the dangers from the vaccinations.

Stein R. “H1N1 vaccine study investigating hints of complications from vaccine” The Washington Post. Saturday, April 24, 2010 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/23/AR2010042304965.html

http://www.nih.gov/news/health/feb2010/od-24.htm

Akst, J, “Regulatory Science gets Boost.” The Scientist Feb. 24, 2010
http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/57174/

 

 

 

 

General Health and Medicine

 

HUNDREDS OF BACTERIA SPECIES THAT CAUSE RESPIRATORY ILLNESS FOUND IN SEVERAL BRANDS OF CIGARETTES

The tobacco in cigarettes can harbor bacteria associated with pneumonia and other infections, including antibiotic resistant strains, report several research teams. Some strains of bacteria found in cigarettes and in their filters can also destroy red blood cells. The tobacco curing process, with high temperatures, high humidity, and reduced sunlight, promotes the growth of bacteria and fungi, prompting companies to develop processes to scrub the tobacco prior to cigarette production.

Raloff, J. “Germs in tobacco potential source for infections blamed on smoking.” Science News, March 13, 2010

Pauly JL et al. “Tobacco flakes on cigarette filters grow bacteria: a potential health risk to the smoker?”, Tob Control. 2008 Sep;17 Suppl 1:i49-i52. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18768459

Sapkota AR et al. TM 2010. “Human Pathogens Abundant in the Bacterial Metagenome of Cigarettes.” Environ Health Perspect 118:351-356. doi:10.1289/ehp.0901201 Search: http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/

 

 

SHORT SLEEP DURATION CAN INCREASE FAT ACCUMULATION IN YOUNG ADULTS

Getting too little sleep can add body fat according to researchers who studied the relationship of sleep and fat accumulation in three minority groups. The largest increase was found in visceral fat, fat that accumulates around body organs, in those under 40 averaging five hours or less of sleep a night. People under 40 who consistently slept over 8 hours also showed an increase in fat, but not as marked. No significant relationship was found between fat and sleep in those over 40.

Hairston KG et al. “Sleep duration and five-year abdominal fat accumulation in a minority cohort: the IRAS family study.” Sleep. 2010 Mar 1;33 (3):289-95. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20337186

 

 

 

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This e-newsletter is published by the Platelet Disorder Support Association, 133 Rollins Avenue, Suite 5, Rockville, MD 20852, phone 1-87-Platelet, fax: 301-770-6638, web: www.pdsa.org, e-mail: pdsa@pdsa.org

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