Saturday, May 20, 2006

Rasagiline and Parkinson's Disease

From the FDA on the 17th of May:

FDA Approves New Treatment for Parkinson's Disease

The Food and Drug Administration today approved Azilect (rasagiline), a new molecular entity, for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. The drug is a monoamine oxidase type--B (MAO-B) inhibitor that blocks the breakdown of dopamine, a chemical that sends information to the parts of the brain that control movement and coordination.

"This is a welcome development for the more than 50,000 Americans who are each year diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, " said Dr. Steven Galson, Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Parkinson's is a relentless disease with limited treatment options, and each new therapy is an important addition to the physicians' treatment options."

[snip]

Azilect was approved for use as an initial single drug therapy in early Parkinson's disease, and as an addition to levodopa in more advanced patients.  Levodopa is a standard treatment for Parkinson's disease. The safety and effectiveness of Azilect was demonstrated in three 18- to 26-week controlled clinical trials.

One of the studies compared the effects of Azilect with the effects of placebo in 404 patients with early Parkinson's. Compared with patients on placebo, the condition of patients on Azilect showed significantly less worsening on a rating scale that measures the ability to perform mental and motor tasks as well as daily living activities.

[ ... Read the full press release ... ]
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Anthony H. Risser | |

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Values of Distractions

From today's New York Times:

Study Points to a Solution for Dread: Distraction
By SANDRA BLAKESLEE
Published: May 5, 2006
The New York Times

For those who dread a colonoscopy or a root canal so much that they avoid it altogether, scientists have good news.

The first study ever to look at where sensations of dread arise in the brain finds that contrary to what is widely believed, dread does not involve fear and anxiety in the moment of an unpleasant event. Instead, it derives from the attention that people devote beforehand to what they think will be extremely unpleasant.

So the solution to dread, the researchers say, is self-distraction.

"We sort of knew that things like self-hypnosis help relieve dread, but now we know why," said Dr. Gregory S. Berns, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, who led the study.

The research, being published today in the journal Science, is "terrific, " said a leading expert on brain imaging, Dr. Read Montague, a professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine who was not involved in the study. It demonstrates that the brain "assigns a cost to waiting for something bad, so that the bad thing is worse when it's delayed farther in the future," Dr. Montague said.

[ ... Read the full article ... ] [free registration required]
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Anthony H. Risser | |