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Comforting Hospitalized Kids With Science

When a child is admitted to the hospital, you can usually count on three things. Time seems suspended. There’s often apprehension. And there’s seldom enough to keep a child’s curious mind occupied and his or her spirits lifted.

Family members are present and the hospital’s medical staff is focused on providing medical care—both of which are critically important. Yet many hospitals lack the resources to offer enough recreational activities to keep the minds of their youngest patients engaged.

Helping fill the gap is Project TEACH (Together Educating All Children in Hospitals), founded in the spring of 2013.

Drug Approved To Treat Rare Disorder Associated With Anesthesia

Eagle Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Ryanodex® (dantrolene sodium) for injectable suspension indicated for the treatment of malignant hyperthermia (MH), along with the appropriate supportive measures. MH is an inherited and potentially fatal disorder triggered by certain anesthesia agents in genetically susceptible individuals. FDA had designated Ryanodex as an Orphan Drug in August 2013. Eagle has been informed by the FDA that it will learn over the next four to six weeks if it has been granted the seven year Orphan Drug market exclusivity.

The Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States (MHAUS) is pleased to share this, and any new treatment options as they become available, with the heallthcare professionals and their patients whom we assist in order to effect a positive outcome when an unexpected MH event occurs.

‘Heartless’ Patient Discharged From Hospital

A central New York recipient of a SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart implant is home, discharged from University of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital with the Freedom® portable driver to wait for a matching donor heart.

Fontana, a 64-year-old retiree from a Syracuse architectural hardware company, suffered from heart disease—cardiomyopathy—for decades. He managed the condition with medications, an implantable defibrillator and a pacemaker.

Recently, the Camillus resident experienced ventricular tachycardia in which his heart would race until the pacemaker fired electrical pulses to normalize its rhythm. His doctors performed a procedure in February 2013 to fix the problem, but the condition returned.

UAB Enrolls Nation’s First Patient In Phase III Drug Trial For Preeclampsia

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has enrolled the first patient in the United States in a Phase III clinical trial for a drug to treat preeclampsia in pregnant women that, if successful, would be a significant clinical breakthrough for reducing pre-term births and infant mortality.

uab-logoATryn®, or antithrombin recombinant, will be administered to treat preeclampsia in pregnant women during the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy as part of the PRESERVE-1 trial. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial will assess whether ATryn, produced by rEVO Biologics Inc., prolongs pregnancy in mothers with early-onset preeclampsia and reduces the high rates of perinatal mortality and disability it causes.

“Currently, when patients have preeclampsia, all we have to offer is delivery of the baby as the ultimate treatment,” said Alan Tita, MD, PhD, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in UAB’s School of Medicine and a lead investigator for the trial. “If preeclampsia presents early in the pregnancy, it has serious implications for both mother and baby. For the target group, women in their 24th to 28th week of pregnancy, this could be a substantial advance in the treatment of preeclampsia and significantly improve outcomes for mother and baby.”

The Heart Of An Astronaut, Five Years On

The heart of an astronaut is a much-studied thing. Scientists have analyzed its blood flow, rhythms, atrophy and, through journal studies, even matters of the heart. But for the first time, researchers are looking at how oxidative stress and inflammation caused by the conditions of spaceflight affect those hearts for up to five years after astronauts fly on the International Space Station. Lessons learned may help improve cardiovascular health on Earth as well.

Oxidative stress reflects an imbalance in the body’s ability to handle toxic byproducts from normal, oxygen-consuming cell metabolism. This imbalance produces peroxides and free radicals, which contribute to a number of degenerative conditions. Evidence indicates that oxidative stress and resulting inflammation can accelerate the development of atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque builds up inside arteries. This disease can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

For this investigation, called Cardio Ox, researchers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will look at the function and structure of arteries along with specific biomarkers in the blood and urine that indicate inflammation and oxidative stress. 

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