205 CNO Report 24 APR 2015

205CNO19APR2015

clip_image002CNO Report 205

Release Date 24 APR 2015

Draft Report Compiled by

Ralph Turchiano

http://www.clinicalnews.org

In this issue:

1. Enzyme in cosmetic products can act as allergen via the skin

2. Mechanism outlined by which inadequate vitamin E can cause brain damage

3. New evidence for how green tea and apples could protect health

4. Your pain reliever may also be diminishing your joy

5. New research sheds light on how popular probiotic benefits the gut

6. Ancient herbal therapy can prevent — and reverse — cardiac hypertrophy in mice

7. Brain development suffers from lack of fish oil fatty acids, UCI study finds

8. Could maple syrup help cut use of antibiotics

9. After prostate cancer, start walking

10. Broccoli sprout extract promising for head and neck cancer prevention

11. Animal study shows why long-time consumption of soy foods reduces breast cancer recurrence

12. Global pandemic of fake medicines poses urgent risk, scientists say

13. More detailed findings confirm that coffee protects against breast cancer recurrence

14. Chili peppers hold promise of preventing liver damage and progression

15. Herbal remedy derived from milk thistle demonstrates efficacy in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

16. Pooled analysis confirms vitamin E as a treatment for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

Public Release: 10-Apr-2015

Enzyme in cosmetic products can act as allergen via the skin

Papain is found naturally in papaya and is often referred to as a “plant-based pepsin” in reference to the digestive enzyme pepsin that is present in the stomach. Erika Jensen-Jarolim, Head of the Department of Comparative Medicine at the Messerli Research Institute, and her team researched the effect of papain directly on the skin of mice as well as on skin cells in the petri dish. The cosmetic industry uses papain in exfoliating treatments to remove dead surface skin. There even are enzyme-based shampoos for house pets to clean the fur and make it easier to brush.

How papain induces allergic reactions

Skin consists of several layers joined via cellular connections called “tight junctions”. First authors Caroline Stremnitzer and Krisztina Manzano-Szalai and the project team showed that papain induces a breakdown of these cell-cell junctions. On the skin, papain results in a loss of the barrier function. “After just a short period of time, papain increased vascular permeability and inflammatory cells infiltrated the skin,” Jensen-Jarolim explains. Around two weeks after being exposed to papain, the researchers found antibodies to papain in the mice. These immunoglobulins are the cause of the allergic reaction toward the enzyme. “Exposed mice not only experienced a loss of the barrier function of the skin, but also had a specific allergic sensitization toward papain. The animals developed an allergy,” says allergy expert Jensen-Jarolim.

Caution is called for with papain-containing products

But the permeation of the skin barrier does not appear to be a prerequisite for sensitization toward papain. “The enzyme remains allergenic even when its enzymatic function has been blocked,” explains Jensen-Jarolim. The disruption to the skin barrier, she says, is essential for the infiltration of other allergens and bacteria. In humans and in animals, diseases of the skin such as atopic dermatitis, commonly referred to as eczema, involve an increased permeability of the skin with a heightened risk for bacterial, fungal, or viral colonisation. Besides genetic factors, allergenic enzymes from external sources may also contribute to the symptoms. It is striking that papain has an enormous structural similarity with one of the most important house dust mite allergens. The authors conclude that sensitization toward these house dust mite allergens follows the same principle. “People with sensitive skin as well as small children should avoid the enzyme (EC Number 3.4.22.2) as much as possible and observe the ingredients declaration for consumer products as regulated by EU Directive 2000/13/EC,” says Jensen-Jarolim.

Public Release: 13-Apr-2015

Mechanism outlined by which inadequate vitamin E can cause brain damage

Oregon State University

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered how vitamin E deficiency may cause neurological damage by interrupting a supply line of specific nutrients and robbing the brain of the “building blocks” it needs to maintain neuronal health.

The findings – in work done with zebrafish – were just published in the Journal of Lipid Research. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

The research showed that zebrafish fed a diet deficient in vitamin E throughout their life had about 30 percent lower levels of DHA-PC, which is a part of the cellular membrane in every brain cell, or neuron. Other recent studies have also concluded that low levels of DHA-PC in the blood plasma of humans is a biomarker than can predict a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Just as important, the new research studied the level of compounds called “lyso PLs,” which are nutrients needed for getting DHA into the brain, and serve as building blocks that aid in membrane repair. It showed the lyso PLs are an average of 60 percent lower in fish with a vitamin E deficient diet.

The year-old zebrafish used in this study, and the deficient levels of vitamin E they were given, are equivalent to humans eating a low vitamin E diet for a lifetime. In the United States, 96 percent of adult women and 90 percent of men do not receive adequate levels of vitamin E in their diet.

DHA is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, or PUFA, increasingly recognized as one of the most important nutrients found in omega-3 fatty acids, such as those provided by fish oils and some other foods.

“This research showed that vitamin E is needed to prevent a dramatic loss of a critically important molecule in the brain, and helps explain why vitamin E is needed for brain health,” said Maret Traber, the Helen P. Rumbel Professor for Micronutrient Research in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU and lead author on this research.

“Human brains are very enriched in DHA but they can’t make it, they get it from the liver,” said Traber, who also is a principal investigator in the Linus Pauling Institute at OSU. “The particular molecules that help carry it there are these lyso PLs, and the amount of those compounds is being greatly reduced when vitamin E intake is insufficient. This sets the stage for cellular membrane damage and neuronal death.”

DHA is the needed nutrient, Traber said, but it’s lyso PLs which help get it into the brain. It’s the building block.

“You can’t build a house without the necessary materials,” Traber said. “In a sense, if vitamin E is inadequate, we’re cutting by more than half the amount of materials with which we can build and maintain the brain.”

Some other research, Traber said, has shown that the progression of Alzheimer’s disease can be slowed by increased intake of vitamin E, including one study published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But that disease is probably a reflection of years of neurological damage that has already been done, she said. The zebrafish diet used in this study was deficient in vitamin E for the whole life of the fish – as is vitamin E deficiency in some humans.

Vitamin E in human diets is most often provided by dietary oils, such as olive oil. But many of the highest levels are in foods not routinely considered dietary staples – almonds, sunflower seeds or avocados.

“There’s increasingly clear evidence that vitamin E is associated with brain protection, and now we’re starting to better understand some of the underlying mechanisms,” Traber said.

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The study this story is based on is available online: http://bit.ly/1DtAIyU

Public Release: 13-Apr-2015

New evidence for how green tea and apples could protect health

Norwich BioScience Institutes

Scientists from the Institute of Food Research have found evidence for a mechanism by which certain food compounds could help protect our health.

Dietary studies have shown that people who eat the largest amounts of fruit and vegetables have a reduced risk of developing chronic conditions, such as heart disease and cancer. There could be several reasons for this. Some fruit and vegetables naturally contain high amounts of compounds called polyphenols, which could provide protective health benefits.

In this study, Dr Paul Kroon and his team at IFR have shown that polyphenols in green tea and apples block a signalling molecule called VEGF, which in the body can trigger atherosclerosis and is a target for some anti-cancer drugs.

In the body, VEGF is a main driver of blood vessel formation in these cell types via a process called angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is crucial in cancer progression, as well as in the development of atherosclerotic plaques and plaque rupture which can cause heart attacks and stroke.

Using cells derived from human blood vessels, the researchers found that low concentrations of the polyphenols epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) from green tea and procyanidin from apples stopped a crucial signalling function of VEGF.

Inhibition of VEGF signalling by dietary polyphenols has previously been implicated in other studies, but this study provides the first evidence that polyphenols can directly interact with VEGF to block its signals, at the levels you would see in the blood stream after eating polyphenol rich foods.

“If this effect happens in the body as well, it provides very strong evidence for a mechanism that links dietary polyphenols and beneficial health effects,” said Dr Paul Kroon, Research Leader at IFR.

The polyphenols also activated another enzyme signalling system that generates nitric oxide in the blood, which helps widen the blood vessels and prevent damage. This was unexpected, as VEGF itself stimulates nitric oxide, and anti-cancer drugs that block VEGF also reduce nitric oxide, leading to an increased risk of hypertension in some users.

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Uncovering the links between food and health is a key part of the mission of the Institute of Food Research. This research was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship, Correscence Ltd, and the European Union through the BACCHUS project. BACCHUS is a collaborative project under the 7th Framework Program of the European Commission, led by IFR, focusing on the action of bioactive substances found in foods that are common in European diets.

Reference: Potent inhibition of VEGFR-2 activation by tight binding of green tea epigallocatechin gallate and apple procyanidins to VEGF: Relevance to angiogenesis, Christina W. A. Moyle et al, Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, 59(3) 401-412 doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201400478

Public Release: 13-Apr-2015

Your pain reliever may also be diminishing your joy

Acetaminophen reduces both pain and pleasure, study finds

Ohio State University

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Researchers studying the commonly used pain reliever acetaminophen found it has a previously unknown side effect: It blunts positive emotions.

In the study, participants who took acetaminophen reported less strong emotions when they saw both very pleasant and very disturbing photos, when compared to those who took placebos.

Acetaminophen, the main ingredient in the over-the-counter pain reliever Tylenol, has been in use for more than 70 years in the United States, but this is the first time that this side effect has been documented.

Previous research had shown that acetaminophen works not only on physical pain, but also on psychological pain. This study takes those results one step further by showing that it also reduces how much users actually feel positive emotions, said Geoffrey Durso, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in social psychology at The Ohio State University.

“This means that using Tylenol or similar products might have broader consequences than previously thought,” Durso said.

“Rather than just being a pain reliever, acetaminophen can be seen as an all-purpose emotion reliever.”

Durso conducted the study with Andrew Luttrell, another graduate student in psychology at Ohio State, and Baldwin Way, an assistant professor of psychology and the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. Their results appear online in the journal Psychological Science.

Way said people in the study who took the pain reliever didn’t appear to know they were reacting differently. “Most people probably aren’t aware of how their emotions may be impacted when they take acetaminophen,” he said.

Acetaminophen is the most common drug ingredient in the United States, found in more than 600 medicines, according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade group.

Each week about 23 percent of American adults (about 52 million people) use a medicine containing acetaminophen, the CHPA reports.

There were two studies of college students. The first involved 82 participants, half of whom took an acute dose of 1000 milligrams of acetaminophen and half who took an identical-looking placebo. They then waited 60 minutes for the drug to take effect.

Participants then viewed 40 photographs selected from a database (International Affective Picture System) used by researchers around the world to elicit emotional responses.

The photographs ranged from the extremely unpleasant (crying, malnourished children) to the neutral (a cow in a field) to the very pleasant (young children playing with cats).

After viewing each photo, participants were asked to rate how positive or negative the photo was on a scale of -5 (extremely negative) to +5 (extremely positive). They then viewed the same photos again and were asked to rate how much the photo made them feel an emotional reaction, from 0 (little or no emotion) to 10 (extreme amount of emotion).

Results in both studies showed that participants who took acetaminophen rated all the photographs less extremely than did those who took the placebo.

In other words, positive photos were not seen as positively under the influence of acetaminophen and negative photos were not seen as negatively.

The same was true of their emotional reactions.

“People who took acetaminophen didn’t feel the same highs or lows as did the people who took placebos,” Way said.

For example, people who took the placebo rated their level of emotion relatively high (average score of 6.76) when they saw the most emotionally jarring photos of the malnourished child or the children with kittens.

People taking acetaminophen didn’t feel as much in either direction, reporting an average level of emotion of 5.85 when they saw the extreme photos.

Neutral photos were rated similarly by all participants, regardless of whether they took the drug or not.

These findings seem dramatic, but one possibility is that acetaminophen changes how people judge magnitude. In other words, acetaminophen may blunt individuals’ broader judgments of everything, not just things having emotional content, Durso said.

So the researchers did a second study in which they had 85 people view the same photos and make the same judgments of evaluation and emotional reactions as in the prior study. Additionally, participants in this second study also reported how much blue they saw in each photo.

Once again, individuals who took acetaminophen (compared to placebo) had evaluations and emotional reactions to both negative and positive photographs that were significantly blunted. However, judgments of blue color content were similar regardless of whether the participants took acetaminophen or not.

The results suggest that acetaminophen affects our emotional evaluations and not our magnitude judgments in general.

At this point, the researchers don’t know if other pain relievers such as ibuprofen and aspirin have the same effect, although they plan on studying that question, Durso said.

Acetaminophen, unlike many other pain relievers, is not a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID. That means it not thought to control inflammation in the body. Whether that fact has any relevance to possible emotional effects of the drugs is still an open question, Durso said.

These results may also have an impact on psychological theory, Way said. An important question in psychological research is whether the same biochemical factors control how we react to both positive and negative events in our lives. A common theory is that certain factors control how we react to the bad things that happen in life — for example, how devastated people feel when they go through a divorce.

But this study offers support to a relatively new theory that says that common factors may influence how sensitive we are to both the bad as well as the good things in life.

That means the person who is more devastated by a divorce may thrive more than others when they get a promotion at work or have some other extremely positive event happen.

In this study, acetaminophen may have tapped into the sensitivity that makes some people react differently to both positive and negative life events.

“There is accumulating evidence that some people are more sensitive to big life events of all kinds, rather than just vulnerable to bad events,” Durso said.

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Contact: Baldwin Way, 614-292-3348; Way.37@osu.edu
Geoff Durso, Durso.9@osu.edu

Written by Jeff Grabmeier, 614-292-8457; Grabmeier.1@osu.edu

Public Release: 14-Apr-2015

New research sheds light on how popular probiotic benefits the gut

Study suggests the bacteria may work by lending a hand to other microbes

University of Maryland School of Medicine

In recent years, research into the benefits of gut bacteria has exploded. Scientists across the globe are examining how these microbes can help improve health and prevent disease.

One of the most well-known of these is Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG). This strain of bacteria, which is part of many popular probiotic products, has a reputation as a helpful microbe. Researchers have found evidence that it can help with intestinal problems, respiratory infections and some skin disorders. Some research suggests that it may even help with weight loss.

But a key question has remained unanswered: How does LGG actually produce benefits?

Now, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) have come up with an explanation. It appears that LGG may act as a facilitator, modifying the activity of other gut bacteria. This is the first time this mechanism has been described; the discovery could eventually help scientists create more effective strategies to foster a healthy gut. The paper was published in the latest issue of the journal mBio.

Claire M. Fraser, PhD, professor of medicine at the UM SOM, as well as director of the Institute for Genome Sciences, studied the effect of LGG on a group of elderly subjects “This species of bacteria has a reputation for being really useful to humans,” says Prof. Fraser. “So we wanted to better understand how it might work in the human intestine.”

She and her collaborator, Dr. Patricia Hibberd at Massachusetts General Hospital, tested 12 subjects, who ingested LGG twice a day for 28 days. She analyzed gut bacteria before and after this regimen, and found that ingesting LGG led to increases in several genes that foster several species of gut bacteria, including Bacteroides, Eubacterium, Faecalibacterium, Bifidobacterium and Streptococcus. These microbes have been shown to have a range of benefits in humans, including the promotion of a healthy immune system. (Fraser notes that LGG may also have direct effects, in addition to its ability to modify the overall ecosystem.)

“This is a new idea, that some probiotics may work by affecting the overall ecosystem of the gut,” said Prof. Fraser. “Previously we tended to think that LGG and other probiotics worked directly on the host. I think this finding has many exciting implications.” For one, Fraser says, it lends support to the idea that we need to look at the microbes in the gut as an interconnected ecosystem rather than a series of solitary bacteria. Modifying the behavior of microbes already in the gut may be just as important as adding any single species to this population.

Prof. Fraser and her colleagues used an innovative method for enumerating gut bacteria; this approach, known as metagenomic analysis, allows for a much more comprehensive view of what the microbes are actually doing in a given person’s intestines. Previous methods do not provide nearly the same level of detail as this method.

“Dr. Fraser’s study is not only fascinating, but it will help advance a rapidly emerging research area,” said Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, who is also the vice president for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the School of Medicine. “In coming years, scientists will learn a great deal about the microbes that exist within us. I’m sure that Prof. Fraser, the Institute and the School of Medicine will be deeply involved in these trailblazing efforts.”

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The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

The University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 and is the first public medical school in the United States and continues today as an innovative leader in accelerating innovation and discovery in medicine. The School of Medicine is the founding school of the University of Maryland and is an integral part of the 11-campus University System of Maryland. Located on the University of Maryland’s Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine works closely with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide a research-intensive, academic and clinically based education. With 43 academic departments, centers and institutes and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians and research scientists plus more than $400 million in extramural funding, the School is regarded as one of the leading biomedical research institutions in the U.S. with top-tier faculty and programs in cancer, brain science, surgery and transplantation, trauma and emergency medicine, vaccine development and human genomics, among other centers of excellence. The School is not only concerned with the health of the citizens of Maryland and the nation, but also has a global presence, with research and treatment facilities in more than 35 countries around the world.

About the Institute for Genome Sciences

The Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) is an international research center within the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Comprised of an interdisciplinary, multidepartment team of investigators, the Institute uses the powerful tools of genomics and bioinformatics to understand genome function in health and disease, to study molecular and cellular networks in a variety of model systems, and to generate data and bioinformatics resources of value to the international scientific community. http://www.igs.umaryland.edu

About mBio

mBio is an open access online journal published by the American Society for Microbiology to make microbiology research broadly accessible. The focus of the journal is on rapid publication of cutting-edge research spanning the entire spectrum of microbiology and related fields. http://mbio.asm.org

About the American Society for Microbiology

The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 39,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM’s mission is to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide.

Public Release: 14-Apr-2015

Ancient herbal therapy can prevent — and reverse — cardiac hypertrophy in mice

University of Chicago Medical Center

A natural compound derived from the bark of the magnolia tree, can protect the heart from hypertrophy, a thickening of cardiac muscle often caused by chronic high blood pressure that can lead to heart failure, researchers report in the April 14 issue of the online journal Nature Communications.

When injected into mice, honokiol (hoh-NOH’-kee-ohl) reduced the excess growth of individual cardiac muscle cells, decreased ventricular wall thickness and prevented the accumulation of interstitial fibrosis, a stiffening of cardiac muscle cells that reduces their ability to contract. It also protected heart muscle cells from the damage caused by oxidative stress, which can damage DNA.

The researchers, based at the University of Chicago Medicine, also describe how this ancient remedy, widely used in Asia for centuries, protects the heart. They found the compound activates SIRT3, a protective protein associated with delayed aging, stress resistance and metabolic regulation.

“Honokiol, by increasing SIRT3 levels, effectively blocked both the induction and progression of cardiac hypertrophy in mice,” said study author Mahesh Gupta, PhD, director of the Cardiac Cell Biology Research Program at the University of Chicago. “It even mitigated pre-existing cardiac hypertrophy. This has the potential to play a significant role in the prevention and treatment of heart failure.”

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to describe a pharmacologic activator of SIRT3” he added. “Until now, caloric restriction combined with endurance exercise has been the only way to boost SIRT3 levels. Very few people have been able to follow such a rigorous regimen.”

One of a family of sirtuin proteins, SIRT3 is primarily active in the mitochondria, the cell’s main source of energy. It plays a central role there in energy metabolism and in preventing acetylation, a process that can alter the function of proteins. In the absence of SIRT3, mitochondrial proteins become hyperacetylated, which can impair function.

Human studies show that sedentary patients over 60 years old have nearly 40 percent less SIRT3. Mice that lack the gene for SIRT3 have 40 percent lower levels of ATP, a primary source of energy, than those with the gene.

The researchers tested multiple compounds in search of one that could activate SIRT3. They found that honokiol reduced mitochondrial protein acetylation. When they tested it in the heart muscle cells from mice, they found that a small amount of honokiol nearly doubled SIRT3 levels within 24 hours.

Additional studies showed that honokiol, acting through SIRT3, could reduce or prevent hypertrophic growth in cardiac muscle cells, prevent mice from developing full blown hypertrophy and even reduce existing damage from established hypertrophy.

It also blocked the production of fibroblasts–cells that interfere with heart muscle performance–and reduced production of myofibroblasts, cells that speed wound healing but can impair heart function. The researchers did not detect any appreciable toxicity.

To confirm the mechanism, the researchers performed the same experiments on mice that lacked the SIRT3 gene. In those studies, honokiol had no effect.

They also determined that honokiol binds directly to SIRT3. The combination appears to increase SIRT3’s activity.

The results, the authors wrote, suggest pharmacological activation of SIRT3 by honokiol could be “a potential therapeutic strategy to prevent adverse cardiac remodeling and other diseases associated with abnormal cellular growth and organ fibrosis.”

“Although we feel this is extremely promising,” Gupta said, “there is still much work to be done.”

Honokiol is available as an herbal remedy but the purity of such preparations is undetermined. “We treated the mice with injections into the peritoneal cavity,” Gupta emphasized, “rather than by mouth, which is how this compound has traditionally been administered. We are testing to see if oral use will have a similar effect.”

Despite those caveats, “we are tremendously excited,” Gupta said. “We are working to design a clinical trial involving patients with cardiac hypertrophy and potentially other metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.”

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The National Institutes of Health, the Rabinowitch-Davis Foundation and the Margolis Foundation funded this study. Additional authors were Vinodkumar Pillai, Sadhana Samant, Nagalingam Sundaresan, Hariharasundaram Raghuraman and Gene Kim of the University of Chicago; Michael Bonner and Jack Arbiser of the Atlanta VA Medical Center; Douglas I. Walker and Dean Jones of the Emory University School of Medicine; and David Gius of Northwestern University.

Public Release: 15-Apr-2015

Brain development suffers from lack of fish oil fatty acids, UCI study finds

Researchers point to dietary link for proper pre- and postnatal neural growth

University of California – Irvine

Irvine, Calif., April 15, 2015 — While recent reports question whether fish oil supplements support heart health, UC Irvine scientists have found that the fatty acids they contain are vitally important to the developing brain.

In a study appearing today in The Journal of Neuroscience, UCI neurobiologists report that dietary deficiencies in the type of fatty acids found in fish and other foods can limit brain growth during fetal development and early in life. The findings suggest that women maintain a balanced diet rich in these fatty acids for themselves during pregnancy and for their babies after birth.

Susana Cohen-Cory, professor of neurobiology & behavior, and colleagues identified for the first time how deficits in what are known as n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids cause molecular changes in the developing brain that result in constrained growth of neurons and the synapses that connect them.

These fatty acids are precursors of docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, which plays a key role in the healthy creation of the central nervous system. In their study, which used female frogs and tadpoles, the UCI researchers were able to see how DHA-deficient brain tissue fostered poorly developed neurons and limited numbers of synapses, the vital conduits that allow neurons to communicate with each other.

“Additionally, when we changed the diets of DHA-deficient mothers to include a proper level of this dietary fatty acid, neuronal and synaptic growth flourished and returned to normal in the following generation of tadpoles,” Cohen-Cory said.

DHA is essential for the development of a fetus’s eyes and brain, especially during the last three months of pregnancy. It makes up 10 to 15 percent of the total lipid amount of the cerebral cortex. DHA is also concentrated in the light-sensitive cells at the back of the eyes, where it accounts for as much as 50 percent of the total lipid amount of each retina.

Dietary DHA is mainly found in animal products: fish, eggs and meat. Oily fish – mackerel, herring, salmon, trout and sardines – are the richest dietary source, containing 10 to 100 times more DHA than nonmarine foods such as nuts, seeds, whole grains and dark green, leafy vegetables.

DHA is also found naturally in breast milk. Possibly because of this, the fatty acid is used as a supplement for premature babies and as an ingredient in baby formula during the first four months of life to promote better mental development.

The UCI team utilized Xenopus laevis (the African clawed frog) as a model for this study because it allowed them to follow the progression and impact of the maternal dietary deficit in the offspring. Because frog embryos develop outside the mother and are translucent, the researchers could see dynamic changes in neurons and their synaptic connections in the intact, live embryos, where development can be easily studied from the time of fertilization to well after functional neural circuits form.

They focused on the visual system because it’s an accessible and well-established system known to depend on fatty acids for proper growth and utility.

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Miki Igarashi and Rommel Santos of UC Irvine contributed to the study, which was supported by the National Eye Institute (grant EY-011912).

About the University of California, Irvine: Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit http://www.uci.edu.

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UC Irvine faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UC Irvine news, visit news.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.

Public Release: 16-Apr-2015

Could maple syrup help cut use of antibiotics?

Syrup extract found to make antibiotics more effective against bacteria

McGill University

A concentrated extract of maple syrup makes disease-causing bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics, according to laboratory experiments by researchers at McGill University.

The findings, which will be published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, suggest that combining maple syrup extract with common antibiotics could increase the microbes’ susceptibility, leading to lower antibiotic usage. Overuse of antibiotics fuels the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, which has become a major public-health concern worldwide.

Prof. Nathalie Tufenkji’s research team in McGill’s Department of Chemical Engineering prepared a concentrated extract of maple syrup that consists mainly of phenolic compounds. Maple syrup, made by concentrating the sap from North American maple trees, is a rich source of phenolic compounds.

The researchers tested the extract’s effect in the laboratory on infection-causing strains of certain bacteria, including E. coli and Proteus mirabilis (a common cause of urinary tract infection). By itself, the extract was mildly effective in combating bacteria. But the maple syrup extract was particularly effective when applied in combination with antibiotics. The extract also acted synergistically with antibiotics in destroying resistant communities of bacteria known as biofilms, which are common in difficult-to-treat infections, such as catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

“We would have to do in vivo tests, and eventually clinical trials, before we can say what the effect would be in humans,” Tufenkji says. “But the findings suggest a potentially simple and effective approach for reducing antibiotic usage. I could see maple syrup extract being incorporated eventually, for example, into the capsules of antibiotics.”

The scientists also found that the extract affects the gene expression of the bacteria, by repressing a number of genes linked with antibiotic resistance and virulence.

All maple syrup samples used in the study were purchased at local markets in Montreal, then frozen until the beginning of each experiment, which involved a series of steps to produce the phenolic-rich extract.

Tufenkji, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Biocolloids and Surfaces, has also studied the potential for cranberry derivatives to fight infection-causing bacteria. The new study is co-authored by postdoctoral fellows Vimal Maisuria and Zeinab Hosseinidoust.

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Funding for the research was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canada Research Chairs program.

“Polyphenolic Extract from Maple Syrup Potentiates Antibiotic Susceptibility and Reduces Biofilm Formation of Pathogenic Bacteria,” by Vimal B. Maisuria, Zeinab Hosseinidoust, and Nathalie Tufenkji, is scheduled for publication in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Volume 81, Issue 11. To view the accepted manuscript: http://aem.asm.org/content/early/2015/03/23/AEM.00239-15.abstract

To view a video about this research: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OJbyq9q0g4

Public Release: 16-Apr-2015

After prostate cancer, start walking

Walking routine improves health-related quality of life in prostate cancer survivors

Northwestern University

CHICAGO — Walking at an easy pace for about three hours every week may be just enough physical activity to help prostate cancer survivors reduce damaging side effects of their treatment, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.

“Non-vigorous walking for three hours per week seems to improve the fatigue, depression and body weight issues that affect many men post-treatment,” said Siobhan Phillips, lead author of the study. “If you walk even more briskly, for only 90 minutes a week, you could also see similar benefits in these areas.”

Phillips is a kinesiologist and an assistant professor in the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The paper will be published April 16, 2015 in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship: Research and Practice.

This is one of the first papers to investigate how different intensities and types of physical activity affect the health-related quality of life of men after prostate cancer treatment.

“This study shows that you don’t have to engage in high-impact, vigorous activities to improve your quality of life after a prostate cancer diagnosis,” Phillips said. “Since many prostate cancer survivors might find vigorous activities hard to stick with, the good news is that simply focusing on walking more may be enough to make them feel better.”

Phillips used data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which includes self-reported data since 1986 on 51,529 men in health professions and is based at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She focused on prostate cancer survivors who were diagnosed with non-advanced disease prior to 2008 and responded to a health-related quality of life (HRQOL) questionnaire.

Common HRQOL symptoms included urinary and bowel problems, sexual function issues, fatigue, depression, increased body weight and erectile dysfunction.

The men reported the average time spent during a week walking to work or for exercise as well as time spent jogging, running, cycling, swimming and playing sports. They also reported their usual outdoor walking pace as easy, average, brisk or very brisk.

After controlling for pre-diagnosis physical activity and sedentary time, the findings indicate that higher duration of total, non-vigorous and walking activity — especially brisk walking — were associated with better hormone/vitality functioning (affecting fatigue, depression and body weight) but not with bowel, urinary, or sexual functioning.

Those who are able to walk should be encouraged to start an easy walking routine or engage in other non-vigorous activities soon after a prostate cancer diagnosis, Phillips said. The benefits could help manage symptoms such as fatigue, depression and body weight – and improve overall health.

“Cancer survivors have a higher risk of other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease,” Phillips said. “Walking may also potentially increase survival and impact their quality of life by preventing the onset of those other conditions.”

Public Release: 19-Apr-2015

Broccoli sprout extract promising for head and neck cancer prevention

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

PHILADELPHIA, April 19, 2015 – Broccoli sprout extract protects against oral cancer in mice and proved tolerable in a small group of healthy human volunteers, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), partner with UPMC CancerCenter, announced today at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.

The promising results will be further explored in a human clinical trial, which will recruit participants at high risk for head and neck cancer recurrence later this year. This research is funded through Pitt’s Specialized Program of Research Excellence grant in head and neck cancer from the National Cancer Institute.

“People who are cured of head and neck cancer are still at very high risk for a second cancer in their mouth or throat, and, unfortunately, these second cancers are commonly fatal,” said lead author Julie Bauman, M.D., M.P.H., co-director of the UPMC Head and Neck Cancer Center of Excellence. “So we’re developing a safe, natural molecule found in cruciferous vegetables to protect the oral lining where these cancers form.”

Previous studies, including large-scale trials in China, have shown that cruciferous vegetables that have a high concentration of sulforaphane – such as broccoli, cabbage and garden cress – help mitigate the effects of environmental carcinogens.

Dr. Bauman collaborated with Daniel E. Johnson, Ph.D., professor of medicine at Pitt and a senior scientist in the UPCI Head and Neck Cancer Program, to test sulforaphane in the laboratory. For several months, Dr. Johnson and his team gave sulforaphane to mice predisposed to oral cancer and found that it significantly reduced the incidence and number of tumors.

“The clear benefit of sulforaphane in preventing oral cancer in mice raises hope that this well-tolerated compound also may act to prevent oral cancer in humans who face chronic exposure to environmental pollutants and carcinogens,” said Dr. Johnson.

Dr. Bauman treated 10 healthy volunteers with fruit juice mixed with sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout extract. The volunteers had no ill-effects from the extract and protective changes were detectable in the lining of their mouths, meaning it was absorbed and directed to at-risk tissue.

These findings were enough to prompt a clinical trial that will recruit 40 volunteers who have been curatively treated for head and neck cancer. The participants will regularly take capsules containing broccoli seed powder to determine if they can tolerate the regimen and whether it has enough of an impact on their oral lining to prevent cancer. From there, larger clinical trials could be warranted.

“We call this ‘green chemoprevention,’ where simple seed preparations or plant extracts are used to prevent disease,” said Dr. Bauman, also an associate professor in Pitt’s School of Medicine. “Green chemoprevention requires less money and fewer resources than a traditional pharmaceutical study, and could be more easily disseminated in developing countries where head and neck cancer is a significant problem.”

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Additional authors on this research are Yan Zhang, Ph.D., Malabika Sen, Ph.D., Daniel P. Normolle, Ph.D., Thomas W. Kensler, Ph.D., Sumita Trivedi, M.B.B.S., and Siddharth H. Sheth, D.O., M.P.H., all of Pitt; Jennifer R. Grandis, M.D., F.A.C.S., of Pitt at the time the research was conducted; and Patricia A. Egner, M.S., of Johns Hopkins University.

About UPCI

As the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in western Pennsylvania, UPCI is a recognized leader in providing innovative cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment; bio-medical research; compassionate patient care and support; and community-based outreach services. Investigators at UPCI, a partner with UPMC CancerCenter, are world-renowned for their work in clinical and basic cancer research.

http://www.upmc.com/media

Public Release: 19-Apr-2015

Animal study shows why long-time consumption of soy foods reduces breast cancer recurrence

Georgetown University Medical Center

PHILADELPHIA — Women diagnosed with breast cancer are often told not to eat soyfoods or soy-based supplements because they can interfere with anti-estrogen treatment. But new research being presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2015 could eventually impact that advice, because in animals, a long history of eating soyfoods boosts the immune response against breast tumors, reducing cancer recurrence.

The study, conducted at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, could offer good news to some women whose diet has long contained soy.

“I am concerned that some patients may start taking soy supplements when they shouldn’t and that others will stop eating soyfoods when they could really benefit from them,” says the study’s lead investigator, Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, PhD, professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi.

The notion that soy, specifically genistein (an isoflavone), can stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells and disrupt anti-estrogen treatment has been based on studies in mice that do not have immune cells known as cytotoxic T cells, known to attack breast cancer. This led oncologists to advise their breast cancer patients not to eat soyfoods.

In a previous study, Hilakivi-Clarke and her doctoral student Xiyuan Zhang, the lead author of the current study, confirmed that rats that consumed genistein throughout their lifetimes responded better to anti-estrogen treatment than did control rats. They also had reduced risk of cancer recurrence. Genistein, found in soybeans, fava beans and soymilk, among other soy foods, have many biological effects that can reduce cancer risk. However, genistein also activates human estrogen receptors, mimicking estrogen, which can make existing cancer cells grow.

In this study, the researchers investigated if their previous findings could be explained by changes in tumor immune responses. While T cells can attack tumor cells, other immune cells can disable the ability of these T cells to recognize that tumors are present, allowing breast cancer to grow unchecked by the immune system.

Hilakivi-Clarke and Zhang found that in rats fed genistein since before puberty, the T cell immune response was activated already before they started treatment with tamoxifen (an anti-estrogen therapy). Also, during the treatment, the tumor’s attempt to hide from an immune system attack was thwarted.

“Our results suggest that genistein’s ability to activate anti-tumor immune responses and reduce expression of immunosuppressive mechanisms may explain why lifetime genistein intake reduces risk of breast cancer recurrence,” Hilakivi-Clarke says.

“But it is critical that genistein is consumed well before a tumor develops to program the tumor to exhibit good immune responses,” Zhang adds.

The findings mirror observational studies that found women who have long been consuming more than 10 mg isoflavones daily are at reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence, compared with women who consume less than 4 mg isoflavones daily. “One cup of soymilk has about 30 mg isoflavones, the majority of which is genistein,” Hilakivi-Clarke says.

“This and our earlier work suggests it is okay to continue consuming soyfoods during breast cancer treatment. Whether this is because of our finding related to the immune, we can’t say conclusively,” Hilakivi-Clarke concludes.

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In addition to Hilakivi-Clarke and Zhang, Katherine Cook, PhD, is a co-author. The authors report having no personal financial interests related to the study.

The study was funded by National Cancer Institute (U54-CA149147) and philanthropic support from Sara and Gabriel Solomon.

About Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center

Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Georgetown Lombardi is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute (grant #P30 CA051008), and the only one in the Washington, DC area. For more information, go to http://lombardi.georgetown.edu.

About Georgetown University Medical Center

Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization, which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health.

Public Release: 20-Apr-2015

Global pandemic of fake medicines poses urgent risk, scientists say

Up to 41 percent of drug samples studied did not meet quality standards

NIH/Fogarty International Center

Poor quality medicines are a real and urgent threat that could undermine decades of successful efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, according to the editors of a collection of journal articles published today. Scientists report up to 41 percent of specimens failed to meet quality standards in global studies of about 17,000 drug samples. Among the collection is an article describing the discovery of falsified and substandard malaria drugs that caused an estimated 122,350 deaths in African children in 2013. Other studies identified poor quality antibiotics, which may harm health and increase antimicrobial resistance. However, new methodologies are being developed to detect problem drugs at the point of purchase and show some promise, scientists say.

Seventeen articles in all, detailing various aspects of the issue and proposing possible solutions, are included in a special journal supplement “The Global Pandemic of Falsified Medicines: Laboratory and Field Innovations and Policy Perspectives,” published online ahead of print by The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Several articles suggest policy interventions, including an international framework and the adoption of stricter national laws against drug counterfeiting.

“This problem continues to spread globally, creating an even greater challenge to cooperation among stakeholders, many with limited resources,” noted the supplement’s co-editor, Joel Breman, M.D., M.P.H., senior scientist emeritus at the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center. “The need is urgent for collaboration among those with expertise in policy, science, technology, surveillance, epidemiology and logistics, in order to secure global supply chains.”

In an introductory essay, former U.S. Food and Drug Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D., says globalization has added layers of complexity to the drug supply chain that require greater oversight. “Today’s medical-product landscape blurs the line between domestic and foreign production, drawing attention to the need for global quality and safety oversight to prevent patient exposure to falsified products,” wrote Dr. Hamburg, who was recently named foreign secretary of the Institute of Medicine.

Scientists inspected the quality of about 16,800 samples of anti-malarials, anti-tuberculosis medicines, antibiotics and anti-leishmaniasis drugs and reported from 9 to 41 percent failed to meet the specifications. Seven separate studies were carried out, primarily in low-resource settings, and included samples from public and private sources.

“The pandemic of falsified and substandard medicines is pervasive and underestimated, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where drug regulatory systems are weak or non-existent, as shown by field studies in the supplement,” says Jim Herrington, Ph.D., M.P.H., co-editor of the supplement and director of the University of North Carolina’s Gillings Global Gateway at Chapel Hill. Until recently, Herrington was director of Fogarty’s international relations division.

New methodologies to test drug quality are emerging and scientists reported the results of four investigations. Simple paper-based test cards proved to be an economical and portable method to identify very low quality anti-malarials. More sophisticated approaches using fluorescent and luminescent techniques or other novel technologies can measure with greater precision but may be difficult to use in remote settings. All of these promising tools require further testing to provide a greater evidence base to guide policymakers, the authors say.

An urgent and coordinated international response is required to address the pandemic of poor quality drugs, the scientists maintain. Policy proposals include a global agreement, similar to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and stricter national laws to prosecute those who knowingly sell counterfeit medicines.

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In addition to Fogarty, the supplement is sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the New Venture Fund.

The individual articles will be published online on Monday, April 20 at 11:30 a.m. at: http://www.ajtmh.org/content/early/recent

The Fogarty International Center addresses global health challenges through innovative and collaborative research and training programs and supports and advances the NIH mission through international partnerships. For more information, visit http://www.fic.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®

Public Release: 21-Apr-2015

More detailed findings confirm that coffee protects against breast cancer recurrence

Lund University

A number of research studies have shown that coffee helps to protect against breast cancer. A new study led by Lund University, has confirmed that coffee inhibits the growth of tumours and reduces the risk of recurrence in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and treated with the drug tamoxifen.

The study, which is a follow-up of the results the researchers obtained two years ago, was carried out at Lund University and Skåne University Hospital, in collaboration with researchers in the UK.

“Now, unlike in the previous study, we have combined information about the patients’ lifestyle and clinical data from 1090 breast cancer patients with studies on breast cancer cells. The study shows that among the over 500 women treated with tamoxifen, those who had drunk at least two cups of coffee a day had only half the risk of recurrence of those who drank less coffee or none at all”, explain researchers Ann Rosendahl and Helena Jernström, who obtained the results in collaboration with Jeff Holly and his research team at University of Bristol.

“The study also shows that those who drank at least two cups of coffee a day had smaller tumours and a lower proportion of hormone-dependent tumours. We saw that this was already the case at the time of diagnosis.”

In the cell study, the researchers looked more closely at two substances that usually occur in the coffee drunk in Sweden – caffeine and caffeic acid.

“The breast cancer cells reacted to these substances, especially caffeine, with reduced cell division and increased cell death, especially in combination with tamoxifen. This shows that these substances have an effect on the breast cancer cells and turn off signalling pathways that the cancer cells require to grow.”

The researchers have demonstrated both in breast cancer patients and at cell level that coffee appears to reinforce the effect of treatment with tamoxifen, but emphasise the importance of taking prescribed medication.

“They are incredibly important, but if you like coffee and are also taking tamoxifen, there is no reason to stop drinking it. Just two cups a day is sufficient to make a difference.”

Public Release: 23-Apr-2015

Chili peppers hold promise of preventing liver damage and progression

Capsaicin shown to inhibit progression of liver injury and demonstrates anti-fibrotic potential

European Association for the Study of the Liver

23 April 2015, Austria, Vienna: Results revealed today at the International Liver Congress™ 2015 show that the daily consumption of capsaicin, the active compound of chilli peppers, was found to have beneficial effects on liver damage.

In the study, capsaicin was found to reduce the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) in mice models. HSCs are the major cell type involved in liver fibrosis, which is the formation of scar tissue in response to liver damage.

The mice were split into two groups and received capsaicin in their food:

· After three days of bile duct ligation (BDL) in which the common bile duct is obstructed, leading to bile accumulation and liver fibrosis

· Before and during chronic carbon tetrachloride treatment (CCl4). CCl4 is an inorganic compound that was widely used in fire extinguishers, as a precursor to refrigerants and as a cleaning agent. It is now known to be one of the most potent hepatotoxins

The study demonstrates that capsaicin partially improved liver damage in the BDL mice and inhibited further progression of the injury. In the second group of CCl4-treated mice, capsaicin prevented livers from injury development but did not reduce the fibrosis when it was already established.

These results support the need for further investigation into capsaicin for the treatment and prevention of liver injury and fibrosis.

###

About The International Liver Congress™

This annual congress is the biggest event in the EASL calendar, attracting scientific and medical experts from around the world to learn about the latest in liver research. Specialists share research studies and findings, and discuss the hottest topics related to liver disease. This year, the congress is expected to attract approximately 10,000 delegates from all corners of the globe. 2015 is a very special year for EASL and the hepatology community as they will celebrate the 50th annual meeting. The International Liver Congress™ takes place from April 22-26, 2015, Vienna, Austria.

About EASL

Since EASL’s foundation in 1966, this not-for-profit organisation has grown to over 4,000 members from more than 100 countries around the world. EASL is the leading liver association in Europe, it attracts the foremost hepatology experts and has an impressive track record in promoting research in liver disease, supporting wider education and promoting changes in European liver policy.

Contact

For more information, please contact the ILC Press Office at:

ilc.press@easloffice.eu or
+44 (0)20 3580 5444

Public Release: 23-Apr-2015

Herbal remedy derived from milk thistle demonstrates efficacy in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

Silymarin results in resolution of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and improvement in fibrosis

European Association for the Study of the Liver

April 23, 2015, Vienna, Austria: Results from a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of silymarin, which is derived from the milk thistle plant, have shown that this herbal remedy may be a useful treatment option for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

An interim analysis of the study, revealed today at The International Liver Congress™ 2015, shows a significantly higher percentage of patients experienced NASH resolution and improvement in fibrosis after 48 weeks of treatment with silymarin compared to placebo.

NASH occurs when the liver becomes inflamed due to the accumulation of fat. Over time, persistent inflammation can lead to the formation of fibrous scar tissue in the liver and around its blood vessels, which can eventually cause cirrhosis.

A total of 64 patients (silymarin = 30, placebo = 34) with biopsy-proven NASH had completed the study at the time of interim analysis. Silymarin has already demonstrated anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic properties, and these latest study results show that it may be a useful treatment for NASH.

###

About The International Liver Congress™

This annual congress is the biggest event in the EASL calendar, attracting scientific and medical experts from around the world to learn about the latest in liver research. Specialists share research studies and findings, and discuss the hottest topics related to liver disease. This year, the congress is expected to attract approximately 10,000 delegates from all corners of the globe. 2015 is a very special year for EASL and the hepatology community as they will celebrate the 50th annual meeting. The International Liver Congress™ takes place from April 22-26, 2015, Vienna, Austria.

About EASL

Since EASL’s foundation in 1966, this not-for-profit organisation has grown to over 4,000 members from more than 100 countries around the world. EASL is the leading liver association in Europe, it attracts the foremost hepatology experts and has an impressive track record in promoting research in liver disease, supporting wider education and promoting changes in European liver policy.

Contact

For more information, please contact the ILC Press Office at:

ilc.press@easloffice.eu or
+44 (0)20 3580 5444

Public Release: 23-Apr-2015

Pooled analysis confirms vitamin E as a treatment for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

Study found that vitamin E is a safe and effective treatment for both adults and children

European Association for the Study of the Liver

April 23, 2015, Vienna, Austria: Results revealed today at The International Liver Congress™ 2015 show that vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol) is an effective treatment for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH occurs when the liver becomes inflamed due to the accumulation of fat. Over time, persistent inflammation can lead to the formation of fibrous scar tissue in the liver and around its blood vessels, which can eventually cause cirrhosis.

A pooled analysis of data from two randomised trials comparing vitamin E versus placebo, and the placebo group from another trial comparing vitamin E use versus non-use, demonstrates that the efficacy of vitamin E is comparable to other treatments for NASH, including pioglitazone, metformin and obeticholic acid. In addition, treatment with vitamin E is associated with significant improvements in both NASH histology (45% vs 22% in those not treated with vitamin E) and resolution of disease (38% vs 20% in those not treated with vitamin E). There was no increase in cardiovascular events and no adverse lipid profiles were observed with vitamin E treatment.

A total of 347 patients (155 treated with vitamin E, 192 not treated with vitamin E) were included in the analysis which compared data from three clinical trials that investigated the efficacy and safety of vitamin E as a treatment for NASH: the PIVENS, TONIC and FLINT trials. Histologic improvement was defined as ? 2 point improvement in NAS with no worsening of fibrosis, and NASH resolution measured effectiveness.

The study supports the use of vitamin E as a treatment for NASH.

###

About The International Liver Congress™

This annual congress is the biggest event in the EASL calendar, attracting scientific and medical experts from around the world to learn about the latest in liver research. Specialists share research studies and findings, and discuss the hottest topics related to liver disease. This year, the congress is expected to attract approximately 10,000 delegates from all corners of the globe. 2015 is a very special year for EASL and the hepatology community as they will celebrate the 50th annual meeting. The International Liver Congress™ takes place from April 22-26, 2015, Vienna, Austria.

About EASL

Since EASL’s foundation in 1966, this not-for-profit organisation has grown to over 4,000 members from more than 100 countries around the world. EASL is the leading liver association in Europe, it attracts the foremost hepatology experts and has an impressive track record in promoting research in liver disease, supporting wider education and promoting changes in European liver policy.

Contact

For more information, please contact the ILC Press Office at:

ilc.press@easloffice.eu or
+44 (0)20 3580 5444

*Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) Activity Score (NAS)

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