Dance By Protein Linked To Parkinson’s And Alzheimer’s Diseases Reveals Unprecedented Twists And Turns

In an Early Edition publication of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) this week, the researchers demonstrate the “alpha-synuclein dance” – the switching back and forth of the protein between a bent helix and an extended helix as the surface that it is binding to changes.

Such shape shifting has rarely been so directly observed in proteins like alpha-synuclein, which are known to be unfolded in isolation, says the study’s senior investigator Ashok Deniz, an associate professor at The Scripps Research Institute.

“We are intrigued to see such complex behavior,” he says. “It is interesting that with just a single binding partner, the protein can undergo so many dramatic shape transitions, and that the whole process is reversible.”

In the past, scientists believed that proteins, as directed by their genes, fold themselves into defined three-dimensional structures that dictate their function. But more recently, a class of proteins known as “intrinsically disordered proteins” have been identified, which are functional, despite the fact that they are often unfolded.

Alpha-synuclein is such a protein. Mutations in the gene that produces alpha-synuclein have been linked to early-onset Parkinson’s disease, and in sporadic, common Parkinson’s disease, the protein can accumulate into so-called Lewy bodies inside nerve cells. The protein is also found in the amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease, and in other forms of neurological disease.

To learn more about alpha-synuclein, the Scripps Research team decided to study the shape of single proteins. To do this, they used a technique they helped develop, which is known as single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), to look at how the protein folds when it binds to different molecules. This technique, which Deniz calls a “molecular ruler,” measures light emitted from fluorescent dyes that are attached to amino acids in the protein. The measured light provides information about molecular distances, hence revealing the protein’s shape. By observing shapes of individual proteins rather than averaging data over a large number of them, the team was able to better map and resolve shape complexity in the system.

To coax the protein to change shapes, the researchers increased the concentration of a soapy solution that mimics the lipids found in different nerve cell membranes in the brain. Alpha-synuclein is known to bind to membranes on nerve cells, and lipids are a large component of those membranes.

At a low concentration, the “lipid” molecules remained separate but at higher concentration, small and then larger blobs of molecules form. The shape of the alpha-synuclein kept pace – the extended helix could latch onto lipid-mimics as monomers or in a large cylinder-shaped blob, whereas the bent helix wrapped itself around smaller lipid-mimic balls or could create formations with lipid-mimic monomers.

“Others have found the protein to be in a bent helix or in an extended helix, but what we are showing here directly is that the shape can actively change,” Deniz says. “It starts off in an unfolded state, and as we increase the concentration of the lipid mimics, the protein reacts to what is in effect a different binding partner, even though it is the same small molecule at different concentrations. It switches back and forth into different states.

“This is perhaps the most complex protein folding-binding system that has been studied to date using single-molecule FRET,” he says.

This ability of alpha-synuclein to be switched into alternative shapes could play a significant role in regulating formation of disease-related aggregates, as well as enabling its function. Hence, one next step for the research team is to figure out which form of alpha-synuclein may accelerate formation of the types of protein aggregates found in Alzheimer’s disease plaque and in Parkinson’s disease Lewy bodies. Using single-molecule methods to directly construct binding-folding maps (as in the current work) will be a critical component of this future effort, and also should be widely applicable to other intrinsically disordered or amyloid-forming proteins.


Co-authors of the paper, “Interplay of ?±-synuclein binding and conformational switching probed by single molecule fluorescence,” include first authors Allan Chris M. Ferreon and Yann Gambin, and Edward A. Lemke – all of The Scripps Research Institute.

This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health (NIH), and postdoctoral fellowships from the NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the La Jolla Interfaces in Science (funded by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund), and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute is one of the world’s largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations, at the forefront of basic biomedical science that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, and synthetic vaccine development. Established in its current configuration in 1961, it employs approximately 3,000 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, scientific and other technicians, doctoral degree graduate students, and administrative and technical support personnel. Scripps Research is headquartered in La Jolla, California. It also includes Scripps Florida, whose researchers focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development.

Source: Keith McKeown

Scripps Research Institute

Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Ltd. Announces FDA Approval To Market Generic Mobic(R)

Caraco Pharmaceutical
Laboratories, Ltd., (Amex: CPD) announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) has granted final approval for the Company’s
Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for Meloxicam Tablets.

Caraco’s Meloxicam Tablets is the generic equivalent of Boehringer
Ingelheim’s Mobic(R) a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, (NSAID) which
is indicated for the relief of the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Caraco has two strengths available, 7.5 mg and 15 mg tablets.

Daniel H. Movens, Caraco’s Chief Executive Officer said, “We are
pleased to gain this approval and have another product to market, adding
value to our portfolio of products we market in the U.S. It will complement
our current product mix by adding another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
product to our line. We plan to launch this product to the market
immediately. This approval brings our total marketed product selection to
22 different products represented by 47 strengths.”

Detroit-based Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Ltd., develops,
manufactures and distributes generic and private-label prescription
pharmaceuticals to the nation’s wholesalers, distributors, drugstore chains
and managed care providers.

Safe Harbor:

This news release contains forward-looking statements made
pursuant to the safe-harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are based on management’s current
expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause
actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-
looking statements. These risks and uncertainties are contained in the
Corporation’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and
include: information is of a preliminary nature and may be subject to
adjustment, not obtaining or delays in obtaining FDA approval for new
products, governmental restrictions on the sale of certain products,
dependence on key personnel, development by competitors of new or superior
products or cheaper products or new technology for the production of
products, the entry into the market of new competitors, market and customer
acceptance and demand for new pharmaceutical products, availability of raw
materials, timing and success of product development and launches,
integrity and reliability of the Corporation’s data, lack of success of
attaining full compliance with regard to regulatory and cGMP compliance,
experiencing difficulty in managing our recent rapid growth and anticipated
future growth, dependence on limited customer base, occasional credits to
certain customers reflecting price reductions on products previously sold
to them and still available as shelf- stock, possibility of an incorrect
estimate of charge-backs and the impact of such an incorrect estimate on
net sales, gross profit and net income, dependence on few products
generating majority of sales, product liability claims for which the
Company may be inadequately insured, subjectivity in judgment of management in applying certain significant accounting policies derived based on historical experience, terms of contracts, our observations of trends of
industry, information received from our customers and other sources, to
estimate revenues, accounts receivable allowances including chargebacks,
rebates, income taxes, values of assets and inventories, litigation
involving claims of patent infringement, litigation involving claims for
royalties relating to a prior contract for one product and other risks
identified in this report and identified from time to time in our reports
and registration statements filed with the Securities and Exchange
Commission. These forward-looking statements represent our judgment as of
the date of this report. We disclaim, however, any intent or obligation to
update our forward-looking statements.

Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Ltd.
Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories

Guidance To Help Communities Reopen Former Hospitals To Care For Survivors Of Hurricane Katrina

Public health officials and emergency response teams now have information available to help them reopen former (shuttered) hospitals to care for survivors of Hurricane Katrina. The information includes lists of supplies and medications needed by stable medical/surgical patients and checklists to assess facility readiness, staffing needs and levels, and patient transport readiness.

The information comes from a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality entitled Use of Former (Shuttered) Hospitals to Expand Surge Capacity, which gives emergency responders and public health officials useful, practical tools for opening shuttered hospitals when an emergency is underway. The information is available on the AHRQ Web site at ahrq/research/shuttered. The report also will give surrounding communities that aren’t immediately affected by the hurricane a way to assess their existing facilities to meet future needs.

“In emergencies of this magnitude, local communities and their neighbors need to take advantage of every available resource to care for their citizens,” HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. “This information will help them ensure that closed facilities can be pressed into service at a time of emergency.”

The new report includes separate, fill-in-the-blank checklists for chief administrators, facilities experts, medical personnel, security experts, equipment and supply experts, and medical gas system verifiers to use in evaluating a facility. It also contains action checklists that help emergency planners assess and fulfill staffing needs, additional expertise required, and management needs.

The report also contains a tool kit with a list of supplies and equipment needed for operation of a reopened facility. These supplies include such items as nutritional and feeding supplies, gloves and masks, bandages and dressings, and microbiology needs and syringes. The report also includes a preliminary, basic pharmacy list that details medications that would be needed for typical medically stable medical/surgery patients. The report was prepared under contract to AHRQ by Abt Associates, Inc. AHRQ is working with the American Hospital Association and other groups to disseminate this important new resource.


Merck May Have Misrepresented Vioxx Risks

The risk-benefit profile of rofecoxib (marketed under the names Vioxx,
Ceoxx and Ceeoxx) may be have been misrepresented by the study sponsor,
Merck, in clinical trials with patients with cognitive impairment. This
was the result of a comparison of internal company documents, data
submitted by the company to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA,) and
published clinical trial results, according to an article in the April
16 issues of JAMA.

Sponsors have a financial interest in representing their products in
the most favorable way possible. This is often in direct conflict with
scientific standards, which demand unbiased and comparable reports of
safety and efficacy data. By selectively reporting the results of
clinical trials, the risk-benefit profile of drugs can be

Bruce M. Psaty, M.D., Ph.D., and Richard A. Kronmal, Ph.D., of the
University of Washington, Seattle, reviewed documents with the goal of
summarizing how findings were represented by the study sponsor, Merck,
specifically regarding the risk of death associated with rofecoxib in
clinical trials of patients with Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive
impairment. These documents were made available during litigation
related to rofecoxib and Merck, including internal company analyses and
information provided by the sponsor to the Food and Drug
Administration. Additionally, they evaluated information from two
published articles reporting the results of these trials.

In an article which reported the results of protocol 091, published in
2004, 11 “non-drug related deaths” were reported among patients. 9 of
these were in the group of 346 rofecoxib patients, and 2 were among the
same number of placebo patients. In another article, reporting the
results of protocol 078, which was published in 2005, 39 deaths were
reported among patients taking a study treatment or within 14 days of
the last dose. This was 24 patients in the 725 strong rofecoxib group
and 15 among the 732 placebo patients. Additionally, there were 22
deaths in the off-drug period (17 in rofecoxib patients and 5 placebo
patients.) These articles, according to the reviewers, included no
analysis or statistical tests of the mortality data. The studies then
concluded that rofecoxib is “well tolerated” regarding safety.

April 2001 marks the company’s internal intention-to-treat analyses, a
technique based on the evaluation of patients in the group to which
they were randomly assigned, pooled data from these two trials and
found a significant three-fold increase in total mortality. This was
indicated by an overall mortality of 34 deaths in 1,069 rofecoxib
patients and onle 12 deaths among 1,078 placebo patients. “These
mortality analyses were neither provided to the FDA nor made public in
a timely fashion,” write the authors of the review.

Instead, the data submitted by Merck to the FDA in a Safety Update
Report in July 2001 used an on-treatment analysis, in which patients
who were actually taking the drug or placebo they were assigned,
reported 29 deaths among 1,067 rofecoxib patients and 17 deaths among
1,075 placebo patients. This minimized the appearance of a mortality
risk, according to the review writers. Apparently, deaths that had
occurred more than 14 days after discontinuation of the drug trial were
apparently not included.

When the FDA raised safety questions about the submitted safety data in
December 2001, the sponsor did not bring the issues to an institutional
review board for review. They revealed that there was no data and
safety monitoring board (DSMB) for the protocol 078 study. During
additional follow-up time for the 078 study, there were approximately 8
excess deaths among those randomly assigned to receive rofecoxib, which
was associated with an increased risk of progression to Alzheimer’s
disease. This was, according to the review authors, “a
finding that was apparent early in the trial. The mortality findings
and the Alzheimer disease findings would, in our judgment, have
prompted a DSMB, if it had existed, to stop the trial early.”

“The only human-subjects protections available to the study
were those provided by the investigators who were blind not only to the
treatment allocation but also to the findings for study-wide adverse
events, and by the unblinded Merck investigators, who did not discern a
safety issue. The sponsor’s submission of individual adverse event
reports over time to the FDA is not adequate for active trial
monitoring. The FDA depends on the sponsor and the DSMB to alert the
agency about any evidence of harm that may be associated with the
drug.” They continue, adding that all large clinical trials, especially
when related to drugs with serious known risks, should have a DSMB.

“Sponsors have a direct financial interest in their products and a
fiduciary duty to shareholders to provide a return on their investment.
These interests disqualify sponsors from other important duties,
including those normally accorded to DSMBs and institutional review
boards (IRBs). Failure of the sponsor to inform IRBs of a safety issue
violates the trust of those human participants who volunteered to
advance science, medicine, and public health.”

The authors conclude with scathing remarks regarding the influence of
industry on clinical studies. “For sponsors that conduct their own
studies or use contract research
organizations to conduct studies, it is not clear how transparency in
the reporting of results can be achieved if a sponsor chooses to
represent its products in the best possible light. The
commercialization of clinical trials has neither improved the quality
of the science nor enhanced the protection of human research
participants. The findings from this case study suggest that additional
protections for human research participants, including new approaches
for the conduct, oversight, and reporting of industry-sponsored trials,
are necessary. A clinical trials system in which sponsors fund the
trials that are conducted by independent investigators would provide
additional protections.”

Reporting Mortality Findings in Trials of Rofecoxib for
Alzheimer Disease or Cognitive Impairment: A Case Study Based on
Documents From Rofecoxib Litigation
Bruce M. Psaty, MD, PhD; Richard A. Kronmal, PhD
JAMA. 2008;299(15):1813-1817.
Here For Abstract

Anna Sophia McKenney

View drug information on Vioxx.

WFP Food Provides Daily Meals To Mogadishu’s Hungry — First Time In 15 Years

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and a
partner have started giving daily meals to tens of thousands of
hungry people in the capital Mogadishu — the agency’s first ‘wet feeding’
in Somalia since the 1993 humanitarian emergency.

The meals started to be distributed on 25 November and numbers
expanding daily. By Monday, WFP and its NGO partner SAACID were feeding
least 21,000 people in eight city districts. They plan to provide meals
up to 10 districts with a target of up to 50,000 people each day.

“The depth and scale of the crisis in Somalia is extremely alarming to
all – in some parts acute malnutrition levels surpass emergency
levels,” said WFP Somalia Country Director Peter Goossens, adding that
success of the operation demonstrated the determination of WFP and
to reach the hungry despite a multitude of obstacles.

“We urge everyone to respect this vital humanitarian operation, which
feeding the desperately hungry”.

WFP was forced to start wet feeding in Mogadishu after fatal
incidents halted distributions of WFP dry rations in the capital in
June. As one-month rations of dried food are stored in beneficiaries’
homes, they are more liable to be looted than prepared meals eaten on

Goossens said insecurity in Mogadishu was also causing the disruption
markets with consequent hyperinflation. There is a major lack
employment, and a shortage of medical and sanitation
Malnutrition rates in the capital are rising, with acute malnutrition
among children under the age of 5 years estimated to be reaching 15
or more.

With food assistance needs on the rise, WFP is appealing to donors
bridge a US$31 million funding gap. Last week, WFP private sector
YUM! Brands announced a US$1 million contribution from the funds
during its ‘World Hunger Relief Week’ campaign in October. This is
largest corporate donation to WFP Somalia.

Some 30 kilometres west of Mogadishu, WFP is consistently reaching
who fled heavy fighting in the capital. From last Saturday to Tuesday,
one-month ration of WFP food was distributed in the Afgoye area to
people — part of 600,000 people who fled their homes in the capital

The top 10 donors to WFP’s two-year Protracted Relief and
Operation in Somalia ending in July 2008 are: the United States
million), Canada (US$7.8 million), Netherlands (US$6.8 million),
Arabia (US$3.3 million), Japan (US$3.2 million), United Nations
million), multilateral funds (US$2.2 million — including US$1.9
from Sweden), Germany (US$2 million), Finland (US$1.9 million),
(US$1.7 million).

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency. Last year we gave food to
88 million people – mostly women and children – in 78 of the world’s
poorest countries.

WFP now provides RSS feeds to help journalists keep up with the
press releases, videos and photos as they are published on wfp.
more details see here.

WFP now has a dedicated ISDN line in Italy for quality two-way
with WFP officials.


MIT Links Gene To Cholesterol – Research Could Lead To Drugs For Atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s

MIT researchers have discovered a link between a gene believed to promote long lifespan and a pathway that flushes cholesterol from the body.

The finding could help researchers create drugs that lower the risk of diseases associated with high cholesterol, including atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and Alzheimer’s disease.

The study focused on a gene called SIRT1, which the researchers found prevents cholesterol buildup by activating a cellular pathway that expels cholesterol from the body via HDL (high density lipoprotein or “good cholesterol”).

“SIRT1 is an important mediator of cholesterol efflux, and as such it’s predicted to play a role in the development of age-associated diseases where cholesterol is a contributing factor,” said Leonard Guarente, MIT professor of biology and senior author of a paper on the work to be published in the Oct. 12 issue of Molecular Cell.

Drugs that enhance the effects of SIRT1 could lower the risk of cholesterol-related diseases, Guarente said. Potential drugs could be based on polyphenols, which are found in red wine and have been shown to enhance SIRT1. However, the quantities naturally found in red wine are not large enough to have a significant impact on cholesterol levels.

In earlier studies, Guarente has shown that high levels of SIRT1 can be achieved with extreme calorie restriction, but that is unappealing for most people.

“If you had a drug that could increase expression of SIRT1, that could replicate the effects of calorie restriction,” Guarente said. “This is not going to replace the need for a healthy lifestyle, but it’s a supplement that could potentially make you healthier.”

SIRT1 is the mammalian homologue to SIR2, a gene that has been shown to slow aging in yeast and roundworms. Researchers have been curious to find out whether SIRT1 has similar effects.

In the new MIT study, researchers found that low SIRT1 levels in mice lead to cholesterol buildup in cells such as macrophages, a type of immune cell, due to reduced activity of a protein called LXR (liver X receptor).

LXR is responsible for transporting cholesterol out of macrophage cells. When full of cholesterol, the macrophages can generate plaques that clog arteries. SIRT1 boosts LXR activity, so that cholesterol is expelled from macrophages and out of the body by HDL.

The lead author of the paper is Xiaoling Li. Other authors are Songwen Zhan;, Gil Blander, visiting scientist in MIT’s Department of Biology; Jeanette Tse and Monty Krieger, MIT professor of biology.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

: Anne Trafton
MIT News Office


Preparing Physicians to Take the Lead in Global Areas of Need

Just days after arriving in Banda Aceh, Indonesia to coordinate health clinics in the aftermath of the devastating
tsunami, Dr. Mamta Malik, found herself in the midst of a new disaster; an 8.7 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra. The
emergency medicine physician was quickly immersed in one of the most demanding, exciting and hands-on lessons of her life.

Malik traveled to Sumatra as part of the new International Emergency Medicine Fellowship, a joint two-year program at Rush
University Medical Center, Stroger Hospital of Cook County, and International Medical Corps (IMC); a non-profit humanitarian
organization. This fellowship, one of only thirteen such programs in the nation, teaches emergency physicians leadership
skills in the international arena focusing on the development of emergency health services as well as on disaster relief. Dr.
Malik found those skills essential as she tended to the injured on the island of Nias, the area hardest hit by the quake.

“We were the first clinical team to arrive on the island after the earthquake and we were inundated by injured patients who
had gathered in a soccer field because the hospitals were overwhelmed. We stabilized patients in the field and organized the
evacuation of over 300 patients off the island,” said Malik.

While the fellowship helps prepare physicians for the immediate aftermath of a disaster, the scope of the program is much
larger. Dr. Jamil Bayram, an emergency medicine physician at Rush and Stroger hospitals, is the director of the fellowship
program. He developed the fellowship in collaboration with Dr. Robert Simon, the founder and chairman of boards of IMC and
the executive chairman

of the Cook County Bureau of Emergency Medicine and Rush University Medical Center.

After finishing his emergency medicine training at Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Dr. Bayram went to Lebanon where he
worked for three years as chairman of the largest emergency department in South Lebanon which remains an area of armed
conflict until this day. During the 2003 Iraq conflict, he then joined IMC as an emergency medical advisor and worked with
Iraqi civilian physicians in the city of Nasyria.

“Working in a disaster area, whether natural or man-made, you have a health crisis on your hands that could take months or
years before the area’s health system is self-reliant again,” said Dr. Bayram. “The objective of the fellowship program is to
teach how to evaluate international emergency health systems, design and implement training programs, and monitor the quality
of health aid in order to develop a self-sustaining emergency medicine system.”

For example, one of the difficulties Dr. Malik encountered in Banda Aceh was the overwhelming outpouring of help and
donations. It can be a logistical nightmare to coordinate where to send volunteers and how to allocate supplies.

“In the emergency phase, we used everything. However, in the rehabilitation phase, our intention is to improve long-term
healthcare in the region. If we receive a medication that is not typically used in Indonesia, that can be a problem for the
local clinicians. We want to make sure we are following Indonesian guidelines and practices,” said Malik.

While serving as the medical coordinator for the Aceh province, Malik’s priority was re-staffing the hospitals. Many of the
doctors, nurses and technicians were either killed by the tsunami, suffered tremendous losses, or fled the area. Malik
oversaw the transition from Indonesian staff to local Achenese staff. When she left the area in May, the hospital in Banda
Aceh were fully staffed and those outside the region were well on their way.

This past year, Dr. Malik has also traveled with IMC to Darfur, Sudan during the refugee crisis. Her goal as she enters the
second year of the fellowship is to focus on emergency medicine development in countries that lack structured programs. She
plans to develop models to help countries improve their emergency medicine health care.

“Due to antibiotics, infectious disease is no longer the main obstacle to healthcare in these countries. Emergency medicine
is needed now in developing countries that are seeing a rise in trauma cases caused by more industry and more lifestyle
diseases caused by higher fat diets,” said Dr. Malik.

The fellowship is a two-year program during which the fellow will serve as an attending at both Rush and Stroger Hospitals.
Every year, the fellow will spend 12 weeks overseas working on various international projects. The fellow will also earn a
Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Applicants must be graduates of an emergency
medicine residency program, board eligible or certified in emergency medicine.

“We are looking for hard-working people who are truly committed to the field of International Emergency Medicine” said Dr.
Bayram. “I am confident that Mamta has had one of the best experiences in her first year of fellowship compared to her

For more information on the International Emergency Medicine Fellowship at Rush/Stroger/IMC, visit iemfellowship.

For any inquiries, please contact Dr. Jamil Bayram at Jamil_Bayramrush.

Rush University

Sixty Thousand Haitian Children To Receive Life-saving Vaccination As Part Of Vaccination Week Of The Americas

An estimated 60,000 Haitian children under the age of five will receive life-saving immunization in the next few days, as part of the Vaccination Week of the Americas – an annual vaccination initiative covering 44 countries and territories in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

The vaccination drive in Haiti is being led by the Ministry of Health with the support of UNICEF, WHO and the Pan American Health Organization. It starts on Saturday 1 May and will target the areas of Cornillon, Fonds Verettes, Gantier and Thomazeau in the country’s West Departement and Cayes Jacmel, Marigot, Anse ?  Pitre, Belle Anse, Grand Gosier and Hotte in the South East Departement adjacent to the border with the Dominican Republic. Children will receive vaccinations against polio, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, measles, and rubella.

“Vaccination is the most cost-effective life saver for children – but the human cost of not vaccinating a child is immeasurable,” said UNICEF Representative in Haiti Ms. Francoise Gruloos-Ackermans. “The concurrent vaccination efforts in Haiti and the Dominican Republic also emphasise the collaborative spirit embodied by the Vaccination Week of the Americas.”

Following the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January, routine immunization efforts were severely affected; many health facilities were damaged or destroyed and interruptions to fuel and power supplies has had a major impact on health services – including the cold chain system that supports the storage and distribution of vaccines. In the areas targeted in the coming days, already weak immunization networks were especially affected, with the local situation further compounded by an influx of displaced families from other quake-affected areas – with pre-quake vaccination levels as low as 53 per cent, the Vaccination Week is therefore an important opportunity to re-start routine immunization in these vulnerable areas.

Children will also receive vitamin A supplements and de-worming treatment. Vaccinations will be undertaken at fixed centres and through outreach teams travelling to the most hard-to-reach communities. A total of 146 groups of vaccinators will work on the campaign.

UNICEF is providing vaccines, syringes and other equipment with financial assistance also provided by UNICEF and WHO.

This round of vaccinations will supplement an ongoing campaign that began in February and which has already reached more than 220,000 children under the age of eight in 687 locations in camps for displaced persons in Port au Prince, L?©og??ne, Petit Go??ve, Grand Go??ve and Gressier.


Dementia Challenge Ahead For Wales As Numbers Soar

Dementia is set to soar in Wales with experts forecasting a 30 per cent rise over the next 15 years. New research launched by the Alzheimer’s Society warns that 48,000 people in Wales will have dementia by 2021.

The London School of Economics and King’s College London research, commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Society, reports that dementia currently affects 37,000 people in Wales.

Cardiff and Swansea have the highest number of people with dementia today, while districts including Ceredigion and Powys will see the biggest growth in dementia.

Ian Thomas, Wales director of the Alzheimer’s Society says:

‘This report gives us a clear picture of the scale of dementia here and now. We know that the number of people with dementia is set to increase by nearly a third by 2021.

We need dementia to be treated as an health and social care priority by the Welsh Assembly, local authorities and health boards to ensure that people with dementia and their carers throughout Wales have services and support that meet their needs.’

– The Wales research supplements the Dementia UK report published by the Alzheimer’s Society in February 2007. The independent research provides authoritative estimates for the number of people with dementia and future projections.

– Dementia costs the UK ??17 billion per year, or ??539 per second.

– 1 in 3 older people will end their lives with a form of dementia.

– 700,000 people in the UK are affected by dementia, more than half have Alzheimer’s disease. In less than 20 years nearly a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to 1.7 million people by 2051. 1 in 5 people over 80 have dementia.

– The Alzheimer’s Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and those who care for them. The Alzheimer’s Society works in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

here to see the breakdown by areas .


AstraZeneca Receives FDA Complete Response Letter On Symbicort For The Treatment Of Asthma In Children 6 To 11 Years Old

AstraZeneca announced the company has received a Complete Response Letter (CRL) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for SYMBICORT (budesonide/formoterol fumarate dihydrate) pressurized metered dose inhaler (pMDI) for the long-term maintenance treatment of asthma in paediatric patients ages 6-11 years.

The FDA stated that AstraZeneca did not provide adequate data to establish the appropriate dose or doses of the individual components of SYMBICORT budesonide and formoterol and to establish how the individual components contribute to the combination product, in paediatric patients ages 6-11 years. AstraZeneca is evaluating the CRL and will provide a response to the Agency in due course.

SYMBICORT was approved in the US in July 2006 for the long-term maintenance treatment of asthma in patients 12 years of age and older and in February 2009 for the maintenance treatment of airflow obstruction in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The CRL has no impact on the current prescribing information for the treatment of patients taking SYMBICORT for approved indications in asthma and COPD.


In the US, SYMBICORT is indicated for the long-term maintenance treatment of asthma in patients 12 years of age and older. Administered twice daily, SYMBICORT is a combination of two proven respiratory medications budesonide, an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS), and formoterol, a rapid and long-acting beta2-agonist (LABA). SYMBICORT 160/4.5 mcg is also indicated for the maintenance treatment of airflow obstruction in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. For patients with COPD, the approved dosage of SYMBICORT is 160/4.5 mcg two inhalations twice daily.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of meaningful prescription medicines and supplier for healthcare services. AstraZeneca is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of US$ 31.6 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infectious disease medicines

Source: AstraZeneca