Thursday, April 27, 2006

Preeclampsia - the mystery disease

Even the name of this strange disease was a mystery, till I picked up this MSN news article (msn articles disappear after a while..) [ ] which laments the inefficacy of Vitamins C and E in treating the condition.

Research shows, that no one knows much about why the condition manifests itself. Affecting both mother and child in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, this strange disease can definitely become fatal if it progresses fast without diagnosis or treatment.

Here are a few links that help understand the condition further:

1. Preeclampsia foundation
[ ]

2. On Family Doctor (English and Spanish)
[ ]

The only effective treatments known so far:

1. Early pregnancy, which is not always feasible/advisable.

2. Control of high blood pressure through a drug regime.

Possible Solutions to Preclampsia: Research into the origin of the disease. Better symptomatic diagnosis and prenatal care.

Some notes on the origin of the condition:

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Understanding the Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

I was reading about Cephalon and its attempts to convince the FDA that one of its drugs "Sparlon" was not harmful. This is when I came across "Stevens-Johnson" Syndrome.


It is a deadly, but little known syndrome. More information, about the condition is available from the Stevens Johnson Syndrome Foundation , a non-profit organization that strives to spread awareness and support among the general public.

The condition arises, as a result of adverse reaction to drugs, and according to links on the organization's websites, could cause more than 100,000 deaths a year. For something this huge, the lack of awareness, is quite surprising.

The basic reason behind the problem, is the low percentage of adverse drug reactions reported to the FDA. Perhaps its time the FDA generated a mechanism to dispense information about the syndrome, about similar problems, and also advised the public, and hospitals on efficient methods of reporting that can be adopted.

When I buy the next bottle of drugs, I am going to watch out. I hope, if you are reading this, you do the same thing!

Here are some more links on the Stevens-Johnson Syndrome:


Google offers several hundred other links. By the way, I do hope Cephalon is able to get its drug approved, provided it is safe from Stevens Johnson Syndrome. Having been (and probably still being) a patient with undiagnosed hyperactive attention deficit, I would support anything that saves young people from the problem!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Finally, some answers on Breast Cancer...

The evil disease, might finally meet its match in an osteoporosis drug!!! This is really exciting news. Cancer, a very strange disease, continues to plague, and perplex us with its various hidden dimensions.

A cure, is quite far away for most form of cancers.

Prevention is very feebly understood, as our understanding of carcinogens, and related factors is at best, poor and lacking.

In light of this, it is quite interesting that people find lateral benefits from other drugs, suddenly showing promise. A word of caution: promise.

Indications exist for several drugs and treatment methods, but let's not jump into any conclusions, and say that we have an effective treatment, till we get a better picture of the drug, its functionality and limitations.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

New York Times investigates El Salvador Abortion Laws

The author at Freakanomics is not alone. Atleast his creative economic interpretations have found further copycats who are examining the issue of abortion in other countries. In a manner similar to Romania in the last century, the anti-abortion laws have fomented "home brews" and other dangerous, medevial practices that take women and their status and protection in society atleast a few centuries back...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Patent Infringement: Medtronic sues Kyphon

Walking on thin ice is a problem, if the thin ice is IP. This is an interesting case to observe.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Connecting the Epstein - Barr Virus to MS

An important first step in the process of establishing this connection has been achieved through data manipulation, facilitated by managed health care. This deserves attention because, previously unknown connections between several diseases could probably be identified using the same mechanism!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Where does medical device design inspiration come from? Sometimes, from within

We are always looking for inspiration. I wonder why, even though I have long suffered sinusitis, I was never inspired by it, to create a cure. However, this story, pending results of trials, seems to speak of the success of Acclarent Inc.(

To finer details, the FDA approved their ballon sinuplasty device sometime last summer. They are conducting a trial with 100 patients, results of which are anticipated this September.

Only hundred or so doctors have embraced the procedure.

There have been complaints about FDA negligence, as the approval was based on a study on 10 patients. This is not new, but given the positive feedback that has ensued so far, one would not have too much reason to worry.

The story seems to have made sudden news with the advent of spring, although with all this rain, spring still seems a long way away.

Hopefully, we will all have more updates on this device soon. One day, I hope to walk in and get the procedure done. Who would not want fewer migraines?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Can we rely on petridish cancer treatments?

News, can often be misleading, or over-reaching, the way it is reported. When I first came across the title, "Ginger, pepper can treat cancers", I was thrilled, and excited -- finally being a vegetarian seemed to pay off.

What a let down it was to later discover, that these studies are still on the lab-dish stage, or the mouse stage, both of which are several steps removed from producing any credible results in humans yet.

Do not mistake me. It is not my effort to discredit these results. However, there is a long way to go from showing something on the dish, to being able to take it to the human patient. I wish the researchers all the best of luck in their efforts.

However, I also wish, the reporters would curb their enthusiasm. These type of news-article titles are looked forward to by eager patients waiting for a miracle to happen. False promises might not help them in their daily struggle against the dreaded disease of cancer.

Innovation, the mother of all successful biotechnology ventures

I would love for projects such as the Vermont maple sugar biofuel project to come to the fore. This is a role model to innovation in biotechnology. I specifically liked the part, where everything had been thought of, down to the fuel proportions for petroleum to derived oil of 80:20 to avoid fuel gelling in the cold in Vermont.

This goes to show that "fossil" fuels, can be derived from lesser fossilized plants, and help prolong the use of oil in the industry, till the alternate fuel technologies, innovate and grow as, not just sporadic incidences of good news splashed across expensive science magazines, but get inculcated into day-to-day life.

Even if we start using nuclear power torch-light batteries, energy conservation and efficiency will remain an issue. Innovation in these areas, will be key, at every point of time in the future.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The FDA enters the fray of cell phone induced cancers...

Finally, the FDA is here, with some good points, and some vague promises of its own examination of the facts.

It is funny how a telephone survey helped answer questions as to whether cellphones induce brain cancer...

Lets wait and watch.