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Month: March 2018

NIH-Funded Study Shows Sorafenib Improves Progression-Free Survival for Patients With Rare Sarcomas

News Release
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 Interim results from a randomized clinical trial for patients with desmoid tumors or aggressive fibromatosis (DT/DF) show that the drug sorafenib tosylate (Nexavar) extended progression-free survival compared with a placebo. Progression-free survival is the length of time patients lived before their disease worsened. Based on these interim results, the data & safety monitoring board overseeing the trial recommended that the primary results of the study be released.
The trial was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); designed & conducted by researchers with the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology (Alliance); & supported by Bayer HealthCare AG, which provided the study drug.
“Sorafenib is a book way of treating this rare cancer,” said lead investigator and study chair Mrinal M. Gounder, M.D., sarcoma medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. “The promising results of this phase 3 trial represent a paradigm shift in the approach to treatment of patients with desmoid tumors.”
DT/DF are rare sarcomas estimated to occur in approximately 1,000 people each year in the United States, many of them relatively young. The sarcomas usually arise in the extremities or the abdomen & occasionally are associated with familial adenomatous polyposis or Gardner Syndrome. DT/DF are locally aggressive & can result in pain & decreased mobility, & they can invade vital organs or structures resulting in bowel obstructions & other serious complications.
“Currently, there is no standard treatment for this rare disease, & the effectiveness…

VLDL Cholesterol

What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body. Your liver makes cholesterol, & it is also in some foods, such as meat & dairy products. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But having too much cholesterol in your blood raises your risk of coronary artery disease.
What is VLDL cholesterol?
VLDL stands for very-low-density lipoprotein. Your liver makes VLDL cholesterol & releases it into your bloodstream. The VLDL particles carry triglycerides, another type of fat, to your tissues. VLDL is similar to LDL cholesterol, but LDL carries cholesterol to your tissues instead of triglycerides.
VLDL & LDL are “bad” cholesterols because they can contribute to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. This buildup is called atherosclerosis. The plaque that builds up is a sticky substance made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, & other substances found in the blood. Over time, the plaque hardens and narrows your arteries. This limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your body. It can lead to coronary artery disease & other heart diseases.
How do I am am know what my VLDL level is?
There isn’t a way to directly measure your VLDL level. Instead, you will most likely get a blood test to measure your triglyceride level. The lab can use your triglyceride level to estimate what your VLDL level is. Your VLDL is about one-fifth of your triglyceride level. However, estimating your VLDL this way does not work if your triglyceride level is very high.
What should my…

High Cholesterol in Children & Teens

What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in the body. The liver makes cholesterol, & it is also in some foods, such as meat & dairy products. The body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But if your child or teen has high cholesterol (too much cholesterol in the blood), he or she has a higher risk of coronary artery disease and other heart diseases.
What causes high cholesterol in children & teens?
Three main factors contribute to high cholesterol in children & teens:
An unhealthy diet, especially one that is high in fats
A family history of high cholesterol, especially when one or both parents have high cholesterol
Some diseases, such as diabetes, kidney disease, & certain thyroid diseases, can also cause high cholesterol in children & teens.
What are the symptoms of high cholesterol in children and teens?
There are usually no signs or symptoms that your child or teen has high cholesterol.
How do I’m know if my child or teen has high cholesterol?
There is a blood test to measure cholesterol levels. The test gives information about
Total cholesterol – a measure of the total amount of cholesterol in your blood. It includes the two types – low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
LDL (bad) cholesterol – the main source of cholesterol buildup & blockage in the arteries
HDL (good) cholesterol – HDL helps remove cholesterol from your arteries
Non-HDL – this number is your total cholesterol minus your HDL. Your non-HDL includes LDL and other types of cholesterol…

Seasonal Allergies: Which Medication is Right for You?

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 Subscribe: FDA Consumer Health Information
The pollen count is sky-high. You’re sneezing, your eyes are itching, & you feel miserable. Seasonal allergies are real diseases that can interfere with work, school or recreation. Allergies can also trigger or worsen asthma & lead to other health problems such as sinus infections (sinusitis) & ear infections in children.
An allergy is your body’s reaction to an otherwise innocent substance that it has identified as an invader. If you have allergies & encounter a trigger—called an “allergen”—your immune system fights it by releasing chemicals such as histamines (hence the term “antihistamines”). Histamines cause symptoms such as repetitive sneezing & itchy, watery eyes.
Allergy Medicines: Antihistamines and More
Seasonal allergies are usually caused by plant pollen, which can come from trees, weeds & grasses in the spring, & by ragweed & other weeds in late summer and early fall.
Since you can’t always stay indoors when pollen counts are high, your health care provider may recommend prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications to relieve symptoms. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulates a number of medications that offer allergy relief.
Antihistamines reduce or block symptom-causing histamines & are available in many forms, including tablets and liquids. Many oral antihistamines are available over the counter and in generic form.
When choosing an OTC antihistamine, patients should read the Drug Facts label closely & follow dosing instructions, says Jenny Kelty, M.D., a pediatric pulmonologist at the FDA. Some antihistamines can cause drowsiness & interfere with the ability to drive or operate…

Quick Q&A with NCBI’s Evolutionary Genomics Research Group

The Evolutionary Genomics Research Group strives to understand the evolution of life. No more and no less.
In this Quick Q&A with scientists who work in NLM’s National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), we’re pleased to introduce members of the Evolutionary Genomics Research Group.
This team of researchers focuses on the following areas:
Empirical comparative & evolutionary genomics
Exploration of the “phylogenetic forest,” a comparative analysis of phylogenetic trees for individual genes & identification of common trends between them
Genome comparisons, particularly between relatively close genomes
Classification & evolutionary analysis of protein domains and domain architectures
Origin & evolution of viruses
General physical principles of evolution
We asked them to tell us about their research in their own words & a bit about themselves.
Read on to find out who says his or her work is like a detective story, who is most excited about “the unknown,” who snuck into classes in the physics Department, & who has an Erdös number of 2.
And then please feel completely free to like, comment, & share.
The scientists featured are:
Frida Belinky | Guilhem Faure | Michael Y. Galperin | Ayal Gussow | Sanjarbek Hudaiberdiev | Eugene Koonin | Anastasia Nikolskaya | Erez Persi | Igor B. Rogozin | Itamar Sela | Svetlana Shabalina | Sergey Shmakov | Yuri Wolf | Natalya Yutin
Quick Q&A with Eugene Koonin, Natalya Yutin, & Itamar Sela
Eugene Koonin, PhD
Natalya Yutin, PhD
Itamar Sela, PhD


In lay terms, what is the focus of your NLM research?
The focus of my research at NLM is the study of the evolution of genomes, primarily those of…

Genetics Home Reference: Raynaud phenomenon

Raynaud phenomenon is a condition in which the body’s normal response to cold or emotional stress is exaggerated, resulting in abnormal spasms (vasospasms) in small blood vessels called arterioles. The disorder mainly affects the fingers but can also involve the ears, nose, nipples, knees, or toes. The vasospasms reduce blood circulation, leading to discomfort & skin color changes.
Raynaud phenomenon is episodic, meaning that it comes & goes. A typical episode lasts about 15 minutes after the cold exposure or stressor has ended & involves mild discomfort such as numbness or a feeling of “pins and needles.” The affected areas usually turn white or blue when exposed to cold or when emotional stress occurs, & then turn red when re-warmed or when the stress eases.
Raynaud phenomenon is categorized as primary when there is no underlying disorder that accounts for the exaggerated response of the blood vessels. It is called secondary when it is associated with another condition. Secondary Raynaud phenomenon is often associated with autoimmune disorders, which occur when the immune system malfunctions & attacks the body’s own tissues & organs. Autoimmune disorders with which Raynaud phenomenon can be associated include systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, & Sjögren syndrome.
Primary Raynaud phenomenon is much more common & usually less severe than secondary Raynaud phenomenon. In severe cases of secondary Raynaud phenomenon, sores on the pads of the fingers or tissue death () can occur. Primary Raynaud phenomenon often begins between the ages of 15 & 25, while secondary Raynaud phenomenon usually…

First Source Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Peanuts in Wegmans 9 Oz Yogurt Raisins

First Source of Tonawanda, NY, is voluntarily recalling 9 OZ packages of Wegmans Yogurt Raisins, because the product may contain undeclared peanuts. People who have an allergy or sensitivity to peanuts run the risk of serious or life- threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.
The recalled retail packaged item is as follows:
Wegmans Yogurt Raisin 9 OZ (255g), in a plastic tub, UPC: 0 77890 31832 4, with BEST BEFORE 01/05/19
These products were distributed at Wegmans Stores in the following states MA, MD, NJ, NY, PA, & Veterans Affairs, The affected product was sold from January 16, 2018 to present.
No illnesses or allergic reactions have been reported to date.
The recall was initiated after we received a consumer complaint stating that the product contained undeclared yogurt covered peanuts. Subsequent investigation indicates the problem was most likely caused by a pallet of product received from our supplier having some yogurt peanut cases mixed in with the yogurt raisin cases which were not detected during our packaging operation due to the very similar appearance of the product, the cases, & the case labels.
Consumers who have purchased this item may return it to the Wegmans customer service desk for a refund. Consumers with questions may contact Wegmans Consumer Affairs at 1-855-934-3663, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ### …

NLM Technical Bulletin, Mar-Apr 2018, NLM Webinar: Insider's Guide to Accessing NLM Data–EDirect Office Hours on April 25, 2018

NLM Webinar: Insider’s Guide to Accessing NLM Data—EDirect Office Hours on April 25, 2018. NLM Tech Bull. 2018 Mar-Apr;(421):b6.
2018 March 27 [posted]
On Wednesday, April 25, 2018, join National Library of Medicine (NLM) staff for EDirect Office Hours. Aimed at intermediate & advanced EDirect users, this one-hour session serves as a forum where participants can get answers to EDirect questions, meet other members of the EDirect user community, & learn something new about EDirect.
If you have a particular problem you’re trying to solve with EDirect but don’t know where to start, or need expert advice on the best way to extract specific information from NLM databases, then please join us for EDirect Office Hours. EDirect Office Hours is an occasional series of interactive Webinars, starting April 2018. Each session begins with a brief presentation on an EDirect feature or topic not covered in a previous classes. The rest of the session is all yours. We will answer audience questions, examine EDirect use cases, & build workable solutions to your problems. If you have a particular problem or question you want addressed, submit it when you register or ask during class.
This program is designed for intermediate & advanced EDirect users, including those who have completed the “EDirect for PubMed” course. If you are new to E-utilities and EDirect, we encourage you to start with Welcome to E-utilities for PubMed or EDirect for PubMed. Recordings of these classes are available now.
Date & time: Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 2:30 pm—3:30 pm EDT
To register or…

eBars Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Allergens

eBars LLC of Franklin, Tenn. is issuing a voluntary recall on its line of products that may contain undeclared peanut and/or almond allergens.
The “Use By” dates showing between June 21, 2017 through July 18, 2018 including: MAN, WOMAN, TRIM Cocoa Raspberry, TRIM Cocoa Almond, RUN Cocoa Almond, RUN Cocoa Raspberry, FOCUS Chocolate Peanut, FOCUS 4 KIDS, GOLF Chocolate Almond, GOLF Cocoa Raspberry, HEAL Chocolate Peanut, FIT Organic Peanut Butter Chocolate Raspberry.
No illnesses, reactions or events have been reported to date.
As part of its quality control review process, eBars discovered that MAN, WOMAN, TRIM, RUN Cocoa Raspberry, RUN Cocoa Almond, GOLF Cocoa Almond, GOLF Cocoa Raspberry, referenced above may contain undisclosed peanut allergens. Furthermore, all the LOT#’s of FOCUS Chocolate Peanut, HEAL Chocolate Peanut, FIT Organic Peanut Butter Chocolate Raspberry, may contain undisclosed almond. Additionally, the FOCUS 4 Kids Bars may contain undisclosed peanut and/or almond. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to these specific allergens run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.
The bars listed above were distributed through Whole Foods in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, & Georgia, & through Kroger in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, West Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, and Georgia. They were also distributed nationwide through ebars.com website.
The bars in question are individually packaged in eBars branded foil wrappers.
The expanded recall was initiated after eBars’ quality control team discovered this issue at their manufacturing facility. Subsequent investigation indicates the problem…

Allergy Alert Issued in Select Northern California Whole Foods Market Stores for Undeclared Egg in Some Cookies

Nine Whole Foods Market stores in Northern California are voluntarily recalling some decorated (iced) cookies from the self-service cookie displays because the products contained egg allergen that was not listed on the product sign. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to eggs run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. All affected products have been removed from store shelves. The affected cookies are iced in the shape of eggs, bunnies or chicks & were available unwrapped in the self-service bulk cookie displays. The products were sold on or before March 25th, 2018. One illness has been reported to date.
The cookies were sold in the following locations in Northern California: 
• 777 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126• 3000 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705• 270 Palladio Pkwy, Folsom, CA 95630• 650 W. Shaw Ave, Fresno, CA 93704• 690 Stanyan St, San Francisco, CA 94117• 800 Del Monte Center, Monterey, CA 93940• 3682 Bel Aire Plaza, Napa, CA 94558• 450 Rhode Island St, San Francisco, CA 94107• 1333 E. Newell Ave, Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Customers who purchased these products at Whole Foods Market can bring a valid receipt into stores for a full refund. Consumers with additional questions can call 1-844-936-8255 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. & 10:00 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday, or 8:00 a.m. & 6:00 p.m. CST Saturday through Sunday.
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