Saturday, March 20, 2010

Minocycline Acne Drug Prevents AIDS

Minocycline, an antibiotic drug used to treat acne, has been found by Johns Hopkins researchers to prevent progression of HIV into full blown AIDS. Treatment of HIV that uses antiviral therapy can keep HIV dormant. Minocycline acts directly on T cells, targeting the immune system. Minocycline prevents AIDS because it keeps the HIV virus dormant via a different pathway than Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART).

The researchers found that Minocycline had benefits for macaques infected with SIV (the primate equivalent of HIV), and also had anti-inflammatory properties on T cells, making the acne drug beneficial for early treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Gregory Szeto, a graduate student in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine working in the Retrovirus Laboratory at Hopkins says, “Since minocycline reduced T cell activation, you might think it would have impaired the immune systems in the macaques, which are very similar to humans, but we didn’t see any deleterious effect. This drug strikes a good balance and is ideal for HIV because it targets very specific aspects of immune activation.”

“The powerful advantage to using minocycline is that the virus appears less able to develop drug resistance because minocycline targets cellular pathways not viral proteins,” says Janice Clements, Ph.D., Mary Wallace Stanton Professor of Faculty Affairs, vice dean for faculty, and professor of molecular and comparative pathobiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In order for AIDS to develop from HIV infection, T cells must activate and reproduce. Minocycline stops that process and prevents AIDS, found in laboratory testing of human cells. The findings that minocycline can keep HIV dormant means researchers could also find other drugs that target the same pathways, leading to promising new treatments for HIV that can also prevent AIDS.

Johns Hopkins


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Massage and other non-drug techniques helps hospitalized patients with pain

Results of a new study show that massage and other non-drug techniques helped patients in the hospital with pain relief. Massage, mind-body therapies, acupuncture, acupressure, healing touch, music therapy, aromatherapy, and reflexology were found to reduce pain as much as fifty percent among patients hospitalized at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in a study conducted between January 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009.

Gregory Plotnikoff, M.D., one of the study’s authors and medical director of the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Abbott Northwestern Hospital says, "Roughly 80 percent of patients report moderate to severe pain levels after surgery. We struggle to provide effective pain control while trying to avoid the adverse effects of opioid medications, such as respiratory depression, nausea, constipation, dizziness and falls."

Using a varied approach of integrative medicine techniques was found to reduce pain among cardiovascular, medical, surgical, orthopedic, spine, rehabilitation, and cancer patients.

"Earlier studies narrowly focused on whether specific integrative therapies manage pain in either cancer or surgical patients," says Jeffery A. Dusek, Ph.D., research director for the George Institute. Our real-world study broadly shows that these therapies effectively reduce pain by over 50 percent across numerous patient populations. Furthermore, they can be clinically implemented in real time, across, and under the operational and financial constraints within an acute care hospital."

The integrative pain management program at Abbot Northwestern Hospital is free of charge to patients and delivered by a staff of six registered nurses, board-certified in their specialty area that includes oncology and cardiovascular, holistic nursing. The staff also includes six licensed Asian medicine practitioners; eight certified massage therapists, with an emphasis on acute care massage, and one certified music therapist.

Lori Knutson, RN, BSN, HN-BC, executive director of the George Institute says using non-drug techniques that combine a variety of integrative medicine approaches could ultimately reduce healthcare costs for hospitalized patients. Massage, mind body therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, music therapy and healing touch for pain reduction have no side effects compared to drugs, and could also improve patient satisfaction in the hospital setting.

Allina Hospitals and Clinics