HEALTH

Ergothioneine found to be indicator of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON A chemical compound found in unpasteurised food has been detected in unusually high levels in the red blood cells of pregnant women with the condition pre-eclampsia, a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy.

These results are important because they suggest that the compound, ‘ergothioneine,’ is an indicator of pre-eclampsia and may help scientists to understand the cause of the condition, which is currently unknown.

Scientists at the University of Leeds took blood samples from a group of 37 pregnant women and compared the red blood cells from women with pre-eclampsia with the red blood cells from women with no symptoms.

In results published in the journal Reproductive Sciences, chemists found a significantly higher concentration of the ergothioneine — a compound made by fungi — in the red blood cells of the women with pre-eclampsia.

Ergothioneine is already well known to be made by micro-organisms that are commonly found in foods such as unpasteurised dairy products. As it cannot be synthesised by humans it finds its way into human cells exclusively through our diet.

“These results suggest that a higher level of ergothioneine is an indicator of pre-eclampsia,” stated Julie Fisher, a chemist at the University of Leeds who lead the research.

“I would not recommend that pregnant women stop eating fungi. However, the high concentration of ergothioneine in the red blood cells of women with pre-eclampsia is a very interesting finding – the more we know about the chemicals involved in the disease the closer we get to understanding what causes it,” commented James Walker, professor of obstetrics at the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine and a co-author of the research.

The symptoms of pre-eclampsia include high blood pressure, protein in urine and fluid retention and affects almost 10% of pregnancies after 20 weeks. Left untreated, the condition can cause a range of problems such as growth restriction in babies and even foetal and maternal mortality. There is no known cause of the condition.

“Ergothioneine is known as an antioxidant and antioxidants have been proposed to be helpful in reducing the risk of preeclampsia. It is therefore very interesting that we have found it to be in excess for women with the condition,” Fisher said.

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Walgreens announces Pharmacy Management Excellence program with Caterpillar

BY DSN STAFF

The news that Walgreens has reached an agreement with Caterpillar to help the company curb healthcare costs for its 70,000 employees, retirees and eligible dependents is one more indicator that the private sector cannot wait for healthcare reform and that pharmacy retailers are taking a greater role on the front lines of health care.

As explained in the article, Walgreens, through its Pharmacy Management Excellence program, will make transparent the prescription drug-pricing model, in turn, eliminating unnecessary and hidden costs for Caterpillar.

Walgreens and Caterpillar are also exploring, through Walgreens Complete Care and Well-Being program, other ways to develop an integrated health care and pharmacy program. The Complete Care and Well-Being program combines worksite health centers, in-store clinics and pharmacies with the discount drug offering

By leveraging its resources, Walgreens is positioning itself along the frontlines of the healthcare and sending the message that retail pharmacy is helping to drive healthcare reform and is a critical player in improving employees’ health and well-being.

As previously mentioned by Drug Store News, the more the private sector leads the way on this, the more likely that reform will work for them, as well as the rest of America.

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McNeil Consumer Healthcare rolls out new Zyrtec allergy solutions, iPhone app

BY Michael Johnsen

FT. WASHINGTON, Pa. McNeil Consumer Healthcare last week launched two new allergy solutions — Children’s Zyrtec Perfect Measure and Zyrtec Itchy Eye Drops.

The company also announced the launch of AllergyCast, an iPhone application that allows allergy sufferers to get the latest allergy and weather information at the touch of a button.

With Zyrtec AllergyCast, allergy sufferers can see a 48-hour allergy forecast, check the top allergens in their area and get the hourly, daily or 10-day weather forecast. Users will even be able to map out and compare pollen levels at multiple locations.

“There are over 50 million allergy sufferers in the U.S., and they all have unique ways of combating their allergies,” stated Rohinish Hooda, VP marketing, Upper Respiratory, McNeil Consumer Healthcare. “Our goal is to provide a variety of solutions that will help them manage their allergy symptoms.”

Children’s Zyrtec Perfect Measure are pre-filled spoons of Children’s Zyrtec allergy medicine for children ages six years and older. The spoons are simple to use and provide accurate dosing.

The new Zyrtec Itchy Eye Drops contains ketotifen fumarate and provides targeted allergy itchy eye relief for up to 12 hours.

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