HEALTH

Genetic disorder may delay diagnosis of IBD in children

BY Michael Johnsen

INDIANAPOLIS New findings related to an uncommon genetic disorder may impact the diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, the most common chronic gastrointestinal illness in children and teens. Researchers from the United States and Canada have identified a genetic defect not previously known to be a cause of chronic granulomatous disease, an inherited disorder with recurrent bacterial and fungal infections. Some patients also develop gastrointestinal inflammation. CGD, which occurs in 1-in-200,000 patients, is usually diagnosed in childhood.

In addition to providing insight into CGD, a condition in which an enzyme defect prevents white blood cells in the body from killing invading bacteria, the new findings highlight how abnormal white blood cell function can predispose individuals to IBD, and may help provide insight into why IBD develops. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common forms of IBD.

The research was led by Mary Dinauer of the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children. The new findings are reported in the Oct. 8 print edition of the journal Blood.

“We now know that a genetic defect that selectively affects the production of oxidants inside of white blood cells can cause gastrointestinal symptoms of CGD,” Dinaur said. “Exploring the gene defect’s role in inflammatory bowel disease and immune processes will be a key priority in the future.”

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New research finds link between antioxidants, increased diabetes risk

BY Michael Johnsen

ST. LOUIS A new report in the Oct. 7 issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, found that low levels of free radicals – which commonly are perceived as damaging to a body and the reason behind the consumption of antioxidant vitamins – might actually prevent diabetes by improving the ability to respond to insulin signals.

“Our studies indicate that ‘physiological’ low levels of [free radicals] may promote the insulin response and attenuate insulin resistance early in the progression of Type 2 diabetes, prior to overt obesity and hyperglycemia,” stated Tony Tiganis of Monash University in Australia.

Tiganis said whether antioxidants ultimately are good for people probably will depend on their state of health or disease. “In the case of early Type 2 diabetes and the development of insulin resistance, our studies suggest that antioxidants would be bad for you,” he said.

Under some conditions, treatments designed to selectively increase ROS in muscle – if they can be devised – might even help, he said.

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Florastor products to be sold at CVS/pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN BRUNO, Calif. As part of its continued expansion throughout the U.S. retail market, Biocodex, the U.S. distributor of Florastor and Florastor Kids, has secured distribution through CVS/pharmacy beginning this month, the company announced. Florastor will be placed on-shelf in the stomach/digestives aisle, while Florastor Kids will be available upon request behind the counter.

According to Dan Harper, director of sales for Biocodex, the stomach/digestives aisle is the most appropriate spot for this product – in the company of popular anti-diarrheal remedies.

“While Florastor is technically a dietary supplement, it is used successfully by many to manage digestive ailments and diarrhea, so it makes sense for it to be available in the section where the consumer will be looking for those types of items,” Harper said.

“When Florastor was first introduced to Americans, the idea of probiotics was not well understood by mainstream consumers or even traditional medical practitioners,” stated Marc Rohman, U.S. VP and GM of Biocodex. “However, as Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of probiotics, particularly yeast-based probiotics such as Florastor, expanding distribution into the chain stores was the next logical step to meet the demand we’re seeing.”

According to Rohman, sales of Florastor have grown annually, even without widespread on-shelf availability, as a result of increased pharmacist and consumer awareness of the probiotic category, word-of-mouth and physician recommendations.

The latest chain shelf space acquisitions are the result of Biocodex’s work with Morgan & Sampson USA, with which Biocodex teamed to help manage its growth and distribution within the U.S. retail trade.

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