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‘Good’ cholesterol levels could cut heart attack, stroke risk among diabetes patients

BY Allison Cerra

PORTLAND, Ore. — It seems that boosting high-density lipoproteins levels, also known as "good" cholesterol, can help diabetes patients reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a new study conducted by Kaiser Permanente published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Examining the records of 30,067 patients with diabetes that entered Kaiser Permanente diabetes registries across Oregon, Washington and Georgia between 2001 and 2006, researchers noted that the patients had at least two HDL cholesterol measurements between six to 24 months apart. Following up eight years later, they found that patients with increased HDL levels (22% had increased levels during their initial measurements) had 8% fewer heart attacks and strokes, compared with those whose HDL levels remained the same. Similarly, those patients with decreased HDL levels experienced 11% more heart attacks and strokes.

Researchers noted that while many patients in the study were on statins to reduce their low-density lipoproteins levels (LDL levels), or "bad" cholesterol, few were on medications to boost HDL.

"Our study adds to the growing body of evidence that raising HDL levels may be an important strategy for reducing heart attack risk," said Gregory Nichols, lead study author and senior investigator with Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore.


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AstraZeneca settles with generic drug makers over Seroquel XR

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Anglo-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca has settled patent infringement lawsuits that it filed against two companies that had sought to market generic versions of one of its drugs.

The company settled with Handa Pharmaceuticals and also with Accord Healthcare and Intas Pharmaceuticals over two generic versions of the bipolar disorder and schizophrenia treatment Seroquel XR (quetiapine fumarate) extended-release tablets.

Under the settlements, Accord and Handa agreed not to dispute AstraZeneca’s patents covering Seroquel XR, and both companies will be able to launch generic versions of the drug in November 2016. The patents covering Seroquel XR are scheduled to expire between March 2012 and November 2017.


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Venture Products unveils new line of yoga products

BY Michael Johnsen

FAIRFIELD, N.J. — Venture Products earlier this week announced a new line of yoga and fitness accessories under its Shock Athletic brand name. These products complement Venture’s existing lineup of yoga mats.

Available in various fashionable colors, the new fitness accessories lineup — being launched at select Sears and Kmart locations nationwide — includes yoga blocks, straps, mat carriers, nonslip socks, towel mats, stability balls, exercise bands and toning tubes.

"Yoga accessories are essential additions for any level of yoga workout,” stated Venture Products partner Steve Fischer. “Each item — from the blocks to the straps — works as an aid to help produce more precise yoga poses and, in turn, a safer workout.”

The entire Shock Athletic line is infused during the manufacturing process with Microban antimicrobial zinc technology, which inhibits the growth of stain- and odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew, and is effective for the life of the product. Microban is a registered trademark of Microban Products Company.


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