HEALTH

Matrixx Intiatives reports net sales jump

BY Michael Johnsen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Matrixx Initiatives on Monday reported a net sales increase of 11% to $111.6 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, despite a dismal cough/cold season.

“In fiscal 2009, Matrixx produced strong results despite an unusually weak cold season and declining economic environment,” stated Bill Hemelt, acting president and COO, Matrixx. “Significant growth within our core group of products has offset declines in sales of cough and multi-symptom products. During fiscal 2009, the performance of our core products was highlighted by a 16% increase in cold remedy sales, primarily driven by a 49% increase in our patented cold remedy swabs. Additionally, the introduction of our Allergy Swab product contributed to a 29% improvement in total allergy/sinus sales.”

“The 2008/2009 cold season had the lowest incidence of illness since Zicam was introduced in 1999,” he said. “Despite the weak season, sales of Zicam products at retail outperformed the cough/cold category. For the 52 weeks ended March 22, retail unit sales (three-outlet syndicated scanner data, not including Wal-Mart or club stores) of Zicam products decreased approximately 1%, while the total cough/cold category declined approximately 3%, compared with the prior year. This resulted in Zicam products maintaining a 2% unit share of the category. Although the weak cold season slowed our rate of growth during the current year, we believe our advertising campaign increased awareness of Zicam products, particularly our swab delivery items.”

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Mosquito gut bacteria may inhibit malaria parasite, researchers say

BY Michael Johnsen

BALTIMORE, Md. Bacteria in the gut of a mosquito may inhibit infection of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria in humans, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Scientists with the Bloomberg School’s Malaria Research Institute found that removing these bacteria, or microbial flora, with antibiotics made the mosquitoes more susceptible to Plasmodium infection because of a lack of immune stimulation. Their study is published in the May 8, edition of the journal PLoS Pathogens.

“Our study suggests that the microbial flora of mosquitoes is stimulating immune activity that protects the mosquito from Plasmodium infection,” stated George Dimopoulos, senior author of the study and associate professor with Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute. “The same immune factors that are needed to control the mosquito’s infection from the microbes are also defending against the malaria parasite Plasmodium. … The interplay between bacteria and the mosquito’s immune system may have significant implications for the transmission of malaria in the field where mosquitoes may be exposed to different types of bacteria in different regions. Theoretically, these bacteria could be introduced to the mosquitoes to boost their immunity to the malaria parasite and make them resistant and incapable of spreading the disease. Our current research aims at identifying those bacteria that trigger the strongest mosquito immune defense against the malaria parasite.”

Malaria kills more than one million people worldwide each year; the majority of deaths are among children living in Africa.

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Herb works as anti-ulcer therapy, study shows

BY Michael Johnsen

BEIJING A research team led by Syed Rafatullah from Saudi Arabia validated the gastric anti-ulcer properties of the herb Rocket “Eruca sativa L.” (EER) on experimentally-induced gastric secretion and ulceration in albino rats. The study was published April 28 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.

In recent years, Rocket “Eruca sativa L.” (EER), a member of the Brassicacae family, has gained greater importance as a salad vegetable and spice, especially among Middle Eastern populations and Europeans. It is believed that plants belonging to the Brassicacae family possess diversified medicinal and therapeutic properties including inhibition of tumorigenesis, anti-ulcer and hepatoprotective activities.

Although the introduction of proton-pump inhibitors to the classic anti-ulcer therapy has revolutionized treatment of peptic ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders, there is still no complete cure for this disease, researchers noted. It has been shown that long term use of these drugs leads to various adverse and side effects. Relapses of the malady, ineffectiveness of different drug regimens and even resistance to drugs are emerging. Thus, there is an urgent requirement to identify more effective and safe anti-ulcer agents.

Researchers found that the ethanolic extract of EER significantly and dose-dependently reduced basal gastric acid secretion, titratable acidity and ruminal ulceration in lab rats. The authors concluded that EER extract possesses anti-ulcer activities against experimentally-induced gastric lesions.

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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