HEALTH

ReVive to be distributed at local pharmacies

BY Michael Johnsen

HOBOKEN, N.J. Bio Medical Research Limited is making a concentrated effort this spring in placing its ReVive product, approved by the Food and Drug Administration last summer, onto drug store shelves.

ReVive helps to soothe tired muscles and promotes muscle recovery using a clinically-proven technology called electronic muscle stimulation.

The portable product provides six different muscle conditioning and recovery programs to soothe upper and lower back, shoulder, calf and other muscle groups commonly aggravated by regular exercise or exertion, Patricia Smith, CEO of Bio Medical, noted. “ReVive provides consumers with the professional technology used by physical therapists in a single, easy-to-use consumer product designed specifically for today’s active consumers.”

Bio Medical was originally sold through retailers like Sports Authority, GNC and Bed, Bath and Beyond, but is now taking a more targeted approach through pharmacies like A&P’s pharmacy banners and online druggist drugstore.com.

The ReVive muscle wellness product is currently approved for purchase using flexible spending accounts, Bio Medical noted.

Bio Medical is also developing a new product for pain relief in June, which uses TENS technology.

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Researchers discover specific probiotic strain significantly improves IBS symptoms

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI A review by researchers at Northwestern University and University of Michigan of the utility of probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome found that Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 was the only probiotic strain out of 13 different individual strains or preparations reviewed to significantly improve symptoms of IBS, including abdominal pain, bloating and bowel movement difficulty.

The researchers reviewed 16 random-controlled-studies, evaluating the efficacy, safety and tolerability of probiotics in the treatment of IBS. With the exception of the Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 studies, researchers found the other trials did not use an appropriate study design and did not adequately report adverse events. The article was published on the American Journal of Gastroenterology Web site in advance of appearing in the publication’s April 2009 issue.

Irritable bowel syndrome affects 1-in-5 Americans and treatment options are limited. Darren Brenner, Division of Gastroenterology and Department of Internal Medicine, at Northwestern University and lead investigator of this study, hypothesized that alterations in gut microflora may contribute to the development of IBS symptoms, and believed these symptoms could be improved by probiotics.

“Probiotics are gaining popularity for the treatment of multiple gastrointestinal disorders, including IBS,” Brenner said. “After assessment of the methodological and statistical designs of these studies, B. infantis 35624 was the only probiotic that showed repeated efficacy.”

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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Researchers discover how E. coli evades stomach acid

BY Michael Johnsen

ANN ARBOR, Mich. A tiny protein helps protect disease-causing bacteria from the ravaging effects of stomach acid, researchers at the University of Michigan and Howard Hughes Medical Institute have discovered.

Their findings were published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of March 23.

Stomach acid aids in food digestion and helps kill disease-causing bacteria. One way that acid kills bacteria is by causing the proteins in them to unfold and stick together in much the same way that heating an egg causes its proteins to form a solid mass. Just as it is virtually impossible for a cook to unboil an egg, it is also very difficult for bacteria to dissolve these protein clumps; so bacteria and most living things can die when exposed to acid or heat.

However, such disease-causing bacteria as E. coli are protected from stomach acid by a tiny protein called HdeA. In the PNAS paper, James Bardwell and coworkers describe how this protein works to protect bacteria. Like other proteins, HdeA unfolds and becomes more flexible when exposed to acid. But in a clever twist, the unfolding process that inactivates most other proteins activates HdeA. Once unfolded, this plastic protein molds itself to fit other bacterial proteins that have been made sticky by acid- induced unfolding.

“Just as plastic wrappers prevent candies from sticking together, HdeA prevents the unfolded proteins from sticking together and forming clumps,” said Bardwell, a professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology and of biological chemistry, as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

Postdoctoral fellow Tim Tapley, who spearheaded the research, said, “HdeA directly senses acid and changes from its inactive to active form within a fraction of a second.”

Instead of becoming completely unfolded in response to acid and sticking to itself, HdeA is only partially unfolded. It then uses the flexibility it gains through partial unfolding to rapidly become plastic enough to adapt to and bind various damaged proteins. This helps E. coli evade the otherwise deadly effects of stomach acid.

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