PHARMACY

Stress hormone linked to depression in obese children

BY Anna Mcgrath

NEW YORK A new study linked irregular levels of cortisol with symptoms of depression in obese children, and confirmed that obesity and depression often occur together, even in children.

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that helps the body’s response to stress, among other functions. Typically, cortisol levels peak in late morning and reach their low point at night. However, depressed adults face slightly elevated cortisol levels at night. This chronic elevation of cortisol contributes to development of the metabolic syndrome, which includes abdominal obesity and other risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

“We recommend that obese children be screened for depression and anxiety, especially female adolescents, who have the highest risk,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Panagiota Pervanidou of Athens University Medical School in Athens, Greece. “In addition, children with a diagnosis of depression should be evaluated for disordered eating, because these patients frequently develop obesity or anorexia.”

Data from the study was presented at The Endocrine Society’s 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

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PHARMACY

Maryland offers free prescription card to residents

BY Michael Johnsen

ANNAPOLIS, Md. Maryland earlier this week launched a new statewide discount drug card program, called the Maryland Rx Card. The program, free to all Maryland residents, will provide savings of up to 75% on prescription drugs, though savings should average roughly 30%.

The program has no restrictions to membership, including no income requirements and no age limitations, and will be accepted at more than 50,000 pharmacy locations across the country.

The discount cards will be made available online at www.marylandrxcard.com, or at any Giant or Safeway pharmacy, both supermarket retailers have been named the preferred pharmacies for the program.

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Novo Nordisk discusses diabetes costs, patient motivation at conference

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The cost of diabetes to the country and the lag in patient motivation to take action to offset it were the major themes at a conference sponsored recently by a drug maker focused on the disease.

Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk convened the conference in Washington, bringing in such speakers as American Diabetes Association CEO Larry Hausner.

Without intervention at the national and patient level, the company said, the country runs the risk of having 50 million people living with the disease by 2025.

“The growing prevalence of diabetes is having a profound effect on the health of current and future generations, as well as our national economy,” Hausner said. “We must awaken the public’s consciousness of diabetes and ensure our leaders in Congress recognize healthcare reform as their opportunity to transform the lives of all people affected by this devastating disease.”

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