HEALTH

Study: Mortality increases in ICU patients with controlled glucose levels

BY Michael Johnsen

WALTHAM, Mass. Intensive glucose control increased mortality among adults in the intensive care unit, according to a study published Tuesday on the New England Journal of Medicine’s Web site.

A blood glucose target of 180 mg or less per deciliter resulted in lower mortality than did a target of 81 to 108 mg per deciliter.

The findings call into question the optimal target range for blood glucose in critically ill patients, authors suggested. Medicating patients to bring down their blood sugar levels may raise the overall death rate by 10%, according to published reports on the research. Researchers estimated that one in every 38 patients aggressively treated for high blood sugar would die.

The study encompassed 6,104 people in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States — only 20% of the patients included in the study had a history of diabetes.

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New supplement designed for weight-loss surgery patients

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS Undergoing weight-loss surgery means making sacrifices, particularly in the area of food, but this can sometimes place patients at risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A company in St. Louis, however, has created a prescription nutritional supplement for patients who have undergone the surgery.

ProBarimin QT, made by Fleming Pharmaceuticals, is a fruit-flavored supplement that dissolves in the mouth.

“Although there are over-the-counter supplements for WLS patients, ProBarimin QT is specially formulated to meet the unique nutritional and intake requirements of WLS patients,” Fleming president Phill Dritsas said.

The supplement includes vitamins such as B12, C and D and minerals such as iron, selenium and zinc.

The patent for the supplement is pending.

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New lab test determines if aspirin is effective for heart attack, stroke prevention

BY Michael Johnsen

DENVER Corgenix Medical on Tuesday introduced a laboratory test in the Wichita, Kan., area that determines if the aspirin being taken to prevent a heart attack or stroke is effective.

The AspirinWorks Test is available to doctors across Kansas through AMS Laboratory. Edwin Harned, AMS Laboratory president and CEO, said he’s excited to field a test that gives physicians a tool to identify patients who are not benefiting from their aspirin therapy.

“Any time we have the chance to offer a test that gives the physician and patient good information about the validity of a drug that they are taking, we think it’s a great test,” Harned said.

The AspirinWorks Test determines the effect of aspirin on platelets by measuring the level of the biomarker called thromboxane B2. The higher the levels of thromboxane B2, the stickier the blood platelets, and the less impact the aspirin is having. This information allows physicians to individualize a patient’s therapy, which may be as simple as adjusting the dose.

“Not everyone responds the same to the same dose of aspirin,” noted Gordon Ens, clinical affairs director for Corgenix Medical. “So we came up with a simple, non-invasive test to measure aspirin effect in individuals taking aspirin to reduce the risk of a heart attack and stroke.”

AspirinWorks is the only FDA-cleared test that measures urinary thromboxane B2 to accurately determine aspirin effect in apparently healthy individuals. Unlike other platelet tests, which require freshly drawn blood that must be evaluated within four hours, the AspirinWorks Test only requires a urine sample that can be obtained at the doctor’s office or AMS Laboratory patient service centers.

The AspirinWorks Test is reimbursed by most insurance carriers, and covered under Medicare and Medicaid, the company stated.

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