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Study: No cognitive benefit with tight blood-glucose control

BY Michael Johnsen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Intensive control of blood-sugar levels beyond standard targets provides no additional protection against cognitive decline in older people with diabetes than standard treatment, according to a national study coordinated by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center that was published online in the The Lancet Neurology.

"We know that people with Type 2 diabetes have a much higher risk of dementia and memory loss than people without diabetes," stated Jeff Williamson, chief of the Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology and principal investigator of the study’s coordinating center at Wake Forest Baptist. "What we didn’t know was, if you intensively control blood-sugar levels in people who have had a history of trouble controlling them, does the added cost and effort to control blood sugar result in a slowed rate of memory loss? After conducting this study, there remains no evidence that it does," he said.

"We also learned, however, that the intensive blood-sugar control does preserve brain volume," Williamson added. "What that means for the long term preservation of cognitive function of these patients, we’re still trying to figure out."

The ACCORD-MIND trial is a national study sponsored by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute — part of the National Institutes of Health — designed to examine the effects of different glucose-lowering strategies on the risk for cardiovascular disease.

"While these findings do not support the use of intensive therapy to reduce the possible effects of diabetes on the brains of older people, it remains important for older adults with Type 2 diabetes to continue well-established regimens to keep their blood-glucose levels under control," noted lead author Lenore Launer, of the National Institute on Aging. "Cognitive health is of particular concern in Type 2 diabetes. We will continue to investigate how managing blood sugar levels might be employed to protect people with diabetes from increased risk of cognitive decline as they age."


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NACDS’ Anderson to pharmacy students: Create the ‘practice of the future’

BY Antoinette Alexander

AURORA, Colo. — “When it comes to advancing pharmacy to truly become the ‘practice of the future,’ we must tell our story.” That was a key message that Steve Anderson, National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO, had for next-generation pharmacists attending the Dean’s Convocation at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus on Tuesday.

“If you want to know what the future of pharmacy will look like, I can tell you. Pharmacy will become whatever people like you envision. And its advancement will reflect the energy with which you engage,” Anderson said.

He emphasized four key points, urging tomorrow’s pharmacists to help advance pharmacy as the “practice of the future”:

  • “Together, we must commit to advance pharmacy”;
  • “Not only must we commit to advancing pharmacy, but together we can do this. The opportunity to promote pharmacy’s value is great, because the story of pharmacy’s value is might”;
  • “Pharmacy’s commitment to achieving the status of the ‘practice of the future’ must be a ‘forever’ thing.  We need to make a long-term commitment to revolutionizing healthcare through pharmacy”; and
  • “You have a specific role that you can play — today and every day as a member of the pharmacy profession.”

Anderson relayed a litany of statistics that reflect the accessibility and public trust of community pharmacists, as well as the return-on-investment that community pharmacy services deliver. He emphasized community pharmacy’s ability to help patients take medications correctly, thus reducing reliance on costly forms of care, and he highlighted community pharmacy’s value through vaccinations and health screenings and education. He also described community pharmacy’s increasing success in achieving public policy victories as elected officials gain a greater understanding and appreciation for its cost-effectiveness.

Describing NACDS’ ongoing initiative to educate the government, opinion leaders, the media and other audiences about pharmacy’s role as “the face of neighborhood health care,” Anderson said the message has taken on new importance in the wake of economic turmoil. “Our position is that there is no greater value in healthcare delivery than neighborhood pharmacies,” he said.

Anderson also emphasized the effectiveness of the NACDS RxIMPACT grassroots advocacy program, through which community pharmacy advocates connect with their elected officials.

"I am fired up about pharmacy,” Anderson concluded. “While the times around us are challenging, the opportunities before us are invigorating. I am thankful for the opportunity to be with you today to talk about what pharmacy has accomplished together, and the work that lies ahead."

“All I ask is that you remember four things. They are simple. When it comes to advancing pharmacy to truly become the ‘practice of the future,’ we must tell our story; we have a compelling story to tell; but it will take all of us, working together, forever; beginning now. Will you join us?”

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CVS/pharmacy celebrates grand opening of its new DC in Chemung, N.Y.

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy held a grand opening event on Tuesday at its distribution center in Chemung, N.Y., which attracted federal, state and local officials to celebrate the occasion.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, U.S. Representative Thomas Reed, Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy, New York State Senator Thomas O’Mara and New York State Assemblyman Christopher Friend were among those in attendance.

The 751,000-sq.-ft. distribution center, which opened for business in June, will support the inventory and fulfillment needs of at least 350 CVS/pharmacy stores in the Northeast. Representing an investment of approximately $90 million, the facility will employ more than 300 people by the end of 2011, and a total of 600 people when it reaches full capacity.

The facility holds the distinction of being the largest industrial building in the state of New York to be certified Gold by LEED, the nation’s green building certification program. It also is one of the 10 largest industrial buildings in the United States to receive LEED Gold certification.

"Our Chemung distribution center is supporting the expanding distribution needs of our retail stores, and is an important part of our company’s overall growth," stated Larry Merlo, CVS Caremark CEO. "The 600 jobs we are creating here [are] part of our hiring effort for more than 5,000 positions around the country and across all areas of CVS Caremark’s business over the next 12 months."

Among the organizations recognized for their support were Southern Tier Economic Growth, Chemung County Industrial Development Agency, Empire State Development, New York State Office of Community Renewal, the New York State Electric and Gas Corp., and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

"CVS/pharmacy’s Chemung distribution center is a great example of a public-private partnership that benefits the entire region," added Ron Link, SVP supply chain and logistics. "Not only are we creating 600 new jobs in the Southern Tier of New York, but more than 90 New York-based businesses received work over the last two years from the construction of our facility and the installation of equipment."

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