UCLA researchers find possible link between diabetes drugs, pancreatic cancer
LOS ANGELES — Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles said they have found a possible link between two new drugs for Type 2 diabetes and cancers of the pancreas and thyroid, according to a new study published in the journal Gastroenterology.
The researchers, at UCLA’s Larry L. Hillblom Islet Research Center, examined incidents reported in the Food and Drug Administration’s adverse event database between 2004 and 2009 among patients using Byetta (exenatide), made by Eli Lilly and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, and Merck’s Januvia (sitagliptin).
"We undertook these studies because several studies in animal models by several investigators had suggested that this form of therapy may have unintended actions to promote growth of the ducts in the pancreatic gland that convey digestive juices from the pancreas to the gut," study co-author and Hillblom Center director Peter Butler said. "This is a concern if it happens in humans since it might be expected to increase the risk for pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. While the FDA database has limitations, it does have advantages in being very large, openly accessible and independent from companies that market the drugs."
Both drugs work by stimulating the hormone glucagon-like peptide 1, or GLP-1. Previous research in rats has shown that enhancing the actions of GLP-1 may increase the rate of formation of cells that line the pancreatic ducts, which could lead to pancreatitis.
Comparing Januvia and Byetta with four others that constituted a control group, the researchers found a six-fold increase in the odds ratio for reported cases of pancreatitis, as well as a nearly threefold increase in the risk of pancreatic cancer. In addition, they found a statistically significant increase in the risk of thyroid cancer among patients taking Byetta, but not among those taking Januvia.
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Despite economic woes, Fido remains big part of dog owners’ budget
WHITING, Ind. — The wavering economy hasn’t influenced spending on man’s best friend, according to a new survey conducted by coupon website CouponCabin.com.
According to the survey, which conducted by Harris Interactive between Aug. 16 to 18 and polled 2,212 U.S. adults ages 18 years and older, nearly 7-out-of-10 American adult dog owners (68%) said that their four-legged friends are still a large part of their budgets. What’s more, the survey found that more than 1-in-5 dog owners (21%) spend on average $100 or more per month on their dogs, adding up to at least $1,200 or more per year. An additional 13% said they spend $50 to $99 each month.
When it comes to what is the most expensive aspect about dog ownership, more than half (57%) said veterinary appointments was the priciest aspect about owning a dog, followed by food and treats (16%), prescriptions and medications (15%) and boarding (6%).
"The pet care industry has remained resilient during the past few years, but it’s still important for consumers to budget for their dog’s needs," CouponCabin.com president and chief savings officer Jackie Warrick said. "Pets are often considered a family member, and just as you save money and budget for your family, you should do the same for your dog. Plan ahead to make sure you have money put away for emergencies. In addition, be proactive and save on your dog care expenses by using coupons, buying generic brands and asking friends and family to walk or watch them."
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ShopperTrak: Holiday sales expected to be up, but foot traffic will drop
CHICAGO — In the wake of several surveys projecting how shoppers will spend this holiday season, the latest study from ShopperTrak expects national retail sales to increase 3% during November and December, while foot traffic will drop 2.2%.
ShopperTrak said its 3% holiday sales increase prediction follows 19 consecutive months of year-over-year U.S. retail sales growth, adding that the expected increase is moderate when compared with the 2010 holiday season’s 4.1% sales increase over 2009.
The projected decrease in foot traffic, however, was based on current numbers, which revealed that so far this year, shoppers have visited an average of 3.10 stores per shopping trip, a decrease from an average of 3.19 per shopping trip in 2010, and even less than the four to five stores visited in early 2008 (before the recession). ShopperTrak said this year’s numbers are influenced by high unemployment rates, as well as gas prices, which have experienced a 33% increase this season over last year.
"The persistently high unemployment and fuel rates along with consumers’ conservative purchasing attitudes will affect spending this holiday season more than in recent years," ShopperTrak co-founder Bill Martin said. "Every shopper in a store will be more valuable than last year, and retail stores should be ready to convert their holiday shoppers into sales."
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