HEALTH

Lansinoh Laboratories announces new VP marketing, senior brand manager

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Lansinoh Laboratories on Tuesday announced the addition of two new members of the company’s marketing family. Jennifer Moyer joins Lansinoh as VP marketing, bringing more than 19 years of marketing experience in the consumer, mother and baby spheres. And Mary Gordon joins the company as senior brand manager.

Both are new positions created to support the company’s expanding product line and marketing efforts.

“Lansinoh is ushering in a period of aggressive growth,” stated Gary Downing, CEO of Lansinoh Laboratories. “Over the past year, we’ve dramatically expanded our product line with several new additions for new and breastfeeding moms, including Lansinoh Diaper Rash Ointment, LatchAssist, and our acquisition of the Soothies Gel Pad brand. And we have even more exciting products in the pipeline to be released in coming months. Now more than ever we need a broad array of highly skilled marketers to maximize the success of this new and expansive purple product line.”

As VP marketing, Moyer will coordinate all North American marketing activities while leading the company’s team of brand marketing professionals. She will report to Downing. Prior to joining Lansinoh, Moyer was as an independent consultant to the company, working closely with Lansinoh’s previous director of Marketing, Kira Wood, who recently left the company to raise her children full-time. Since joining the Lansinoh family in 2008, Moyer has made significant contributions to marketing efforts through development of an improved corporate web site, to launch this summer, and enhanced communication with consumers through various social media channels.

Earlier, Moyer served as VP of brand management firm Kanter International from 2005 to 2008. She was responsible for consulting, research based strategy and marketing for brands including Mohawk Flooring, Herman Miller and Everlast.

As the company’s senior brand manager, Mary Gordon will oversee several key groups of the Lansinoh product line by developing and executing marketing strategies. She will report directly to Moyer.

Previously, Gordon worked extensively in brand management. Most recently, she served as brand manager at Dial Corporation from 2007 to 2009, working on the Combat and RightGuard brands.

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New research may lead to understanding of sepsis, NEC in children

BY Michael Johnsen

STANFORD, Calif. New research from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and the Stanford University School of Medicine is helping physicians unravel the cause of a deadly and mysterious bowel disease that strikes medically fragile newborn babies.

The findings could lead to a better understanding of the disease and its medical management, and also shed light on the causes of sepsis, a major killer of children and young adults.

The bowel disorder, necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC, is seen mainly among premature infants, affecting about one-in-every 2,000 births. A similar constellation of symptoms, also labeled NEC, is also seen in children born with congenital heart defects. The disease causes intestinal inflammation and impairs nutrient uptake. Complications can include perforation of the intestine and widespread infection of the abdominal cavity or blood — sepsis — as well as lasting consequences such as the need for bowel transplant or chronic intravenous feeding.

The findings, which will appear in the May issue of the journal Pediatrics, suggest that the diagnosis of NEC in premature infants versus those with heart disease may actually encompass two distinct disease processes with different origins.

“If we start accepting that we are looking at two different diseases, further research may be able to elucidate some differences in the disease process and help us tailor management,” stated senior study author Sanjeev Dutta, assistant professor of surgery and pediatrics at Packard Children’s and the School of Medicine.

Right now, because physicians have such a poor understanding of what causes the disease, they can’t tell which infants will be hardest hit, Dutta said. “At present, we’re managing all cases the same way without addressing the concept that the child with heart disease may have a different underlying cause of NEC than the child with prematurity alone. We’re giving support, but not really curing the disease.”

To gain insight into how necrotizing enterocolitis starts, Dutta and his collaborators investigated whether a pre-existing medical problem—congenital heart defects—affected the course of the disease. They reviewed medical records from 76 infants who had a congenital heart defect together with necrotizing enterocolitis and 126 infants who had necrotizing enterocolitis alone. All study subjects were patients at Packard Children’s between May 1999 and August 2007.

The researchers found that babies who had both necrotizing enterocolitis and a congenital heart defect fared better than those who had necrotizing enterocolitis alone. Even premature babies with heart defects did better than those who were premature alone. Babies who had heart defects were less likely than other affected infants to suffer intestinal perforation or abnormal narrowing of the bowel. They also were less likely to need surgery to resolve infection, to require an artificial drain through the abdominal wall for managing bowel perforation or to require removal of portions of diseased intestine.

The findings suggest that infants with heart defects may be getting the disorder because of reduced blood flow to the bowel, while those with normal hearts may get the disease for other reasons, such as a bad reaction to oral feeding in premature infants with an underdeveloped gut. Both poor blood flow and gut immaturity have been blamed for NEC before, but the relative importance of each factor has been unclear.

Another possibility suggested by the researchers is that the close medical monitoring given to infants with heart defects helps physicians detect the intestinal problem early and thus institute therapy more quickly.

Although necrotizing enterocolitis is relatively rare, “it’s a disease that has a huge impact on society,” Dutta said. “These kids can get very sick and die, or suffer permanent injury to the bowel.”

Infants who survive often require repeat hospitalizations and expensive treatments throughout their lives.

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Swine flu update: Cases confirmed at NYC prep school

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK As of 1 p.m. Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 20 additional cases of swine flu in New York, bringing the total number of swine flu cases so far to 40 overall and 28 in New York.

The New York City Department of Health is investigating a cluster of illness at the St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, where 100 students missed classes because of flu-like illness last week. Daily calls with hospitals and monitoring of admissions have yet to suggest a wider or more severe outbreak.

The 20 additional cases of swine flu were associated with the St. Francis Preparatory School, the CDC confirmed.

All of the patients suffered only minor illness.

The NYC Health Department has also identified 17 more probable cases within the St. Francis school cluster. Nasal swabs from those patients are undergoing confirmatory testing at the CDC.

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