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Archive - Apr 17, 2017

Cannabinoid-Containing Pharmaceuticals May Be Effective Against Eczema, Psoriasis, Atopic Dermatitis, and Contact Dermatitis, Review Concludes; Anti-Inflammatory Effects Could Be Key; Most Promising Role May Be in Treatment of Itch

Cannabinoids contain anti-inflammatory properties that could make them useful in the treatment of a wide-range of skin diseases, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The new study, published online on April 14, 2017 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, summarizes the current literature on the subject and concludes that pharmaceuticals containing cannabinoids may be effective against eczema, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and contact dermatitis. Currently, 28 states allow comprehensive medical cannabis programs with close to 1 in 10 adult cannabis users in the U.S. utilizing the drug for medical reasons. As researchers examine the drug for use in treating nausea, chronic pain and anorexia, more and more dermatologists are looking into its ability to fight a range of skin disease. "Perhaps the most promising role for cannabinoids is in the treatment of itch," said the study's senior author Dr. Robert Dellavalle, M.D., Associate Professor of Dermatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He noted that, in one study, 8 of 21 patients who applied a cannabinoid cream twice a day for three weeks completely eliminated severe itching (pruritus). The drug may have reduced the dry skin that gave rise to the itch. Dr. Dellavalle believes the primary driver in these cannabinoid treatments could be their anti-inflammatory properties. In the studies he and his fellow researchers reviewed, they found that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the active ingredient in marijuana, reduced swelling and inflammation in mice. At the same time, mice with melanoma saw significant inhibition of tumor growth when injected with THC. "These are topical cannabinoid drugs with little or no psychotropic effect that can be used for skin disease," Dr. Dellavalle said.

Single High-Sensitivity Troponin T Result Combined with ECG Could Quickly & Safely Rule Out Myocardial Infarction in Emergency Departments, Meta-Analysis of Published Data Shows

High-sensitivity assays for cardiac troponin T can quickly and safely rule out myocardial infarction (MI) in patients presenting to emergency departments (ED) with possible emergency acute coronary syndrome. A single troponin T concentration below the limit of detection in combination with a non-ischemic electrocardiogram (EKG) means that MI is unlikely and patients can be safely discharged. The findings of a collaborative meta-analysis study were published on April 18, 2017 the in Annals of Internal Medicine. The article is titled “Rapid Rule-Out of Acute Myocardial Infarction with a Single High-Sensitivity Cardiac Troponin T Measurement Below the Limit of Detection: A Collaborative Meta-Analysis.” Only 10 to 20 percent of patients who present to EDs with suspected cardiac-related chest pain are diagnosed with acute MI. High-sensitivity assays for cardiac troponin T have been used to rapidly rule out acute MI, but studies advocating this approach have several limitations. If findings can be validated across multiple studies that are free of these limitations, then this approach could enable safe discharge of many more patients than is achieved in current practice. Researchers at Christchurch Hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand reviewed published data to test the utility of a single high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T measurement combined with an ECG to safely identify patients at low risk for MI on presentation to the ED. To address limitations of previous studies, the review included 11 clinically and geographically diverse cohorts. The data showed that in most, but not all settings, patients investigated for acute coronary syndrome with the cardiac troponin T assay had very low risk for acute MI or for major adverse cardiac events within 30 days.

Newly Described Vasopressin-Sensitive Cells in Retina Transmit Signals from Incident Light to Suprachiasmic Nucleus in Brain, Likely Play Key Role in Setting of Biological Clocks

Researchers have found a new group of cells in the retina that directly affect the biological clock by sending signals to a region of the brain that regulates our daily (circadian) rhythms. This new understanding of how circadian rhythms are regulated through the eye could open up new therapeutic possibilities for restoring biological clocks in people who have jet lag through travelling or working night shifts. Biological clocks are synchronized to light-dark changes and are important to regulate patterns of body temperature, brain activity, hormone production, and other physiological processes. Disruption of this can lead to health problems such as gastrointestinal and cardiovascular disorders, depression, and an increased risk of cancer. The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is a region of the brain which co-ordinates the circadian rhythm using many different signaling molecules, including the neurohormone vasopressin. The retina signals environmental light changes to the SCN, but it was previously unclear on how this process took place. This research shows, for the first time, that the retina has its own population of vasopressin-expressing cells that communicate directly to the SCN and are involved with regulating the circadian rhythm. This gives an insight into how the biological clock is regulated by light and could open up new therapeutic opportunities to help restore altered circadian rhythms through the eye. The researchers interfered with the signaling of light information sent to the SCN in rats. Using a series of physiological tests, they showed that vasopressin-expressing cells in the retina are directly involved in regulating circadian rhythms.