Monday, January 24, 2011

HEPATITIS NEWS Jan 24;Healthcare company Merck said its hepatitis B and hepatitis C medicines are safe to use

Henderson doctor linked to 8 deaths says board bowed to political pressure

Jan 24

The new allegation in the lawsuit is that the board members gave in to political pressure and moved against Buckwalter in response to the hepatitis C crisis that emerged in Southern Nevada
in early 2008...Read more....
Flashback : Dr. Buckwalter, In His Own Words
Dr. Buckwalter, the Henderson based doctor who's questionable actions in prescribing narcotics to his patients was detailed in a Las Vegas Sun Story Wednesday, October 15, 2008, gives an account of one patient's narcotics history in a 2007 deposition.
For more on Dr. Buckwalter, check out the Sun's story:
And for additional coverage of Nevada's prescription narcotics crisis, checkout the Sun's topic page, Painful Painkillers:
Channel Check: Verification Test as a Tool to Assess Endoscope Cleanliness
"Thorough cleaning are the first and most important steps in the reprocessing of any reusable medical device. Without thorough cleaning… it is not possible to achieve high-level disinfection or sterilization of the device. The purpose of cleaning and rinsing is to remove all adherent visible soil..." (AAMI TIR12, 2004) "Of particular significance is the need to thoroughly manually clean equipment prior to any manual or automated disinfection or sterilization process." (Endoscopy Working Group, 2000) "…two colonoscopy patients were infected with hepatitis C…The investigation concluded that the biopsy channel had not been properly cleaned and the disinfection failed." (Bronowicki, et al., 1997) .. Keep reading...
Some time ago I was in my local post office and the clerk, knowing that I was a physician, asked me why her brother couldn't get a new liver to treat his pancreatic cancer -- she resented the fact that only a rich and famous guy like Steve Jobs was able to get this life-saving treatment... Keep reading.......
The hepatitis B vaccine and hepatitis C powder produced by healthcare company Merck are safe and are not affected by the recall of potentially contaminated Triad Group alcohol swab products
Merck Says Hepatitis B Vaccine Safe; Unrelated to TG Swab Recall
By Nazvi Careem
Published Jan 24, 2011

Healthcare company Merck said its hepatitis B and hepatitis C medicines are safe to use despite the recent recall of Triad Group alcohol prep pads by FDA.
New Jersey: The hepatitis B vaccine and hepatitis C powder produced by healthcare company Merck are safe and are not affected by the recall of potentially contaminated Triad Group alcohol swab products, according to the manufacturer.

Merck Statement on the Recall of Alcohol Prep Pads by the Triad Group
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., Jan. 23, 2011 -
Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada) has become aware of the market recall of alcohol prep pads, alcohol swabs, and alcohol swabsticks manufactured by the Triad Group in the United States. The Triad Group recall impacts the alcohol prep pads that are co-packaged and distributed with the Merck medicines PEGINTRON® (peginterferon alfa-2b) single dose RediPen® and PEGINTRON® vials for markets in Europe, Asia Pacific (excluding Japan), Latin America (excluding Brazil) and Canada, and INTRON® A (interferon alfa-2b) Multidose RediPen® and INTRON® A Solution vials for markets in Europe, Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) and Latin America (excluding Brazil). Merck medicines distributed in the United States are not impacted by the Triad Group recall.

According to information posted on the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Medwatch website,, the recall was initiated by the Triad Group due to concerns about potential contamination of the products with the bacteria, Bacillus cereus. According to the FDA communication, use of the contaminated alcohol pads, alcohol swabs, and alcohol swabsticks could lead to life-threatening infection especially in at-risk populations, including immune-suppressed and surgical patients.

It is important to note that the Merck medicines are not contaminated, and should continue to be used in accordance with the package insert, and as directed by a healthcare provider, except the alcohol prep pad should be discarded. Patients and healthcare providers should use an alternate alcohol prep pad that is not involved with the recall, or alternatively use a sterile gauze pad in conjunction with isopropyl alcohol.

Upon discussion and agreement with local Ministries of Health, Merck will begin packaging orders without alcohol prep pads until a suitable alternative has been identified.
Merck will inform Healthcare Professionals in the impacted markets of the potential contamination of the alcohol swabs and ask them to immediately discontinue use. Merck will also provide them with information they can use to educate patients on the issue. Similar information will be provided by Merck to investigators of any affected ongoing clinical trials and to the regulatory agencies in the countries where the studies are underway.
Patients should consult their healthcare provider with any questions. Healthcare professionals may contact the local MSD office for additional information. Further information about the Triad Group recall can be found on the FDA website.

About MerckToday's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships.
For more information, visit

Forward-looking StatementThis statement includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may include, but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the merger between Merck and Schering-Plough, including future financial and operating results, the combined company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical facts. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck's management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: the possibility that the expected synergies from the merger of Merck and Schering-Plough will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation; the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully; disruption from the merger making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; Merck's ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck's patents and other protections for innovative products; the risk of new and changing regulation and health policies in the United States and internationally and the exposure to litigation and/or regulatory actions.
Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck's 2009 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC's Internet site (
PEGINTRON®, RediPen® and INTRON® A are registered trademarks of Schering Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc.
PEGINTRON® (Peginterferon alfa-2b) Powder for Subcutaneous Injection full prescribing information and important safety information is attached and is also available at
INTRON® A Interferon alfa-2b, recombinant For Injection full prescribing information and important safety information is attached and is also available at

From: AmerGastroAssn January 11, 2011
Dr. Stanley Martin Cohen discusses his manuscript "Legal Ramifications for Physicians of Patients Who Drive With Hepatic Encephalopathy ."
Cambridge-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals has signed a non-binding letter of intent for two buildings on Fan Pier, the company said.
Under the terms of the deal, developer Joseph Fallon would build 1 million square feet of office and research and development space on the waterfront. Signing the lease would be contingent on Food and Drug Administration approval of Vertex’s drug to treat hepatitis C, according to Vertex spokesman Zachry more

Pharmasset Announces Exercise of Underwriters' Overallotment Option
PRINCETON, N.J., Jan. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Pharmasset, Inc. (Nasdaq: VRUS) announced today the underwriters of its recent underwritten public offering have exercised their option to purchase from Pharmasset an additional 495,000 shares of common stock. The net proceeds to Pharmasset after deducting the underwriting discount, from the sale of these additional shares are expected to be approximately $21.9 million. This brings the total expected net proceeds of the offering to Pharmasset, after deducting the underwriting discount and estimated offering expenses, to $123.4 million. Citi is serving as sole book-running manager for the offering. Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated is serving as the co-lead manager, and BofA Merrill Lynch, Leerink Swann LLC and Wedbush PacGrow Life Sciences are serving as co-managers.

Pharmasset granted the option in connection with its previously announced underwritten public offering of 3,300,000 shares of common stock at an offering price of $46.33 per share, of which 1,000,000 shares were offered by the selling stockholders named in the prospectus supplement. Pharmasset will not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares by the selling stockholders in the offering. The offering is expected to close on January 26, 2011, subject to customary closing conditions.

This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any of the securities described herein, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction. Copies of the prospectus supplement and accompanying base prospectus relating to this offering may be obtained from Citi at Brooklyn Army Terminal, 140 58th Street, 8th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11220, Attention: Prospectus Department, 800-831-9146.
About Pharmasset
Pharmasset is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company committed to discovering, developing and commercializing novel drugs to treat viral infections. Pharmasset's primary focus is on the development of oral therapeutics for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Legal Ramifications for Physicians of Patients Who Drive With...
Hepatology. 2011 Jan;53(1):42-52
Authors: Kramer JR, Hachem CY, Kanwal F, Mei M, El-Serag HB
Coinfection with hepatitis A virus (HAV) or hepatitis B virus (HBV) in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has identified HAV and HBV vaccination as a priority area for quality measurement in HCV. It is unclear to what extent patients with HCV meet these recommendations. We used national data from the Department of Veterans Affairs HCV Clinical Case Registry to evaluate the prevalence and predictors of meeting the quality measure (QM) of receiving vaccination or documented immunity to HAV and HBV in patients with chronic HCV. We identified 88,456 patients who had overall vaccination rates of 21.9% and 20.7% for HBV and HAV, respectively.
The QM rates were 57.0% and 45.5% for HBV and HAV, respectively. Patients who were nonwhite or who had elevated alanine aminotransferase levels, cirrhosis, or human immunodeficiency virus were more likely to meet the HBV QM. Factors related to HCV care were also determinants of meeting the HBV QM. These factors included receiving a specialist consult, genotype testing, or HCV treatment. Patients who were older, had psychosis, and had a higher comorbidity score were less likely to meet the HBV QM. With a few exceptions, similar variables were related to meeting the HAV QM. The incidence of superinfection with acute HBV and HAV was low, but it was significantly lower in patients who received vaccination than in those who did not. Conclusion: Quality measure rates for HAV and HBV are suboptimal for patients with chronic HCV. In addition, several patient-related factors and receiving HCV-related care are associated with a higher likelihood of meeting QMs. (HEPATOLOGY 2011).
PMID: 21254161 [PubMed - in process]
Get ready for the flood of fetal gene screening
Regulators, doctors and patients need to prepare for the ethical, legal and practical effects of sequencing fetal genomes from mothers' blood, says Henry T. Greely.
Can optimism be ethically problematic? Yes, according to a new study, which found unrealistic optimism prevalent among participants in early-phase cancer trials and suggested that it may compromise informed consent. National Institutes of Health, NIH/National Cancer Institute
Contact: Michael
845-424-4040 x242
Healthy You

Medically effective mushrooms are known as some of the most potent immune boosters and disease fighters. They act by increasing immune activity and immune cell numbers in the defence against viral infection and cancer. They have also shown cardiovascular protective effects, helping heart patients to avoid a recurrence or worsening of their disease. With their vitamins and minerals, they have additional effects on diabetes type II, and show anti-inflammatory properties.

In the mountain region of Ideate near Sao Paulo, Brazil, a regular part of the local inhabitants' diet was a mushroom known as "Cogmelo de Deus" or "Mushroom of God." Researchers noted that the locals were extraordinarily healthy, which they attributed to the consumption of this mushroom. The scientific name of the mushroom is Agaricus blazei Murrill, more commonly called the ABM mushroom. So potent is this mushroom, that one well-known rainforest herbal manufacturer uses it as the main ingredient in herbal supplements that have been credited with success against cancer and other diseases around the world.
Another potent mushroom is Coriolus versicolor. This mushroom is effective for acute leukemia along with stomach, esophageal, colorectal and lung cancers.
Shiitake mushrooms lower cholesterol and improve immune system function, and are beneficial in preventing high blood pressure and heart disease, controlling cholesterol levels, building resistance against viruses and fighting diseases such as Aids/HIV and cancers. Shiitake mushrooms are often available fresh and are very flavourful when used in cooking. If you cannot find them fresh, they are also available as a supplement.
Maiitake mushrooms are high in the polysaccharide compound beta-1.6-glucan, which naturally stimulates the immune system and lowers blood pressure. Maiitake is beneficial for obesity and diabetic patients, and may be best known for its cancer-fighting abilities.
The reishi mushroom can increase the production of peptides, called interleukins, which have direct effects on the inhibition of tumour growth. Reishi can have a number of other positive effects on the body such as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-viral and cardiotonic.

Cordyceps is a genus of ascomycete fungi and some of its members including Cordyceps mycelium are commonly used in herbal medicine. The popular species in commercial products is Cordyceps sinensis, and Cordyceps militaris, which is a traditional herbal ingredient frequently used for tonic and medicinal purposes in east Asia. Cordyceps sinensis (dong chong xia cao) has been suggested to possess anti-tumour, immunostimulant and antioxidant activities.
Cordyceps promotes liver health, and has anti-diabetic effects. Researchers from the University of Macau, China, isolated a polysaccharide of molecular weight approximately 210kDa from cultured Cordyceps . This isolated polysaccharide, CSP-1, has a strong antioxidant activity and a hypoglycemic effect. Korean researchers reported cytotoxic effects on leukemia cells. Hong Kong researchers demonstrated that an ethanol extract of cultivated mycelium of a Cordyceps sinensis fungal mycelium has strong anti-tumour activity on breast cancer. Cordyceps help the body defend against infections and inflammation and modulate immunity.
Researchers from Taiwan noticed the stimulating effects of Cordyceps sinensis extracts on the secretion of testosterone; this effect is dose- and time-dependent . Extracts of the fruiting bodies of cultured Cordyceps sinensis have been shown to exert beneficial effects on the formation of the atherosclerotic lesion induced by oxidative stress with few side effects.
All mushrooms are available as supplements, as the amount necessary for consumption for health benefits would exceed the intestinal capacity. No major mushroom side effects have been mentioned in medical literature. The dosage of the mushrooms internationally as a supplement is recommended between 400- 600mg/day.... Source..

Brooklyn, NY (PRWEB) January 24, 2011
Indulgent chocolate treats may be the best-known and most widely appreciated product of the cacao tree, but new scientific research is uncovering potential new applications for the antioxidant-rich beans which could spur an innovative approach to treating human papillomavirus (HPV), a precursor to cervical cancer... Keep reading...
What could be causing my jaundice?
Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Mondays, it's pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu.
Question asked by Elizabeth of South Carolina:
I have been sick for two weeks and my doctor said I have jaundice from mono. I got my belly button pierced on spring break in Mexico and I'm worried. Could my jaundice be from hepatitis C or HIV instead?
Expert answer
Thanks for your question. If your doctor did a test for mononucleosis, it would make sense that your jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) is due to one of the viruses that causes the mono syndrome. Mono is commonly spread between college and high school students and may be transmitted by kissing or other contact with saliva such as from sharing drinks. The most common symptoms are fever, sore throat, swollen glands and extreme tiredness. Jaundice occurs in up to 30% of people who have the infection and goes away in about four to six weeks without any special treatment.
Body piercing performed under nonsterile conditions has been linked to infections such as hepatitis B and C viruses as well as HIV. A person who is pierced with a ring that was contaminated by an infected individual could potentially catch one of those viruses. Poor piercing hygiene practices such as reusing dirty equipment or not washing ones hands or changing gloves may also enable infections to be spread. The states in America have varying health regulations for places that perform body piercing; however, the situation may be different in Mexico. Your physician can test you for hepatitis B and C and HIV infections, but it's most likely that your jaundice is the result of your mono infection.
Good luck!
Ask CNN Health experts a question
Off The Cuff
Public Release: 24-Jan-2011 Current Directions in Psychological Science
January 24, 2011 For Immediate Release
Contact: Keri Chiodo
Association for Psychological Science202.293.9300

People Aren’t Born Afraid of Spiders and Snakes:
Fear Is Quickly Learned During Infancy
There’s a reason why Hollywood makes movies like Arachnophobia and Snakes on a Plane: Most people are afraid of spiders and snakes. A new paper published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reviews research with infants and toddlers and finds that we aren’t born afraid of spiders and snakes, but we can learn these fears very quickly.
One theory about why we fear spiders and snakes is because so many are poisonous; natural selection may have favored people who stayed away from these dangerous critters. Indeed, several studies have found that it’s easier for both humans and monkeys to learn to fear evolutionarily threatening things than non-threatening things. For example, research by Arne Ohman at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, you can teach people to associate an electric shock with either photos of snakes and spiders or photos of flowers and mushrooms—but the effect lasts a lot longer with the snakes and spiders. Similarly, Susan Mineka’s research (from Northwestern University) shows that monkeys that are raised in the lab aren’t afraid of snakes, but they’ll learn to fear snakes much more readily than flowers or rabbits.
The authors of the Current Directions in Psychological Science paper have studied how infants and toddlers react to scary objects. In one set of experiments, they showed infants as young as 7 months old two videos side by side—one of a snake and one of something non-threatening, such as an elephant. At the same time, the researchers played either a fearful voice or a happy voice. The babies spent more time looking at the snake videos when listening to the fearful voices, but showed no signs of fear themselves.

“What we’re suggesting is that we have these biases to detect things like snakes and spiders really quickly, and to associate them with things that are yucky or bad, like a fearful voice,” says Vanessa LoBue of Rutgers University, who cowrote the paper with David H. Rakison of Carnegie Mellon University and Judy S. DeLoache of the University of Virginia.
In another study, three-year-olds were shown a screen of nine photographs and told to pick out some target item. They identified snakes more quickly than flowers and more quickly than other animals that look similar to snakes, such as frogs and caterpillars. Children who were afraid of snakes were just as fast at picking them out than children who hadn’t developed that fear.
“The original research by Ohman and Mineka with monkeys and adults suggested two important things that make snakes and spiders different,” LoBue says. “One is that we detect them quickly. The other is that we learn to be afraid of them really quickly.” Her research on infants and young children suggests that this is true early in life, too—but not innate, since small children aren’t necessarily afraid of snakes and spiders.
For more information about this study, please contact: Vanessa LoBue at
Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, publishes concise reviews on the latest advances in theory and research spanning all of scientific psychology and its applications. For a copy of "Threat Perception Across the Life Span: Evidence for Multiple Converging Pathways,"
In Memory
Fitness guru Jack LaLanne has passed away
Morro Bay - Jack LaLanne began the fitness business in 1936 in Oakland, Ca. He passed away today, Jan 23, 2011. From 1936 until the 1980's he managed a fitness empire built on the concept of "It's never too late".
In the Media ...Keep reading
Hall Of Shame

By Amy GoldsteinWashington Post Staff Writer Monday, January 24, 2011; 8:11 PM
The government recaptured a record $4 billion last year from pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, doctors, nursing homes and other providers of care that defrauded federal health-care programs, the Obama administration reported Monday...Keep reading..

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