Bedside Monitoring Of Brain Blood Flow And Metabolism In Stroke Victims By Penn Research Team

University of Pennsylvania team has completed the first successful demonstration of a noninvasive optical device to monitor cerebral blood flow in patients with acute stroke, a leading cause of disability and death.

The ultimate goal of this research is to improve the management of patients with stroke and other brain disorders by providing continuous bedside monitoring of brain blood flow and metabolism.

“Our preliminary study demonstrates that blood flow changes can be reliably detected from stroke patients and also suggests that blood flow responses vary significantly from patient to patient,” lead author Turgut Durduran said.

Ischemic stroke is the leading cause of morbidity and long-term disability in the United States, with projected cost of stroke care estimated at trillions of dollars during the next five decades. Stroke accounts for nearly 10 percent of deaths in the western hemisphere and about 5 percent of health-care costs.

The device being developed uses embedded optical probes that are placed over major cortical blood vessels in each hemisphere of the brain. The technology, diffuse correlation spectroscopy is a non-invasive system that uses lasers, photon-counting detectors, radio-frequency electronics, data processors and a computer monitor to display user-friendly images of functional information to physicians and nurses.

“What we have demonstrated is a working prototype of a non-invasive brain probe that uses diffusing light to detect physiological changes such as blood flow, blood-oxygen saturation and hemoglobin concentration to inform clinicians about their treatments,” Arjun Yodh, professor of physics in the School of Arts and Sciences at Penn and principal investigator of the study, said.

The study is part of a $2.8 million, five-year Bioengineering Research Partnership grant from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Pennsylvania Comprehensive Neuroscience Center. BRP grants are awarded to interdisciplinary teams that combine basic, applied and translational research for important biological or medical problems. Yodh is joined by Rick Van Berg from the High Energy group of the Department of Physics in the School of Arts and Sciences and clinical collaborators John Detre, Joel Greenberg and Scott Kasner from the Department of Neurology in the School of Medicine at Penn.

“Stroke is caused by a reduction in blood flow to the brain, yet brain blood flow is rarely if ever measured in stroke patients because most existing methods to measure blood flow require costly instrumentation that is not portable,” Detre said. “The ability to quantify tissue hemodynamics at the bedside would provide new opportunities both to learn more about blood-flow changes in patients with acute stroke and to optimize interventions to increase blood flow for individual patients, potentially even allowing these interventions to be administered before the onset of new neurological symptoms.”

Source: Jordan Reese

University of Pennsylvania

Cellular Target May Prove Useful In Treating Deadly Brain Tumors

Duke University researchers have identified a receptor on the surface of cells that may give them another avenue of attack against glioblastoma, the most common and most deadly type of brain cancer.

The neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R), which may be expressed in all human glioblastoma cells, may prove to be an appropriate target for therapies aimed at treating these brain tumors, according to a study led by researchers in the Duke Department of Anesthesiology and the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke.

“There are some previously identified cellular targets for therapy which are now being investigated in clinical trials, and the findings from our research represent potential alternate or complementary targets that may help patients facing this devastating disease,” said Madan Kwatra, PhD, a researcher in Duke’s department of anesthesiology, and senior investigator on this study. “Patients generally die from the disease within 18 months of glioblastoma diagnosis.”

The results of the study were published in the March 30, 2009 online edition of the Journal of Neurochemistry. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers examined stimulation of the receptor NK1R in human glioblastoma cells growing in a dish, and found that activation of NK1R led to the activation of Akt, a cellular protein that suppresses the natural cell death process.

“In human cancers, this would translate into a proliferation of cancer cell growth,” said Kwatra.

The researchers also showed that blocking NK1R activity reduced Akt activity, which then led to greater cell death.

“This finding suggests that if we are able to block NK1R activity, we may have a better shot at stalling cancer growth,” Kwatra said.

A previous study showed NK1R activity in 10 out of 10 glioblastomas and nine out of 12 astrocytomas, a lower-grade malignant brain tumor.

Current therapies to treat glioblastomas are directed toward blocking the activity of another cellular receptor called epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR). A recent clinical trial using an EGFR inhibitor found that patients whose tumors expressed high levels of phosphorylated – or chemically altered – Akt did not respond to treatment, Kwatra said.

“This underscores the importance of discovering the origin of active Akt in glioblastomas,” he said. “We propose that the elevated levels of phosphorylated Akt may come from active forms of NK1R, and it’s possible that a better response might be obtained by simultaneously blocking EGFR and NK1R.”

Future studies may examine the role of a NK1R inhibitor in glioblastoma patients, perhaps as a corollary to treatment with an EGFR blocker such as erlotinib, which is currently being studied in clinical trials.

“The FDA has already approved a drug for combating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting that happens to be an NK1R inhibitor, so that might be a possibility for study in conjunction with erlotinib,” Kwatra said.


Other researchers involved in this study include Toshimasa Akazawa, Shawn Kwatra, Laura Goldsmith, Mark Richardson, Elizabeth Cox and John Sampson.

Lauren Shaftel Williams

Duke University Medical Center

Arbios Receives Approval From The FDA To Initiate Pivotal Trial For SEPET(TM) Liver Assist Device

Arbios Systems, Inc.
(OTC Bulletin Board: ABOS) announced that the Company has received
approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) of an
Investigational Device Exemption (“IDE”) to begin the pivotal clinical
trial for SEPET(TM), Arbios’ extracorporeal (outside the body) liver assist
device for blood purification of acutely ill patients suffering from
chronic liver disease.

“We are pleased to have received FDA approval to start the SEPET
pivotal trial and to have fully satisfied the points addressed in the FDA’s
previously issued conditional approval,” commented CEO and President Shawn
Cain. “We were pleased with the compelling results from the SEPET
feasibility trial, and we are excited to initiate the pivotal clinical
phase of SEPET’s development. The pivotal trial design includes adaptive
measures to optimize our ability to achieve the trial’s primary and
secondary endpoints. We believe that the pivotal trial, if successful,
should support our filing for approval of SEPET in the United States and
marketing efforts in the United States and the European Union. Further, we
believe that the design of this trial will enhance physician acceptance of
SEPET as a much needed tool in sustaining patients through acute life
threatening episodes of liver failure, a market which we believe exceeds a
billion dollars annually.”

Trial Design

There are three segments to the pivotal trial design. During the first
segment of the trial, 5 non-randomized patients will be treated with SEPET
to allow us to validate the patient selection criteria, clinical protocol,
case report forms, and other trial related documents. During the second
segment of the trial, we expect to enroll 116 patients in this randomized,
controlled phase of the trial. This segment is targeted to achieve the
co-primary endpoints, which are 1) the percentage of patients achieving
improvement in hepatic encephalopathy (“HE”) grade by a minimum of two
grades by the end of Day 7 in the SEPET treatment group versus the standard
medical care group, using a 1:1 randomization between the two groups; and
2) the 30-day transplant free survival rate in all patients (i.e. control
and treatment groups) who do reach a two grade HE improvement versus all
patients who do not reach a two grade HE improvement. Pending review and
approval by the Data Safety Monitoring Board, the third segment would
permit the size of the trial to be increased by an additional 52 patients,
if the co-primary efficacy endpoints are reached or have not reached
statistical significance but have shown a positive trend. If the co-primary
endpoints of the trial are reached upon completion of segment two,
extension of the trial into segment three may result in the achievement of
statistical significance of one or more secondary endpoints of the trial
relating to clinical, functional, and reimbursement advantages for SEPET
treatment over standard medical care.

Patient Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria for the Trial

To be a candidate for the pivotal trial, a patient must have chronic
liver disease and be experiencing an acute episode that results in
hospitalization with an HE grade of between II and IV. In addition, the
patient must not be responding satisfactorily to standard medical care
(e.g. fluid replacement, antibiotics, lactulose) for 20 to 26 hours prior
to randomization. Patients contraindicated for a liver transplant (e.g.
advanced liver cancer patients and drinking alcoholics) are excluded from
the trial.

“We hope to shortly receive permission from the German regulatory
authority to begin segment one of the pivotal trial at one or two clinical
sites in Germany,” commented Mr. Cain. “Over the next several months we
will also seek IRB approvals for up to 24 clinical sites in the United
States and Europe. While we currently have very limited financial
resources, we hope that the FDA’s approval to initiate the pivotal trial
may enable us to raise the capital needed to implement our clinical and
regulatory plans for SEPET.”

About Arbios’ SEPET(TM) Liver Assist Device

The SEPET(TM) Liver Assist Device is a sterile, disposable cartridge
containing microporous hollow fibers with proprietary permeability
characteristics. When a patient’s blood is passed through these fibers,
blood plasma components of specific molecular weights are expressed through
the micropores, thereby cleansing the blood of harmful impurities (e.g.,
hepatic failure toxins as well as various mediators of inflammation and
inhibitors of liver regeneration). These substances would otherwise
progressively accumulate in the patient’s bloodstream during liver failure,
causing hypotension, increasing risk of sepsis development and accelerating
damage to the liver, lungs and other organs, including the brain and
kidneys, and suppressing the function and regeneration of the liver.
SEPET(TM) is designed for use with standard blood dialysis systems
available in hospital intensive care units.

According to the American Liver Foundation, liver disease is among the
top seven causes of death in adults in the United States between the ages
of 25 – 64. In fact, one out of every 10 Americans has some form of liver
disease. There is currently no satisfactory therapy available to treat
patients in liver failure, other than maintenance and monitoring of vital
functions and keeping patients stable through provision of intravenous
fluids and blood products, administration of antibiotics and support of
vital functions, such as respiration.

About Arbios Systems

Arbios Systems, Inc. is developing proprietary medical devices and
cell-based therapies to enhance the survival of millions of patients each
year who experience, or are at risk for, life-threatening episodes of liver
failure. The Arbios product candidate portfolio includes the SEPET(TM)
Liver Assist Device, a novel blood purification therapy that provides
enhanced “liver dialysis,” and the HepatAssist(TM) Cell-Based Liver Support
System, a bio-artificial liver that combines blood detoxification with
liver cell therapy to replace whole liver function in patients with the
most severe forms of liver failure. For more information on the Company,
please visit arbios.

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including, but
not limited to, statements regarding the Company’s belief that, the pivotal
trial, if successful, should support approval of SEPET in the United States
and marketing efforts in the United States and the European Union, the
Company’s expectations with respect to the timing, design and
implementation of the pivotal trial, including the Company’s plans with
respect to seeking approvals for sites to conduct the pivotal trial, and
the Company’s hope that the FDA’s approval to initiate the pivotal trial,
may enable us to raise the capital needed to implement our clinical and
regulatory plans for SEPET. The forward- looking statements contained in
this press release involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual
events or results to differ materially from the events or results described
in the forward-looking statements, including risks or uncertainties related
to the Company’s ability to timely and successfully raise capital, the
goals and results of clinical trials, compliance with regulatory
requirements, the likelihood of obtaining marketing approval, labeling of
the Company’s products, the need for subsequent substantial additional
financing to complete clinical development of its products, future markets
and demand for the Company’s products, and Arbios’ ability to successfully
market its products and technologies. These statements represent the
judgment of Arbios’ management as of this date and are subject to risks and
uncertainties that could adversely affect the Company. Arbios cautions
investors that there can be no assurance that actual results or business
conditions will not differ materially from those projected or suggested in
such forward-looking statements. Please refer to our Annual Report on Form
10-KSB for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2007, and to our subsequent
Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, for a description of risks that may affect
our results or business conditions. The Company does not undertake any
obligation to publicly release the result of any revisions to such forward-
looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances
after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events
except as required by law. SEPET(TM) and HepatAssist(TM) are trademarks of
Arbios Systems, Inc.

Arbios Systems, Inc.

Coconut Lethal Yellowing In Ghana: A New Hybrid Is Being Tested

Coconut is a major source of income for farmers along the Ghanaian coast. However, it has been hit by the devastating effects of a small wall-less bacterium, a phytoplasma, which causes coconut lethal yellowing disease.

The disease has already destroyed coconut plantations in several world regions: East Africa, the Caribbean and Central America. Like all known phytoplasma diseases, it is probably transmitted by an as yet unidentified insect. Attacks result in fruit fall and in frond yellowing and then frond fall. The palms die within a few months, leaving a field of bare stems.

In western and central Ghana, lethal yellowing disease has been wreaking havoc since 1964. Within around twenty years, more than 6 500 hectares were devastated. To date, just one variety, the “Sri Lanka Green Dwarf” seems to be resistant, but trials have shown that it does not adapt easily to the growing conditions in Ghana. The “Malayan Yellow Dwarf”, however, has proved to adapt well in the past. Lastly, the “Vanuatu Tall” is less severely affected than the local “Tall” variety. There are thus plans to replant with hybrids between “Dwarf” and “Tall” varieties.

Based on observations made in the 1980s-90s, researchers began testing a hybrid in 1999, obtained by crossing the “Malayan Yellow Dwarf” variety with the “Vanuatu Tall”. The trials were launched under a programme conducted by CIRAD in Ghana, from 1999 to 2004, as part of an operation to support the commodity chain, funded by the Agence franзaise de dйveloppement. In all, almost 210 000 plants were distributed to more than a thousand growers, who replanted 1 300 hectares of coconut plantings.

Unfortunately, the results were not convincing. In zones where the disease is very active, the hybrid was affected as soon as the second year. Moreover, the “Vanuatu Tall” has no longer been resistant to the disease since 2003. In the centre of the country, one-hectare plots have already suffered substantial losses: between 19 and 80% in less than five years. Although a large number of plots are still unaffected today, once the disease occurs, there is very little chance for smallholders.

Moreover, the trees need to grow correctly from the outset. Again, the results have been mixed: two thirds of the farms observed during the project obtained growth rates similar to those of reference plantations, or showed only a slight delay. However, the remainder fell well short of the standard growth models. There are many reasons for this variability (soil fertility, water stress, cropping practices, pressure from insect pests, etc).

The strategy in future will consist in only distributing the hybrid to areas with low parasite pressure. In central Ghana, where that pressure is high, a new variety is due to be tested: a cross between the “Sri Lanka Green Dwarf” and the “Vanuatu Tall”. Moreover, a project financed by the Fonds de solidaritй prioritaire (FSP) has just been luanched. It is managed by the Cooperation and Cultural Aid Service at the French Embassy in Ghana, and in particular includes a study of the pathogen, its variability and its diagnosis, a “vector determination” component and another component on “agro-socioeconomics”, which includes a study of farmers’ strategies and practices in response to the disease.

About the CIRAD

The Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, CIRAD, is a French agricultural research centre working for development in developing countries and the French overseas regions. Most of its research is conducted in partnership. It employs 1 850 people, including 950 senior staff members, and has an annual operating budget of 170 million euros.

TA 483/05 avenue Agropolis
Montpellier Cedex 5

5 Megapixel Monochrome Display For Mammography Diagnosis

Siemens Automation and Drives (A&D) has developed a new 5 megapixel display for medical applications requiring outstanding picture quality. The new SMD 21510 D, a 21-inch monochrome display, is ideally suited for mammography diagnosis and PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication Systems) applications. The integrated “Fully Automated Stability” system ensures reliably verified grayscale response and continuous luminance levels. The new medical display can be used with a number of standard or high performance graphic cards of the latest generation.

The high-resolution monitor has 2048 x 2560 pixels and a luminance of 750 cd/m2 (candelas per square meter). Two independently functional sensors are used to continuously monitor the luminance and grayscale levels. The “Integrated Stability Sensor” (ISS) monitors the backlight at the center of the display while the “Integrated Consistency Sensor” (ICS) reviews performance on the front right corner without obstructing the user’s view of the display. This redundant monitoring system ensures consistently high image quality and conformance with medical imaging standards such as Dicom (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine). The blue tinted CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp) backlight is optimally suited to the human visual system, which is especially sensitive to light in this color range. This enables diagnoses with maximum sharpness and minimum eye fatigue.

Like all medical displays from Siemens, the new SMD 21510 D grayscale display is delivered pre-calibrated and is therefore ready for use immediately out of the box. With five preset 12-bit LUTs (Look-Up Tables), the monitor can be installed quickly and easily and can also be adapted to difficult lighting environments. The monitor data are stored in the LUTs thus making it possible to use almost any graphic card. The new display controller electronics supports both 8-bit and 10-bit DVI input signals, thus opening up a large selection of graphic cards and making the display well suited for use in complex applications. With the quality software, SMfit, and external photometers, the SMD 21510 D settings can be tailored to the local environment, the luminance values can be measured and, if necessary, the internal sensors can be readjusted to their optimal levels.

Background information

In June 2007, the Eizo Nanao Corporation, headquartered in Hakusan, Japan, and Siemens Automation and Drives (A&D), Nuremberg, reached an agreement on the purchase of Siemens medical monitors business. The transaction is subject to approval by the responsible authorities and is scheduled for completion in 2007.

Further information on the Internet at: siemens/medicalmonitors

Siemens Medical Solutions of Siemens AG (NYSE: SI) is one of the world’s largest suppliers to the healthcare industry. The company is known for bringing together innovative medical technologies, healthcare information systems, management consulting, and support services, to help customers achieve tangible, sustainable, clinical and financial outcomes. Recent acquisitions in the area of in-vitro diagnostics – such as Diagnostic Products Corporation and Bayer Diagnostics – mark a significant milestone for Siemens as it becomes the first full service diagnostics company. Employing more than 41,000 people worldwide and operating in over 130 countries, Siemens Medical Solutions reported sales of 8.23 billion EUR, orders of 9.33 billion EUR and group profit of 1.06 billion EUR for fiscal 2006 (Sept. 30). Further information can be found by visiting usa.siemens/medical-pressroom


Candida And Staphylococcus Commonly Found On Retainers

Insufficient cleaning could allow build-up of microbes on orthodontic retainers, researchers at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute have found. Dr Jonathan Pratten and colleagues looked at the types of microbes which live on retainers. This study, which found potentially pathogenic microbes growing on at least 50% of the retainers, is published in the Society for Applied Microbiology’s journal Letters in Applied Microbiology and could indicate a need for the development of improved cleaning products for orthodontic retainers.

Dr Pratten and his team took samples from the mouths of people without retainers and those wearing either of the two most widely used types. As retainers are frequently removed and then replaced in the mouth, the potential for transmission of microbes is high.

Our mouths are full of different types of bacteria, some of which promote oral health. However, the researchers were looking for microbes which are not normally found in the oral cavity. They were particularly interested in two species of microbes; Candida, a type of yeast, and Staphylococcus including MRSA. Dr Pratten and his team found that species of these microorganisms were present on 66.7% and 50% of retainers respectively regardless of the retainer type. These microbes were also present on the interior cheeks and tongue of retainer wearers.

Candida and Staphylococcus rarely cause problems in healthy individuals but are potentially highly problematic in people with a compromised immune system. The bacteria on the retainers live in biofilms, which are communities of bacteria living together covered in a layer of slime. Once these biofilms form they are very difficult to remove and often have high levels of resistance to antimicrobials.

Dr Pratten says: “With the growing awareness the public has of hospital-acquired infections it is important to be aware of other potential ‘hidden reservoirs’ of harmful bacteria which could be introduced to environments where we know they can cause problems.”

Whilst the researchers are now looking at developing effective methods of cleaning, for now hygiene is the key to reducing the transmission of these bugs. Anyone handling a retainer should wash their hands before and after use. Careful tooth brushing and mouthwash may also help to keep the retainer clean.

Clare Doggett


Congress Daily Examines Possibility of Medicare Cuts, Following Passage of FY 2006 Budget Resolution, USA

Following Congress’ approval of a federal… budget resolution that calls for a $10 billion reduction in Medicaid funding over five years, “heads in Washington” are “turn[ing] in the direction of Medicare” because of the “way the budget document is structured,” CongressDaily reports. The budget resolution calls for reductions to Medicaid but states that lawmakers can enact savings in any mandatory programs under their jurisdiction to achieve their designated funding-reduction targets. A spokesperson for AARP said that $10 billion in Medicaid cuts “will be hard to find, so the tendency is to look at other programs and say, ‘Where else can we get the savings from?’”

Possible Cuts
According to CongressDaily, both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee — which oversee Medicare for the Senate and House and must find $10 billion and $15 billion in total savings, respectively — could look to Medicare physician fees as a source of savings. Some lawmakers would like to increase physician reimbursement payments, which are slated to decrease by 5% annually through 2012 after the current fee schedule expires in 2006, but some advocates say the new budget agreement could complicate efforts to fund the reimbursement increase. The American Medical Association said it will “continue to work to end proposed cuts to Medicare physician payments” if they become the target of committees’ funding-reduction efforts. In addition, hospitals could be targeted for Medicare cuts, although the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees Medicare hospital insurance, needs to find only $1 billion in savings. Regardless, some say that it is “premature” to incite “Medicare-cutting panic.” According to Jim Horney, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, lawmakers have indicated repeatedly that the funding reductions will come largely from Medicaid. In addition, CongressDaily reports that reducing Medicare funding would be a politically unpopular move because Medicare beneficiaries are a “major voting bloc” (Heil, CongressDaily, 5/2).

“Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork kaisernetwork. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation . © 2005 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

Certain Lots Of Fraxiparine And Fraxiparine Forte Syringes Recalled, Canada

Health Canada is advising consumers using certain lots of Fraxiparine (0.6 ml) and Fraxiparine Forte (0.8 ml) pre-filled glass syringes of a recall of the products because the syringes may crack or break which could lead to health risks for patients. Patients are advised to contact their physician to obtain another suitable product but should not discontinue their medication before consulting their health care provider.

Fraxiparine and Fraxiparine Forte are pre-filled syringes used to prevent or treat thromboembolic disorders such as blood clots and deep vein thrombosis; the product may also be used for certain heart conditions.

While most patients using Fraxiparine are treated in hospitals, some patients may use the product at home. The manufacturer of the syringes, GlaxoSmithKline Inc. is recalling the products. The manufacturer may be listed as Sanofi-Synthelabo Canada Inc. on the affected product lots. Patients with product affected by the recall should return it to their pharmacist.

The lot numbers can be found on the label and on the individual syringe package. The following lots in Canada were affected:

Fraxiparine (0.6 ml) – Lot Number, 3359
Fraxiparine Forte (0.8 ml) – Lot Number,1071

The CADRMP adverse reaction reporting form, including a version that can be completed and submitted online, is located on the MedEffect portal of the Health Canada Web site.


Bristol To Hold South West’s First Regional Conference On HIV, UK

This November, HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) is inviting people living with HIV, as well as those with a professional interest in the condition, to attend a free conference in Bristol. South West Think Positive, the first event of its kind in the region, will take place on Tuesday 30th November from 10.30am – 3.30pm. It is a joint initiative organised by Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire Council, The Brigstowe Project, and THT.

In 2008, there were an estimated 3,440 people living with HIV in the South West, around a quarter of whom were unaware they were infected. The conference is an opportunity for people with HIV to provide feedback on health and support services, and raise any concerns they may have around their condition. It will also provide information on what rights they have in areas including equality, employment, and disclosure of their status.

Sessions at the conference include:

HIV, your GP, and the implications of changes to primary care
Over fifty and living with HIV
Stigma, discrimination, and knowing your rights
Attitudes, individuals, organisations, and communities
Children & younger people living with HIV

Louise Sweeney, Health Promotion Specialist for THT in Bristol, said: “In the current economic climate, we know many people with HIV are finding themselves in increasingly vulnerable positions. This conference will give people a chance to tell us what they need, and local authorities can use this feedback to inform future services.

“South West Think Positive isn’t just for people living with HIV either. Anyone who works in a profession where a knowledge of the issues might be useful – doctors, teachers, even prison officers – should benefit from attending the sessions. We would encourage anyone with an interest in HIV, whether personal or professional, to sign up for their place.”

Gillian Douglas, Equalities & Community Cohesion Manager at Bristol City Council, added: “With changes in equality legislation offering greater protection from discrimination for everyone, Bristol City Council’s Equalities Team is pleased to be supporting this timely Conference in partnership, to raise awareness of some of the challenges still facing people across the region who are living with and affected by HIV”.

Terrence Higgins Trust

Alzheimer’s Disease Lesions In The Brain May Be Located By Positron Emission Tomography

According to two articles published recently in the Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, imaging of the brain with positron emission tomography (PET) can help locate the brain lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

The articles highlight that scientists are exploring the application of PET for evaluating the different types of dementias. In PET scanning, radioactive tracers are used to mark the regions of the brain affected by dementias and researchers are trying to identify the diagnostic efficacy of different types of tracers.

A radioactive tracer, fluorine 18-labeled flutemetamol, was identified in a study by David A. Wolk, M.D., and colleagues from Penn Memory Center in Philadelphia. This tracer was evaluated for its application in brain PET scanning. The tracer was evaluated on seven patients suffering from normal hydrocephalus which is a progressive disease involving dementia and lesions indistinguishable from AD. All these patients had previously undergone a biopsy. It was found that PET scan could localize lesions in the brain which correspond to the lesions with microscopic findings of AD (amyloid bodies).

Another tracer, florbetapir F 18, was evaluated in a study at the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix, by Dr. Adam S. Fleisher and colleagues. The subjects enrolled in this study included, 68 with probable AD, 60 with mild cognitive impairment, and 82 healthy controls. On PET scanning, researchers found differences in the brain uptake of florbetapir F 18 in these three types of subjects. There was also a difference in detection of amyloid lesions, making it possible to distinguish impaired and normal brain tissue.

Researches from both the institutions claim that their results demonstrate ways by which PET scanning can be used as a tool for identifying lesions associated with AD. Wolk et al., state that biomarkers providing molecular specificity are of importance in differential diagnosis of cognitive impairment in geriatric age group. This finds more relevance, keeping in view the availability of disease specific interventions for AD.

Fleisher et al states that amyloid imaging has a great potential for facilitating evaluation of patients in a clinical setting.

Arch Neurol.
Published online July 11, 2011. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2011.153; doi:10.1001/archneurol.2011.150.

Anne Hudsmith