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Merck chairman announces retirement

BY Alaric DeArment

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Merck chairman Richard Clark is retiring, the company said Thursday.

Merck announced that Clark, who remained chairman of the company after stepping down as president and CEO in 2010, would retire from the company and its board of directors as of Dec. 1. Kenneth Frazier took over as president and CEO in January 2011, and the board has elected him to serve as chairman following Clark’s departure.

"I’ve been a part of Merck for more than 39 years — I always have and always will consider Merck to be an important part of my life and my extended family," Clark said. "It has been a great pleasure to work with the talented, dedicated people of Merck who are so committed to our mission of saving and improving lives around the world."


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Study: Too much TV may be an indicator of poor blood-glucose control

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Type 1 diabetics who watch the most television have poorer blood-sugar control on average, according to a study published online Sept. 16 by the American Diabetes Association’s journal Diabetes Care.

In the cross-sectional study, self-report questionnaires were used to assess media consumption habits, physical activity and socioeconomic status in 296 children, adolescents and young adults with Type 1 diabetes.

While study authors acknowledged there could be no direct correlation between television watching and blood-glucose control, at least not with this study, they surmised on possible explanation behind possible links would be in snacking — sedentary people watching TV tend to snack more, they suggested.

Youths with Type 1 diabetes (average age 14 years) spent 2.9 hours per day watching TV and using computers; they participated in physical exercise around five hours per week. Those who watched four or more hours of TV or used the computer recorded a hemoglobin A1C of 9.3% on average, versus 8.5% for those who spent less time watching TV or surfing the Internet.

According to the Council for the Advancement of Diabetes Research and Education, the risk for macrovascular and microvascular complications in all people begins to increase at an A1C level of 6.5%, with people having A1C levels of greater than 8% experiencing significantly greater complication rates. CADRE recommends for diabetics that the A1C level be managed below 7% to reduce the risk of any microvascular complications.

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Sanofi MS drug shows good results in phase-3 trial

BY Alaric DeArment

PARIS — A drug under investigation by Sanofi for multiple sclerosis improved several measures of disease activity in patients, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial.

The French drug maker announced the publication of results from the phase-3 "TEMSO" study of Aubagio (teriflunomide) in the New England Journal of Medicine. Data showed that in the 14-mg dosage, the drug reduced the annual relapse rate, reduced disability progressions and improved several magnetic resonance imaging measures of disease activity, including new or worsening brain lesions. The study involved 1,088 people in 21 countries with relapsing forms of MS and is part of a broader clinical trial program that will include 4,000 patients in 36 countries.

"The TEMSO data demonstrate the effect of teriflunomide in terms of reducing relapse rates, disability progression and magnetic resonance imaging lesions," TEMSO study principal investigator and director of the MS Clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto Paul O’Connor said. "These results, sustained over two years, provide clinically meaningful data for teriflunomide."

 


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