HEALTH

South Central U.S. hard hit by the flu

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — This year's incidence of flu continues to remain strongest across the South, expecially in Texas and its bordering states, according to the latest Walgreens Flu Index. For the week beginning Feb. 9, the top 10 designated market areas experiencing the greatest amount of flu activity were: 
 
  1. Oklahoma City;
  2. El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, NM);
  3. Ft. Smith-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.;
  4. Tulsa, Okla.;
  5. Little Rock – Pine Bluff, Ark.;
  6. San Antonio;
  7. Jackson, Miss.;
  8. Austin, Texas;
  9. Huntsville – Decatur (Florence), Ala.; and
  10. Knoxville, Tenn.
The top 10 states with flu activity for the week beginning Feb. 9 were: 
 
  1. Oklahoma;
  2. Arkansas;
  3. Nebraska;
  4. Texas;
  5. Mississippi;
  6. Louisiana;
  7. Kansas;
  8. Tennessee;
  9. Alabama; and
  10. New Mexico. 
The top 10 DMAs as ranked by flu activity gains from the week beginning Feb. 2 through Feb. 9 were: 
 
  1. El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, NM);
  2. Fresno – Visalia, Calif.;
  3. Sacramento – Stockton – Modesto, Calif.;
  4. Jackson, Miss.;
  5. Huntsville – Decatur (Florence), Ala.;
  6. San Francisco – Oakland – San Jose, Calif.;
  7. San Diego;
  8. Los Angeles;
  9. Peoria – Bloomington, Ill.; and
  10. South Bend – Elkhart, Ind.
The top 10 states as ranked by flu activity gains from the week beginning Feb. 2 through Feb. 9 were: 
 
  1. California;
  2. Alabama;
  3. Arizona;
  4. Georgia;
  5. Illinois;
  6. Colorado;
  7. Indiana;
  8. Missouri;
  9. South Carolina; and
  10. Idaho. 
The Walgreens Flu Index is a weekly report developed to provide state- and market-specific information regarding flu activity, and ranking of those experiencing the highest incidences of influenza across the country. With the ability to generate hyper-local data that’s as specific as a single zip code, the Index aims to drive consumer awareness and prevention within communities, while also serving as a valuable resource for health departments, media and others at the local level.
 

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Study: Allergy remedy loratadine shows promise for Lyme disease

BY Michael Johnsen

PORTOLA VALLEY, Calif. — A new study funded by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation and conducted by Stanford School of Medicine researchers has found that loratadine — the active ingredient in Bayer's Claritin, a common antihistamine frequently taken to treat allergy symptoms — may be able to help kill Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria associated with Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a potentially debilitating condition with 300,000 new cases in the United States each year. The study was published in the Open Access publication Drug Design, Development and Therapy.
 
"Our results bring us closer to the possibility of discovering the first targeted therapy to treat Lyme disease," said Jayakumar Rajadas, director, Biomaterials and Advanced Drug Delivery Lab, Stanford School of Medicine, and lead author of the study. "It's exciting to see first-hand that our insights into the metabolic activity of this elusive bacteria may give us the ability to actually kill it."
 
The results of this new laboratory study show that loratadine and specifically its metabolite, desloratadine, are able to prevent manganese from entering the cell wall of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, starving the bacteria and causing it to die in test tubes. The antihistamine accomplishes this by inhibiting the bacteria's transport system, BmtA (Borrelia metal transporter A). 
 
Manganese is required for certain metabolic processes of Borrelia burgdorferi and also plays an important role in numerous biological processes in the human body. Previous research shows that in general, bacteria scavenge the body for trace metals that circulate in the blood and have developed special adaptations on their cell walls to internalize these metals. These adaptations are called transport proteins, and BmtA is the specialized transport protein for Borrelia burgdorferi. BmtA binds with manganese to bring it into the bacteria, and studies have shown that BmtA and manganese are required to make the bacteria harmful to the human body.
 
"Because current treatments do not work for everyone and the bacteria that causes Lyme disease offers many treatment challenges, this study offers encouraging insights for researchers, and hope for the 80 million Americans at risk of getting Lyme disease," said Bonnie Crater, founder and Science Committee Chairperson, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. "We are grateful to the BioADD team for their commitment to finding solutions to this difficult disease."
 
Currently, patients with Lyme disease are typically prescribed a two to four week course of antibiotics, but approximately 10% to 20% of patients treated with this regimen will have lingering symptoms of fatigue, pain or joint and muscle aches.

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C&D parodies ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ with new short video

BY Michael Johnsen

 

 
 
EWING, N.J. — With Valentine's Day and the release of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie just around the corner, Church & Dwight hopes to offer a little comic relief with the Trojan brand's new video 50 Shades of Pleasure.
 
"Trojan is always looking for ways to bring our pleasure products into the mainstream by fostering an open dialogue about sexual health and pleasure, by creating campaigns that get people excited," stated Bruce Weiss, VP marketing for Trojan Sexual Health products. "The upcoming movie release of the '50 Shades of Grey' will reignite a national dialogue about sex and pleasure and, as America's most trusted sexual health brand, Trojan is excited to partake in the conversation and share the real side of pleasure with couples nationwide."  
 
For fans going to the movies this season, Trojan will be airing a 15-second teaser trailer at select movie theaters nationwide from February 12 – March 5. 
 
50 Shades of Pleasure was directed by co-executive producer, director and head writer of MTV's "Girl Code", Laura Murphy. 
 

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