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Study finds colchicine may be effective for treating gout

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA Though it has existed for nearly 200 years, the drug colchicine now has clinical data to back its use as a treatment for gout.

A 575-patient, placebo-controlled study published in the April issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, the official journal of the American College of Rheumatology, found that low doses of URL Pharma’s Colcrys were as effective as high doses in reducing the pain associated with early acute gout flares, though the safety profile of the drug was statistically indistinguishable from placebo.

“For centuries, colchicines for the indication of acute gouty arthritis has been dosed at levels higher than clinically necessary,” VA Medical Center San Diego section chief and University of California San Diego medical professor Robert Terkeltaub said. “This study is the first to demonstrate that a low-dose colchicine regimen in the treatment of early gout flare, defined as within 12 hours of symptom onset.”

The Food and Drug Administration approved Colcrys in July 2009, and it is currently the only single-ingredient version of colchicine to have FDA approval. Colchicine was discovered in 1820.

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Fresh & Easy opens 150th store

BY Allison Cerra

BURBANK, Calif. A regional supermarket chain announced the opening of its 150th store, including 10 additional new store openings this month.

Fresh & Easy said its 150th store, which opened in Burbank, Calif., is one of four stores that opened this week in California.

“We started just over two years ago with a simple idea –– every neighborhood deserves access to fresh, wholesome food at affordable prices. We’re happy to have become a part of 150 neighborhoods so far and to have created so many good, local jobs,” said Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason. “Celebrating our 150th store is a wonderful milestone and we’re excited to continue opening even more stores in all types of neighborhoods.”

In the next two weeks, Fresh & Easy plans seven more store openings in California and Arizona. The chain also operates stores in Nevada.

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Scrabble gets super-sized, personal

BY Allison Cerra

DANVERS, Mass. Winning Moves Games is set to delight board game fans with its two newest versions of the Scrabble game.

Scrabble Me and Super Scrabble combine the traditional game play of one of the top-selling board games of all-time with enhanced game boards and scoring experiences, the company said.

In Scrabble Me, players build words on their own individual boards (up to four) simultaneously. The “prize tile podium” makes play more dynamic and gives players a chance to choose some face-up tiles in addition to the traditional blind draw from the letter bag.  Original rules of scoring, letter placement and legal word play are followed.

In Super Scrabble, however, players use 200 letters (100 more than the original Scrabble game) and a larger game board featuring quadruple letter and word scoring opportunities. This Scrabble game is super-sized, with three extra rows for a larger playing space.  Super Scrabble also comes in a “Deluxe” edition, equipped with a rotating game board and raised grid spaces for simple piece-placing.  Both games also come with a guide book detailing the history of Scrabble and the official rules.

“Scrabble has been popular for more than 70 years, and Scrabble fans are passionate about the way the game is played,” said Phil Orbanes, founder of Winning Moves Games. “Scrabble Me and Super Scrabble are great examples of how games can change subtly while maintaining the core principles that have made Scrabble one of the best games for decades.”

Scrabble Me and Super Scrabble are available at toy stores and retailers nationwide and at www.winning-moves.com.

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