Archive for October 23rd, 2008

Milder Strokes for the Physically Active

October 23rd, 2008 | No Comments | Source: MedPageToday, Neurology

We have known for ages that exercise reduces the risk of stroke, but this risk is not eliminated altogether especially if other risk factors such as high blood pressure and cigarette smoking are not addressed.

A study published in this week’s Neurology adds a new twist to the story. In the new study, Lars-Henrik Krarup and colleagues at Copenhagen University Hospital found that in a cohort of elderly stroke patients, those who had exercised more vigorously before the event had a better prognosis than those who exercised less vigorously or not at all.

Krarup’s group stratified 295 patients that had recently sustained an ischemic stroke into quartiles based on their prestroke physical activity as determined by a questionnaire. They assessed initial stroke severity using the Scandinavian Stroke Scale and 2-year stroke outcomes using the Rankin Scale.

The scientists found a linear relationship such that for each successive increase in prestroke physical activity, initial stroke severity decreased. The most active group was 2.54 times more likely to incur a mild initial stroke than the least active group. These benefits were maintained after two years, in that the most active group was far less likely to experience marked disability.

(more…)

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Big Brother on Your Hip

October 23rd, 2008 | No Comments | Source: Wall Street Journal

Integrated Media Measurement Inc. (IMMI) has developed software that transforms cell phones into monitoring devices that identify audio streams from advertisements, TV shows or movies so that its customers can ascertain what you’re listening to and how it affects your behavior.

The souped-up cell phones can thus track the effectiveness of ad campaigns. For example, did you watch a movie after you saw its trailer on television?

The San Mateo-based IMMI is in start-up mode right now. It has enrolled 4,900 testing panelists in 6 markets. It pays each panelist $50 per month or offers free cell phone service in exchange for the panelists’ agreement to carry software-enabled phones wherever they go.

 IMMI’s technology can’t track the impact of Internet ads or print ads because they don’t involve audio. Still, IMMI has attracted attention from some big dogs. For example, GE’s NBC Universal uses IMMI to study how people watch sporting events like the Beijing Olympics and TV shows like Saturday Night Live.

Interestingly, IMMI recently reported that of the people who caught an SNL sketch featuring Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, only one third watched the parody live on TV. The rest watched after the fact, either on a DVR or the Internet. 

By the way, IMMI assures you that your conversations are not being captured by their phones, since there isn’t a match in its coded data base for whatever it is you’re talking about. Matches only exist for audio from IMMI’s paying customers. Seriously.

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Lilly’s $1.4 Billion Zyprexa Hit

October 23rd, 2008 | 1 Comment | Source: Forbes, WSJ Health Blog

Eli Lilly and Company has announced it is nearing a settlement with the US Attorney’s Office regarding unsavory marketing and promotional practices for Zyprexa, its antipsychotic blockbuster. As a consequence, Lilly will take a $1.4 billion charge, or $1.29 per share in Q3 2008.

Lilly stands accused of promoting the drug for psychotic symptoms in the setting of dementia even though the FDA did not approve the drug for this purpose.

As part of the settlement, Lilly announced it will incorporate a compliance program to assure its marketing and promotional practices comply with all laws and regulations.

“We now have a heightened sense of responsibility to all our stakeholders to intensify efforts to resolve these issues,” said Robert A. Armitage, Lilly’s general counsel.

Lilly’s move is an attempt to preempt a long, complex legal battle. Medicaid Fraud Control Units in 30 states had begun coordinating with the US Court while pursuing their own investigations of the matter.

Since its introduction in 1996, Zyprexa has been prescribed for 26 million people around the world. Q2 sales exceeded $1.1 billion, nearly a third of Lilly’s total revenue. Zyprexa sales dropped in 2008 as competitive drugs entered the market and concerns about weight gain and diabetes risk have surfaced.

Last month Pizaazz reported that Zyprexa is also commonly used off-label for psychosis in children, although its efficacy has been questioned and serious side effects have been reported in this group.

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