Health Flash

Health Flash: 10.21.15

[lose the readers]
Sick of looking for your reading glasses? A new procedure, the Kamra inlay, restores near vision while maintaining distance vision without blurry zones. Offered locally by Dr. Jay Pepose of Pepose Vision Institute, the Kamra inlays sits in the first few layers of the eye known as the cornea. It’s smaller and thinner than a contact lens, and Pepose calls it “an excellent option for the correction of presbyopia with minimal compromises and inconveniences.”

[test for seniors]
A recent panel of world experts in aging at Saint Louis University recommended routine memory and reasoning evaluations for everyone 70 and older. Published in the September issue of JAMDA , the recommendations are based on studies that suggest 30 percent of those older than 70 have memory problems. Approximately 16 percent in this group have mild cognitive impairment, and 14 percent have dementia. “This is an important step toward enhancing brain health for aging populations throughout the world,” says lead author Dr. John Morley, director of geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University.

[saving bone]
Researchers at Saint Louis University’s Center for World Health & Medicine have received an NIH grant to investigate the development of a new class of drugs to treat bone diseases. Among these diseases is osteoporosis, which affects half of women and 20 percent of men older than 50. Dr. David Griggs and Dr. Rajeev Aurora will conduct the research, which is looking for compounds that can stimulate immune cells interfering with cells that trigger bone deterioration.

[beet juice & the heart]
A growing body of work suggests that dietary nitrates—found in spinach and beets—improve muscle performance. Researchers at Washington University found that drinking concentrated beet juice increases muscle power in patients with heart failure. “It’s a small study, but we see robust changes … about two hours after patients drink the beet juice,” says senior author Dr. Linda Peterson. Corresponding author is Andrew Coggan, Ph.D. Their findings were published in the September issue of Circulation: Heart Failure.

[anti-staph trio]
Researchers at Washington University have found that when three particular drugs are combined, they are effective against the deadly staph pathogen, MRSA . “MRSA infections kill 11,000 people each year in the United States, and the pathogen is considered one of the world’s worst drug-resistant microbes,” says principal investigator Gautam Dantas, Ph.D. The drugs, which are not effective against MRSA individually, have killed the pathogen in test tubes and in laboratory tests on mice. The study was published Sept. 14 in the online publication of Nature Chemical Biology. The three drugs, from a class of antibiotics called beta-lactams, are meropenem, piperacillin and tazobactam. Because all are already approved by the FDA, “using the drug combination to treat people has the potential to begin quickly,” Dantas notes.