Health Flash

Health Flash: 9.13.17

»hope for treating postpartum bleeding
SLUCare obstetricians at SSM St. Mary’s Hospital are leading a clinical trial to investigate a possible treatment for postpartum hemorrhage. The team is testing the InPress Postpartum Hemorrhage Intrauterine device, the first of eight clinical sites to do so. Postpartum hemorrhage refers to excessive bleeding following childbirth. It usually occurs when the uterus fails to contract. The vacuum- powered device mimics the body’s natural response following childbirth and gently contracts the uterus, helping stop blood loss. The principal investigator for the SLUCare trial, Dr. Gilad Gross, is hopeful about what a successful trial could mean. “It could change the way postpartum hemorrhage is treated around the world and potentially save many lives,” he says.

» roots of anxiety
If you are feeling anxious, a new study may have some answers why. Dr. Ilya Monosov, assistant professor of neuroscience and biomedical engineering at Washington University, is studying rhesus monkeys and has identified a group of neurons that becomes active when they are faced with the possibility of an unpleasant event. Monosov found that when the monkeys were presented with a suggestion of something unpleasant happening, the group of neurons was active, but it was inactive when irritation was guaranteed. This means the monkeys were not responding to actual unpleasantness, only the potential for it. Rhesus monkeys are similar to humans in this area, so the discovery could lead to new treatments for anxiety disorders. The study is published in Nature Communications.

» dementia and diabetes medication
Could your diabetes medicine lower your risk for dementia? That’s the question researchers at SaintLouis University have been tasked to answer by the National Institute on Aging. A study is being conducted to determine if metformin, a first-line diabetes medication, has a protective effect on the risk of dementia. The study will use health record data from the Veterans Administration and Kaiser Permanente Washington to determine if patients using metformin have a reduced risk of dementia

» alzheimer’s blood test
A study from Washington University suggests that a blood test may be a viable way to predict the onset of Alzheimer’s. Before experiencing the trademark memory loss and confusion, patients’ brains become dotted with amyloid beta, a sticky protein thought to contribute to the disease and its progression. Currently, there are two ways to check for amyloid beta plaques: PET scans and spinal taps. A blood test would be a less expensive and invasive way to look for buildup of the protein. By measuring the levels of three amyloid subtypes in the blood, the research team was able to identify subjects with amyloid buildup, with 86 percent accuracy from a single blood sample. The accuracy rate rose to 89 percent when more samples were analyzed. The study’s lead author, Dr. Randall J. Bateman, says, “That would be a huge step forward in our ability to predict, and maybe even prevent, Alzheimer’s disease.” The findings were announced at the Alzheimer’s International Conference in London and published online in Alzheimer’s and Dementia, the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.