Women twice as likely to be rehospitalized after heart attack compared to men
Women 55 years and younger are nearly twice as likely to be rehospitalized within a year after a heart attack compared to men, most likely due to the risk factors they are more likely to experience such as bleeding, pneumonia, depression, and obesity. Researchers studied over 2,000 women and over 950 men with an average age of 48 years who had had heart attacks. Nearly 30% of study subjects were rehospitalized within a year, and female subjects had an average 1.65 times higher risk of being rehospitalized compared to male subjects, with the biggest disparity occurring in noncardiac-related rehospitalizations. Of the study subjects, more women reported identifying as low income and having previous histories of depression. Depression is known to increase following a heart attack and may be a risk factor in higher hospitalization rates due in part to undertreatment of the condition in women. Women 55 years and younger already face double the risk of dying from a heart attack in-hospital; the new research reveals the need for closer attention to cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular risk factors after discharge.
FDA approval for treatment of hot flashes related to menopause
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the oral medication Veozah (fezolinetant) for treatment of moderate to severe menopause-related vasomotor symptoms, or hot flashes. Veozah is the first neurokinin 3 (NK3) receptor antagonist to receive FDA approval. Hot flashes occur in around 80% of menopausal women and can include periods of sweating, flushing, and chills lasting for several minutes. Veozah works by binding to and blocking the activities of the NK3 receptor, which plays a role in the brain’s regulation of body temperature. Because Veozah is not a hormone treatment, it is safe for women who have histories of vaginal bleeding, stroke, heart attack, blood clots, or liver disease. Veozah was tested in two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 clinical trials with the average age of trial participants being 54 years old. The drug’s effectiveness in treating moderate to severe hot flashes was demonstrated when participants took 45 milligrams of Veozah at the same time each day, with or without food.
Twin stem cell therapy for the treatment of metastatic melanoma
Researchers have successfully activated immune responses by integrating multiple therapeutic approaches to target melanoma more effectively in sophisticated mouse models that mimic human settings. Systemic drugs given intravenously and orally do not effectively target brain metastases, but new immuno-therapeutic approaches may activate the immune system to suppress tumor growth and prolong survival. The immuno-therapeutic approach uses a “twin stem cell model” to target cancer cells that have spread to the leptomeninges. The oncolytic virus released by stem cells destroys the very cells that release it, making it an unsustainable therapeutic option on its own. Researchers used CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to create a second stem cell that cannot be targeted by the oncolytic virus, and which instead releases proteins (immunomodulators) that fortify the immune system to help fight off the cancer. The twin stem cells can be delivered via intrathecal injection and, unlike other immunotherapies, do not need to be repeatedly administered. They found that the therapy successfully activated immune responses in preclinical mouse models of melanoma with leptomeningeal metastasis that mimic human responses.
Chronic pain and HICP highly persistent among US adults
A new study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found that new cases of chronic pain occur more frequently than new cases of other common conditions such as diabetes and depression, and two-thirds of U.S. adults with chronic pain experience persistent cases that last more than a year. Pain is considered chronic if it is felt on most days or every day for three consecutive months. High-impact chronic pain (HICP) is debilitating pain that impacts life or work activities on most days or every day for three consecutive months. The NIH-funded study found that the rate of chronic pain in adults is approximately 21%, and the rate of HICP in adults is approximately 8%. Over 52 chronic pain cases per 1,000 people were reported between 2019 and 2020, which is significantly higher compared to incidences of other conditions such as diabetes, of which there are approximately seven new cases per 1,000 people per year, and depression, of which there are approximately 16 cases per 1,000 people per year. One in six study participants reported nonchronic pain becoming chronic between 2019 and 2020, indicating the need for earlier management of their conditions. Over 61% of study participants who reported chronic pain in 2019 continued to have chronic pain in 2020. Only 10% of study participants reported recovery from their chronic pain between 2019 and 2020. The study’s findings demonstrate the persistence of chronic pain and HICP, and the need for more intervention for people experiencing pain, particularly as the U.S. continues to endure the opioid epidemic.