Friday December 15, 2017

Anti-smoking drug from nicotine-eating bacteria: Study

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New York: A bacterium that consumes nicotine may help scientists develop a powerful anti-smoking drug, says a study. 

The researchers found that the bacterial enzyme can be recreated in lab settings and possesses a number of promising characteristics for drug development.

“Our research is in the early phase of drug development process, but the study tells us the enzyme has the right properties to eventually become a successful therapeutic,” said one of the researchers Kim Janda, professor of chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in California.

The new research offers a possible alternative to current smoking cessation aids, which are shown to fail in at least 80 to 90 percent of smokers.

The idea behind an enzyme therapy would be to seek out and destroy nicotine before it reaches the brain — depriving a person of the “reward” of nicotine that can trigger relapse into smoking.

For more than 30 years, Janda and his colleagues have struggled to create such an enzyme in the lab, but they recently ran across a potential enzyme found in nature — NicA2 from the bacteria known as Pseudomonas putida.

It turns out this bacterium — originally isolated from soil in a tobacco field — consumes nicotine as its sole source of carbon and nitrogen.

In the new study, the researchers characterized the bacterial enzyme responsible for nicotine degradation and tested its potential usefulness as a therapeutic.

Importantly, the researchers detected no toxic metabolites produced when the enzyme degraded nicotine in the lab.

“The enzyme is also relatively stable in serum, which is important for a therapeutic candidate,” study first author Song Xue, graduate student at TSRI, said.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

(IANS)

 

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Want to Quit Smoking (Nicotine)?: Help is Here!

Cigarettes contain Nicotine which causes addiction

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E Cigarettes are not a solution to those who wish to quite smoking because E Cigarettes too contain Nicotine. Image credit: www.SameCondition.com

Dr. M.v. Annalarasi

We at samecondition.com in the previous articles have emphasized the need to quit smoking. Like mentioned earlier, it is true that it is easier said than done. In this article, we would like to communicate to you, in case you already didn’t know, the various recommended practices to adapt while trying to quit smoking. Apart from our articles, you might have come across several sources of the ill effects of smoking. But try adapting a different perspective to look at this issue. The beneficial effects of quitting smoking are aplenty.

It is a common knowledge that nicotine is the addictive substance that keeps you glued to smoking. But to abolish it from your life immediately can have some unfavorable implications: Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are insomnia, anxiety, difficulty to concentrate, intense craving to get your hands-on nicotine, depression etc.

To help you avoid quit as well aid you in a smooth transition towards “ the life without nicotine”, nicotine replacement products are recommended. These products are designed in such a way that they supply nicotine in controlled amounts. This would prepare your physical being to cooperate with your mental efforts to quit. Also, some of these products function on the mechanism of positive reinforcement and desensitizing the nicotine receptors by the nicotine replacement. Some of these products are sold under prescription and some are available over the counter. These are Nicotine transdermal patches, lozenges, inhaler, nasal spray, and chewing gums.

The safety of ‘the otherwise effective nicotine replacement therapy’ during pregnancy, remains to be determined. Nicotine in any form still poses a threat to the fetus. If you are a pregnant woman or have been diagnosed with any health condition like asthma, COPD, diabetes, hypertension, it is advisable to better consult a physician before buying these products on your own.

  1. Nicotine (Transdermal) patches: recommended not to be used alongside cigarette smoking. It has the advantage of moderating and maintaining sustainable levels of nicotine ( lesser than in cigarettes).

 2Nasal spray: available as prescription-only drug and the dosage delivered is tapered over time.

3. Gum: a slow release resin containing nicotine and polacrilin. It has a proved smoking cessation track record of up to 70%. ( available over the counter).

Each of these substances come with their own side effects like sore throat, dry mouth, nausea, dyspepsia etc. But the effects are controlled over a period and hence signal safety with uncontested clarity.

4. Medications: There are some non-nicotine containing pharmacotherapeutic substances (FDA approved and primary line of management) that come to your aid in ‘the quit smoking movement’. Two common examples are Bupropion hydrochloride and Varenicline tartrateClonidine, an alpha-2 adrenergic receptor agonist, used for treating hypertension has also demonstrated considerable efficacy but not FDA approved. Yet, it has been endorsed by the US clinical practice guidelines to be prescribed as a second line of treatment for tobacco addiction. Next in line is Nortriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant, primarily prescribed to treat depression. It has also exhibited potential as the second line of treatment. The research to make patches with this drug is still under process.

An alkaloid called cytisine binds to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and in some clinical studies has proved to be superior to the replacement therapy.

Some of these are available commercially and some are still in the process to reach approval. It is heartening to know that the efforts to help people trying to quit are on the rise. Check the approval status of the drugs on the regulatory websites of your country. It is even better to approach a physician to get yourself a medically accurate blueprint to quit smoking.

Did you know? Nicotine vaccines might also become a reality soon. This new line of immunotherapy for smoking cessation is also underway.

Remember:

The harms due to tobacco will stay away from you if you stay away from tobacco.

The article first appeared at Same Condition website: https://www.samecondition.com/blog/trying-quit-nicotine-dont-struggle-alone/

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You May Soon Be Able to Prevent Chikungunya With Vaccines! IIT-Roorkee Researchers Discover Drug to Fight the Disease

At present, there are no immunizations or anti-viral medications available to cure Chikungunya, and the treatment is focused on mitigating the side effects related with the disease

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Dengue and Chikungunya are viral diseases transmitted to humans via infected mosquitoes. Pixabay

Roorkee, October 9, 2017 : Dengue and Chikungunya are known to strike fear in the country every year, so much so that the health graph of the city registers a steep rise in these cases. Both of the water-borne diseases, characterized by high fever and pain in the joints, take a toll on our lives. So far, there is no vaccine to immunize people against the spread of the Dengue and Chikungunya virus. However, researchers at IIT-Roorkee have now discovered that a commonly-utilized de-worming drug can be efficiently used for treatments against Chikungunya.

According to a report by PTI, Shailly Tomar, lead researcher and a professor at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee in Uttarakhand was quoted as saying, “Our research has shown that piperazine, a drug existing in the market, is successful in curbing the spread and replication of the Chikungunya virus in a lab setting.”

The drug, Piperazine, is usually used in de-worming treatments against round-words and pinworms. Using their expertise in virology and structure biology, experts have now discovered the anti-viral capabilities of the drug that can potentially prompt new therapies against the fatal, mosquito borne disease.

The researchers are currently testing the molecule on animals, and will consequently take it to clinical trials.

ALSO READ What preventive steps have the city Government taken to control Dengue and Chikungunya, asks the Delhi High Court

The molecular details uncovered in the study, which has been published in the journal Antiviral Research, will be additionally used to plan piperazine-derivative medications that are more compelling to fight against the Chikungunya virus.

Using X-ray crystallographic technique, in combination with computational science and fluorescence strategies, the researchers discovered that piperazine binds itself with the hydrophobic (water-hating) pocket of capsid protein present in the Chikungunya virus, which can reduce the spread of the virus.

“This pocket is key to the replication of the virus and its spread inside a host. Inhibiting the pocket prevents budding and spread of the virus and can help in treating the virus effectively using existing drugs,” Tomar said.

Chikungunya has become a major public health concern, with an increasing number of people being plagued by the disease every year.

 At present, there are no immunizations or anti-viral medications available to cure Chikungunya, and the treatment is focused on mitigating the side effects related with the disease. 

Developing a new anti-viral drug molecule can take up to 10 years. To tend to the disease on an immediate basis, Professor Tomar added, “We are looking at repositioning existing, approved drugs and testing these to see if they might inhibit or kill pathogenic viruses.”

 

 

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Is Vaping Safer Than Smoking? New Research Suggests Why You Should Switch

While the best approach for a healthy life is to entirely quit smoking, but the most critical thought is that smoker stop smoking tobacco in the first place

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Do you believe e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to smoking? Think again. Pixabay

Washington, October 6, 2017 : In present day societies, smoking is considered ‘cool’. Unfortunately, in this race to look trendy, the practice has become one of the biggest man-made killers. Today, tobacco consumption is among the world’s leading causes of preventable death and takes as many as six million lives every year.

While quitting smoking is difficult, a new research suggests e-cigarettes are far safer than smoking and can add multiple years to anyone who switches.

According to a new cancer research team, if all smokers switch to e-cigarettes and similar vaping devices exclusively, they could live for 86.7 million years in total.

The study has been carried out by Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Research 

According to David Levy, the lead author of the study and a professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi, the study has been carried out to encourage “replacing cigarette smoking with vaping to yield substantial life year gains,”

The study is the first ever theoretical piece to trace the health outcomes of people who are choosing to quit smoking and shift to different vaping devices.

The study relied upon multiple factors like,

  • When a subject began smoking
  • when they quit smoking
  • when they switched from smoking a cigarette to vaping

Studying the responses, the researchers anticipated both a hopeful result and a negative result.

Pessimistic Result : 1.6 million would add a 20.8 million years to their lives.

Optimistic Result : 6.6 million cigarette smokers would include 86.7 million years from switching.

These results suggest that even in the grimmest outcome, vapors live more instead of those who inhale deadly measures of toxicants with cigarette smoke.

A switch from smoking to vaping will not only add years to an individuals’ life, but will also have multiple benefits on general health. According to Professor Levy, “There would be tremendous health benefits including reduced disease disability to smokers, reduced pain and suffering, and reduced exposure to secondhand smoke”

Is Vaping Safer Than Smoking?

E-cigarettes and other vaping devices do not contain tobacco. Instead, they contain a nicotine-filled liquid which is heated to produce vapor, which in turn is inhaled. This satisfies the cravings known to be associated with cigarette addiction.

While it will be wrong to say that these devices are completely harmless, it can be said that these devices to not cause life-threatening diseases like cancer- which tobacco does.

In this way, e-cigarettes are far safer than smoking.

While the best approach for a healthy life is to entirely quit smoking, but the most critical thought is that smoker stop smoking tobacco in the first place.

The study has been published in a global journal that studies and analyses the effect of tobacco abuse called Tobacco Control.

– prepared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala