Potential: Early tests show a "cocktail" of caffeine and ethanol is safe for use in humans as a potential treatment for limiting brain damage caused by stroke.
Tests in lab animals showed the mixture, dubbed caffeinol, reduced the size of brain damage up to 80 percent. Safety testing had to be completed before researchers could start testing whether the mixture could also be effective in humans.
In lab animals, caffeinol was effective when administered within three hours after blockage of an artery supplying blood to the brain.
Neither caffeine nor ethanol was effective on its own, said Dr. James C. Grotta, director of the stroke program at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School.
Researchers followed 23 stroke patients and found that lower doses could be used in humans than lab animals with the same protective effect.
Caffeinol also can be administered with tPA, a clot-busting drug.
It is unclear how caffeinol works to protect the brain. More and larger studies are needed.
Risk-benefit: Scientists at the National Cancer Institute say more than 10 million women in the United States have a high enough risk of developing breast cancer that they could consider taking tamoxifen to prevent the disease.
Dr. Andrew N. Freeman and colleagues found that 2 million women in the United States would benefit overall from the drug without undue risks.
Tamoxifen was approved in 1998 as the first drug to prevent breast cancer. It can halve the incidence of the disease in women who are likely to develop it.
Freeman's study weighed the risk of tamoxifen - endometrial cancer, stroke, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism - against the benefits, particularly for older women.
Findings suggest some women will benefit, but the final decision will depend on a woman's age, risk factors, lifestyle and other factors.
Education: Dr. Mark Oxman will discuss polycystic kidney disease progression and treatment options at the 1 p.m. May 17 meeting of the PKD Foundation Dayton-Cincinnati Chapter at the Middletown Regional Hospital auditorium. Christine Reeg of the Ohio Department of Insurance will discuss Medicare benefits and options. Free. Information: Bonnie Griffith,
Click: Check out the American Self-Help Group Clearinghouse Web site for a comprehensive listing of support groups and resources nationwide. The site includes resources and tips for starting local support groups.
Mind power: Fighting Cancer from Within (Owl Books; $15) by Dr. Martin L. Rossman offers tips for using guided imagery to boost body and mind during cancer treatment, including strengthening the immune system, relieving pain and battling stress.
Contact Peggy O'Farrell by phone, 768-8510; fax, 768-8330, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
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