A common, economic, and easy method of administering drugs is orally, by swallowing a pill or capsule. But oral administration is the most complex way for the human body to absorb an active pharmaceutical ingredient, because the bioavailability of the drug in the gastrointestinal tract depends on the medication’s ingredients and the stomach’s dynamic physiological environment.
In Physics of Fluids, by AIP Publishing, researchers from Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine employ a biomimetic in-silico simulator based on the realistic anatomy and morphology of the stomach – a “StomachSim” – to investigate and quantify the effect of body posture and stomach motility on drug bioavailability.
“Oral administration is surprisingly complex despite being the most common choice for drug administration,” said co-author Rajat Mittal. “When the pill reaches the stomach, the motion of the stomach walls and the flow of contents inside determine the rate at which it dissolves. The properties of the pill and the stomach contents also play a major role.
“However, current experimental or clinical procedures for assessing the dissolution of oral drugs are limited in their ability to study this, which makes it a challenge to understand how the dissolution is affected in different stomach disorders, such as gastroparesis, which slows down the emptying of the stomach.”
Stomach contents, motility, and gastric fluid dynamics all play a role in a drug’s bioavailability, and stomach contractions can induce pressure and generate complex pill trajectories. This results in varying rates of pill dissolution and nonuniform emptying of the drug into the duodenum and, sometimes, gastric dumping in the case of modified-release dosage.
Together, these issues pose several challenges for the design of drug delivery.
“In this work, we demonstrate a novel computer simulation platform that offers the potential for overcoming these limitations,” said Mittal. “Our models can generate biorelevant data on drug dissolution that can provide useful and unique insights into the complex physiological processes behind the oral administration of pills.”
The modeling appears to be the first of its kind to couple gastric biomechanics with pill movement and drug dissolution to quantify an active pharmaceutical ingredient passing through the pylorus into the duodenum. The model enabled the researchers to calculate and compare the emptying rate and the release of a dissolved active pharmaceutical ingredient into the duodenum for a variety of physiological situations.
With increasing value and emphasis being placed on muscularity and leanness as today’s body ideal, the use of appearance- and performance- enhancing drugs and substances (APEDS), such as whey protein and steroids, has become increasingly prevalent among college-age men and women. Few studies have been completed to explore associations between certain APEDS use and eating disorder symptoms, however a new study published in the Eating and Weight Disorders – Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity journal aimed to fill this research gap by exploring this relationship.
Analyzing over 7,000 U.S. college and university students from the 2020-2021 Healthy Minds Study, researchers found that a lifetime history of APEDS use is associated with eating disorder symptoms, specifically when using protein supplements, creatine supplements, and diuretics or water pills.
Honey appears to be a preferable treatment for cough or cold symptoms rather than antibiotics and over-the-counter medicines, according to a new systematic review that’s looked at the results from 14 previous studies – but the conclusions may not be quite so clear-cut as they appear at first.
“Honey is a frequently used lay remedy that is well known to patients,” write the researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK. “It is also cheap, easy to access and has limited harms.”
One particular area of interest is the comparison of honey to antibiotics. With antibiotics often causing side effects and antibiotic resistance on the rise, there are multiple advantages to using honey as an alternative remedy, the authors of the review point out.
Watching TV the other day, I was struck by how many ads there are for drugs to solve our health problems. We seem to think of drugs as some kind of permanent answer to problems that may only be temporary. Never mind that the list of side effects is often longer than the supposed benefits of taking the drugs in the first place.
Eat less; move more; live longer is a really simple way of living and thinking about our lives. If we put this mantra into our heads each morning, we could forget the temporary problem of weight that seems to plague most of us.
Eat good food in reasonable amounts and make sure you get some exercise every day of your life. Avoid bad habits like drinking too much alcohol and smoking. Finally, make sure you get enough sleep. Pay attention to those simple aspects of your life and you will solve a multitude of problems before they ever arise.
The following Pages have more details on these elements:
Suppressing production of the protein myostatin enhances muscle mass and leads to significant improvements in markers of heart and kidney health, according to a study conducted in mice. Joshua T. Butcher, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the Vascular Biology Center at Augusta University, will present the work at the American Physiological Society’s annual meeting during the Experimental Biology 2017 meeting, held April 22–26 in Chicago.
The researchers zeroed in on myostatin because it is known as a powerful inhibitor of skeletal muscle growth, meaning that people with more myostatin have less muscle mass and people with less myostatin have more muscle mass. Studies suggest obese people produce more myostatin, which makes it harder to exercise and harder to build muscle mass.
“Given that exercise is one of the most effective interventions for obesity, this creates a cycle by which a person becomes trapped in obesity,” Butcher said.Continue reading →
Regular readers know that I am a senior citizen who exercises daily and eats intelligent amounts and kinds of food to remain healthy. I take only a single drug for my prostate. Most of the seniors I know take a number of drugs, prescription and over the counter, to keep them going.
• For the first time, the American Heart Association has issued a statement cautioning that drugs used to treat a variety of conditions can cause or worsen heart failure. • Patients should show each of their healthcare providers a complete list of their medications, including over-the-counter drugs and natural supplements. • Patients with heart failure should consult with a health professional before starting or stopping any medication.
Commonly used medications and nutritional supplements may cause or worsen heart failure, according to the first scientific statement from the American Heart Association to provide guidance on avoiding drug-drug or drug-condition interactions for people with heart failure.
The statement provides comprehensive information about specific drugs and “natural” remedies that may have serious unintended consequences for heart failure patients.
Heart failure patients have, on average five or more separate medical conditions and take seven or more prescription medications daily, often prescribed by different healthcare providers.
“Since many of the drugs heart failure patients are taking are prescribed for conditions such as cancer, neurological conditions, or infections, it is crucial but difficult for healthcare providers to reconcile whether a medication is interacting with heart failure drugs or making heart failure worse,” said Robert L. Page II, Pharm.D., M.S.P.H., chair of the writing committee for the new scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. (my emphasis) Continue reading →
Scientific studies confirm that a placebo (a dummy medication or procedure) can genuinely benefit a person’s health. But its sinister cousin, the “nocebo effect,” creates expectations of harm, which can lead to seriously negative health consequences.
A patient’s expectations of a treatment clearly influence the way it works. The authors of a 2012 German study note that vulnerable, ill, or injured patients are highly receptive to negative suggestion. A participant in one drug trial developed dangerously low blood pressure by “overdosing” on what he thought was an antidepressant—only when he learned that it was an inert substance did his blood pressure return to normal. (Conversely, the power of positive suggestion may explain some of the success of complementary therapies—from herbal remedies to homeopathy). The more strongly a patient believes in the treatment, the more likely it is to be effective. Here are some ways you can put this knowledge to…
John Oliver is cleverly disguising good journalism as comedy every week on HBO. I hope you can spare 17 minutes to watch this video. I promise you will be amazed.
Last year we Americans spent an average of $1000 per person on prescription rugs, or $329.2 billion. That’s a lot of money. Last year drug companies spent $4 billion on marketing. The British Broadcasting Company said that nine out of 10 drug companies spent more money on marketing than they did on research.
If you take nothing else from this video, be sure to check out the link: https://openpaymentsdata.cms.gov/ It allows you to look up your doctor and see if/how much drug companies paid him/her last year. Fascinating stuff. Just type in your doctor’s name and the website does the rest.
Must confess that I have heard of the leading economic indicators, but never the leading health ones. The Dept of HHS is a good source, however. This seems a pleasant surprise in terms of results.
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Leading Health Indicators: Progress Update, which shows that we are making progress in more than half of the 26 Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators (LHIs).
There are 14 health indicators that have either been met or are improving in this first third of the decade, including: • Fewer adults smoking cigarettes • Fewer children exposed to secondhand smoke • More adults meeting physical activity targets • Fewer adolescents using alcohol or drugs (My emphasis: I consider smoking to be a horrible killer and crippler of humans. The fact that fewer adults are doing it and fewer children are exposed to second hand smoke is wonderful positive news. You can read my Page – How Bad is Smoking? for more info.)
As of March 2014, progress generally has been positive toward achieving the HP2020 targets for the 26 LHIs, with 14 indicators (53.9%) having either met their target or shown improvement:
• 4 indicators (15.4%) have met or exceeded their HP2020 targets.
• 10 indicators (38.5%) are improving.
• 8 indicators (30.8%) show little or no detectable change.
• 3 indicators (11.5%) are getting worse.
• 1 indicator (3.8%) has only baseline data.
The LHIs are a subset of Healthy People 2020 objectives, which communicate high-priority health issues known to have a major influence in reducing preventable disease and death. These indicators are used to assess the health of the Nation, facilitate collaboration across sectors, and motivate action at the national, State, and community levels to improve the health of the U.S. population.
While progress has been made across several indicators, the LHI Progress Update highlights areas where further work is needed to improve the health of all Americans.
Examples of drug and supplement combinations that can decrease the effectiveness of either are taking supplements that stimulate the immune system such as zinc, Astragalus and Echinacea with corticosteroids intended to suppress the immune system, as they are working in opposite directions. Also, remedies with a hyperglycemic (blood sugar raising) action such as celery seed, Bupleurum, rosemary and Gotu kola can counteract the hypoglycemic (blood sugar reducing) work of diabetic drugs. High doses of vitamins A, C and K can all decrease the anticoagulant activity of Warfarin.
In the past several decades, the number of people taking herbal, dietary and energy supplements has increased exponentially. Whereas, prior to the late 1980s, most patients were unlikely to be supplementing with anything other than multivitamins, now a doctor must expect the majority of the population to have read about their condition on the Internet and be using whatever complementary remedies they think might help, with or without expert guidance. Once seen as natural and harmless, it is now clear that herbal supplements, dietary supplements and energy supplements can interact with conventional medications just as conventional medications can interact with each other.
It is important to note that many complementary medicines are quite safe to take alongside most forms of pharmaceutical drugs, and a cup of nettle or chamomile tea together with your morning pill of whatever form is not going to have any deleterious effect. However, a…