• U.S.

Your Health: Aug. 14, 2000

2 minute read
Sora Song


FOOD AND SEX Pfizer’s little blue pill may do more than revive a flaccid love life. Viagra could restore normal digestion to millions of diabetics who suffer from gastroparesis, an affliction that causes bloating, loss of appetite, vomiting and dehydration. The drug eases a clenched stomach muscle to facilitate passage of food (much as it relaxes a muscle in the penis to allow blood flow)–at least in mice. Study results were so uplifting that researchers plan to start human trials as early as next month.

HAIR TODAY…With partner Bristol-Myers Squibb, razor titan Gillette is sharpening another weapon against hair: Vaniqa (VAN-i-ka), a prescription cream recently approved by the FDA that zaps unwanted facial hair on women. The impact can be dramatic, but possible side effects include rashes, redness and acne. And don’t toss that SensorExcel just yet. Vaniqa doesn’t entirely replace regular fuzz control.

GENE THERAPY WITH A TWIST Scientists have used a genetically modified cold virus, Onyx-015, to battle head and neck cancer. While traditional gene therapy aims to replace defective genes, Onyx-015 trades on the genetic difference between cancerous and normal cells to hunt and kill only the cancer. In a study, 63% of 30 patients who received Onyx-015 along with chemotherapy saw their tumors shrink by at least half. After five months, none of the tumors had grown back. Doctors hope that Onyx-015 will also prove effective against ovarian, pancreatic and other aggressive cancers.


QUITTING TIME A five-year Japanese study has linked cigarette smoking to a risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Researchers found that the more and longer their 1,266 middle-aged male subjects smoked, the worse the effect. For example, men who smoked more than 31 cigarettes a day were four times as likely as nonsmokers to develop diabetes.

–By Sora Song

Sources–Good News: Journal of Clinical Investigation (8/00); FDA (8/3/00); Nature Medicine (8/00). Bad News: Annals of Internal Medicine (8/00)

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