HealthWise at 5 From 3.17 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/17/04

HealthWise at 5 From 3.17

  • Pain Patch

An IV pump means needles, a patch is just a sticker. What a great option if you could choose a patch over the pump to get your pain relief after surgery. Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University tested a patch about the size of a credit card that was placed on the upper arm to provide pain medication through the skin. The results of the study are published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association comparing the pain pump to the pain patch.

"Head to head they looked almost identical," explains Dr. Gene R. Viscusi.

"There's no pain involved. You only hit a little button and it administered your medication. There was no discomfort, no nothing involved in it. It was as simple as one, two, three," said Thomas Reed, patient in the study.

"It is able to deliver a potent pain reliever through the skin with a very, very tiny electric current at the demand of the patient," adds Dr. Viscusi.

Another advantage with the pain patch is you're not tied to a pump so the patient has more mobility during recovery and needs less help from the nursing staff. Even though the pain patch is still under review by the FDA, several companies are already making their versions of the patch so it can be marketed quickly upon FDA approval.

  • Baldness Study

Researchers report they've gotten bald mice to grow hair, a pioneering experiment that could one day lead to a baldness treatment. In the study, scientists took adult stem cells from hair follicles in mice and transferred them into the bald areas of other mice. And guess what, they got hair! Researchers say hair contains so called blank stem cells that can initiate new hair growth. The adult stem cells used are different from the controversial embryonic stem cells and can only be turned into a few hair related cells. In addition researchers say they've identified 150 genes that are related to hair growth, findings that could also aide in developing new baldness treatments.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center and is published in the April issue of Nature Biotechnology.

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