The role of care partners and families in patients’ health outcomes is more important than ever. The online availability of scientific information and patient-reported testimonials, as well as patient communities can sometime provide a new or unorthodox lead that could impact the course of one patient, or that of millions.
The top specialists in their fields will admit to the impossibility of continuously keeping pace with scientific advances all lover the world. New information on academic research, drugs or patient case studies can sometime lead to a break that that the specialst was looking for.
Article by Beth Mole at arstechnica.com
Two parents’ quest to save their twin daughters’ lives from a rare, degenerative genetic disorder may end up saving and improving the lives of millions.
After digging through medical literature and fitting pieces of data together, the non-medically trained couple contacted German researchers and suggested that a chemical called cyclodextrin may be able to treat atherosclerosis—the hardening of arteries with cholesterol-rich plaques, which is a precursor to heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.
The researchers, Eicke Latz at the University of Bonn and colleagues, followed up on the parents’ hypothesis and found that in mice, cyclodextrin indeed blocked plaque formation, melted away plaques that had already formed in arteries, reduced atherosclerosis-associated inflammation, and revved up cholesterol metabolism—even in rodents fed cholesterol-rich diets. In petri dish-based tests, the researchers found that the drug seemed to have the same effects on human cells and plaques.