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Mar 31, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- STUDY: CANCER TREATMENT RACIALLY DISPARATE

Black men with the most aggressive form of prostate cancer are less likely than white men to get surgery or radiation therapy, a study shows. The difference may be one reason why blacks are more likely to die from the disease, the University of Michigan Health System authors suggest. They compared cancer treatment data for 142,340 white, Hispanic and black men from 1992-1999. Black men with moderate-grade cancers were 36 percent less likely than white men to receive treatment, and Hispanic men were 16 percent less likely than white men to be treated. The disparity was more pronounced among men whose tumors were aggressive. Black men were only half as likely as whites to receive treatment, while Hispanic men were 23 percent less likely than whites. Racial disparity in Hispanics improved from 1992 to 1999, but throughout the period blacks had the lowest odds of receiving definitive treatment.

FDA TO ENHANCE OTC DRUG LABELS

The Food and Drug Administration has set new rules for labeling over-the-counter drugs whose everyday ingredients may be harmful. Oral OTC drugs must state their amount of a particular ingredient per dose if they contain at least 5 milligrams of sodium per dose, 20 mg of calcium per dose, 8 mg of magnesium per dose or 5 mg of potassium per dose. Label warnings must alert people with kidney stones, decreased kidney function or people on sodium, calcium, magnesium or potassium-restricted diets to consult their doctors before taking products when the maximum daily dose contains more than 140 mg of sodium, more than 3.2 grams of calcium, more than 600 mg of magnesium or more than 975 mg potassium. Mouth rinses and toothpastes are not covered. The rules take effect April 23 and compliance is required by Sept. 25.

DRUG MAY AID MEMORY IN SOME MEN

Pilot studies suggest a few weeks of treatment with the drug carbenoxolone may reduce memory loss in elderly men and men with type 2 diabetes. University of Edinburgh researchers say the drug inhibits an enzyme that otherwise would raise the level of glucocorticoids, stress hormones that may contribute to the brain's decline and memory loss. The drug was tested in small randomized trials, on a group of 10 healthy men ages 55 to 75, and on 12 patients with type 2 diabetes. After four weeks, the healthy elderly men showed verbal fluency, and after six weeks the 12 patients with diabetes showed improved verbal memory. It is too early to say if carbenoxolone treatment would benefit those people who have more severe memory loss or cognitive decline, said lead author Jonathan Seckl, professor of molecular medicine.

(Editors: For more information about CANCER, contact Nicole Fawcett at (734) 764-2220 or nfawcett@umich.edu. For FDA, (301) 827-6242. For MEMORY, Linda Menzies at 0131-650-6382 or Linda.Menzies@ed.ac.uk)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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