LA BioMed research briefs


September 2004


  • Methamphetamine use among Pregnant Mothers Poses Problems for Children
  • Schizophrenia and Diabetes What's the Link?
  • Researchers Identify Disease Mechanism Underlying Rheumatoid Arthritis

Methamphetamine use among Pregnant Mothers Poses Problems for Children

Infants born to methamphetamine (meth) using mothers appear to be at a higher risk for low birth weight, have high infant mortality rates and are at an increased risk for developmental and behavioral problems.

Once the children are home from the hospital they are also at risk because meth tends to be manufactured where they live. "The chemicals are in the refrigerator, and it's an explosive environment, so there are additional child endangerment issues that have folks concerned above and beyond drugs," said Lynne Smith, MD, neonatoligist and lead investigator on the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) metamphetamine study at LA BioMed. Dr. Smith is part of a nation-wide team of researchers who are investigating the long-term effects of in- utero exposure to cocaine and methamphetamine for NIDA.

To speak to Dr. Smith on the effects of meth on children, contact David Feuerherd at [email protected].

Schizophrenia and Diabetes What's the Link?

Research over several decades has demonstrated that people with schizophrenia have as much as two to four times higher risk of diabetes than the general population. Is the high-rate of diabetes among schizophrenics a result of poor diet, lack of exercise, a result of certain anti-psychotic drugs, or a combination of these and other factors? People with schizophrenia experience three major types of symptoms: psychotic symptoms (delusions), deficit symptoms (diminished emotions) and mood symptoms (depression). The increased use of effective atypical anti-psychotic drugs to deal with these symptoms has seen a corresponding rise in diabetes among schizophrenics. Some researchers suspect these drugs interfere with some kind of chemical process both in the brain and the body and lead to the development of something called insulin resistance.

The Research Center on the Psychobiology of Ethnicity at LA BioMed is running a series of clinical trials dealing with the issue of schizophrenia and diabetes. To contact Michael W. Smith, MD, principal investigator of the project, call 310-222-4266.

Researchers Identify Disease Mechanism Underlying Rheumatoid Arthritis

Investigators at LA BioMed have identified a novel disease mechanism underlying rheumatoid arthritis that may open the door to new therapies for this and other debilitating autoimmune disorders.

In an article appearing in the September 1 issue of the Journal of Immunology, principal investigator Terry J. Smith, MD describes research that identifies an interaction between antibodies found in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and the insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R) as a cause of inflammation and lymphocyte infiltration.

According to Dr. Smith, "It is possible that these findings will allow us for the first time to interrupt the disease process before any lasting damage occurs."

Rheumatoid arthritis is one of several autoimmune disorders in which cellular defense mechanisms identify the body's own tissues as foreign and seek to destroy them. Other autoimmune disorders include such ailments as Graves' disease, multiple sclerosis and lupus. This research suggests that there could be a common therapeutic strategy for these conditions.

To speak to Dr. Smith, contact David Feuerherd at [email protected].

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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