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Alexandra Velcelean

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3177

Beta-carotene may prevent or delay amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, according to study

According to a study published in Annals of Neurology, the journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society, eating foods that contain large amounts of beta-carotene and lutein may prevent or delay amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurological disease, characterized by degeneration of motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis refers to muscle atrophy, that is it affects all muscles in the body, and in the final stages it causes respiratory failure due to respiratory muscle damage. Usually fasciculations occur in the initial stages, which are isolated muscle contractions, but as atrophy progresses, fasciculations begin to disappear. Besides fasciculations, the patient may notice muscle weakness in an arm or leg that worsens with time. There are cases in which the disease begins by affecting the bulbar muscles, that is by affecting the muscles responsible for swallowing or speaking. Patients may complain of dysphagia, which is difficulty in swallowing, or hoarseness or dysarthria, which means that they cannot speak properly.

Juice Jar

Juice Jar

National Institutes of Neurological Disorders Stroke (NINDS) estimates that there are between 20,000 and 30,000 Americans who suffer from this disease, and that about 5,000 are diagnosed each year. It should be noted that there are several theories about the causes of the disease but scientists do not know yet exactly what triggers the disease. There have been questionned infections (syphilis), poisonings, spinal injuries, but they are only probable causes of the disease. In addition, it should be noted that there is no cure for ALS, although many treatments have been tried over time.

Now researchers have discovered that certain compounds may be protective against the disease, assuming that ALS is caused by free radicals. Carotenoids, substances that give color to fruits and vegetables, are actually precursors of vitamin A and antioxidants. Senior author Dr. Alberto Ascherio, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said: Our study is one of the largest to date to examine the role of dietary antioxidants in preventing ALS.

To perform this study, the researchers took into account more than one million participants and, of these, they identified 1,093 ALS cases. The researchers found that those who consumed higher amounts of carotenoids had a lower risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It was also discovered that those who consumed higher amounts of carotenoids had a high consumption of vitamin C, did more sports and had an advanced degree. Other interesting findings were that the consumption of lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin or long-term vitamin C supplement were not associated with a decreased risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

2329

Researchers demonstrate the link between pesticides and Parkinson’s disease

Although it was assumed for many years  that between Parkinson’s disease and pesticides is a link, only now neuroscientists at UCLA have been able to demonstrate this connection. They knew that some common chemicals in Central California, such as paraquat, maneb and ziram, increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease, and this was observed not only in farmers, but also in residents of the area who have inhaled these particles.

Now investigators at UCLA have made another discovery: it seems that Parkinson’s disease is related to a fourth chemical, a substance called benomyl, whose effects persist even after 10 years. Moreover, according to Jeff Bronstein, senior author of the study and a professor of neurology at UCLA, and his colleagues, it seems that the harmful effects triggered by benomyl occur even in people who have Parkinson’s but have not been exposed to pesticides.

Parkinson's disease

Parkinson’s disease

It seems that benomyl triggers a series of events leading to Parkinson’s disease onset. It is assumed that the chemical interferes with an enzyme called ALDH (aldehyde dehydrogenase). In this way, aldehyde dehydrogenase can not prevent accumulation of DOPAL, a toxic substance that has harmful effect on neurons and which greatly increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Benomyl is a substance that has been widely used in the U.S. until it was banned in 2001 because it was found to have toxic effects on health. It seems that this toxic can cause brain malformations, tumors of the liver, reproductive abnormalities, etc.. Furthermore, the destructive effect of benomyl on dopaminergic neurons has been shown in cell culture experiments.

Now neuroscientists at UCLA believe that this cascade of events occurs in all patients with Parkinson’s disease. If they were create a drug to protect aldehyde dehydrogenase enzyme activity, they could treat or prevent Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by walking and talking with difficulty, spasticity, tremors etc.. In other words, it greatly affects the patient’s quality of life and although there are some treatments available these fail to cure the disease. In Parkinson’s disease there is degeneration of neurons in the substantia nigra, called dopamine neurons. Unfortunately, when symptoms begin to appear, most of the neurons are already destroyed and drugs can only improve to a small extent the symptoms.

As stated the study’s first author, Arthur G. Fitzmaurice, a postdoctoral scholar in Bronstein’s laboratory, only a small fraction of cases of Parkinson’s are due to heredity. Therefore, environmental factors have an important role.

2785

Ultrasound scan is a safer method for the  diagnosis of appendicitis

A new study conducted by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.. Louis, and published in the journal Pediatrics, showed that ultrasound can be a safer alternative than CT scan for appendicitis diagnosis.

Most times children with suspected appendicitis are evaluated by computer tomography, which involves irradiation. But a safer alternative in terms of diagnosis is the ultrasonography. Imaging evaluation is very important for determining the therapeutic behavior in patients with appendicitis because it is well-known that the only cure of appendicitis is surgery.

Until recently,  computer tomography was widely used for the diagnosis of appendicitis but it was observed that this method of diagnosis involves actually a significant X-ray dose which increases the risk of cancer later in life. Therefore, researchers wanted to reassess the role of CT in the diagnosis of appendicitis and to seek other imaging means less harmful.

Diagnosis of Appendicitis

Diagnosis of Appendicitis

First author Jacqueline Saito, MD, assistant professor of surgery, said the diagnosis of appendicitis is very difficult because the symptoms overlap with many other diseases or viral infections. The author also said that the doctors do not want to operate an appendix which is fine, on the other hand an inflamed appendix can lead to life-threatening complications such as peritonitis.

It should be noted that the appendix is an organ attached to the first segment of intestine which is called check. Inflammation of the appendix, that is appendicitis,  can be triggered by an infection or a  blockage.  Appendicitis occurs through a series of nonspecific signs and symptoms: vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, fever etc. Diagnosis is difficult to be confirmed only by clinical examination, so doctors resort to imaging to ensure that indeed the cause of these symptoms is the appendix . In addition, the diagnosis is even more difficult when the patient is a child.

The team of researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.. Louis looked at case records of 423 children who had appendectomies, that is the removal of appendix. They wanted to see which imaging was used for diagnosis of appendicitis and found that CT scan was used in first place: 85% of patients were evaluated using the this imaging method.

However, although ultrasonography is safer because it uses ultrasound, it must be done carefully and interpreted by a  specialist trained in pediatric diagnosis. “Ultimately what we’d liked to do is learn how we can reduce our use of CT imaging without compromising patient care,” Saito said.

2440

Better approach to treat deadly melanoma

According to the latest discoveries in melanoma research, patients now receive a better approach, thanks to scientists from Cancer Research UK.

Melanoma is a skin cancer with a low survival rate from time of diagnosis, unlike the other forms of skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma of the skin) which have a better prognosis. In the UK, it is the fifth most common cancer. As the name suggests, melanoma derives from melanocytes, the skin cells responsible for producing melanin. Melanoma usually appears on the skin, but it can occur anywhere  melanocytes are found: therefore, there is uveal melanoma, which is also melanoma of the eye, or bowel  melanoma. Risk factors include genetic mutations, radiation exposure and the presence of numerous melanocytic nevi on the skin. Also, a case of melanoma in the family greatly increases the risk of this cancer.

Melanoma

Melanoma

It is very important for the patient to recognize the signs of melanoma,  because if it is discovered earlier, the chances of cure are higher. American Cancer Society proposed a mnemonic formula that marks the 5 signs of malignant degeneration of a nevus (ABCDE): asymmetry, irregular borders, a change in the color, diameter greater than 6 mm and evolution over time. Basic treatment consists of surgical excision but there are situations where the disease is advanced, that is melanoma has spread in the body, and then systemic treatment (chemotherapy, immunomodulators), such as MEK inhibitors, is needed.

Now researchers have found that MITF, a protein involved in melanin production, is involved in providing tumor cells resistant to MEK inhibitors. Dr Claudia Wellbrock and her team made some experiments to see which cells are resistant to treatment. What they found was that resistant cells are those containing higher levels of the protein SMURF2. Based on this finding, the researchers reduced the level of the protein (SMURF2) and then treated the cells with MEK inhibitors. It seems that by reducing SMURF2 greatly increases sensitivity to MEK inhibitors. In addition, these findings were demonstrated in laboratory animals as researchers obtained a significant reduction in tumor size in rats.

Dr. Wellbrock said that now most research in oncology focuses on the discovery of new combinations of drugs to counteract resistance of tumor. Another problem in oncology  treatment is the dose therapy because drugs usually used affect not only tumor cells but also other cells of the body. Regarding melanoma treatment, Dr. Wellbrock said that by identifying more potent, but less toxic drug combinations  thousands of lives could be saved.

4876

Remission in high-risk leukemia patients

According to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, a new drug to treat acute myeloid leukemia, which was tested in Phase 2 clinical study, has shown efficacy in more than one third of patients. According to  researchers, Quizartinib or AC220, the new drug, gave results in patients who have not responded to previous treatments.

Acute myeloid leukemia, the most common form of leukemia, is a cancer of the blood cells that occurs through uncontrolled proliferation of immature cells. Signs and symptoms of leukemia include fever, fatigue, bone pain, weight loss. Symptoms appear due to neutropenia, ie low levels of neutrophils, thrombocytopenia, decreased platelets levels, and anemia, which means low erytrocytes level. These symptoms are pallor, dyspnea, asthenia, infection, bleeding, and more.

Leukemia Patients

Leukemia Patients

Treatment is primarily aimed at cleaning bone marrow of leukemic cells and then bone marrow transplantation. Sometimes after initial response to treatment, patients  become resistant and they need to try other drugs. Mark Levis, MD, Ph.D., lead investigator on the study and associate professor of oncology and medicine at Johns Hopkins, said chemotherapy induces remission in more than two-thirds of patients but  about 50% of these relapse, and the end is usually fatal. He added that AC220 has helped many patients receive marrow transplantation and that even they were amazed at how well it worked this drug in these patients.

The study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center included 137 patients with AML with FLT3 mutation. Levis stressed that FLT3-ITD mutation is a marker of aggressive disease. Patients with this mutation require intensive chemotherapy and the disease usually recurs. Quizartinib, or AC220, blocks the enzyme responsible for the division of bone marrow stem cells, and is available in oral form. Levis added that the drug begins to take effect after 2 days and in 60 days the bone marrow is completely free of AML cells.

The 137 participants with resistant AML enrolled in the study received between 90 and 135 mg of Quizartinib for 28 days. Of those with  FLT3-ITD, 44% had some form of clinical remission, noting that they had still need blood transfusions. Also, 34% of those at which the mutation was not detectable had the same type of response. The most common side effects were nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, febrile neutropenia, fatigue etc, 10% of participants being forced to discontinue treatment due to side effects.

The researchers said they want to lower Quizartinib doses to minimize side effects and that the next step is to test it in Phase III trials.

2712

Ultrasound scanning may be a potential new method to prevent strokes

A new study led by researchers at the University of Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW), shows that one of the methods  to prevent stroke is based on the ultrasound scanning. Stroke is a medical emergency that can be  complicated with permanent neurological damage such as paralysis or loss of vision. It is a serious medical condition, but it is worth mentioning that  it can be prevented by lifestyle changes, such as low calorie diet and daily exercise. The study was published in the U.S. journal Stroke and was led by Professor Donald Singer ed, Professor of Therapeutics at Warwick Medical School and Professor Chris Imray from UHCW,

Stroke occurs when the blood flow in the brain is affected either by ischemia, which occurs when a blood vessel is blocked by a blood clot, by or bleeding, which occurs when a blood vessel starts to bleed and a hematoma forms. Stroke is associated with certain cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension and atherosclerosis or diabetes. Atherosclerosis,  one of the main cardiovascular risks, means that artery walls thickens due to accumulation of fatty deposits. These small fatty deposits can be complicated by thrombosis and this can lead to blood vessel occlusion and ischemia of that region perfused blood vessel. Therefore, an important step in preventing stroke is  early identification of patients with cardiovascular disease.

 stroke

stroke

The effects of stroke vary depending on the affected blood vessel in the brain. If it is affected an artery in the occipital lobe, the stroke can result in blindness or impairment of vision. If the affected area of the brain is that controls motor function, stroke can cause paralysis. Sequelae is often permanently.

One of the major risk factors for stroke is carotid artery disease, so researchers are focused on the detection of patients with this disease. Patients with carotid artery disease develop thrombi in small vessels in the neck, and these emboli can migrate and block one of the blood vessels in the brain. It seems that aspirin antiplatelet therapy based on these can not prevent all these small emboli.

The scanning process is designed to identify patients receiving antiplatelet therapy prior and yet developed these microemboli. In this way the researchers found that tirofiban is more effective than aspirin in preventing the formation of these microemboli. Tirofiban is a  glycoprotein IIb / IIIa inhibitor, like aspirin, and is used  especially in patients with unstable angina or myocardial infarction. The study showed that tirofiban may suppress microemboli that could not be prevented with aspirin. However, Professor Singer added that now studies are needed to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of this therapy.

2599

Innovative Technologies to Study Autism

A recent project from the Center for Behavior Imaging at Georgia Institute of Technology promises an important impact on understanding autism and other behavioral disorders through new technologies that measure the behavior of children.

The first technology consists of an instrument that uses a special facial-analysis program and a pair gaze-tracking eye-wear. This allows researchers to study the eye-contact the child makes with the person who is wearing the eye-wear. The second instrument is made of multiple accelerometers that monitor and categorize any behavioral problems that these children might have. These two technologies are currently being used in the ongoing work at  the CBI (Center for Behavior Imaging). Researchers are trying to combine medical understanding of behavioral disorders with computer guided screening and measurements.

According to precedent studies, children that are predisposed for autism often show specific behavioral markers. One of these specific markers is the unwillingness to make continuous or repeated eye contact with people around them. A computational software capable of detecting these two markers can significantly improve the currently existing screening methods. The project is funded by the NSF (national Science Foundation) through the help of professor Jim Rehg.

Georgia Tech Researchers

Georgia Tech Researchers

The studies for the new technologies were conducted in the CSL (Child Study Lab) from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Researchers captured a video of a child that was interacting with an adult wearing a front-facing camera on the gaze-tracking device. The recorded video was then processed through the facial-analysis software. The software is able to detect the direction of the child’s gaze, thus analyzing the length of direct eye contact between the two participants. Its current accuracy is noted at 80%.

According to professor Rehg, precedent methods used to study the eye gaze were very laborious and involved many hours of video analysis. However, this new method can be used to replicate the results automatically, thus reducing the analysis hours and intensive labor. Professor Rehg notes that these are only preliminary results due to the fact that the method was only performed on a single child. Nevertheless, Rehg and his research team are confident that these results will be replicated because of the similarities between humans’ eyes.

The second technology was developed through a collaboration between researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (US), Newcastle University (UK) and the Marcus Autism Center (US). The device consists of a pack of sensors that are worn on the wrists and ankles. These sensors use accelerometers in order to detect every movement that the subject makes. The researchers developed a series of algorithms that can automatically detect changes in behavior. These changes are then analyzed and classified as disruptive, self-injurious or aggressive.

The analysis algorithm was developed on four staff members from the Marcus Autism Center. More than 1000 moves and behavior instances were categorized and analyzed. Researchers say that the technology can detect problematic behaviors with an accuracy of over 95% and can classify different behaviors with an accuracy of over 80%. When the algorithm was used on a child that was previously diagnosed with autism, it detected the behavioral problems with an accuracy of 81% whilst classifying them correctly with almost 70% accuracy.

“These results are very promising in leading the way toward more accurate and reliable measurement of problem behavior, which is important in determining whether treatments targeting these behaviors are working”, noted Agata Rozga, one of the researchers. According to professor Gregory Abowd, these new technologies will have a major impact on the lives of many children and their families due to the more effective screening capabilities.

Both these technologies were first presented at the 14th International Conference of Ubiquitous Computing, in early September.

3145

Statins could treat antiphospholipid syndrome, according to a new study

According to a study which will be presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology / Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ACR / ARHP), statins could be new treatment for antiphospholipid syndrome.
Dr Doruk Erkan, MD, an associate attending rheumatologist and clinician researcher at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, who was one of the two main investigators in the study, said the study showed that in patients with antiphospholipid syndrome these inflammatory and thrombotic proteins are high and that statins may help lower them. However researchers said that these drugs can not be used during pregnancy because of fetal harm.

Statins

Pills

Statins are drugs that lower bad cholesterol that is LDL cholesterol. Their mechanism of action consists of HMG Co A reductase inhibition, an enzyme involved in producing cholesterol. Statins are highly effective in patients who have atherosclerosis, because it turned out that these drugs prevent plaque formation and causes regression of already formed plaques.
Antifosfopidic syndrome is an autoimmune disorder characterized by hypercoagulability, that is the increased tendency of blood to form clots. This syndrome occurs due to the formation of antibodies against phospholipids, which are part of the structure of cell membranes. Antiphospholipid syndrome may be part of the disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus, or can occur as primary disease. Treatment consists of administration of anticoagulants.
Increased tendency to form blood clots prevent women to have children because it leads to miscarriage or preterm delivery. Therefore, pregnant women with antiphospholipid syndrome should be treated with drugs that do not affect the fetus, such as heparin. It should be noted however that not all aPL-positive patients  have blood clotting problems or complications of pregnancy.
Researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery and the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, conducted a study that enrolled 41 patients aPL-positive, some of whom were healthy and some who had symptoms. Analysis of 12 proteins were compared with results from 30 patients aPL negative. Of the 12 inflammatory proteins, 9 were elevated in these patients.
Then the researchers wanted to know whether statins have a role in reducing inflammatory proteins. And indeed they were right because inflammatory protein level decreased due to statin use.

After 3 months of treatment, in which patients received fluvastatin 40 mg per day, the level of 8 of the 12 proteins decreased significantly. What the researchers also discovered was that after discontinued the treatment, the level of 6 proteins increased, a phenomenon known as rebound. Dr. Erkan said that this is the first prospective study that examines these inflammatory proteins in patients with antiphospholipid syndrome before and after treatment with fluvastatin. The next step is to create a randomized clinical trial to assess the effects of statins.

2260

Researchers are investigating Alzheimer’s with a new transgenic mouse model

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine are investigating the mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease using a transgenic mouse model. The new model is actually a combination of the current model and a mouse that carries human apoE gene. ApoE4 is associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer. The new model faithfully mimics Alzheimer’s disease that occurs in humans and thus researchers can discover new therapeutic targets to treat disease as well as drugs to treat the disease.
UIC LaDu biochemist Mary Jo, who is associate professor of anatomy and cell biology at the UIC College of Medicine and principal investigator of the study, explained that beta-amyloid, a protein, is the main component of the plaques that are found in the brains of people who had Alzheimer’s. But before to form those visible plaques, beta-amyloid are grouped into smaller chains called oligomers. It seems that these oligomers are responsible for neurotoxicity.

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer Disease

Although methods for detecting these oligomers are limited, researchers were able to create a monoclonal antibody to help identify these forms of beta-amyloid. LaDu noted that this monoclonal antibody helped to identify early accumulation of beta-amyloid and differences related to various forms of apoE4. ApoE4 may be a marker showing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The researchers noted that patients with apoE4  respond negatively to treatment in clinical trials.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It is expected that in 2050 one in 85 people will suffer from Alzheimer’s. There are two major forms of Alzheimer’s disease: early onset, which is rare, and it runs in the family, and late onset, which is the most common form. The most common symptoms are difficulty remembering recent events, confusion, irritability,  long-term memory loss. It is worth mentioning that once started, the disease has no cure as it is due to loss of neurons and synapses in the cerebral cortex.
There is no clear cause of Alzheimer’s disease, but there have been questioned several mechanisms. In some cases genetic factors play an important role. It seems that APP (amyloid precursor protein) mutation is responsible for the disease. This assumption applies especially for the early onset form. Other hypotheses were related to neurotransmitters in the brain. According to the cholinergic hypothesis, Alzheimer’s disease is due to the decrease of acetylcholine in the brain. Others believe that this disease is triggered by the accumulation of beta-amyloid in the brain. Others, however, believe that disease is caused by the accumulation of tau protein in neuronal bodies.

12701

Addison’s Disease – Causes And Symptoms

Addison’s disease is a condition characterized by adrenocortical insufficiency due to the destruction or dysfunction of the entire cortex of adrenal glands, affecting both mineralcorticoid and glucocorticoid synthesis and function. Usually, Addison’s disease onset occurs when 90% or more of both adrenal glands are destroyed or dysfunctional.

In 1855, Thomas Addison first described the main symptoms of adrenocortical insufficiency: asthenia, adynamia hyperpigmantation, arterial hypotension and digestive symptoms. The occurrence of Addison’s disease is rare, the reported prevalence being 40-60 cases per 1 million population. The disease affects both sexes and occurs mostly in adults, aged between 30 and 50 years.

Addison’s Disease Causes

In most cases Addison’s disease is an idiopathic autoimmune adrenocortical insufficiency due to lymphocytic infiltration of the adrenal cortex, autoimmune atrophy or fibrosis. Addison’s disease as a result of autoimmune atrophy and tuberculosis represent almost 90% of all cases of adrenocortical insufficiency.

In the support of autoimmune process lie antibodies against adrenal tissue, of which the main autoantigen is represented by steroidogenic enzyme 21-hydroxylase (21OH), but antibodies against this enzyme are not directly involved in adrenal tissue distruction.

Addison's Disease

Addison’s Disease

It was observed that patients with Addison’s disease may have a hereditary predisposition and this disease may be associated with other autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, type 1 diabetes mellitus, Hashimoto thyroiditis, Graves disease, vitiligo, premature ovarian failure, myasthenia gravis, primary biliary cirrhosis and others.

Addison’s Disease Symptoms

The onset of  Addison’s disease symptoms is usually nonspecific and insidious. Symptoms that form the classic picture of Addison’s disease are represented by fatigue-adynamia, hyperpigmentation of the skin and mucous membrane, low blood pressure and digestive syndrome.

Fatigue is both physical and mental. It has a vesperal character (gets worse in the evening), then with evolution of the disease becomes permanent. Adynamia is characterized by muscle weakness and myalgias due to trophic and metabolic disorders caused by decreased secretion of cortisol, the main glucocorticoid hormone secreted by the adrenal gland. In advanced stages of illness, fatigue and adynamia are extremely intense and for this reason patients experience extreme difficulty in performing the smallest movements (speech, gestures are slow and difficult).

Skin hyperpigmentation

Skin hyperpigmentation

Skin and mucous membrane hyperpigmentation usually appears with months or years before the onset of other symptoms and appears due to the fact that the excess of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) has a stimulant effect on the melanocytes to produce melanin. Hyperpigmentation is usually generalized, but is more prominent on elbows, knees, extensor surfaces, knuckles and skin region that are constantly exposed to the sun. Palmar creases, nail beds, mucous membranes of the oral cavity (especially the dentogingival margins and buccal areas), and the vaginal and perianal mucosa may be similarly affected. Skin and mucous membrane hyperpigmentation is always present in cases of Addison’s disease with long evolution and may be absent in cases with short evolution.

Low blood pressure is characterized by a systolic blood pressure below 80 mmHg and a diastolic blood pressure below 50 mmHg. Hypotension is accentuated in standing, when faintness may occur. Low blood pressure may be accompanied by a rapid pulse, with low amplitude and occasionally arrhythmias may occur.

Digestive syndrome occurs in approximately 90% of patients with Addison’s disease. It is characterized by loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Patients present “salt craving”, they instinctively raise their dietary salt intake, and salt restriction can cause disease decompensation. In most cases, patients with Addison’s disease have gastric  hypoacidity, but sometimes, peptic ulcer may occur.

Skin Changes

Skin Changes

Other symptoms that may occur in Addison’s disease are represented by:

  • Neurological disorders: muscle atrophy, mixed sensory deficits, rarely  may occur flaccid or spastic paralysis and paraplegia;
  • Psychiatric disorders: asthenia, fatigue, latency in reactions, difficult or abolished initiative, depression and anxiety. Intellectual activity is diminished.
  • Olfactory, auditory, visual and gustative perceptions are heightened.
  • In male patients impotence and decreased libido may occur, especially in those with compromised or borderline testicular function.
  • Female patients may present amenorrhea or menstrual cycle disorders, but fertility is preserved. In female patients with Addison’s disease pregnancy is contraindicated. Absence of axillary and pubic hair and decreased body hair may also appear as a result of the loss of the adrenal androgens, which represent the major source of androgen hormones in females.

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