Research updates from labs across UF Health
Do generic prescriptions work as well?
UF Health researchers are investigating whether a generic form of a common heart medicine used for high blood pressure, heart failure and many other conditions works as well as the brand-name prescription. Through a $2.3 million, three-year grant from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, researchers hope to learn if patients taking a generic form of the drug Toprol XL for high blood pressure and other heart conditions are receiving the same effective treatment they would get from the brand-name prescription. The researchers will compare the generic and brand name treatments by investigating drug concentrations in the blood and the effect the drugs have on blood pressure and heart rate. — Linda Homewood
New trial for muscular dystrophy
Patients with the most common form of muscular dystrophy, Duchenne, often lose the ability to walk by the time they reach age 12 and typically only live to reach their 20s. UF Health researchers are participating in a key late-stage clinical trial that could lead to a new therapy for some children with this condition. Sarepta Therapeutics will provide up to $1.6 million to UF Health to serve as a major site for the third phase of a clinical trial that, if successful, could help some patients with Duchenne maintain mobility and pulmonary function longer. Early results from the first two phases of the clinical trial for a drug called eteplirsen have been promising in some patients with the disease, extending the length of time they were able to walk compared with a control group of study participants who did not receive the drug, said Barry Byrne, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator for the hub site at UF Health and a professor of pediatrics in the College of Medicine. — April Frawley Lacey
Everyday activities good for heart health?
Everyday activities such as dusting and walking to the mailbox can reduce older adults’ risk of heart attack or death, according to a UF Health study released in the Journal of the American Heart Association in February. The researchers found that the amount of time participants in the study were sedentary was associated with a higher predicted risk for cardiovascular events. In fact, every 25 to 30 minutes of sedentary behavior — such as watching television, sitting to eat meals and lying down to read — translated to a 1 percent increase in the risk of a cardiovascular event. However, activity just slightly above sedentary — in the 100 to 499 counts-per-minute range, which could be light housework or slow walking — was associated with higher levels of the more beneficial kind of cholesterol, HDL, in people with no history of heart disease. Despite the fact that most health recommendations suggest 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity structured exercise, these associations may show that older adults may get cardiovascular benefits even from lower-intensity activities.
— Morgan Sherburne