Can Sunlight Brighten the Future of Cancer Prevention?

Shoshanna Robinson, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

Vitamin D has been stated to protect against cancer and has been studied accordingly in cancer mortality. This breakthrough came after colon cancer mortality rates were observed to decrease with vitamin D. [1] An inverse relationship may in fact exist between the risk of cancer and increased vitamin D from sunlight exposure. [2] Cell culture and in vivo animal studies have shown this association of vitamin D preventing cancer while human trials have been awaiting. [3]

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The Higher Risk of Pulmonary Embolism: Cerebral Venous or Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Roy Davenport, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

Cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) is associated with embolic complications such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) – collectively known as venous thromboembolism (VTE).  In contrast to VTE, CVT has been stated to occur three times more often in women than men. [1]  Patients are diagnosed with magnetic resonance imaging, computerized tomography venography, or catheter angiography.  A diagnosis of CVT has been shown to increase the risk of VTE or the recurrence of CVT.  The quantifiable risk of a VTE after CVT has not been evaluated to indicate whether recurrence of a VTE in CVT patients is similar to that of DVT. [2]

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To Screen or Not to Screen: New Recommendation Draft for Prostate Cancer Screening

By Azelia Brown, Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate Class of 2017

Prostate cancer in the U.S. is the second most common cancer in men and the third leading cause of cancer death in men.  An estimate from the American Cancer Society states that there will be about 161,360 new cases of prostate cancer and 26,730 deaths in 2017. [1]  The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening test is claimed to have changed prostate cancer diagnosis, allowing for earlier diagnosis in more curable stages of the disease. [2]  The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has called into question current screening practices.  It was reported that PSA-based screening is associated with potential overdiagnosis and overtreatment, possibly leading to urinary, sexual, and bowel-related treatment adverse effects. [3]

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Don’t TRUST Levothyroxine for Elderly Patients with Subclinical Hypothyroidism

Sandy Liu, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

Thyroid hormones have pleiotropic effects and act in the heart, brain, skeletal muscles, and bones, among other sites.  Along with body weight and energy expenditure, thyroid hormones help regulate metabolic processes necessary for normal growth and development in adults. [1]  Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) is when serum thyrotropin is elevated and serum levels of free thyroxine are normal with few or no hypothyroid symptoms. [2]  Some nonspecific symptoms may include tiredness, constipation, cognitive problems, and dry skin. [3]

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Mental Health Concerns in Treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Dakota Thaxton Craft, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlarged prostate that may lead to lower urinary tract symptoms, such as increased urinary frequency and urgency, weak urine flow, and trouble with urine initiation. [1]  The incidence and symptoms of BPH were stated to most commonly begin in men over the age of 40 and increase with age.  If left untreated, BPH can lead to more serious complications, including urinary tract infections and kidney or bladder damage.  Treatment options for BPH are based on the severity of symptoms may include watchful waiting, medication, and surgery. [2]

Finasteride and dutasteride are 5𝛼-reductase inhibitors that act to shrink the size of the prostate and relieve BPH symptoms by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. [3]  In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration added new safety information for finasteride regarding the risk of suicide and depression-related adverse events. [4]  The association between 5𝛼-reductase inhibitors and depression may be explained by decreased levels of neurosteroids produced by 5𝛼-reductase [5] and lower levels of type I 5𝛼-reductase in the prefrontal cortex. [6]

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Emerging Treatment Option for Hypercholesterolemia

Azelia Brown, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

Elevated blood levels of low density lipoproteins (LDL) are stated to increase risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular events.  Statins are the reported agent of choice with proven efficacy, though variation in therapeutic response may require the use of additional therapy. [1]

Serine protease proprotein convertase subtilisin–kexin type 9 (PCSK9) is an enzyme that promotes the degradation of LDL receptors which reduces LDL re-uptake and leads to increased LDL levels. [2]  Some PCSK9 agents are monoclonal antibodies that work by sequestering PCSK9 and preventing it from binding to LDL receptors. Inclisiran interferes with ribonucleic acid, reducing the hepatic production PCSK9. [3]

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Can Levosimendan after Cardiac Surgery Improve Mortality?

Shoshanna Robinson, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

Acute perioperative left ventricular dysfunction is a complication affecting up to 20% of cardiosurgical patients and may be associated with increased mortality. [1]  Inotropic drugs (catecholamines and phosphodiesterase type 3 inhibitors) are regarded as cornerstones of therapy for postoperative hemodynamic support. [2]  Levosimendan is an inotropic agent that has shown improved survival rates compared to other inotropic drugs. [3]  Randomized, controlled trials that demonstrate the superiority of an individual inotropic agent were determined not to be in existence regarding major cardiac surgery outcomes. [4]

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