Drugs For High Cholesterol

New Drugs To Combat High Cholesterol Could Be A Game Changer For Healthcare In The U.S.

We may be able to finally subdue the increasing obesity rate across the United States.

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High cholesterol level is a leading cause of the obesity epidemic throughout the United States, with approximately 30% of American children calling in at overweight or obese. An increased level of cholesterol in the body is indicative of higher levels of fat in the bloodstream being carried by lipoproteins, which can build up in arteries, block blood flow to the heart, and ultimately increase the risk for heart attacks and coronary-related diseases such as coronary artery disease.

A recently-discovered enzyme's structure has been determined to be a key factor in reducing excess cholesterol to the liver, and the physical stabilization of that structure could be a new hallmark in the development of statins (drugs to combat high cholesterol levels) in order to stem this rising tide of obesity.

Lead author Kelly Manthei, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan, has conducted research to reveal how a drug-like chemical stimulates the action of the lecithin: cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) enzyme to help high-density lipoprotein (HDL, AKA, "good cholesterol") remove cholesterol from the blood via conversion of the lipid into a more mobile form to transport. Various mutations in LCAT have led to both partial loss of activity (known as the fish-eye disease) and full loss (known as FLD), characterized by fluid buildup in the eyes as a result of excessive cholesterol buildup.

Utilizing X-ray crystallography, Manthei's team was able to isolate the LCAT enzyme and ascertain how LCAT activators bind specifically to the enzyme to promote cholesterol transport. They utilized two different chemicals — the activator molecule and a second compound that mimics a substrate bound to the enzyme (agonist).

When viewing the results of the scan, Manthei's team was able to deduce that the two chemicals had more of an effect on the protein when presented in tandem rather than separately, suggesting that the two molecules had unique binding sites on the enzyme. Further analysis revealed that the activator molecule binds to a region close to where the HDL attaches.

However, the activator's role was not to help LCAT bind HDL more effectively, but rather to assist in the transfer of cholesterol and lipids into the catalytic center of the enzyme in order to convert it for transport in HDL.

Having understood the purpose of the activator, Manthei's team developed a modified version of the enzyme with a mutation normally seen in FLD patients and then tested that variation's ability to bind HDL and convert cholesterol in both the presence and absence of the activator molecule. They found that the activator could partly reverse the loss of activity in the mutated enzymes, resulting in similar transport of cholesterol to that of the normally functioning enzyme.

These results show a great deal of pharmacological promise to help develop new compounds specifically needed to combat high cholesterol levels, and ultimately subdue the increasing obesity rate across the United States.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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An Incurable Disease Doesn't Change The Love I Have For You

Because one day the one you love the most is fine and the next day they're not, it causes devastation you never truly recover from.

nadoty
nadoty
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Loving someone with an incurable disease is the most emotionally straining thing I have ever experienced.

My significant other and I have been together for almost six years. During the summer of 2018, we all noticed the significant changes he was going through. He had lost around fifty pounds and had a lack of appetite. We had figured something was going on, however, we didn't realize it was anything serious.

Fast forward to the Fall semester of 2018. I had visited my boyfriend and we had expressed certain concerns, such as, through the night I would try and get him to stop uncontrollably itching his legs to the point of bleeding, or that he was looking a little yellow and was exhausted all the time. After seeing his sister in November, while I was at school, she pleaded with him to go to urgent care because he did not look good. He was yellow, exhausted, and very sickly looking. We didn't realize that the urgent care visit would be the precedent of the rest of our lives.

After coming home for Thanksgiving and spending a week straight in the hospital with him, it finally set in that something was not right. Between all the vomit, getting moved for testing, the weakness, the constant calling for medications because the pain was so severe, and the almost month-long stay in the hospital, it hit me full force that something was really wrong. Words will never truly describe the emotions I was feeling, or the burden of my thoughts that I felt were too selfish to pass on anyone, so I kept them to myself.

When we finally got the diagnosis, we were surprised. PSC, otherwise known as Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, is an incurable liver disease that affects the bile ducts which become scarred and inflamed, more likely than not lead to cirrhosis and an inevitable transplant. There was no cure, rather the only solution was a liver transplant, and even then the disease can be recurring.

I was thinking selfishly. I was torn in two. What would our future look like? Could we have children? Could we ever do the things we used to?

Loving someone with an incurable disease is a mix of emotions. There is a constant fear in the back of my mind that he is going to wake up in intense pain and have to be rushed to the hospital. There is a constant fear of every time waiting for the bi-weekly blood test results to come back, in fear that his Bilirubin spiked again or he is undergoing a flare up and needs to be hospitalized. There is a constant anxiety that one day he's going to be fine, and the next day he won't be. Even the simple things, such as laying beside one another, was a constant fear I had, due to the pain he was in every day. What if I hit him in my sleep on accident? What if I accidentally hugged a little too tightly and caused him pain?

Loving someone with an incurable disease can be a fluctuation of emotions, however, he makes it worth it.

nadoty
nadoty

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