Lege Artis Medicinae

[THE ROLE OF THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM]

JÁRAI Zoltán

DECEMBER 16, 2006

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2006;16(12)

[Cannabinoid research in the last two decades became one of the most important fields in medical science, mainly because of the discovery of the endocannabinoid system and the understanding of the close connections between this system and several important diseases and pathological states. The endocannabinoid system has been shown to be present and active in many tissues and organs including the central nervous, gastrointestinal and reproductive systems, liver, lungs and bones. Its role in eye function, malignant diseases, pain and inflammation has also been studied. This review gives a summary of all these results with special attention to the role of the endocannabinoid system in energy metabolism and cardiovascular regulation.]

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[The 48. Congress of the Hungarian Society of Gastroenterology - 17-21. June 2006. Szeged]

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[EFFECTS OF VITAMIN D AND THE EFFICACY OF VARIOUS VITAMIN D PRODUCTS]

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[An increasing number of studies suggests that the effects of vitamin D is not limited to the regulation of calcium homeostasis, but it is also involved in several other physiologic processes. Vitamin D receptors are present on the surface and in the nucleus of most cells. Vitamin D as a steroid hormone has genomic and non-genomic effects. Vitamin D deficiency is an important problem worldwide, and so is in Hungary. Vitamin D promotes bone formation and mineralization and decreases the rate of bone absorption. Its extraskeletal effects include antitumour, muscle strength increasing, antiinflammatory, blood pressure lowering and insulin secretion increasing activites.]

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[CLINICAL ASPECTS OF NOCTURNAL GASTRO-OESOPHAGEAL REFLUX]

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[Gastro-oesophageal reflux that occur at night has special clinical features and thus require extra attention. During sleep most anti-reflux mechanisms diminish, which results in prolonged contact between gastric acid and oesophageal mucosa compared to reflux during the day. Nighttime reflux symptoms adversely affect quality of life, vitality, physical and mental health. A further important consequence is the potential exacerbation of respiratory disorders such as asthma and sleep apnea. There is increasing interest in the association between nocturnal reflux and certain extra-oesophageal symptoms, including reflux laryngitis and chronic cough. An increased risk of erosive damage and adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus are also observed among patients who report nocturnal reflux symptoms. The primary goal of treatment is to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of complications by decreasing the time of acid contact with oesophageal mucosa. Nighttime reflux symptoms are much more difficult to control than daytime symptoms. Treatment guidelines generally recommend lifestyle changes as the initial approach in managing nocturnal symptoms, however, this is successful in only a small proportion of patients. Evidence-based reviews and meta-analyses favour the use of proton pump inhibitors in the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and reflux-oesophagitis. Proton pump inhibitors are the most efficient acid-suppressing agents and thus diminish the harmful effect of acidic gastric reflux on the oesophageal mucosa. In addition, by decreasing the volume of gastric acid, they reduce the tendency to reflux.]

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[SEVERE THERAPY RESISTANT BRONCHIAL ASTHMA]

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[While severe asthma associated with high morbidity affects a relatively small proportion of all patients with asthma, it requires special attention and innovative treatment approaches. Although asthma is by definition characterized by reversible airflow obstruction, the obstruction becomes fixed to some extent and refractory to corticosteroids with the progression of the disease. The underlying change in this phenotype is airway wall remodelling. In allergic asthmatic patients who remain symptomatic despite highdose inhaled corticosteroid therapy, blockade of IgE with omalizumab confers appreciable clinical benefit. Chronic severe asthma is also accompanied by a marked increase in TNFproduction that might contribute to corticosteroid resistance. In accordance with this, TNF blockade with entanercept has been shown to improve asthma controll and at the same time to reduce bronchial hyperresponsiveness. Identification of new susceptibility genes, such as ADAM33, will provide further targets for therapy, which in turn can result in the development of treatment tools that modify the natural course of asthma and reverse the changes associated with airway remodelling, rather than simply suppress inflammation and dilate the airways.]

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