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1.  Preliminary randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of tryptophan combined with fluoxetine to treat major depressive disorder: antidepressant and hypnotic effects. 
OBJECTIVE: Because the initial phase of treatment of depression with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor is often complicated by a delayed onset of action of the antidepressant or severe insomnia or both, we investigated whether tryptophan, an amino acid with both antidepressant-augmenting and hypnotic effects, would benefit patients with depression at the beginning of treatment with fluoxetine. DESIGN: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. PATIENTS: Thirty individuals with major depressive disorder. INTERVENTIONS: Treatment over 8 weeks with 20 mg of fluoxetine per day and either tryptophan (2 to 4 g per day) or placebo. OUTCOME MEASURES: Mood was assessed using the 29-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS-29) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Laboratory sleep studies were done at baseline and after 4 and 8 weeks of treatment using standard procedures. RESULTS: During the first week of treatment, there was a significantly greater decrease in HDRS-29 depression scores, and a similar trend in BDI scores, in the tryptophan/fluoxetine group than in the placebo/fluoxetine group. No significant differences were noted at later time points. With respect to sleep measures, there was a significant group-by-time interaction for slow-wave sleep at week 4. Further analysis revealed a significant decrease in slow-wave sleep after 4 weeks of treatment in the placebo/fluoxetine group, but not in the tryptophan/fluoxetine group. No cases of serotonin syndrome occurred, and the combination was well tolerated, although the 4 g per day dosage of tryptophan produced daytime drowsiness. CONCLUSIONS: Combining 20 mg of fluoxetine with 2 g of tryptophan daily at the outset of treatment for major depressive disorder appears to be a safe protocol that may have both a rapid antidepressant effect and a protective effect on slow-wave sleep. Further large-scale studies are needed to confirm these initial findings.
PMCID: PMC1407729  PMID: 11022398
2.  ABC of sleep disorders. Parasomnias. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1993;306(6882):921-924.
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PMCID: PMC1677359  PMID: 8490425
3.  Salmeterol in nocturnal asthma: a double blind, placebo controlled trial of a long acting inhaled beta 2 agonist. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1990;301(6765):1365-1368.
OBJECTIVE--To determine whether inhaled salmeterol, a new long acting inhaled beta adrenergic agonist, reduces nocturnal bronchoconstriction and improves sleep quality in patients with nocturnal asthma. DESIGN--Randomised, double blind, placebo controlled crossover study. SETTING--Hospital outpatient clinics in Edinburgh. SUBJECTS--Twenty clinically stable patients (13 women, seven men) with nocturnal asthma, median age 39 (range 18-60) years. INTERVENTIONS--Salmeterol 50 micrograms and 100 micrograms and placebo taken each morning and evening by metered dose inhaler. Rescue salbutamol inhalers were provided throughout the run in and study periods. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Improvement in nocturnal asthma as measured by peak expiratory flow rates and change in sleep quality as measured by electroencephalography. RESULTS--Salmeterol improved the lowest overnight peak flow rate at both 50 micrograms (difference in median values (95% confidence interval for difference in medians) 69 (18 to 88) l/min) and 100 micrograms (72 (23 to 61) l/min) doses twice daily. While taking salmeterol 50 micrograms twice daily patients had an objective improvement in sleep quality, spending less time awake or in light sleep (-9 (-4 to -44) min) and more time in stage 4 sleep (26 (6-34) min). CONCLUSIONS--Salmeterol is an effective long acting inhaled bronchodilator for patients with nocturnal asthma and at a dose of 50 micrograms twice daily improves objective sleep quality.
PMCID: PMC1664533  PMID: 1980220
4.  Plasminogen activators in experimental colorectal neoplasia: a role in the adenoma-carcinoma sequence? 
Gut  1987;28(7):816-821.
An important step in the transition from adenomatous polyp to invasive carcinoma is the degradation of the epithelial basement membrane. By the generation of plasmin, plasminogen activators may play an important role in regulating the extracellular protease activity required for this event to occur. The production of biofunctional urokinase and of tissue plasminogen activator was therefore investigated in the dimethylhydrazine induced rat model of colorectal neoplasia. Both adenomatous polyps (p values less than 0.001) and colorectal carcinomas (p values less than 0.001) were demonstrated to produce a significant excess of both urokinase and tissue plasminogen activator when compared with macroscopically normal colon. There was, however, no increased production of either enzyme by macroscopically normal preneoplastic colon when compared with control colon. This enhanced capacity of colorectal tumours to produce plasminogen activators and generate plasmin is thus a feature of both the premalignant as well as the malignant phenotype. These enzymes may contribute to the malignant potential of adenomatous polyps and to the invasive capacity of established carcinomas.
PMCID: PMC1433066  PMID: 3115868

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