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Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium Announces Consumer Health Information and Advocacy Website

Burzynski Research Institute, Inc. Announces FDA Permission to Launch a New Clinical Trial in Diffuse Intrinsic Brainstem Glioma

Air Pollution Linked to Autism in Southwestern Pennsylvania

Nordic Naturals Inspires Support for Paws for Veterans

University of the Pacific Launches Bay Area’s First Music Therapy Program

Researcher Wins Prize for Innovation in Multiple Sclerosis Research

Could the Hepatitis C Virus Be Eradicated in Your Lifetime?

Ebola Education Course Opened to Nurses and Health Professionals at No Cost

Immunotherapy Study Shows Remarkable Results in Patients With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Cancer Treatment Centers of America Physicians to Present at International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology

Pine Bark Extract Effective at Improving Varicose and Spider Veins Following Pregnancy

Novel Protein in Heart Muscle Linked to Cardiac Short-Circuiting, Ventricular Arrhythmias, and Sudden Cardiac Deaths

APIC Teaches the ABC’s of Antibiotic Resistance

American Journal of Medicine to Publish Article Linking Psoriasis With Cardiometabolic Diseases

Fasting Blood Biomarker Alpha-Hydroxybutyrate Predicts Risk for Diabetes in New Study from HDL, Inc. and University of Utah

Nurses and Physician Assistants Play a Key Role in Patient Support

Coffee Consumption May Increase Survival and Reduce Healthcare Costs

Antibiotic Use by Age 2 Associated with Obesity Risk

New Imaging Tool May Allow Tailoring of Stroke Prevention to Each Patient




Released: 10/29/14


Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium Announces Consumer Health Information and Advocacy Website

The Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC) announces the launch of its first initiative in consumer health information, a public education and advocacy program entitled CoverMyCare, designed to create grass-roots support for the full implementation of Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act, "Non-discrimination in healthcare."

Section 2706, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2014, prohibits insurers from excluding from reimbursement licensed healthcare providers working within their scope of practice. If fully implemented, the law would significantly expand access to integrative healthcare providers such as naturopathic physicians, massage therapists, acupuncturists, direct entry midwives, chiropractors, and those licensed practitioners that practice homeopathy who are represented by the IHPC. The provisions also cover other licensed providers such as osteopaths, optometrists, nurse practitioners, and podiatrists.

By educating healthcare consumers, providers, and state officials about the requirements of the law, the CoverMyCare.org website will demonstrate how a broader availability to affordable, safe and effective, integrative healthcare options can improve care for more patients and will end discrimination against licensed care providers. The site will also raise public awareness of the growing adoption of integrative practices and their beneficial outcomes across US healthcare, a story that remains poorly understood.

Despite the law, there are several reasons state officials—who are responsible for ensuring compliance—have been very slow to act on its provisions. IHPC executive director Alyssa Wostrel, MBA, DIHom, noted, "An ambiguously worded guidance issued in April 2013 by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) interpreted the law in ways that were directly contrary to its intent, causing confusion among some state officials and non-compliance by some insurers. It also appears that many state officials are unfamiliar with the licensed healthcare providers whose services the law supports, in particular the 350,000-plus complementary and integrative healthcare providers across the country who are represented by IHPC."

The April 2013 HHS guidance on the provision of Section 2706 was immediately rebuked by Senator Tom Harkin, who is the author of the legislation. As a result, the US Senate Appropriations Committee ordered HHS and the Treasury and Labor departments to re-write the guidance. A 90-day public comment period for response to a Request for Information on the law ended on June 10, 2014. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is compiling the results.

The CoverMyCare campaign recently received funding support from Bastyr University and from the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) for development of the campaign website. "We are extremely grateful to Bastyr University and to the American Massage Therapy Association for stepping up to serve as the primary co-sponsors of CoverMyCare," Wostrel said. "The website will help healthcare consumers understand—and proactively advocate for—the provisions of the law that ensure reimbursement when they choose licensed, integrative health practitioners. This can go a long way in helping to end persistent discrimination against these certified and licensed professionals."

Bastyr University of Seattle, Washington, is the nation's foremost educational institution for naturopathic medicine. Bastyr Chief of Staff Coquina L. Deger, MBA, called the institution's support for CoverMyCare, “a vital part of ensuring the success of Bastyr University’s more than 5,000 alumni who graduated with a mission to transform the health of the human community. Helping remove potential barriers that could prevent patients from accessing the quality healthcare our graduates provide will benefit all involved and give clarity to the myriad wellness options available.”

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are currently licensed in 17 states. All licensed NDs graduate from a four-year, doctoral-level program at one of seven federally accredited naturopathic medical schools in North America, and must take and pass national board exams.

AMTA, founded in 1943, is the largest nonprofit association representing the massage therapy profession. President Nancy Porambo said of its support for CoverMyCare: "AMTA is committed to fair and consistent reimbursement for massage therapists under the provisions of healthcare reform. Massage therapy is already a respected part of integrated healthcare in most medical environments, and massage therapists should expect to be included in processes for reimbursement as described in the law.”

An estimated 300,000 licensed, certified, or registered massage therapists currently serve in the US.

The initial phase of funding for CoverMyCare.org provides for development of the website and social media sites, and for the development of content resources and crowd sourcing components.

 

Source: IHPC

Released: 10/27/14


Burzynski Research Institute, Inc. Announces FDA Permission to Launch a New Clinical Trial in Diffuse Intrinsic Brainstem Glioma

Burzynski Research Institute, Inc. (BRI) announced today that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the company permission to conduct an open-label study of Antineoplastons A10 and AS2-1 in patients > 3 months of age with a diffuse intrinsic brainstem glioma (DIPG). Study subjects will be placed in one of five treatment groups based on their age and whether or not they have received prior treatment for DIPG. The primary study endpoint is a decrease in the size of the tumor, either a partial response (≥ 50% decrease in the size of the tumor) or a complete response (disappearance of the tumor). The study is in its final organizational stage and will begin accruing patients as soon as this organizational stage is completed.

DIPG is primarily a disease of childhood, with the majority of patients being between 5 and 10 years of age. However, infants and adults can also be affected. It is the most common brainstem tumor in children, representing 75-80% of childhood brainstem tumors, and affecting an estimated 300 children in the US each year. The prognosis for children with DIPG is significantly worse than that of other primary brainstem tumors. The standard of care for patients with newly-diagnosed DIPG is radiation therapy (RT), which appears to control tumor growth for a short period of time, prolonging survival by approximately 3 months. Within 3-8 months after completion of RT, most patients with DIPG will show progression of their disease. No chemotherapeutic agent has ever demonstrated a significant improvement in outcome beyond that achieved by RT alone. An original Burzynski Clinic paper, "The response and survival of children with recurrent intrinsic pontine glioma based on a phase II study of antineoplastons A10 and AS2-1 in patients with brainstem glioma" was published with open access at Springerlink.com on April 10, 2014 (Childs Nerv Syst DOI 10.1007/s00381-014-2401-z).

SOURCE Burzynski Research Institute, Inc.

Released: 10/23/14


Air Pollution Linked to Autism in Southwestern Pennsylvania

Preliminary results from a groundbreaking study from the University of Pittsburgh show a significant correlation between exposure to toxic air pollutants during pregnancy and a child's early years of life, and the development of autism spectrum disorders. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh presented an abstract of the study yesterday at the annual conference of the American Association for Aerosol Research.

A coalition of nonprofits in the greater Pittsburgh region, including Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, PennFuture, Sustainable Pittsburgh, and Women for a Healthy Environment, issued the following statements in response to the new research:

"Autism currently affects 1 in every 68 children in the US, and the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders among children in Pennsylvania is increasing," explained Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, executive director of Women for a Healthy Environment. "It is increasingly clear that autism constitutes a significant public health problem, both nationally and here in Pennsylvania."

"Southwestern Pennsylvania has struggled with air pollution for decades, and progress cleaning up our air has been far too slow," said Court Gould, executive director of Sustainable Pittsburgh. "This new abstract adds to a growing body of evidence linking exposure to toxic air pollutants with increased risks of childhood autism spectrum disorders. We owe it to our children to clean up our air once and for all."

The University of Pittsburgh's research is the most recent study examining the connection between air toxins and autism. Research published last year in JAMA Psychiatry and Environmental Health Perspectives also noted a relationship between air toxins and autism.

"The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) is responsible for protecting the health of residents in our region," said Valessa Souter-Kline, western Pennsylvania outreach coordinator for PennFuture. "This new research is further proof that the ACHD needs to ensure that large industrial sources, which are notorious emitters of air toxins, are operating in compliance with the law."

"Parents are frustrated that this kind of research is poorly funded by the government while we continue to give companies permits to release these toxic chemicals," said Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania state director for Clean Water Action. "I urge our local officials to make securing funding to advance research of this nature an immediate priority over continuing to give companies permits that result in the release of these toxic chemicals."

"As the parent of an autistic child, I applaud the University of Pittsburgh for examining the connection between toxic air pollution and autism," said Amy Sage of North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. "I urge anyone who is concerned about the growing rate of autism in our state to take a serious look at this research and demand cleaner air for our children."

"Over the past 10 years, we have been seeing an increasing rate of autism not only in the Pittsburgh area but all over the world, and our concern has been that this increase cannot be strictly genetic in origin," said Dr. Scott Faber, neurodevelopmental pediatrician at The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh. "These findings add to a growing body of evidence giving us great concern that pollution occurring in our region is increasing the risk of children developing neurodevelopmental disorders."

For this study, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh conducted a population-based case control study in six counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, estimating the association between autism spectrum disorders and 30 known neurotoxicants. The researchers found that exposure to chromium, cyanide, styrene, and other toxic air pollutants during pregnancy and a child's early years of life increased the likelihood that a child would be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Styrene is used in the production of plastics and paints, but is also one of the products of combustion when burning gasoline in vehicles. Chromium is a heavy metal and air pollution containing it is typically the result of industrial processes and in the hardening of steel. Cyanide is used in a number of industries or can be found in vehicle exhaust.

 

 

Source: PennFuture

Released: 10/23/14


Nordic Naturals Inspires Support for Paws for Veterans

Nordic Naturals is kicking off a fall initiative to benefit a very special cause. The campaign—“Buy One Bottle. Help Two Heroes.”—will raise awareness and support for Paws for Veterans, a nonprofit organization that helps rebuild the lives of combat-wounded veterans, while also rescuing shelter dogs that would otherwise face euthanasia. From October through December 2014, purchases of featured products will support monthly donations of Nordic Naturals omega-3s to veterans and their adopted service dogs, as well as a donation of funds toward a new training facility, for a total contribution of up to $30,000. Nordic Naturals has produced a short video that tells the story of Paws for Veterans and the people whose lives have been changed as a result of their transformative work. The video can be viewed at nordicnaturals.com/pawsforveterans-pro.

“Veterans frequently return from active duty with neurological and physical disabilities that make daily life incredibly challenging,” said Joar Opheim, founder and CEO of Nordic Naturals. “Medical service dogs offer amazing support that really changes the lives of these men and women.”

Crystal Ayala, CEO and lead trainer for Paws for Veterans, describes their work as “life-saving,” noting that 22 veteran suicides are reported every day and 1.2 million dogs are euthanized annually. Paws for Veterans rescues shelter dogs facing euthanasia. According to Ayala, “Each dog is rehabilitated, trained, and given a home with a veteran who needs and loves them. Veterans help train their adopted dog to perform tasks related to their specific disability. These can include waking them from nightmares, reminding them to take medications, finding lost objects, and physically interrupting panic attacks.”

“We hope this unique promotion will raise awareness about this issue and this organization,” adds Opheim. “We have been supporting the work of Paws for Veterans for more than a year, and we’re excited to give our customers an opportunity to give back as well.”

Learn more about Paws for Veterans at pawsforveterans.com.

Learn more about Nordic Naturals and view qualifying campaign products at nordicnaturals.com/professionals.php.

Released: 10/23/14


University of the Pacific Launches Bay Area’s First Music Therapy Program

University of the Pacific is launching the first program in the Bay Area for the study of music therapy, a rewarding healthcare profession with an average annual salary of more than $70,000. The program will be offered at Pacific’s state-of-the-art new downtown San Francisco campus beginning next fall.

Applications are now being accepted for the new program, designed for working professionals with a bachelor’s degree in music or a related field, such as psychology or special education. The flexible curriculum enables students to complete the coursework, clinical practicum, and other prerequisites required to sit for the board certification examination for music therapists, without having to earn a second baccalaureate degree. The program can be completed in as few as four semesters.

Clinical opportunities will be available at institutions such as the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland and Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation-Golden Gate.

“Careers in music therapy are deeply rewarding, and certified music therapists are increasingly in demand. We are proud to be able to extend this opportunity to working professionals in the Bay Area,” said Feilin Hsiao, director of the Music Therapy Program at Pacific’s nationally acclaimed Conservatory of Music.

Music therapy is a clinical and evidence-based health profession that uses music to increase people's motivation to become engaged in their treatment, offers emotional support for clients and families, and provides an alternative way to communicate, especially for those who have difficulty expressing themselves with words. Therapy might include creating, singing, and moving or listening to music.

Nationally, some 5,000 credentialed music therapists work in geriatric facilities, schools, healthcare settings, or in private practice. The average annual salary is about $51,899 nationwide and $71,742 in California, according to the American Music Therapy Association.

University of the Pacific was an early pioneer of music therapy, offering its first course in 1939. In addition to the new San Francisco program, Pacific’s Conservatory of Music offers an equivalency program and BA in music therapy at the university’s main campus in Stockton. The Stockton campus also offers the state’s only master’s degree in music therapy.

To apply, prospective students must complete an audition in which they perform music on their primary instrument and sing with and without accompaniment. For more information, visit pacific.edu/sfmusictherapy or call (415) 400-8222.

Released: 10/23/14


Researcher Wins Prize for Innovation in Multiple Sclerosis Research

Philip L. De Jager, MD, PhD, a neurologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, is the 2014 recipient of the Barancik Prize for Innovation in MS Research, an international award established in 2013 to drive progress in multiple sclerosis (MS) research. Dr. De Jager, a clinician and a researcher, was selected for his work in applying powerful analytic approaches to better understand how genes and the environment interact with the goal of developing personalized treatments for MS and, ultimately, disease prevention.

Dr. De Jager is a founding member of the International MS Genetics Consortium (IMSGC) and has played a key role in nearly every major gene discovery and advancement over the past decade. Dr. De Jager led the meta-analysis of genome scans that the Consortium published in 2009, which, at the time, was a novel method in human genetics and one of the first instances in which this powerful analytic approach was deployed for any human disease. This work has culminated in the creation of the new MS Genomic Map that will be released in 2015 by the IMSGC.

He is continuing his work through the International MS Genetics Consortium to create a definitive genetic map of MS susceptibility. He is using the findings from this map to understand the functional consequences of MS genetic risk factors to create potential personalized approaches to predict, treat, and ultimately prevent MS.

Dr. De Jager has implemented several novel resources for the MS community, including the PhenoGenetic project with more than 1,800 healthy individuals and the Genes & Environment in MS (GEMS) project that recruited more than 3,000 MS family members in the last three years. These and other long-term studies will attempt to answer questions that people affected by MS need to know, including why some people develop MS and others don't, why certain people respond differently to medications and treatments, and why some people's MS progresses faster than others.

"Overall, I see two compelling and complementary projects," Dr. De Jager explained. "First is to understand a person's trajectory from not having MS to their diagnosis. Here, identifying a treatment for the prevention of MS is a key goal of our studies, but it requires a complementary approach to identify the individuals at highest risk of developing the disease since most family members do not develop MS."  Dr. De Jager added, "The second project is to gather enough data on a single, large set of MS patients to set the stage for an impactful discovery effort to understand MS-related neurodegeneration." Here, he has creatively used technology to enhance patient engagement through the use of patient-powered web platforms, electronic health records, and smartphone-based tools to better characterize MS participants in these studies.

"We're thrilled to present the 2014 Barancik Prize to Dr. De Jager for his visionary approach towards understanding the genetic architecture of MS," said Dr. Timothy Coetzee, Chief Advocacy, Services and Research Officer at the National MS Society. "Dr. De Jager has leveraged his deep understanding of the clinical context of MS with his background in molecular genetics and immunology, to design new ways of approaching and answering challenging MS questions."

Dr. De Jager recently presented the latest research from the Consortium at ACTRIMS-ECTRIMS*, the world's largest scientific MS conference. The genetic study involves more than 80,000 subjects and is funded by the National MS Society. Building on previous studies, it brings the total number of identified gene variants related to MS risk to at least 159. These findings set the stage for identifying the roles of specific immune cells and the brain in MS susceptibility and may lead to new approaches to treating the disease.

Dr. De Jager is committed to pursuing critical questions in clinical MS research. This leads him to select the best tools of basic molecular research and advanced human biometric phenotyping to examine how environmental influences and one's own genes interact. This information, when analyzed with advanced bioinformatics, will provide the most effective response to an MS challenge and will contribute to improving the lives of both his patients and that of their caregivers.

 

Source: National Multiple Sclerosis Society, nationalMSsociety.org.   

Released: 10/21/14


Could the Hepatitis C Virus Be Eradicated in Your Lifetime?

With the introduction of interferon-free therapies, it is possible that the hepatitis C infection may be cured or even eradicated within the next 10 to 20 years.

BroadcastMed Inc. and UAB Medicine present Brendan McGuire, MD, and his colleagues at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with their review of the changing landscape for the treatment of the hepatitis C virus (HCV).

View their presentation on the UAB MD Learning Channel at the following web address: learnmd.uabmedicine.org/videos/overview-of-hepatitis-c. The video includes an overview of hepatitis C, a discussion on the epidemiology of the disease, and an exploration of complications in HCV patients, possible liver transplantation, and the current and future roles of therapies in treating and possibly curing the disease.

Physicians may learn more at UAB MD Learning Channel, learnmd.uabmedicine.org.

Source: BroadcastMed Inc., about.broadcastmed.com.

Released: 10/20/14


Ebola Education Course Opened to Nurses and Health Professionals at No Cost

With a recent poll revealing that most US nurses feel unprepared to deal with Ebola, subscription-based service CEUFast has decided to provide a free Ebola course to nurses, health professionals, and the general public at ceufast.com/free.

CEUFast wants to empower health professionals with accurate information that will protect themselves as well as their patients.

As Ebola patients begin to appear in the US, a National Nurses United poll taken in October found 85 percent of American nurses had not received training on how to identify or treat patients with Ebola.

When the 2014 Ebola outbreak began in West Africa, it claimed more than 3,100 lives, including several healthcare professionals who were treating Ebola patients. CEUFast wants to help protect US health professionals from the same fate.

"Healthcare professionals need to be able to identify this devastating disease early to avoid disease transmission and facilitate immediate supportive care," said Julia Tortorice, RN, MBA, MSN, nurse planner and founder of CEUFast.com, with 38 years of experience in the nursing field.

This lack of education about the Ebola virus has proven to be devastating. The Texas nurse who treated the late Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the US, became infected with Ebola herself.

Nurses are often a part of the first line of defense in treating any disease, so it's imperative that they be prepared.

"CEUFast.com is offering the course, Ebola the Evolving Catastrophe, for free as a public service," Tortorice said.

CEUFast.com's accredited free course covers the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) from the details of the recent outbreak and transmission to prevention and how to safely care for Ebola infected patients.

"Early recognition leads to early isolation, reducing opportunities for disease transmission," Tortorice said.

Source: CEUFast

Released: 10/16/14


Immunotherapy Study Shows Remarkable Results in Patients With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Funding from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) over the past 22 years helped advance a study, published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine, which shows that 90 percent of children and adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) achieved complete remission after receiving an investigational personalized cellular therapy.

LLS-funded researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, led by Carl June, MD, and at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), led by Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD, reported that of the first 25 children and young adults (ages 5 to 22) treated at CHOP, and the first five adults (ages 26 to 30) treated at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 27 of 30 achieved complete remission after being treated with genetically engineered T cells. All of these ALL patients had previously relapsed multiple times, making these results even more remarkable. Similar results have been reported employing a related personalized cellular therapy in ALL patients by groups at National Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, further validating this important advance.

This investigational immunotherapy, called CTL019, also known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) therapy, is an approach that genetically engineers patients' immune T cells and reintroduces them into the body to kill cancer cells. The FDA recently granted Breakthrough Therapy designation for clinical trials of this approach to treat pediatric and adult ALL patients who have not responded to or who have relapsed after treatment with conventional therapies.

"This study comes almost exactly 70 years after Robert Roesler de Villiers, the son of the founders of LLS, died from ALL," said Louis J. DeGennaro, PhD, LLS's president and chief executive officer. "At that time, the chance of surviving ALL was less than 5 percent of patients. Today nearly 90 percent of pediatric patients with ALL survive more than five years, and the findings announced today suggest that we may see even more patients surviving this blood cancer.  LLS's long-term funding of this team underscores our commitment to saving blood cancer patients' lives by funding research to find cures and better treatments. And it is also thanks to the generosity of our donors whose support over the past two decades helped make possible this promising therapeutic advance."

LLS has invested in the work of June and colleagues since 1998 and has committed to investing a total of $21 million through 2017 to get this first treatment to more patients. LLS first funded Grupp in 1992 through its career development program. LLS has also been funding another member of the team, David Porter, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania, since 1994.

"Dr. Grupp's pivotal role in this new therapy, nearly 22 years after his initial involvement with LLS, defines the success of our career development program," said Lee Greenberger, PhD, chief scientific officer of LLS. "We continue to support this personalized cellular therapy approach as it may apply to other blood cancers, such as acute myeloid leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, as well as explore other methods to activate the immune system."

DeGennaro noted that seeing such dramatic responses from patients for whom there appeared to be no hope is truly cause for optimism.

"The first pediatric patient treated with this innovative therapy is Emily Whitehead, whose story has been widely chronicled in the media. Now 9, Emily is still thriving two years after first being treated." DeGennaro said. "Emily and all of the patients in this trial are inspiring all of us at LLS to find cures not someday but today."

 

Source: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, LLS.org

Released: 10/14/14


Cancer Treatment Centers of America Physicians to Present at International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology

Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) will feature multiple presenters at the 11th annual International Conference of The Society for Integrative Oncology taking place on October 26-28 in Houston, Texas. CTCA physicians will be making both oral and poster presentations in addition to the Plenary Session that will feature Maurie Markman, MD, President of Medicine and Science and a pre-conference workshop where Carolyn Lammersfeld, MS, RD, CSO, LD, CNSC, CTCA Vice President of Integrative Medicine will present.

The Society for Integrative Oncology has a mission to advance evidence-based, comprehensive, integrative healthcare to improve the lives of people affected by cancer. The three day conference is an opportunity for clinicians, researchers, patients, and advocates to hear about and discuss the latest evidence-based integrative oncology.

"The conference is a great opportunity for CTCA to share the important role that integrative therapies play in the cancer journey," said Lammersfeld. "We are fortunate to have so many opportunities to present to this great field of accomplished professionals. Having attended the conference for years now, I know just how important this information is and how valuable the data sharing can be with regard to impacting patient care."

Dr. Markman's plenary session will be on the topic of Personalized Integrative Oncology. The plenary session will discuss personalized cancer therapies and how integrative oncology plays a role in the evolving world of personalized treatment. Lammersfeld will present at a pre-conference workshop on clinical and business models to provide integrative oncology care. Lammersfeld will specifically discuss the CTCA clinical care model and what is covered under insurance. Additionally she will share how integrative oncology can impact current and future sources of revenue.    

Additional CTCA oral presentations include Kristen Trukova, MS, RD, and Digant Gupta, MD, MPH, discussing their paper entitled "Analysis of Weight Change in Women with Breast Cancer Through First Year After Chemotherapy."  Irshad Ali, PhD, A. Rosales, and Donald Braun, PhD will deliver a presentation titled "Regulation of Wnt pathway components may be linked to augmented suppression of colorectal cancer cell proliferation by combination treatment of Resveratol and Mitomycin C." Additionally, Laura Sunn, MD, will present on the "Reduction of anxiety in patients undergoing radiologic exam." 

CTCA clinical teams have also had four poster presentations accepted for presentation. Christina Shannon, ND will present a "Literature review on the association between Omega-3 fatty acids and prostate cancer."  Katherine Puckett, PhD, and Stephanie Mazzanti, LCPC, will present on "The Value of Responding to Staff Wishes for Care: Comprehensive Mind-Body Support Services Available to All Stave at a Cancer Treatment Hospital."  Shauna Birdsall, ND, and Timothy Birdsall, ND, will present "Dietary Supplements Used Concurrently with Conventional Treatment-A Methodology for Prevention of Interactions."  Ali, Rosales and Dr. Braun will also present a poster titled "Differential Modulation of Canonical and Non-Canonical Wnt Signaling Components by Resveratrol in Primary Colorectal, Renal, and Pancreatic Cancers Results in Suppression of Cell Proliferation." 

"We are delighted that so many presentations have been accepted and will be shared at this conference," said Dr. Markman. "It is a great opportunity to put the work and research of our physicians and clinicians in a forum where it can help others gain perspective on how to treat cancer patients with integrative care." 

Released: 10/09/14


Pine Bark Extract Effective at Improving Varicose and Spider Veins Following Pregnancy

According to a new peer-reviewed study published in the International Journal of Angiology, Pycnogenol (pic-noj-en-all), a standardized natural plant extract from French maritime pine tree bark, may significantly improve the appearance, swelling, and discomfort of pregnancy-induced varicose veins and spider vein clusters. Roughly 30 percent of women suffer from enlarged veins post-pregnancy, which can be unattractive, painful, and may lead to a chronic vein condition, blood clots, and ulcers if veins do not return to healthy function. Pycnogenol is available in more than 700 dietary supplements and multivitamins worldwide.

"Because some varicose and spider veins may improve on their own after a year or so post-pregnancy, standard treatment is to simply wear compression stockings, which is met with low compliance because patients often find them uncomfortable," said Dr. Steven Lamm, a physician and nutritional medicine expert. "This study shows that Pycnogenol can significantly reduce the visibility of veins, swelling, and pain post-pregnancy and improve blood flow in a fraction of the time as it takes when treated with compression stockings alone."

The open registry study, conducted at Chieti-Pescara University in Italy, included 133 women. All participants were recommended to wear compression stockings, as is the standard treatment, and the Pycnogenol group consisted of 64 women who elected to take the extract 100 mg/daily (50 mg two times a day) in addition to wearing compression stockings.

Throughout a six-month period, Pycnogenol was shown to:

>>Significantly reduce the number of varicose veins as compared with the control group

>>Significantly decrease visible clusters of spider veins; the number did not significantly change in the control group

>>Significantly reduce leg cramps as compared with the control (4.6 percent with Pycnogenol; 12.5 percent in control group)

>>Significantly decrease minor pain and discomfort on prolonged standing

>>Significantly reduce the number of points of major and minor venous incompetence

>>Reduce swelling: after six months, only one Pycnogenol patient reported swelling as compared with more than 13 percent in the control group

>>Significantly decrease patient requests for additional treatment, such as chemical injections (sclerotherapy) or minor surgery, as compared with the control group

Additionally, women in the Pycnogenol group reported significantly higher satisfaction with the treatment and near perfect (96 percent) compliance; the control group registered less than 50 percent compliance with treatment.

"This study builds upon decades of research that shows Pycnogenol to be a safe, effective, natural solution for venous insufficiency and the associated problems,” said Dr. Gianni Belcaro, lead researcher of the study. "Pycnogenol has been found to seal capillaries and stop the outflow of blood into tissue that causes swelling. It supports the production of endothelial nitric oxide to improve blood vessel function and blood flow."

The women included in the study had each developed varicose and spider veins during their second pregnancy and began treatment within four to eight weeks after giving birth or after conclusion of breastfeeding, and without interference of hormonal treatments. All women reported good vein health in advance of their second pregnancy.

Results were reported using a number of metrics: visual recording of number and length of varicose veins and spider vein clusters; a visual analog line scale to measure heavier legs, pain on prolonged standing, restless legs, and bruises; ultrasound imaging to record points of major and minor venous incompetence; and clinically-reported need for additional actions such as chemical injections, surgery, or other medical treatment.

After 12 months, 98 women (56 in the Pycnogenol group and 42 in the control group) were again evaluated without statistically significant changes occurring between six months and 12 months. Participants will be evaluated again at two years of treatment.

"This study confirms the findings of prior studies that have shown Pycnogenol effective in strengthening capillary walls making them more resistant against pressure which consequently lowers the release of fluids into tissues. Pycnogenol has been shown to exert a direct effect on the vein wall. It increases vein tonicity by improving vein resistance and vein elasticity. The extract reduces acute venous swelling and improves venous insufficiency," said Dr. Lamm.

To review the clinical research and additional information on Pycnogenol, visit Pycnogenol.com.

 

Source: Horphag Research (USA) Inc.

Released: 10/09/14


Novel Protein in Heart Muscle Linked to Cardiac Short-Circuiting, Ventricular Arrhythmias, and Sudden Cardiac Deaths

Cardiovascular scientists at NYU Langone Medical Center have identified in mouse models a protein known as “Pcp4” as a regulator of the heart's rhythm. Additionally, when the Pcp4 gene is disrupted, it can cause ventricular arrhythmias.

Results from this animal study were released online yesterday, Oct. 8, in the peer-reviewed publication the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"This study demonstrates that Purkinje cell protein-4 (Pcp4is not only important in maintaining the heart's normal rhythmic behavior, but that when Pcp4 expression is reduced, it short-circuits electrical activity in a small but critical population of cells in the heart muscle, leading to cardiac arrhythmias," said Glenn I. Fishman, MD, William Goldring Professor of Medicine and Director of the Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology at NYU Langone, and the study's senior author. "We see increased morbidity and mortality when Pcp4 expression is abnormal in our animal models, including ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death."

Using mouse models of cardiomyopathy and fluorescent tags, the research team was able to isolate cardiac Purkinje cells and show that Pcp4 expression was down-regulated in the diseased hearts, producing electrical abnormalities that increased their susceptibility to arrhythmias. Investigators also found Pcp4 in cardiac ganglia, where it also influences the heart's rhythm and modulates heart rate control. "Now that we know that Pcp4 is an important regulator of the heart's rhythm, it could serve as an important drug target for treating arrhythmias," added Dr. Fishman. "Although much work remains to be done, our data suggest that drugs that mimic Pcp4's action in the heart could potentially stabilize the heart's rhythm."

According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 2.7 million Americans are living with arrhythmias. People with arrhythmias can be treated with a surgical procedure, such as getting a pacemaker, implantable defibrillator, or a cardiac ablation, or by delivering a shock with external defibrillators. Ablations are effective but limited to specific types of rhythm abnormalities. Drug therapies have fallen out of favor because of side effects. The NYU Langone research team believes that with better understanding of the molecular behavior underpinning arrhythmias, more targeted drugs are on the horizon.

Eugene E. Kim and Akshay Shekhar led the study. Jia Lu, Xianming Lin, Fang-Yu Liu, Jie Zhang, and Mario Delmar were additional study co-authors.

This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to Dr. Fishman (R01HL105983) and Akshay Shekhar (T32 GM066704 (Bach).

 

 

Source: NYU Langone Medical Center, NYULMC.org

Released: 10/08/14


APIC Teaches the ABC’s of Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance, responsible for more than 23,000 deaths per year in the US, is the theme of International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW), October 19-25. It is hosted annually by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). IIPW puts the spotlight on timely infection prevention issues facing patients and healthcare professionals.

"Antibiotic resistance is an urgent health concern that demands the full attention of healthcare professionals and consumers alike,” said APIC 2014 president Jennie Mayfield, BSN, MPH, CIC. “Patients and families have an important role to play in preventing overuse and helping to ensure appropriate use of antibiotics. With the rise of deadly antibiotic-resistant infections, everyone needs to be asking 'is this antibiotic really necessary?'”

In an effort to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics, APIC has released several resources for patients and healthcare professionals to help further education and awareness of this global issue.

APIC’s new informational poster for consumers on the ABC’s of antibiotics illustrates when antibiotics work and when they don't, what happens if antibiotics are used improperly, and the role that patients play in preventing the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The poster also includes the top five questions consumers should ask their healthcare professionals about antibiotics:

1. “Do I really need an antibiotic?”
2. “Can I get better without an antibiotic?”
3. “What side effects or drug interactions can I expect?”
4. “What side effects should I report to you?”
5. “How do you know what kind of infection I have? I understand that antibiotics won’t work for viral infections.”

Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) find that one of the most common bacteria responsible for healthcare-associated infections, C. difficile, could be reduced by 26 percent if the use of high-risk, broad-spectrum antibiotics was reduced by 30 percent. The White House recently announced a new Executive Order and National Strategy for Combatting Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria, which emphasized the need for antibiotic stewardship programs to help clinicians improve prescribing practices.

"International Infection Prevention Week is the perfect time to raise awareness about antibiotic resistance and the need for stewardship programs within healthcare institutions,” said Katrina Crist, CEO of APIC. “We are grateful to the numerous corporate champions and association partners who have joined with APIC to spread these important patient safety messages."

On October 21, APIC will host a complimentary webinar on antimicrobial resistance and stewardship programs to educate clinicians on the need to improve prescribing practices. The webinar will be presented by experts Ramanan Laxminarayan, PhD, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, and Arjun Srinivasan, MD, associate director for Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Programs for the CDC.

Additionally, APIC will be hosting a Twitter chat on October 22 at 2 p.m. ET. The conversation will focus on antibiotic resistance and the importance of preserving antibiotics. The hashtag for the chat is #IIPWChat.

In 2013 APIC launched a new campaign entitled “Infection Prevention and You” to help raise awareness of infection prevention issues and share resources with consumers. These resources and activities are a continuation of that campaign.

APIC’s mission is to create a safer world through prevention of infection. The association’s more than 15,000 members direct infection prevention programs that save lives and improve the bottom line for hospitals and other healthcare facilities. APIC advances its mission through patient safety, implementation science, competencies and certification, advocacy, and data standardization. Visit APIC online at apic.org.

Source: APIC

 

Released: 10/07/14


American Journal of Medicine to Publish Article Linking Psoriasis With Cardiometabolic Diseases

Mounting evidence that patients with psoriasis are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and metabolic diseases ("cardiometabolic diseases")  is the subject of an article to be published in the December 2014 issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

The article, titled "Accumulating Evidence for the Association and Shared Pathogenic Mechanisms between Psoriasis and Cardiometabolic Diseases," was written by seven councilors of the International Psoriasis Council (IPC), a global nonprofit focused on psoriasis research, education, and patient care. The article is a summary of the November 2013 meeting of the IPC Think Tank, an annual gathering of global psoriasis experts to discuss the most pressing issues facing the understanding and treatment of that disease. 

At the meeting, a global panel of dermatology, immunology, and cardiovascular specialists discussed the status of research investigating the potential association of psoriasis with various cardiometabolic-related comorbidities.

Summarizing these discussions, the American Journal of Medicine article explores the potential shared pathogenic mechanisms, genetic connectivity, and inflammatory links between psoriasis and various cardiometabolic diseases such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

"It is highly unique to have expert perspectives from a multitude of disciplines at once. These types of interactions accelerate our understanding of the association between various cardiometabolic conditions and psoriasis," said Dr. Nehal N. Mehta, an expert in cardiometabolic diseases and co-author of the article. "Based on the evidence presented and outlined at this symposium, the link between psoriasis and cardiometabolic diseases demonstrates strong mechanistic ties; however, definitive evidence still is elusive. More studies are needed to better understand this association."

Among the conclusions made and identified in the manuscript:

>>There is a need to elucidate the link between psoriasis and cardiometabolic pathophysiologic mechanisms in order to better manage the psoriasis patient.

>>Identification of shared pathways through transcriptome studies (studying RNA) and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) is shifting the psoriasis model to one that is analogous to other systemic pro-inflammatory states, such as atherosclerosis and metabolic syndrome.

>>Novel imaging techniques may be pivotal in identifying and quantifying inflammation in psoriasis and cardiometabolic disease.

>>Models of inflammation in healthy human subjects have illustrated a pro-inflammatory state characterized by large increases of cytokines that also are prominent in psoriasis, including TNF-a. These subjects showed temporary biochemical changes consistent with those found in cardiometabolic diseases, suggesting that inflammation does precede disease.

>>Prospective studies in patients starting at 30 years of age to monitor the development of metabolic diseases in psoriasis may be the only definitive way to better understand the temporal relationships between these two diseases.

"The Think Tank, resulting in the article, exemplifies IPC's mission to bring together leaders in psoriasis thereby advancing our understanding of this disease," said Prof. Christopher Griffiths, University of Manchester, UK, and IPC President.

 

Source: International Psoriasis Council, psoriasiscouncil.org

 

Released: 10/06/14


Fasting Blood Biomarker Alpha-Hydroxybutyrate Predicts Risk for Diabetes in New Study from HDL, Inc. and University of Utah

Could a single serum biomarker predict risk for diabetes as accurately as a more complex, hours-long diagnostic procedure?

According to researchers at Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc. (HDL, Inc.) and the University of Utah, the answer is "yes."  In a newly published study, the scientists found that fasting levels of the serum marker alpha-hydroxybutyrate (a-HB), measured as part of a routine blood draw, could be a valuable clinical surrogate for the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).

The decades-old OGTT measures the body's ability to respond to a "glucose challenge," and can uncover impaired glucose metabolism and subsequent risk for diabetes. However, while the OGTT has been considered a standard in the prediction of diabetes risk, it is not often used in clinical practice due to the logistical difficulty of the procedure, which can take as long as three hours to administer.

The cross-sectional study from HDL, Inc., in which 217 patients were evaluated for diabetes risk with an OGTT and a blood panel of fasting biomarkers, found that elevated levels of a-HB were strongly predictive of abnormalities in glucose regulation, even after controlling for known risk factors such as age, gender, body-mass index, fasting glucose, and hemoglobin A1c. Remarkably, the research showed that a-HB was able to predict an impaired early insulin response during the OGTT, even in patients who would be considered low risk by conventional measures – thus offering a window for early lifestyle interventions that may delay or even halt disease progression.

"Our findings suggest that a-HB may have broad application as a rapid, sensitive, and inexpensive tool for detecting states of subclinical hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, and pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction indicative of increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease," said Maciek Sasinowski, MD, PhD, Vice President of Clinical Affairs at HDL, Inc. and co-author of the study. 

The research paper, "Serum alpha-hydroxybutyrate (a-HB) predicts elevated 1-hour glucose levels and early-phase beta-cell dysfunction during OGTT," was recently published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, the n

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