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Past News Items - January 2013


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In the News

First-Ever Yoga Study Finds Yoga to be a Safe, Effective Therapy for Heart Patients

Important development in diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Paul Tai Joins ACAM as Advisor to Board of Directors

Experts in the Field of Traumatic Brain Injury Research to Meet at March Conference in Washington DC

Whole-exome sequencing identifies inherited mutations in autism

Stop the Physician Burnout Epidemic

New Book Highlights Benefits of Krill Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Key Mechanism in Brain Development and Disease

ElectroCore Announces Initial Activities Utilizing its GammaCore Therapy

New Test Provides Novel Tool to Aid in Evaluating Potential Heart Attacks

World’s First Commercially Available 607nm Orange Laser

What Immunology Can Tell Us About Catching (Up to) the Flu Virus

Use of 3D Mammography in Combination with a 2D Breast Exam Finds Significantly More Cancers

11 Data Security Tips for Healthcare Organizations in 2013

Albion Human Nutrition is Granted GRAS Status for Creatine Magnapower

2013 Brings Launch of The American Association of Nurse Practitioners

New MRI Method May Help Diagnose Dementia




Released: 01/31/13


First-Ever Yoga Study Finds Yoga to be a Safe, Effective Therapy for Heart Patients

Yoga training has always been thought of as a healthy activity, but now a study has the scientific findings to prove it. In a first-of-its-kind study, doctors at The University of Kansas Hospital evaluated the role of yoga in the management of atrial fibrillation– a common heart rhythm disorder that is a leading cause of stroke. The study, published recently in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that rigorous practice of yoga can help reduce episodes of irregular heartbeat and improve the symptoms of anxiety and depression often associated with atrial fibrillation. On average, yoga was found to cut patients' episodes of atrial fibrillation in half and significantly improve quality of life.

"The practice of yoga is known to improve many risk factors for heart disease including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hardening of the arteries, and stress and inflammation in the body," said Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, MD at The University of Kansas Hospital, and lead investigator of the study. "There are currently no proven complementary therapies that are known to help decrease the symptoms of atrial fibrillation in a noninvasive fashion with minimal side effects and reasonable safety and efficacy."

Researchers followed 49 patients with atrial fibrillation who had no physical limitations. During the first three-month control phase, participants were permitted to engage in any type of physical activity they were previously accustomed to doing. This was followed by a three-month study phase where patients participated in a supervised yoga program consisting of breathing exercises, yoga postures, meditation and relaxation.

Forty-five minute yoga sessions were administered by a certified professional three times a week over the course of the study phase. Participants were also given an educational DVD and encouraged to practice the exercises at home on a daily basis depending on their comfort levels. All participants were new to the practice of yoga, and the program was designed to allow beginners to progress safely from basic movements to more advanced practice over the course of the study.

Data showed the yoga intervention significantly reduced the number of episodes of irregular heartbeat among atrial fibrillation patients during the study phase compared to the control phase where subjects were participating in the physical activity of their choice. Yoga also reduced depression and anxiety scores and improved quality of life scores in the areas of physical functioning, general health, vitality, social functioning, and mental health.

"These findings are important because many of the current conventional treatment strategies for atrial fibrillation include invasive procedures or medications with undesirable side effects. Success with these therapies varies widely, and they are often only modestly effective in controlling heart rhythm," Lakkireddy said. "It appears yoga has a significant impact on helping to regulate patients' heart beat and improves their overall quality of life. Any intervention that helps in reducing or controlling the arrhythmia burden in atrial fibrillation can have a huge impact on public health."

Given the low cost, safety and effectiveness of yoga, the authors recommend that it be considered in the overall treatment strategy for atrial fibrillation and other complex heart rhythm disorders.

 

Released: 01/30/13


Important development in diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and INOVA Diagnostics are pleased to announce the completion of an exclusive, worldwide license agreement for technology developed at LUMC to detect antibodies to carbamylated proteins (anti-CarP). This technology represents an important advance in the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

"The detection of autoantibodies in sera of RA patients has provided important insight into the processes that initiate and drive RA. Since anti-CarP antibodies can also be detected in a subgroup of patients for whom so far no serological markers were available we believe this may provide new insight into the pathogenesis of RA," said Dr. Leendert Trouw , Assistant Professor at LUMC.

"With new treatment options at hand it is now possible to apply early and aggressive treatment. Understanding which patients would benefit most from such an intervention is important to maximize efficiency, and detection of anti-CarP antibodies may identify such patients," said Prof. Tom Huizinga , head of the Department of Rheumatology at LUMC. Prof. Rene Toes, head of the Rheumatology Research Lab adds, "We are trying to understand the disease, RA, and unraveling how the presence of autoantibodies like anti-CarP contribute to RA will make it possible to design novel strategies that may prevent the onset of RA."

"We believe the anti-CarP technology represents a significant advance in the diagnosis of RA, helping to close the serological gap that exists with current biomarkers," said Roger Ingles, CEO of INOVA Diagnostics. "The team at LUMC has an impressive track record in research and biomarker discovery in RA, including the design of the second generation CCP peptide. We are pleased to partner with this prestigious team to advance the research related to anti-CarP, and commercialize this important new biomarker."

A study published last year by the team at LUMC in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that IgG and IgA antibodies recognizing carbamylated antigens were present in about 50 percent of RA patients. Anti-CarP antibodies recognize homocitrulline and are therefore distinct from anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA), including anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide (anti-CCP), a biomarker commonly used to diagnose RA. Anti-CarP IgG and IgA were detected in 16 percent and 30 percent of ACPA negative RA patients respectively.

Additionally, anti-CarP antibodies were shown to be predictive of a more severe course of disease as measured by radiological progression in ACPA negative RA patients.

 

Released: 01/28/13


Paul Tai Joins ACAM as Advisor to Board of Directors

The American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) is pleased to announce the appointment of Paul Tai, DPM, FACFS, ABPS, ABAARM, DACBN as ACAM’s newest Advisor to the Board of Directors.

Dr. Tai has a tremendous history and passion towards integrative medicine with a significant focus on anti-aging.

“We look forward to Dr. Tai assisting ACAM with incorporating the concepts of rejuvenation and optimized biomedical gerontology into the educational curriculum of ACAM,” said Neal Speight, MD, President and CEO of ACAM.

Among many other accolades Dr. Tai is the founder and serves as Chairman and President of the Brasil American Academy of Aging & Regenerative Medicine (BARM).

 

Released: 01/24/13


Experts in the Field of Traumatic Brain Injury Research to Meet at March Conference in Washington DC

The world’s leading scientific experts in the field of traumatic brain injury will meet on March 6-7, 2013 in Washington, DC for the 3rd Annual Traumatic Brain Injury Conference, hosted by Arrowhead Publishers.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States and around the world. In the US alone, an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury every year and over 30 percent of all reported injury-related deaths list TBI as a contributing factor. The intent of this conference is to provide attendees with a holistic perspective on the diagnosis, treatment and outcomes associated with traumatic brain injury.

In order to better understand how best to achieve the goal of bringing new therapies to market for TBI, speakers will be presenting novel research in the following areas:

  • Classification
  • Diagnostics
  • Imaging
  • Outcomes Research
  • Therapeutics

The need for consensus on these key subject areas will drive lively and enlightening discussions.

The two day conference will feature a wide range of TBI experts from academia, industry, military and government. Some of the featured speakers include:

  • Andrew Maas, MD, PhD, Professor & Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital Antwerp will discuss The potential of Comparative Effectiveness Research in TBI as well as participating in the Classification Track Panel Session
  • Geoffrey T. Manley, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice Chairman of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, Chief of Neurosurgery, San Francisco General Hospital, Co-Director, Brain and Spinal Injury Center (BASIC) will lead the track on Building a Knowledge Network for a New Taxonomy of Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Charles Bernick, MD, Associate Medical Director, Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Cleveland Clinic will discuss The Search for the Beginning of Chronic Traumatic Encepholopathy (CTE): The Professional Fighters Brain Health Study (PFBHS)
  • Deborah A. Shear, PhD, Neuroprotection Section Chief, Brain Trauma Neuroprotection and Neurorestoration Branch, Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience (CMPN), Walter Reed Army Institute of Research will present her work on The Military Approach to Neuroprotection Research for Traumatic Brain Injury: Special Focus on Combination Drug Therapy Development

More than thirty experts in the field will be participating in plenary and panel sessions at this dynamic event. Please visit tbiconference.com for the full list of speakers, agenda, and information on how to register to attend.

 

Released: 01/24/13


Whole-exome sequencing identifies inherited mutations in autism

While autism clearly runs in some families, few inherited genetic causes have been found. A major reason is that these causes are so varied that it's hard to find enough people with a given mutation to establish a clear pattern.

Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have pinpointed several inherited mutations—among the first to be identified—through an unusual approach: using whole-exome sequencing to study large Middle Eastern families with autism.

The study, published in the January 23 issue of the journal Neuron, also found evidence for some of the same mutations in US families. It shows that a number of genes implicated in severe genetic syndromes can have milder mutations that primarily cause autism, and could broaden the number of genetic tests available to families.

Researchers Tim Yu, MD, PhD, Maria Chahrour, PhD, and senior investigator Christopher Walsh, MD, PhD, of Boston Children's Hospital, began with three large Middle Eastern families that had two or more children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), looking for recessive mutations—those requiring a "double hit" for the child to have an ASD.

"Families from the US are not ideal for finding inherited genetic mutations, since family sizes are often small," says Walsh, chief of Genetics at Boston Children's and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

In all three families, the parents were first cousins, a common tradition in the Middle East and one that greatly facilitates the identification of inherited mutations. The researchers first used genetic mapping techniques to narrow their search to specific chromosomal locations, then sequenced the protein-coding genes in those areas (known as whole-exome sequencing).

That turned up recessive mutations in three genes not previously known to be involved in autism, but rather in severe genetic syndromes:

  • Mutations in AMT, a gene classically associated with a severe metabolic syndrome known as nonketotic hyperglycinemia, marked by severe seizures and death during infancy.
  • Mutations in PEX7. Typical PEX7 mutations cause rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata, a severe syndrome causing metabolic and bone abnormalities, cataracts, severe epilepsy and early death.
  • Mutations in SYNE1, a gene associated with brain malformation, severe motor and muscle problems, and possibly bipolar psychiatric disease.

The severe syndromes linked to these genes often include autistic behavior or intellectual disability, but not as the primary symptom. Interestingly, the milder mutations discovered in these families seemed to cause disease that is more brain-specific.

"This is the first time these genes have been associated with autism," says Chahrour, who shares first authorship of the study with Yu. "The AMT and PEX7 mutations weren't picked up by standard tests for metabolic disorders, but when you're able to sequence the entire exome, you can find them."

These findings inspired the team to look for other metabolic and other genetic syndromes affecting cognition and behavior with milder forms showing up simply as autism. They screened 163 Middle Eastern families with autism for mutations in 70 genes associated with these syndromes, using a whole-exome approach but analyzing only the 70 genes of interest.

This approach turned up several additional families with ASD mutations, including:

  • An additional family with a recessive mutation in AMT
  • Two families with recessive mutations in VPS13B (known to cause Cohen syndrome, which includes intellectual disability, obesity, vision and joint problems, and small head size)
  • A family with a recessive mutation in POMGNT1 (known to cause muscle-eye-brain disease, marked by brain malformation, intellectual disability, muscle and vision problems)
  • A family with an X-linked mutation in MECP2 in two boys (MECP2 mutations are known to cause Rett syndrome in girls, but are typically lethal in boys)

"We have textbook descriptions of all these diseases, but in real life, there can be atypical, milder presentations of the same disease," says Yu. "The kids we were studying with autism were alive at age 13. They had double hits for these mutations, but they were much milder mutations. The proteins retained a bit of their function."

The team also examined a cohort of US patients, looking for recessive mutations in six of the genes they identified. They analyzed whole-exome sequence data from 612 families with ASDs, part of a registry known as the Simons Simplex Collection. The analysis suggested that some of the affected children had causative recessive mutations in at least two of the genes identified in the Middle Eastern families, and that larger-scale efforts to examine all 70 genes more fully for recessive mutations may prove fruitful.

"It's not clear yet how many US families have these recessive mutations," says Yu. "Further studies could begin to estimate what fraction of autism cases might fall under this model."

The Boston Children's study complements another study published in the same issue of Neuron, led by Dr. Mark Daly of Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute. That study looked for recessive mutations across the entire genome in 933 cases and 869 controls—but specifically sought those that completely abolished a gene's function.

"Together, these two studies firmly establish that recessive mutations contribute importantly to autism, not just in specialized populations but in the population at large," says Yu. "Genome sequencing is going to be a huge advance in identifying more of these mutations, since there are a lot of rare syndromes that are otherwise very difficult to detect."

 

Released: 01/23/13


Stop the Physician Burnout Epidemic

Over 117 Tools to Lower Doctor Stress Levels

With physician burnout at epidemic levels and a tidal wave of newly insured patients on the way, physicians and healthcare organizations are stretched to the breaking point.

The Physician Burnout Prevention Matrix Report from Dike Drummond MD, CEO of TheHappyMD.com, was developed in response to this crisis in the front lines of healthcare. This free report is a comprehensive resource of methods to lower stress, prevent burnout and create a healthier workplace for physicians and staff. The report is the playbook for a balanced approach to physician wellness with tools for both individual doctors and organizations.

Research shows an average of one in three physicians suffers from burnout on any given office day and, in a 2012 study, 60 percent of doctors said they would quit if they "had the means." Healthcare organizations are struggling to keep the doctors healthy and patients happy. Adding to these pressures, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is projected to produce a physician shortage of 91,500 by 2020.

"These days the physicians are often the canary in the coal mine of medicine and that has to change. The most successful healthcare organizations in the years ahead will be those who take excellent care of their providers and staff. These hospitals and groups will understand that physician satisfaction is the only true foundation for consistent patient satisfaction. Here are over 117 ways to get started," Drummond says.

Each of the Matrix tools stands on its own and will lower doctors' stress at work or increase their ability to recharge while off the job. Dr. Drummond provides in-depth implementation support to put the Matrix tools into effect with both individual coaching and organizational consulting.

To view the report, go to tinyurl.com/bpmatrix.

 

Released: 01/22/13


New Book Highlights Benefits of Krill Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Responding to an invitation from Springer Publishing, Aker BioMarine Antarctic has completed a comprehensive chapter on krill phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids for the book Omega-6/3 Fatty Acids, which is now available for purchase. The chapter, titled "Recent Findings on Cardiovascular and Mental Health Effects of Krill Oil and Omega-3 Phospholipids," discusses the latest research and developments regarding phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids in relation to heart and brain health.

While the other chapters discuss the many health benefits of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, the chapter on krill explains its value as a novel source of phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids. It also goes into great detail regarding the therapeutic benefits of krill phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids.

In particular, the book chapter explains how krill phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids balance the body's omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. It also underlines the ability of krill phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids to affect gene expression profiles and endocannabinoid precursor availabilities. Through these means, omega-3 fatty acids from krill may lower triglyceride levels and reduce fat deposition in and around organs. It may also alleviate inflammatory states implicated in atherogenesis and subsequently increased cardiovascular risk.

The book chapter also focuses on the brain health benefits of krill phospholipid omega-3 fatty acid intake and specifically its effects on memory. Research continues to substantiate the increased uptake of phospholipid omega-3 DHA from krill in brain tissue compared to other omega-3 fatty acid sources.

According to the book chapter author, Lena Burri, Director of Scientific Writing, Aker BioMarine Antarctic, "Krill phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids remain an interesting segment of the industry, and their bio-efficient delivery continues to gain a lot of attention. This book chapter offers a comprehensive look at phospholipid omega-3 fatty acids and highlights their unique attibutes in several health areas."

 

Released: 01/15/13


Key Mechanism in Brain Development and Disease

A new finding in neuroscience for the first time points to a developmental mechanism linking the disease-causing mutation in an autism-related disorder, Timothy syndrome, and observed defects in brain wiring, according to a study led by scientist Ricardo Dolmetsch and published online yesterday in Nature Neuroscience. These findings may be at the heart of the mechanisms underlying intellectual disability and many other brain disorders.

The present study reveals that a mutation of the disease-causing gene throws a key process of neurodevelopment into reverse. That is, the mutation underlying Timothy syndrome causes shrinkage, rather than growth, of the wiring needed for the development of neural circuits that underlie cognition.

“In addition to the implications for autism, what’s really exciting is that we now have a way to get at the core mechanisms tying genes and environmental influences to development and disease processes in the brain,” said Dolmetsch, Senior Director of Molecular Networks at the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

“Imagine what we can learn if we do this hundreds and hundreds of times for many different human genetic variations in a large-scale, systematic way. That’s what we are doing now at the Allen Institute,” Dolmetsch continued.

In normal brain development, brain activity causes branches emanating from neural cells to stretch or expand. In cells with the mutation, these branched extensions, called dendrites, instead retract in response to neural activity, according to this study. This results in abnormal brain circuitry favoring connections with nearby neurons rather than farther-reaching connections. Further, the study identified a previously unknown mode of signaling to uncover the chemical pathway that causes the dendritic retraction.

This finding may have wide-reaching implications in neuroscience, as impaired dendrite formation is a common feature of many neurodevelopmental disorders. Further, the same gene has been implicated in other disorders including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Under Dolmetsch’s leadership, the Molecular Networks program at the Allen Institute, one of three major new initiatives announced by the Institute last March, is using similar methods on a grand scale. The Institute is probing a large number of human genetic variations and many pathways in the brain to untangle the cellular mechanisms of neurodevelopment and disease. In addition to identifying the molecular and environmental rules that shape how the brain is built, the program will create new research tools and data sets that it will share publicly with the global research community.

Timothy syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with autism spectrum disorders and caused by a mutation in a single gene. In addition to autism, it is also characterized by cardiac arrhythmias, webbed fingers and toes, and hypoglycemia, and often leads to death in early childhood.

 

Released: 01/11/13


ElectroCore Announces Initial Activities Utilizing its GammaCore Therapy

ElectroCore, a company dedicated to developing effective, non-invasive Vagal Nerve Stimulation (nVNS) therapies for serious medical conditions including primary headaches, announced today that initial enrollment has begun for its FDA approved chronic migraine prevention study using its GammaCore nVNS therapy. The randomized, sham-controlled study is enrolling patients at 10 sites across the US.

The study, which is expected to offer an initial read out during the first half of this year, will include 60 patients who suffer with migraine more than 15 days per month. Participants will use three 180-second GammaCore treatments per day for two months, comparing the frequency, duration, and severity of their migraines against a control group using a sham device, and against their own baseline data gathered prior to the initiation of the treatment protocol. After the study's initial phases, subjects will be given the opportunity to continue using the prophylactic therapy for six additional months.

"GammaCore is the first non-invasive device capable of stimulating the cervical branches of the vagus nerve, enabling self-administration of therapy without a surgical procedure," said JP Errico, CEO of ElectroCore. "Positive results from this study will bring us one step closer to providing an important new treatment option to the more than seven million Americans who suffer from chronic migraine."

Additional ElectroCore activities include:

  • Initial enrollment has begun in a randomized cluster headache study being conducted by leading neurologists at six sites in Germany with the intent of establishing government reimbursement for nVNS therapy. In the first phases of the study, 90 chronic cluster headache patients are being randomized between GammaCore nVNS therapy and the standard of care. After the first four-week phase, all patients enrolled in the study will be provided GammaCore nVNS therapy during a final phase. In this study, the therapy will be used as both an acute and a prophylactic treatment of their condition. GammaCore nVNS therapy has already been CE marked, and is commercially available in Germany and across the European Union.
  • ElectroCore received FDA approval to begin a pivotal study of GammaCore as an acute treatment for cluster headaches. This trial, expected to begin enrolling during the first quarter of 2013, will study the acute benefits of treatment of cluster headache events in 150 chronically suffering subjects at 15 sites across the US. During the initial phase of the study, subjects will be randomized against a sham device for a period when they will treat up to five headache events in a two-week period. At the conclusion of the first phase, all 150 subjects will be provided access to the GammaCore nVNS therapy for a period of six months. This study is expected to read out with an interim analysis in the first half of this year. Based on the results of the study, ElectroCore plans to submit for US Food & Drug Administration approval of GammaCore for the acute treatment of cluster headaches.
  • GammaCore technology was featured in a poster session at the 2012 European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress in London. Fourteen patients attending headache centers in the UK and Ireland were offered non-invasive VNS treatment and questioned during routine follow up about their experience with the device and the perceived impact. Thirteen felt there was an overall improvement in their condition since using the device (the median device use period was 13 weeks), suggesting that GammaCore appears to be well-tolerated and effective in both the acute and preventive treatment of episodic and chronic cluster headache.

 

Released: 01/10/13


New Test Provides Novel Tool to Aid in Evaluating Potential Heart Attacks

An estimated 17 million people throughout the world die annually of cardiovascular diseases, specifically heart attacks or strokes. Time is a critical factor in diagnosing and treating people who may be having a potential heart attack. To aid physicians in detecting heart attacks sooner, Abbott announced today CE Marking (Conformite Europeenne) for the ARCHITECT STAT High Sensitive Troponin-I Assay.

Diagnosing Potential Heart Attacks

The preferred biomarker used to identify suspected heart attacks is cardiac troponin, a protein found in the heart muscle, because it can detect injury to the heart. Many patients who visit the emergency room with chest pain complaints and a suspected heart attack currently have blood samples drawn for troponin tests upon admission, after six hours, and then potentially 12 hours later before a diagnosis may be made. For patients who are having a heart attack, the length of time to diagnosis is a crucial factor because the heart muscle cells start to die after the heart stops receiving blood, and eventually, almost all the affected parts of the heart could be irreversibly damaged.

Abbott's new ARCHITECT STAT High Sensitive Troponin-I Assay can measure very low levels of the protein, which allows doctors to evaluate whether or not patients are having a heart attack within two to four hours.4 This faster evaluation could allow doctors to reduce the time to diagnosis and treatment by several hours when compared to standard troponin tests.

"The advantage of high sensitive troponin tests compared to current tests is that clinicians may now more precisely confirm or exclude a heart attack much sooner and with higher accuracy compared to contemporary tests," said Professor Stefan Blankenberg, Director of Cardiology at the University Heart Center of Hamburg, Germany. "This is important information for patient care because we can pursue treatment if needed or avoid invasive therapy and discharge a patient earlier."

Determining Risk for Future Cardiovascular Events

Another concern for patients who have experienced symptoms of a heart attack or who suffered from an actual attack is that they are at a higher risk for experiencing a second cardiac event or heart attack within a few weeks or months. Abbott's High Sensitive Troponin-I Assay also enables doctors to determine if patients are at risk to suffer from cardiovascular events 30 days and 90 days later.

"The sooner a patient can be diagnosed with a cardiac event, the faster a patient can get the care he or she needs," said Brian Blaser, executive vice president, Diagnostics Products, Abbott. "Abbott's new high sensitive troponin test is an innovative tool to help physicians diagnose more quickly, potentially improving the way heart attacks are diagnosed for patients around the world."

 

Released: 01/10/13


World’s First Commercially Available 607nm Orange Laser

Lumany, a leading developer of innovative light sources for biomedical and specialty applications, announced today the release of the world’s first commercially available 607nm orange laser for life science applications. The 607nm laser (LM-607-020) utilizes Lumany’s patent protected innovative technology to emit a diffraction limited, single mode beam that is particularly useful for flow cytometry, confocal microscopy, DNA sequencing, optogenetics, and holography and particle analysis.

“This is an exciting frontier for Lumany,” said Robert Bagby, Chairman of Lumany. “Orange light is the last major excitation void in life science applications.” With no commercial visible laser available between 595 and 630nm, Lumany’s newly announced orange laser addresses that excitation void by operating at a fixed 607nm wavelength, enabling researchers to probe numerous red fluorescent proteins which are optimally excited at this wavelength. “Red fluorescent proteins are critical in life science applications because of their ability to produce brighter images with better contrast, along with more effective light penetration for deep imaging,” Bagby later added.

Lumany’s LM-607-020 delivers 20 milliwatts of optical power with excellent beam quality and reliability, and can be utilized as a standalone laser source or integrated seamlessly into life science instruments. For additional information including product inquiries, contact the company at info@Lumany.com, or visit Lumany.com.

 

Released: 01/10/13


What Immunology Can Tell Us About Catching (Up to) the Flu Virus

The United States is currently suffering a flu season that the Centers for Disease Control has described as the earliest since 2003-2004. Some 2,257 people have been hospitalized and 18 children have died from complications as of December 29, 2012. The CDC reports high rates of flu activity in 29 states characterized by an H3N2 strain that is associated with severe flu seasons.

In 2013, why does influenza persist and remain so difficult to control?

"The flu virus has an extraordinary capacity to reassort its genes and develop mutations that stay one step ahead of us," says Robert R. Rich, Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and editor of Clinical Immunology: Principles and Practice. “It's what we're up against every year when a new strain emerges. Then the pharmaceutical companies race to make enough vaccine as it is circulating around the globe."

"The real challenge is to find something that would be molecular targets displayed on the surface of the virus that the immune system could attack, but that were stable throughout the process of gene reassortment and mutation and thus wouldn't be subject to change," Rich says. "There are a number of different candidates being evaluated, but none are yet available."

In the text, Clinical Immunology systematically surveys the major organ systems that have immunological disease and the major diseases that have immune basis and tries to draw common threads. "For example, as we understand diabetes better, how does that impact understanding of multiple sclerosis? That's the strength of the text –- our effort to address diverse diseases from their scientific commonalities," Rich says.

The immune system is a strong target for translational research, as it takes fundamental science and tries to apply it as broadly as possible to a variety of diseases, he adds.

"In the era of personalized medicine, we are developing drugs against specific molecular targets, and because the immune system is all about molecular targets, translational science is one of the most promising ways to affect that."
Note: Dr. Rich will be attending the American Association of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Conference in San Antonio Feb 22-24, 2013.

For more information on Dr. Rich visit his elsevierauthors.com/robertrich. For other Elsevier Authors in the areas of Immunology and Infectious Disease, visit: elsevierauthors.com.

 

Released: 01/10/13


Use of 3D Mammography in Combination with a 2D Breast Exam Finds Significantly More Cancers

Hologic, a leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of premium diagnostics, medical imaging systems and surgical products dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of women, today announced that a groundbreaking new study published in Radiology, the Radiological Society of North America scientific journal, found that the addition of three dimensional (3D) mammography (breast tomosynthesis) screening technology to a 2D breast screening exam significantly increased cancer detection while reducing the number of false positives.

The study, "Comparison of Digital Mammography Alone and Digital Mammography plus Tomosynthesis in a Population-based Screening Program," was led by Per Skaane, MD, PhD of Oslo University Hospital Ullevaal. The study was based on 12,631 screening examinations in a large hospital in Norway.

The researchers using Hologic's 3D mammography technology in combination with a 2D mammogram found a significant increase in cancer detection rates, particularly for invasive cancers, and a simultaneous decrease in false-positive rates compared with 2D mammography alone. Significant findings include:

  • A 40 percent increase in the detection of invasive breast cancers
  • A 27 percent increase in the detection of all cancers (invasive and in situ cancers combined)
  • A 15 percent decrease in false-positive rates

The authors reported that the increase in cancer detection was found across all breast tissue densities, from dense to fatty. At the same time, there was no increase in the detection of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is non-invasive and cited by critics of mammography screening as potentially being over-diagnosed.

As a result of the large increase in the detection of invasive cancers rather than in situ cancers the authors of the paper state, "Perhaps our most important observation is that with the mammography-plus-tomosynthesis arm, the actual benefit, in terms of possibly improving outcome owing to earlier detection, may be larger than merely the difference in the total count or number of detected cancers."

Rob Cascella, Hologic's President and Chief Executive Officer said, "A number of major papers demonstrating the value of 3D mammography have been published in the last few months. The Oslo trial is the first large-scale prospective study to show the additional cancers found with 3D mammography in combination with 2D mammography were invasive cancers—the very type of cancers we want to detect and treat early. 3D mammography is the best breast screening technology to date in that it finds significantly more invasive cancers while also reducing false positives. Most other imaging technologies for screening require users to compromise specificity (recall rate) for sensitivity (cancer detection). We believe the value of 3D mammography in breast cancer screening is most compelling."

3D mammography was approved for clinical use for breast cancer screening and diagnosis in the US in February 2011 and has been available in countries recognizing the CE mark since 2008. Hologic's 3D mammography technology is in use in 47 states and 30 countries outside the US. Unlike a screening 2D digital mammogram, which involves a single X-ray image of the breast, 3D mammography captures multiple, low-dose images from multiple angles around the breast. The images are then used to produce a 3D reconstruction of the breast.

Dr. Per Skaane and his research team in Oslo are well known for their research. Their Oslo I and Oslo II trials were important studies comparing 2D digital mammography to screen-film for the detection of breast cancer.

 

Released: 01/09/13


11 Data Security Tips for Healthcare Organizations in 2013

It's that time of year when everyone wants to be healthier. Eat better. Lose weight. Manage stress. Save money. These rank as peoples' top New Year's resolutions. The same holds true for healthcare organizations nationwide. They want and need to protect against the organizational and financial stresses of data breaches—which have become an everyday disaster—according to a recent report issued by Ponemon Institute.

The Third Annual Benchmark Study on Patient Privacy & Data Securityreports that data breaches in healthcare are growing; insider negligence is the root cause; and mobile devices pose threats to patients' protected health information (PHI). Despite the fact that 94percent of healthcare organizations surveyed suffered data breaches, data breaches don't have to be disastrous if organizations take steps to operationalize pre-breach and post-breach processes to better protect patient data and minimize breach impact. Here are 11 tips for a healthier organization—meant to be kept longer than peoples' typical New Year's resolutions:

  • Establish mobile device and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies that include technical controls and employee and management procedures. Rick Kam, CIPP/US, president and co-founder, ID Experts
  • Control the cloud or it'll control you. Make it a point to fully understand what cloud service-level agreements mean in practice and then push for meaningful information on failover and disaster recovery practices used."? Richard Santalesa, senior counsel, InfoLawGroup LLP
  • Have a current breach response plan that is ready and tested. This will help pave the way for a well-executed response that can mitigate the financial, legal and reputational harm caused by a security incident involving patient information. Marcy Wilder, partner and director of global privacy and information management practice, Hogan Lovellis
  • Conduct small but focused risk assessments rotating control review on a monthly basis to continually understand and measure risk. Most importantly, have a plan to address the risk, through remediation, mitigation or risk transfer activities. Chad Boeckmann, president and chief strategy officer, Secure Digital Solutions, LLC
  • Immunize mobile devices against viruses that might steal patient data.?Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder, Ponemon Institute
  • Attack your leadership team with phishing and other social engineering campaigns. Nothing raises awareness like catching people and correcting them on the spot—and it's a lot more interesting than the annual 30-minute online security training. ?Michael Boyd, Director of Information Security Management, Providence Health & Services
  • Use a checklist to evaluate periodically whether covered entities and business associates are in compliance with all privacy and security requirements. Sign and date the checklist to show that your organization is not guilty of "willful neglect" in complying with privacy and security laws. Jim Pyles, founding partner, Powers, Pyles, Sutter & Verville, PC.
  • Educate all staff to recognize applications, mobile devices and medical equipment that collect, contain or transmit patient information and/or biometric data; and train them to communicate the risk to those responsible for information security management. Christina Thielst, FACHE, Vice President, Tower
  • Decide how to handle the residual risk of a data breach, how much risk to accept, and how much, if any, risk to transfer through cyber insurance. Christine Marciano, President, Cyber Data Risk Managers LLC
  • Boards should ensure their organizations have robust, board-reviewed and approved security policies and procedures. Larry W. Walker, president, The Walker Company
  • " Big data" is a source of both the disease and the cure for privacy and information security symptoms. Currently, we have to deal with data minimization, but in the future, look for applications that may collect broadly, but protect against unauthorized disclosure or misuse very, very well. Jon Neiditz, partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

"Patient information is at risk for infection," said Rick Kam, president and co-founder of ID Experts. "Organizations need to make a commitment to a healthier organization from top to bottom, otherwise a common cold data breach will turn into tuberculosis."

 

Released: 01/09/13


Albion Human Nutrition is Granted GRAS Status for Creatine Magnapower

Albion Human Nutrition announced today that their proprietary patented product, Creatine MagnaPower received GRAS Status, having been reviewed and approved by a third-party expert panel. This proprietary product contains creatine chelated with magnesium, both well-known muscle nutrients. This combination facilitates vital ATP production and oxygen delivery to working muscles, and it is backed by scientific research and clinical trials.

Creatine is one of, if not the most popular sports supplements in the world. Surveys performed on creatine use in athletes indicate that creatine is used by over 40 percent of athletes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Research shows that the regular use of creatine supplements in aging adults can greatly reduce muscle loss due to sarcopenia, as we age.

According to Albion, they have discovered and patented a way to create a single molecule by combining creatine with a single magnesium atom. This special molecule form, called a chelate, is Creatine MagnaPower and has scientifically proven advantages—giving consumers a performance edge when they need it most. The successful acquisition of a CAS number for this product and others manufactured by Albion can aid in further registration in individual counties, thus supporting an expanding sales effort and world-wide demand of their products. To learn more about Creatine MagnaPower, visit their consumer website dedicated to this proprietary product: creatinemagnapower.com

 

Released: 01/04/13


2013 Brings Launch of The American Association of Nurse Practitioners

Unifying the voices of nurse practitioners (NPs) nationwide, The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) has officially launched, creating the largest professional membership organization in the country for NPs of all specialties. The new entity is the result of a merger on January 1, 2013 between The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and The American College of Nurse Practitioners.

To set the course for 2013, AANP has planned three conferences that offer NPs valuable educational and networking opportunities:

  • The 2013 National Nurse Practitioner Health Policy Conference taking place February 24-26 in Washington, DC, will focus on policy information of vital importance to NP practice.
  • The AANP National Conference will bring NPs to Las Vegas June 19-23 and feature numerous skill enhancement workshops and continuing education programs.
  • The AANP Specialty and Leadership Conference, scheduled for October 2-6 in Las Vegas, will help NPs in specialty tracks enhance skills that are important for the care of a growing number of patients.

"We are pleased to offer NPs this range of opportunities to help them continue representing the best of their profession in 2013," said David Hebert, CEO, AANP. "The conferences are only the beginning of what this new organization seeks to achieve."

"NPs are poised to gain myriad benefits as a result of the consolidation that created the new entity," said Angela Golden, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, President, AANP. "Beyond additional conference opportunities, our members will see a greater NP presence in the national health care dialogue."

Prepared at the graduate level, NPs provide primary and acute health care services. In addition to being expert clinicians, NPs guide patients in making smarter health and lifestyle choices.

 

Released: 01/02/13


New MRI Method May Help Diagnose Dementia

A new way to use MRI scans may help determine whether dementia is Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia, according to new research published in the December 26, 2012, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) often have similar symptoms, even though the underlying disease process is much different.

"Diagnosis can be challenging," said study author Corey McMillan, PhD, of the Perelman School of Medicine and Frontotemporal Degeneration Center at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "If the clinical symptoms and routine brain MR are equal, an expensive positron emission tomography (PET) scan might be needed. Or, a lumbar puncture, which involves inserting a needle into the spine, would be needed to help make the diagnosis. Analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid gives us reliable diagnostic information, but this is not something patients look forward to and is also expensive. Using this new MRI method is less expensive and definitely less invasive."

The study involved 185 people who had been diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease consistent with Alzheimer's disease or FTLD and had a lumbar puncture and a high resolution MRI. Of the 185, the diagnosis was confirmed in 32 people either by autopsy or by determining that they had a genetic mutation associated with one of the diseases.

Researchers used the MRIs to predict the ratio of two biomarkers for the diseases in the cerebrospinal fluid, the proteins tau and beta-amyloid. The MRI prediction method was 75 percent accurate at identifying the correct diagnosis in those with pathology-confirmed diagnoses and those with biomarker levels obtained by lumbar punctures, which shows similar accuracy of the MRI and lumbar puncture methods.

"Developing a new method for diagnosis is important because potential treatments target the underlying abnormal proteins, so we need to know which disease to treat," McMillan said. "This could be used as a screening method and any borderline cases could follow up with the lumbar puncture or PET scan. This method would also be helpful in clinical trials where it may be important to monitor these biomarkers repeatedly over time to determine whether a treatment was working, and it would be much less invasive than repeated lumbar punctures."

 

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