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Past News Items - March 2022


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In the News

Fullscript Completes Acquisition of Emerson Ecologics to Accelerate Adoption of Integrative Medicine

Gaia Herbs Appoints Scientific Advisory Board to Advance Innovation in Herbal Supplements

A study published in Sleep Health examining a nationally representative population of US adults to look at associations between blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and sleep, found that blood levels of EPA, DHA and total omega-3 fatty acids were persistently lower among adults who had experienced very short sleep (less than 5 hours) relative to adults who had normal sleep (7-9 hours).

Memory and concentration problems are common in long COVID and must not be ignored

A Potential New Test for Diagnosing Lyme Disease




Released: March 2022


Fullscript Completes Acquisition of Emerson Ecologics to Accelerate Adoption of Integrative Medicine

Fulllscript, the leading care delivery platform for integrative medicine, today announced it has completed the acquisition of Emerson Ecologics, a long-standing player in the integrative healthcare industry. This transaction nearly doubles the annual revenue of Fullscript and doubles the number of integrative medicine patients and practitioners Fullscript supports to more than 70,000 healthcare professionals and over 5 million patients.

"This acquisition is a giant step toward bringing integrative medicine into the mainstream. It provides Fullscript with the scale and technology to arm practitioners with the tools they need to practice health promoting medicine," said Kyle Braatz, CEO at Fullscript. "Both Fullscript and Emerson Ecologics have always been committed to supporting practitioners in the delivery of care, and we know that as one entity we can create tremendous value and growth for the entire ecosystem, from partners to practitioners to patients; we are going to help a lot of people get better."

The Fullscript platform now provides access to additional key professional grade supplements and wellness brands, diagnostic testing and an expanded distribution network to enhance the practitioner and patient experience. In addition, Fullscript will continue its extensive investment in treatment adherence, personalized care, and cutting-edge clinical research to support the advancement and spread of integrative medicine, which grew at a 25% CAGR between 2012 and 2020.

“With the continued rise of chronic, often reversible diseases, the conventional model of patient care is ripe for disruption, and Fullscript is helping drive that change,” added Dr. Jeff Gladd, Chief Medical Officer, at Fullscript. “Integrative medicine, a philosophy of care built on a foundation of health promotion rather than simply the management of disease, allows providers to partner with their patients and guide individual health journeys founded on the core principles of health: nutrition, movement and mindfulness.”

Fullscript has been the pre-eminent platform for leading the delivery of the integrative care movement by providing evidence-based supplement recommendations and distribution to support providers’ healthcare delivery along with patient content unique to their health journeys. The acquisition provides Fullscript with opportunities to further scale the business and drive product innovation that allows practitioners to spend more time caring for patients while enhancing their patients’ engagement with their own wellness.

About Fullscript

Fullscript is a powerful care delivery platform for integrative medicine practitioners offering access to personalized treatment planning, ongoing wellness education, and healthcare’s best supplements and wellness products. With over a decade of development and used by more than 70,000 healthcare professionals serving over 5 million patients, Fullscript delivers the scale, technology and expertise to support the growth of integrative medicine and delivery of high-quality care. For more information, visit www.fullscript.com.

 

Released: March 2022


Gaia Herbs Appoints Scientific Advisory Board to Advance Innovation in Herbal Supplements

Gaia Herbs, a leading natural herbal products brand in the United States, today announced the formation of its new scientific advisory board (SAB) to support the company's mission of connecting people, plants and planet to create healing. The creation of the SAB is the next step in Gaia's commitment to serving health care practitioners and their patients. The SAB members will collaborate with the Gaia Herbs team, including Dr. Jeremy Stewart, Chief Scientist and Vice President of Research and Development, and Dr. Corey B. Schuler, Director of Medical Science.

 

With specialties and backgrounds including internal medicine, pharmacy, metabolic/gut health, herbal therapeutics and more, the newly appointed advisors will help Gaia Herbs best serve practitioners with advancements in plant-based supplements.

 

"At Gaia Herbs, we are committed to the future of integrative health care, and this SAB is an important step toward broadening our capabilities within the herbal industry," said Corey B. Schuler, FNP, DC, CNS, Director of Medical Science at Gaia Herbs. "As part of this commitment, we are thrilled to bring on these new advisors from diverse educational backgrounds and specialties—all of whom have a common passion for exploring where science and art meet in modern health care. With the help of these advisors, Gaia Herbs will continue to provide high-quality, evidence-backed products that consumers can rely on and trust."

 

The members of the new Gaia Herbs SAB include:

 

Richard Harris, MD, PharmD, MBA

Dr. Richard Harris is a board-certified internal medicine physician and pharmacist with a client-centric view that focuses on building relationships and trust through a comprehensive lifestyle medicine system. He currently hosts Strive for Great Health Podcast, has several online wellness courses and consults for various health- and wellness-focused companies. Dr. Harris maintains a social impact investing fund and manages an online lifestyle medicine practice focused on metabolic and gut health.

 

Susan J. Hewlings, PhD, RD

Dr. Susan Hewlings serves as Director of Scientific Affairs for Nutrasource/GRAS Associates. She is a registered dietitian and Professor at Central Michigan University with over 20 years of experience in higher education and the industry. Having published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals and books, Dr. Hewlings works to help companies in the dietary supplement, cannabis, food, beverage and companion animal industries utilize science to guide their product development from concept to claim.

 

Orna Izakson, ND, RH(AHG)

Dr. Orna Izakson is a licensed naturopathic doctor, registered herbalist, writer and educator practicing in Alaska and Oregon. Dr. Izakson has advanced training in herbal therapeutics and is currently a Functional Psychiatry Fellow with Psychiatry Redefined. For six years, she served as the Founder and Lead Physician of the Traditional Roots Institute at the National University of Natural Medicine, delivering herbal education to practitioners and the public. Dr. Izakson continues her mission of educating the public about full-spectrum plant medicine as a public speaker and online educator. She helps treat patients for mood, chronic disease and women's health at Alta Natural Medicine and Celilo Natural Health Center.

 

Majd Isreb, MD, FACP, FASN, IFMCP

Dr. Majd Isreb is a certified functional medicine provider, board-certified internist and nephrologist who has been in practice for more than 18 years. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Isreb serves as an Assistant Professor at Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Washington State University. He founded the Integrative Kidney Institute and serves as its current Medical Director. As part of his mission to end the chronic kidney disease epidemic, Dr. Isreb champions treatments of kidney disease that apply an individualized, integrative medicine approach.

 

About Gaia Herbs

For 35 years, Gaia Herbs has been connecting people, plants, and planet to create healing. Gaia Herbs is a leading herbal brand in North America committed to creating the highest-quality health and wellness products assured for purity, potency, and integrity. The company offers more than 150 herbal products, including liquid extracts, functional powders, gummies, teas, and patented Liquid Phyto-Caps®. From its Certified Organic farm nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, the company uses regenerative agriculture methods to grow more than three million plants each year and harvests and extracts the herbs at just the right time, when the phytochemicals are at their peak. Gaia Herbs introduced the world's first herb traceability program, meetyourherbs.com, which allows it to share complete transparency around its herbs and ingredients. An extensive quality team and certified laboratory (ISO/IEC 17025) further support product integrity. The company is proud to be a Certified B Corporation® using business as a force for good™. Through the Gaia Herbs Roots Initiative, the company champions environmental and social sustainability on its farm and around the world. Learn more at gaiaherbs.com and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

 

 

SOURCE Gaia Herbs

 

Released: March 2022


A study published in Sleep Health examining a nationally representative population of US adults to look at associations between blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and sleep, found that blood levels of EPA, DHA and total omega-3 fatty acids were persistently lower among adults who had experienced very short sleep (less than 5 hours) relative to adults who had normal sleep (7-9 hours).

Additionally, when compared to adults with normal sleep, it was revealed that adults with short sleep (5-6 hours), had marginally lower EPA, DHA, and total omega-3 fatty acids. Over 2/3 of US adults (68.3%) do not currently consumer enough Omega 3s in their daily diet to meet their nutritional needs based on the US Dietary Guidelines.

 

 This cross-sectional study conducted by Pharmavite, analyzed data from 1,314 adults aged 19 years and older (not pregnant or breastfeeding), who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-2012.* Additional analysis revealed that there were no significant associations between total omega-3 fatty acids levels in circulation and difficulty falling asleep or sleep disorders.

"Sleep insufficiency is a key issue deepening the sleep crisis that currently impacts roughly 70 million Americans," said Dr. Susan Mitmesser, VP of Science & Technology, Pharmavite. "While more research is needed to clarify causality and underlying mechanisms that link daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids to improved sleep, the results of this study add to a growing body of research that suggests omega-3 fatty acids have an even greater role in supporting human health than previously thought."

 

For years, a number of studies have indicated that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, but recent research is identifying other areas of human health where omega-3s may play a beneficial role. In 2021, a study conducted by Pharmavite and published in the Journal of Affective Disorders Reports, was the first to evaluate the relationship between depression and the levels of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) in the circulatory system (based on analysis of NHANES 2011-2012). Analysis of the data revealed that adults with higher omega-3 blood levels correlated with a lower risk of depression and for those with higher EPA levels, there was an association with a higher quality of life, including performing daily life tasks and getting along with people.

 

These latest findings published in Sleep Health add to the mounting evidence that points towards the broader impact Omega-3 fatty acids can have on human health including heart health, mental health and now sleep.

 

 

Pharmavite is a pioneer in the health and wellness industry, earning the trust of consumers, healthcare professionals and retailers by developing innovative vitamin and supplement solutions backed by science that adhere to strict manufacturing practices. Through its Nature Made®, EQUELLE®, MegaFood ®, Nurish by Nature Made® and Uqora brands, Pharmavite is dedicated to helping people live healthier, more vital lives. Based in California, Pharmavite is a subsidiary of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Visit www.pharmavite.com and follow us on LinkedIn for the latest news and information about Pharmavite and its brands.

 

Released: March 2022


Memory and concentration problems are common in long COVID and must not be ignored

Seven in ten long COVID patients experience concentration and memory problems several months after the initial onset of their disease, with many performing worse than their peers on cognitive tests, according to new research from the University of Cambridge.

Half of the patients in the study reported difficulties in getting medical professionals to take their symptoms seriously, perhaps because cognitive symptoms do not get the same attention as lung problems or fatigue.

In a study of 181 long COVID patients, 78% reported difficulty concentrating, 69% reported brain fog, 68% reported forgetfulness, and 60% reported problems finding the right word in speech.  These self-reported symptoms were reflected in significantly lower ability to remember words and pictures in cognitive tests.

Participants carried out multiple tasks to assess their decision-making and memory. These included remembering words in a list, and remembering which two images appeared together. The results revealed a consistent pattern of ongoing memory problems in those who had suffered COVID-19 infection. Problems were more pronounced in people whose overall ongoing symptoms were more severe.

To help understand the cause of the cognitive issues, the researchers investigated other symptoms that might be linked. They found that people who experienced fatigue and neurological symptoms, like dizziness and headache, during their initial illness were more likely to have cognitive symptoms later on. They also found that those who were still experiencing neurological symptoms were particularly impaired on cognitive tests.

The findings are of particular concern given the prevalence of long COVID as a percentage of the workforce: the Office for National Statistics estimates that 10-25% of COVID-19 sufferers go on to have some degree of chronic illness.

“This is important evidence that when people say they’re having cognitive difficulties post-COVID, these are not necessarily the result of anxiety or depression. The effects are measurable - something concerning is happening,” said Dr Muzaffer Kaser, a researcher in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Psychiatry and Consultant Psychiatrist at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, who was involved in the study.

“Memory difficulties can significantly affect people’s daily lives, including the ability to do their jobs properly,” he added.

The researchers say their results support other findings that suggest society will face a ‘long tail’ of workforce illness due to long COVID. It is therefore important not just for the sake of individuals, but for broader society, to be able to prevent, predict, identify and treat issues associated with long COVID.

“Long COVID has received very little attention politically or medically. It urgently needs to be taken more seriously, and cognitive issues are an important part of this. When politicians talk about ‘Living with COVID’ – that is, unmitigated infection, this is something they ignore. The impact on the working population could be huge,” said Dr Lucy Cheke, a researcher in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Psychology and senior author of the paper.

The findings, published today in two papers in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, are among the first results of an online study – called ‘COVID and Cognition’ - monitoring the symptoms of 181 long COVID patients over 18 months. The majority suffered COVID-19 at least six months before the study began. Very few people had been ill enough with COVID-19 to be hospitalised. A further 185 people who have not had COVID-19 are involved in the study for comparison.

Cheke added: “People think that long COVID is ‘just’ fatigue or a cough, but cognitive issues are the second most common symptom - and our data suggest this is because there is a significant impact on the ability to remember. There is growing evidence that COVID-19 impacts the brain, and our findings reflect that.”

“Infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 can lead to inflammation in the body, and this inflammation can affect behaviour and cognitive performance in ways we still don’t fully understand, but we think are related to an early excessive immune response,” said Kaser.

Study participants were recruited between October 2020 and March 2021, when the Alpha variant and the original form of SARS-CoV-2 was circulating in the population. Participants will continue to be monitored, using both symptom reports and objective cognitive tests, to see how long their symptoms persist.

The study currently has no data on long COVID associated with the Delta or Omicron variants of coronavirus, although a new cohort is now being recruited to test this. The researchers say further research is also needed to understand the complex effects of COVID on the brain, cognition and mental health.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines describe post-COVID-19 syndrome as ‘Signs or symptoms that develop during or after infection consistent with COVID-19, continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.’

The study found that even among those not admitted to hospital, people who had worse initial symptoms of COVID-19 were more likely to have a variety of ongoing symptoms (including nausea, abdominal pain, chest tightness and breathing issues) weeks or months later, and those symptoms were likely to be more severe than in people whose initial illness was mild. It also found that people over 30 were more likely to have severe ongoing symptoms than younger people.

“It’s important that people seek help if they’re concerned about any persistent symptoms after COVID infection. COVID can affect multiple systems and further assessment is available in long COVID clinics across the UK, following a GP referral," said Kaser.

 

The researchers are now recruiting adults and children for the next phase of their study. More information is available at: https://www.camblab.psychol.cam.ac.uk/participate-in-research

 

Released: March 2022


A Potential New Test for Diagnosing Lyme Disease

For scientists and clinicians alike, one of the Holy Grails for successfully treating and curing Lyme disease is developing tests that identify the disease sooner, show when people are cured of infection, and can diagnose reinfection.

Now, researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine say they have identified just such a testing mechanism. It detects a type of antibody that infected individuals produce against a substance the Lyme bacteria acquires from the host in order to grow. The researchers believe tests to detect these autoantibodies – antibodies that mistakenly target and react with a person's own tissues or organs – could provide clinicians with a way to diagnose the disease sooner, know whether treatment with antibiotics is working, and identify patients who have been reinfected.

Authors of the study are Peter GwynneLuke Clendenen, and Linden Hu of the school’s Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, and colleagues at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Their research is being published on March 15 by the Journal of Clinical Investigation (embargoed until 12pm ET).

Lyme disease, which was identified five decades ago along the Connecticut coast and spread across New England and the mid-Atlantic region, affects almost 500,000 people in the U.S. every year. Caused by a bite from an infected tick, it frequently goes undetected unless a person notices the telltale rash that forms around the bite.

Lyme disease can lead to debilitating long-term complications including arthritis, fatigue, mental impairment, and in the most severe cases, attacks on the heart and brain tissue. Caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, Lyme disease can often be treated with antibiotics. But in 10 to 20 percent of cases, the disease’s effects can persist.

Testing to detect Lyme disease exists, but it has limitations, says Gwynne, the lead author of the study and research scientist at Tufts School of Medicine who received a Tufts Launchpad Accelerator award for his work on Lyme disease.

“Traditional Lyme tests can stay positive for prolonged periods of time after treatment – years or even a lifetime,” he says. “As a result, for some individuals suffering from symptoms that resemble long-term Lyme disease infection, clinicians are never sure whether the patient has persistent Lyme disease, was cured and then reinfected, or was cured and is suffering from something else.”

Targeting Fats to Fight Lyme

“We started this current work to learn how Borrelia burgdorferi acquires key nutrients, like fats, for growth,” says Gwynne. “The Lyme bacteria, despite being a very successful pathogen, is much more dependent than other bacteria on acquiring nutrients from its environment.”

“In the process of our research, we found that the organism takes fats called phospholipids directly from its surroundings in the host, and puts it on its surface,” says Hu, the Vice Dean of Research at the school and Paul and Elaine Chervinsky Professor of Immunology. “That finding led us to look to see if the direct use of a host fat by the bacteria might lead the immune system to recognize it as a foreign substance and create antibodies to it.”

What the scientists discovered is that both animals and patients infected with the Lyme bacterium developed autoantibodies to multiple phospholipids. Because autoantibodies can be damaging to the host, these autoantibodies are tightly regulated and tend to disappear quickly once the stimulating factor is removed.

“The antibodies also seem to develop much more quickly than traditional antibodies to the Lyme bacteria—likely because your body has previously created these autoantibodies and downregulated them,” says Hu.

While current testing makes it difficult to diagnose reinfection or successful treatment, “the anti-phospholipid autoantibodies—because of their quick increase and quick resolution with treatment—can fill these gaps as a novel additional test,” Gwynne says. “They may make it possible to tell whether treatment has eradicated the Lyme disease bacteria. And they therefore also make it possible to tell if a patient with a prior infection now has a new infection.”

Gwynne and Hu have a provisional patent pending describing the use of antiphospholipid antibodies in the diagnosis of Lyme disease. Their hope is that if their discovery is borne out by further research, a diagnostic company could begin development of a commercially available version of their test within a couple of years.

Can Persistent Cases Be Predicted?

A bigger question, which was not examined in the current paper, is whether these autoantibodies may identify a subset of patients who will develop persistent symptoms of Lyme disease after treatment. Up to 20 percent of patients can develop persistent symptoms after Lyme disease. Diagnosis of these patients is currently only by clinical symptoms, making it likely that patients with different causes of their symptoms are grouped together. And treatment trials in patients with persistent Lyme disease are unlikely to show benefit if that occurs.

“Anti-phospholipid antibodies are commonly seen in autoimmune diseases like lupus, and are associated with blood clots and persistent inflammation that causes other disease conditions,” says Hu. “Many of the persistent symptoms in patients who continue to have symptoms after being diagnosed with Lyme disease are similar to those autoimmune diseases.”

“If there ends up being a link between having persistent Lyme symptoms and these autoantibodies, this would be the first test that could be used to distinguish a group of patients who have persistent Lyme disease,” he says. “It would allow us to test specific new therapies targeted to a defined mechanism.”

 

Source: Tufts University

 

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