Real Deal: No More Needles for Blood Draws

v12Velano Vascular is on a mission to bring compassion to healthcare and make painful blood draws more pleasant for patients.  So far, they’re succeeding. They’ve received their 3rd FDA-clearance to help children and adults who cringe at the sight of needles.

Needlephobia affects 24% of adults and 63% of children.

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The Boy Who Cried Wolf may come to mind when we talk about no more needles for blood draws because of ill-fated Theranos.  They’re the overly-hyped biotech start-up currently under federal investigation by the S.E.C. and U.S. Attorney’s office. Patients initially thrilled about no more needles got hoodwinked by fake news.

Meet the Real Deal.

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Velano Vascular creates a single-use, disposable device called PIVO.

 

It attaches to a peripheral IV line, in hospital inpatients, allowing for lab quality blood samples to be drawn back through the IV –without requiring venipuncture (needle sticks or drawing blood from central lines) .

 

Many of the questions Therano’s CEO never answered, avoided or even got asked by reporters is welcomed by Velano Vascular’s CEO, Eric Stone, who I interviewed.

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WHAT IS PIVO AN ACRONYM FOR?

ERIC STONE, CEO, VELANO VASCULAR:  PIVO derives from “peripheral intravenous catheter,” or PIV, which is a medical term for the standard IV most hospital patients are hooked up to in order to receive intravenous fluids..

WHAT IS PIVO?

STONE: PIVO is a single-use, disposable device that attaches temporarily to an IV line, allowing for needle-free blood draws from this existing line.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

STONE: It enables blood draws to be taken by clinicians from the same intravenous (IV) catheter most hospital patients already have inserted in their arms, instead of poking them again each time they need their blood drawn and instead of accessing larger catheters (Central Venous Catheters) which raise different challenges associated with each time they are accessed.

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WHO DOES THIS DEVICE HELP PEOPLE?

STONE:  The device works for any patient with an IV catheter. Of course, children tend to more commonly have an acute fear of needles, so it can make pediatric care less invasive and painful.

There are also an estimated 30% of our hospital inpatients that are classified as DVA (Difficult Venous Access) because of aging, obesity, disease and more.

PIVO helps practitioners capture critical labs from these growing populations of patients who otherwise may take significant time and expense.

STONE: Also, those in hospitals or other inpatient settings, where the average length of stay is almost 5 days in the U.S. require daily or more frequent blood draws. Many of these patients have problematic veins or skin, which requires a lot of poking and prodding to draw blood. PIVO tackles these issues head on.

According to the CDC, an estimated 35M inpatient stays occur in the U.S. alone each year.  So, PIVO is set to  help many millions of Americans, not to mention those inpatients around the world.

HOW IS PIVO MORE COMFORTABLE & LESS DANGEROUS FOR PATIENT?

STONE:  For patients who have their blood drawn for a check-up once a year in an outpatient setting, blood draws are not that disruptive.  For a “frequent flyer” in the hospital, or a DVA (difficult venous access) patient –noted as such upon admission or who has become DVA after 10 or 20 days in the hospital feeling like a pin cushion –removing the needle from the procedure can have a lifelong impact.

Enabling practitioners to avoid accessing central lines (large, surgically-placed catheters) for blood draws aims to reduce the risks of Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infection.

Further, removing the needle from blood draws helps avoid risk of injury and infection for our phlebotomists, nurses and physicians. Hospital leadership is recognizing that an important alternative to a prevalent practice is now available.

IF I GET BLOOD WORK FROM AN ANNUAL PHYSICAL WILL THEY USE PIVO?

STONE:  PIVO requires a Peripheral IV catheter in order to access the vein. The IV line serves as a temporary conduit to the vein, so without the IV line PIVO cannot access the vein.

The IV line serves as a temporary conduit to the vein, so without the IV line, PIVO cannot access a patient’s blood.  As such, this procedure is most appropriate for the hospital inpatient setting.

I do envision PIVO will adopted in other care settings, where patients possess an IV line and require frequent blood draws, but the annual physical unfortunately is not one of these.

WHY AREN’T IV’S GOOD FOR DRAWING BLOOD WITHOUT PIVO?

STONE:  IV’s are essentially plastic  tubes which overtime become soft, like a noodle. While a noodle is fine for injecting fluids and medications into a patient, its soft walls collapse under the negative pressure of suction when you try to take fluids out.

There are other reasons why IV’s are less-than-optimal for drawing blood back, but these are quite complex in nature and we’re only just now uncovering some of the novel reasons through our research with leading clinical collaborators.

PIVO simply inserts a small, stiffer tube inside the existing IV tube for the purpose of drawing blood.

It works by propping open and unkinking the IV tube temporarily while enabling lab quality blood be collected.

HOW WAS THE IDEA FOR PIVO ORIGINALLY DEVELOPED?

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STONE:   Velano’s co-founder and physician, Pitamber Devgon had an elderly patient with bruises up and down her arms from repeated needle sticks.  That patient asked him why he was continually sticking her with needles when she already had an IV catheter in her vein. He didn’t know, but began exploring if it was possible to draw lab quality samples out of the IV line using a separate device.

Stone, a Wharton MBA shares, “Most of my career has been in healthcare, plus I am a needle phobic following my childhood diagnosis with Crohn’s disease as a teenager. So, when I was looking for a company start and a product to bring to market and my former graduate school classmates introduced us, I was instantly engaged following years as a serial healthcare entrepreneur and patient advocate.  From that connection,  Velano was born. “

Velano first won FDA approval for PIVO in 2015, and has also obtained multiple U.S. and international patents for it, with additional applications outstanding in the U.S. & abroad.

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STONE: “Five years from now,” asserts Stone, “I believe, without a doubt that PIVO will be the standard of care for inpatient blood draws and vascular access.”

Thanks for a great interview and innovation for healthcare consumers! -Maria Dorfner

http://velanovascular.com

 

MEDIA:   Contact: Michael Azzano at 415-596-1978 to set up telephone or on-camera interviews with patients or Eric Stone, CEO, Velano Vascular.

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RELATED NEWS:

 

A year ago, Forbes contributor Robert Reiss called Eric Stone “The Steve Jobs of Drawing Blood” and tested PIVO himself.  Reprint of article below courtesy of Reiss.

The Steve Jobs Of Drawing Blood

by Robert Reiss , FORBES CONTRIBUTOR (specializing in writing about CEOs)

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

I was recently at a board meeting at Griffin Hospital and our CEO was telling us about a new product that could transform perhaps the most ubiquitous healthcare practice – drawing blood.

The concept from a company called Velano Vascular repurposes the IV most hospital patients already have in their arms so blood can be drawn without having their veins repeatedly stuck by needles.

It aims to eliminate the associated negatives of traditional blood drawing: the pain and anxiety, injuries, excessive time and cost.

It seemed like such a revolutionary solution to a broad issue – sort of like in 1892 when Keds invented sneakers – and I was curious to understand if this was truly an historic moment where the age old process of drawing blood could once and for all be revolutionized.

It reminded me of one of my first CEO interviews back in 2007 with Jay Walker, the founder of Priceline when he described the driving force behind one of his over 700 patents, “The key to successful innovation is having a better solution for something that’s used everywhere and every day.”

So I decided to experience this innovation firsthand and a few weeks later I intentionally became a patient and experienced this new needleless way to draw numerous samples of blood.

I was amazed, the nurses were able to draw blood easily, and to do so as many times as they wanted without ever having to stick a needle in me again.

I was next introduced to the founder of Velano Vascular, Eric Stone, who I now admiringly call the Steve Jobs of drawing blood, and below are a few insights from our conversation:

Robert Reiss: How much blood is currently being drawn and what are the problems with the current system?

Eric Stone: Blood draws are not fun – and they are overlooked and underappreciated…except by patients. They are likely the most common invasive medical procedure, with an estimated half a billion in U.S. hospitals alone conducted every year, and two to three times this number across all hospitals worldwide annually.

Recognizing that the U.S. represents nearly 40 million inpatient admissions annually, with an average length of stay of five days, and a conservative estimate of two blood draws per patient per day, we are easily conducting hundreds of millions of inpatient draws each year quite readily.

This does not even take into account other non-hospital settings where patients require regular blood draws, such as long-term care facilities, skilled nursing homes and more – all locations where patients may have a peripheral IV (PIV) catheter indwelling (a requirement for our innovation to be relevant).

For a procedure that informs nearly 70% of all clinical decisions, it is remarkable that the last major innovation was the abandonment of bloodletting centuries ago.

Whether you’re the parent of a sick child or the son or daughter of an elderly parent, repeat hospitalizations and frequent blood draws hit home for just about everyone. It’s scary, it hurts, and it’s critical that we begin to pay attention and stop taking the steely reserve of our patients for granted.

Herein lies the rub. People scared of needles (trypanophobia) avoid necessary tests and treatment, needles injure healthcare workers more than 2 million times a year in accidents that can lead to serious infection, and the list of dysfunction goes on.

The way we draw blood today has real emotional, clinical and financial consequences. We can, and we must, do better. We can start by paying attention.

Reiss: What specifically is different about the Velano Vascular product?

Stone: Velano’s FDA-approved PIVO™ is a disposable, needle free device that connects to a patient’s existing IV catheter, enabling blood draws during their entire hospital stay without requiring subsequent needle sticks.

It turns out that IVs are great at putting fluids into the body but unreliable at pulling them out – that’s why patients receive so many needle sticks while in the hospital.

PIVO turns the routine IV into a reliable conduit for drawing high quality blood samples. This is an elegant solution to a centuries-old problem.

Now, patients no longer need to feel like a “pin cushions” or experience abrupt awakenings between 2:00 am and 6:00 am for the nighttime needle stick – when 40% of blood draws occur.

The company was founded based on a simple idea back in 2012, and subsequently PIVO has been used in clinical pilots and trials at a number of leading U.S. hospitals since receiving regulatory clearance in early 2015.

It has won a number of awards, including the Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovation Award for Vascular Access in 2016 and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation competition at Children’s National Health in Washington, DC.

Reiss: What are the strengths and weaknesses of your methodology on quality outcomes?

Stone: Velano is most often measured by the clinical quality of blood samples drawn and its impact on both practitioner and patient experience.

In thousands of patients, the quality of our blood samples has been definitive and easy to measure, both through clinical studies and “real world,” commercial use.

Blood drawn from PIVO has similarly low hemolysis rates (blood cell shearing or tearing that can relegate a patient to a re-draw and delays in essential care) to needle draws.

Clinical study efforts and pilots with some of the country’s leading healthcare institutions such as University Hospitals Cleveland, Intermountain Healthcare, The University of Pennsylvania Hospital and Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital reflect clinically appropriate laboratory results – confirming that blood drawn with our compassionate technology can become a standard of care for clinical decision-making.

Practitioner and patient experience is harder to quantify, but our surveys and testimonials to-date are resoundingly positive. In fact, patients who receive PIVO draws are requesting PIVO when transferred to floors in the hospital that are not participating in our pilots or upon readmission to the hospital. They are actually asking for the product – it is remarkable.

The onus is on Velano to continue improving our quality measurements to undeniably prove this innovation is truly a win-win-win, as we seek to elevate the quality of care and outcomes for patients, practitioners and hospitals alike.

Reiss: What is the financial model for a user and what is the economic impact nationally?

Stone: The cost of a blood draw is not just the $1 or less spent for a needle. Instead, it is the many billions of dollars a year spent on wasted materials, rejected blood samples, patient and practitioner risks, delayed results, labor costs, central line escalations, and more resulting from this less-than-desirable and madly inefficient procedure.

Some of the financial downsides of traditional blood draw standards are somewhat obscure, however we’ve helped our hospital partners understand the current impact by simply asking sincere questions, seeking to learn, and paying a modicum of attention to the topic.

Think about the blood draw on an elderly or obese or diabetic patient that can take as long as an hour of a nurse’s time and 2-3 needles to find a vein and collect an adequate sample.

Consider that even one single case of an employee blood borne pathogen transmission from a needle stick can cost millions of dollars in exposure for a hospital.

For PIVO, we understand that in an environment of increasing health industry price transparency and pressures, when our entire healthcare system is experiencing economic upheaval, and cost neutrality is required for rolling out true innovation in hospitals.

 

Reiss: Why did you start Velano Vascular and what’s your vision?

Stone: The reason why is very simple – because I am first and foremost a patient, and I am a parent.   25 years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, launching me on a lifelong journey as a healthcare entrepreneur, patient advocate, and National Trustee of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Since a young age, I’ve been motivated by IMPACT.

I started Velano in partnership with an intellectually curious physician inventor intrigued by a seemingly simple question posed by his patient – “why are you repeatedly sticking me with needles [when I already have an IV line in my arm]?”

This simple, yet elegant idea resonated strongly with me, for I am needle-phobic myself, and I have been that “tough stick” patient during my hospital stays. Today, this brilliant idea has become reality.

My vision for Velano is to touch every human being on the planet; for we will all spend time in a hospital at some point in life, and we will certainly need our blood drawn when we do.

 

http://velanovascular.com

 

MEDIA:   Contact: Michael Azzano at 415-596-1978 to set up telephone or on-camera interviews with patients or Eric Stone, CEO of Velano Vascular

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Maria Dorfner founder of NewsMD: What’s Hot in Health

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NewsMD Communications was founded in 1998 to educate healthcare consumers by connecting medical + media to inspire and empower millions to want to live healthy.

In 1993, Maria created Healthcare Consumers, Healthy Living, Lifestyles & Longevity and Healthcare Practitioners. The shows aired on CNBC, which she helped launch in 1989.  She is the founder of Cleveland Clinic News Service, helped launch MedPage Today (sold to CNN) and wrote & produced 21st Century Medicine for Discovery Health.  Her awards include Freddie for Excellence in Medical Reporting, Outstanding Leadership Abilities, Media Recognition, Who’s Who, Medical Reporting Scholarship. She produced for Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Report, talk shows & reality programming.

She began as an intern at NBC todaylogo SHOW in NYC in 1983.

This is her blog.

Have an innovative solution healthcare consumers|media should know about?

Contact: maria.dorfner@yahoo.com  

Response only if it’s a story of interest. Thank you.

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GAME CHANGER: NEW SMART HEART MONITOR

 

Super excited to tell you about a new smart heart monitor you can use at home. It will help 28 million heart disease patients in the U.S. keep track of their heart.

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Keep track from the comfort of their home at any time. And it’s just been FDA approved.

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Meet Eko DUO.  The first handheld mobile, wireless, EHR-connected stethoscope, which connects to your smart phone.

It allows you to amplify, visualize and record crystal clear heart and lung sounds.

Imagine not needing to wait for your next followup appointment to transmit a concern to your physician. It works under the supervision or prescription from a physician.

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Eko Duo is set to help millions of heart disease patients who are often discharged with little more than an info packet and instructions to monitor their weight.

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Now patients can be sent home from the hospital with a direct link back to their physician, helping reduce readmissions and false alarms.

“The goal is to bring hospital-quality care to the home.”
Connor Landgraf, CEO and co-founder, Eko DUO

The device wirelessly pairs with Eko’s secure, HIPAA-compliant app, enabling remote monitoring and diagnosis by a clinician or specialist.

It works with the Eko app on any iPhone, iPad, Windows PC or Android device.

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Eko DUO can also be used by clinicians as an enhanced stethoscope for in-clinic cardiac screenings, enabling physicians to quickly diagnose and monitor patients.

Clinicians can use it bedside or remotely to quickly spot heart abnormalities including arrhythmias, heart murmurs, and valvular heart diseases.

I interviewed Ami Bhatt, M.D., a Cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Director of Outpatient Cardiology and the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and she believes Eko DUO will improve outcomes through early intervention.

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Dr. Bhatt says, “Cardiology programs are looking for ways to deliver hospital-quality healthcare at home.  The ability to capture digital heart sounds and an ECG expands our portfolio of mechanisms to remotely monitor the heart – and brings diagnosis and opportunities for early intervention even further upstream.” 

Heart disease can strike people of all ages.

I spoke with Stacy Bingham, a registered nurse from Oregon with 5 children, who knows this firsthand. She and her husband have no prior history of heart disease in their family, yet 3 of her 5 children end up needing heart transplants.

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When Stacy noticed her oldest child, Sierra acting tired with a loss of appetite for a few weeks, she never suspected the cause was an underlying heart condition.

“I noticed her face and eyes were swollen. She complained her stomach hurt.”

That’s when Stacy and her husband took her to a family practitioner.

“The doctor told us it’s probably a flu bug and sent us home. When her condition worsened she had an x-ray.”

X-ray results revealed Sierra’s heart was enlarged.  Dilated cardio myopathy. She later learned two of her other children also had heart problems.

“If they had not finally found Sierra’s heart condition, she may not have survived. We live in a really rural part of Eastern Oregon and we now have three kids with heart transplants that need to be monitored for life.”

Today, Stacy’s family takes nothing for granted, especially innovations that help.

“If this device can be used at home and we can rule out scary things and know when it’s not something we need to rush to a hospital for that would be wonderful.” –Stacy Bingham

James Young also knows how life can change in a heartbeat.

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Young was just 40-years-old when he first experienced symptoms of heart failure. Symptoms he ignored until they were severe and his sister insisted on it.

“I was coughing in mornings and throughout the day. I thought it was simply allergies. I vomited phlegm some mornings and still didn’t see a doctor.”

But the coughing became more painful. While shoveling, it stopped him in his tracks.

“I was outside shoveling snow when I turn behind me and  see a trail of blood.”

His sister noticed he didn’t look well and insisted he go see a physician.

“That’s when I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. I was shocked.”

James felt anxiety, depression and uncertainty about his future at this time. Young believes Eko DUO will not only help alleviate false alarms and unnecessary hospital readmissions, but needless worrying as well.

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“Eko DUO would have given me assurance the doctor knew where I stood daily. If there were any issues outstanding needing to be addressed immediately. It gives the doctor an opportunity to respond expeditiously to those concerns.”

Today, James is doing great and is a national spokesperson and heart failure Ambassador for the American Heart Association.

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“I went from a 25% functioning heart to being an avid runner and cycler. I’ve taken on a new lease in life. As a community advocate I can help inspire others and give them hope.”

Ami Bhatt, M.D says that hope also translates to much needed continuous care rather than outpatient care.

“Robust toolkits for caring for patients in the community will hopefully lead to more appropriate healthcare utilization through continuous rather than episodic outpatient care.”

HERE’S HOW EKO WAS DEVELOPED:

Eko’s co-founder & CEO, Connor Landgraf, is also a heart disease patient.

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Connor navigated countless cardiology visits, screenings and referrals.

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In 2013, during his senior year as at the University of California at Berkeley, Connor attended a panel discussion at UC San Francisco on technological shortcomings facing modern medical practices.

One technical gap cardiologists claimed stood out beyond the rest: the stethoscope.

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So Conner and his co-founders welcomed the stethoscope, a two-century old tool, into the 21st-century.

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Photo: Connor and his co-founders, Jason Bellet and Tyler Crouch

 

The newly FDA approved Eko DUO brings that to the next level.
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To learn more about this remarkable 21st Century technology we love visit:  http://www.ekodevices.com

 

 

Factoids:

  • According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
    The American Heart Associations says the U.S. currently spends over $26 billion annually on heart failure hospitalization. 25% of heart failure patients are readmitted within 30 days — 50% are readmitted in 6 months with hospitals now being penalized for high readmission rates.
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  • Fact: 83% of parents experience anxiety surrounding their child’s referral to a pediatric cardiologist for an innocent murmur.
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  • Fact: Average cash price for an echocardiogram is $2,275 and even with insurance, patients can expect to pay 10 to 30% of this cost.
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  • Fact: For a pediatric subspecialist such as a pediatric cardiologist, patients must wait between 5 weeks and 3 months to get an appointment.
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  • Fact: Internal medicine residents misdiagnose more than 75% of cardiac events.
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  • Fact: 70% of all pediatric cardiac referrals for murmurs are unnecessary.
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  • Fact: Average PCP needs to coordinate care with 99 other physicians working across 53 practices.
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  • Fact: Only 50% of initial referrals are accompanied by information from the PCP.
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  • Fact: Patients in rural communities must travel an average of 56 miles to see a specialist.
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  • Fact: About 46.2 million people, or 15% of the U.S. population, reside in rural counties.

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Eko DUO.  A real game changer for heart patients worldwide.

http://www.ekodevices.com

 

 

Expert Newborn Screenings A Heartbeat Away!

jimmy-kimmel-baby-billy2-1This week, Jimmy Kimmel shared the emotional story of his beautiful newborn son’s heart surgery.  He and his wife Molly welcomed their second child, William “Billy” Kimmel.

At three days old, Billy had successful open heart surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and is now home with his family.  On his show, Jimmy opened up about his son’s birth and health complications. He also underscored the need for the accurate and timely screening of congenital heart disease (CHD).

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Essential to early CHD diagnosis is the detection of a murmur using a stethoscope during a newborn’s first physical exam.

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But routine neonatal examination without specialist consults fail to detect more than half of babies with heart disease.

Approximately 160 infants pass away from undetected Congenital Heart Defects each year in the United States.

William “Billy” Kimmel, who is absolutely adorable below is one of the lucky ones; looks like he’s already laughing at Dad’s jokes too.

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Billy thankfully had the condition detected early, but many children with CHD get discharged with undetected or misdiagnosed conditions.

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After the events of this week, expecting parents have every right to question if their child is being screened appropriately or if clinicians known to misinterpret heart sounds are interpreting their child’s heart sounds accurately.

Kimmel’s story is really a wake-up call that we need more nurses like the wonderful ones who treated his baby boy.

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Now, there’s a device that will make sure congenital heart screenings more effective for infants.

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And it’s not just infants. Over 1.3 million adults live with congenital heart disease in the U.S, which now surpasses the number of children with congenital heart disease.

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Three entrepreneurs are well on their way to making sure accurate screenings are a heartbeat away. Their innovation paves the way for a new era of cardiac screenings.

They want to do what Shazam did for music, only for heartbeats.

Their new device called Eko [pronounced like Echo, as in a heart echo] offers the potential to dramatically improve the efficacy of newborn screenings, especially for newborns far from a pediatric cardiology center.

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The San Francisco based digital medical device company, launched Eko, an FDA-cleared digital stethoscope that enables ANY clinician, regardless of their training level, to secure a virtual pediatric cardiology opinion on heart sounds recorded with their FDA-cleared digital stethoscope.

It was a pleasure interviewing one of the founders, Jason Bellet.

Bellet says, “The silver lining in Jimmy Kimmel’s story is that the congenital heart failure was detected early through a murmur using a stethoscope and could be treated, but very often these murmurs go undiagnosed and undetected and infants leave the hospital with potentially life threatening situations.” [:27]

“Eko Devices would enable nurses and clinicians to get Cardiologist’s second opinion to immediately decrease the number of missed cases.” [:12]

Bellet is the co-founder and a brilliant former student from the University of Berkley.  He graduated in 2014 and founded Eko Devices with two fellow students, Connor Landgraf and Tyler Crouch out of the Start-up accelerator at Berkley.

The three founders successfully pitched their idea and raised $5M to bring it to market quickly and bring it to as many clinicians as they can.  It received FDA approval in September of 2015.

QUESTION: WHAT IS EKO?

ANSWER:  It’s basically a Smart Stethoscope that can bring the sounds to a trained ear immediately.

The vision is to bring machine learning and physician support tools to every clinicians stethoscope to make their screening process as easy as Shazaming a song.

QUESTION:  HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR EKO?

ANSWER:  The idea stemmed from the fact that we realized the stethoscope is used as the primary screening tool for cardiac health, including for newborn babies.

But, it’s extremely outdated and ultimately leading to misdiagnosis and lack of cardiac conditions because you hear the heart sounds, but don’t understand what you’re hearing.

Cardiologists are the ones who can differentiate what is normal and what is not.

So, what we wanted to do was make it easy for clinicians to modernize their own stethoscopes to bring it into the modern era and send concerning or confusing heart sounds immediately to cardiologists in real time using this platform or capture it to send it to a specialist.

QUESTION:  There are other digital stethoscopes out there. Why is this one unique?

Bellet says, “Our digital stethoscope is the first to allow clinicians to stream sounds wirelessly from the stethoscope to a smartphone and to a cardiologist anywhere in the world.”  [:15]

QUESTION: Is it HIPPA compliant?

ANSWER:  It’s the ONLY digital stethoscope on the market that has built a HIPPA compliant software platform to stream heart sounds from any clinician to any specialist anywhere in the world.

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QUESTION: THAT’S GROUNDBREAKING. WHERE IS IT CURRENTLY BEING USED?

ANSWER:  Eko is now used at over 700 institutions across the country and has been adopted by pediatric cardiology programs.

QUESTION: WHO NEEDS EKO?

The technology is applicable in many aspects of patient care, but especially in newborns.

QUESTION:  WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL WITH EKO?

ANSWER: The ultimate goal is bringing it even one step further.  Our idea is have machine learning tied directly into the stethoscope itself, so one day clinicians can be as accurate as cardiologists in their initial interpretation of what they hear.

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Next, I spoke with renown adult congenital heart disease specialist Ami Bhatt, M.D. F.A.C.C. who says identifying congenital heart disease in the community can be challenging at any age whether we are trying to identify a high risk newborn like Jimmy Kimmel’s or catching congenital heart disease in a school age student or adulthood.

Ami Bhatt, M.D. F.A.C.C.  is director of outpatient cardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston as well as a renown adult congenital heart disease specialist.  She innovates with the Healthcare Transformation Lab, serves as a scientific advisor for Eko Devises and runs a telemedicine practice.  She can be reached at mghachd@partners.org

Bhatt says,  “Because congenital heart disease is relatively rare it’s difficult for clinicians to identify it. The use of digital stethoscopes and other telemedicine technology which can connect the patient and caregiver in the community with experts at academic centers can improve initial diagnosis AND longterm followup.”

QUESTION:  WHAT HAPPENS WHEN KIDS WITH CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE AGE?

ANSWER:   Two things. One, as kids with congenital heart disease age, we know there are complications that may arise. Technologies like digital stethoscopes and the use of algorithms can help monitor their progression and track changes in disease BEFORE they progress too far.

And two, lack of follow-up is a persistent problem with children with congenital heart disease become adults. One of the main drivers is the challenge of access to subspecialty care.

Additionally, distance from medical centers, along with the time it takes and sometimes the cost of being away from work and family drives young adults to ignore their own healthcare needs.

The advent of digital health in congenital heart disease care empowers the patient to engage in a partnership to their health without taking away from their ability to live a full and active life.

QUESTION:  DO YOU THINK TECHNOLOGY HELPS OR HINDERS DOCTOR-PATIENT RELATIONS?

ANSWER: As the delivery of healthcare changes, caregivers are desperate to return to the ideal  doctor patient relationship, which is based on a human connection. As we build digital technology, and use machine learning to support our physicians at at time when there are so many diagnosis to be made, it allows us to concentrate on a shared patient and provider centered experience.

QUESTION:  HOW DOES AN ADULT KNOW WHEN TO GET THEIR HEART CHECKED?

ANSWER: If they had heart disease or heart surgery as a child, they should check in with their cardiologist to find out if they need any longterm care.

QUESTION: HOW DO THEY FIND A SPECIALIST?

There are advocacy websites, such http://www.ACHAheart.org which report self-identified Specialists in congenital heart disease or they can call a major center like Massachusetts General who can find a local center that can partner in their care.

QUESTION: HOW CAN THEY FIND OUT WHO USES THE EKO DEVICE?

ANSWER: If they want to find a specialist using the Eko Device people can contact Massachusetts General http://www.massgeneral.org\adultcongenitalheart for more information and ask about centers near them. They can also contact any hospital and ask for their telemedicine department and inquire if they use Eko.

QUESTION: HOW DO CLINICANS FIND EKO IF THEY’RE INTERESTED IN USING IT?

ANSWER:  Clinicians are able to access the device by going to the Eko Devices website at http://www.ekodevices.com and then if they’re interested in testing it they can purchase a unit directly from the website and send it back if they don’t like it. But that’s a rarity as the success rate has been high with over 5,000 clinicians across the country using it.

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This truly is a hot technology that will save kids like Jimmy’s, as well as those who aren’t at top hospitals in the country.

Billy will have another open-heart surgery within six months to repair the hole, and Our thoughts, well wishes and prayers are with him and his family.

“As a cardiologist, we sometimes worry about technology interfering with the doctor patient relationship. However, in these cases, it is technology that brings us to meet the patient where they live. Technology is finally bringing us home.” 

-Ami Bhatt, M.D. F.A.C.C.

If you haven’t seen Jimmy Kimmel’s story see it on Emmy-award-winning @GMA:

WATCH: @jimmykimmel shares emotional news about newborn son’s emergency heart surgery; son now at home recovering. http://abcn.ws/2pSPakE

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QUICK FACTS:

According to the CDC, 40,000 babies in the U.S. are born each year with congenital heart disease.

Recent studies estimate approximately 160 infants or 1 in 25,000 live births die per year from unrecognized CHD.

The reported sensitivity for detection of a pathologic heart murmur in newborns ranges from 80.5 to 94.9 percent among pediatric cardiologists, with specificity ranging from 25 to 92 percent.

A study in the American Journal of Medicine discovered internal medicine residents misdiagnose as many as 75% of murmurs with a stethoscope.

Routine neonatal examination fails to detect more than half of babies with heart disease; examination at 6 weeks misses one third.

A normal examination does not exclude heart disease.

Babies with murmurs at neonatal or 6 week examinations should be referred for early pediatric cardiological evaluation which will result either in a definitive diagnosis of congenital heart disease or in authoritative reassurance of normal cardiac anatomy and function.

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Take care of your heart everyone!

 

For more on Eko visit: http://www.ekodevices.com

UPDATES:

Good Morning America
ABC NEWS
May 9, 2017
Jimmy Kimmel returns to TV with update on his son’s health, defends his call for children’s health care coverage

One week after Jimmy Kimmel revealed that his son, Billy, had been born with a heart defect, the comedian returned to host his late night show with an emotional update on his son’s health and a defense of his foray into the country’s heated debate on health care.

The “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” also thanked his fans for their “humbling outpouring of support” and said that he and his wire “very grateful” for the multitude of donations made to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, where his son was treated.

“First I want to tell you because so many people have asked: Our son Billy is doing very well,” Kimmel said. “He’s eating. He is getting bigger. He is sleeping well. He can read now — which they say is unusual [for a child his age].”

Kimmel, 49, revealed last Monday that his son underwent surgery on his heart three days after he was born, and will require another procedure when he’s a little bigger in three to six months.

During his monologue, Kimmel asked all politicians to come together to ensure healthcare for all Americans, especially those who have pre-existing health conditions.

Though there were many who supported Kimmel’s point of view, he noted that there were many others who called him an “out of touch Hollywood elitist.” To those critics, the late night host offered a sarcastic apology.

“I’d like to apologize for saying that children in America should have health care,” he joked. “It was insensitive – it was offensive – and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”

To further the conversation, he interviewed Bill Cassidy, a Republican senator from Louisiana who last week tweeted that there should be a “Kimmel Test” for any healthcare bill passed.

The Jimmy Kimmel Test, he noted, would be in place to ensure that any healthcare plan would adequately cover pre-existing conditions “but in a fiscally conservative way that lowers cost.”

“I happen to like [it] a lot,” Kimmel said. “He is a doctor – a gastroenterologist. He is married to a retired doctor — his wife Laura, was a surgeon. And he co-founded the Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic, which provides free dental care and health care to the working uninsured. So obviously – this is someone who cares about people’s health.”

 

 

Digital Strategy & Value-Based Care

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Digital Strategy and the Shift to Value-Based Care
by Guest Author, Terence Maytin

The U.S. healthcare system is rapidly transitioning from fee-for-service to value- based care as part of massive and ongoing industry-wide transformation. Digital strategy is evolving to meet new challenges, help drive disruptive innovation, and better engage a large, growing audience of connected health consumers.

Already complex and fragmented, the healthcare sector will look very different over the coming years. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has spurred rapid innovation and disruptive change across the entire ecosystem in the quest for better quality care across the entire population at lower per capita cost. Payers are accelerating rollout of value- based payment models with providers, and the shift to pay for performance arrangements with Pharma companies is increasing as well.

Moving an entire industry from volume-oriented reimbursement requires aggressive, innovative approaches to move from traditional siloed care to collaborative models, with system-wide provider coordination, patient engagement and proactive interventions. Technology will continue to act as a critical change agent, enabling large- scale improvements in process efficiency, automation, connectivity, collaboration, interoperability and advanced analytics.

With the convergence of healthcare and digital technology, industry stakeholders are reassessing their digital strategies to help tackle new business opportunities and challenges. Just a few years ago, digital health efforts largely focused either on acquisition marketing, community aggregation, or customer service portals designed to redirect volume from higher cost channels. However amid the current environment, digital offers much greater and far-reaching impact potential than ever before.

Digital investments are ramping up to support the shift from volume to value, particularly in the areas of care coordination, patient engagement, post-discharge monitoring, measurement, and behavior change. Since 2014, venture capital has provided $10B in new funding for clinical tools, analytics, consumer engagement, mHealth, telemedicine, wearables, and business services. In 2016, firms have raised a record $1.8B.

Two important trends drive home the relevance and importance of having a comprehensive, well articulated digital strategy: the rise of consumerism and nearly ubiquitous web/mobile adoption. Across all age groups, large audiences not only already consume digital services but also expect high quality, omni-channel experiences. In order to deliver on this promise, companies must design optimized, journey-based experiences that balance customer needs, preferences, and behaviors against desired business objectives and outcomes. Companies must embrace the concept of “putting the customer first” throughout the organization and across functions (e.g. strategy, product development, marketing, operations and technology). This also must be accompanied by an insights-driven, decision-making approach.

Essentially, digital strategy will be most effective if viewed as an organizational imperative. Armed with a holistic vision and comprehensive strategy, stakeholders will be better able to leverage and capitalize on digital’s full disruptive potential to help solve some of the most pressing challenges facing healthcare today.

Healthcare Industry Transformation

The transformation of healthcare is multidimensional and complicated. Disruptive innovation, technology and consumer trends are upending traditional business models. The competitive landscape is getting ever more crowded with new entrants while at the same time, insurer and provider consolidation is accelerating.

Consumers are motivated with more skin in the game and greater information access than ever before. Payment models are shifting from volume to value, and payers, providers, pharma, and medtech will need to collaborate and coordinate to a much larger degree within a more integrated care delivery system. These factors along with intense focus on quality improvement and evidence-based outcomes have big implications for the entire care delivery continuum…

Click here to read full article

TerenceMartin  Guest Author, Terence Maytin is VP/Director | Head of Digital Strategy and Delivery | Digital Health Business Analytics and Technology  and  Strategic Advisor for First Growth VC.

Stay healthy!

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Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD and Healthy  Within Network. This is her blog.
She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com
Be sure to click red FOLLOW on upper right of this blog to be notified of new posts.
On Twitter:  Maria_Dorfner

 

 

 

 

First Uterus Transplant in U.S. Gives Hope to Infertile

 

 

 

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Photo provided by Cleveland Clinic Center, a team of Cleveland Clinic transplant surgeons and gynecological surgeons perform the nation’s first uterus transplant during a nine-hour surgery in Cleveland.

UPDATE TO ORIGINAL STORY:

 

Statement from Cleveland Clinic

March 9, 2016 Update on 1st Uterus Transplant

We are saddened to share that our patient, Lindsey, recently experienced a sudden complication that led to the removal of her transplanted uterus.

On February 25, Cleveland Clinic announced the first uterus transplant as part of a clinical study for women who suffer from uterine factor infertility. At this time, the circumstance of the complication is under review and more information will be shared as it becomes available.

There is a known risk in solid organ transplantation that the transplanted organ may have to be removed should a complication arise. The medical team took all necessary precautions and measures to ensure the safety of our patient.

While this has been difficult for both the patient and the medical team, Lindsey is doing well and recovering.

The study, which has been planned to include 10 women, is still ongoing with a commitment to the advancement of medical research to provide an additional option for women and their families.”

Statement from Lindsey

“I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude towards all of my doctors. They acted very quickly to ensure my health and safety. Unfortunately I did lose the uterus to complications. However, I am doing okay and appreciate all of your prayers and good thoughts.”

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic have performed the first uterus transplant in the United States on a 26-year-old, using a uterus from a deceased organ donor.

The operation took 9 hours and the woman is in stable condition.

The procedure is to help women who had their uterus removed, or were born without one.

Following a transplant, the woman needs to wait a year before trying to become pregnant.

Then she will need in vitro fertilization to become pregnant.

Before the transplant, the patient had eggs removed surgically, fertilized with her husband’s sperm and frozen.

The embryos will be transferred into her uterus.

If the procedure is successful, any children will be born by cesarean section and the mother will have the transplanted uterus removed after having one or two babies.

The transplant will be temporary: The uterus will be removed after the recipient has had one or two babies, so she can stop taking anti-rejection drugs.

Uterus Transplant
Photo provided by Cleveland Clinic Center

The Cleveland hospital’s ethics panel has given it permission to perform the procedure 10 times, as an experiment.

Officials will then decide whether to continue, and whether to offer the operation as a standard procedure. The clinic is still screening women who may be candidates for the operation.

The leader of the surgical team is Dr. Andreas G. Tzakis, who has performed 4,000 to 5,000 transplants of kidneys, livers and other abdominal organs.

To prepare for uterus transplants, he traveled to Sweden and worked with doctors at the University of Gothenburg, the only ones in the world to have performed the procedure successfully so far.

About 50,000 women in the United States are thought to be candidates for transplanted uteruses.

 

THE DONOR     Surgeons remove the uterus, cervix and part of the vagina from an organ donor who has recently died, along with the small uterine vessels that carry blood to the organ. The uterus can survive outside the body for at least six to eight hours if kept cold.

THE RECIPIENT     The donor’s uterus is connected to the recipient’s vagina and the uterine vessels are redirected to large blood vessels running outside the pelvis. The recipient’s ovaries are left in place, and if she has any remnant fallopian tubes, they are not connected to the transplant. The recipient will wait a year to heal before having in vitro fertilization.

ccf5  Sources: Dr. Tommaso Falcone, Cleveland Clinic; BioDigital


By The New York Times

In an interview in October, Dr. Tzakis said that although women without a uterus could adopt children or hire surrogates to carry a pregnancy for them, many find those options unacceptable “for reasons that are personal, cultural or religious.”

At that time, a 26-year-old woman who was being screened as a potential candidate explained why she wanted a chance to become pregnant and give birth.

“I crave that experience,” she said. “I want the morning sickness, the backaches, the feet swelling. I want to feel the baby move. That is something I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember.”

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Link to: Cleveland Clinic:  http://www.clevandclinic.org

A version of this article appears in print on February 26, 2016, on page A13 of the New York edition with the headline: National Briefing | Midwest; Ohio: Uterus Transplant Is First in United States.

Order Reprints| Today’s Paper | Subscribe by clicking here:

LINK:  http://www.nytimes.com/pages/todayspaper/index.html

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newsmd1   Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD  Communications and Healthy Within Network (HWN).  This is her blog.

She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com
logonewsmd “When We Tell Stories…People Listen.”

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YAHOOGOOGLEHEALTH

CDC Rolls Out New Workplace Wellness Program

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Productivity losses due to personal and family health problems cost U.S. employers more than $225 billion every year.

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The indirect costs of poor health—including absenteeism, disability and reduced work output—are even higher.

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That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this month is rolling out a new program to train businesses in Florida for starting their own workplace wellness programs.

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The program has already launched in Ohio and Georgia and is gaining momentum.

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jasonlang   I spoke with Jason Lang, Team Lead for CDC Workplace.  Lang says, “By learning how to promote and improve workplace wellness, employers will ultimately be able to strengthen their own bottom lines by reducing health care costs and increasing productivity.”

 

Florida Work@Health® T3s provide training and technical services to small-and-mid-sized Florida businesses (SMBs) with more than 20 employees to build a science-based workplace health and wellness program.

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By implementing Work@Health®, employers may help lower their healthcare costs while improving Florida’s overall health.

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Today’s announcement illustrates the successful expansion of the number of trainers equipped to deliver the Work@Health® employer curricula to additional employers in Florida to support their worksite wellness goals.

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Chronic diseases are costly to Florida workers, their families and employers.

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Studies have found that:

· Florida’s adult obesity rate is 26.2 percent, up from 18.2 percent in 2000 and more than double the 11.4 percent rate in 1990 (The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America (2015).

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· An estimated 65 percent of adult Floridians are at an unhealthy weight (FloridaHealth.gov).

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· Florida ranks 32nd among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in the 2015 Annual Report Health Rankings.

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Floridians’ health is also threatened by smoking, lack of health insurance, and higher levels of diabetes (United Health Foundation).

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· By 2023, gains in productivity and savings from improving the prevention and management of chronic diseases in Florida could reduce future related economic costs by an estimated 27 percent, or $91 billion, according to An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease, (Milken Institute. 2007).

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Florida-area employers who participate in the Work@Health® Program, receive the latest information and resources associated with worksite wellness.

 

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Benefits include:

· Free professional training

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· Technical assistance and consultation with experts

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· The opportunity to network with peers

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· Recognition by the CDC as a Work@Health® employer

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Work@Health® Train-the-Trainers (T3) will recruit employers in Florida until February 14, 2016.

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Selected employers will begin Work@Health®’s three-week online training by February 15, 2016.

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The program culminates in a one-day on-site training session, on or before March 16, 2016.

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Each Train-the-Trainer will schedule dates, locations, and times in coordination with participating employers.

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Employers interested in the program can apply at https://workathealth.us/community/apply-now/

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Or contact the Work@Health® Customer Service team at workathealthcustsvc@ashlininc.com or 1-800-305-WELL FREE (9355).

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The program includes access to the Work@Health® Training and Technical Assistance Portal, a web-based portal that provides employers with tools, information, and technical assistance from top experts in the field.

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In addition, those completing employer training can apply for both Basic and Advanced Technical Assistance, which allows worksites to further develop their wellness programs over several months and apply for national accreditation.

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Work@Health® is offered under the CDC’s guidance by ASHLIN Management Group, headquartered in Greenbelt, Md., with offices in Atlanta, Ga., and who is also responsible for the development of the training curricula, outreach and recruitment of employers, and delivery of the Work@Health® Program.

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Stay healthy!  ~Maria

me      MARIA DORFNER is the founder of MEDCrunch, a division of Healthy Within Network (HWN). She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

 

Hot App: Mini-Sober-Me in Your Pocket

 

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You don’t have to drink to love this app called DRUNK MODE.

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It’s another way to make sure people who drink do not drive or get into trouble

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I spoke to founder, Joshua Anton who originally created it for a funny reason

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Joshua says, “I originally created it to prevent students from drunk calling their friends.”

You do that by setting your phone to  DRUNK MODE any time you’ll be out drinking or with drinkers much like you set it to Airplane Mode when you’re on a plane.

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A feature called FIND MY DRUNK keeps track of friends and keeps them safe.

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BREADCRUMBS tracks your night to retrace your steps the next day (Lost Keys? Wallet?).

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FIND A RIDE lets users easily find an Uber.

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HOTSPOTS– See where the party’s at in real time.

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SAFEMODE– Add trusted contacts to watch over you on your way home, call for assistance with a BlueLight button, or easily dial 911.

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Rahul Bajaj is the Business Development Lead for the App.

RAHUL, HOW DID YOU MEET JOSHUA?

I met Joshua at a business club meeting at college. He told me about the app. When he presented the idea it was really interesting how this app can help people. I don’t drink but many of my friends do and I thought it could help them stay off the road. So I joined the team to help promote it because I really believe in the product.

[photo of team:  Rahul Bajaj, Joshua Anton on far left]

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WHERE CAN PEOPLE GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DRUNKMODE?

 

We have a website. www.drunkmode.org  or they can find us on Twitter @DrunkModeApp.

 

WHERE CAN MEDIA CONTACT JOSHUA ABOUT THE DRUNKMODE APP?

 

They can email our CMO, Jake Ellenburg, via email Jake@drunkmode.org 

 

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Of course, not drinking at all is safest. But even those that drink socially could use this.

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Stay safe. Stay healthy! Download the app.  1.2M users already installed it. ~Maria

doggie    MARIA DORFNER is a medical/health journalist and TV producer.  She helped launch CNBC in 1989 after beginning with an executive internship at NBC News in 1983.   As senior producer of medical programming at CNBC, she developed original health programs including “Healthcare Consumers,”  “Healthcare Practitioners,” “Healthy Living” and “Lifestyles and Longevity.”  She founded NewsMD Communications, LLC an award-winning production company specializing in original health content, health PR and cutting-edge stories.  She has worked as medical and special projects producer for NBC Miami, screenwriter/producer/director for Discovery Health for the documentary series, “21st Century Medicine”. She helped create and launch The Cleveland Clinic News Service and was an on-site Senior Media Advisor for them. Most recently, she produced the pilot “Healthy Within” for NBC Network. A partial list of her awards include a Medical Reporting Scholarship from the American Medical Association, a Media Recognition Award from the American Heart Association and Freddie Award for Excellence in Medical Reporting. She serves on the advisory board of Super Body/Super Brain and is the author of 3 books.  She is the founder of Healthy Within Network (HWN).   This is her blog.

HAVE A HOT MEDICAL OR HEALTH STORY, PRODUCT OR SERVICE THE WORLD SHOULD KNOW ABOUT? CONTACT:  maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

 

Must Read: 5 Hottest Tips to Prevent and Treat Cancer

If you read one article on cancer prevention and treatment prior to seeing a doctor, this is it.    -Maria Dorfner

 

About the Guest Author:  Gary Hyman, MD is Director at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, The UltraWellness Center and The Institute for Functional Medicine

A Functional Medicine Approach to Cancer by Gary Hyman, MD

                                                                     

Functional medicine empowers patients and practitioners to achieve the highest expression of health by working collaboratively to address the root causes of disease. It is an emerging, personalized model of diagnosis and treatment that better addresses the need to prevent and manage chronic disease. In a word, it is the medicine of WHY, not WHAT.

Functional Medicine doctors are like soil farmers. They create a healthy soil, so pests can’t come and weeds can’t flourish. A healthy soil means disease can’t take hold.

So with cancer, a Functional Medicine practitioner would say that yes, we still need radiation and other conventional approaches, but what else can we do? How can we properly cultivate a healthy soil?

Cancer results because of in an imbalance in the system. So many people are walking around with tumors and don’t know it. We can do something to prevent them from growing by maintaining a healthy soil.

Instead of dividing everything into diseases and labels, emerging science points to a different way of thinking about diseases. Rather than divide the body into organs, Functional Medicine approaches disease as a systemic problem, and we have to treat the system, not the symptom; the cause, not the disease. This completely redefines the whole notion of disease. The landscape of illness is changing.

How we label cancer is no longer synced up with what we know about the origins of cancer or the fact that two people who have cancer with the same name—like breast cancer—can have two completely different diseases which require different treatments. Just because you know the name of your disease doesn’t mean you know what’s wrong with you or what to do about it.

Classifying tumors by body site — lung, liver, brain, breast, colon, etc. — misses the underlying causes, mechanisms, and pathways involved in a particular cancer. What’s more, it gives us no information about how it manifested in a given patient. Two people with cancers in different parts of the body may have developed it for the same reasons.

Similarly, two people with cancers in the same part of the body may have developed it for different reasons. A patient with prostate cancer and one with colon cancer may have more in common with each other than two patients who have colon cancer.

We need to look under the hood and find out what caused the illness to begin with.

Cultivating a Healthy Soil

Numerous things can contribute to cancer. Studies show diet, exercise, thoughts, feelings, and environmental toxins all influence the initiation, growth, and progression of cancer.

If a nutrient-poor diet full of sugar, lack of exercise, chronic stress, persistent pollutants, and heavy metals can cause cancer, could it be that a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet, physical activity,changing thoughts and reactions to stress, and detoxification might treat the garden in which cancer grows?

In other words, treat the soil, not the plant. It is a foundational principle of sustainable agriculture, and of sustainable health.

We can enhance immune function and surveillance through dietary and lifestyle changes, as well as nutrient and phytonutrient therapies. We can facilitate our body’s own detoxification system to promote the elimination of carcinogenic compounds. We can improve hormone metabolism and reduce the carcinogenic effects of too much insulin (more on that in a minute) from our high sugar and refined carbohydrate diet.

We can also alter how our genes are expressed by changing the inputs that control that expression: Diet, nutrients, phytonutrients, toxins, stress, and other sources of inflammation. And we can focus on less divisive and more generative thoughts that, in turn, create more uplifting emotions — all good fertilizer for the soil in the garden of our body.

The Number One Thing You Can Do to Prevent or Control Cancer

Diabesity, the continuum of health problems ranging from mild insulin resistance and overweight to obesity and diabetes, is the single biggest global health epidemic of our time. It is one of the leading causes of heart disease, dementia, cancer, and premature death in the world and is almost entirely caused by environmental and lifestyle factors.

This means that it is almost 100 percent preventable and curable.

Diabesity affects over 1.7 billion people worldwide. Scientists conservatively estimate it will affect one in two Americans by 2020; 90 percent of whom will not be diagnosed.

Obesity (almost always related to diabesity) is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world. The link between obesity and cancer is well documented and is driven by insulin resistance. Insulin, the fat storage hormone, also drives more inflammation, oxidative stress, and a myriad of downstream effects including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low HDL, high triglycerides, poor sex drive, infertility, thickening of the blood, and increased risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and depression.

The best thing you can do to prevent or control cancer is to control insulin levels with a high-fiber diet rich in real, fresh, whole foods and minimize or eliminate sugary, processed, insulin-raising foods.

Dr. Dean Ornish showed that after just three months on an intensive lifestyle program including a whole-foods, plant-based diet, over 500 genes that regulate cancer were beneficially affected, either turning off the cancer-causing genes or turning on the cancer-protective genes. No medication can do that.

5 Strategies to Reduce Cancer Formation and Growth

Cancer results from an imbalance in our system where the immune system can’t fight off tumors. We can do many things to prevent that cancer from getting to its full stage, and if you have cancer, you can make your body inhospitable to that cancer.

1.

Eliminate food sensitivities. In a major study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, hidden gluten sensitivity was shown to increase risk of death by 35 to 75 percent, mostly by causing heart disease and cancer. By just this mechanism alone, more than 20 million Americans are at risk for heart attack, obesity, cancer, and death. Dairy and gluten are the most common triggers of food allergies that are linked to insulin resistance. Cutting them out of the diet allows the inflamed gut and an inflamed body to heal.

2.

Reduce inflammation. Inflammation is the common thread connecting most chronic disease including cancer. In fact, out-of-control inflammation causes insulin resistance, which, as we now know, is the main factor in all these diseases apart from autoimmunity and allergy. The insulin resistance then creates even more inflammation, and the whole biological house burns down. Besides removing sugar and food sensitivities like gluten and dairy, we want to eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, including omega-3 rich foods like wild fish and flaxseeds.

3.

Improve gut health. Cancer often originates in your gut. Not just colon cancer, but with many cancers. We are currently studying about the gut microbiome and breast and prostate cancers. Beyond avoiding inflammatory foods, adding in probiotics, prebiotics, and lots of phytonutrients, like curcumin (found in turmeric) and resveratrol (found in grapes), can reduce gut-based inflammation.

4.

Reduce toxic exposure. The average newborn has 287 chemicals in her umbilical cord blood, 217 of which are neurotoxic (poisonous to nerves or nerve cells). The chemicals these infants are exposed to include pesticides, phthalates, bisphenol A, flame retardants, and heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and arsenic. These chemicals have a broad range of negative effects on human biology; they damage the nervous system and increase the risk of cancer, and now they have been shown to contribute to obesity. Going clean and green means becoming more aware about how environmental toxins affect your health. I encourage you to visit the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to learn more.

5.

Change your thoughts to change your immune system. Science is now proving what we all knew intuitively — that how we live, the quality of our relationships, the food we eat, and how we use our bodies determines much more than our genes ever will. There are numerous strategies to combat or prevent cancer, including getting sufficient sleep, controlling stress levels, and exercising regularly.

The important thing is to figure out what works for you and develop a plan to stick with it. That might involve working with a Functional Medicine doctor or a chronic disease specialist.

Conclusion

Whether you have been diagnosed with cancer or have become concerned about family and friends being diagnosed, the most important thing is mindset and not playing into fear.

While we all hope there will one day be a miracle cure for cancer, there are things that we know now will combat cancer or keep our quality of life high while our body is fighting the cancer.

The science of cancer genetics is changing. Two people who have the same cancer could be completely different in terms of how the cancer performs. That’s why I’m very excited about the work that Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is doing in California on the cancer genome and creating targeted therapies to treat the cancer in every patient individually. This and other emerging technologies, combined with the Functional Medicine approach to cancer, give me great hope about our ability to further prevent and treat this disease in the future.

I encourage you to think about cancer differently and more importantly, not lose hope.

Stay healthy, everyone! -Maria

MARIADORFNERBLACKANDWHITEHEADSHOT    Maria Dorfner (formerly Pallante Bianco) is the founder of MedCrunch, covering What’s Hot in Health.

At 24, she helped launch CNBC after working full-time at NBC for two years and part-time throughout college. She then joined Ailes Communications as director of research and producer for TV pilots successfully syndicated. She then co-anchored and senior produced several health series airing on CNBC for three years. She wrote, produced and directed medical documentaries for Discovery Health Channel and helped launch the Cleveland Clinic News Service.  She is the owner of NewsMD Communications, a full-service production company specializing in health content and distribution. She is the author of three books.  Her awards include an Outstanding Leadership Abilities and Commitment to the Advancement of Women in Media award from her alma mater and a Media Recognition Award from the American Heart Association for her “Heart Smart” series and a Medical Reporting Scholarship. Maria is in Who’s Who in American Women, 22nd edition, 2000/2001.  She is a native of Brooklyn, New York.  Her health blog is a division of Healthy Within Network, which is her existing labor of love.  It connects the dots in medicine, media and marketing.  Contact:  maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

THE Most Healthful Water in the World by Maria Dorfner

My prior blog was why to drink water before working out.  I didn’t say which is best.

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It reminds me of a few reasons I love Carlsbad, CA.   The sunsets are STUNNING.

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It’s a great place to be outdoors to walk, run, hike or swim if you’re athletic like me.

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BEST thing about it is WATER.  It  has THE most healthful drinking water in the world.

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I visit my brother each year, but got a place there three years ago. That’s when I got to  explore.carlsbadmineralwater3

And that’s when I learned Carlsbad Mineral Water is therapeutic alkaline water made by nature, not man.

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I called my brother who has lived in Carlsbad for 25 yrs. He never heard of it.

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He asks his then girlfriend (now wife) and she never heard of it either. I ask if they saw the spa or the large stainless steel tank that holds the water.  Neither one of them knew anything about it.  How could they miss the GIANT kiosk??!

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Look at it.  It’s a GIANT kiosk in the middle of the street.  That’s me goofing around saying, “Oh…what could THIS possibly be??” Guess my powers of observation are  honed by being a journalist.  

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The kiosk is right next to a statue of the Captain from Germany who founded Carlsbad.  They missed that too.  The water is like the water in Karlsbad, Germany, which Carlsbad was named after in the 1880’s.

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AND the water is only 50 cents per gallon. I religiously take my 6 gallon jug and fill it at the outdoor vending machine.

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The water is from an underground aquifer.

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It is naturally alkaline at pH 8.7.

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Here’s some History on H20 and why it’s THE most healthful water in the world:

Dr. Ottow Warburg won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 for proving that cancer can’t survive in an alkaline, oxygen rich environment but thrives in an acidic, low oxygen environment.

Think about that.  One foundation alone raised hundreds of millions of dollars, yet this proven fact discovered 81 years ago has not been studied.  Let me repeat:

CANCER CAN’T SURVIVE IN AN ALKALINE, OXYGEN RICH ENVIRONMENT.    CALL MR. GRANT!!!

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No wonder people drove 125 miles or from all over the world for this water.

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Therapeutic Carlsbad Alkaline Water ™ is amazing. Here are some benefits and I personally experienced them:

* Lubricate joints and make them stronger – improve athletic hydration

* Provide powerful anti-oxidants and fortifies the immune system

* Neutralize acidity, support pH balance, maintain strong bones

* Improve body, organ and cell hydration – easier to absorb

* Rejuvenate the skin, keep it more elastic and smooth

* Promote healthy weight loss and lifestyle

* Remove harmful toxins from the body

* Detoxification enzymes

Of course, they can’t say cures cancer, but if I had cancer I would drink it, bathe in it and swim in it.

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You can also have the water delivered to your home anywhere in Southern California.

Carlsbad Alkaline Water ™  has been proclaimed “The Most Healthful Water” by the California State Senate, and their artesian well and location have been designated by the California legislature as both a California Historic Site and a California Historic Monument. 

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The city of Carlsbad has named the Carlsbad Artesian Well a Carlsbad Historic Site and the “North County Times” newspaper wrote a story about their water and called it “Eden In A Glass.”

Nowhere else in the United States can you find so unique 9,500 years naturally aged alkaline and therapeutic water with pH 8.76 that tastes so good and has such a positive effect on your health.

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WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

Turns out, the water comes from a 1,700 foot deep aquifer and is protected with 200 feet of non porous clay and 1,500 feet of granite rock. The water originates from the Cleveland National Forest about 40 miles east of Carlsbad completely protected from any pollution or any possible radiation fall-out. It takes about 9,500 years for the water to work its way through the substrata to their deep artesian wells just a block from the Pacific Ocean, where it is discharged at the deep bottom.

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Along the way, it is naturally enhanced with pure minerals that turn the water into a highly alkaline, therapeutic, ultrahydrating and healthful. It is not filtered munincipal water. It flows naturally into their artesian wells from the deep aquifer. It is sodium free, not carbonated, not fluridated, not chlorinated, highly alkaline (not acidic) and exceeds FDA bottled-water quality standards.

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The alkaline water has a unique pH 8.76 and TDS 50. Their source-artesian well and vending machines are licensed by the California Department of Public Health and monitored and tested weekly, as required by FDA, federal and state laws.

Many doctors and nutritionists use their alkaline water in their business and homes and highly recommend it.

History Since 1882

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MORE HISTORY:
The year was 1882 when John Frazier, former sea captain, was digging a well for his farm which covered much of today’s downtown area of Carlsbad, California.Frazier struck at 415 feet an aquifer health resort, so the named the water Carlsbad Mineral Water. Today of mineral water. encouraged by his success, he sank another well at 510 feet.
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Analysis showed the mineral water was very similar to the water from the world-famous Karlsbad, Bohemia, health resort, so they named the water Carlsbad Mineral Water. today Karlsbad is known as Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic.Frazier and many other people found the water to be very therapeutic and have experienced many positive health benefits.
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Frazier and several other businessmen formed the Carlsbad Land and Mineral Water Company. They built beautiful homes (today on is known as Ocean House Restaurant), a hotel, and spa next to the minerals wells. They also renamed the town from Frazier Station to Carlsbad after the famous California Carlsbad Mineral Water.
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In 1930, the California Carlsbad Mineral Water Hotel was built across the street from the well. The hotel was widely known for its Mineral Water Baths and was frequented by movie stars and other famous people from around the world. The Great Depression brought hard times to this hotel. The well needed repair but there was no money to do it.
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The well was lost for a number of years.In 1993 Ludvik Grigoras, a Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad, Czech Republic) native started to completely restore the old well and re-drilled another of Frazier’s wells which is naturally carbonated.Ludvik encouraged a hometown friend, renowned sculptor Vaclav Lokvenc from Karlsbad, Czech Republic, to create a 13 ft. bronze statue of Capt. John Frazier which was shipped from Europe in 1994 and is now erected at the Alt Karlsbad Historic Site.
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California Historic Site & Monument – City Historic Site  Today, Carlsbad Famous Water is being bottled again, and an elegant spa has opened in the beautiful European-style building on the site of the original we located only a few miles from Legoland.  The design and decorating were personally done by Ludvik and Veronica Grigoras to duplicate a unique ambiance of early Egypt, Rome and the Orient. All the artwork, paintings and furniture were hand painted by famous artist Robin Wallenfang.
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My brother, his wife and their one-year-old have had it delivered to their home ever since I told them about it.  They love it.  My brother is always asking how I look so much younger than him, since he’s the baby in the family.
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I don’t know.  Maybe it’s the water.  🙂
 success

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Here’s video link:  http://gloublog.net/?p=3195

In 2015, the owners of the spa read my blog and found me on Facebook to tell me they love it and they asked if I would be a spokesperson for it.  Of course. I already am. I really do love this water.  This is before I learned so many “name brand” bottled waters are tap water.  The bottom line is you can feel and see the difference when you switch.

I can’t  wait for it to be sold on the East Coast. People really need it here. Enough already with approving beverages that make people sick, taxing it and then charging to fix it –all while pretending to care about people’s health.Stop. The world is on to the sick game.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON CARLSBAD MINERAL WATER VISIT:

http://www.carlsbadalkalinewater.com/

Health Tips?  Health Stories?  Contact:  maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

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Maria Dorfner is an award-winning broadcast journalist specializing in health. NewsMD Communications is a division of Healthy Within Network (HWN), which she recently founded. She began her career as an intern at NBC. Since then, her stories have appeared on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, CNBC, FOX, DISCOVERY HEALTH CHANNEL and more. Her lifelong passion is health and well-being. She also loves creating/producing shows. She is a voracious reader and learner. When she was 5-years-old, her entire face was burned to a crisp. The doctor in Brooklyn, NY said it would end up severely scarred.  She wondered why the doctor was making her mother cry. Maria believed she’d be fine. Later when she healed, the doctor called it “a miracle.” Right then, Maria learned the power of thought.  First 4 letters in HEALTH.  It starts in your mind.  Your brain.  And your brain is made up of over 80% water. Your body follows that brain and  your body is made up of 70% water.  That’s a lot of liquid.  Think about that.

Back to first person. My theory is the quality of your health and your bodies ability to heal are linked to the quality and quantity of water inside you.  I’ve scuba dived in murky waters and clear waters.  One is toxic and destroys everything inside it; the other nourishes all. Soda, coffee & energy drinks all fall into the toxic zone creating murky waters in you. You can’t do “a cleanse” and expect to alleviate years of toxicity buildup in your body. Health is like anything else. It starts with commitment.

A lifelong commitment to stay healthy in mind, body and spirit.

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Hottest Health Career of the Future by Maria Dorfner

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If your kids are graduating from college wondering what to do with the rest of their lives, and they’re interested in the health field, but avoid it to make more money elsewhere, keep reading.  If not, keep reading anyway!  Thank you.

Today, “kids” are encouraged to be entrepreneurs. Start a company at the age of 3!

All before they EVEN know what to do with money (reminds me of a blog Brian Cuban wrote about why sports figures or celebs  end up broke). I think the future is going to include founders. How many “founders” are there today and where will they be in 20 years?

I understand why it’s happening.  You get fired up every time you read about a dumb idea getting millions of dollars in funding. It’s frustrating because you think your ideas are FAR BETTER.

Those articles encourage kids to quit their jobs or not attend college at all.   The unhealthy message they get is just come up with the next great thing, get funded and you’ll be fine.

Really?

Let’s peak behind-the-scenes. Some crappy idea getting millions in investments may be one college buddy who is now a VC helping another college buddy. No intention to “save the world” which a lot use as their mission statement. That buddy VC attracts others, who have no idea they are going to lose money because it was just a gift to a friend, and not a real investment in anything real. The Nancy Drew in me can spot scams before they become public.   We need a delete/block in life for folks who try to take advantage or exploit others.  Lots of snake oil salesmen out there feeding off of hungry entrepreneurs.

There’s also other little factors you can’t control. So, your idea being better means nothing.

NADA.

Additionally, even if it’s legitimate, the majority of those companies will fail. Proven fact. Even if you get funding, expect to work your you know what off for one VERY expensive lesson.

I digress.  Back to HOTTEST HEALTH CAREER of the FUTURE.

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If you REALLY want to change the world and have an interest in health –take a look at the future and where there will be ACTUAL demand.

HERE’S A GLIMPSE through my eyes.  My parents always say, “Maria has a big heart.” So, if eyes are the windows of the soul…my green peeps would be shaped like this. 

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They’re not, but thanks to the San Diego Eye Institute my vision is 20/20 to see the future:

FUTURE IN HEALTH CAREERS:

20% of all U.S. physicians are 55 or older, including more than HALF of the 5,000 active board-certified thoracic surgeons. Approximately 70% are expected to retire in the next 13 years, dramatically shrinking the provider pool leading to a critical work shortage JUST when aging baby boomers are sick and tired of stomping on grapes.   

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Most of these sick baby boomers will suffer from heart disease creating quite a demand for well-trained heart surgeons, even if that surgeon is in another room or at home while doing this robotic or digital surgery.  In real estate they say, Location, Location, Location.   When it comes to a career in health, I say it’s

DEMAND. DEMAND. DEMAND.

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By 2025, some experts predict the number will be almost 2,000 short of what’s needed in the U.S. The demand for heart surgeons will explode. They battle both heart disease AND lung cancer –another baby boomer problemo. 

Average starting salary for a heart /lung surgeon? 350K

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That’s right. Your kid makes 350K right out of college.  CA-CHING!

How long do they need to study? Residency required is 5 years followed by 2 fellowship years. You may work 50 hours a week, but you’ll do that if you’re entrepreneur too. Only you’re creating crazy things in the HOPES of creating demand.

Even if there IS a demand, you HAVE to convince friends, family or PWM (People. With. Money) you haven’t lost your marbles.  Does the product or service create the demand or vice versa?  I say when people need something it’s subconscious. When it shows up, they recognize it because the need (demand) was already there. It does NOT exist first.  I aced marketing in college with one other person. That tells me 2 out 10 people in a room understand.  The other 8 wait to “see” something first.   They lack vision.

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Now, let’s look at a man with all his marbles AND vision in tact. He is one of the best cardiothoracic surgeons in the world.   I say THE best.  His name is Delos “Toby” M. Cosgrove. I am honored to call Mr. and Mrs. Cosgrove friends. When I first met them in 2001, Toby was Chief Cardiothoracic Surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic.

Today, he is Chairman. Under his leadership, the Cleveland Clinic’s heart program is consistently ranked NUMERO UNO. He presides over the $6B healthcare system that is The Cleveland Clinic. Calling him an innovator is also an understatement. He holds 30 patents and is absolutely brilliant.

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I spoke with Toby about what it takes to be a resident at the #1 heart program and will share that later.

I followed him and went behind-the-scenes as he interviewed the best and brightest students to be selected for a residency at The Cleveland Clinic. Since it’s ranked #1, it attracts the smartest students from around the world. Interestingly enough, there was only one woman in the group. In general, 66% of physicians are male. Only 29% are female. Another shortage and demand for the future.

Tie this with the current obesity epidemic, a leading cause of heart disease.

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Most recently, Cosgrove warned people about the link between heart disease connected to the foods you eat. You know when a man who would profit from your heart disease issues a warning –it’s time to listen.

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May 2, 2013 How Our Guts – and What We Eat – Contribute to Heart Disease, Stroke and the National Debt

by Delos M. Cosgrove

We’re gorging ourselves into an epidemic of chronic disease, the costs of which will soon overwhelm our ability to pay and continue to be a contributing factor to the ever-increasing national debt. More proof of this has emerged with two studies that have uncovered new links between common foods and heart disease, stroke and death.

The culprit is a little-known substance called TMAO, or trimethylamine-N-oxide. It’s created when bacteria in the gut interact with two specific dietary nutrients – carnitine (found in red meat and dairy products) and lecithin (found in egg yolks, liver, beef, pork and wheat germ).

We now know that TMAO helps fatty substances in the blood to accumulate in the walls of the coronary arteries. These accumulations, called plaques, are the frequent cause of chest pains and heart attacks.

These findings were made in two recent studies by researchers in the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute and reported in the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature Medicine. It’s interesting to note the usual bad guy in heart disease, dietary fat, is not the person of interest here. Carnitine, the substance that gut bacteria convert into TMAO, is not in the fatty part of the meat. It’s in the red, meaty part. So it doesn’t matter if you cut the fat off your steak, or if you buy lean cuts.

So there’s no getting away from it. We have to be more careful about what we put in our mouths. We need to be aware of the foods that contain high amounts of carnitine and lecithin. But the real message of this research is broader – each person’s unique gut flora has a tremendous impact in how our bodies react to these nutrients. Those with TMAO levels among the top 25 percent had 2.5 times the risk of a heart attack or stroke compared to people in the bottom 25 percent.

Such a finding could change the way we prevent and treat heart disease, by using TMAO blood levels as a marker of cardiovascular risk and possibly a treatment target.

No one is suggesting the complete elimination of red meat and egg yolk from your diet. Like so much in life, moderation is key. You can continue to enjoy a good steak, but you may want to limit it to about 4 to 6 ounces every other week.

We’re facing an avalanche of chronic disease in the coming years. Anything we can do to mitigate this avalanche of heart disease — and other chronic conditions like cancer and diabetes — will not only give us longer and happier lives, it will improve the economic outlook for our children and grandchildren who will ultimately have to pay for our poor lifestyle choices.

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Here is another interesting finding:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2010, there were over 850K licensed physicians in the United States. In the United States, there are approximately 24,000 physicians for every 10,000 people.

I wanted to find out how many physicians per people there were in the healthiest countries. Turns out, the average is 34.9 physicians for every 10,000 people.

So, the shortage isn’t just in the field of cardiovascular surgery. I am a HUGE fan of preventing disease instead of treating it. Will we no longer need physicians or surgeons if we are able to prevent disease?

Too late. Even if you are healthy today, you still exposed an inordinate amount of toxins in the environment AND stress caused by factors you can’t control. Staying healthy involves continually being educated on what toxins to avoid AND learning and relearning healthy strategies and HOW to remain calm in the face of adversity.

There is A LOT of adversity in the world.   Enough to make you sick.

So, any disease that exists now or in the future has already been created and needs to either be REVERSED or TREATED. It will take as long as it did to create this disease to rid it from the existing population in the world. The only people who can completely benefit from PREVENTION are those who are A) already healthy or B) newborns.

And these two groups still need to be consistently educated on prevention from people like Delos M. Cosgrove.

So, if you’re smart and want to help change the world, it’s a field that will have an opening for you when you graduate with a good starting salary.

Of course, I know everyone isn’t “cut” out to be a heart surgeon or can be.  All I’m saying is if you CAN, do it.  The only question is do you have the academic grades for it? If yes, you can find financial resources.  If you don’t have the grades for it or it’s too late to select this field –then encourage a smart kid to explore it as a career.

I know recent college grads who make between $7 to $15 an hour or $20K, which was the starting salary THIRTY years ago AND the economy was thriving then. So, if you or your kid is smart –think longterm.

You need patience to be an entrepreneur OR a heart surgeon.  The latter guarantees success & innovation as dexterity is now a criterion as robotics and computers enter operating rooms. Think of it as fun playing video games while saving lives.

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More importantly, it’s a career with HEART that won’t have you screaming, “I can’t take it anymore!” at the end.

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p.s.  I was a founder before it was cool or part of a herd mentality.

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Speaking of leaders, be sure to FOLLOW DELOS M. COSGROVE as a THOUGHT LEADER on Linked In.

Cleveland Clinic: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/default.aspx

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Click FOLLOW button on upper-right-hand corner of this blog to be alerted by email when there’s a new post, thanks.