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.”

 

 

Startup Reduces Needles for Blood Draws

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FDA approved to improve patient and practitioner experience in healthcare settings.

Full Story:  http://fortune.com/2016/05/20/startup-blood-draws/

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Or visit:  http://velanovascular.com/in-the-news/velano-vascular-needleless-blood-draw-technology-relieves-anxiety-for-patients-practitioners-and-hospitals/

 

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

 

 

 

 

Future Health: Lung Cancer Vaccine 5 to 10 Years Away

by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter

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  President Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba this month will be the first by an American president in nearly a century. The thawing relations between the two countries are expected to bring a bumper crop of famed Cuban among other imports.

Strangely enough, another eagerly anticipated product is a lung cancer vaccine some say could be a breakthrough in oncology.

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CimaVax has reportedly been in development in Cuba for 25 years, partly because lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the Caribbean nation.

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Health reporter, Maria Dorfner spoke with Dr. Kelvin Lee from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, located in Buffalo, New York.  He says Roswell Park is finalizing an application to the FDA seeking permission to conduct a U.S. clinical trial of  the cancer vaccine and that , depending on the results from that and any subsequent studies, it would likely be 5 or more years before the drug could be widely available for patients in the U.S.   CimaVax is already an approved cancer therapy in Cuba and Peru.

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HOW IT WORKS

The injection is not like the other cancer-fighting immunotherapies being developed in hundreds of American labs, said Kelvin Lee, the chair of immunology at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y.

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Lee and other doctors have visited the island nation several times to meet with its Cuban developers and hear updates on their progress –and they found that the vaccine was a promising potential breakthrough.  He wrote in a post on Roswell Park’s Cancer Talk blog:

“Unlike other immunotherapies, CimaVax does not target cancer directly and it is not personalized. Rather, the vaccine targets a growth factor (EGF) necessary for the cancer to survive,” Lee said. “By targeting and effectively depleting this growth factor, the cancer starves and its progress slows, prolonging patients’ lives.”

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The results so far show that patients’ lives were extended from six to an average of 18 months with the vaccine treatment,  but there are reports of patients treated with the vaccine living five years or more.

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Lee and the other doctors see the possibility that the vaccine’s efficacy may translate to colon, head and neck, prostrate, breast and pancreatic cancers as well, and that CimaVax may prove effective in preventing some cancers from developing or recurring.

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Some studies have shown promise in CimaVax, as it has cut back the EGF needed for the cancer to progress.

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It has done this with minimal side effects, including nausea, fever and vomiting.  Survival dramatically improved in those patients with advanced Stage 3 and Stage 4 tumors, according to a Cuban study conducted in 2007.

 

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However, the vaccine has only been administered to a few thousand people worldwide –and it is still far from FDA approval, the doctor said.

A possibility of skipping Phase I testing exists, Lee added. The FDA inspection period should end sometime this year, allowing testing to begin. Lee and the other doctors envision the vaccine’s efficacy translating over to other head and neck cancers, as well.

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Cancer Research UK urged patience in looking to CimaCax, in a statement released last year.

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“This research is promising but this is a small trial and we will need more trial results before we know exactly how well the vaccine works for people with lung cancer. A phase 3 trial is currently in progress in Cuba,” they said in a statement.

Obama announced the U.S. was “extending a hand of friendship” to Cuba – just 90 miles from Florida – in December 2014. The cooperation between Cuban and American doctors began in 2011 and gained momentum with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s trade mission to Cuba in  April 2015. Since then, the U.S. has restored up to 110 daily flights to Havana.

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Among the critics of Obama’s March 21 visit to the island nations are Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both presidential hopefuls who are of Cuban descent.

 

Scientists ‘find cancer’s Achilles heel’

  • Lung cancerImage copyright SPL

Scientists believe they have discovered a way to “steer” the immune system to kill cancers.

Researchers at University College, London have developed a way of finding unique markings within a tumour – its “Achilles heel” – allowing the body to target the disease.

But the personalised method, reported in Science journal, would be expensive and has not yet been tried in patients.

Experts said the idea made sense but could be more complicated in reality.

However, the researchers, whose work was funded by Cancer Research UK, believe their discovery could form the backbone of new treatments and hope to test it in patients within two years.

They believe by analysing the DNA, they’ll be able to develop bespoke treatment.

People have tried to steer the immune system to kill tumours before, but cancer vaccines have largely flopped.

One explanation is that they are training the body’s own defences to go after the wrong target.

The problem is cancers are not made up of identical cells – they are a heavily mutated, genetic mess and samples at different sites within a tumour can look and behave very differently.

‘Exciting’

They grow a bit like a tree with core “trunk” mutations, but then mutations that branch off in all directions. It is known as cancer heterogeneity.

The international study developed a way of discovering the “trunk” mutations that change antigens – the proteins that stick out from the surface of cancer cells.

Professor Charles Swanton, from the UCL Cancer Institute, added: “This is exciting. Now we can prioritise and target tumour antigens that are present in every cell – the Achilles heel of these highly complex cancers.

“This is really fascinating and takes personalised medicine to its absolute limit, where each patient would have a unique, bespoke treatment.”

There are two approaches being suggested for targeting the trunk mutations.

The first is to develop cancer vaccines for each patient that train the immune system to spot them.

The second is to “fish” for immune cells that already target those mutations and swell their numbers in the lab, and then put them back into the body.

‘Early days’

Dr Marco Gerlinger, from the Institute of Cancer Research, said: “This is a very important step and makes us think about heterogeneity as a problem and why this gives cancer this big advantage.

“Targeting trunk mutations makes sense from many points of view, but it is early days and whether it’s that simple, I’m not entirely sure.

“Many cancers are not standing still but they keep evolving constantly. These are moving targets which makes it difficult to get them under control.

“Cancers that can change and evolve could lose the initial antigen or maybe come up with smokescreens of other good antigens so that the immune system gets confused.”


Analysis

James Gallagher, health editor, BBC News website

Harnessing the power of the immune system – what’s known as immunotherapy – is the most exciting field in cancer and probably in all of medicine right now.

But while that excitement is justified, claims that a cure for cancer is around the corner are not.

Medical research is littered with the graves of hyped treatments that just never worked.

Two decades ago, gene therapy was “hype-central” and we’re still waiting for it to transform medicine.

This study demonstrates some spectacular science that furthers understanding of how the immune system and cancer interact.

But this new knowledge has not been used to treat a single patient. There have not even been animal studies. So there is a real risk it will not work.

Even if it does, this is an hugely expensive approach that would need to be customised to every patient in a process that takes more than a year from start to finish.


Some immunotherapy treatments work spectacularly with some patients’ cancer disappearing entirely.

They take the brakes off the immune system, freeing it up to fight cancer.

The researchers hope the combination of removing the immune system’s brakes and then taking over the steering wheel, will save lives.

Professor Peter Johnson, from Cancer Research UK, said the research had shown “impressive results in the clinic” and although “the technology is complicated and quite recent… once you start doing it the cost will come down”.

‘Elegant study’

Dr Stefan Symeonides, clinician scientist in experimental cancer medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said designing a personalised vaccine was currently impractical, especially when a patient needed treatment straight away.

But he added that the “very elegant” study did provide a ground-breaking insight into current immunotherapy drugs, which do not yet work for most people.

“It’s not just the number of antigens, it’s how many of the cancer cells have them,” he said.

“This data will be quoted in discussions for years, as we try to understand which patients benefit from immunotherapy drugs, which ones don’t, and why, so we can improve those therapies.”

Follow James on Twitter.

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

 

 

 

Uterus Transplant
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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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

 

Many Health Apps Don’t Get the Job Done by Laura Nathan-Garner

How to Choose a Better Health App

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From helping you wake up rested to getting couch potatoes ready for a 5K, there really is an app for everything.

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But when it comes to health apps, many don’t get the job done. That’s true of apps for smartphones, iPads, computers and even TVs.

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“Many companies are in such a hurry to sell their app that they don’t conduct a study to see if users will adopt real, lasting change,” says Alexander V. Prokhorov, M.D., Ph.D., director of
MD Anderson’s e-Health Technology Program and professor in the Department of Behavioral Science.

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“And, app stores don’t have medical reviewers who make sure health apps are medically sound.”

So, it can take some detective work to find a reliable one. Before you start to download, separate the good from the bad with these tips.

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1. SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS.

Think of health apps as tools to complement what you’re doing offline.

So, before downloading an app, figure out what you need to do to achieve your health goals. Then, figure out how an app can and can’t help.

“Set a specific and achievable goal,” says Jermaine McMillan, project director of MD Anderson’s e-Health Technology Program. “Once you choose an app, make sure you understand what it’s intended to do and how you will use it to help reach your goal.”

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2. AVOID APPS THAT PROMISE TOO MUCH.

Beware of apps promising big results — and fast.

Research shows that most people can’t change a behavior overnight or even in a week,” Prokhorov says. “So, an app that promises quick weight loss or quitting smoking for good by the end of the month probably won’t produce the results you want.”

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3. RESEARCH THE DEVELOPERS.

Don’t let attractive graphics or enticing features fool you. “Many questionable health apps are developed by good designers who aren’t experts in behavior change,” Prokhorov says.

Advice? Do some digging. Find the developer’s name in the app store or on the app’s website. Then, research the developer and find out:

Whether they’ve designed other health apps
How long they’ve been developing health apps
Whether they consulted health professionals to develop the app
Whether any reputable hospitals or health organizations endorse the app
No experience, and no consultation with a health organization? That’s a red flag to keep looking.

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4. CHOOSE APPS THAT USE TECHNIQUES YOU’VE HEARD OF.

Does an app use unusual strategies to help improve users’ health? Say, using hypnosis or acupuncture to quit smoking? That, too, may be a red flag.

“Most effective behavior change strategies are based on years of research,” Prokhorov says. “They’re things you’ve probably heard your doctor recommend.”

So, play it safe and stick with apps that use well-known strategies.

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5. SEE WHAT OTHER USERS SAY.

Read reviews in the app store, and do a search online to see what other users think about the app.

And, pay particular attention to readers who’ve used the app for awhile. This feedback may provide insight into whether the app can really help you long-term.

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6. TEST APPS BEFORE COMMITTING.

Even the best app can’t work its magic if you don’t use it as recommended. So, test out several health apps before choosing one and give the one you choose a fair chance.

If an app isn’t easy and convenient to use, you probably won’t use it regularly. And, those healthy changes you’re trying to adopt probably won’t become habit.

Don’t give up if the first few apps don’t do the trick. Test-driving different apps can teach you about your likes and dislikes, so you can find an app — or an offline solution — that works for you.

“The good news is that more health researchers are starting to help design apps,” Prokhorov says. “And that means many great health apps should appear in the next year or two.”

                                                                                                               ________________

This article originally appeared in Focused on Health, MD Anderson Cancer Center’s online healthy living newsletter.  For more information, please visit www.mdanderson.org

 

Spotlight on Alzheimer’s

This morning, I step outside and feel a familiar cold chill –reminiscent of pre-sunrise in San Diego.  Later, I glance out the window. Sunshine hides like my favorite red augyle sock after laundry.

Gloomy skies get me thinking about Seasonal Affective Disorder and what new therapies exist.

People generally talk about S.A.D. (pun!) when Fall arrives.  What about cloudy days in Spring?  I’ve never been diagnosed with S.A.D., but I’m a bit of a hypocondriac.  I know.  Ironic.

Other people get to benefit from it. In the past, doctors. They’d laugh and say I was the healthiest person they’d ever seen.  I’d get sent home with a lollipop.  And a bill. 

Friends and relatives because each time I think I have something, I put my glasses on and do extensive research.  Lightning speed.  I don’t need eyeglasses anymore (thank you, Dr. Bell of The San Diego Eye Institute).  So now, I’m even faster.  Research Ninja.

Ever since I was a little kid, my cousin Josephine and I loved researching our imagined illnesses. We loved  using big medical words too.  Some words made us crack up.  Today, if we want to laugh all we have to do is say, “Spinabifida.”  Josephine is a top pediatric nurse now. 

Anyhow, this morning, while I’m researching light therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder, I find a blog about using the same Light Therapy for Alzheimer’s patients.  WOW.  Never heard of THAT. 

It’s written by a caregiver named Gary LeBlanc.

I contact Gary & ask for permission to share his blog. I thought it would help other people. He says yes.  (Don’t worry, I get back to light therapy options for Seasonal Affective Disorder later.)  So, I switch gears and decide to put the spotLIGHT on Alzheimer’s instead of S.A.D.

I thank Gary for allowing me to repost his unique experience utilizing light to care for his father with Alzheimer’s disease. I always trust real people sharing their medical experiences, rather than professionals.  I have to read between the lines with the latter. Who is funding them? What’s the agenda? Are they PR flacks?  When it’s real people –there is no agenda. 

Gary was the primary caregiver of his father for a decade after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Gary has a book, but it is one based on his experience.  It’s called, “Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfulness.”  

I notice his article got 7 clicks.  Since I have over 1.2 million people within my social network, and most work in NATIONAL MEDIA and MEDICAL –I thought I’d share his story and shed some LIGHT on something a lot of other Americans are dealing with right now.   It’s so cool when something little –something you can DO can make a big difference. Gary explains.

Light therapy lessens hardships

By GARY LEBLANC | Common Sense Caregiving
Published: March 22, 2012 Updated: March 22, 2012 – 12:00 AM

For many years now I have preached how beneficial it is to keep the homes of those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease well lit. Throughout my father’s illness I kept the lights on at full tilt in both the bedroom and bathroom throughout the night. By doing so it kept him from experiencing mass confusion during his frequent bathroom runs in the wee hours.

Even during the daylight hours he had trouble crossing the threshold into the bathroom. The difference from one room’s carpet turning into tiles had him believing there was a step, making him raise his foot high, stepping over nothing. Color contrast can become very deceiving.

A friend of mine, who cares for her father-in-law with Alzheimer’s, recently told me that when she takes him to his doctor’s office, there’s a black welcome mat that scares him to pieces. He refuses to walk on it because he believes it’s a deep hole.

As caregivers we must keep things as simple and safe as possible for our loved ones. Paying close attention to their habits is a good way to start.

For those experiencing Sundowners, also known as “Sundown Syndrome,” start lighting up the house a good hour before dusk. By preventing shadows from creeping in, this will take away some of the hardships experienced during that time of day. Researchers have even found that by using the correct color temperature light bulbs may have a positive effect on mood and behavior.

For instance, what is perceived to be cool-white light has been reported to help the patients remain more alert and verbally active. On the other hand, warm-white light, which has more of a reddish-yellow tinge to it, is said to keep the patient calmer, helping to temper behavior problems.

Unfortunately, visual perception becomes altered from Alzheimer’s. A good tip to keep in mind is to always consider the color contrast in all situations. If you’re having problems getting patients to eat, take into account the way in which the table is set. A white plate on a white table cloth may be very difficult for them to see. Think “Bold Colors.” Try placing their food on a red plate. Even when it comes to the silverware, bright colored handles may encourage them to start digging in. A recent study has found this method has increased intake by 25 percent.

Let’s say there’s a clear glass of water on a white table; change it to a blue cup. This will help them to visually recognize it easier, actually encouraging them to pick it up and drink from it, preventing dehydration. How important is that?

Gary Joseph LeBlanc can be reached at us41books@bellsouth.net. A new expanded edition of his book, “Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfulness,” can be found at stayingafloatbook.com, Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
 

Here’s little refresher for anyone who isn’t aware of Alzheimer’s statistics:

Right now, 15 million Americans serve as caregivers, and this is projected to rise to 45 million by 2050.  I got that from The Alzheimer’s Association. 

1 in 8 older Americans has Alzheimer’s Disease and 1 in 7 lives alone.  So, there’s all this cheerleading going on about “Living Longer” but are we living Healthier

According to Psychiatric Times, as many as 50% of persons older than 85 years have some form of dementia (Alzhemier’s disease being the cause in at least two-thirds of cases).

Psychosis occurs in approx. 40% of persons with Alzheimer’s disease, and agitation occurs in 80% or more of persons with dementia at some point.  The photo below on the left is what a normal brain looks like. The middle brain shows mild cognitive impairment. The one on the far right is Alzheimeer’s Diseasse. 

When I first saw this photo this morning, I wondered why they can’t track the progression on MRI scans, and then a new study popped up saying researchers discovered they can do just that.  News story below.

A study in March 22 issue of the Journal, Neuron says Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia may spread within nerve networks in the brain by moving directly betweenn connected neurons. They’re thinking an MRI could track the progression of it.

This makes absolute sense and I wonder why they didn’t have this A ha! moment sooner. I was also looking at photos of the brain this morning and photos of the brain without Alzheimer’s and with are remarkably different, so I had the same thought. Why can’t doctors track the progression with a brain scan.

I’d LOVE to know how to PREVENT dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Something is causing it in so many Americans. My first instinct tells me it is related to NUTRITION.   Something people are eating or drinking is eroding brain cells. Is it soda? Did you see how when someone said they found a mouse in their soda and tried to sue the soda company –the soda executive’s defense was that it was “impossibe” because the mouse would have dissolved in the soda?  Wow.   I could almost hear the fizzling sound of brain cells.  Until we discover how to prevent it, I am always on the lookout for anything that can help patients, families and caregivers.

Consequently, my dear friend, Dr. Max Gomez from CBS just lost his father to Alzheimer’s.   Sympathies go out to the Gomez family at this time.  If you’d like to reach out, here’s a note from Max:

“Some folks have asked about flowers… please don’t. If you’re inclined, I’d much rather you send a donation in my father’s name, Dr Max Gomez, Sr., to the Alzheimer’s research group at NYU where they diagnosed and cared for Dad; check should be made out to the NYU Center for Brain Health and sent to:  Center for Brain Health, NYU School of Medicine, Dept. of Psychiatry, 145 E. 32 St., 5th fl, New York, NY 10016.  Attn: Dr. Mony DeLeon. They will also supply tax receipts. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.”

 

LIGHT THERAPY is fascinating in that it can help with the following.   Sometimes, when people have exhausted all else —and they still suffer –they may want to try it. Psoriasis isn’t on this list. I read earlier it was being used for that too:

LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT  WHERE YOU CAN GET LIGHT THERAPY, PRICES along with REVIEWS from HEALTHYLIVING.COM:

Phillips GoLight BLU

Light Therapy On The Go

As I mentioned earlier, I was beginning to feel tied to my sunlamp because I needed to spend much time in front of it. To solve this problem, my husband got me a Phillips GoLight BLU. It’s smaller than the NatureBright and it runs on a rechargeable battery. There’s no cord to fuss with, it works as well as the NatureBright, and I can bring it wherever I go.I’ve started using this device in the mornings. If I so choose, I can now sit on the couch instead of at my desk. Or I can bring it from room to room as I do chores. It’s five or six inches square, so I can can carry it easily and hold it so the light falls on my face while I’m walking. I feel much less restricted since I’ve started using the Phillips GoLite BLU. I also have more energy and a better mood throughout the day, and I have an easier time waking up in the morning.
Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device

Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device

Amazon Price: $119.95 (as of 03/22/2012)Buy Now

Some researchers and light therapy users believe that blue light is the most important part of the spectrum for treating SAD. The Phillips GoLite BLUE is compact, portable, and operates on a rechargeable battery. It’s easy to bring it and use it almost anywhere. 

Syrcadian Blue Light Therapy Device for SAD

Light therapy for your morning commute!

I bought the Syrcadian Blue Light Therapy Device in October when I was planning a trip to the East Coast. I’d been relying on my NatureBright since September, but it’s way too big and bulky to pack in a suitcase. The days were getting shorter. I’d be father north than usual, where they would be shorter still. Trying to go without light therapy for the entire ten day trip would be courting disaster. I was also on a budget, so I needed my device to be under or around $100.The Syrcadian Blue Light Therapy Device was the answer to my prayers. It comes with a USB cable, enabling me to mount it on my laptop screen. With the car adapter kit, I could mount it on the visor of a car (which I did at one point when I had to leave for a road trip at 7 a.m.). With the lamp itself, plus the car adapter set, it came in at around $100. It probably wouldn’t work for me as my sole therapy device, but using it twice a day kept my mood stable throughout my travels. And on that early morning road trip it really saved me.
Syrcadian Blue SB-1000 Sad Light Therapy Device

Syrcadian Blue SB-1000 Sad Light Therapy Device

Amazon Price: $59.95 (as of 03/22/2012)Buy Now

This handy device is tiny, inexpensive, and very portable. You can mount on the top of your computer monitor, where it draws power vis USB cable, or plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter and mount it on the visor — you can commute and get your light therapy in at the same time! Two brightness settings allow you to select the amount of light you want.

  

Accessories for the Syrcadain Blue

Use it in your car; charge it from a wall socket

The Syrcadian Blue comes with a USB cable, enabling you to plug it into your computer’s USB port, mount it on top, and get your therapy while you work. But that’s not your only option.
Syrcadian Blue Automotive Adapter

Syrcadian Blue Automotive Adapter

This kit provides clips to attach the Syrcadian Blue to your visor, and a car charger to power the device. Use your morning commute to get your light therapy!

Amazon Price: $29.95 (as of 03/22/2012) Buy Now

 
Syrcadian Blue Wall Mount Power Supply

Syrcadian Blue Wall Mount Power Supply

Multi-country adapters to plug your Syrcadian Blue into a wall outlet.

Amazon Price: $24.95 (as of 03/22/2012) Buy Now

  

Other Portable Light Therapy Lamps for SAD

Bring your light therapy with you!

Having the option of taking your therapy lamp wherever you go can alleviate the frustration of living with seasonal depression. Below are more options for portable, lightweight light therapy for seasonal affective disorder. All devices listed have received an average rating of 4.5 to 5 stars on Amazon.
Philips Hf3321/60 Golite, White / Blue

Philips Hf3321/60 Golite, White / Blue

If entirely blue light is too intense for you, Phillips offers a therapy device that’s half blue light and half white light. It features the same low weight and compact dimensions as the GoLite Blu.

Amazon Price: $78.73 (as of 03/22/2012) Buy Now

 
Litebook Elite Hand-Held Light Therapy Device

Litebook Elite Hand-Held Light Therapy Device

The Litebook Elite runs on a long-lasting rechargeable battery. It features a custom lens to provide a uniform field of full spectrum light.

Amazon Price: $168.95 (as of 03/22/2012) Buy Now

 
Sphere Gadget Technologies SP9882 Lightphoria Sad Light Therapy, 10,000 Lux

Sphere Gadget Technologies SP9882 Lightphoria Sad Light Therapy, 10,000 Lux

This portable plug-in sunlamp offers three intensity settings: 5,000 lux, 8,000 lux, and 10,000 lux. It comes with its own travel pouch so you can bring it anywhere.

Amazon Price: $99.99 (as of 03/22/2012) Buy Now

 
NEW Bio Brite Lumie Zip Portable Light Lite Therapy Box

NEW Bio Brite Lumie Zip Portable Light Lite Therapy Box

Another portable sunlamp, only this one works on batteries. Coming in at 2,500 lux, it’s a good choice for those who experience eyestrain or headaches with higher lux, or who would like to double it up as a task lamp for longer periods of time.

Amazon Price: $199.00 (as of 03/22/2012) Buy Now

 
Feel Bright Light Visor

Feel Bright Light Visor

This light therapy visor will be the next therapy device I try. It works on a rechargeable lithium battery and emits 10,000 lux of blue-green light. A visor is included in the package, as well as clips to attach to your favorite baseball cap.

Amazon Price: $217.00 (as of 03/22/2012) Buy Now

 

Important!

An Important Fact Light Therapy and Bipolar Disorder

A lot of people with bipolar disorder have seasonal mood problems. However, light therapy can cause hypomania or manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder. This is especially true with blue light therapy. If you have bipolar, DO NOT use light therapy unless it’s under close supervision by your doctor.

Phillips Dawn and Dusk Simulator

Sunrise and sunset, exactly when you want them.

A “dawn simulator” is a large, bright white light that serves as an alarm clock. Say you set your alarm for 8 a.m.; the light in the dawn simulator will start to come on gradually, starting around 7:30 or so, and reaching full brightness at 8. You wake up gradually and naturally. It feels much better than being startled awake by an alarm clock.Since my home has skylights, I don’t need to use the “dawn” feature, but I love the “dusk” feature. One reason I don’t get enough sleep is that I like to read in bed, and no matter how tired I am, I can easily lose myself in a book. Before I know it, it’s 4 a.m. The dusk simulator allows me to set a timer for up to 15 to 90 minutes, and as that time passes, its light will slowly dim. Eventually I can’t see my book anymore, which makes it easier for me to put my book down and go to sleep.
Philips HF3471/60 Wake-Up Light, White

Philips HF3471/60 Wake-Up Light, White

Amazon Price: $84.95 (as of 03/22/2012)Buy Now

The Phillips Dawn and Dusk Simulator allows you to wake up with the dawn, whatever the actual time might be. At night, use a timer so that the light dims slowly, triggering your body’s natural sleep process. The alarm also has some pretty nice sound options, such as birdsong — much nicer than a buzzing, jangling alarm clock!

 
Wake-up Lights for SAD Therapy from Amazon

Dawn simulators help you sleep and help you wake up.

Dawn simulators increase the light in your bedroom gradually and naturally. The artificial “sunrise” this provides can be especially helpful if you have to wake up when it’s still dark out.
EZ Wake Digital SunRise Alarm Clock - Sea Green

EZ Wake Digital SunRise Alarm Clock – Sea Green

Amazon Price: $89.95 (as of 03/22/2012) Buy Now

 
BioBrite Sunrise Clock Advanced Model  Charcoal

BioBrite Sunrise Clock Advanced Model Charcoal

Amazon Price: $100.00 (as of 03/22/2012) Buy Now

 
 

Natural Dawn Simulator Alarm Clock Light Box

Amazon Price: $165.00 (as of 03/22/2012) Buy Now

 
Sunrise SRS 260 Sun Simulator Alarm Clock MP3 Player

Sunrise SRS 260 Sun Simulator Alarm Clock MP3 Player

Amazon Price: $169.95 (as of 03/22/2012) Buy Now

 

Important!

Side Effects of Light Therapy

Compared to medication, light therapy has very few side effects. They include headache, nausea, irritability, and eye strain. I found that my sun lamp made my dry mouth worse for the first week I used it this year (dry mouth is a common symptom of psychoactive meds, and I take several). These symptoms often go away on their own, or they can be mitigated by changing the angle of the lamp, its brightness, or duration of the therapy.

Light Therapy Reviews

This blog reviews more therapy devices and chronicles my experiences with light therapy.

Stay Healthy, everyone!  🙂

Link to Gary LeBlanc’s book, “Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfulness”  at Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/staying-afloat-in-a-sea-of-forgetfulness?keyword=staying+afloat+in+a+sea+of+forgetfulness&store=allproducts

10 Cool Mobile Health Apps by Yahoo Health

1. My Diet Diary-Calorie Counter

To help you slim down, My Diet Diary tracks your food (including calculating calories and personalized nutritional needs using a database of 150,000 foods), exercise, water consumption, and how your actual weight is trending against your goal weight. You can share your progress on social media and graph your results.

2. RunKeeper

To boost your motivation, RunKeeper turns your mobile device into smart run or fitness tracker, using the GPS to track the speed, distance and duration of your workouts. You can calculate calories burned, share your results on social media, get audio feedback as to whether you are on your target pace, and create a personal data dashboard on the runkeeper.com site.

3. Epocrates Rx

Widely used by doctors, this free drug reference tool provides details on thousands of medications. Not only can you look up potential side effects on Epocrates Rx, but if you take more than one medication, you can also check for potentially dangerous interactions and confirm drug coverage for many health plans, including Medicare Part D. And if you sometimes forget to take your medications, also check out RxmindMe, a free app that lets you create 9 types of reminders.

4. iTriage

Developed by emergency physicians, iTriage lets you look up symptoms and possible causes, tap into a national directory of ERs, doctors, urgent care centers, and clinics, use your phone’s GPS to identify the closest medical facilities and get driving directions. This free app is designed to answer 2 questions: “What’s wrong with me?” and “Where can I get treatment?”

5. KidneyDiet

If you’re one of the 20 million Americans with chronic kidney disease, your doctor has probably told you to watch the potassium, protein, phosphorus and salt in your diet. The KidneyDiet app provides nutritional data on thousands of foods, including brand name products and menu items from some chain restaurants, to help you make the best choices. Foods that might be harmful for people on a kidney diet are highlighted in red.

 

6. QuitGuide

Want to quit smoking? Developed by the National Cancer Institute, QuitGuide helps you prepare to kick the habit, provides support during the days and weeks after you quit, and discusses the challenges you may experience. For more free resources, visit smokefree.gov.

What happens when you quit smoking? See the results.

7. WaveSense Diabetes Manager

This free app lets you track blood sugar levels, carb intake, and insulin doses. WaveSense Diabetes Manager provides color-coded results—making it easy to see if your glucose results are in the high or low ranges—is customizable with target ranges, lets you tag your results with info on food, exercise, medication or health issues, and email reports to your healthcare team.

8. PTSD Coach

Up to 20 percent of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffer from flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD. Created by the VA and Department of Defense, PTSD Coach, a free iPhone and Android app, delivers information on the disorder and a self-assessment, along with insights into treatments and coping tools. Users can upload their contacts, photos and music.

9. AsthmaMD

AsthmaMD can track your asthma triggers, map “severity zones,” share your data with your doctor, and help researchers study asthma by pooling real-time data from thousands of patients through secure “cloud” storage.

10. Sleep on It

Rest assured that you’ll wake up on time. The free Sleep on It app combines an alarm clock with a variety of sounds with clever features to track how the duration and quality of your slumber is impacting your health and mood. You can record medications, symptoms, and naps to see which factors may explain poor sleep and generate graphs of overall sleep trends and hours snoozed in the last 7, 30, and 90 days.

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

WebMD Baby, a new free Apple iPhone app

A Free Source of Information and Advice for New Parents

By 
Published: January 25, 2012

Everyone wants a piece of a new parent — or, at least, the wallet of a new parent.

Baby Connect, an app for iPhone and Android, showing a graph of a baby’s daily activities.

Browse all the mobile app coverage that has appeared in The New York Times by category, and see what Times writers have on their phones and tablets.

WebMD Baby, a new iPhone app, has about 400 articles, 600 tips and 70 videos

App stores are part of that money rush. There’s mobile software that can help parents name their babies, soothe their babies, entertain their babies and speak to their babies in sign language.

The newest baby app of note on the market, though, WebMD Baby, is free, and it is arguably more practical and useful than many of the others combined.

WebMD Baby is available only on Apple devices, at least until the company releases an Android version later this year. It provides a strong complement to — if not a total replacement for — Baby Connect ($5 on Android andApple), the best mobile assistant for new parents.

Unlike Baby Connect, whose strengths and weaknesses I’ll detail in a moment, WebMD Baby comes packed with information. The app takes advantage of its parent company’s trove of medically related content to offer parents guidance on what to expect from their child’s physical and emotional development, as well as health-related counsel when things go wrong.

At the app’s core are roughly 400 articles, 600 tips and 70 videos.

For parents of a 1-year-old, for instance, the app recently offered a video question and answer with a pediatrician about top mistakes parents make with toddlers. (Hint: to properly calibrate discipline, issue one-minute “time outs” for 1-year-olds, two minutes for 2-year-olds, and so on.)

Oddly, the app doesn’t allow for full-screen video in landscape mode, but since this is a new app, I’d expect WebMD to fix this flaw quickly.

The app also presents daily and weekly packages of information aimed at helping parents understand a child’s development during the first year. Last week, the daily tip for a parent with a 3-week-old baby, for instance, offered details about what to expect at a one-month doctor’s visit. (There are packages for the child’s second year, as well, but at longer intervals.)

Some have criticized WebMD for publishing medical advice that might encourage readers to use its advertisers’ products, but I found the section on “Illnesses and Emergencies” to be generally free of specious advice. For now, at least, there is no advertising on the app.

WebMD Baby also has a “Baby Book” section, where you can record and store videos, pictures and notes of a child’s milestone moments. The videos and photos also remain in the device’s photography storage area, so they’re not held hostage by the app.

Thankfully, every page is designed in a way that would make it easy for a parent to use with one hand — while, presumably, holding a sleeping baby with the other.

One of the app’s shortcomings is that parents can’t peek in on the app from different devices and see the latest information. If you log information into WebMD Baby from aniPhone and then your spouse logs onto the app from an iPod Touch, for instance, it won’t show her the information you entered in the iPhone.

With Baby Connect, however, such an arrangement would work nicely. Even if you have an Android phone and your spouse has an iPhone, any time you enter new information into the app, those changes will appear on your spouse’s app the next time it’s opened.

Baby Connect lacks the information and advice that makes WebMD Baby so valuable, but it has more tracking options than its competitor. The app prompts you to create a separate page for each child. From there, parents and caregivers can track mood and activities, as well as health-related items like vaccines, temperature and medicines.

If you’d like to simply remember where you were at a given moment with the baby — so you can remember their first public tantrum, perhaps — the “My Location” button will make a record of it.

The app is generally easy to use, and it includes a helpful summary page for each child so you can scan recent entries at a glance.

That said, it can be difficult at times to understand the app’s internal logic. Seven main features are included on a child’s home page, including “Medical.” (Additional features are expected in an updated version the company plans to release this week.) When pressed, the Medical button yields a list of items like weight, or vaccines.

Alongside those main buttons on the child’s home page is one titled “More,” which leads to another screen of items like nursing, solid food and, again, vaccines. Unlike the vaccine section found through the child’s home page, though, this one includes a list of common inoculations.

If you choose one from the list, thereby indicating that your children received that particular vaccine, the app will record the event in the other “Vaccine” location. That’s helpful, but it would be much simpler to offer the list of vaccines in the original “Medical” section.

New parents have enough to figure out. They don’t need to add tricky software to the list.

Yet Baby Connect remains a more fully featured app for new parents than WebMD Baby. For people who are approaching parenthood for the first time, and who have a tendency toward extreme organization, Baby Connect is a good complement to WebMD Baby.

Otherwise, I’d leave space for WebMD Baby and feel grateful for a moment’s respite from spending money on parenting products.

Quick Calls

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A version of this article appeared in print on January 26, 2012, on pageB6 of the New York edition with the headline: A Free Source of Information and Advice for New Parents.