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.”

 

 

New Study: High Tech Baby Monitors

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SO MANY NEW SMART PHONE MONITORS AIM TO GIVE PARENTS PEACE OF MIND.

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BUT A RECENT STUDY LOOKS AT THEIR REAL SAFETY AND EFFECTIVENESS.

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DOCTOR KIMBERLY GIULIANO OF CLEVELAND CLINIC CHILDREN’ S DID NOT TAKE PART IN THE STUDY, BUT SAYS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CONCERNS DOCTORS HAVE ABOUT THESE MONITORS IS THEY’ RE NOT REGULATED.

CG: Dr. Kimberly Giuliano/Cleveland Clinic Children’s [19:10:35-19:10:47] “They are not tested and regulated by the FDA, so they don’ t have to go through the same rigors that medical equipment would. So it’ s quite possible that something could happen to a child that the monitors wouldn’ t necessarily pick up on.”  [00:12]

THE TYPE OF MONITORS STUDIED ARE THOSE WITH SPECIAL SENSORS TO ALERT PARENTS WHEN THERE IS A PROTBLEM WITH A BABY’ S PULSE OR HEART RATE.

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STUDY AUTHORS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER THESE MONITORS TRIGGERING FALSE ALARMS, WHICH CAN CAUSE UNNECESSARY STRESS TO PARENTS AND BABIES.

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DOCTOR GIULIANO SAYS WHEN IT COMES TO MONITORING A HEALTHY BABY, A DEVICE THAT WILL AID YOUR ABILITY TO HEAR OR SEE THE BABY IS ENOUGH.

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SHE SAYS VIDEO MONITORS HELP BECAUSE WHEN YOU CAN SEE THE BABY ON YOUR SMART PHONE SCREEN, YOU CAN SEE IF THEY’ RE JUST CRYING BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE HELD, OR BECAUSE SOMETHING HAPPENED AND YOU NEED TO GO IN AND HELP.

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WHAT MOST PARENTS AND DOCTORS WORRY ABOUT IN THE FIRST YEAR OF LIFE IS ‘ SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME,’ WHICH IS AN UNEXPLAINED DEATH OF A SEEMINGLY HEALTHY BABY DURING THEIR SLEEP.

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DOCTOR GIULIANO CAUTIONS PARENTS FROM ALLOWING ANY MONITOR TO GIVE THEM A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY.

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CG: Dr. Kimberly Giuliano/Cleveland Clinic Children’s [19:08:41-19:08:57] “The biggest thing that we’ re concerned about when babies are sleeping at night is SIDS, is ‘ Sudden Infant Death Syndrome,’ and that’ s silent. There’ s nothing that’ s going to show up on a monitor that’ s necessarily going to tell us that. So just because you’ re not hearing anything, doesn’ t always mean that everything is one hundred percent okay.”  [00:16]

DOCTOR GIULIANO SAYS THE MOST VITAL THING WHEN IT COMES TO LAYING BABY DOWN TO SLEEP IS TO RECALL WHAT DOCTORS CALL THE
‘ A-B-C’ S’ OF SLEEP.

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THIS MEANS A BABY MUST SLEEP ALONE, ON THEIR BACK, AND IN A CRIB, TO MINIMIZE THE RISK FOR ACCIDENTAL SUFFOCATION.  AGAIN, THAT’S:

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COMPLETE RESULTS OF THE STUDY CAN BE FOUND IN JAMA.

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(Media:  Cleveland Clinic News Service 9500 Euclid Ave. / JJN4-01Cleveland, OH 44195 Phone: 216.444.0141 “Study Looks at Safety, Effectiveness of High Tech Baby Monitors”April 26, 2017 Sound Bites/Voice Over Pathfire#: A)

It begs the question why a sensor product for newborns was able to raise $25M with no proof that sensors keep babies safe.  In fact, $3M of that funding came from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) –the government.

If the National Institutes of Health wants to conduct a study on how to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or how to keep newborns safe –why wouldn’t it perform an independent study.

In 2013, a Baby Monitor Sensor pad product was recalled after two babies died. The cord attached to the baby monitor’s sensor pad, which was placed under the crib mattress caused strangulation. There have been 7 reports of strangulation by baby monitor cords since 2002.

According to the CDC, almost 2000 babies die each year under SIDS circumstances.

Placing a foreign object inside the crib or worse on your baby with a sensor is not the answer.

Remember, the most effective thing you can do to help reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS, say pediatricians, is to maintain a safe sleep environment—and not one that involves complicated home monitoring devices.

“If sleep position and infant bedding are appropriate, there shouldn’t be much SIDS left to try to prevent with home monitors,” Dr. Alan Jobe of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital wrote in an op-ed for the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2001.

Sixteen years later, the thinking remains the same. The American Academy of Pediatrics revised and expanded its SIDS prevention recommendations.

In addition to putting your baby to sleep on his or her back, APA recommendations include sharing a room with your infant but, crucially, not a bed; keeping baby’s sleeping area clear of any loose bedding, pillows, toys, or cords; and making sure your baby isn’t too warm when sleeping.

Nos. 12 and 13 on the APA’s list of guidelines?

“Avoid commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS. … There is no evidence that these devices reduce the risk of SIDS or suffocation or that they are safe.”

And:

“Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS. … They might be of value for selected infants but should not be used routinely.”

(In fact, there’s some evidence that they might not be safe: In November, monitor behemoth Angelcare voluntarily recalled 600,000 under-mattress sensor pads after two infants died of strangulation when the cord attached to the pad wrapped around their necks.)

The point is clear: Infant monitors, even the newest generation of smartphone-friendly wearable tech, do not reduce the risk of SIDS.

Bottom line:  Exposing your newborn or infant to an unregulated sensor gadget placed so close to their tiny body isn’t deemed safe or advisable by physicians.

Safewise rates 10 Best Baby Video Monitors for 2017 here:
http://www.safewise.com/resources/baby-monitor-buyers-guide

 

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

 

 

 

 

New 30-Min. Tech for Weight Loss

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There is now a non-surgical alternative to gastric bypass.

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It’s for people with a BMI of at least 30-40 who despite changing habits can’t lose weight.

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It’s called ORBERA and it involves inflatable balloons that help you shed 20 to 80 pounds.

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ORBERA balloon is inserted down throat and into stomach using an endoscope in less than 30 min.

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The balloons are then filled with saline, filling up space in the stomach.

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The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the dual balloon technology and NYC Gastroenterologist Dr. Prem Chattoo of Hudson River Gastroenterology is one of the first doctors to offer the procedure.  His office is located in lower Manhattan.

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“It’s not a long term solution like bariatric surgery. The procedure is used for a quick, six-month weight loss to get rid of 10 percent of your body weight. After six months, the balloon is removed and you should see a pretty noticeable weight loss,” Dr. Chattoo says.

 

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The end result is weight loss and reduced hunger.

After the procedure, ORBERA has a 12-month diet and exercise program to follow.

The biggest benefits about ORBERA, according to Dr. Chattoo, are that no abdominal surgery is needed and that the procedure is completed in the same day.

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The procedure is recommended to those with a body mass index (BMI) of 30-40 or those who have other risk factors for heart disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure. A BMI or 30 or higher is defined as obese. More than a third of U.S. adults fit that range.

The procedure costs 6-8K and is not covered by insurance.

One procedure will be donated for free to one person in need who meets requirements. Contact: maria.dorfner@yahoo.com   Write:  Orbera in Subject, include your contact information.

Additional Images for Media:  https://apolloendo.box.com/s/t7ukrrujfjk4mrgjwo5l5w5obd3djmbt

For more information contact Dr. Prem Chattoo at http://www.hudsonrivergi.com

For more information about the Orbera procedure visit: http://www.orbera.com

Stay healthy!
MD

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“Always remember the benefits of daily exercise for your mind, body and spirit. If you hate or dread exercise start with walking. Break it up into 15 minutes at a time until you reach 30 minutes. Then, increase it to 45 or 60 minutes. You don’t even need a gym to do that.

Remove  all junk food from your home. Load up on healthy snacks. Remove all processed foods and soda. Drink lots of water. You’ll begin to notice a difference in 6 months. In one year, it will all be a habit.

No matter what help you get surgically or non-surgically, you always want to strive to develop lifelong healthy habits. Address the underlying of ‘why’ you select unhealthy foods. Stressed?  Find someone to talk to. There are lots of free counselling services where you can call and talk to someone confidentially.

Rushed?  Fix meals the night before.  Hate your job? Start looking for a new one.  Sit at a computer all day?  Get up every 15 minutes and walk around office. Take stairs. Depressed?  Again, find someone to talk to and exercise daily. Make an appointment with a professional psychologist if it’s really bad. When exercising,  don’t focus on the physical. Focus on the mental benefits when you start. Physical has a way of catching up when you fix your mind and thoughts first. Stay positive.

Good things take commitment, dedication and time.

Your goal should never be a quick fix, but to change habits that got you to the place where you feel tired, sluggish and unhealthy and replace them with new, better, healthy ones. You can do it.  One day at a time. ”  -Maria Dorfner

Interesting research shared by Melissa Robinson:

Brown Fat, Triggered by Cold or Exercise, May Yield a Key to Weight Control

Fat people have less than thin people. Older people have less than younger people. Men have less than younger women.

It is brown fat, actually brown in color, and its great appeal is that it burns calories like a furnace. A new study finds that one form of it, which is turned on when people get cold, sucks fat out of the rest of the body to fuel itself. Another new study finds that a second form of brown fat can be created from ordinary white fat by exercise.

Of course, researchers say, they are not blind to the implications of their work. If they could turn on brown fat in people without putting them in cold rooms or making them exercise night and day, they might have a terrific weight loss treatment. And companies are getting to work.

But Dr. André Carpentier, an endocrinologist at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec and lead author of one of the new papers, notes that much work lies ahead. It is entirely possible, for example, that people would be hungrier and eat more to make up for the calories their brown fat burns.

“We have proof that this tissue burns calories — yes, indeed it does,” Dr. Carpentier said. “But what happens over the long term is unknown.”

Until about three years ago, researchers thought brown fat was something found in rodents, which cannot shiver and use heat-generating brown fat as an alternate way to keep warm. Human infants also have it, for the same reason. But researchers expected that adults, who shiver, had no need for it and did not have it.

Then three groups, independently, reported that they had found brown fat in adults. They could see it in scans when subjects were kept in cold rooms, wearing light clothes like hospital gowns. The scans detected the fat by showing that it absorbed glucose.

There was not much brown fat, just a few ounces in the upper back, on the side of the neck, in the dip between the collarbone and the shoulder, and along the spine. Although mice and human babies have a lot more, and in different places, it seemed to be the same thing. So, generalizing from what they knew about mice, many researchers assumed the fat was burning calories.

But, notes Barbara Cannon, a researcher at Stockholm University, just because the brown fat in adults takes up glucose does not necessarily mean it burns calories.

“We did not know what the glucose actually did,” she said. “Glucose can be stored in our cells, but that does not mean that it can be combusted.”

A new paper in The Journal of Clinical Investigation by Dr. Carpentier and his colleagues answers that question and more. By doing a different type of scan, which shows the metabolism of fat, the group reports that brown fat can burn ordinary fat and that glucose is not a major source of fuel for these cells. When the cells run out of their own small repositories of fat, they suck fat out of the rest of the body.

In the study, the subjects — all men — were kept chilled, but not to the point of shivering, which itself burns calories. Their metabolic rates increased by 80 percent, all from the actions of a few ounces of cells. The brown fat also kept its subjects warm. The more brown fat a man had, the colder he could get before he started to shiver.

Brown fat, Dr. Carpentier and Jan Nedergaard, Dr. Cannon’s husband, wrote in an accompanying editorial, “is on fire.”

On average, Dr. Carpentier said, the brown fat burned about 250 calories over three hours.

But there is another type of brown fat. It has been harder to study because it often is interspersed in the white fat and does not occur in large masses. Investigators discovered it in mice years ago. Now, in a recent article, Bruce Spiegelman, professor of cell biology and medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and his colleagues report that, in mice at least, exercise can make it appear, by turning ordinary white fat brown.

When mice exercise, their muscle cells release a newly discovered hormone that the researchers named irisin. Irisin, in turn, converts white fat cells into brown ones. Those brown fat cells burn extra calories.

Dr. Spiegelman said the brown fat he studies is different from the type that appears in large, distinct masses in rodents, the type Dr. Carpentier was examining in his subjects. That brown fat is derived from musclelike cells and not from white fat.

Dr. Spiegelman suspects that humans, like mice, make brown fat from white fat when they exercise, because humans also have irisin in their blood. And human irisin is identical to mouse irisin.

“What I would guess is that this is likely to be the explanation for some of the effects of exercise,” Dr. Spiegelman says. The calories burned during exercise exceed the number actually used to do the work of exercising. That may be an effect of some white fat cells turning brown.

Many questions remain. The only brown fat that can be easily seen in people is the muscle-derived fat that shows up in scans. And that brown fat, notes Dr. C. Ronald Kahn, chief academic officer at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, is visible in people only when it is turned on by making them cold.

Almost everyone of normal weight or below shows this brown fat if they are chilled, although individuals vary greatly in how much they have. But this brown fat almost never shows up in obese people. Is that one reason they are obese, or is their extra body fat keeping them so warm that there is no reason to turn on their brown fat?

There is also an intriguing relationship between the brown fat that emerges under the skin and the density of bone. Dr. Clifford Rosen, a professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, is studying mice that cannot make brown fat and was astonished by the state of their bones.

“The animals have the worst bone density we have ever seen,” Dr. Rosen said. “I see osteoporotic bones all the time,” he added, “but, oh my God, these are the extreme.”

And while exercise may induce brown fat in humans, it remains to be seen how important a source of calorie burning it is, researchers say.

As for deliberately making yourself cold if you want to lose weight, Dr. Carpentier said, “there is still a lot of research to do before this strategy can be exploited clinically and safely.”

 

Brown Fat Burns Ordinary Fat, Study Finds – NYTimes.com

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ABOUT THIS BLOG:

 

newsmd1    MARIA DORFNER is the founder of NewsMD Communications and Healthy Within Network.  This blog is a part of that.  She began her career in 1983 at NBC News in NYC where she continued to work behind-the-scenes on TODAY SHOW, NIGHTLY NEWS and all programs until 1989 when she helped launch CNBC.

As a producer, she has produced talk shows, segments and series and travelled extensively. In 1993, she developed and senior produced 7 health series: Healthy Living, Healthcare Consumers, Healthcare Practitioners, Lifestyles and Longevity and Green Magazine.

She co-anchored Healthy Living and Healthcare Consumers airing on CNBC for three years before launching NewsMD Communications. Her clients include a Who’s Who in Medical/Health, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which she shot, wrote and produced weekly segments for  NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and Fox. Discovery Health Channel, where she wrote, produced and directed the documentary series, 21st Century Medicine. She has helped raise multi-millions of dollars for hospitals in need and has been a part of several successful health startups.  She has worked as Director of Research for Roger Ailes at Ailes Communications, his consulting and production company and again as a producer. Her articles have been published in Broadcasting & Cable Magazine and she has hosted The Secret to Success.

She has continued to be a go-to person for network heath shows, stories and content. She was awarded a health reporting scholarship from The American Medical Association (AMA), a Freddie Award for Excellence in Medical Reporting, an Outstanding Achievement Award from the March of Dimes, an Angel of a Sponsor Award from Make A Wish Foundation and an Outstanding Leadership Abilities from her alma mater, Pace University and Commitment to the Advancement of Women in Media Award.

In 2014, she published 3 books. She was also awarded a scholarship to Columbia University by NBC News. She also received  Media Recognition Award from the American Heart Association for her series Heart Smart. She has been specializing in Medical/Health for 23 years, and has worked in Media for 33 years after starting as an intern during college.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading, learning, writing, nature, hiking, swimming, bike riding, working out, cooking, exploring museums and travel. She is a certified scuba diver and aerobics swim instructor.

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“Health has been a passion of mine since I was a kid.  What I do and who I am are seamless.  I come from a large Italian family. If someone is sick I’m the one they call for research. My best friend growing up in Brooklyn was my cousin Josephine, and we’re still close. We were little health nerds. She became a pediatric nurse.  We loved researching everything to death and still do.  Two things I love and know well. Media and Medical.  Yet, I think in both, they’ve forgotten the most important person –the patient. So, I want to help put the ME back in MEdia and MEdical.  Today, it’s SO hard to know who to trust in both.  Fortunately, people are smart and they are now well aware of the various financial ties “experts” and physicians and media have to promoting certain medications or other large companies, products or services that absolutely do not serve our health or our best interests. The worst part is when we learn they knew and do not reveal it to consumers for decades, which contradicts the oath, “First do no harm.”  So  much damage has been done and no one is accountable. How do you like that. Well, ethics matter. People matter. And people want and will choose what is best for their health. People are empowered and will use their money to denounce those companies aligned with making them sick.  I created this blog to be a trusted resource for people. I do it for free because I believe Virgil is right. There is no greater wealth than health and you absolutely have to trust who is telling you information and why more than any other time in your life.  It’s even worse if you’re rich because then people try to sell you even more things. That may be fine when it’s a handbag, but your health is too precious and there are no returns or refunds if you end up paying a price for trusting the wrong advice. Remember, “expert” doesn’t always mean that.   I feel extremely blessed to be healthy.  I’ve been healthy all my life. I’ve never even had stitches.  I love to help people and my career became a vocation when I was able to utilize my communication and journalism skills to do that.” 

-Maria Dorfner

Thanks for following my health blog.

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Body Bioelectronics: 5 Technologies that Could Flex with You

by Alyssa Danigelis

Wearable Electronic Patch

Innovations in soft materials and electronics are helping researchers create wearable electronic patches.

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Photo Credit: Donghee Son and Jongha Lee, Seoul National University

No more tough breaks. As “smart” electronics get smaller and softer, scientists are developing new medical devices that could be applied to — or in some cases, implanted in — our bodies.

And these soft and stretchy devices shouldn’t make your skin crawl, because they’re designed to blend right in, experts say.

We want to solve the mismatch between rigid wafer-based electronics and the soft, dynamic human body, said Nanshu Lu, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin.

Lu, who previously studied with John Rogers, a soft-materials and electronics expert at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, focuses her research on stretchable bioelectronics.

Lu and her colleagues have invented a cheaper and faster method for manufacturing electronic skin patches called epidermal electronics, reducing what was a multiday process to 20 minutes.

Smart and flexible enough to essentially meld with the human body.

From the latest advancements in smart tattoos to injectable brain monitoring to stretchable electronics for drug delivery, here are five fascinating technologies that could soon be on (or inside) your body.

Smart temporary tattoos

“When you integrate electronics on your skin, it feels like part of you,” Lu said. “You don’t feel it, but it is still working.” That’s the idea behind “smart” temporary tattoos that John Rogers and his colleagues are developing. Their tattoos, also known as biostamps, contain flexible circuitry that can be powered wirelessly and are stretchy enough to move with skin.

These wireless smart tattoos could address clinically important — but currently unmet — needs, Rogers told Live Science.

Although there are numerous potential applications, his team is focused now on how biostamps could be used to monitor patients in neonatal intensive care units and sleep labs.

MC10, the Massachusetts-based company Rogers helped start, is conducting clinical trials and expects to launch its first regulated products later this year.

Biochemical Sensors – Temporary Tattoos

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego, have tested a temporary tattoo that both extracts and measures the level of glucose in the fluid in between skin cells.
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Photo Credit: Joseph Wang, University of California, San Diego

Skin-mounted biochemical sensors

Another new body-meld technology in development is a wearable biochemical sensor that can analyze sweat through skin-mounted devices and send information wirelessly to a smartphone. These futuristic sensors are being designed by Joseph Wang, a professor of nanoengineering at the University of California, San Diego, and director of the Center for Wearable Sensors.

“We look at sweat, saliva and tears to provide information about performance, fitness and medical status,” Wang told Live Science.

Earlier this year, members of Wang’s lab presented a proof-of-concept, flexible, temporary tattoo for diabetics that could continuously monitor glucose levels without using needle pricks.

He also led a team that created a mouth-guard sensor that can check levels of health markers that usually require drawing blood, like uric acid, an early indicator for diabetes and gout.

Wang said the Center for Wearable Sensors is pushing to commercialize these emerging sensor technologies with the help of local and international companies.

 Nanomaterial drug delivery

Dae-Hyeong Kim, an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at Seoul National University in South Korea, and his colleagues are pursuing nanotechnologies to enable next-generation biomedical systems. Kim’s research could one day yield nanomaterial-enabled electronics for drug delivery and tissue engineering, according to Lu. “He has made stretchable memory, where you can store data on the tattoo, ” she said.

In 2014, Kim’s research group made a stretchable, wearable electronic patch that contains data storage, diagnostic tools and medicine. “The multifunctional patch can monitor movement disorders of Parkinson’s disease,” Kim told Live Science. Collected data gets recorded in the gold nanoparticle device’s memory.

When the patch detects tremor patterns, heat and temperature sensors inside it release controlled amounts of drugs that are delivered through carefully designed nanoparticles, he explained.

Injectable Electronic Mesh

This nanoscale electronic mesh can be injected into brain tissue through a needle.

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Photo Credit: Lieber Research Group, Harvard University

Injectable brain monitors

Although implantable technology exists for monitoring patients with epilepsy or brain damage, Lu pointed out that these devices are still sharp and rigid, making long-term monitoring a challenge. She compared soft brain tissue to a bowl of tofu constantly in motion. “We want something that can measure the brain, that can stimulate the brain, that can interact with the brain — without any mechanical strain or loading,” she said.

Enter Charles Lieber, a Harvard University chemistry professor whose research group focuses on nanoscale science and technology. His group’s devices are so small that they can be injected into brain tissue through a needle. After injection, nanoscale electronic mesh opens up that can monitor brain activity, stimulate tissue and even interact with neurons. “That,” said Lu, “is very cutting edge.”

Long-term implantable devices

Spinal Cord Implant

The e-Dura spinal cord implant.

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Photo Credit: Laboratory for Soft Bioelectronic Interfaces, EPFL
 

Stéphanie Lacour and Grégoire Courtine, scientists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne’s School of Engineering, announced in early 2015 that they had developed a new implant for treating spinal cord injuries.

The small e-Dura device is implanted directly on the spinal cord underneath its protective membrane, called the dura mater. From there, it can deliver electrical and chemical stimulation during rehabilitation.

The device’s elasticity and biocompatibility reduce the possibility of inflammation or tissue damage, meaning it could stay implanted for a long time.

Paralyzed rats implanted with the device were able to walk after several weeks of training, the researchers reported in the journal Science.

Lu called e-Dura one of the best-functioning, long-term implantable flexible stimulators. “It shows the possibilities of using implantable, flexible devices for rehabilitation and treatment,” she said.

Meanwhile, technologies that replicate human touch are growing increasingly sophisticated.

Stanford University chemical engineering professor Zhenan Bao has spent years developing artificial skin that can sense pressure and temperature and heal itself.

Her team’s latest version contains a sensor array that can distinguish between pressure differences like a firm or limp handshake.

Lu said she and her colleagues in this highly multidisciplinary field hope to make all wafer-based electronics more epidermallike. “All those electronic components that used to be rigid and brittle now have a chance to become soft and stretchable,” she said.

Follow @livescience, Facebook & Google+.  Original article on Live Science at:

http://www.livescience.com/health/

 

Also  Check Out Editor’s Recommendations at http://www.livescience.com

•5 Amazing Technologies That Are Revolutionizing Biotech
•Body Beautiful: The 5 Strangest Prosthetic Limbs
•The 10 Weirdest Things Created By 3D Printing

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LiveSciHealth

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Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD Communications, LLC and Healthy Within Network (HWN).  This is her blog.  Contact: maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

Be sure to FOLLOW this blog for updates on What’s Hot in Health.

  

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“When We Tell Stories…People Listen.”

 newsmd

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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

 

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 Hot iPhone Apps for New Parents

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Parenting in the internet age certainly still has its challenges, but tech-savvy parents have several options in the App Store that can help ease some of the stress. Storing important information, accessing records and even entertaining your newborn can all be done with a tap of the screen; here are ten iPhone apps that all new parents should check out.

1. Baby Tracker: Diapers – If your pediatrician asks you to keep a record of Baby’s diapers, the Baby Tracker: Diapers app is a must-have. The simple interface includes a color swatch and texture options, and even has a Notes feature for in-depth documentation.
2. White Noise Lite – Many parents swear by sound machines to soothe babies and help them sleep soundly; the White Noise Lite app offers several options, including nature sounds and traditional white noise. The best part? It’s free.
3. Baby Tracker: Nursing – The folks at Baby Tracker hit another home run with their Nursing app. Mothers who choose to breastfeed can keep track of nursing times, duration and left/right nursing sides. As an extra bonus, there’s also an option for tracking bottle feedings as well.
4. Baby Brain – Created by a team of experienced OB/GYN nurses and moms, the nap-tracking app Baby Brain helps new parents calculate ideal nap times. Entering the time and duration of baby’s daily naps help the app to analyze the information and provide estimates for when subsequent naps should occur. Parents with multiples can track more than one baby, and the interface allows for easy schedule-sharing via email with caregivers.  This one is TOUGH to find but we love it!
5. Parenting Ages & Stages – Popular magazine PARENTING offers a free app to track developmental milestones from birth to school-age, keeping it relevant for years to come. The high-tech version of the baby book.
6. FeverMeds – Unfortunately, low-grade fevers are part of any new parent’s life. The FeverMeds app calculates age and weight to return the ideal dosage of medication to combat those fevers, and also displays pictures of over-the-counter medication boxes in order to eliminate the possibility of choosing the wrong product. It also tracks dosage time and counts down to the next scheduled dose.  Another tough one to find… Sorry, but it’s great!
7. What to Expect – Baby – Generations of moms-to-be have relied upon the wisdom of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The beloved line of books also extends into early parenting and development. The What to Expect – Baby app makes carrying the book everywhere a snap, and also includes daily updates and trackers.
8. BabyPhone Deluxe – Instead of packing a baby monitor for trips or carting it from room to room, consider the BabyPhone app. If noise levels in the room exceed a designated level, the app automatically dials a secondary number to alert parents.
9. Infant Visual Stimulation – With one hundred and twenty black and white images designed to stimulate babies vision, the Infant Visual Stimulation app is a great resource for new parents.
10. Baby Rattle 123 – Leaving Baby’s favorite rattle at home is no longer cause for concern with the Baby Rattle 123 app, which transforms your phone into a visually and auditory stimulation tool.

All new parents need some help, so it is a great idea for the iPhone to serve multiple purposes. Check out the App Store for these and other great apps for new parents. You never knew a phone could do so much.

THANK YOU NANNY NET  – Debbie Denard

BEST NEW PARENTING BLOG: NANNY NET –   http://www.nanny.net/blog/10-iphone-apps-for-new-parents

 

RELATED LINKS:

HOW A BABY TAKES SHAPE INSIDE YOUR BODY:  http://www.babycentre.co.uk/video/pregnancy/baby-takes-shape/

WONDERFUL PBS DOCUMENTARY recommended by author, Michael Gonzalez Wallace:  http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-secret-life-of-the-brain/

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
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