Carrot-based Japanese herbal medicine may improve muscle complications associated with COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease caused by long-term inhalation of harmful gases such as cigarette smoke. Scientists have recognized deterioration of muscle tissue, known as, as a secondary effect of damaged lungs. This frailty makes it difficult for individuals to move around and exercise, which is turn worsens the state of their lungs, causing an endless downward spiral in overall health.

Exercise therapy is the only established treatment for the skeletal muscle complications of COPD, however, depending on the severity of sarcopenia frailty in the patient, such treatment may not be possible. This imbalance has become an urgent issue to address. Ninjin’yoeito is a carrot-based Japanese herbal medicine commonly given to people recovering from anorexia and physical weakness after illness or surgery for its supplementary effect in restoring physical strength. Also, the medicine has been seen to improve muscle mass loss in aging mice through the activation of PGC-1α- a protein involved in improving muscle function.

Based on this, we hypothesized that Ninjin’yoeito enhances PGC-1α expression in skeletal muscle and may improve muscle complications associated with COPD.”


Kazuhisa Asai, Associate Professor, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine

He led a research group in testing this hypothesis by including Ninjin’yoeito in the diet of mice who had been exposed to cigarette smoke for 12 weeks. Their findings were published online in the international scientific journal International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease on November 27, 2020.

Professor Asai’s team measured the lower leg muscle mass of the smoke-exposed group of mice with a microCT and noticed they had atrophied, like human COPD patients. However, he saw no such change in muscle mass with the experimental group of mice, suggesting that the addition of the carrot-rich medicine cancels out the effects of sarcopenia frailty.

“We believe that this is a useful finding and that Ninjin’yoeito may break the vicious circle of sarcopenia frailty in COPD patients”, adds Associate Professor Asai. “We would like to consider clinical trials in the future.”

Source:

Journal reference:

Miyamoto, A., et al. (2020) Ninjin’yoeito Ameliorates Skeletal Muscle Complications in COPD Model Mice by Upregulating Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor γ Coactivator-1α Expression. International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S280401.

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Combining Mixed Reality Tech With Brain Signals Could Improve Rehabilitative Medicine

A new headset and software platform allows researchers and developers of mixed reality programs the opportunity to incorporate signals from the brain and body into their technology, something that has wide potential for use in rehabilitative medicine.

Virtual and augmented reality has already been used to treat patients with a range of psychiatric disorders including ADHD, PTSD and anxiety, but this tech could help improve how effective it is.

“You can use virtual reality to put people into those environments and throttle how intense the experience is, but if you could know how intense the reaction is that someone is having, you can decide whether to dial it up a little bit, or dial it down a little bit just to make sure that they’re not overwhelmed by the immersion,” says Conor Russomanno, CEO of OpenBCI, a Brooklyn-based startup that developed the Galea headset.

Another application of the technology, is to give people with spinal injuries or other forms of paralysis more freedom and to allow those who have lost limbs the ability to better control prosthetics.

There are different types of brain-computer interfaces and many involve actually implanting electrodes into the brain or spinal cord to either give people the ability to control a computer, or an artificial limb. However, the OpenBCI technology relies on external, non-invasive electroencephalogram readings to monitor brain activity (taken from sensors on a cap).

“The amount of control and the fidelity you have, obviously increases with the signal quality, and the best signal quality you’re going to get is by putting electrodes down into the brain,” says Russomanno.

“But, a lot of the magic happens in the classification and the machine learning on a case on a person by person basis. And so, this is where I think that BCI technology is going to be used for personalizing control.”

There are of course big attractions to the non-invasive nature of this technology. If the artificial intelligence and machine learning side of the software can make up for the reduced signal then it has great potential to help people in need of this technology.

Russomanno set up OpenBCI with one of his professors after leaving grad school 6 years ago. The company is unusual in that it has been developing inexpensive, non-invasive, open source brain-computer interface technology for the last 6 years.

It’s unusual as most tech companies keep the technology behind their products under high levels of secrecy. “I think it’s super important that that innovation takes place in the public domain, in a way where people have a variety of backgrounds and disciplines can contribute,” emphasizes Russomanno.

“It doesn’t take place behind closed doors where the incentives of what’s being put into the world, and what’s being used by the users, can be misaligned with the best interest of the users themselves.”

Since the company started, many tech companies and researchers have used the OpenBCI tech to develop

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New Technologies Aim to Improve Ovarian Cancer Detection

Encouraging trends abound in the management of ovarian cancer. As rates of ovarian disease continue to decline, there has also been a notable increase in tools for detecting it earlier in its course.



Dr Rebecca Stone

To better understand these developments, Medscape recently reached out to Rebecca Stone, MD, an ovarian cancer expert and associate professor of gynecologic oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Medscape: There has been a decline in the rates of ovarian cancer in recent years. What are the possible causes of this?

Dr Stone: The number of new cases in the United States has actually been declining over the past two decades. This is thought to be attributable to the increased prescribing of oral contraceptive pills in the late 1990s and the uptake of preventive measures, such as risk-reducing gynecologic surgery for women with genetic predisposition to ovarian cancer, as well as opportunistic salpingectomy in the general population. Opportunistic salpingectomy was introduced about 10 years ago. It is a surgical means for primary prevention of tubo-ovarian cancer by removing both fallopian tubes at the time of elective surgery for women who have completed childbearing or in lieu of “tying the tubes” for women who desire permanent surgical sterility.

What can you tell us about a recent study suggesting that high-grade serous epithelial ovarian cancer may be detected earlier in the course of the disease by testing for TP53 clonal variants in DNA from Papanicolaou (Pap) tests performed during cervical cancer screening?

The idea here is that early mutational events that ultimately result in the development of epithelial ovarian cancer can be detected by performing gene sequencing on genetic material collected at the time of routine Pap smear screening done for cervical cancer. Pap tests are known to contain cells and genetic material shed from the fallopian tubes, where the precancerous lesions thought to give rise to epithelial ovarian cancer, predominantly serous epithelial ovarian cancers, start.

p53 gene mutations are thought to occur early in the evolution of ovarian cancer. There are data indicating that these mutations actually occur in cells lining the fallopian tubes. Polymerase chain reaction–based DNA/gene sequencing performed on cervical fluid collected by Pap smears could detect these p53-mutated cells shed from the fallopian tubes.

A strength of this study is that it included healthy controls. None of their Pap smears screened positive for the p53 mutations, unlike the Pap smears of women predating their diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Limitations of the study include the fact that it had a small sample size. Findings will need to be confirmed in a larger patient population.

Also, the study only looked for p53 gene mutations. Ovarian cancers, like other cancers, are largely thought to occur when there is a buildup of mutations in critical genes that result in uncontrolled cell growth and division. These genetic changes/mutations are acquired during a person’s lifetime. Thus, there are likely early genetic changes/mutations that occur

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Wearable fitness devices can improve public health efforts to control COVID-19

Examining data from the first six weeks of their landmark DETECT study, a team of scientists from the Scripps Research Translational Institute sees encouraging signs that wearable fitness devices can improve public health efforts to control COVID-19.

The DETECT study, launched on March 25, uses a mobile app to collect smartwatch and activity tracker data from consenting participants, and also gathers their self-reported symptoms and diagnostic test results. Any adult living in the United States is eligible to participate in the study by downloading the research app, MyDataHelps.

In a study that appears today in Nature Medicine, the Scripps Research team reports that wearable devices like Fitbit are capable of identifying cases of COVID-19 by evaluating changes in heart rate, sleep and activity levels, along with self-reported symptom data–and can identify cases with greater success than looking at symptoms alone.

What’s exciting here is that we now have a validated digital signal for COVID-19. The next step is to use this to prevent emerging outbreaks from spreading. Roughly 100 million Americans already have a wearable tracker or smartwatch and can help us; all we need is a tiny fraction of them–just 1 percent or 2 percent–to use the app.”


Eric Topol, MD, director and founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute and executive vice president of Scripps Research

With data from the app, researchers can see when participants fall out of their normal range for sleep, activity level or resting heart rate; deviations from individual norms are a sign of viral illness or infection.

But how do they know if the illness causing those changes is COVID-19? To answer that question, the team reviewed data from those who reported developing symptoms and were tested for the novel coronavirus. Knowing the test results enabled them to pinpoint specific changes indicative of COVID-19 versus other illnesses.

“One of the greatest challenges in stopping COVID-19 from spreading is the ability to quickly identify, trace and isolate infected individuals,” says Giorgio Quer, PhD, director of artificial intelligence at Scripps Research Translational Institute and first author of the study. “Early identification of those who are pre-symptomatic or even asymptomatic would be especially valuable, as people may potentially be even more infectious during this period. That’s the ultimate goal.”

For the study, the team used health data from fitness wearables and other devices to identify–with roughly 80% prediction accuracy–whether a person who reported symptoms was likely to have COVID-19. This is a significant improvement from other models that only evaluated self-reported symptoms.

As of June 7, 30,529 individuals had enrolled in the study, with representation from every U.S. state. Of these, 3,811 reported symptoms, 54 tested positive for the coronavirus and 279 tested negative. More sleep and less activity than an individual’s normal levels were significant factors in predicting coronavirus infection.

The predictive model under development in DETECT might someday help public health officials spot coronavirus hotspots early. It also may encourage people

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Magic Johnson And Cigna Team Up To Improve Minority Healthcare

LOS ANGELES, CA — Magic Johnson and health insurance giant Cigna have teamed up to fight health disparities in POC communities within Los Angeles. The pair launched an initiative to support minority and female-owned businesses, by providing customized health care plans for issues that disproportionately affect people of color.

The initiative will focus on health issues such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes and high-risk pregnancies. Cigna will also invest $3 million in local charities working to improve health equity in Los Angeles.

“Minority and women entrepreneurs and business owners are vital to creating a strong economy and vibrant communities — and we need to do even more to support them right now,” Johnson said. “It’s important for these businesses to survive and be able to employ Black, Hispanic and other employees of color, while offering benefits to combat the health disparities that have taken a toll on our communities. Together with Cigna, we are providing the tools and information needed to improve the health and productivity of their workforce.”

Numerous studies have shown how the coronavirus pandemic has hit Black and Brown communities much harder than others. According to the California Department of Public Health, 48% of people who died from coronavirus were Latino, despite the community being only 38% of the state’s population.

“Today’s intersection of health, economic and racial crises motivated us to take definitive action to partner with these small and mid-size businesses by improving the health and productivity of their workforce — many of whom are from underserved communities,” said Mike Triplett, president of Cigna’s U.S. Commercial business. ‘We are excited to team up with the legendary Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson to bring our new initiative to the market.”

Specialized plans include access to local providers who excel in treating underserved communities, virtual care options and home delivery, and whole-person health services.

City News Service and Kenan Draughorne contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on the Los Angeles Patch

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Philips and Marienhospital Stuttgart sign 10-year strategic partnership to improve patient care and efficiency

Marienhospital Stuttgart

October 21, 2020

  • Long-term agreement guarantees access to state-of-the-art solutions, controls costs, and ensures security of future investment

  • Fully-integrated approach deploying Philips’ digital healthcare solutions across multiple departments to enhance the experience of Marienhospital Stuttgart’s patient and staff

Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Stuttgart, Germany – Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, and Marienhospital Stuttgart (Germany) today signed a 10-year strategic partnership agreement to expand world-class medicine at the hospital and provide integrated patient care. The project will include renewal and ongoing development of the hospital’s diagnostic imaging equipment and associated IT systems, digitization of its pathology department, and enhancement of the hospital’s emergency medicine capabilities.

Rather than treating each of these improvement areas as a separate exercise, Philips and Marienhospital Stuttgart will integrate them into connected patient care and optimized efficiency solutions. This will involve analysis of the hospital’s current treatment structures and pathways to enhance the overall quality of the hospital’s structures, processes and results, while also identifying potential cost savings. By jointly developing needs-based technology solutions, Marienhospital Stuttgart will be able to better plan its costs and ensure investment security in all areas.

“Due to the long-term nature of our partnership with Philips, our hospital will not only actively participate in future technological advances in healthcare, but also become a leader,” said Markus Mord, Managing Director of Marienhospital Stuttgart. “It will enable us to offer our patients diagnostic and therapeutic procedures that consistently meet the latest standards. We live medicine and always focus on the well-being of our patients.”

“As a solution provider, we specialize in partnering with our customers to provide integrated care concepts that enhance treatment pathways for their patients,” said Peter Vullinghs, Managing Director Philips DACH. “With new, highly innovative approaches, we will help to enhance the quality of medical care for the benefit of the patient across the board. We look forward to many years of mutual cooperation with Marienhospital Stuttgart.”

Reliable diagnosis through digital pathology
A core element of the collaboration is redesign of the hospital’s pathology department workflow, replacing conventional microscopes and glass slides with Philips’ high-performance digital pathology slide scanners and computer workstations. This will allow slide images to be managed, displayed, analyzed and discussed with clinical colleagues – for example, during tumor boards for the diagnosis and treatment of cancers. The ability to share slide images will also enable virtual consultations with experts from other hospitals. Competence networks like this combine the experience of doctors working in the clinic with the knowledge of their research colleagues, speeding up right-first-time diagnosis and the initiation of therapy.

Radiology for current and future needs
Reflecting the holistic nature of the partnership model, Philips will also help to analyze and redefine Marienhospital Stuttgart’s radiology procedures, processes and IT systems, as well as coordinating equipment renewal and expansion. Under the terms of the agreement, Philips will be responsible for the procurement, installation, maintenance (including updates and upgrades) and servicing of all large radiology equipment, with

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Use The Psychology Of Operant Conditioning To Improve Your Fitness

How can you trick your mind into thinking it actually WANTS to exercise?

We all struggle with motivation sometimes!

Some people pay thousands of dollars for the motivation of a personal trainer. We're afraid that if we don't have someone to keep us accountable to our fitness – we'll let it slide.

What if we could turn our minds into our very own personal trainer instead? For free.

By deepening your understanding of a few simple psychological phenomena, you will be able to turn your mind from something that talks you OUT of going for a run … into your biggest motivator.

Your body craves a run, but your mind says no. How can you trick your mind into thinking it wants to exercise too?

Well the first thing you need to do is make a plan. Before you can even start to use psychological conditioning, you need to create a tangible workout schedule. Start with small, attainable goals – such as going for a run every other evening for a week.

Write your plan out as a list, or write it on a calendar.

Next it's time to apply a psychological phenomenon called operant conditioning.

Operant conditioning is a term given to the psychological effect of positive and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is when we complete an action and as a direct result are given a reward. When we are given a reward, certain parts of our brains are stimulated in a way which encourages repetition of the action.

Just having a plan can really help with motivation.

How can having a check list activate operant conditioning?

Operant conditioning requires an action and a response. In this case, exercise is the action. You need to create a response for yourself in order to connect the desirable stimulus with the positive action.

Let's start simple. Get in the habit of checking every exercise you do off of your list after you complete it. Just this simple "reward" will draw attention to your success. Repetition of this action-positive reinforcement patter will trigger pleasure in the brain. Eventually you will subconsciously look forward to checking each little achievement off your list. Suddenly going for a run is much more of an accomplishment than it was before.

Maybe list keepers aren't as severe and strict as everyone makes them out to be.

They just know how to enjoy themselves. One little check at a time.

How else can you incorporate the action-reward mentality of operant conditioning into your workout schedule? Make running part of a more elaborate routine. For example, if you run every Tuesday at 7, reward yourself at 8 by watching your favorite TV show. The mind loves habits, routines, and patterns. Eventually, it will feel WRONG if you don't go for your usual run.

If you want to get even MORE serious about operant conditioning, you could introduce punishments into your routine. For example – set a jar beside your check list. Each time you successfully go for a run, …

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