The iHT2 Health IT Summit in Denver, will bring together C-level, physician, practice management, and IT decision-makers from North America’s leading provider organizations and physician practices. For two full days, executives interact with a national audience of peers, national leaders and solutions providers featuring the latest solutions for practice management, mobility, telemedicine, outsourcing, IT infrastructure, next-generation electronic medical records, disease management, and more.
The Summit will feature keynote presentations from Peter Fine, FACHE, President & CEO, Banner Health, and Bernard Harris, Jr., MD, MBA, President & CEO, Vesalius Ventures, and President, American Telemedicine Association.
Featured Speakers include: Dana Moore, SVP & CIO, Centura Health; Gregory Veltri, CIO, Denver Health; Russell Leftwich, MD, CMIO, Tennessee Office of eHealth Initiatives; Neal Ganguly, VP & CIO, CentraState Healthcare System; Andrew Steele, MD, MPH, Director, Medical Informatics, Denver Health; Jonathan Gold, MD, MHA, MSc, Regional CMIO, Catholic Health Initiatives; Charles Doarn, MBA, Research Professor and Director, Telemedicine & e-Health Program, University of Cincinnati; Mark Caron, SVP & CIO, Capital BlueCross, and many more.
Panel Discussions for the Health IT Summit in Denver include: Accountable Care Organizations: Taking on Risk & Identifying Critical Tools, Leveraging Data to Improve Outcomes & Safety, Preparing for 2013: Organizational Strategies for the Transition to ICD-10, Breach Avoidance: Strategies to Protect Patient Data, HIE Performance: Defining Your Objectives & Measuring Progress, Meaningful Use Stage 2: Reaching the Next Stages of Quality & Care, and Mobile Health: Leveraging Data at the Point of Care.
The full agenda can be viewed by visiting: http://ihealthtran.com/2012denveragenda.html
Sponsors and Partners include: ICA, Quantix, Extract Systems, SLI Global Solutions, Nuance, Comcast, Altus, Rubbermaid Healthcare, VMware, Healthcare IT News, CMIO, FierceHealthIT, ADVANCE, NASCIO, AMDIS, eHealth SmartBrief, Frost & Sullivan, IDC Health Insights, Mobile Healthcare Today, SearchHealthIT.com, and more.
The Institute for Health Technology Transformation (iHT²) announced ten new members to their Advisory Board this week. These members represent some of the brightest minds in healthcare information technology, and they will work to provide thought leadership and valuable industry connections to expand and improve the quality of the Institute’s initiatives throughout the year.
The Institute’s Advisory Board is a group of health care thought leaders representing the diverse stakeholders involved in the integration of health information technology. This esteemed group provides iHT² with insight and guidance throughout the year on how it can better serve the health care industry in their goal of fostering the adoption and implementation of health IT.
“Members of the iHT² Advisory Board greatly enhance our ability to offer health IT leaders superior educational and collaborative opportunities,” said Barry P. Chaiken, MD, MPH, Senior Fellow & Health IT Chair, Institute for Health Technology Transformation, CMO, DocsNetwork & former HIMSS Chair. “The insight provided by these distinguished professionals allows iHT² to keep pace with developing trends in healthcare, and offer conferences, webinars and publications that satisfy the needs of a wide range of industry professionals.”
The new members join a board of over twenty health IT leaders representing organizations throughout the country including: Kaiser Permanente, Catholic Health Initiatives, Capital BlueCross, Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Delaware Health Information Network, and more.
The newly appointed members are:
- Samantha Burch, VP, Quality & Health IT, Federation of American Hospitals
- Mary Carroll Ford, MBA, VP & CIO, Lakeland Regional Medical Center
- Dick Gibson, MD, Chief Health Intelligence Officer, Providence Health & Services
- Fred Galusha. CIO & COO, Inland Northwest Health Services
- Chris Jaeger, MD, VP, Medical Informatics, Sutter Health
- Elizabeth Johnson, SVP, Applied Clinical Informatics, Tenet Healthcare
- Bill Phillips, CIO, University Healthcare System
- Justin Graham, CMIO, NorthBay Healthcare
- Andy Steele, MD, Medical Director, Informatics, Denver Health
- Doris Crain, CIO, Broward Health
- John Santangelo, Director of IT, Cleveland Clinic Florida
“The Advisory Board contributes invaluable industry insight that results in some of the most comprehensive, intimate, and informative programs taking place year after year,” said Waco Hoover, CEO, Institute for Health Technology Transformation. “The accomplishments and dedication of the Advisory Board is what truly separates the Institute apart from other organizations.”
Intermountain Healthcare, Partners Healthcare System, and Kaiser Permanente to Deliver Keynote Presentations at the Health IT Summit in San Francisco
The Institute for Health Technology Transformation announced the keynote presenters for the Health IT Summit in San Francisco, which will take place March 27-28th at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport. The keynote presenters at the annual program will be Mark Probst, CIO, Intermountain Healthcare, Blackford Middleton, MD, Corporate Director of Clinical Informatics Research & Development, Partners Healthcare System, and Hal Wolf, SVP & COO, The Permanente Federation, Kaiser Permanente.
The iHT2 Health IT Summit, will bring together C-level, physician, practice management, and IT decision-makers from North America’s leading provider organizations and physician practices. For two full days, executives interact with a national audience of peers, national leaders and solutions providers featuring the latest solutions for practice management, mobility, telemedicine, outsourcing, IT infrastructure, next-generation electronic medical records, disease management, and more.
“We are dedicated to continuous improvement that enhances patient care. I look forward to learning from health care leaders and sharing our experience in improving outcomes by putting advanced health IT in the hands of clinicians, care teams, and patients,” said Hal Wolf, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of The Permanente Federation, Kaiser Permanente.
Panel discussions for the Health IT Summit in San Francisco include: Accounting for Assumptions: Taking a deeper look at reforming our healthcare delivery system, HIE & HIX: The convergence of healthcare information, Securing Electronic Personal Health Information (ePHI): From the Data Warehouse to the Point of Care, Analytics in Healthcare: Improving Outcomes Through Data Management, The Cloud in Healthcare, Stage 2 Meaningful Use: Leveraging Technology to Improve Outcomes & Efficiency, Patient Management Without Walls: Enabling mHealth and Telemedicine, and more.
“Healthcare I.S. leadership is consumed with the demands of ARRA HITECH (meaningful use), ICD-10 (maybe we are going to get some relief) and a barrage of requests to meet the demands of a changing healthcare landscape,” said Mark Probst. “I believe that even though the demands are great – as I.S. leaders, we must not simply follow and adopt aging solutions, rather we have the responsibility to innovate.”
Sponsors and Partners include: ICA, InnerWireless, CloudPrime, Accellion, ICW, SLI Global Solutions, VMware, athenahealth, Comcast, InterSystems, LANDesk Software, Pano Logic, Aventura, Key Info, AUXILIO, Somansa Technologies, Inc., Salesforce.com, EMC2, AMDIS, The California Association of Healthcare Leaders (CAHL), California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH), CMIO, DOTmed, eHealth SmartBrief, Executive Insight, Frost & Sullivan, Healthcare IT News, IDC Health Insights, MarketsandMarkets, NASCIO, ReportsandReports, SearchHealthIT.com, and more.
Health Care Thought Leaders Release Research Report Finding Automation Is Key to Population Health Management
The Institute for Health Technology Transformationtoday released findings from an Automating Population Health Research Project, which seeks to educate the healthcare industry on how best to apply technology in meeting the challenges of population health management.
Prepared in consultation with a broad range of industry experts, the Population Health Management: A Roadmap for Provider-Based Automation in a New Era of Healthcare report finds that population health management requires healthcare providers to develop new skill sets and new infrastructures for delivering care. To make the transition from fee-for-service reimbursement to accountable care, which depends on the ability to improve population health, providers will need to automate many routine tasks, ranging from identification of care gaps and risk stratification to patient engagement, care management, and outcomes measurement.
“In the era of healthcare reform, provider organizations must change their traditional approach and embrace new ways of thinking about their mission,” said Waco Hoover, CEO of the Institute for Health Technology Transformation. “They must not only care for the sick, but also strive to keep their patient populations healthy. Information technology is the key to doing this cost efficiently, and automation can enable care teams to identify and work with the patients who truly need their help.”
Report coauthor Paul Grundy, MD, Global Director of Healthcare Transformation for IBM, and President of Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, commented, “Patient-centered medical homes based on primary care are the building blocks of accountable care, and information technology is the key to successful medical homes. With the help of registries, electronic health records, health information exchanges, and other tools for care coordination and automation, healthcare providers can manage their populations effectively and keep their patients as healthy as possible.”
Andy Steele, MD, MPH, Director of Medical Informatics at Denver Health, and another of the report’s contributing authors, said, “Given potential health care reform and efforts to increase quality and efficiency of care in the setting of persistent fiscal limitations, the importance of leveraging information technology and focusing on population health management has become a top priority for many health care institutions. Our goal for the project is to provide resources that health care providers can utilize as they are considering and implementing population health management initiatives.”
Richard Hodach, MD, MPH, PhD, Chief Medical Officer of Phytel and chair of the report’s research committee, commented, “This important new report underscores the message that Phytel has been spreading among physician groups for the past several years. By using technology to identify subpopulations and patients who are at risk, to reach out to those patients, and to automate care management, healthcare providers can provide optimal preventive and chronic care to their patient populations. Providers can also use technology to engage patients in their own care, which is the real key to lowering costs and improving population health. We are proud of our participation in this project, and we hope that the report will be helpful to providers who plan to move in this direction.”
Among the healthcare thought leaders who contributed to the Automating Population Health Research Project are Alide Chase, MS, Senior Vice President for Quality and Service, Kaiser Permanente; Robert Fortini, Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, Bon Secours Health System; Connie White Delaney, PhD, RN, School of Nursing Professor & Dean, Academic Health Center Director, Associate Director of Biomedical Health Informatics, and Acting Director of the Institute for Health Informatics, University of Minnesota; Richard Hodach, MD, MPH, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, Phytel; Paul Grundy, MD, MPH, Global Director of Healthcare Transformation, IBM; Margaret O’Kane, President, National Committee for Quality Assurance; Andy Steele, MD, MPH, Director of Medical Informatics, Denver Health; and Dan Fetterolf, Principal, Fetterolf Healthcare Consulting.
The Institute for Health Technology Transformation announced today that Jay Srini, Chief Strategist at SCS Ventures has been appointed Senior Fellow & Innovation Chair for the Institute’s 2012 series of educational programs and meetings.
Jay Srini is an internationally recognized thought leader on national and international trends that are changing the face of healthcare. In her current role at SCS Ventures, Jay works with startup companies internationally to help them with their business development, technology strategy, and expansion. She also advises established companies on their strategies to enter and grow their healthcare vertical.
“We’re thrilled to work with Jay in a concerted effort to move our health system forward with programs that foster the more innovative use of information technology,” said Waco Hoover, the Institute’s CEO. “Jay has a wealth of industry expertise that will make a meaningful and lasting impact on programs and initiatives developed at the Institute.”
In Jay Srini’s role as Senior Fellow and Innovation Chair she will work with the Institute’s Advisory Board and other industry leaders to program and develop leading educational programs and collaboration opportunities for health care leaders. In tandem with the Institute’s mission to promote the effective use of technology across the U.S. health system, Mrs. Srini will engage leaders from the community to ensure the Institute continually provides timely and relevant resources.
“We are in the midst of tectonic shifts in healthcare on all fronts ranging from new discoveries to new payment models and new stakeholders entering the healthcare sector,” said Jay Srini. “Finding innovative ways to deliver cost effective patient centered health care has never been as important as now. Innovation is virtually impossible without collaboration! I am honored and excited to take on this new role at iHT2 to develop new programs and platforms to drive innovation in healthcare through collaboration knowledge acquisition and knowledge dissemination.”
Jay’s prior experience includes her role as Chief Innovation Officer for UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) Insurance Services Division as well as her role as Vice President of Emerging Technologies for UPMC. Jay was Managing Director for e-Health Initiatives at Internet Venture Works where she led technology and industry assessments of opportunities presented by strategic partners, investors and external sources and served in executive management roles for its’ portfolio companies. She has served on several healthcare boards including HIMSS (himss.org), PRHI (prhi.org) and is a frequent speaker on International Healthcare forums. She serves on several HHS (Health and Human Services –hhs.gov) related advisory panels and serves in an advisory capacity to International healthcare Institutions and Venture capitalists.
Jay has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from New York University and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Bucknell University and her executive education from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She also serves as one of the commissioners at CCHIT (Certification Commission of HealthCare Information Technology) in addition to her role as adjunct faculty Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and advisory board of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.
The Institute for Health Technology Transformation is the leading organization committed to bringing together private and public sector leaders fostering the growth and effective use of technology across the healthcare industry. Through collaborative efforts the Institute provides programs that drive innovation, educate, and provide a critical understanding of how technology applications, solutions and devices can improve the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare.
The Institute engages multiple stakeholders:
• Hospitals and other healthcare providers
• Clinical groups
• Academic and research institutions
• Healthcare information technology organizations
• Healthcare technology investors
• Health plans
• Consumer and patient groups
• Employers and purchasers
• Device manufacturers
• Private sector stakeholders
• Public sector stakeholders
It’s almost impossible to find complete peace and quiet. Even if you live deep in the countryside away from aircraft routes, traffic and building work, your home is probably filled with the buzz of computers and other modern appliances. In some locations, there are even claims of mysterious low-pitched noises with no known origin. For example, residents of Bristol in the west of England recently complained of a “hum”, which followed reports of a similar sound in the city in the 1970s.
Such sounds aren’t just annoying. There is increasing evidence that long-term environmental noise above a certain level can have a negative influence on your health. These effects can be physical, mental and possibly even disrupt children’s learning.
Recent research shows that road traffic and aircraft noise increase the risk of high blood pressure, especially noise exposure at night. A study of aircraft noise around London’s Heathrow airport found that high levels of aircraft noise was associated with increased risks of...
State legislation excluding Planned Parenthood-affiliated clinics from access to Medicaid funding in Texas has resulted in a decrease in the level of birth control care received by low-income women attending these centers. This, in turn, has caused an increase in the number of babies born to poorer women who had sought these services.
The new statistics, which appear in the New England Journal of Medicine, were compiled by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin in order to gauge the effects of a spate of measures introduced between late 2011 and early 2013 affecting family planning facilities across the state. Among these were the closure of 82 family planning clinics, the redistribution of state funding away from family planning centers, and the exclusion of Planned Parenthood affiliates from the Texas Women’s Health Program.
Planned Parenthood is the largest reproductive healthcare provider in the U.S., although it is not supported by certain state governments due to the fact that it provides...
For a fairly non-descript virus, Zika continues to surprise us. Zika has hit the headlines yet again with the news that there’s been transmission in Brazil of two cases by blood transfusion.
This is on top of the recent news about sexual transmission of the virus in the United States. Zika is a “vector-borne” virus – that is, it is transmitted by a vector, in this case a mosquito. In general, you need to get bitten by an infected mosquito before you can be infected by Zika. At least that’s what we thought.
With the news that this mosquito-borne virus has likely been transmitted by blood transfusion and sex, Zika is now set to become a widely researched and much-pondered phenomenon.
The potential for Zika transmission via blood transfusion has been speculated for some time. The two cases in Campinas, Brazil, are the first known Zika infections acquired through this transmission method.
Britain, the US, Hong Kong, Canada and Australia are all now deferring blood...
You might have heard the term flavivirus recently due to the outbreak of Zika virus in Central and South America. Zika, along with West Nile virus, dengue, yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis, belongs to this family of virus – of which many are threats to public health.
Flaviviruses are defined by the shape and size of the virus particle (which is extremely small and not visible by the naked eye but requires a high powered electron microscope). They are able to replicate and spread within both insects and mammals, and they infect humans and domesticated animals.
How Are Flaviviruses Spread?
Flaviviruses are arboviruses, which means they are spread via infected arthropod vectors such as ticks and mosquitoes.
Some flaviviruses (such as West Nile) exist in a bird-mosquito cycle and infections in humans are typically incidental and a “dead-end” for the virus. This means it cannot be transmitted to a new mosquito.
However, yellow fever, dengue and Zika exist predominantly in a human-mosquito cycle. These...
You’re sitting in a meeting and your left eyelid is twitching uncontrollably. You wonder if the person opposite can see it, and why it’s happening.
Many people experience neurological symptoms that are quite normal for healthy individuals including cramps, pain, dizziness, numbness and muscle twitches. Light, involuntary muscle twitches are very common and can occur in any skeletal muscle.
They often involve a single motor unit, which is made up of one motor nerve (a nerve that carries information from the brain to the muscle) and all the muscle fibres to which it connects.
A voluntary muscle contraction can involve thousands of motor units depending on how much force is being applied. So a twitch from just one unit may be barely noticeable but if you sit still or if it occurs in a place that is distracting, it can become quite an annoyance.
They are known as muscle fasciculations, but when the twitches occur often and persist for long periods it is diagnosed as benign...
The recent outbreak of Zika virus in South America has been a cause of concern. This is not because Zika itself is a serious condition, but because it is believed to be linked to birth defects when expectant mothers are infected, and to a rare but severe and progressive neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome.
The syndrome is triggered by an infection and can cause temporary or long-term paralysis. It is quite rare, occurring in approximately one in 100,000 people per year.
Guillain-Barré syndrome is not new. This is the 100-year anniversary of its description. The French researchers Giullain, Barré (and Strohl) first diagnosed Guillain-Barré syndrome in Paris.
A link between Zika and Guillain-Barré syndrome was first proposed in 2014 in French Polynesia. With the World Health Organisation reporting the “explosive spread” of Zika virus, there are concerns that Guillain-Barré syndrome levels may also increase.
In January 2016, El Salvador reported an increase in Guillain-Barré cases (46 in one month, which is...
This week the World Health Organisation declared Zika virus a public health emergency of international concern.
Despite high rates of infection, the outbreak would not have been particularly alarming – since the infection is usually asymptomatic (80% of cases) or mild and self-limiting – had it not been for the sudden and (apparently associated) increase in numbers of infants born with microcephaly.
What Is Microcephaly?
Microcephaly is a condition in which the infant’s head is smaller than “normal” for the infant’s age and gender, because of delayed or arrested brain growth. There is no universally agreed definition. Most authorities suggest it should be defined by a head circumference of two – but some say three – standard deviations or more below the average.
It is often first diagnosed by ultrasound examination during pregnancy. The incidence of microcephaly – in the absence of Zika virus infection – is difficult to determine.
Apart from the lack of an agreed definition or...
Evolutionary adaptations developed to protect the Vikings from an infestation of parasitic worms may have resulted in certain genetic traits that increase vulnerability to certain lung diseases. During ancient times, the side-effects of this adaptation were probably harmless, although as people later began smoking and living longer, the removal of certain anti-inflammatory mechanisms appears to increase carriers’ susceptibility to pulmonary complications, like emphysema.
Emphysema occurs when air sacks in the lungs, called alveoli, become damaged, causing them to merge into one large air chamber as opposed to many small ones. This reduces the surface area of the lungs, which subsequently become less efficient.
Alveoli can become damaged by certain enzymes called proteases, which are secreted by cells involved in inflammation, one of the body’s key immune processes. To keep these enzymes under control, a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin (A1AT) acts as a...
Among the panic-inducing headlines and alarming statistics, there may finally be some positive news regarding the exploding Zika epidemic. An Indian pharmaceutical company has claimed it is making progress on the development of two candidate vaccines for the virus, now considered a global public health emergency.
Reported by Reuters, Bharat Biotech has said the vaccines have been in the works for around a year, slightly longer than the current outbreak has been plaguing Latin America and the Caribbean. While this emerging pathogen may have only recently gained worldwide attention, we’ve known about it since the 1940s, although it hadn’t been high on the list of vaccine priorities due to the fact that infection is mild or symptomless in the majority of people.
Unlike current reactive endeavors, Bharat said it began working on an immunization shot during its efforts to create vaccines for two other diseases: dengue and chikungunya. Alongside yellow fever, all of these are insect-borne viral diseases carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and all but...
The ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan has highlighted just how harmful lead contamination is. What you may not realize, however, is that lead exposure is a problem throughout the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over four million households with children in the U.S. are exposed to elevated levels of lead. At least half a million children have blood lead levels above five micrograms per deciliter, the threshold that prompts a public health response.
Lead used to be commonly used in gasoline, household paints and even coloring pigments in artificial turf through the end of the last century. And although today lead is no longer used in these products, there is still plenty of it out there. Lead does not break down in the home or the environment, and the result is that we still have to be concerned about lead poisoning today.
As a university-based researcher who focuses on children’s health, I have spent the past 30 years trying to understand how exposure to environmental toxins happens, and how to prevent it.
So where and how do...
Almost half of all counties in the U.S. now have established populations of ticks that can carry Lyme disease. The arthropods have dramatically increased their range over the past 20 years, putting many people under threat who historically had little risk of catching the disease.
The distribution map of the blacklegged tick and eastern blacklegged tick – both known to carry the bacterium that causes Lyme disease – had not been updated since 1998. To rectify this, researchers did a comprehensive analysis of papers with state and county tick surveillance data going back to 1996. The two species were classed as being established in a county if there had been six or more reportings of them in a year. The full study is published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
What they found was that the number of counties in the United States with established populations of potentially Lyme disease-carrying ticks has doubled since 1998, when the last map was drawn up. This means that the ticks are now present in almost half of all...
A man from eastern India has recently undergone some rather eye-watering surgery after doctors found a live worm squiggling in his eyeball.
The patient, 25, went to the doctors after two weeks of pain in his left eye, along with redness and wavey "floaters" in his vision.
It transpired that there was a live worm living in the man’s vitreous cavity – the clear, jelly-like center of the eyeball. The doctors described it as a “fairly long live worm moving around in a haphazard and relentless manner” in a recent online case report published in BMJ Case Reports on January 8.
Doctors decided the only option was to remove the parasite through surgery, as antifilarial drugs could have resulted in a toxic reaction in the eye.
A microbiological examination of the removed worm proved it to be a species called Loa loa.
This parasitic nematode is transmitted to humans via bites from deer flies (also known as mango flies or mangrove flies). This led the doctors to the fairly straightforward conclusion that the man caught the parasite during his...
Warning: This article contains graphic content.
We have been promised a head transplant by next year, and the main brain behind the highly controversial procedure shows no signs of retracting his wild claim. Quite the opposite, in fact, as the pioneering surgeon has now announced the procedure has been successfully carried out on a monkey.
As revealed by Motherboard and New Scientist, Italian doctor Sergio Canavero has teased the press with some details on progress made so far by himself and collaborator Dr Xiaoping Ren of China’s Harbin Medical University, among others. Ren has invested a significant amount of time perfecting the technique in mice, having performed the transplant on more than 1,000 mice. The animals were able to breathe and drink after the 10-hour surgery, but only lived for a matter of minutes.
Now, according to Canavero, Ren’s team has carried out the transplant on a monkey. Although, even if this does turn out to be true, it doesn’t seem that any significant increments have been made since the ‘70s, when Dr Robert...
Doctors and health experts have strongly warned against using a “womb detox” product that has recently caught attention online.
Embrace Pangaea, a herbal and holistic product online company based in the United States, has been selling small bags of herbs, designed to be inserted into the vagina to “cleanse the womb and return it to a balance state.”
The bags contain a mix of perfumed herbs such as Mothersworth, Angelica, Borneol, Rhizoma and Cnidium monnieri.
One “pearl” costs $15 and is intended for once-a-day use. Alternatively, the company offers a “Monthly Womb Maintenance Package” for $75 to $180. It also has a scheme to encourage customers to distribute its products themselves.
Dr. Jen Gunter, a gynaecologist from the United States, wrote a blog post strongly condemning the products, the Independent reports.
"Your uterus isn’t tired or depressed or dirty and your vagina has not misplaced its chakra," she said.
"These herbs... could be damaging to your lactobacilli (the good bacteria) or be directly irritating to the vagina mucosa (the lining) and both of these outcomes will increase your risk of...
Workers of the world unite: You have nothing to lose but your hangover.
The North Korean state-owned newspaper, Pyongyang Times, has reported that scientists from Taedonggang Foodstuff Factory claim to have developed an alcoholic spirit that doesn't give you a hangover.
Boasting a punchy 30 to 40 percent alcohol by volume, the spirit is distilled from organic glutinous rice and Kaesong Koryo insam – a type of ginseng indigenous to the hermit kingdom.
The Pyongyang Times article, titled “Liquor Wins Quality Medal For Preserving National Smack,” explains:
“Koryo Liquor, which is made of six-year-old Kaesong Koryo insam, known as being highest in medicinal effect, and the scorched rice, is highly appreciated by experts and lovers as it is suave and causes no hangover.”
The article also said that the drink, which "exudes national flavour," has "already been registered as a national scientific and technological hit." If true, this would not in fact be the first supposed "hangover-free" alcohol developed – a group in Australia has also reportedly brewed up a beer that won't give you the nasty after-effects of...
As the emerging Zika virus continues to rapidly spread in the Pacific, so do fears of the potential consequences, especially in light of strong links between the growing epidemic and a brain disorder in newborns. There’s no available treatment or vaccine, and given the length of time it takes to develop such interventions, it will be years before we see any on the market. But there could be a solution: genetically modified mosquitoes.
Zika virus is spread by the same mosquito as dengue and another disease called Chikungunya, a species called Aedes aegypti. Scientists in the U.K. have developed and are implementing an effective way to curb their populations, which involves genetic manipulation and controlled insect release programs.
Created by biotech firm Oxitec, the so-called “friendly Aedes aegypti,” or OX513A, contains a gene that causes offspring to die before reaching reproductive age. So when males are released into mosquito-riddled areas, they successfully compete with those in the wild for females, ultimately leading to a reduction in numbers, but not eradication, without the need...
You might associate scurvy with sailors of times gone by, but while our knowledge of exactly what causes it and how to get rid of it has meant that it’s rare in today’s world, it’s still not a disease of the past. As evidence of this, an unusual case report has surfaced in which an infant developed scurvy after being given a vitamin C-devoid diet almost entirely based on almond milk.
Likely the result of healthy food trends combined with environmental concerns, plant-based drinks have boomed in popularity in recent years, in particular in the Western world. From soy milk to hazelnut and rice drinks, shelves see no shortage of dairy-free alternatives. And while that’s not exactly a bad thing, this latest report highlights the need for parents to take into consideration the nutritional content when choosing a diet for their infants, namely the lack of vitamin C.
Described in the journal Pediatrics, the case involves an infant who was presented to doctors in Spain at 11 months old with tiredness, irritability, and a failure to thrive....
A chemical produced by blue-green algae has been found to cause biological markers associated with Alzheimer's disease in vervet monkeys. The discovery strengthens a suspicion that the toxin β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) is contributing to the dementia crisis. In better news, the same study added to evidence for the amino acid L-serine's protective potential.
In the 1950s, the Chamorro people of Guam suffered an outbreak of dementia, along with neurofibrillary tangles in their brains, that resemble those seen in Alzheimer's sufferers. Evidence has since emerged that these symptoms were triggered by exposure to the chemical BMAA found in cycad seeds.
Cycad seeds are not a big global food source, but the BMAA came from cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae in the cycads' roots. Cyanobacteria, ancient single-celled organisms, inhabit oceans and deserts, and many produce BMAA in large quantities. A survey of the supposed health food spirulina found BMAA in 14 of 39 samples.
A paper published today suggests chronic exposure to an environmental toxin may increase the risk of neurodegenerative illness.
For the first time, researchers have shown that feeding vervet monkeys a toxin produced by blue-green algae resulted in protein deposits in the brain, consistent with those seen in human Alzheimer’s.
Neurodegenerative disease is an umbrella term which includes Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease (MND). The causes remain largely unknown, and the role of environmental factors is poorly understood.
Owing to its role in an unusual illness suffered by Chamorro villagers on the Pacific island of Guam, researchers have been investigating an algal toxin called BMAA for more than 40 years.
The Chamorros' diet was contaminated with BMAA and they suffered from dementia as well as a combination of symptoms typical of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and MND.
In the study published today in the Royal Society Proceedings B, researchers fed vervets fruit: some with BMAA, some with a placebo and some with a known...
Throughout history, advancements in healthcare and technology have typically been accompanied by decreasing mortality rates, with this trend only halted by exceptional factors such as wars, natural disasters or disease epidemics. However, a recent investigation by the New York Times has revealed that the death rate for young white Americans is currently increasing, and suggests that opioid overdoses could be the main cause of this alarming shift.
Opioids are synthetic or natural compounds that bind to the brain’s opiate receptors in order to block pain. A number of opioids – such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine – are used to manufacture prescription painkillers, while others are found in street drugs such as heroin. According to the New York Times report, a sharp increase in overdose deaths over the past 15 years has resulted in white adults aged 25 to 34 becoming the first generation since the Vietnam War to experience higher death rates in early adulthood than the generation...
Two years after the worst outbreak of Ebola in history, the epidemic that claimed the lives of more than 11,000 people in West Africa has been declared to be over by the World Health Organization (WHO). This marks the first time since the outbreak started that the three main countries to be wracked by the disease have simultaneously had zero reported cases for the required period of time. While this is clearly good news, the WHO has warned that this is unlikely to be the end of Ebola, as more flare-ups are expected.
The announcement has come after Liberia, the last country to have a reported case of Ebola, recently made it through the required 42 days without another diagnosis. This period of time is twice that of the disease's incubation period, the time between contracting the infection and showing symptoms. This is the third time the country has managed this, but subsequent infections occurred in the following weeks. Today, however, marks the first time that...
A rough and ready solution to the problem of inguinal hernias has been shown to be safe and effective, opening the way to treatment for tens of millions of people who can't afford surgical mesh. The finding is another reason why anti-malarial bed nets save lives.
Inguinal hernias occur in the abdominal wall around the groin. Fat, intestines, and sometimes other bodily organs can be pressed through weaknesses or holes. The result is painful, can prevent most forms of physical exertion, and complications cause tens of thousands of deaths each year.
In much of the world, hernia surgery is routine, with approximately 20 million operations occurring a year. On the other hand, almost 200 million people are estimated to have untreated hernias resulting from being unable to afford surgery. The cost of meshes produced to repair hernias can be as much as the surgeon's fees in Africa, taking operations out of the reach of many who need them most.
Hernia surgery being performed in...
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