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How to Deal with Asthma?

asthmaAsthma is really a long-term ailment that has simply no cure. The particular goal associated with asthma therapy is to manage the condition. Right there are the most of asthma symptoms and treatment:
·Prevent chronic plus troublesome signs and symptoms, for example breathing problems and shortness of breathing
·Reduce your own requirement for quick-relief medicines
·Help you preserve good lung perform
·Let you preserve your regular activity degree and rest through the particular night
·Prevent asthma episodes that can lead to a good emergency area visit or even hospital remain
To handle asthma, companion with your physician to control your asthma or your own child's asthma. Children old 10 or even older-and younger kids who are usually able-should consider an energetic function within their asthma care.
Using an energetic function to manage your own asthma requires:
·Working along with your physician to deal with other circumstances that may intervene with asthma management.
·Avoiding things that will worsen your own asthma (asthma triggers). Nevertheless, one cause you must not prevent is actual physical activity. Physical exercise is an essential portion of the healthy life-style. Talk along with your physician regarding medicines that will can assist you keep active.
·Working along with your physician as well as other wellness care suppliers to generate and stick to an asthma plan of action.
A good asthma motion plan offers guidance in obtaining your drugs properly, staying away from asthma sets off (except actual physical activity), monitoring your height of asthma control, reacting to deteriorating symptoms, plus seeking crisis care as needed.
Asthma is usually treated along with two varieties of medications: long-term handle and quick-relief medicines. Long lasting control medications help decrease airway irritation and stop asthma symptoms. Quick-relief, or "rescue, " medications relieve asthma symptoms that will may surface.
Your preliminary treatment is determined by the intensity of your own asthma. Followup asthma treatment is determined by just how well your own asthma activity plan is usually controlling your own symptoms plus preventing asthma attacks.
Your height of asthma handle can differ as time passes plus with adjustments in your own home, college, or function environments. These types of changes can modify how usually you're subjected to the elements that may worsen your own asthma.
Your own doctor might need to increase your own medicine when your asthma doesn't remain under manage. However, when your asthma is properly controlled for a number of months, your physician may reduce your medicine. These types of adjustments for your medicine can help you maintain the particular best manage possible along with the minimum amount associated with medicine essential.
Asthma therapy for many groupings of people-such as kids, pregnant females, or individuals for who exercise provides on asthma symptoms-will end up being adjusted in order to meet their particular special requirements.
Follow a good Asthma Plan of action
You may work together with your own doctor to produce a personal asthma action program. The master plan may describe your own daily remedies, such like which medications to consider plus when to consider them. The master plan also can explain whenever to contact your physician or even navigate to the crisis room.
In case your child provides asthma, all the people who else take care of your pet or the girl ought to know regarding the kid's asthma plan of action. This contains babysitters plus workers from daycare facilities, schools, plus camps. These types of caretakers may help your kid follow their action program.
Avoid Items That Can easily Worsen Your own Asthma
Several common items (called asthma triggers) may set away from or aggravate your asthma symptoms. As soon as you understand what these types of things are usually, you may take procedure for control most of them.
For illustration, contact with pollens or atmosphere pollution will make your asthma worse. If you are, try in order to limit time period outdoors whenever the degrees of these elements in the particular outdoor air flow are higher. If pet fur sets off your asthma symptoms, maintain pets along with fur out there of your own home or even bedroom.
A single possible asthma trigger a person shouldn’t prevent is physical exercise. Physical exercise is an important component of a proper lifestyle. Talk to your physician about medications which will help a person stay energetic.
In case your asthma symptoms are usually clearly associated to contaminants in the air, and a person can't prevent contact with individuals allergens, your own doctor might advise a person to obtain allergic reaction shots.
A person may require to visit a specialist in case you are thinking regarding getting allergic reaction shots. These types of shots may lessen or even stop your asthma symptoms, yet they aren't cure your own asthma.
Many health circumstances could make asthma harder in order to manage. These types of conditions consist of runny nasal area, sinus bacterial infections, reflux condition, psychological tension, and stop snoring. Your physician will deal with these circumstances too.
Your physician may consider several things whenever deciding which usually asthma drugs are very best to suit your needs. He or she or the lady will verify to notice how properly a medication works. After that, she or he may adjust the particular dose or even medicine since needed.
Asthma medicines may be consumed pill type, but many are used utilizing a device called a good inhaler. A good inhaler enables the drugs to look straight to your own lungs.
Not every inhalers are utilized the exact same way. Request your physician or even another physician to present the correct method to make use of your inhaler. Review how you use your own inhaler from every healthcare visit.
Long lasting Control Medications
Most individuals who may have asthma require long lasting control medications daily in order to help avoid symptoms. The very best long-term drugs reduce respiratory tract inflammation, which usually helps avoid symptoms through starting. These types of medicines may provide you with fast respite from signs and symptoms.

Institute for Health Technology Transformation Announces Health IT Summit in Denver July 24-25

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:

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,, and more.

Institute for Health Technology Transformation Appoints New Health IT Leaders to Advisory Board

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.,, 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,, 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.

Institute for Health Technology Transformation Appoints Jay Srini Senior Fellow & Innovation Chair

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 (, PRHI ( and is a frequent speaker on International Healthcare forums. She serves on several HHS (Health and Human Services – 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.


About iHT2

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

Alert And Ready For Action: Why It’s Time To Ban Energy Drinks For Under-18s

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Energy drinks are often promoted alongside extreme sports, video games and youth-centric activities such as lifesaving. Tambako The Jaguar/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Energy drinks are highly sweetened, caffeinated beverages that are packaged in brightly coloured, slimline containers. They’re sold virtually everywhere.

Advertised as “enhancing alertness and performance”, energy drinks are regularly promoted alongside extreme sports, video games and youth-centric activities such as lifesaving.

Youth patterns of energy drink consumption are not well-reported. But the few studies conducted with children have shown up to two-thirds (62%) of grade 7 to 12 students drank energy drinks in the past year.

A recent Australian study suggests the average youth energy drinker starts at the age of ten.

Energy drinks may pose serious harm for people aged 18 years or younger. Research with young adults indicates the stimulant effects can cause headaches, sleeping difficulties and heart palpitations. These side-effects are generally attributed to the primary ingredient, caffeine.

The effects of energy drinks typically mimic those reported in cases of...

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Thousands Of Genomes Reveal Human Genetic Differences Around The World

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Vitstudio/Shutterstock

Researchers have gained new insights into genetic variation among people living around the world after sequencing the genomes of more than 2,500 people from across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.

The report, published today in Nature, details the final set of findings from the 1000 Genomes Project, which was launched in 2008.

Jan Korbel, from European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, whose team was involved in the study, noted that as expected genetic commonalities were found across geographic regions. But he was astonished by results that found other variations formed by new mutation processes that would require further research to explore.

Paul Flicek, who is in charge of the public repository of data at the EMBL outstation in Hinxton, UK, says he hopes many studies will make use of the data, which is openly available for use in research.

Thousands Of Genes

The human genome consists of approximately three billion DNA base pairs and carries an estimated 20,000 genes, which are the building blocks of life.

By studying the genomes of multiple individuals, we can gain an...

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Is It OK To Chew Or Crush Your Medicine?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Look for a warning on the box before you attempt to crush or chew tablets, or cut capsules open. Erin/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Some people are incapable of swallowing tablets because of physical reasons, such as surgery or gastric reflux, while others struggle for psychological reasons. What can these people do when the doctor prescribes a drug that comes in tablet form?

The standard tablet is designed to be swallowed whole. Once in the stomach, it absorbs water, which causes it to swell and break apart. As it breaks apart, the drug dissolves over a predictable period of time, gets absorbed into the bloodstream and moves around the body.

Some people end up chewing tablets or crushing them up and mixing them with their food, but this can sometimes cause the medicine to not work properly. In some cases, ingesting a crushed tablet can even result in death.

Important Clues

For a number of reasons some tablets shouldn’t be crushed or chewed. Most importantly, doing so may result in dose dumping; this is when the body very quickly absorbs a large amount of a drug. One consequence of dose dumping is an overdose of the drug, which can lead...

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High Court Rules Breast Cancer Gene Cannot Be Patented

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: The decision is a win for 69-year-old Queensland breast cancer survivor Yvonne D'Arcy. Dan Peled/AAP

Australia’s highest court has ruled a gene mutation linked to cancer cannot be patented, ending a long battle over whether companies can own the rights to genetic material.

The litigation is a win for 69-year-old Queensland breast cancer survivor Yvonne D'Arcy, who challenged Myriad Genetics' ownership of the BRCA1 gene mutation in Australia.

Myriad Genetics was granted a patent in 1995 for isolating hereditary mutations to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which increase the carrier’s risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

Some women carrying the gene, such as actress Angelina Jolie, have opted to have double mastectomies and their ovaries removed to reduce their risk of these cancers.

The High Court decision overturned a Federal Court ruling last year that allowed companies to patent genetic material in Australia.

D’Arcy had appealed the Federal Court decision to the High Court, arguing it was wrong to uphold the validity of three of the 30 claims Myriad Genetics held in patent law.

A “claim” defines the legal boundary of an...

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Could Ancient Textbooks Be The Source Of The Next Medical Breakthrough?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Voynich Manuscript. Wikimedia Commons

The discovery that won the latest Nobel Prize for Medicine wouldn’t have been much of a revelation to doctors in ancient China. Pharmaceutical chemist Tu Youyou established that the compound artemisinin could treat malaria in the early 1970s. But the plant the chemical comes from, Artemisia annua L. (sweet wormwood), was used to treat fevers perhaps caused by malaria as early as the third or fourth century CE.

Tu discovered the properties of artemisinin (qinghaosu in Chinese) after reading traditional Chinese texts that dated to this era listing medicinal herb preparations. The route to the discovery and its dissemination was not easy due to both the difficulties of trawling through and testing hundreds of plant samples and the political climate in China in the 70s. Fortunately, persistence paid off and artemisinin is now a key antimalarial drug.

While this story might be unusual in modern medicine, artemisinin is far from the only compound used today that was initially derived from plants. For example, another malaria treatment, quinine, is derived from the bark of South American...

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What Are Allergies And Why Are We Getting More Of Them?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Allergies are becoming more frequent in the western world. Al Fed/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Allergies are reactions caused by the immune system as it responds to environmental substances that are usually harmless to most people. They may occur in response to a range of different material (called allergens), such as food, pollen, dust mites, animals, insect stings, or medicines.

An allergy can affect different parts of the body. Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, for instance, affects the nose and eyes, while eczema affects the skin. Food allergies affect the gut, skin, airways, lungs, and sometimes the entire body through the blood vessels.

Other conditions such as asthma, which affects the lungs, and eosinophilic oesophagitis, which affects the tube from the throat to the stomach, are closely related to allergy. But they have slightly different underlying causes.

A Range Of Reactions

While most reactions are only mild to moderate in severity (and can be treated with antihistamines), some can be life-threatening and require emergency medical treatment. The most severe, systemic allergic reactions are known as anaphylaxis. People with...

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Researchers Grow Mini-Kidneys In The Lab

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: A mini-kidney formed in a dish from human-induced pluripotent stem cells. Minoru Takasato et al./Nature

Adding to our ever-growing collection of lab-grown organs, Australian scientists have managed to grow a “mini-kidney” from stem cells. The researchers aim to use these primitive, miniaturized organs to test drugs, model diseases and develop cell therapies. The study was published this week in Nature and was conducted in conjunction with researchers from the Netherlands.

The team from Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) and The University of Queensland was led by Professor Melissa Little, who in 2013 grew a simpler mini-kidney that contained only two key cell types. In the latest study, the mini-kidneys are composed of the majority of the 20 cell types found in mature kidneys. The organoids were constructed in the lab by using pluripotent stem cells – those that can turn into any other type of cell in the body – and then mimicking the natural environment present during the development of kidney cells in the womb. 

By adding different growth factors to the stem cells over a period of time, the scientist constructed a...

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More Refined Blood Test Could Cut Possible Heart Attack Admissions By Two-Thirds

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Up to 80% of people with heart attack symptoms are later discharged to go home. Tyler Olson/Shutterstock

Around 1 million people a year in the U.K. are admitted to hospital with chest pains suffering a suspected heart attack, but as many as 80% of these people will then be discharged after a lengthy and often anxious stay. A more sensitive blood test could more than halve the number of people who are required to stay in hospital for further tests, which would reduce stress for patients, ease hospital wards, and save money.

Currently, when someone may have suffered a heart attack – presenting a “heavy” chest, pain in the arms and stomach, and light-headedness, among other symptoms – they are then subjected to a long testing procedure. This involves a blood test that looks for a particular set of proteins produced by damaged heart tissue, called troponins, first when the patient arrives, and then sometimes up to six hours later. During this time, that person is both worrying about the results, and also taking up a hospital bed which could be used for someone else should they not need to be there.

The newly developed test builds...

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Blame It On Biology: How Explanations Of Mental Illness Influence Treatment

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: People who believe their problems have biogenetic causes tend to opt for biomedical treatments. Tim Caynes/Flickr, CC BY-NC

Every mental health problem has a biological dimension. How could it not? All our experience and behaviour, normal or abnormal, is founded on our neurobiology.

Researchers have taken great strides towards understanding these foundations and the public has taken note. Increasingly, we explain our problems as products of heredity, brain disease and chemical imbalance, rather than life experiences, adversities and ways of thinking.

Regrettably, these scientific advances have a dark side. As a recent review shows, people who hold biogenetic (biological and genetic) explanations of mental health disorders tend to have some negative perceptions of those who experience them. They view these people as relatively dangerous, unpredictable and unlikely to recover, and seek greater distance from them.

The consequences of these perceptions extend beyond stigma; they also have troubling implications for treatment.

The “therapeutic alliance” between clinician and client is a key ingredient in successful treatment,...

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Researchers Find Link Between DNA Marks And Sexual Orientation

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Dragon Images/Shutterstock

The idea that a “gay gene” exists is not without controversy, but evidence strongly suggests that sexual orientation, at least in men, is influenced largely (but not entirely) by genetics. New research is offering the first piece of evidence for an idea that has been proposed before: a link between sexual preference and DNA tags that can be influenced by the environment. This finding was presented on October 8 at the American Society of Human Genetics meeting in Baltimore.

The idea that sexuality is a choice is an archaic idea. The hypothesis that there is a genetic element to homosexuality has floated around for a while; gay twins are surely enough to prompt suspicion on the matter. But it took a long time for convincing evidence in support of this to surface. Just last year, for example, the biggest study of gay brothers to date backed up what had been proposed 20 years earlier: stretches of DNA on the X chromosome and chromosome 8 are strongly associated with sexual orientation.

It’s clearly not all down to genes, though. Studies that have looked at identical twin pairs have found that if one...

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Resisting wheat rust in Texas

Wheat is vulnerable. Among the most damaging diseases that affect wheat crops across the world are rusts. These parasites cannot grow without infecting a host plant, and are responsible for some of the greatest destructions of crops in human history. Breeders have recently released a cultivar of winter wheat -- TAM 305 -- that is resistant to many of the rust fungi.

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Gut microorganisms cause gluten-induced pathology in mouse model of celiac disease

Investigators interested in celiac disease have wondered why only 2 to 5 percent of genetically susceptible individuals develop the disease. Attention has focused on whether environmental determinants, including gut microorganisms, contribute to the development of celiac disease. Using a humanized mouse model of gluten sensitivity, a new study has found that the gut microbiome can play an important role in the body's response to gluten.

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Therapy reduces the risk of fragility fractaures by 40 percent

Osteoporosis, a disease of progressive bone loss, affects 70 percent of the US population older than age 50: one in two women -- and one in five men. These individuals are at risk for fragility fractures, a break that results from a fall, or occurs in the absence of obvious trauma, and most commonly seen in the wrist, the upper arm, the hip, and the spine.

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Unexpected connections: Calcium refill mechanisms in nerve cells affects gene expression

SOCE (Store Operated Calcium Entry) is a process by which Calcium ions slowly enter cells to refill depleted calcium stores. This process in nerve cells is now thought to play a role in maintaining the levels of dopamine, a vital neurotransmitter in the brains of Drosophila flies. If SOCE operates in a similar way in mammalian neurons, it might provide new pathways to explore the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

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Preventing memory loss before symptoms appear

A clinical trial is looking at removing a key protein from the brain to prevent memory loss at least a decade before symptoms are noticed in healthy older adults. The trial is focused on an investigational treatment to reduce the impact of the protein beta amyloid.

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Antioxidants cause malignant melanoma to metastasize faster

Antioxidants can double the rate of melanoma metastasis in mice, new research shows. The results reinforce previous findings that antioxidants hasten the progression of lung cancer. People with cancer or an elevated risk of developing the disease should avoid nutritional supplements that contain antioxidants, the researchers say.

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Researchers learn how to grow old brain cells

A new technique allows scientists to study diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's using cells from human patients. Historically, animal models -- from fruit flies to mice -- have been the go-to technique to study the biological consequences of aging, especially in tissues that can't be easily sampled from living humans, like the brain. Over the past few years, researchers have increasingly turned to stem cells to study various diseases in humans.

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Is The Changing Definition Of Autism Narrowing What We Think Of As ‘Normal’?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Is normal behavior being pathologized? Elizabeth Albert/Flickr, CC BY

I first learned about autism in 1997 in my high school psychology course. It was relegated to a small paragraph in a chapter on childhood disorders. The film Rainman had come out a decade earlier, publicizing the condition to a degree. But autism still wasn’t well-known – or well-understood, at the time.

That certainly isn’t the case today.

Since then I have been a special educator, an autism consultant, and, most recently, an autism advocate and researcher. I explore how both culture and ethics influence autism as a concept, diagnosis and lived experience. One thing that is clear is that the way we think about autism has changed.

As the power and recognition of modern psychiatry as a medical field have expanded, so has the way we think about and define different conditions, including autism. The diagnostic criteria for autism have gotten broader, helping it go from a rare disorder to one that affects one in 68 children in just a few decades.

And this shift isn’t unique to autism. The most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental...

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The Boys Who Only Develop A Penis When They Hit The Age Of 12

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: It's in around week eight that a fetus starts to develop its genitals. Creations/Shutterstock


When born, to all intents and purposes they appear to be female. But when the children referred to as “Guevedoces” in an isolated village in the Dominican Republic reach puberty, things start to change. They develop muscles, their chests start to grow, and by the age of 12, they sprout testes and a penis.

This extraordinary intersex condition, known medically as “5-alpha-reductase deficiency,” has been documented for a new BBC2 series “Countdown to Life,” which takes a look at how we develop in the womb and how early changes impact us for the rest of our lives. In the program, they meet one of these Guevedoces, which literally translates as “penis at 12,” called Johnny.

Talking to presenter and journalist Dr Michael Mosley, Johnny describes his childhood and being brought up as a girl called Felecitia by his parents. “I never liked to dress as a girl and when they bought me toys for girls I never bothered playing with them – when I saw a group of boys I would stop to play ball with them.” When he started to develop as male during...

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‘Food Comas’, Or Why Eating Sometimes Makes You Sleepy

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Here’s a clue: what you eat is just as important as the size of your meal. Dave Chiu/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

We’ve all done it, enjoyed a delicious meal only to nod off in a comfy chair for a while. For some of us, this is just a habit. But for others, it’s unavoidable. So what is it about food that can make us so sleepy?

When we’re eating, the stomach is producing gastrin, a hormone that promotes the secretion of digestive juices. As the food enters the small intestine, the cells in the gut secrete even more hormones (enterogastrone) that signal other bodily functions, including blood flow regulation.

But what does this have to do with sleepiness? Well, as we’re digesting our meal, more of our blood is shunted to the stomach and gut, to transport away the absorbed newly digested metabolites. This leaves less blood for the rest of the body and can cause some people to feel a bit “light-headed” or tired.

Still, the body is a lot more sophisticated than that; it doesn’t respond to food volume alone. What you eat is just as important as the size of your meal.

Biochemistry And Sleep

For many years now, researchers have been...

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Vaccines Back In The Headlines – Here’s What The Experts Say

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: A woman receives an MMR injection. Rebecca Naden/Reuters

September 16th’s Republican debate put vaccines back in the headlines, when Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon, was asked to comment on Donald Trump’s statements linking vaccinations to autism. Carson said:

We have extremely well-documented proof that there is no autism associated with vaccinations, but it is true that we’re giving way too many in way too short a time and a lot of pediatricians recognize that.

This has sparked a flurry of reminders from physicians, scientists and others that vaccines are safe and that vaccines do not cause autism.

This is a discussion that we have covered again and again and again at The Conversation.

Yet these messages don’t seem to have counteracted misinformation about vaccines. That’s because these explanations often repeat the very falsehoods they are trying to correct. As Norbert Schwarz and Eryn Newman from the University of Southern California write:

[M]edia reports that intend to correct false information can have the unfortunate effect of increasing its acceptance. Using anecdotes and images makes false information easier to...

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Antidepressant Trial Failed To Mention Numerous Suicide Attempts

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: A controversial study of antidepressants for teenagers failed to report numerous suicidal incidents and privileged investigator assessments over how the participants felt. Credit: Mykola Ivashchenko/Shutterstock


Clinical notes from a trial of the antidepressant paroxetine, reported as finding it to be both safe and effective for adolescents, in fact showed the opposite, researchers have claimed. The largest re-examination of clinical data from a high profile trial has found a terrifyingly high rate of suicidal behavior that failed to be reported in the controversial study. The revelation could influence the prescription of similar drugs and will add to pressure to change the conduct of clinical drug trials, particularly for antidepressants.

In 2001 the pharmaceutical company SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline) published a paper claiming that a trial, known as Study 329, had found the antidepressant paroxetine was safe for adolescents with depression, and more effective than either a placebo, or the competing drug imipramine.

Also marketed as Aropax, Paxil and Seroxat, paroxetine is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake...

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Study Finds People Can Be Identified By The Bacteria They Breathe Out

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: We all emit millions of bacteria from our breath and clothes. Jessmine/Shutterstock

Everywhere we go, we leave little traces in the form of the bacteria we carry and the skin and hair we shed. In some cases, it’s even possible to follow these bacterial breadcrumbs back to the person who left them. But that’s not the only way we leave our microbial mark. We also emit what is called a “microbial cloud,” and researchers have found that it is also unique enough to be able to identify individual people.

“We expected that we would be able to detect the human microbiome in the air around a person,” explained James Meadow, who led the study published in PeerJ, “but we were surprised to find that we could identify most of the occupants just by sampling their microbial cloud.” They found that participants of the experiment could be identified within four hours by analyzing the particulates suspended in the air, and looking at the unique combination of bacteria present.

We emit this microbial cloud from our breath, but it’s also made up of the bacteria found on our clothes, skin and hair. Previous studies have already found that the...

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This Guy Just Raised The Cost Of An HIV Drug By 5000%

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Martin Shkreli, the chief executive of Turing Pharmaceutical

Daraprim is used to fight a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis, which is potentially life-threatening for people with weakened immune systems, such as those with AIDS or cancer. But just last month, the price shot up more than 5,000%, from $13.50 (£8.70) a tablet to $750 (£485) per pill, USA Today reported last week. That means the annual cost of the treatment could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Toxoplasmosis is a leading cause of death by a foodborne illness in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The single-celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii infects most animals, though it only reproduces in cats. People become infected by consuming contaminated water or meat and unwashed fruits and vegetables, using contaminated knives and cutting boards, and coming into contact with the feces of infected cats. More than 60 million Americans carry the parasite yet very few show symptoms thanks to their immune systems. However, babies born to women infected while pregnant and anyone with a compromised immune system could suffer severe...

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Why Bigger Isn’t Always Better In The World Of Muscle Building

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Study finds quality trumps quantity when it comes to muscle strength. EPA/

The huge muscles sculpted by bodybuilders, action movie stars and other serious gym-goers can make them look like comic-book superheroes. And we tend to equate big muscles with being strong and powerful. But new research has found that – at a cellular level – the large, defined muscles seen on bodybuilders don’t fare well against those of power athletes (such as weight lifters or sprinters, whose sport requires high forces produced quickly) or even men who don’t train at all.

The research, published in Experimental Physiology, was carried out on individual muscle cells taken from a group of volunteers comprising 12 bodybuilders, six power athletes and 14 control subjects (average men, physically active but not performing weight training). The researchers, led by Hans Degens of Manchester Metropolitan University, stimulated the cells and assessed the size and speed of the force produced from the resulting isometric contractions...

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Does A Lack Of Vitamin D Put You At Greater Risk Of Multiple Sclerosis?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: A debilitating disease. MS by Shutterstock

People with a combination of genes linked to lower vitamin D levels appear to be at greater risk of developing multiple sclerosis, according to the authors of a recent study. The paper’s researchers used data from a very large genetic study of 14,000 people with MS (specifically looking at a chemical produced from vitamin D) and compared their genetic backgrounds to people without the disease. The results showed that people with decreased vitamin D due to their genetics were twice as likely to develop multiple sclerosis – although the risk was still very low.

The finding sheds further light on a previously suggested link between MS and sunshine levels, a common source of vitamin D. But what does this mean for our understanding of the causes of MS? And more importantly, does this help us in the quest to develop new and better treatments for the disease?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex disease, with many different symptoms and a propensity to come and go (relapse and remit as doctors would say). But when it strikes it can be devastating, often completely incapacitating the...

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How Does The Immune System Learn?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: The only thing standing between invaders such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi and our devastation is our immune system. kurtxio/Flickr, CC BY-SA

We’re outnumbered by bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi that can make us ill. And the only thing standing between them and our devastation is our immune system.

The immune system does such a good job most of the time that we only really think about it when things go wrong. But to provide such excellent protection against a whole host of pathogens, our immune system must constantly learn.

Parts Of The Whole

The immune system is made up of two equally important parts: innate immunity and adaptive immunity.

Innate immunity rapidly responds to invaders; innate immunity cells deal with more than 90% of infections, removing them within hours or days. These cells recognise invaders by looking for broad shared patterns, such as common molecules on the surface of most bacteria. They might look for lipopolysaccharides (LPS), for instance, a molecule found in many bacterial cell walls.

When the innate response fails to fend off an invasion, the invaders are handled by adaptive...

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New way found to combat brain cancer

Scientists have discovered an innovative way that may stop the spread of the most lethal and aggressive brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). In laboratory studies, scientists demonstrated that activating a specific family of proteins halted cancer cell migration into healthy tissue.

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Pregnancy complications may signal later risk of heart disease death

Women who experience pregnancy complications, especially those with multiple complications, are at greater risk of dying from heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases later in life. Researchers suggest women who experience complicated pregnancies should be targeted for early, aggressive preventive cardiovascular disease intervention.

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Prion disease detected soon after infection, in surprising place in mouse brains

Prion diseases -- incurable, ultimately fatal, transmissible neurodegenerative disorders of mammals -- are believed to develop undetected in the brain over several years from infectious prion protein. In a new study, NIH scientists report they can detect infectious prion protein in mouse brains within a week of inoculation. Equally surprising, the protein was generated outside blood vessels in a place in the brain where scientists believe drug treatment could be targeted to prevent disease.

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Scientists create rice variety with high folate stability

Researchers have succeeded in stabilizing folates in biofortified rice in order to prevent their degradation upon long term storage. They used two strategies: by linking folates with folate binding proteins and by extending the tail of the folate molecules. These approaches can offer a solution to serious health problems caused by folate deficiency in developing countries.

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