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Visit the HSC Press Room to keep track of current news and events specifically relevant for clinical research and health policy and to check out our suggested links.


News


Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease: Recommendations from the
American Heart Association

Large-scale epidemiologic studies suggest that people at risk for coronary heart disease benefit from consuming omega-3 fatty acids from plants and marine sources. In randomized clinical trials that enrolled patients with coronary heart disease, omega-3 fatty acid supplements significantly reduced CV events (death, nonfatal heart attacks, nonfatal strokes). Omega-3 supplements can also slow the progression of atherosclerosis in these patients.


Vitamin D and the Immune System
It is now clear that vitamin D has important roles in addition to its classic effects on calcium and bone homeostasis. As the vitamin D receptor is expressed on immune cells (B cells, T cells and antigen presenting cells) and these immunologic cells are all are capable of synthesizing the active vitamin D metabolite, vitamin D has the capability of acting in an autocrine manner in a local immunologic milieu. Vitamin D can modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection.

Daily Vitamin E Slows Mental Decline For Mild, Moderate Alzheimer's
A daily dose of vitamin E may slow mental decline for people with mild to moderate forms of Alzheimer’s disease, lowering requirements for caregiving. Investigators with the Veterans Administration found more evidence in a clinical trial supporting the power of vitamin E in preserving mental functioning among the elderly. Among 614 patients followed in the study, those taking high daily doses of vitamin E experienced less decline than others, including patients taking lower doses of the vitamin or 20 mg/d of memantine, a new medication intended to reduce memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients.

Effect of Vitamin E and Memantine on Functional Decline in Alzheimer Disease
This Journal of the American Medical Association article reports findings that the effect of vitamin E and memantine have been shown to have beneficial effects in cases of moderately severe Alzheimer disease.

NIH Scientists Shed Light on Mystery Surrounding Hepatitis B Virus: Discovery is Decades in the Making
Scientists from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Oxford, U.K., have shed light on a long-standing enigma about the structure of a protein related to the Hepatitis B virus. World-wide, some 350 million people are chronically infected with Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), of whom 620,000 die each year from HBV-related liver disease. Like any other pathogen, HBV expresses protein antigens that trigger the body’s immune system to defend itself.

Increase Fees Only for Those in Innovative Delivery: New Proposal
Among the core strategies of a proposal released yesterday to slow healthcare spending by $2 trillion over the course of 10 years is a policy that would increase future Medicare fees only for those physicians participating in innovative delivery or payment systems such as patient-centered medical homes, accountable care organizations, and bundled payments.

Healthcare M&A Watch: Deal Volume Rises in Third Quarter of 2012 Despite a Decline in Deal Value
The Modern Healthcare quarterly reports cover the trending and analysis of U.S. mergers and acquisitions activity among providers, payers, vendors and pharma/life sciences sectors within the healthcare industry.

Innate Immune System Targets Asthma-Linked Fungus For Destruction
A new study shows that the innate immune system of humans is capable of killing a fungus linked to airway inflammation, chronic rhinosinusitis and bronchial asthma. Researchers at Mayo Clinic and the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute have revealed that eosinophils, a particular type of white blood cell, exert a strong immune response against the environmental fungus Alternaria alternata. The groundbreaking findings, which shed light on some of the early events involved in the recognition of A. alternata by the human immune system, were published recently in the Journal of Immunology.

The Genetics of Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Within millions of Americans lies a silent killer — an enlarged and weakened heart that with every beat moves closer and closer to failing. When people eventually notice symptoms and seek medical care, the heart defect may be so subtle that their doctors are left struggling to pinpoint a cause. Researchers at Mayo Clinic were the first to figure out the puzzle, determining that this enigmatic condition is a genetic disorder called idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Now, their work is helping doctors diagnose the disease earlier than ever so that patients can receive appropriate medical care.

Promising Saliva Gland Test For Detecting Parkinson's
Parkinson's disease is a difficult disease to diagnose. Currently the only way to pinpoint the disease is to do a clinical exam to analyze a person's symptoms. To achieve a definitive answer, an autopsy is performed on the brain after a person has passed away. Testing a part of a person's saliva gland may be a way to diagnose Parkinson's disease, according to new research by the Mayo Clinic that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in March.

Findings On Heart Muscle Growth Could Lead To Novel Approaches For Treating Heart Failure In Children
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have found, for the first time that young humans (infants, children and adolescents) are capable of generating new heart muscle cells. These findings refute the long-held belief that the human heart grows after birth exclusively by enlargement of existing cells, and raise the possibility that scientists could stimulate production of new cells to repair injured hearts.

Integrative Medicine Part II — Health Care of the Future
Is it possible that health care can become more effective, more personalized, more attuned to real health and wellness in a manner that truly benefits patients? At the health and wellness conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine there was a panel discussion moderated by Center director Brian Berman, MD on the topic of health care of the future. This article presents excerpts from the comments made by Dr. Delia Chiaramonte, Dr. Jeff Bland and Dr. Stephen Schimpff.

In The Battle Against Childhood Obesity, Physical Activity Can Be Boosted By E-Games
Video games have been blamed for contributing to the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States. But a new study by researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) suggests that certain blood-pumping video games can actually boost energy expenditures among inner city children, a group that is at high risk for unhealthy weight gain. The study, "Can E-gaming be Useful for Achieving Recommended Levels of Moderate to Vigorous-Intensity Physical Activity in Inner-City Children," appears in the online edition of the scientific journal Games for Health.

New Report Highlights Best Practices for Care Transitions and Avoiding Unnecessary Hospitalizations
The Long-Term Quality Alliance (LTQA) today released a summary of its Innovative Communities Summit held in Washington D.C. in late 2010. The report, "Innovative Communities: Breaking Down Barriers for the Good of Older Consumers and Their Family Caregivers," features case studies of how three communities in the United States are working together to improve care transitions and reduce avoidable hospitalizations.

A Randomized Controlled Trial of Tai Chi for Tension Headaches
This study examined whether a traditional low-impact mind–body exercise, Tai Chi, affects health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) and headache impact in an adult population suffering from tension-type headaches. Forty-seven participants were randomly assigned to either a 15-week intervention program of Tai Chi instruction or a wait-list control group. HRQOL and headache status were obtained at baseline and at 5-, 10- and 15-weeks post-baseline during the intervention period. Statistically significant improvements in favor of the intervention were present for the HIT score and the pain, energy/fatigue, social functioning, emotional well-being and mental health summary scores. A 15-week intervention of Tai Chi practice was effective in reducing headache impact and also effective in improving perceptions of some aspects of physical and mental health.

Treating the Health Care Crisis: Complementary and Alternative Medicine for PPACA
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) intends to take American health care in a new direction by focusing on preventive medicine and wellness-based treatment. But, in doing so, it does not adequately take into account the potential contribution of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM is already used by a large and growing number of individuals in the United States, although to date there is limited scientific evidence to support the efficacy of most CAM treatments. This article proposes statutory reforms to PPACA to encourage CAM research and development, and the use of demonstrably effective CAM treatments.

Vitamins and Minerals for Disease Prevention
A recent study of nearly 15,000 men aged 50 years or older found that taking a daily multivitamin resulted in a modest reduction (8 percent) in the risk of developing cancer, compared with placebo. The authors of the study concluded that these findings provide support for the potential use of multivitamin supplements in the prevention of cancer in middle-aged and older men. The study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Meaningful Use Means Patient Use
As the U.S. rolls out its largest ever investment in health IT, meaningful use promises to dramatically transform the delivery of care. However, until patient feedback takes the meaningful use stage, progress will remain slow, according to a February report issued by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Health Research Institute.

How Music Helps to Heal the Injured Brain
Biomedical researchers have found that music is a highly structured auditory language involving complex perception, cognition, and motor control in the brain, and thus it can effectively be used to retrain and reeducate the injured brain. While the first data showing these results were met with great skepticism and even resistance, over time the consistent accumulation of scientific and clinical research evidence has diminished the doubts.

East Meets Best at UCLA: By Training Medical Staff in Eastern Medicine, UCLA Officials Hope to Broaden Top Notch Care
These days, officials within the UCLA Health System are busy teaching caregivers and its medical staff aromatherapy, Reiki, yoga and Traditional Chinese Medicine by incorporating a new initiative called the Urban Zen Integrative Program, which will help the hospitals affiliated with UCLA learn to blend Western and Eastern medicine into one for the benefit of their patients and staff's health on a physical and psychological level.

When Social Security Benefits are Improved, Older People Benefit Most
According to a study published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, Americans over the age of 65 experienced steep declines in the rate of mortality in the periods that followed the founding of and subsequent improvements to Social Security.

NEJM: EHRs Associated with High Diabetes Care
In research published in a special article in the New England Journal of Medicine, EHR sites were associated with higher levels of achievement and improvement in regionally vetted standards for diabetes care and outcomes.

Link Between Age-related Changes, Health and Cognition
Critical life course events and experiences - in both youth and middle adulthood - may contribute to health and cognition in later life, according to a new supplemental issue of the Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. Furthermore, the authors find that the processes of aging linked to cognition and those linked to health should be studied simultaneously, as part of the same set of processes.

BI Tools Prep Clinicians For Accountable Care
Healthcare providers pursuing accountable care organization (ACO) initiatives are increasingly relying on business intelligence (BI) tools to help identify inefficiencies, quality gaps, and cost issues, reports a study from healthcare research firm KLAS.

Hospital Deaths from Heart Failure Cut by Half Over Seven Years
The death rate of hospital patients who were admitted primarily for heart failure fell roughly by half between 2000 and 2007 - from 55 deaths to 28 deaths per 1,000 admissions, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care and Services Announced
As part of the National Alzheimer's Project Act, which was signed into law in January by President Obama, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the members of the Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care and Services. Harry Johns, President and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association®, was among those selected to the Council.

New Leukemia Treatment Exceeds 'Wildest Expectations'
A single shot could be one of the biggest advances in cancer research in decades, scientists say. Doctors have treated only three leukemia patients, but the sensational results from a single shot could be one of the most significant advances in cancer research in decades. But the research almost didn't happen. In research published August 2011, doctors at the University of Pennsylvania say the treatment made the most common type of leukemia completely disappear in two of the patients and reduced it by 70 percent in the third. In each of the patients as much as five pounds of cancerous tissue completely melted away in a few weeks, and a year later it is still gone.

'Comparative effectiveness research' tackles medicine’s unanswered questions
Comparative effectiveness research goes beyond the basic question — “Is this safe and effective?” — that must be answered before new a new drug or device goes on the market. Instead, this emerging field tries to determine where a drug, a procedure, a test or a therapeutic strategy fits into the world of what’s already available and being used.

Broad-Spectrum Antiviral Therapeutics
A serious threat is posed by viral pathogens, including clinical viruses (HIV, hepatitis viruses, etc.), natural emerging viruses (avian and swine influenza strains, SARS, etc.), and viruses relevant to potential bioterrorism (Ebola, smallpox, etc.). Unfortunately, there are relatively few prophylactics or therapeutics for these viruses, and most which do exist can be divided into three broad categories.

Effect of intensive glucose lowering treatment on all cause mortality, cardiovascular death, and microvascular events in type 2 diabetes: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
Worldwide, the number of adults with diabetes was estimated at 150 million in 2000, a figure that is expected to increase to 366 million by 2030. Epidemiological evidence indicates that type 2 diabetes is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and microvascular complications, such as retinopathy. The rate of cardiovascular disease is about twice as high in people with diabetes than without. Intensive glycaemic control has been suggested as an effective treatment to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease and microvascular complications in people with diabetes.

Patient-centered care found to reduce medical costs
Patient-centered care, already determined to be beneficial in improving the nation's health, also can help lower medical costs and reduce the need for some health care services, research by the University of California, Davis, Health System shows.

Genetic Variants May Predict Those at Greatest Fracture Risk
An international consortium of researchers have identified a group of genes associated with the development of osteoporosis, a debilitating bone disease that cripples more than 10 million Americans a year and costs the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $17 billion annually. The study identified 56 genes associated with bone-mineral density (BMD), the measurement used to diagnose osteoporosis. The findings could lead to a blood test to identify people who are at greatest risk of fractures.

Genes That Influence Childhood Obesity Found
A large international consortium study has found at least two gene variants that increase the risk for common childhood obesity. Lead investigator Dr Struan F.A. Grant, associate director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in the US, and colleagues describe how they linked variants near the loci OLFM4 and HOXB5 to this condition, and showed they are also linked with increased body mass index (BMI) in adults.

Chronic Disease Prevention Policies Need Better Costing Estimates
In order to capture the potential economic value to prevent obesity related diseases like diabetes and heart disease, policymakers must increase the length of time when establishing cost estimates for legislative proposals for chronic health conditions. Investigators from the Campaign to End Obesity have established that policy makers are presently limited. The study, "Assessing the Economics of Obesity and Obesity Interventions" explains the method in which the Congressional Budget office measures the benefits of policies to address chronic diseases, generally covering a 10-year period. However, this period is not long enough to capture the costly complications of chronic diseases, like those linked to obesity, given that many complications take over 10 years to manifest.

Events

6th Immunotherapeutics & Immunomonitoring Conference - January 29 - 31, 2014
The immune system plays a central role not only in fighting infections, but also in many other diseases and medical conditions including cancer. The 6th Immunotherapeutics & Immunomonitoring Conference will be held on January 29-31, 2014 in San Diego, CA. The study of the immune system has led to significant findings in many fields of medicine and biology and has resulted in the discovery of novel and unique substances and reagents that are now widely used for diagnosis, evaluation and therapy of different malignant diseases. The development of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines, as well as innovative combinatorial immunotherapeutic approaches has substantially decreased mortality and increased life expectancy, improved life expectancy and the well being of the millions of patients.


12th Cytokines & Inflammation Conference - January 29 - 31, 2014
The Cytokines and Inflammation conference, as part of the Novel Immunotherapeutics Summit, promotes a dynamic exchange of cutting edge developments in the field. Featuring a wonderful balance of presentations from academia, government and industry, the role of cytokines in health and disease and therapeutic applications will be discussed. Encompassed will be many cytokine families, chemokines and alarmins, and their roles in disease, ranging infectious disease, cancer, and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases including lupus, pulmonary fibrosis, metabolic and neuromuscular diseases.


2nd Immunogenicity and Immunotoxicity Conference - January 29 - 31, 2014
The 2nd Immunogenicity and Immunotoxicity Conference, as part of the Novel Immunotherapeutics Summit, is the West Coast's top 2-day conference bringing together leading experts in industry, academia and the FDA. The event will cover important progress made in the areas of therapeutic protein immunogenicity and immunotoxicity evaluation such as protein aggregation, clinical relevance and assessment of immunogenicity, mitigation of immunogenicity-related risks, biosimilar development, and immunotoxicity evaluation strategies.


HFES 2014 International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care - March 16 - 19, 2014
The 2014 Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care: Leading the Way aims to go beyond the basic human factors/ergonomics tenets highlighted in the 2013 symposium by providing practical and actionable methods, guidelines, and best practices that will enable participants to advance their HF/E approaches and outcomes in their respective work settings.


World Health Day - April 7, 2014
World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO in 1948. Each year a theme is selected that highlights a priority area of public health: The topic for 2014 is vector-borne diseases. World Health Day 2014 will spotlight some of the most commonly known vectors – such as mosquitoes, sandflies, bugs, ticks and snails – responsible for transmitting a wide range of parasites and pathogens that attack humans or animals. Mosquitoes, for example, not only transmit malaria and dengue, but also lymphatic filariasis, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever.


2nd International Congress on Naturopathic Medicine - July 3 - 6, 2014
Held in Paris, France, ICNM 2014 is the premier International Congress for the most influential and inspiring complementary medicine practitioners and healthcare professionals who are dedicated to improving patient care. Participants will have the opportunity to join with the finest Naturopaths worldwide and update knowledge and skills learning from internationally recognized researchers and clinicians.




Links

Click on the title of any of the following links to launch a separate webpage.


National Institute of Health: News
National Institute of Health: Research
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
PEW Research Center: Health and Well-being
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
American Public Health Association
World Health Organization Media Centre

More coming soon...