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Disease and Condition

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Need for Treatment and Cure

Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common form of muscular dystrophy. It is a sex-linked disorder residing on the X chromosome. It affects primarily boys and men and is always lethal. There are few treatments to this disorder that affects 1 in every 3500 to 5000 boys born. There are no cures and few treatments for this disorder.

Medical Problems Leading to Bankruptcy: Little Has Changed with ACA

ACA, medical problems and bankruptcy

ACA has had little effect on the financial burden of households with chronic health conditions. The rise in treatment costs and associated cost sharing for individuals and families are causing medical debt that often has caused these families to deplete their savings. It often also causes these families to forgo necessities like food, heat or rent in order to pay their medical bills. In these cases, the families are forced to file for bankruptcy in order to have a roof over their heads.

Quality of care: Related to reimbursement?

Quality elder care

Despite numerous national programs intended to ensure patients receive the best quality care, it is limited by how best to define quality. It is also dependent on your insurance. Those with government-sponsored programs such as Medicaid or Medicare are often given the barest minimum of care while those with private insurance are provided every option possible.

E-cigarettes: Are they a safe alternative to smoking?

e-cigarette safety

Electronic cigarettes are an increasingly popular device that produces an aerosol by heating a liquid containing solvents, flavorings, and nicotine. The effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a way to stop smoking or reducing the number smoked is uncertain. The chance of this device becoming attractive to the youth of our country is very high. The limited scientific data about the safety of e-cigarettes is a trend that must be remedied and soon.

Autism and Theory of Mind: Possibly Another Way to Understand Autism

Autism mind

Being able to reach a reasonable conclusion of the internal states of others is called mentalization and is critical for successful social interactions. The main components of this system are the medial prefrontal cortex and the temporal-parietal junction. These areas show similar patterns during both the performance and observations of actions. People with autism have trouble mentalizing. This is important as difficulties with this in adults with autism; this is evident in tasks involving action processing. In addition, this issue can impair the understanding of the social intentions of others and this can lead to inappropriate social decisions. These decisions then can lead to maltreatment by others. This study was done to see if there was connectivity between regions of mentalization system when inferring the social intention of others from their actions. Adults with autism are significantly impaired on tasks that involve integrating information regarding others’ intended states with the surrounding context.

Does Price Disclosure Make a Difference in High Drug Prices?

Drug prices and disclosure

Medication prices continue to rise faster than many people can keep up with. Long told that pharmaceutical companies needed to recoup their costs from research and development, recent studies have found this is not true. The price of research and development are often covered within the first few years the medication is released to the public. The companies, however, rarely lower the retail price they charge the patients who are in need of the medicine.

Fructose Connection with Kidney Function

Kidney doctor

With a rise in kidney illnesses, it is more important than ever to look for the underlying causes to slow its occurrence. One of the easiest ways we can influence our kidney function is to be mindful of how much sugary drinks like soda (soft drinks) we consume on a daily basis. This can decrease our propensity for obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders that can place undue stress on our kidneys.

Attempts to Find New Treatments and Better Understanding of Schizophrenia

Human brain

A large group of researchers have uncovered a novel mechanism of neurotransmitters is released in the brain during schizophrenia. This elevated protein was noted not only schizophrenia but also other mental illnesses. the study was the first to study the relationship between mental illness and the level of protein. This is important as schizophrenia affects nearly one in 100 American adults and remains poorly understood.

Brain size and Schizophrenia

Human brain

In the picture above, the different lobes of the brain are color coded. According to the studies found concerning brain volume and schizophrenia, there are two main areas affected. These areas are colored green and the blue lobe that borders on the green. This illustrates why it is so important for research to continue in order to help those afflicted with schizophrenia as it is a lifelong disorder.

Autophagy: Potential target for treating neurodegenerative disorders

Neurodegenerative disorders targeting

Autophagy is a dynamic cellular pathway involved in the turn over of proteins, protein complexes, and organelles through lysosomal degradation. Defects in autophagy affect the intercellular communication and subsequently contributing to neurodegeneration. The presence of abnormal autophagy activity is frequently observed in selective neuronal populations in neurodegeneration seen in diseases like ALS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's disease.

Genetic Links Found for Autism and Schizophrenia

Mental health and human brain

Since the completion of the human genome project, researchers have been discovering changes to hundreds of places in the DNA. Some of these variants have been associated with psychiatric diseases such as autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. Researchers have found a roadmap for the development of new generation therapy for psychiatric conditions. In the last decade, scientists have conducted genetic studies of people with a psychiatric disease, comparing results to healthy individuals to find genes that have different sequencing in those diseases. This paper helps to explain the roles of tens of thousands of sections of regulatory DNA and proteins in the brain. Once again this study is but a jumping off place for further studies (Geschwind et al, 2018). Dendritic structure (dendrite is a short branched extension of a nerve cell along which impulses received from other cells at synapses are transmitted to the cell body) is tightly coupled with synaptic function in basal conditions. Many brain disorders are associated with an aberrant regulation of F-actin and impaired signaling. These alterations likely underlie the aberrant spine morphology found in these disorders. Further studies on the mechanism of structural plasticity of dendritic spines will provide new therapeutic targets and methods for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders (Borovac et al, 2018).

Wasp and Bee venom to fight antibiotic resistant organisms

Bee

Venomous animals are widely spread all over the globe. Several terrestrial vertebrates (reptiles, birds, insects, and mammals) are also venomous. Major arthropods (scorpions, bees, and wasps) have multicellular glands attached to the stinging apparatus. Bee venom obtained from stepwise fractionation has been reported to contain peptides (Prasasty et al, 2018). It has been known for many years that venom of insects like wasps and bees have compounds that can fight bacteria. Along with that, however, for many humans, these same insect venoms cause toxic reactions so without some kind of refinement was needed. researchers at MIT took the toxin from a South American wasp and created variants of the peptide that are potents against bacterial while nontoxic to human cells. As part of their immune defenses, many organisms produce peptides that can kill bacteria. To help fight the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, many scientists have been trying to adapt these peptides as potential drugs. The study found that the peptide from the venom is believed to kill microbes by disrupting the cell membranes on bacteria (Torres et al, 2018)

Connection between Vitamin D deficiency and neurological conditions

Vitamin D

Dementia is a syndrome usually progressive and chronic in nature. Global incidences of dementia is increasing at a rate of one new case every three seconds with associated medical social and health care costs far exceeding the capacity of most countries. Because of the degenerative nature of the disease sufferers lose their ability to perform routine tasks, experience poor quality of life and loss of autonomy. The role of vitamin D in the etiology of cognitive impairment and dementia is plausible and has been supported substantial mechanistic and epidemiological data. As people age, they tend to spend less and less time outdoors in the sun. It is of great importance as vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide pandemic and is seen most commonly in older adults residing in northerly latitudes, particularly during winter months. Further research needs to be done to see if increasing vitamin D level will improve cognitive health (Aspell, Lawlor, O'Sullivan, 2018).

Parkinson’s disease: What it is and possible treatment

Parkinson's disease is a prevalent disorder that affects approximately 40-1000 people per 100,000 with increased occurrence in older individuals. It is characterized by progressive neurodegeneration that can manifest in early stages as mild cognitive impairment and moderate motor dysfunction, rigidity and tremor. As the disease progresses, the severity escalates as well. This then includes falls, difficulty swallowing and neuropsychiatric complications including psychosis. this psychosis can occur in up to 75% of cases of this disease (Kitten et al, 2018).

Sickle Cell Anemia: Effects of the disease and potential treatment

human blood cells

This study found that a daily hydroxyurea pill may finally bring some relief for young children living with sickle cell anemia. This could be a big game changer for resource-challenged sub-Saharan Africa where the disease is prevalent and health care is suboptimal (Ware et al, 2018). Few studies had been done where the burden is greatest. The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found treatment was feasible and safe in children living in the area of Africa most affected. It proved to reduce vaso-occlusive events, infections, malaria, transfusions, and death. These results illustrate a need for more access to treatments. In the US and Europe early identification of children with sickle cell by means of neonatal screening. This allows these children to be given simple effective, and lifesaving interventions (Tshilolo et al, 2018).

Is it possible for enterovirus to be the next acute flaccid myelitis?

Bacteria

Enterovirus D68 has historically been a rare sporadic disease-causing occasional small outbreaks and a generally mild infection. Mostly these were respiratory in nature like a runny nose, cough and muscle aches. Recently the illness and caused more severe disease and has been focusing more in children. The first large-scale outbreak of EVD68 was reported in the US and Canada. From August 2014 to January 2015 a total of 1153 cases in 49 states with 10.4% cases of acute flaccid myelitis in the US and five cases of EVD68 in Canada. Several clusters of acute flaccid myelitis have been noted in recent years associated with EVD68 and EVA71. further investigation into the relationship is important because of the severity of acute flaccid myelitis and because there currently is no treatment for acute flaccid myelitis related to EVD68 or vaccines to prevent it (Dyda et al, 2018).

Influenza: Are We Ready or Does The Shot Do Any Good?

Influenza

Influenza activity in the US began to increase in early November 2017 and rose sharply from December through February 3, 2018. From October 2017 to January 1, 2018, the weekly percentage of deaths from pneumonia and flu ranged from 5.8% to 10.1% and has exceeded the epidemic threshold for five consecutive weeks. During seasons with increased severity of influenza, antiviral medications are an important adjunct to vaccinations. Additional study is needed to see if this year's virus will mutate and develop resistance to the four antiviral medications available. In addition to seeing just how effective the current influenza vaccination will be in controlling influenza transmission (Budd et al, 2018).

COPD: Treatments, Non-Compliance, and Outcomes

COPD Treatment

Optimal pharmacological treatment for COPD patients reduces symptoms, reduces the frequency and severity of exacerbations, improve health status and increases exercise tolerance. Unfortunately, despite frequent changes in COPD classification systems and the emergence of new inhaled therapies recommended from evidence-based guidelines, poor adherence to treatment due to the cost of medication and lack of availability of medications create a gap in real-life prescribing patterns (Cases et al, 2018).

Probiotics: Are They as Good as is Claimed

Probiotics

In childhood, recurrent abdominal pain in children is a common complaint. The reason behind it is what needs further investigation as it affects approximately 10% of children. It is a descriptive umbrella term and accounts for many visits to primary, secondary, and emergency care facilities. It is now referred to as one of four functional abdominal pain disorders; dyspepsia, abdominal migraine, irritable, bowel syndrome and functional abdominal pain. One thing most parents need to keep in mind is when was the last time the child had a bowel movement. This author pointed out that there are many conditions of abdominal pain that require no intervention. Routine use of pharmacotherapy for functional abdominal pain is not well supported or suggested. In fact, in some cases, medications can mask the signs and symptoms needed to monitor for a more serious condition. It is felt some doctors will prescribe probiotics just so the parents will feel something is being done in a condition that needs no treatment at the time and will be sell limiting (Edwards, 2018).

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Issues Impairing Employment

Autism mind

Autistic Spectrum Disorders are a complex pervasive neurodevelopmental condition associated with lifelong difficulties. these difficulties cross social, emotional and behavioral domains. The lastest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) finally put all aspects of autism under one umbrella of autistic spectrum disorder. Since this happened questions have been raised if this has helped by moving toward a broader categorization of the disorder is clinically useful (Montgomery et al, 2016).

Strides Made in Renal Cell Cancer

People sitting

Metastatic renal cell carcinomas still are the most lethal in the US. In 2015 alone there were 14,080 deaths attributed to it. Removal of the involved kidney continues to be the mainstay treatment for localized disease. Even with all our advancements in treatment, it continues to have a poor prognosis. Chemotherapy is considered a standard therapy for patients with some renal cell variants. The role in treating clear cell renal cell carcinoma is poorly defined. What exactly causes this resistance is currently undefined. Ideally, doctors should be able to characterize tumors according to DNA. In reality, this method has been largely limited by varying gene expression signatures. For years development of treatment has been largely unsuccessful. Better understanding disease biology and treatment resistance patterns have led to emerging therapies with a better understanding in pathogensis and mechanisms of treatment resistance there are hope treatments will continue to expand (Tsao et al, 2017).

Significant Steps Made In Determining Susceptibility to Ovarian Cancer

mother and daughter

Ovarian cancer is the most lethal of all gynecological malignancies. This is in part because of the symptomology of the disease until it is at a late stage. Because of the five-year survival rate is only 45% while the actual cause of epithelial cancer of the ovary or fallopian tube is not known, studies have found about 15% are shown to be connected with the inherited genetic factors such as BRCA 1&2 mutations. The standard line of defense is surgery and treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy. Unfortunately, recurrence is high with the recurring disease resistant to further chemotherapy. Recently olaparib has shown some promise in treating BRCA 1&2 mutations that have led to ovarian cancer. It is thought this occurs along the DNA repair pathways that make the cancer cells sensitive to olaparib. The validity of the study's data was confirmed by repeated tests across different fields (Fleury et al. 2017).

Pancreatic Cancer: The Silent Killer

Big City Environment Related To Pancreatic Cancer

It is estimated that there are over 338,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer worldwide. in 2012, 331,000 people died from pancreatic cancer. Because the therapies for other cancers have been showing more advancement the researchers feel that pancreatic cancer is liable to become the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, to survive more than a year is only slightly improved due to use of systemic chemotherapy and the combining use of other chemotherapies already available. This trial that adjuvant therapy using gemcitabine is the standard of care based on similar survival to and less toxicity than paired with 5-fluorouracil/folinic acid in patients with resected pancreatic cancer (meaning they have had all or part of the tumor removed surgically). In addition, other trials have shown better survival and tumor response with gemcitabine and capecitabine as opposed to gemcitabine used alone in advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer. The outcome of the study found promise with the use of gemcitabine and capecitabine resulting in an increase in survival times to between two and five years without relapse (Neoptolemos et al, 2017)

Insurance Denial for Emergency Room Care: Fallout from Anthem, Inc Policy

emergency room car fleet in a garage

Financial concerns are often cited by doctors as a barrier to administering routinely recommended vaccines to adults. Survey respondents answered questions on payment and profit for various public and private payer types. Over half of respondents reported losing money vaccinating adult Medicaid beneficiaries. Few respondents reported negotiation with manufacturers or insurance plans on vaccine purchase prices or payments for vaccinations. Claim denial is a major reason many adults don't inquire about vaccinations or seek them out with their doctors (Lindley et al, 2018; Potter et al, 2018).

Artificial Sweeteners: Helpful or Harmful

icing sugar with artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners were first introduced as a tactic to combat the shortage of sugar. Lately, it has been utilized as a way to help deal with obesity but research has been found that they actually may be making the issue worse. With all the issues noted in studies of the side effects of non-caloric artificial sweeteners, it may be better for a person to stick to a more natural diet (Brown, 2018). Artificial sweeteners are low cost and having a sweetness greater than that of normal table sugar they are commonly used in the baking industry. In spite of their beneficial effects, these sweeteners have documented health issues. In some cases, long-term exposure can lead to enforcer. A careful review of the literature by consumers and health professionals is necessary in an effort to make well-informed decisions about their health (Nisa et al, 2016).

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