Blood Pressure, Glucose Control Might Avert Common Arrhythmia

Blood-pressure and glucose control might be effective in avoiding heart block—which is a normal form of arrhythmia—and the subsequent requirement for a pacemaker, as per to a study by scientists at the UCSF (University of California, San Francisco). In an assessment of over 6,000 Finnish patients, the UCSF researchers found that over half of the cases of heart block outcome from high blood sugar and elevated blood pressure. The study was published in JAMA Network Open. AV (atrioventricular) block happens when electrical conduction is damaged amid the heart’s four chambers, most frequently by sclerosis or fibrosis. It is mostly felt like the heart is missing out a beat.

An evaluated 3 Million people across the globe have pacemakers, and 600,000 pace manufacturers are implanted yearly. But while a normal treatment and low-risk procedure, it can outcome in severe complications. Nevertheless, there has been confined research on whether behavioral alterations can avert heart block and which ethnicities are at risk majorly. Gregory Marcus—Cardiologist and Associate Chief of Cardiology for Research at the UCSF—said, “It is perhaps accurately since pacemakers so efficiently and immediately address cases of heart block that we have earlier failed to dedicate extra attention to prevent this important disease.”

On a similar note, recently, a study showed that lonely patients having heart failure are least inclined to follow treatment suggestions. Less than 10% of heart failure individuals comply with advice on fluid and salt restrictions, physical activity, and daily weighing reported a study presented at Heart Failure 2019, which is a scientific congress of the ESC (European Society of Cardiology). Professor Beata Jankowska-Polaska—Senior Author of the study from the Wroclaw Medical University, Poland—said, “Loneliness is the major important forecaster of whether patients accept the advice or not.”


Drastic Fall In Prescription Opioids Usage In 2018

After the strong crackdown by government forces on both drug-makers and pharmacists that prescribe strong and sometimes lethal painkillers the use of opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin have fallen rapidly. As per details of a research report by IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, use of prescription opioids in US went down by drastic 17 percent during 2018 marking its biggest decline till date. The development is remarkable specially as prescription opioids which were just at 22 pills per adult within United States during 1992 rose to peak of 72 pills during 2011 but since then there has been a steady decline and now is at 34 pain pills per adult.

IQVIA’s recent report about healthcare trends in 2019 shows there is still hope for the nation combating opioid crisis. It has reached epidemic proportions and is killing 130 Americans on a daily basis. Last month a new study had revealed troubling details about how opioid crisis is affecting the nation’s youth and is leading to overdose deaths among teens and youngsters. Both Justice Department and lawmakers are working together with health agencies to combat this epidemic by limiting prescription of painkillers and punishing people responsible for fueling it.

Last week a proposal worth $100 billion was unveiled by senators Elizabeth Warren and Elijah Cummings to fund opioid prevention services and provide medical assistance to families battling various stages of addiction. A former Rochester Drug Cooperative CEO was indicted and federal government settled the case with $20 million for the firm’s role in the opioid crisis. Federal officers also charged doctors, pharmacists and several medical professionals across five states for illegal prescription of nearly 32 million pills for pain relief. Besides these indictments around 1600 cases have been filed against makers of OxyContin and other manufacturers of opioids which will be transferred before a Ohio judge followed by New York and other states as all of them begin their fight against the menace.


Pokemon Video Game Is Good For The Brain, Study

Stanford University researchers have discovered that exposure to games like Pokemon in childhood; can activate specific regions in the brain. In Pokemon, players are required to train and catch creatures with battles being the main element of the game. The 90s saw kids play Pokemon well into their adult years, causing constant exposure to identical characters.

Psychologists found that this activated specific regions, when combined with quantum of hours indulged in gaming. This research can help solve the mystery of why brain regions are capable of responding to faces and words, but not items like cars, or why they appeared in similar brain regions.

Research on monkeys has shown that regions catering to a specific category develop during childhood. Fascinated, Jesse Gomez, lead study author has decided to study exposure to video games.

Jesse Gomez has theorized that exposure during childhood has an important role during dedicated brain region development. Adults who were regular Pokemon players as kids should have higher responses to Pokemon characters than other stimuli.

Requirement to know minute details of Pokemon and a reward system after battles, made Pokemon unique. Most children also had only played it on a square and small screen.

This allows researchers to test for eccentricity bias, which is the theory that a dedicated brain region’s size and location depends on how big the objects of its category are and if the objects occur in peripheral or central vision. Since Pokemon had small screen, the visual cortex was expected to light up for Pokemon stimuli, in accordance with eccentricity bias logic.

Eleven adults with extensive Pokemon gaming history as kids were selected and put under an MRI for scanning. On displaying Pokemon characters, brains of the players lit up more than others. The location for these activations is named occipitotemporal sulcus, which normally responds to animals.

Prof Kalanit Specter stated that regions activated by central vision were malleable to long-term experiences. The brain creates activations solely for Pokemons, but follows the rule book for location of these regions. The professor also stated that this meant video games could have a lasting impression on children, but not just limited to characters.


Healthcare Stocks Rise As Trump Asks Investors To Prepare For Unexpected

Wall Street doesn’t quite see the US switching to a healthcare system run by the government in the near future. But nonetheless, the past three years of unpredictable politics is worrying investors and taking a toll on healthcare stocks.

The S&P 500 shows healthcare to be the worst-performing industries, as Democrats along with Senator Bernie Sanders, drive the ‘Medicare for All’ plan aimed at replacing private insurance with public health coverage, as a part of 2020 campaigns.

Although the chances are very slim, market analyst Ross Munken from Evercore ISI, says investors are worried that Sanders might really win and a form of universal healthcare would come into play. Munken adds that public healthcare could be massive, but at present, the market is being over cautious.

Many Democratic proposals have called to eliminate private insurance and replace it with the Medicare plan, stating advantages of reduced costs and administrative inefficiencies, in the country’s healthcare system. Sanders most recently too, proposed a bill on similar lines.

Trump’s presidency, marked by myriad unprecedented actions, has thrown investors off Sunday when the President said the U.S. would hike tariffs for China-imported goods, despite repeatedly claiming that trade talks of recent weeks have been going well with Beijing.

Medicare for All has zero chance without any Democrats in the office. With at least one Democrat in office, with less than 60 Senate votes counting on them, the chances of the universal healthcare plan is probably just 5%.

Along with investors, this possibility is worrying the large healthcare organizations’ CEOs too. While some of them said discussions around affordable public healthcare is an important one that they would actively participate in, others were not so supportive. While one said it could do more harm than help, another bluntly stated that the U.S. healthcare system would certainly be destabilized if ‘Medicare for All’ was implemented.


Vaccine For Colorectal Cancer Shows Promising Results In Clinical Trials

Latest vaccine has just passed it safety test, showing few to no signs of side effects, said a team of researchers from the Universities in Jefferson, United States.

The test was run on patients in their initial stage of colon cancer. Over a period of time, the team observed that there was a rise in the number of T-cells that kill colon cancer.

Though the vaccine performed well, the focus was now on their side effects. GUCY2C, a name given by scientists to those cells that project characters of colon cancer, are targeted by this vaccine.

The process involved manipulating the immune system and directing it to kill the cancerous cells in the body. The success of this project proves that the immune system can be reprogrammed into fighting cancer.

There is a severe need to address the treatment of colorectal cancer primarily because of how frequently they are found. According to American Cancer Society (ACS), about 1.5 million cases of colorectal cancer.

The essence is in identifying the cancer at an early stage, since it may not project defining symptoms early on. Cancers like the pancreatic cancer, esophageal cancer and even colorectal cancer, all account to one-fifth of deaths by cancer.

The advancements in this new field and method could be promising. This phase one was concluded in a success, and now researchers are looking forward to the next phase of their study and take the medical studies promising advancements.

According to one of the Jafferson scientists Adam Snook, the team is preparing for their research of phase 2, where they are drawing the necessary requisites for the patients to recruit and study the medicines upon. According to Snook, the latest advancements look to test an enhanced version of the previous formula and they are expecting positive results here as well.