Posts tagged with "medical"

STRESS HIT THE BEREAVED SPOUSE

According to new research from Rice University, widowed individuals experiencing intense grief after the loss of their spouse experience a significant increase in body inflammation following other stressful events.   
 
It’s a concerning finding for the research team, since body inflammation is linked to various health problems, including serious cardiovascular issues and premature death. The researchers outlined their findings in the paper “Grief Symptoms Promote Inflammation During Acute Stress Among Bereaved Spouses,” which will appear in an upcoming edition of Psychological Science.
 
The first author Ryan Linn Brown is a recent Ph.D. graduate in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Rice and part of the Biobehavioral Mechanisms Explaining Disparities (BMED) lab. She and her fellow researchers were interested in the change in levels of inflammatory biomarkers in widowed and deeply grief-stricken spouses before and in the two hours immediately after a stressful experience. They studied 111 adults between the ages 35 and 84 who had lost a spouse in the past year.   

“I was extremely motivated to publish this work because it gives us insight into how severe grief can encourage inflammation to accumulate in the body and put widow(er)s at risk for cardiovascular disease,” Brown said. “Because we face many stressful events each day as humans, this type of response to stress in the lab means that this same process is likely happening repeatedly throughout each day or week for widows or widowers experiencing more severe grief symptoms.”
 
The study included a baseline blood draw followed by an experiment featuring stressful scenarios. This included an on-camera job interview with rapid-fire questioning from experiment administrators and being forced to do complicated math tasks. Study participants had their blood drawn again 45 minutes and two hours after the experiment.     

On average, those who admitted experiencing intense grief following the loss of their spouse — including deep sorrow, numbness, yearning, and loss of focus — had a 19% greater increase in inflammatory biomarkers in their bloodstream after the stressful situations than those who reported less severe grief.  
 
Chris Fagundes, the paper’s senior author and an associate professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, said the study adds to his lab’s understanding of the biobehavioral mechanisms underlying the “widowhood effect” and provides more evidence that grief directly influences the inflammatory stress response.

Additional study co-authors include Angie LeRoy, Michelle Chen, Robert Suchting, Lisa Jaremka, Jia Liu, and Cobi Heijnen. The paper is available online HERE.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations on Twitter @RiceUNews.

NEW OBESITY STUDY

From the creators of these global stories, The Breast Forces Study, The Backpack Study and Text Neck Study.

A New Study publishing in Surgical Technology International correlates belly fat per waist circumference and defines spine forces, by the pound.

In the America, more than two-thirds of adults (220 million-plus) are overweight or obese, and childhood obesity affects 13.7 million children. As of 2016, 1.9 billion adults were overweight or obese globally. People now know that obesity is bad for their health.

Obesity, or the fat content of the belly, is associated with inflammation, diabetes, hypertension, heart conditions, metabolic syndrome, and back pain. Adipose tissue is linked to an increased risk of and aggressiveness of cancer.

Our study sought to assess the forces that belly fat exerts on the spine with an increase in waist circumference. Using data from the Dallas Heart Study, Grundy et al. calculated belly fat mass according to waist circumference by ethnicity and sex. Using a finite element analysis, our study specifically placed the abdominal fat masses into position in the abdomen. Then, we calculated the levered forces seen by the spine.

For women, the magnitude of forces generated by abdominal fat to the lumbar spine ranged between 5 to 170 pounds of force in our measurements. By the standard set by the American Heart Association, abdominal obesity in women starts at a thirty-five-inch waist circumference.

For men, the magnitude of forces generated by abdominal fat to the lumbar spine ranged between 3 to 120 pounds of force in our measurements. According to the American Heart Association, abdominal obesity in men begins at a waist circumference of forty inches.

You have to imagine what it feels like to lift this much weight to put these numbers in perspective. The magnitude of these forces is significant. If you are a man with a thirty-eight-inch waist, the excess fat in your abdominal area is equivalent to having nearly thirty pounds of pressure on your spine. For women, a thirty-six-inch waist is close to having forty-eight pounds of pressure on her spine. Imagine walking around all day carrying dumbbells that weighed nearly fifty pounds. That would be equivalent to carrying a large bag of dry dog food, six gallons of water, two cinder blocks, or, as the chart shows, a twin mattress. Not only would it be exhausting but carrying those weights would also cause significant wear and tear on your back.

Your spine is designed to carry your body’s weight. When you are overweight, your spine must assimilate the burden, which may lead to damage. The lower back is most vulnerable to the effects of obesity. In addition, abdominal fat interferes with good posture. Excess weight around the middle can alter the natural curve of the spine. The weight presses on the shock-absorbing discs between vertebrae, which can cause them to become dehydrated, herniated or pinched, or create pressure on nerves that travel through the central canal. In addition, carrying extra weight can strain the muscles and ligaments that support you’re back, and you know what that means, pain.

A literature review shows that fat cells comport an essential variety of metabolic influences. Our waist circumference is related to our metabolic health risks. Abdominal fat is a critical player in health problems. The fat around the abdominal organs, called visceral fat, is more disease-causing than the fat under the skin, called subcutaneous fat, that a person can pinch by hand. This visceral fat is linked to metabolic disturbances, increased cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. The visceral fat leads to an apple-shaped abdomen, while the subcutaneous fat leads to a pear-shaped body.

Fat itself is considered an endocrine organ that is biologically active. Abdominal fat cells disrupt the balance of the body’s normal hormones. Fat cells play a role in inflammation, secrete tumor necrosis factors and interleukin-6, increasing heart disease risk. Furthermore, fat cells blunt the body’s sensitivity to insulin and propagate high blood pressure. Data suggests that adipose tissue has been linked to increased risk and aggressiveness of carcinoma.

Regular physical exercise can help one to lose belly fat. A moderate-intensity physical activity for 30 minutes per day shifts body weight and diminishes belly fat. Proper nutrition and food choices also help.

This paper helps people plan the stress forces seen by the spine as related to the abdominal size. Obesity is then a better-defined factor in the calculus of back pain. The link to abdominal circumference is predictable and relatable to the general public.

health illustration for 360 Magazine

Ten Benefits of Ultrasound Technology

The medical field is always advancing. Scientists constantly search for new ways to diagnose and prevent illnesses, especially with the latest technology.

Ultrasound machinery was an incredible advancement that continues to help patients and doctors. It has improved over the years and expanded to many uses. These are the 10 main benefits of the technology that anyone can appreciate.

1. It’s Safe Diagnostic Imaging

Many people are hesitant to test for illnesses because they don’t want to risk the side effects of certain machinery or new medications. Ultrasound imaging is different. Doctors recommend it for most patients because it rarely has any downsides.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers non-ionizing radiation in ultrasounds safe because it has an excellent 20-year track record. It won’t affect the patient like X-ray systems or other technology that uses ionizing radiation.

2. It Doesn’t Take Long

Depending on the exam, an ultrasound appointment is relatively quick. It produces images upon contact with the patient. No one has to wait to see results. They are clear right away and found by people who are experienced in reading whatever might appear on the screen.

Without the need for third-party labs, patients and doctors can find the best diagnosis and treatment plan right away. The streamlined process produces quick results and minimizes how many costly steps might wait between a patient and their life-changing diagnosis.

3. It Has Soft-Tissue Visualization

One of the benefits of ultrasound technology is soft-tissue visualization. Doctors can see contrast without harmful radiation to identify and diagnose issues throughout the body. It’s a significant medical advantage for humans and animals, so the tech is multipurpose across medical fields.

The soft-tissue visualization can also focus on blood flow. The imaging identifies veins and muscle tissue to easily identify potential problems with blood flow like clotting or swelling. It can provide more specific answers than other testing like an ankle-brachial index (ABI). There’s also no need for iodine dyes like those used for a computed tomography angiograph (CT) or magnetic resonance angiograph (MRA).

4. It’s a Noninvasive Option

Many modern testing options require invasive procedures or dyes. It can be too intensive for some patients or time-consuming for others. Ultrasound noninvasively visualizes, monitors and performs measurements in the human body. The treatment’s easy to perform for everyone involved, making it an excellent resource for medical professionals.

5. It Doesn’t Risk Allergic Reactions

Some treatments aren’t available to patients with specific allergies. They may not respond well to dyes or have a bad reaction to medications that make procedures possible. Ultrasounds don’t pose a severe health risk in the same way.

The ultrasound wand doesn’t contain ingredients that trigger allergies. Even if used within body cavities, patients have little to no risk of encountering a severe reaction. The only potential danger is the gel used to make the imaging clearer. One study found that an older man with contact dermatitis developed a purpuric cutaneous presentation where his skin contacted the gel. However, the case didn’t influence the safety for general clinical use.

6. It’s Relatively Inexpensive for Clinics

Because ultrasounds have been around for so long, they’re relatively inexpensive compared to other machinery used in doctors’ offices and clinics. Medical facilities can easily afford them even if the ultrasound is brand new because the technology is easily accessible.

The only time they will become more costly is if a clinic needs its ultrasound machine to have more high-tech features for specialized exams. More advanced software with additional features will cost more for clinics and their patients.

7. It’s Insurance-Provided Care

Most insurance providers cover ultrasound testing. They’re medically necessary for achieving the correct diagnosis and maintaining a patient’s overall health. Insurance often covers unique ultrasound features as well, like keepsake sonograms for pregnant patients who are prescribed a sonogram.

Insurance providers rarely leave ultrasound fees entirely to the patient. Contact your insurance company if you’re unsure about how much you will need to pay for an upcoming exam. It can ask questions that rule out the rare cases where your exam will be out-of-pocket and give you a better idea of how much your appointment will cost.

8. It Can Locate Numerous Diseases

People often think of pregnancy when they imagine conditions that require ultrasound imaging, but that isn’t the only time it might be necessary. Ultrasound machinery can also diagnose symptoms related to conditions like:

  • Gallstones
  • Cysts
  • Abnormal growths

The transducer wand can press against different organs to capture clear images, so they help spot anything that’s causing pain or unordinary lumps.

9. It Travels Easily

Some medical technology is too bulky or heavy to lift. Dialysis machines and ventilators must stay within the same building, while laboratory equipment that makes testing possible should remain in a single room. Ultrasound machines are much easier to move because they have a simple shape and come on wheels.

That mobility makes ultrasounds a crucial resource for facilities, hospitals and mobile clinics. Depending on where medical professionals need to see their patients, ultrasound machines can easily be transported between rooms or locations.

10. It’s Easy to Learn

Ultrasound techniques aren’t something you can learn by picking up the wand and giving it a try. Medical professionals have to take courses and practice imaging before ever helping their patients. Although the class may take weeks or months, it’s relatively easy to add to someone’s professional abilities.

People in different medical fields can take classes at any point in their careers to update their procedural knowledge or add ultrasound imaging to their skillset. Courses are also available to anyone in retirement who wants to work with nonprofit clinics as an ultrasound technician.

Discover the Benefits of Ultrasound Technology

Ultrasound technology delivers many benefits for patients and doctors alike. Consider these examples as you decide the best course of treatment for your health concerns. Ultrasound imaging can be an excellent resource if everyone understands its many purposes and gets the most out of this testing.

Covid patient image created by Sara Davidson at 360 Magazine use by 360 Magazine

Long-lasting COVID-19 Protection

In what could be very good news for the immunocompromised, an antibody cocktail tested at the University of Virginia School of Medicine appears to offer long-lasting protection from COVID-19.

The cocktail, manufactured by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, reduced the risk of COVID-19 infection by more than 80% for more than eight months, the company announced in a news release. The 81.6% risk reduction seen in the second to eighth months after administration continues the robust, 81.4% risk reduction seen in the first month.

William A. Petri Jr., MD, PhD, was one of the leaders of UVA’s testing of the antibody cocktail. He was pleasantly surprised by the durability of the protection reported by Regeneron. He said the drug could be of particular benefit for immunocompromised people who do not develop a strong response to vaccination.

“The significance of the finding is that the antibody cocktail can prevent COVID-19 in immunocompromised individuals whom we know sometimes fail to respond to the vaccine,” said Petri, an infectious disease expert.

Lasting COVID-19 Protection

Regeneron’s new analysis looked at the results from 1,683 people who were not infected with COVID-19 and did not have antibodies to the virus. Among trial participants who received the cocktail, none was hospitalized for COVID-19 during the following eight months. Only seven were infected with SARS-CoV-2, compared with 38 who received a placebo. Thus, the antibody cocktail provided more than 80% protection for 2-8 months.

The federal Food and Drug Administration first authorized Regeneron’s cocktail in November 2020 to treat patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. The federal regulators then expanded the authorization in July to allow its use as a preventative treatment in people exposed to COVID-19 and those at high risk of exposure, such as nursing home residents. Regeneron’s antibody cocktail is not a vaccine and is not a replacement for a vaccine. However, it may greatly benefit people who do not develop a strong immune response to vaccination, such as patients receiving treatment for cancer and other people who are immunocompromised, said Petri, of UVA’s Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health. 360 Magazine is interested and excited to see what science can do in order to help protect us. 

For such patients, getting a periodic dose of the cocktail – annually, perhaps — could provide the immune protection that their own bodies can’t, Petri said. (More research will be needed to determine the best dosing interval.) “While these results still require peer review to ensure their accuracy, this is likely to be a significant step forward in the prevention of COVID-19 in the immunocompromised,” Petri said.

October - Selena Gomez - ELLE Canada illustration by Anh Hoang use by 360 Magazine

October – Selena Gomez – ELLE Canada

KO MÉDIA REVEALS A FORWARD-LOOKING  SEPTEMBER ISSUE OF ELLE CANADA

KO Média is excited to unveil the October issue of ELLE Canada featuring Selena Gomez. The multi-hyphenate star opens up about her mental illness, shooting her new Hulu show with Steve Martin and releasing her first record in Spanish. “I focused so hard on making sure the language I was speaking — and the way I was speaking it — was authentic,” she says in the candid interview. “I wanted it to exude love. I wanted it to talk about pain but in a way that was confident. There is a song about girls saying goodbye to things that aren’t good for us.” One thing Gomez has said goodbye to is her access to Instagram. “I suffer from mental illness, and [social media] just wasn’t adding anything to my life,” she says, adding that once she gave it up, “I felt like I was suddenly able to be so present.”

Other stories of self-care and self-discovery in this issue include Canadian Grammy-winning artist Alessia Cara finding stability as her star continues to rise; Nesta Cooper on coming into her own opposite Jason Momoa in the second season of See; and Mohawk actor Devery Jacobs’ experience working on an Indigenous set and being an activist in her community. Rounding out the bunch is Jonathan Van Ness who, with six seasons of Queer Eye behind them, is now focused on feeding their own well-being, inside and out.

For readers who need some me time, we offer up Canada’s best spas to visit this fall, whether you want a full-body scrub en plein air in B.C. or a lakefront Nordic spa experience in Nova Scotia. Plus, the magazine looks at why dawn is the new time to get things done and how to properly care for sensitive or irritated skin (just in time for winter!).

In fashion, this edition is all about looking back — on the overt tackiness of the early-aughts (which is making a comeback for a surprising reason); the 40-year legacy of Max Mara’s 101801 coat; and the coming-together of two friends to design Markoo’s cool, effortless aesthetic.

And we get serious, diving into the history (and current reality) of medical misogyny, dissecting the downfall of the girl boss and what it says about women in power, and exploring the healing effect of restorative tattooing.

Ending on a lighter note, this issue has everything from forest-inspired fragrances and the next generation of Canadian winemakers to dinner party glow-ups and a mother-daughter road trip.

The October issue of ELLE Canada will hit stands and Apple News+ on October 20, 2021.

Cannabis illustration for 360 magazine

Kevin Durant Partners with WeedMaps

Weedmaps Announces Multi-Year Partnership with Kevin Durant, Thirty Five Ventures, and Boardroom

Partnership inclusive of collaborative content aimed to combat misconceptions around cannabis and advocate for legalization

Weedmaps, a leading technology platform for cannabis consumers and businesses, announced today a multi-year agreement with Kevin Durant and Thirty Five Ventures as well as a sponsorship deal with Boardroom. As part of Weedmaps’ mission to power a transparent and inclusive global cannabis economy, this strategic partnership will aim to further deconstruct the negative stereotypes associated with cannabis while elevating the conversation around the plant’s potential for athlete wellness and recovery.

Now more than ever, there is so much opportunity for growth in the cannabis industry as well as the removal of any remaining stigmas around its use, said Kevin Durant, two-time NBA champion and president of Thirty Five Ventures. As the technology leader in the industry, Weedmaps has consistently been at the forefront of change over the last decade. In partnering with Boardroom and Thirty Five Ventures, they’ve shown an even bigger commitment to innovation.

Weedmaps will become an official sponsor of Thirty Five Ventures’ sports business media network, Boardroom, as part of the agreement. Available today, the latest episode of Boardroom’s Out of Office podcast brings together Rich Kleiman, Kevin Durant, and Weedmaps CEO Chris Beals to discuss the potential for the strategic partnership’s long-term impact across the industry, as well as the many challenges ahead that we must address as the country moves closer toward legalization.

As the largest technology provider in the sector, we are serious about our responsibility to lead the national discussion around cannabis and the need for cannabis regulations to be updated across the board, said Chris Beals, Chief Executive Officer of Weedmaps. This partnership with Kevin Durant, Rich Kleiman, and the team at Thirty Five Ventures is a pivotal step forward in our ongoing efforts to break down stigmas surrounding cannabis, especially in the sports industry.

In addition to its sponsorship agreement, Boardroom will collaborate with Weedmaps to produce an original content series, which is tentatively slated for debut in 2022. The multi-year agreement also comprises ongoing integrations with Boardroom, including: Out of Office podcast, development and distribution of original content, co-branded collaborations and events, exclusive merchandise, and more.

Part of Weedmaps’ broader sports and wellness initiative, the company’s partnership with Thirty Five Ventures aims to further educate consumers about the plant’s potential for wellness and recovery. For information about how cannabis affects the body, cannabis products used by some of today’s biggest names in sports, and more, visit their website. Check out the latest episode of Boardroom’s Out of Office podcast here, and for more on Boardroom, visit the website.

About Weedmaps

Weedmaps is a leading online marketplace for cannabis users and businesses, operated by WM Technology, Inc. WM Technology, Inc.’s (Nasdaq: MAPS) mission is to power a transparent and inclusive global cannabis economy. Now in its second decade, WM Technology has been a driving force behind much of the legislative change we’ve seen in the past 10 years.

Founded in 2008, WM Technology is a leading technology and software infrastructure provider to the cannabis industry, comprising a B2C platform, Weedmaps, and B2B software, WM Business. The cloud-based SaaS solutions from WM Business provide an end-to-end operating system for cannabis retailers. WM Business’ tools support compliance with the complex, disparate, and constantly evolving regulations applicable to the cannabis industry. Through its website and mobile apps, WM Technology provides consumers with the latest information about cannabis retailers, brands, and products, facilitating product discovery and driving engagement with our retail and brand customers.

WM Technology holds a strong belief in the power of cannabis and the importance of enabling safe, legal access to consumers worldwide. Since inception, WM Technology has worked tirelessly, not only to become the most comprehensive platform for consumers, but to build the software solutions that power businesses compliantly in the space, to advocate for legalization, social equity, and licensing in many jurisdictions, and to facilitate further learning through partnering with subject matter experts on providing detailed, accurate information about the plant.

Headquartered in Irvine, California, WM Technology supports remote work for all eligible employees. Visit Weedmaps here.

About Thirty Five Ventures

Co-founded by 2x NBA champion Kevin Durant and entrepreneur Rich Kleiman, Thirty Five Ventures includes the sports business media network Boardroom; an investment portfolio with over 70+ companies, including Acorns, Coinbase, Dutchie, Overtime, Dapper Labs/NBA Top Shot, Postmates, Goldin Auctions, and more; a film/TV arm with projects including the documentary series In the Water (SHOWTIME), the Academy Award-winning Two Distant Strangers (Netflix), and the upcoming scripted series SWAGGER (Apple); equity partnerships with premium audio brand Master & Dynamic and digital media network Just Women’s Sports; a minority stake in the Philadelphia Union; and management of Kevin Durant’s on-and-off court business

About Boardroom

Boardroom is a media network founded by Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman that looks inside the business of sports as we’ve never seen. The old days of gate-keeping and closed-door meetings are gone: now, athletes, tech moguls, and executives alike are moving the sports world – and culture itself – forward. Boardroom is at the forefront of this change, bringing both fans and entrepreneurs unique perspectives on the sports business news, hot topics, and key industry players they want to know about. Boardroom is a Thirty Five Ventures company.

Rita Azar, 360 MAGAZINE, travel, illustration

Medjet COVID-19 Air Medical Transport Benefits

Medjet, the industry leading air medical transport and travel security membership program, announced today that it has expanded its transport benefits for COVID-19. Effective today, Medjet members who fall ill from COVID-19, and become hospitalized while traveling globally, may now be transported to a home hospital of their choice. In October of 2020, Medjet was the first program of its kind to add COVID-19 transport benefits, but previously had limited transport services to travel within the US, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

“As more and more countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America have opened their borders to travelers, we have increased our COVID-19 transport capabilities. Our members’ safety is always our top priority, and we continually evolve our services based on member needs,” said Mike Hallman, CEO of Medjet.

The expansion of global benefits will not increase Medjet membership prices, and benefits are applicable to both existing and new MedjetAssist and MedjetHorizon memberships as of July 12, 2021.

“While COVID is still a top concern for travelers, our own internal polling (in May) also showed that members were still very concerned with all the other accidents and illnesses that kept us busy pre-COVID. I think there’s now a heightened awareness of vulnerability, overall, while away from home. We hope that being able to get members back from more destinations, even for COVID, gives them the confidence to enjoy traveling again,” said Hallman.

Despite the increased cost of providing transport for a COVID-19 positive member, Medjet will continue to absorb 100% of all costs associated with the transport, and maintain its “no cost caps on transports” policy. A regular air ambulance transport can cost up to $30,000 domestically, and up to $180,000 internationally. Medjet memberships start at $99.

Updates and restrictions surrounding COVID-19 transport benefits can be found here. Full Medjet rules and regulations can be found here.

ABOUT MEDJET

Medjet was the first company in the U.S. to implement the air-medical transport membership concept. Since 1991, Medjet has forged a global network of air medical transport and security response providers to meet traveler health and safety needs. At any given time, Medjet has access to hundreds of air ambulances, commercial medical escorts, and highly trained security and crisis response personnel, ready to launch from both domestic and international locations. The company most notably differentiates from other players in the market through its commitment to arrange air medical transfer, regardless of medical necessity, to the member’s hospital of choice in their home country. It is the preferred program for virtually every major luxury travel consortia (Virtuoso, Signature, Westa), and thousands of organizations including AARP, Morgan Stanley, and the NFL.

Medjet memberships are available to residents of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and protect members while traveling 150 miles or more from their primary residence (domestic and international travel benefits).

illustration by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 Magazine

The Alzheimer’s Association Joins National Charity League

The Alzheimer’s Association and National Charity League (NCL) announced a new partnership today aimed at educating and engaging 200,000 NCL members in local communities in the fight against Alzheimer’s.  

The Alzheimer’s Association and NCL will work together to create greater awareness of Alzheimer’s Association resources, programs, care, and support services for families impacted by Alzheimer’s and other dementia in communities served by NCL members, while engaging members in the Association’s volunteer, education, awareness and fundraising initiatives. 

The Alzheimer’s Association is pleased to join with National Charity League to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and to engage its members in the fight against Alzheimer’s,” said Stephanie Rohlfs-Young, senior director of volunteer & community engagement, Alzheimer’s Association. “This important partnership will help extend the Alzheimer’s Association reach into communities served by National Charity League, providing more families access to care and support services, while engaging in all our work to end Alzheimer’s.”

Women are at the epicenter of the Alzheimer’s crisis. Nearly two-thirds of the more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s are women. In addition, women are more likely to provide care and support to someone living with the disease. The partnership will look to further inform NCL members about Alzheimer’s and other dementia, risk factors, the importance of early diagnosis, and additional important disease-related information. 

To kick off the partnership, NCL is sharing resources and educational materials from the Alzheimer’s Association with its members. Resources include links to Alzheimer’s Association support services for individuals and families affected by the disease, including the Association’s 24/7 Helpline. In addition, the Alzheimer’s Association and NCL will focus on three key activities during the first year of the partnership, including: 

  •       Increasing concern and awareness of Alzheimer’s and other dementia among NCL members and the general public
  •       Growing social media awareness of the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s
  •       Supporting Alzheimer’s Association fundraising efforts, particularly those benefiting senior care communities in their hometowns

“National Charity League looks forward to working with the Alzheimer’s Association,” said Jennifer Lane, NCL, Inc. Board President. “Empowered through the expertise offered by the Alzheimer’s Association, our members will learn more about Alzheimer’s and dementia and be able to take action in local communities supporting families across the United States.”

Ovulation illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Fertility Technology

The future of home-diagnostic tests

By Aayush Rai, CEO, Inito

During the pandemic, many of us worry about our own health and of our families. And recently, a conversation with a close friend turned to this topic. She has Hypothyroidism and needs to be on lifelong medication to manage the condition.

While managing this ailment in regular times wouldn’t be an issue, doctor visits and trips to the hospital for regular check-ups have either been put on hold or become dangerous and stressful during the pandemic. That led her to use an online service to get her thyroid medication delivered home. The convenience of an online consultation with a doctor and medicine delivery to her doorstep was great; she still had to go to the lab to get a blood test.

Clinicians and patients alike do not want to spend time traveling to labs and incur the expense, pain, and delays associated with traditional testing. And now, there is no need in many cases since there are alternatives such as home blood pressure monitoring, urine pregnancy, ovulation test kits, glucose monitoring, and more. In fact, advances in technology have even made it possible to conceive at home, in the privacy of your own space, without the need to visit a doctor’s office. This is wonderful news for women who are struggling with infertility problems, since home insemination is a cost-effective solution that can be done completely on your own.

Besides being cost-effective, quick, and confidential, home use tests can help:

  • Detect health conditions even before symptoms arise so that you can get early treatment and lower your chance of developing later complications such as cholesterol, hepatitis, and other STI testing. Home EKG tests can pick up atrial fibrillation long before symptoms arise. 
  • Detect specific conditions when there are no symptoms or signs to take immediate action, such as pregnancy testing so that you avoid alcohol intake and start prenatal vitamins.
  • Monitor conditions to allow frequent changes in treatment, such as to monitor blood sugar levels in diabetes and making insulin adjustments or adjusting blood pressure medications in the case of hypertension.

While home-use tests are a necessity during the pandemic, the change in user behavior will be permanent. In older days, couples trying to conceive could only track when they are fertile at home using Ovulation Tests. Ovulation tests can be done at home, measuring the presence of L.H., which shows up in the urine after ovulation occurs. Modern ovulation tests like Inito have advanced such testing by measuring the actual value of three essential fertility hormones, two of which predict, in advance, the time of ovulation and one that confirms that it did actually occur.

The user can simply send the chart of their hormones to the doctor rather than going through the anxiety and stress of lab tests. Once users and doctors experience the ease of use of these, they will not want to back to traditional methods.

People want to live healthy lives autonomously without excessive medical intervention. Even after the pandemic, consumers will continue to adopt home diagnostics.  As technology sufficiently matures, every house will have a single connected device capable of conducting these tests – becoming as much a part of the household as a thermometer is today. This is especially critical in the U.S., given the high incidence of chronic diseases.

About 45% of the U.S. population – close to 133 million Americans have at least one chronic disease.  The total costs for direct treatment for chronic conditions totalled $1.1 trillion —equivalent to nearly six percent of the U.S. GDP. Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and osteoarthritis are the most expensive conditions in direct healthcare costs.

For people with diabetes, the HbA1c test (also known as the hemoglobin A1c or glycated hemoglobin test) is an essential indicator of their average glucose levels. It indicates how well their disease is controlled and must be taken every three months. Not testing regularly can lead to the condition spiralling out of control, risking life, and increased costs of care. Many other conditions, like Hypothyroidism, require constant monitoring and lifelong medication.

The ability to conduct home testing dovetails perfectly with online consultation and medicine delivery. With modern connected devices, patients can directly share test reports with their doctors, consult with them online, have their prescriptions renewed, and await the arrival of medicines at their doorstep. A complete ecosystem.

Managing conditions at home will gradually become a norm, as we build out this complete ecosystem. By taking travel and waiting times out and delivering care faster, home diagnostics can save us millions of years, spent in the pursuit of our health at an equivalent or even lower cost.

Inito is the world’s first home device that tests for fertility hormones on a single device connected to a smartphone. This groundbreaking device is the only ovulation test to perform lab-grade fertility diagnostic tests at home. 

Geneva Supply illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Geneva Supply Increases Minimum Wage

Geneva Supply Increases Minimum Wage to $15 for Hourly Employees

Co-Founders Jeff Peterson and Mark Becker lead efforts to boost worker wages in Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Arizona and offer new day-of-hire benefits.

Geneva Supply Co-Founders Jeff Peterson and Mark Becker, along with the company’s human resource team, Mariann Hunter and Emma Hobday, have announced a pay adjustment and wage increase to $15.00 per hour for all full-time hourly employees. The increase became effective on April 5, 2021. 

  • In addition, employees are now eligible for medical, dental, and vision benefits on the day of hire. 
  • Workers also can choose to be vested in the company retirement plan as soon as they have started their employment with Geneva Supply. 

The moves have impacted workers operating from five U.S. cities across three states, including employees at Geneva Supply’s corporate headquarters in Delavan (Wisconsin) and business locations in Wilmot (Wisconsin), Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin), Charleston (South Carolina), and Phoenix (Arizona).

“This has been an ongoing matter of great importance to us, and the employee feedback and support for these positive changes continues to enliven us,” said Jeff Peterson, CEO of Geneva Supply. “As we move ahead, we will keep focused on our workers and acknowledge the significance of what this increase means to each of them – their families – and the communities they live in.”

Wisconsin and South Carolina’s minimum wage is currently set at $7.25, the same level as the federal minimum wage. Arizona’s state minimum wage rate bumped to $12.15 per hour in early 2021. Although this is a considerable recalculation for Geneva Supply, it is one which Jeff and Mark feel is essential when offering competitive wages to current workers and for attracting potential employees. 

“As Geneva Supply continues to grow, we have made it a priority to invest in our people. Adjusting our full-time minimum wage to $15.00 per hour contributes to the people-first momentum our incredibly hard-working employees support each day. This adjustment is necessary, and we have no doubt it will open more doors for our workers and company in the future,” said Mark Becker, COO of Geneva Supply.

Part of Jeff and Mark’s mission has always included focusing on company culture and employee retention. By raising the minimum wage for all full-time hourly employees, the Small Business Administration award-winning entrepreneurs and leadership team are confident Geneva Supply is taking another step in the right direction.

“Raising our wages is also a smart business move. We know that paying people fairly leads to greater employee retention, which reduces the cost of hiring and training new people to replace employees who leave,” said Mariann Hunter, Human Resource Manager of Geneva Supply. “More important though, we value the people that choose to work here and hope that by increasing the hourly wage, they see and feel that.”

For more information, visit Geneva Supply or for available career opportunities, head to Geneva Supply Careers.