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Category: Blog

October 17, 2019

Atopic Dermatitis is a chronic medical condition that has increased over the past two to three decades. It affects between 15-30% of children and 2-10% of adults. This condition causes the skin to become dry, red, sensitive, raw, and extremely itchy.

Why do I have eczema? 

As most of us already know, Eczema can be a result of the cold air during the winter, long-hot showers, and multilayered clothing, however there is a nutrition factor that might actually be making the condition worse.

Foods that trigger Atopic Dermatitis Outbreaks 

The top foods that trigger these outbreaks include

  • milk
  • soy
  • peanuts
  • eggs

There is an extended list of certain foods that trigger the Atopic Dermatitis Outbreak. Click here to learn more.

Foods that relieve the symptoms 

Anti-inflammatory foods such as fish, and foods in high in flavonoids and probiotics. Fish that contain the highest levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and albacore tuna.

Treatment options

Although there are many available options for treating Atopic Dermatitis, the best solutions are as follows:

  • Using mild soaps, and laundry detergents to avoid irritation of the skin
  • Drinking plenty of water to replenish the body’s moisture
  • Managing the stress levels with yoga, meditation, and plenty of exercise
  • Avoid rubbing your skin to prevent further itching and discomfort
  • Avoid and wool like clothing and nylon clothing and bedding
  • Take vitamin D supplement daily

 

Looking ahead

While there isn’t yet a definitive eczema cure, awareness of the possible triggers, beneficial foods, and smart personal habits can keep your itch at bay to make you feel comfortable in your own skin. ActivMed Practices and Research Inc. is enrolling for a study on Atopic Dermatitis. To learn more and see if you qualify, click here.

 

 

 

 

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October 16, 2019

As the cold and flu season is closely approaching, all must take precaution especially those individuals who are much older. Development of a respiratory tract infection is very common during this time.

Upper respiratory infections (URIs) are infections affecting the upper part of the respiratory tract including the nose, sinuses, pharynx, and larynx. They are very common infections, with the US alone seeing more than 3 million cases each year. Some examples of URIs are the common cold, rhinitis, sinus infections, and laryngitis.

Symptoms of URI

  • Nasal congestion
  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • scratchy or sore throat
  • headache
  • fever
  • mucus production

Prevention

  • avoiding people who are ill;
  • if you are ill, remain at home until you are no longer contagious;
  • avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • cover your cough and sneeze; sneezes and coughs should be covered with the elbow or sleeve – not the hand
  • wash your hands often, and properly (20 seconds or more with soap and warm water).
  • modify your lifestyle through smoking cessation and stress management, which may decrease your susceptibility to catching the common cold

Clinical Research Study

Although flu vaccines are an option, clinical trails are enrolling for those suffering with respiratory tract infection. If you or a loved one is dealing with this, participating in a research study might be an option. ActivMed Practices & Research is now enrolling those who qualify for the study. To learn more click here.

 

 

 

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October 15, 2019

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar, which is an important source of fuel for your body. With type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin — a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells — or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult-onset diabetes, but today more children are being diagnosed with the disorder, probably due to the rise in childhood obesity. There’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, but losing weight, eating well and exercising can help manage the disease.

Clinical Research

If your current treatment options don’t seem to be working for you, consider participating in a clinical research study. ActivMed Practices and Research is enrolling for a Type 2 Diabetes Study.

Learn more here and see if you are eligible to participate.

Symptoms 

  • Increased thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Frequent infections
  • Frequent urination
  • Areas of darkened skin, such as the armpits and neck

Tips for Management & Prevention

Healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent type 2 diabetes, and that’s true even if you have diabetes in your family. Some tips include:

  • Eating healthy foods. Choose foods lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Getting active. Aim for a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity — or 15 to 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity — on most days. Take a brisk daily walk. Ride a bike. Swim laps. If you can’t fit in a long workout, spread your activity throughout the day.
  • Losing weight. If you’re overweight, losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes. To keep your weight in a healthy range, focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem.
  • Avoiding being sedentary for long periods. Sitting still for long periods can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to get up every 30 minutes and move around for at least a few minutes.

 

 

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October 11, 2019

 

We are excited to announce our new Free Podcast.

The ActivMed Clinical Research Podcast is designed to introduce the public to clinical studies, the testing of new medications and medical devices on human subjects prior to their approval for use by the FDA.  The podcast describes what clinical studies are, how they are conducted and the benefits they offer study volunteers and humanity as a whole.

Studies show that if people knew a clinical trial was an option they would be willing to consider participating.

Located North of Boston in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, ActivMed allows people the ability to participate in research locally.

Our host Jack Beaton is a Research Assistant and is excited to share many topics to help create awareness for clinical research. Tune in for lots of great topics!

Our first episode will answer frequently asked questions regarding the clinical study process.

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October 9, 2019

 

What is it? 

Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease characterized by painful nodules and abscesses which form most commonly in sensitive areas: under arms and breasts, along buttocks and groin, though HS may appear anywhere there is hair.

When symptoms first appear, they appear as painful, recurrent pimples or cysts in telltale areas. Because of its appearance and location, HS is often misdiagnosed as ingrown hairs, folliculitis, staph infection, cellulitis, or an STD. But unlike those conditions, HS cannot be cured and the lesions left behind will often refill, have difficulty healing, and leave behind scars.

Women are diagnosed with HS 3x more often than men and their symptoms tend to start around puberty or other times of hormonal changes like pregnancy, postpartum, or changes in hormonal birth control.

 

Treatment options

Treatment with medications, surgery or both may help control symptoms and prevent complications. Some doctors may prescribe the following medications:

  • Antibiotic creams. Mild symptoms might be managed with topical creams that fight infections, such as clindamycin and gentamicin.
  • Systemic drugs. For more widespread diseases, antibiotics taken by mouth.
  • Pain medication.If over-the-counter pain relievers don’t help, your doctor may prescribe a stronger type.

 

Clinical Research Studies 

ActivMed Practices and Research is enrolling for a clinical research study that may be an option for those struggling with Hidradenitis Suppurativa. To learn more about the study and see if you qualify, click here.

 

Outlook 

Although there is no known cure for HS, if you feel that you have mild hidradenitis suppurativa it can be treated with self-care measures by doing the following:

  • Managing your pain
  • Following a daily skin care routine
  • Avoiding tight clothing
  • Avoiding injuring the skin
  • Keeping a healthy weight and staying active
  • Considering altering your diet
  • Avoiding all tobacco products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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October 4, 2019

Celiac disease is a condition where the immune system responds abnormally to gluten. It can cause damage to the lining of the small intestine. The actual cause of celiac disease is unclear, but it seems to be a combination of genetics and environment. Celiac disease can be painful and difficult to handle. You don’t have to deal with it alone. If you feel like your current treatment options are not working, a study option might be available to you if you qualify. You can find more information about the study currently enrolling here.

What is gluten?

The treatment for celiac disease is a strict and complete avoidance of gluten. Gluten is a protein particle found in wheat, barley, rye, related grains and wheat additives. Wheat additives are the most common additive in American food products and can hide in a lot of food products that we consume as a society. This makes it very important for those with celiac disease to read all food labels closely.

Foods containing gluten include:
• Flour
• Breads
• Crackers
• Muffins
• Pasta
• Cereals
• Baking mixes
• Sauces, spices, condiments and salad dressings
• Some medications and vitamin supplements

Gluten-free foods include:
• Rice
• Corn
• Potatoes
• Quinoa, millet, buckwheat and soybeans
• Milk, cheese and other dairy products
• Fruits and vegetables
• Meat and eggs

Common Symptoms of Celiac

• Abdominal pain
• Bloating
• Diarrhea or constipation
• Fatigue
• Weight loss (or failure to thrive in children)

Statistics

Based on the chart below, approximately 17 percent of people are misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. Celiac patients may also be asymptomatic, which means that they may have no obvious symptoms of celiac disease. This is why is it important to consult with your primary care provider first if you feel that you are experiencing the symptoms surrounding celiac disease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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September 29, 2019

 

Overview of Depression 

Dealing with depression may feel like you constantly battle with a heavy burden or a shadow of sadness and hopelessness that latches on to you for a long time. Getting out of bed seems like a chore, you may no longer have the same amount of interest in activities as you used to, and often you may just want to be left alone. Maybe you feel that the only person who understands you is yourself. That’s understandable. Depression is an illness, NOT a weakness, and you are not to blame for it.

Depression is the most common mental disorder in the country. Millions of Americans suffer from some form of depression every year. That being said, you are not alone. There are many resources to help including free screenings, therapy, support groups, exercising, and many more. However, admitting that you want help is the first step to living a happier and healthier life.

National Depression Screening Day takes place in October. To view the post discussing this, click HERE.

 

Depression Statistics 

Below is a chart of the percentage of U.S. Adults who have dealt with depression in 2017. The variables range from gender, age, race/ethnicity. Based on the results, most of the people experiencing this major depressive episode were in the 18-25 age range and were identified females. This is not to say that people of other age groups or identified genders are not affected just as much.

Possible Causes of Depression

There is truly not one cause for depression. It depends on a unique combination of an individual’s genetic makeup and environmental conditions.

For instance:

  • The brain’s physical structure or chemistry
  • History of depression in the family
  • History of other disorders (anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Stressful, traumatic events (abuse, constant rejection, death of a loved one, financial issues)
  • Hormone changes (menstrual cycles, pregnancy)
  • Certain medications (sleeping aids, blood pressure medication)

 

Signs to Look For

Most common signs and symptoms of depression:

  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or back pain
  • Recurrent thoughts of suicide
  • Difficulty sleeping, sleep disturbances, and/or having a hard time getting out of bed
  • Difficulty thinking clearly, making decisions, or concentrating
  • Feelings of isolation or wanting to be isolated for long periods of time

 

Available Treatment Options 

  • Sign up for a clinical trial and/or free screenings for depression
  • Therapy – speaking with a psychologist
  • Medication
  • Exercise (physical and mental), Yoga, Meditation
  • Keeping a journal (writing down your thoughts instead of bottling them up)
  • Write short and long-term goals for yourself
  • Calling a depression hotline if you don’t feel comfortable talking to a therapist
  • Seeking support groups, or talking to someone you feel close to

 

Clinical Research May Be an Option!

As mentioned, participating in a clinical trial is available as a treatment option. The benefits of volunteering for a study include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Helping future and current generations
  • You or your loved one may have access to new treatments, not available to the public
  • Data collected from the results is used to determine whether a new medication or therapy is safe and effective.

ActivMed Practices & Research is passionate about helping those with depression by conducting clinical trials. If you or someone you know is diagnosed with depression or is not sure whether they have depression learn more about our study options might be the right decision. To learn about these study opportunities and see if you qualify, click HERE.

 

Looking Forward

Recovery is a slow process, but these treatment options can be very helpful. However, it is not a race, and you shouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself to get better right away. Depression affects people of all ages, races, ethnicity, and backgrounds. Depression can be deceiving in the sense that the people who appear to be “fine” are actually the people who are struggling with it the most. It is also good to help others who suffer from depression as well. Together we can be healthier.

Reference for this post:

https://www.psycom.net/depression.central.html

 

 

 

 

 

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September 17, 2019

Respiratory infections, like RSV and pneumonia, continue to wreak havoc on the elderly population year after year. Some call it a “hidden epidemic”. To better understand why the elderly are more vulnerable to respiratory infections, we need to look at what happens to our bodies internally as we grow older.

The Toll of Time

As we age, our immune systems become less effective, called immunosenescence. The immune response decline is different for everyone after age 65. However, everyone after that age is more susceptible to infections than when they were younger.

Risk Factors

With a less effective immune system combined with the increase and severity of a respiratory tract infection, the results can be life-threatening. Some risk factors include:

  • Chronic Conditions- Heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and COPD are a few examples. Conditions that affect the ability to produce a strong cough can be especially dangerous.
  • Infectious Environments- Any place where sick people gather for treatment or are living, such as hospitals and nursing homes.

 

Prevention

Experts agree that prevention is still the best defense against respiratory infection. The CDC has the following recommendations when it comes to reducing the chances of contracting a respiratory infection:

 

  • Wash Your Hands Often Use soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap is not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Keep Up With Regular Vaccinations: Keep up to date on recommended vaccines
  • Keep Hands off Your Face- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid Close Contact with Sick People- Avoid kissing, sharing drinks, or sharing eating utensils with people who have symptoms of being sick
  • Cover Coughs and Sneezes- Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. Throw tissues in the trash after
  • Clean/Disinfect Surfaces- Disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs
  • Stay Home When You Are Sick- Staying home (when possible) from work or other public places when you are sick prevents it spreading to others

 

At ActivMed Practices & Research, Inc., we are committed to not only working with patients to find current treatments that will deliver the most impactful results, but also working to develop new treatment options through clinical studies.

We are currently seeking patients for upcoming studies evaluating trial medications that may prevent RTI in those 65 and older. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost. There is also compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a study, please click HERE.

 

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/factsheet-older-adults.html

https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/infections/older-adults-higher-risk-respiratory-infections

https://www.aging.com/what-causes-pneumonia-in-the-elderly/

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September 9, 2019

Despite current treatment options, there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s. Current treatment options only temporarily slow the symptoms of dementia and keep them from worsening. Finding more effective options and even a cure comes down to testing new potential treatments via clinical trials.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia and is not a normal part of aging. It causes memory loss and other cognitive problems that gradually worsen over time. Eventually, every aspect of a person’s daily life is impacted when they have AD. Early stages impact memory, while later stages come with mood changes and behavioral changes. It can even affect a person’s ability to walk, speak, and swallow.

Although the majority of those affected with AD are over 65, approximately 200,000 Americans under 65 have early-onset Alzheimer’s. On average, a person lives 4-8 years after diagnosis, and up to 20 years depending on various factors. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Don’t Just Hope, Help.

More participants are needed in clinical trials to help evaluate potential treatment options and to find a cure. Through the clinical trial process, more effective treatments and prevention opportunities can be found.

Beta-amyloid protein and biomarker studies that explore what causes AD have provided cutting-edge treatments and led to better medical care. However, none of these advancements are possible without volunteers. Here are some of the benefits of participating in a clinical trial:

  • You can help future generations
  • Participation may help you get more involved in your healthcare
  • You or your loved one may have access to new treatments not available to the public

Volunteers that have a family history of AD, dementia and even those with no history are all needed. The data that is gathered from your results are used to determine whether a new medication or therapy is safe and effective.

ActivMed Practices & Research, like many other research facilities, has joined the fight to cure Alzheimer’s by conducting clinical trials. If you or someone you love is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and are interested in hearing more about our study opportunities, click HERE.

 

References:

https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers

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August 22, 2019

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release

Contact:

Natalie Bowers, Acorn Communications

natalie@acorn-communications, 859-486-0058

 

New book helps ‘wake up’ those with memory loss; provides ‘exciting aid in communication with loved ones’

 North Shore, Massachusetts – “Hilda’s Story: New Bedford, Massachusetts”, by Marblehead Resident Siobhan McDonald, is the first book in a series that is specifically designed to foster communication between senior citizens dealing with memory loss and their loved ones who want to communicate with them. The book launched online June 3, 2019 on the Barnes and Nobles website and it is also available through the publisher site, Granger St. Studios.

“Hilda’s Story” is a reflective tale of a woman’s childhood and the domestic activities she performed during her younger years. The story is written as a means to help caregivers, family and friends break through the barriers all too commonly seen in patients with memory loss diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The book utilizes illustrations, vintage photographs and a simple plot with built-in questions to enable family members and caregivers to build conversations with their loved ones.

Many people who have read the book to their loved ones report a positive experience. “Usually when I visit my father, he is vacant and distant; often asks the same question ten times. But when I read this book to him, he just came alive! He wanted to talk about his memories of his childhood and what he ate for lunch and the little details of his life. It got him really talking to me and I felt like we shared real quality time together and I felt like I had him back for an hour.” said Caregiver Greg from Gloucester.

The story is simple and intimate. The main character, Hilda, is the daughter of middle-class Portuguese immigrants growing up in the post-World War II era in the coastal Massachusetts city of New Bedford. Details of her domestic life offer the reader and their companion plenty of opportunities to build conversation. Vintage photographs are combined with line drawings to create visual contrast, and other images of objects like a plaid lunch box and a bowl of rice pudding (a staple dessert for children in the 40’s and 50’s) are complemented with questions to encourage lively discussion, such as, “Did you have a favorite clothing store?”, or “Tell me about some of the responsibilities you had growing up.”

By sharing ‘Hilda’s Story’, the interaction between reader and listener can move past the major communication barriers suffered by those with memory loss. Read aloud for entertainment, understanding, comfort, and connection, or simply offer the book for someone to enjoy at their own pace.

 

About the Author & Publisher

Siobhan McDonald came up with the concept of this series (Before Today: Reminiscing & Connecting) through her experience providing Visual Arts workshops to Seniors in Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living Residential settings. She partnered with her sister-in-law, Becky McDonald, to create this book. Siobhan lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Siobhan runs Granger St. Studios, the publishing arm of her written ventures. https://www.grangerstreetstudios.com/

 

Hilda’s Story: New Bedford, Massachusetts is published by Granger St. Studios.

ISBN: 9781733039000

Published: 5/31/2019

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Posted in Blog
August 21, 2019

Life is a constant roller coaster of challenges and victories. Feeling sad or hopeless is something we all experience at some point in our lives For many, these feelings persist and may require medical intervention.

The Black Hole

 

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the U.S., affecting men, women, and children from all walks of life. Depression can deeply impact every aspect of life. Symptoms can include difficulty concentrating, anger and irritability, loss of energy, and loss of interest in the things we once loved.

Depressive episodes are when these symptoms do not go away for long periods. Below are some quick facts about those affected:

  • 3 % of American Adults (18+) are affected
  • Depression is more prevalent in women than men
  • 9 million children (ages 3-17) have been diagnosed with depression
  • Adults with depressive disorders have a 64% higher chance of developing coronary artery issues

 

Types of Depression

Depression affects everyone differently. How each person responds to treatment is also different, so understanding the various types of depression can be an important piece in finding the most effective treatment. Below are some common types of depression along with a general understanding of each:

  • Major Depression– Recurrent depressive episodes that if left untreated, can last up to 6 months.
  • Atypical Depression– Those who have it experience a temporary mood elevation from positive events such as receiving good news, hanging out with friends, etc.
  • Dysthymia (Recurrent Mild Depression)Symptoms are not as strong as major depression but can last for long periods. Those with this type of depression feel moderately depressed more days than not.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)– Feeling of sadness, stress, and being tense beginning in fall or winter when daylight hours are reduced. This usually lasts until spring, when there is more sunlight.

Clinical Studies and Depression

Up to 80% of those treated for depression show improvement in symptoms within 4-6 weeks of beginning psychotherapy, medication, attending support groups, or a combination of these. Sadly, 2 out of every 3 people with depression do not actively seek treatment or receive proper treatment. Consulting your physician is the only way to truly be diagnosed and treated properly.

A clinical study conducted by ActivMed in our Methuen location could also benefit individuals who battle with this disorder. If you or someone you know is suffering from depression or feel like pieces are missing from your current depression treatment, these studies may be a great opportunity. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and compensation for travel. To learn more about our depression studies, please click HERE.

 

References:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-symptoms-and-warning-signs.htm
https://www.dbsalliance.org/education/depression/statistics/

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August 13, 2019

Defining Prurigo Nodularis

Prurigo Nodularis (PN) is a skin condition where hard, itchy lumps form on the skin. Prurigo means itch, and nodularis means nodules. The itching caused by PN can be so intense that people often scratch themselves to the point of bleeding.  The itching is made worse by sweating, heat, or irritation from clothes. If you have symptoms of PN, or have been diagnosed, read on for more info!

The Cause

The itching itself is what causes the nodules to form. When the skin is scratched repeatedly, it causes injury and the skin then protects itself by creating a thicker layer, which is where the nodules come from. This is called the itch-scratch cycle. Although the cause of PN is not always clear, certain conditions will increase the chances of someone developing PN. Some of those include:

  • Psychological conditions
  • Reduced liver or kidney function
  • Allergies
  • Skin diseases such as:

Diagnosis and Treatment

Excessive scratching also causes nerves to thicken in affected areas and these thicker nerves will then send stronger than normal itching sensations. A skin biopsy is usually performed to determine if PN is the cause of the itching, as a biopsy will show the thickened nerves. Other tests, such as blood, liver, and kidney tests, will also help to identify any underlying cause of the itch.

Treatment of PN is different for every patient and it may take several attempts to find a treatment plan that works for you. Common PN treatments are:

  • Corticosteroid Creams are applied to nodules and covered with airtight and waterproof bandages to reduce inflammation.
  • Corticosteroid Injections are injected directly into nodules to reduce inflammation.
  • Oral Corticosteroids are ingested to reduce inflammation.
  • Other Ointments with menthol or phenol cool and soothe itchy skin.
  • Capsaicin Cream uses the heat in your body to block nerve messages.
  • Oral Antihistamines are ingested antihistamines.
  • SSRIs alter serotonin signals in the skin.

Habit reversal therapy is often needed, in addition to medications, to help patients reduce the amount of scratching, which can be very habit-forming. Other treatments can include cryotherapy, photochemotherapy, and immunosuppressants if the common treatments are not effective.

Even with a healthy amount of available treatment options, most people never have a complete resolution of the nodules; therefore, clinical studies to test new treatments are needed to find different and better ways to treat or even cure PN.

ActivMed Practices & Research, Inc. is currently seeking patients interested in helping to evaluate new options that may potentially help treat certain PN symptoms. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost.  Compensation is available for travel.  If you or someone you know is suffering from the chronic itch and nodules associated with PN, this study may be a great opportunity.  To learn more and to see how you or someone you love may qualify for a PN study, please click HERE.

 

References:

https://www.aocd.org/page/PrurigoNodularis

https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/7480/prurigo-nodularis

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July 30, 2019

Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety (ACRES)

TheAlliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety (ACRES) announced it will begin offering accreditation of clinical research sites. It reflects the latest development by the Massachusetts-based global non-profit to build a quality-based system to accelerate the development of and access to new medical products.

READ THE FULL PRESS RELEASE HERE

Our CEO, Terry Stubbs has worked diligently with the team at ACRES to bring this to fruition. We are proud to be one of the first sites to become accredited!

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Posted in Blog
July 28, 2019

Intro

When a loved one is diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), finding ways to provide help that is useful and impactful is not out of reach. You have resources that you can access, including recommendations straight from the Parkinson’s Foundation. If you have a loved one with Parkinson’s, you can help!

What is Parkinson’s?

PD is a neurodegenerative disorder. The disease affects the dopamine-producing neurons that are responsible for signaling the brain to move. Persons diagnosed either have low levels of the dopamine-producing neurons or have an absence of them.

Early stages of PD include loss of smell and writing that grows smaller over time as well as a minor tremor in your finger, thumb, hand, or chin while at rest.

Symptoms

The disease progression of PD differs for each person and develops slowly. There are five stages of the disease that range from zero (no symptoms) to 5 (advanced symptoms). While the disease itself is not fatal, complications from the disease can be serious. Generally common symptoms after onset can include:

  • Tremor- Occurs mainly at rest and looks like the individual with PD is holding a pill between their thumb and forefinger and rolling it around continuously, known as ‘pill-rolling’
  • Bradykinesia Slowness of movement.
  • Limb Rigidity-Stiffness in arms or legs.
  • Gait/Balance Problems-Trouble walking or maintaining balance.

How you can Help

 Now let’s take a look at some ways you can support your loved one after they have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Here are a few things the trusted experts recommend:

  • Obtain Knowledge- Learn everything you can about Parkinson’s. For example, learning how the disease progresses can help you spot worsening of symptoms. parkinsons.org is a great resource.
  • Call a Helpline- The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation helpline has specialist available to help navigate all things PD. This is a resource for those diagnosed and their caregivers. The number is 800.4PD.INFO.
  • Set Up a Time to Help- Sometimes offering is not enough. Set up a date and time to help clean, meal prep, etc.
  • Encourage Exercise- Research confirms exercise helps the brain use dopamine more effectively. It also helps with balance and strength. Encouraging your loved ones to stay active is important in the progression of PD.
  • Listen- Whether it is a friendly ear, a shoulder to cry on, or a person to wipe the tears of frustration, listening is essential.

You Can be the Difference

As you can imagine, depression and anxiety are common in patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Your loved ones need your support during their journey through PD. You can be the difference in their quality of life by taking action now.

At ActivMed Practices & Research, Inc., we are committed to not only working with patients to find current treatments that will deliver the most impactful results, but also working to develop new treatment options through clinical studies.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, ActivMed Practices & Research, Inc. currently has enrolling studies for those seeking new treatment options. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost. There is also compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a study, please click HERE.

 

 

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/parkinsons-disease/how-to-support#1

https://www.parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/what-is-parkinsons

https://www.parkinson.org/Living-with-Parkinsons/Resources-and-Support

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July 1, 2019

Molluscum (muh-luhs-kum) contagiosum (kən-tā-jē-ō-səm) is a skin disease caused by a virus that spreads easily from person to person.

About seven weeks after a person is exposed to the virus, around 10 to 20 small, dome-shaped growths begin to appear on the skin (occasionally, the bumps may take months to appear).  They are generally located on the face, armpits, neck, arms, or hands. The bumps are painless, but some can itch. The surface of the bumps initially is smooth and waxy or pearly.  They are flesh-colored or pink, although as the body’s immune system begins to fight the virus, the bumps will turn red. Once the bumps are present, you are contagious.

How it Spreads

The virus spreads by either direct skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the virus, or by contact with something infected with the virus.

  • Skin-to-Skin Contact – When your skin comes in contact with someone who has the virus, such as when hugging or during contact sports or sexual contact
  • Objects Infected with the Virus – Anything infected with the virus, such as towels, clothing or toys. Wrestlers and gymnasts can get it from infected gym mats

Once a person has the virus, they can spread it from one part of their body to another. This is done by scratching or picking the bumps, then touching another uninfected area.

Who Gets It?

Children are most impacted by molluscum contagiosum, although people of any age can be affected. Certain climates, a weakened immune system, and other skin conditions can all increase the risk of getting the virus, as well as the severity of it.

  • Climate – The virus thrives in a warm, humid environment
  • Weakened Immune System – Those with a weakened immune system, due to AIDS or cancer, for example, are at a higher risk to get the virus, and can develop a more severe form of it (many more bumps)
  • Current Skin Conditions – Having atopic dermatitis increases the risk and the severity of the virus (many more bumps)

Treatment

The highly contagious nature of molluscum contagiosum, paired with how it can mimic other skin conditions, makes it important to get a diagnosis from a Board-certified dermatologist.  After a person is diagnosed with molluscum contagiosum, the bumps will usually go away on their own without treatment within 12 to18 months, although they can last longer.

Treatment, however, prevents the virus from spreading to other parts of the body.  It also prevents spread to other people, which is especially important for people with compromised immune systems.

Stopping the Spread

If you have been diagnosed with molluscum contagiosum, you are the key in preventing its spread to yourself or others. Remember, if the bumps are present, you are contagious.

Here are some ways you can directly prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Not sharing items that have been in contact with your skin
  • Avoiding sex and other skin-to-skin contact when bumps are present
  • Refraining from scratching or picking bumps
  • Getting diagnosed and completing any prescribed treatment

At ActivMed Practices & Research, we are committed to not only working with patients to find current treatments that will deliver the most impactful results, but also to working to develop new treatment options through clinical studies.

If you or your child has been diagnosed with molluscum contagiosum, ActivMed Practices & Research currently has an enrolling study for those seeking new treatment options. Qualified volunteers who participate in the study will receive study-related care at no cost.  There is also compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a research study on molluscum contagiosum, please click HERE.

Reference

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/contagious-skin-diseases/molluscum-contagiosum

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June 27, 2019

What is the Difference?

Atopic dermatitis and eczema are words that are often used interchangeably.  It can be perplexing to think that although there are some similarities between the two conditions, they are different. To start, let’s look at the two individually.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is defined by itchy, red rashes that typically appear on the joint areas of the body like elbows, knees, and even the neck. Symptoms can include flaky or scaly patches, dry skin, itching, and sores that may weep. Symptoms appear in “flare ups” and can improve or worsen over time.

Eczema

Eczema is the name of a group of skin conditions that are characterized by itchy and inflamed patches of skin. It is often seen in babies and young children, first appearing on their faces, but it can affect anyone at any age.

Eczema is classified into different types.  Some of the most common, along with their symptoms, include:

  • Atopic Dermatitis – Flaky or scaly patches, dry skin, itching, and sores that may weep
  • Contact Dermatitis – Red rash, itching, burning, stinging, and blisters with liquid
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis – Scaly patches, dandruff, red skin, and rashes located in oily areas

The Answer

Once you see the words separated, it’s easy to see why both words are being used interchangeably. Simply put, atopic dermatitis is a form of eczema. If you take away the “atopic” part, we are left with dermatitis. Dermatitis and eczema both are inflammations of the skin, so these two are essentially one and the same.

The prefix “atopic” means that “there is typically a genetic tendency toward allergic disease,” according to The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The “atopic” part classifies the dermatitis into a category of eczema.

No matter which term you use, it’s not entirely wrong. Eczema and atopic dermatitis are used in the same context so often, most people never know the difference. Now that you do know the differences, you can begin to use the correct terms, and even help others who are not sure!

At ActivMed, we are committed to not only working with patients to find current treatments that will deliver the most impactful results, but also working to develop new treatment options through clinical studies.

If you or someone you love is struggling with atopic dermatitis, ActivMed currently has enrolling studies for those seeking new treatment options. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost.  There is also compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a study, please click HERE.

 

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/difference-between-eczema-and-dermatitis

https://www.healthline.com/health/eczema

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Posted in Blog
June 19, 2019

Not all Headaches are Created Equal

Do you ever feel like you are being stabbed in the head with an icepick? Well, believe it or not, that is NOT a kind of migraine people can suffer from. When you think about headaches, often, our minds drift to migraines. However, there are different kinds, and we are going to show you just what they are.

Below are some headache and migraine symptoms and their names. Having a list of the differences can help you determine your next course of action, as the treatments for a headache versus a migraine can vary.

Common Types of Migraines:

  • Migraine Aura Also called a “Complicated Migraine”. When you experience a series of sensory or visual changes (aura) before or during a migraine. These can last anywhere from 10-30 minutes. Check out this video of what that can look like!
  • Hemiplegic Migraine- Weakness on one side of the body also with the visual aura symptoms. This migraine can resemble a stroke.
  • Retinal Migraine-When you temporarily lose vision in one eye. This can last anywhere from a minute, to a month. Although scary, this is usually fully reversible.

Common Types of Headaches:

  • Icepick HeadacheWhen you experience primarily a stabbing sensation, delivering intense, sharp, pain. This can last anywhere from 5-30 seconds.
  • Cluster Headache- These start with a burning sensation around and above the eyes and temples. This can move all the way to the back of the head and trigger other symptoms. Red, swollen eyes, as well as a runny nose can happen along with these.
  • Cervicogenic Headache-This is when the pain in your head is caused by the pain in your neck. The pain can originate from neck pain, or a lesion on the spine.

Whether it is a headache or a migraine, always consult with your doctor to find the right treatment for you. Your provider will take your family history, have some tests run that may include blood work, and any imaging that may need to be completed. Then, you can be on your way to prevention and relief through the many options available to treat migraines and headaches.

At ActivMed, we are committed not only to working with patients to find current treatments that will deliver the most impactful results, but also in working to develop new treatment options through clinical studies.

If you or someone you love is struggling with migraines, ActivMed currently has enrolling studies for those seeking new treatment options. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a study, click HERE.

 

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20360201

https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/what-type-of-headache-do-you-have/

 

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May 21, 2019

Eczema flare ups can really get under your skin (pun intended). So, learning what can cause a flare up (worsening of symptoms) is a vital step in reducing the number of reoccurrences.

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a group of skin conditions that causes the skin to become red, itchy, and inflamed. The medical term is Atopic Dermatitis. It is estimated that over 30 million Americans suffer from eczema each year.

No one knows what causes eczema to develop for a person. Research has shown that people with eczema tend to have an overactive immune system. Research also shows that some people have a mutation in the gene that produces Filaggrin. Filaggrin is a protein that helps our bodies maintain a healthy protective layer (skin).

Flare Causes:

Below is a list of common items that can cause a flare up. Knowing these potential culprits can help you make different choices in your product purchases and daily activities.

  • Temperature- With the summer sun quickly approaching, it is important to note that your skin may not like getting hot and sweaty. Even taking too hot of a bath has been listed as a flare up.
  • Hold the Irritants, Please! Anything from the perfumes in hand soap, to the dyes in your laundry detergent can cause your eczema to flare. Paraphenylene-diamine, Formaldehyde, and Cocamidopropyl betaine are ingredients in household cleaners, shampoos, and dyes in certain fabrics that have been linked to eczema flare ups.
  • Stress- Stress can affect your body drastically. Increases in stress levels can cause flareups.

Eczema Treatments:

In the event of a flareup, there are many treatment options available from over the counter or prescription topical and oral medications. Consult with your doctor or Dermatologist about your best options.

At ActivMed, we are committed not only to working with patients to find current treatments that will deliver the most impactful results, but also in working to develop new treatment options through clinical studies.

If you or someone you love is struggling with eczema, ActivMed currently has enrolling studies for those seeking new treatment options. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a study, click HERE

References:

https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/

https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/causes-and-triggers-of-eczema/

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Posted in Blog
May 1, 2019

Shortness of breath, fatigue, reduced ability to exercise, irregular heartbeat, congested lungs … these are just a few symptoms of heart failure. The worst part about it? Currently, there is no cure.

What is heart disease?

Heart Disease doesn’t refer to just one condition, rather it refers to a multitude of heart conditions such as heart attack, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, stroke and many more. It sounds deadly, but it actually doesn’t mean your heart has “stopped” or is about to stop working.

When living with heart disease, your heart does not pump blood and oxygen throughout the body the way that it should – this results in the symptoms you read above, and although it sounds like something that would be rare, it actually affects approximately 5.7 million people in the United States.

Can anyone get heart disease? Are there risk factors?

Your health is important and the choices you make when it comes to diet, exercise and health screenings play a role. However, there are some risk factors that you can’t control. Let’s take a look at some of the factors:

  • Gender – males are typically at a greater risk than females
  • Age – the older you get, the higher the risk
  • Family History – if it runs in the family, you are more likely to get heart disease than someone who does not have a family history
  • Smoking
  • Uncontrolled Hypertension
  • Physical Inactivity

 

What can I do to lower my risk?

The less “entries” you have into the “Heart Disease” drawing, the better. Meaning you should limit as much of the risk factors that are in your control as possible.

Eat Healthy – Be mindful of what types of food you’re putting into your body. It doesn’t have to be boring to eat clean, find healthy recipes here.

Exercise – Exercise isn’t just for the pro-athletes. Incorporate a style of exercise that you enjoy and try to do it 30 minutes a day or a couple of days a week. You could try walking, swimming, a fitness class, sports or even dancing.

Limit Stress – Easier said than done, but it’s very important. Those with high levels of stress and anger are at greater risk of heart attacks and strokes. Find coping mechanisms or things to do that help you calm down during stress.

Monitor Your Health – If you already have medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, etc. make sure you are staying in a healthy range. Whether you have existing conditions or not, it’s always best to get an annual health screening.

Every FDA approval of new medicine starts with a medical research study, they are the key tools used to find better ways to treat and prevent medical conditions for today and the future. The providers at ActivMed Practices & Research, Inc. are currently enrolling for several clinical trials. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a study, click HERE.

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Posted in Blog, Uncategorized
April 11, 2019

 

Nine out of 10 older people get their blood pressure checked when they visit their primary care doctors, and 73 percent are screened for hearing or vision loss. But what about problems with memory or thinking? Only 16 percent are asked about that.

Those are among the findings in a pair of surveys conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association and released last week. The results show that although Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia are common afflictions of old age, when it comes to detecting early symptoms, many doctors just don’t want to go there.

“Some people feel like there’s not much we can do for dementia,” said Dr. Erin E. Stevens, a geriatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital. Doctors hesitate to give a devastating diagnosis when they have no treatment to offer, she said.

In Massachusetts, that may start to change. Massachusetts General Hospital is developing a program to collaborate with primary care doctors in managing the illness. And a first-in-the-nation law passed last year requires all doctors, nurses, and physician assistants to get training in Alzheimer’s diagnosis and care.

The law is intended, in part, to address a shocking statistic from an earlier survey of Medicare beneficiaries: Half of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease have not been diagnosed, and half of those with a diagnosis have not been told about it. In addition to the training, the Massachusetts law requires physicians to disclose an Alzheimer’s diagnosis to the patient or family member.

These provisions reflect a growing recognition that even though Alzheimer’s is fatal, people can live with it for a decade or more — and much can be done to improve the quality of those years, especially if you start early.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a condition involving loss of memory and other mental abilities to the point of interfering with daily life. Alzheimer’s probably results from a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors that interact to different degrees in each patient.

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 1 in 10 Americans age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s dementia.

The association surveyed 1,000 primary care physicians around the country and a representative sampling of 1,954 consumers age 65 or older. Nearly all primary care physicians — 94 percent — said they consider it important to assess all elderly patients for cognitive impairment, but only 47 percent say it’s their standard protocol.

Patients come in with a host of medical issues, and if they don’t exhibit cognitive problems or raise questions about their memory, the other health problems are likely to take up the whole visit, explained Dr. Blair Wardenburg Fosburgh, a Boston internist.

Additionally there’s no reliable easy-to-use screening tool for dementia, she said. Medicare pays for an hourlong annual wellness visit that is supposed to include a cognitive assessment, but requirements for assessments are vague, Fosburgh said.

And even if a cognitive problem in recognized, she said, “Sometimes you feel powerless to really do much.”

The few medications for Alzheimer’s merely slow the disease’s progression, but the effects are modest and they don’t work for everyone.

In the absence of treatment or cure, what patients and their families most need is help managing the illness day by day. But doctors don’t have those resources at their fingertips, nor the time or expertise to organize them.

Fosburgh is optimistic that will change soon for her practice, which is based at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The hospital plans to pilot a program in which a dementia-care team will be embedded in primary care practices at the hospital. When a doctor suspects dementia, he or she will turn to specialists in the office who can confirm the diagnosis and to social workers who can help patients and their families find and arrange the services they need.

Among the other findings in the survey:

 Nine out of 10 elderly patients say they trust their doctor to recommend testing for thinking or memory problems but, on average, the doctors assess just half of their senior patients.

 The most common reasons physicians gave for not assessing patients was the absence of symptoms or lack of time.

 A majority also said patients resist the idea.

People don’t like to hear bad news, said Jim Wessler, CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire chapter. But physicians also aren’t trained in diagnosing dementia and often don’t understand the value of doing so.

Wessler told of a physician frustrated that none of the medications he prescribed were reducing a patient’s high blood pressure. Not until he performed a cognitive screening did he realize his patient was forgetting to take the pills, and forgetting that he hadn’t taken them.

Dr. Brent P. Forester, chief of geriatric psychiatry at McLean Hospital, said that it’s important to screen for memory problems because they could be symptoms of illnesses that have nothing to do with dementia but should be treated, such as depression, vitamin deficiency, thyroid problems, or an infection.

Even if tests rule out other causes and the patient appears to have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, Forester said, knowing about it as soon as possible gives people an opportunity to make the most of their remaining faculties — perhaps traveling while they can still enjoy it — and to plan for how to manage what lies ahead.

But Dr. Malaz A. Boustani, professor of aging research at the Indiana University School of Medicine, said his research has found no benefit from cognitive assessments the way medicine is generally practiced. “Unfortunately the system is not ready for cognitive assessments at this time,” he said.

Conducting widespread cognitive screening would be like offering mammograms in a system with no ability to perform biopsies or administer chemotherapy, he said.

“I feel their pain. The primary care doctors, they don’t have the resources and they don’t have the time,” Boustani said.

Boustani works with a central Indiana health system that does have the resources. Eskenazi Health, which encompasses inpatient and outpatient settings, started a collaborative dementia-care program more than decade ago. Patients meet with a team to develop a care plan, which is continually adjusted over time.

The system trains and employs “community health workers,” who need only a high school degree. These workers meet with families, help them address any difficulties, constantly measure how well the family functions, and work to reduce stress on the family member responsible for caregiving.

The program, he said, results in better health and a higher quality of life — and saves money.

Felice J. Freyer can be reached at felice.freyer@globe.com.

 

FULL ARTICLE: https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2019/03/10/most-doctors-don-screen-for-dementia-but-that-may-change-massachusetts/YeQBKU9xDhWxmNaAf1DPUP/story.html

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Posted in Blog
April 8, 2019

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by patchy hair loss that can affect the scalp and body. According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, approximately 6.8 million people in the United States and 147 million worldwide have or will develop alopecia areata at some point in their lives. Alopecia is much more than just hair loss; it can cause severe emotional distress and have a huge impact on the quality of life of those affected. Let’s take a look at what it’s really like to live with alopecia.

Panic, Distress, Denial

When you first feel a bald spot on the back of your head, panic ensues. Grabbing a mirror and seeing a completely bare patch of white scalp can really mess with your head. You immediately begin looking for more bald spots. When you have alopecia, you will inevitably find them. This leads to emotional distress. You may call family members in for a second opinion and to seek comfort. You want to deny that anything could be wrong. You never want to admit that you could have a condition that is causing you to lose your hair.

Reality sets in: Getting to the root of cause

 Receiving an alopecia diagnosis can be hard to cope with, but there is a bright side to the situation. People with alopecia areata who have only a few patches of hair loss often experience a spontaneous, full recovery, without the need for treatment. [1] Alopecia is also not contagious and is not due to nerves.

Making Lifestyle Changes Along The Way

Sometimes alopecia is more severe. You may consider wearing a wig to help camouflage the bald spots. While this may bring on feelings of anxiety and self-consciousness, it’s important to remember that most people will never notice. Having confidence and a positive attitude can also help.

HOPE

Clinical trials offer an opportunity to try and help find a cure for conditions like alopecia areata. Physicians at ActivMed Practices & Research, Inc. are working diligently to help find potential new alopecia areata treatment options. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with alopecia, you may qualify to participate in a currently enrolling research study. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see if you may qualify for a study enrolling in Portsmouth, NH CLICK HERE . To learn about our Beverly, MA study CLICK HERE

[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/70956.php

 

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Posted in Blog
March 27, 2019

Could people’s eyes and ears help fix the damage Alzheimer’s disease does to the brain? Just by looking at flashing light and listening to flickering sound?

Click here to read this article posted in the New York Times March 14th, describing an exciting research study being conducted here at ActivMed, as well as many other research sites.

“Light and sound combined magnified the brain effects and extended them to the prefrontal cortex, a key area for planning and executing tasks.”

 

To learn more about this study please click below for our Methuen, MA office.

Join a Trial in Methuen, MA

Or click below for our Portsmouth, NH office

Join a Trial in Portsmouth, NH

 

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March 20, 2019

If your child has psoriasis, you may feel helpless and overwhelmed at times. The important thing to remember is this not your fault and you haven’t done anything wrong! No one knows what really causes psoriasis and there is currently no cure, but the good news is that for most kids, psoriasis is limited to only a few patches that typically respond well to treatment.[1] More serious cases might need advanced treatment, but there are ways you can avoid flare-ups. Check out some of the most common psoriasis triggers for children.

Infections

Psoriasis is a disorder that affects the immune system causing it to attack healthy skin cells resulting in plaque. Having an infection sends the immune system into overdrive and can cause flare-ups. Bacterial infections such as strep throat are the most common, but viral and fungal infections can also be a big problem. Microtears in the skin of the plaques could also be the perfect opening for skin infections. [2]

Obesity & Diet

Maintaining a healthy weight is important across the board, but some psoriasis research suggests that obesity can really affect the skin. Plaques from psoriasis are prone to developing in folds of skin, so an obese child may suffer with more flare-ups as a result.

Along with an immune disorder, psoriasis is also an inflammatory condition, meaning inflammatory foods can be a trigger as well. Top foods to avoid giving your child would be processed foods and refined sugars, fatty cuts of red meat, and dairy. [3]

Stress

High stress levels can have an effect on a person’s immune system and thus can make psoriasis symptoms worse. One doesn’t normally think of children as having a lot of stress, but there are lots of things that can cause a child to be stressed out. In preschool, just separation from parents can cause anxiety and as they get older academic and social pressures create stress.[4] Many kids these days are just overly busy. Every child is different, so talk to yours to determine what makes them stress the most.

Now that you know some of the most common triggers for children suffering from psoriasis, it is also important to know all of your child’s treatment options. It could be that a clinical trial is the best fit for them. ActivMed Practices & Research, Inc. has a psoriasis study for children aged 6-17 enrolling now. All study related care is provided at no cost, and compensation for travel is available for patients that qualify and participate. Click here to learn more: https://activmedresearch.com/join-a-trial/beverly-ma/#!/study/529

 

[4] https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/stress.html

[3] https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/psoriasis-avoid-foods#1

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/diseases-public/strep-throat.html

[1] https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/psoriasis.html

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Posted in Blog
March 11, 2019

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Parkinson’s Disease is shakes and tremors, but it can be so much more than that! Research has shown that the majority of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease will experience some degree of cognitive impairment and will continue to decline over time. In fact, about half of the people living with Parkinson’s Disease have dementia.[1] As a caregiver it is important for you to pay attention to these cognitive changes and respond accordingly. Here are some steps that you can take to ensure you give your loved one the best possible care!

Elderly couple visiting doctor

Educate yourself – Knowledge is power

First and foremost, talk to your loved one’s physician. Any time you can, attend their appointments. This is where you can ask all your questions, raise all your concerns, and hear if the doctor has concern. Next, do your own research. Below are some good resources to get you going.

Also, know all of your options! It could be that the best option for your loved one is not even on the market yet. Definitely make sure to consider research options! Not only could it benefit your loved one, but they could be playing a part in a major breakthrough for their condition.

 

Keep them active!

A healthy diet and exercise are important for any condition, but for Parkinson’s Dementia another key element is keeping their brain active as well! Some research suggests that practicing mentally challenging tasks can help to slow cognitive decline.[2] Play brain teasing games with them, learn a new language together, do a puzzle or anything that will get them thinking!

 

 

Take care of yourself – You matter too!

Taking care of a loved one can be overwhelming and it can be easy to lose yourself in someone else, but don’t! Always make sure to have time for yourself. Take a nice long bubble bath or get a massage or even get lost in a book somewhere. You deserve it! And, make sure you have help along the way. You are only one person and you can’t do it alone.

If you are interested in learning more about your research options, ActivMed Practices & Research, Inc. has a Parkinson’s Disease Dementia study enrolling now. All study related care is provided at no cost, no insurance required, and compensation is available for those that qualify and participate. Click here to see if a clinical trial could be right for you and your loved one today: https://activmedresearch.com/join-a-trial/methuen-ma/#!/study/549

 

[1] http://www.ageucate.com/blog/parkinsons-disease-dementia/

[2] https://www.michaeljfox.org/understanding-parkinsons/living-with-pd/topic.php?cognitive-impairment&navid=cognitive-impairment

 

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Posted in Blog
February 26, 2019

Psoriasis is the most prevalent autoimmune disease in the United States. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, more than 8 million Americans have psoriasis. The chronic skin condition causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin and the excess cells form scaly red patches that can be itchy and painful. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding this uncomfortable skin condition. Let’s clear up a few.

One of the biggest myths about psoriasis is that it’s contagious. Since psoriasis can resemble a rash, many people think they may get the skin disease from someone else. You can’t “catch” psoriasis from someone, even if you make direct contact with their skin.

Another common misunderstanding about psoriasis is that it only affects the skin. The painful effects associated with psoriasis aren’t just cosmetic. People with psoriasis are more likely to struggle with depression and anxiety due to their skin condition, which can have a significant impact on their quality of life. [1]

Many people also think that changing your diet will have an impact on your psoriasis. Your diet does not affect your psoriasis. You may feel better when you are eating healthy, but that’s simply due to healthier eating and has nothing to do with your psoriasis.

There is currently no cure for psoriasis. Many psoriasis sufferers experience periods where their flare-ups are at a minimum, and other periods where their psoriasis is exceptionally bad. While there is no cure, psoriasis symptoms can be treated. Treatments may include prescription medications, light therapies, or injected medications to name a few. However, these treatments don’t work for everyone.

Physicians at ActivMed Practices & Research, INC are currently enrolling for studies evaluating potential new psoriasis treatment options. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a study, click HERE.

[1] https://www.psoriasis.org/life-with-psoriasis/depression

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Posted in Blog
February 11, 2019

Prurigo nodularis, or PN, is a skin disease that causes hard bumps, or nodules to form on the skin. These nodules are extremely itchy and can itch constantly. Many people scratch themselves to the point of pain or even bleeding due to the intense itch. Unfortunately, itching the bumps can cause more of them to appear, escalating the vicious cycle.

What causes prurigo nodularis?

While the exact cause of PN is unknown, certain risk factors may make you more prone to developing PN. Some of these include:

  • A history of skin conditions that cause itching, such as eczema
  • Reduced liver and kidney function
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • HIV/immunodeficiency
  • Some psychological conditions

What exactly do the nodules look like?

The nodules can vary in size. You may have some that are very small and some that are rather large. They typically have a dry, rough top and typically appear on areas like the arms, shoulders, and legs. You may notice a few nodules, or a few hundred.

Is prurigo nodularis genetic?

Prurigo nodularis is not believed to be an inherited disease. If one of your parents has PN, this does not mean that you will develop it. However, since the development of PN is sometimes associated with having other health problems or skin diseases, you may notice a family history associated with those skin conditions.

How is prurigo nodularis treated?

While some treatments to reduce itchiness are available, they don’t work for everyone. Many people with PN may have to try several different treatments without receiving much relief due to the intense itch that comes with PN. Fortunately, if you have prurigo nodularis, you may be eligible for currently enrolling research studies to help find potential new PN treatment options.

Physicians at ActivMed Practices & Research, INC are seeking adults with PN for local enrolling research studies. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. CLICK HERE to learn more and see if you or a loved one may qualify for studies enrolling in Beverly, MA or CLICK HERE to learn more about PN studies enrolling in Portsmouth, NH.

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Posted in Blog
January 29, 2019

Today, 30 million people in the United States are living with chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is the gradual loss of kidney function. While anyone can get CKD, some people are more at risk than others. Some factors that increase risk include:

  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Being over 60 years old
  • Being African American
  • Having High Blood Pressure

If you have CKD in its’ early stages, you may not even notice any signs or symptoms. During advanced stages, fluid levels build up in your body and may cause you to start to notice certain symptoms including:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Itching
  • Too much urine
  • Trouble catching your breath
  • Swelling in your feet and ankles
  • Having trouble sleeping

If you’ve been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, you may also be at risk for developing anemia. Anemia occurs when there are not enough red blood cells in your body. Some symptoms of anemia like dizziness, pale skin, fatigue, and chest pain can all be caused by other problems. If you have chronic kidney disease and are experiencing anemia symptoms, it is important to talk with your doctor so that they can test you to be sure.

If you or someone you love is suffering from anemia related to chronic kidney disease, research studies exploring potential new treatment options are enrolling now at ActivMed Practices and Research, Inc.  Study participants have access to potential new treatment medications and are cared for by board-certified physicians. Qualified participants may also receive compensation for travel expenses. To learn more and see if you may qualify, click HERE.

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January 22, 2019

We all love to get away for a few days. An escape from the normal routine can be exciting and gives us something to look forward to. However, for those that suffer from celiac disease, the thought of traveling can sometimes bring more stress than excitement. Check out these helpful tips to make traveling with celiac disease a little more carefree.

  1. Plan ahead! Check with your hotel to see if you will have a microwave and refrigerator available to you. This would allow you to go to a store and pick up some items to have in your room.
  2. Pack smart. Pack non-perishable food items like nuts, dried fruit, etc. that could really come in handy. If possible, you could even pack a small cooler with some frozen or quick cooking items that could help as well.
  3. Think local. If you’re traveling internationally, you may not be able to pack a cooler, but you will be able to print out an allergen translation card in the local language. This can be extremely helpful. You can find the cards
  4. Get friendly with your phone. There are many apps available now on smartphones that can help you to find gluten-free restaurants. Check them out ahead of time so you have a plan and are comfortable with using the app.

While traveling with celiac disease can certainly be stressful, incorporating some of these useful tips may help to make things just a little bit easier. Physicians at ActivMed Practices and Research Inc. are working diligently to help find potential new celiac disease treatment options. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with celiac disease, you may qualify to participate in a currently enrolling research study. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see if you may qualify for a study, CLICK HERE.

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Posted in Blog
December 26, 2018

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema as it’s more commonly known, is a frustrating condition that affects more than 35 million Americans. Symptoms tend to present as patches of skin becoming red and itchy, with areas of oozing or swelling. It most commonly appears on the face, backs of the knees, insides of the elbows, hands and wrists.  Eczema is long-lasting and tends to ‘flare-up’ periodically. While most common in children, Eczema can affect anyone at any age.  By knowing some common eczema triggers, it can help you to manage flares and prevent new outbreaks.

  1. Stress: Stress is one of the most common eczema triggers. While it’s nearly impossible to remove all of the stress from our lives, trying to keep our stress levels at a minimum can help with flares.
  2. Temperature Extremes: Too hot or too cold is not ideal for those with eczema. Excessive sweating is an eczema trigger for many people, while extreme cold can cause the skin to become too dry. Aim for a comfortable environment with humidity levels of 45-55 percent.
  3. Cosmetics: Cosmetics tend to have fragrances or preservatives in them that can be irritating to eczema sufferers. Look for “fragrance-free” products and do a patch test before using them to check for irritation.
  4. Get to know your fabrics: Cotton is the best option when it comes to eczema sufferers. Wool, synthetics, and other rough materials could irritate skin and trigger a flare.
  5. Laundry Detergents: Harsh ingredients in many detergents can irritate skin. Opting for a fragrance-free, neutral pH detergent is a good choice.
  6. Diet: Food allergies can sometimes trigger eczema symptoms, so if you start to notice symptoms after eating a particular food, it might be time to see your doctor.While there’s currently no cure for eczema, the condition can be better managed by knowing your personal triggers and avoiding them to prevent flare-ups.

    If you or someone you love is struggling with eczema, ActivMed currently has enrolling studies for those seeking new treatment options. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a study, click HERE.

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Posted in Blog
December 12, 2018

When someone says that they have depression, many people compare it to being sad or upset, but that’s only a small part of it. A general assumption about depression is that someone who has been diagnosed is temporarily going through something stressful, hurtful, or difficult. What they don’t realize is that it’s not all environmental. A bad day at work or a fight with your significant other is not the sole thing that makes someone feel this way; it’s also mental.

So, what is depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that affects a person’s entire life. This is not just a feeling of sadness, it is the lack of enjoyment and importance for things that were once a priority for a person. Other symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, lack of concentration, and even restless sleep. All of these things have an impact on all aspects of life; work, school, relationships, and general life.

How do I know if I’m depressed?

Being diagnosed with this disorder would mean that someone has been experiencing the symptoms mentioned before, almost every day for a two-week period or longer. That’s not to say that, just because you have these symptoms, means that you should assume that you are depressed. Consulting your physician is the only way to truly be diagnosed and treated properly. They will be able to help you learn the best ways to cope and start living a healthier life.

What comes next?

If you or a loved one is experiencing signs of depression, know that you are not alone. Hundreds of millions of people around the world have experienced the same things. It is important to keep in mind that this feeling is not permanent. A clinical study conducted by ActivMed at our Methuen location could also benefit individuals who battle with this disorder. We are currently seeking participants, and those who qualify will receive not only study-related care at no cost, but compensation for travel. To learn more about this study and how you or a loved one could qualify, CLICK HERE.

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December 11, 2018

This season we have partnered with Emmaus House in Haverhill, Massachusetts. This organization is now holding a Toy Drive to collect gifts for children in shelters and housing programs. If you’re looking for a way to give back this season, give the gift of Christmas to families with children. CLICK HERE to find out more about how you can donate!

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Posted in Blog | Tags: , ,
December 3, 2018

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You can now find us on the Michael J. Fox Foundation! Fox Trial Finder is a tool that connects volunteers with clinical trials. Join us in speeding a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

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November 29, 2018
skin

No two people are born completely identical. Even in the case of twins, personalities, preferences, and even minute physical differences, makes each person a unique individual. In the same way, the appearance and symptoms of skin conditions vary from person to person.

Eczema, psoriasis and prurigo nodularis (PN) are three common diagnoses that have no known  cure, yet they affect the lives of millions across the globe. The symptoms of each disease are remarkably similar, and yet they each maintain distinct differences, making general treatment options difficult to prescribe. In celebration of Healthy Skin Month, here is a brief explanation of these three diseases, and what symptoms they each manifest.

skin

Eczema

Eczema is an umbrella term used to describe a condition in which the skin becomes rough, inflamed, and causes itching and bleeding. Sometimes also referred to as Atopic Dermatitis, eczema is a hypersensitive allergic response in which the immune system attacks an unspecified stimulant inside or outside the body. Symptoms include:

  • Dry skin
  • Redness
  • Itching/Bleeding
  • Skin cracking

According to the National Eczema Association, while all types of eczema can cause redness and itching, specific types of eczema, such as Nummular eczema, can leave open, crusted or “weeping” sores. Fortunately, eczema does tend to appear in “flares”, and can subside over time.

Psoriasis

Similar to eczema, psoriasis causes itching, dry patches on the surface of the skin. The primary difference is that psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that results in the production of too many skin cells. These skin cells cause thick, scaly patches to form, which can limit flexibility and cause pain. Other symptoms of psoriasis include:

  • Red patches covered in thick, silvery scales
  • Itching, burning, soreness
  • Swollen and stiff joints

Prurigo Nodularis (PN)

Unlike eczema and psoriasis, PN is an intensely itchy skin condition that is hypothesized to be primarily caused by a thickening of nerve endings that sends a strong itching impulse to the brain. When repeatedly scratched, these nerve endings develop thick, hard nodules on the surface of the skin that can scar. Patients diagnosed with PN often find themselves scratching until pain or bleeding occurs, even while asleep. Similar to the effects of poison ivy, the more scratching that occurs, the more the nodules form and spread.

skin

Treatment and Research

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for these conditions. Physicians at ActivMed are looking to change this reality by continually seeking new treatment options for patients diagnosed with eczema, psoriasis and PN. Those who qualify and participate in a clinical study will see a dermatologist at no cost, and receive compensation for travel. If you or someone you know has experienced chronic, itchy skin conditions, you may be eligible to participate! To learn more on how you can be involved, CLICK HERE.

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November 7, 2018
National Alzheimer

Impacting the lives of over five million people in the U.S. alone, Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the leading diagnoses in seniors over the age of 65. Nearly every household has felt the effect of this incurable condition, whether personal or in witness to the toll it has had on national celebrities, such as activist Rosa Parks or actor James Stuart.

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month celebrates the families and fighters of Alzheimer’s, promotes a hopeful future and search for a cure.

National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness

When was National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month founded?

Preceding his diagnosis in 1994, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5110 in November 1983, establishing that month as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month to recognize the condition as a serious concern to the growing U.S. population. Since that time, this awareness month has been utilized to encourage research, community support and education of memory loss and Alzheimer’s symptoms.

How is Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosed?

If someone begins to experience or display significant memory loss symptoms, physician may use several methods to determine whether or not that individual has some form of dementia.

First, a physician may conduct an overall health and memory screening. A memory screening is a series of tasks and questions used to test memory, cognition, language skills and other intellectual functions. The doctor can use this information over a span of time to measure cognition and gauge mental condition.

Standard medical tests, including blood and urine testing, in addition to brain scans, such as MRI or CAT scans, can also be used to rule out other symptoms, such as stroke or the presence of a tumor.

What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease?

According to Mayo Clinic, there are five primary symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease:

  • Memory loss or lapse
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Difficulty with decision making and reasoning
  • Inability to perform routine tasks (such as cooking or getting dressed)
  • Changes in personality (including mood swings, social withdrawals, apathy and distrust in others)

How can I participate in National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month?

Across the nation, there are many opportunities to be involved and raise awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease. Awareness walks, 5K races, charity events and volunteerism are just a few options on how you can become involved in your community. Physicians at ActivMed also offer free memory screenings by appointment, at no cost to you nor is insurance needed.

If you or someone you know has experienced memory loss, or has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you may also be eligible to participate in clinical research! Qualified candidates will receive study-related care and medication at no cost, as well as receive compensation for travel. To learn more on how you can be involved, CLICK HERE.

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October 30, 2018
memory loss

Most people experience more moments than they can recall. From our first steps to dinner last night, we often have difficulty remembering all of the details from each day. Fortunately, the mind subconsciously stores many of these special moments as memories to be triggered by or associated with specific environmental factors for later recollection.

With each unique memory being more precious than the last, memory loss can be a frustrating experience to endure; however, cutting-edge research may provide new treatment opportunities and hope for patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment.

memory loss

First, what is mild cognitive impairment?

According to Mayo Clinic, memory loss, or mild cognitive impairment, is the stage between expected cognitive decline and aging, and the more serious decline of dementia. This condition affects over 20% of the U.S. population over the age of 65, and can often be the early onset of other cognitive diseases, such Alzheimer’s disease.

How is memory loss treated?

Since Dr. Alois Alzheimer first linked microscopic brain formations to memory loss in 1906, scientists have been searching for new, more effective ways to treat patients suffering from cognitive impairment. Due to the complicated nature of the condition, it wasn’t until the mid-1990’s that treatment options first emerged, with the FDA approval of a drug called tacrine (Cognex).

Based on information from the Alzheimer’s Association, there are two primary types of medication assigned to treat cognitive impairment symptoms: cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine. Cholinesterase inhibitors are prescribed to treat early to moderate stage memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease by helping prevent the breakdown of chemicals messengers used to stimulate learning and memory, while memantine is used to treat severe Alzheimer’s disease to improve daily function and information processing.

memory loss

Is there a cure for memory loss and dementia?

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for these conditions. Physicians at ActivMed are looking to change this reality by continually seeking new treatment options for patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. If you or someone you know has experienced memory loss, or has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you may be eligible to participate in clinical research! Qualified candidates who decide to participate will receive study-related visits and lab work at no cost, as well as receive compensation for travel. To learn more on how you can be involved, CLICK HERE.

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October 8, 2018

World Mental Health Day (October 10) and National Depression Screening Day (October 11) are both held annually during Mental Illness Awareness Week in October. Both days are recognized globally in an effort to raise public awareness of behavioral and mental health issues, working to reduce stigma, and changing overall attitudes about mental health.

The 2018 campaign for World Mental Health Day is focused on Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half of all mental illness begins at the age of 14, and most remain undetected and untreated, with depression being the third leading cause. Suicide is the second cause of death among those between 15 and 29, with harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs being a major issue. The goal of this year’s campaign is to bring attention to the issues youths and young adults are facing in the world today and begin the conversation around what they need in order to grow up healthy, happy and resilient.

World Mental Health Day was observed for the first time back on October 10, 1992. It was started as an annual activity of the World Federation for Mental Health by the Deputy Secretary General Richard Hunter. Back then, the day had no specific theme or topic and the goal was to promote mental health advocacy and to educate the public on relevant issues. The day is officially commemorated annually on October 10th.

National Depression Screening Day was pioneered in 1990 by Screening for Mental Health (SMH). It was the first voluntary, mental health screening initiative. The day began as an effort to reach individuals across the country to help educate them on mental health issues and connect them with support services.

ActivMed will be offering FREE DEPRESSION SCREENINGS during the month of October in recognition of World Mental Health Day. If you or someone you love has been experiencing depression symptoms, you may request an appointment by CLICKING HERE.

Research studies for potential new depression treatments are also enrolling now. If you have been diagnosed with depression and are unhappy with your current treatment, you may be eligible. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a study, CLICK HERE.

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October 4, 2018
ACRES

The Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety (ACRES) announced this week that teams have initiated validation of standards and testing of procedures for voluntary accreditation of clinical research sites. The first evaluation effort, under the direction of Dr. Larry Kennedy, ACRES VP for Quality Management Systems and Chief Quality Officer, is underway in association with ActivMed Practices and Research, Inc.

READ THE FULL PRESS RELEASE HERE

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Posted in Blog
September 24, 2018
AcitvMed_Blog_Mental_Illness_Awareness_Week

Each year, millions of people face the tough reality of living with mental illness. It’s estimated that over 16 million Americans struggle with depression, and as many as 2.2 million adults struggle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). October 7-13 is Mental Illness Awareness Week and this year’s message is all about fighting the stigma associated with mental health.

The 2018 campaign promoted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has been termed “CureStigma.” While NAMI stresses the importance of discussing mental health conditions year-round, this year’s campaign highlights them during Mental Illness Awareness Week.

In 1990, Congress officially established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW)[i] and ever since then, advocates have worked together to educate the public, provide support, and fight the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Did you know that mental health conditions are the leading cause of disability across the United States? Even though most people can be successfully treated, less than half of the adults in the U.S. reach out and seek the help and treatment that they need. Why? Stigma, for one. Some people describe stigma as a feeling of shame or judgment from someone else. [ii] Stigma can create giant hurdles when it comes to reaching out, getting needed support and overall living well.

It’s time to start standing up to the stigma related to mental illness. If you or someone you love is battling mental illness, you’re not alone. ActivMed is seeking patients to take part in clinical studies for both Depression and OCD. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see if you qualify for a depression study at our Methuen, MA location, CLICK HERE. To learn more about OCD studies at our Portsmouth, NH site, CLICK HERE. YOU can help us make a difference today!

[i] https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events

[ii] https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/StigmaFree

 

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September 16, 2018

September 2018 marks the 7th annual World Alzheimer’s Month. The international campaign aims to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. Dementia is not a specific disease, but rather a term that describes an overall group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.[1]

Currently, there are close to 50 million people worldwide living with dementia. By the year 2050, that number is set to triple.

Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases. Come join the ActivMed team as we take the part in both the 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Andover, MA on September 16, 2018 at the Andover Landing at Brickstone Square, and the Seacoast Area Walk to End Alzheimer’s on September 23, 2018 at the Little Harbour School in Portsmouth, NH. Stop by our table and learn about getting involved in the fight to end Alzheimer’s!

Participating in fundraising events is only part of the journey to finding a cure. Volunteers are needed more than ever to help find new treatments and ultimately a cure. ActivMed is currently looking for volunteers to participate in a device research study for Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss at our Methuen, MA and Portsmouth, NH locations. Study-related office visits, tests, and assessments are provided at no cost to those who qualify and participate. Reimbursement for travel expenses is also available for qualified participants.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of memory loss or has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, contact ActivMed Practices and Research today to learn more about study opportunities that may help.

[1] https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia

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Posted in Blog
August 21, 2018

Clinical trials play a key role in helping to advance medical research. Clinical trials are scientific studies that ultimately aim to find better ways to prevent, treat, and diagnose diseases. If you have ever considered volunteering to participate in a clinical research trial, it’s important to understand how clinical trials work.

Clinical trials are done in different phases. Each phase has different criteria and a different purpose.

  • Phase I studies are meant to assess the safety of a drug or device and usually include 20-100 volunteers. About 70% of drugs will pass this phase.
  • Phase II studies are designed to test the effectiveness of a drug or device, while continuing to monitor and assess safety. Several hundred volunteers may take part in phase II trials and they can last from several months to two years. About one-third of drugs successfully complete phase I and phase II studies.
  • Phase III studies involve several hundred to several thousand volunteers. The purpose is to test effectiveness and to monitor for any adverse reactions. About 25-30% of drugs will make to the next phase.
  • Phase IV studies test the safety and effectiveness of treatment and carried out once the drug or device has been approved by the FDA.

No matter the phase, each clinical trial is led by a Principal Investigator, or PI. The PI, who is often a board-certified physician, works with a medical team and follows a master plan called a protocol. The protocol explains detailed information about what will be done during the clinical trial. Even if the same study is being conducted in a different part of the country, the exact same protocol will be followed.

Before deciding whether or not to participate in a research study, volunteers are provided with key information that explains the details of the study. This is called the informed consent process. Informed consent is more than just signing a document, it involves providing appropriate time for potential participants to ask questions and discuss any questions and concerns before deciding to participate.  Throughout the study, informed consent is maintained with participants through the disclosure of any newly discovered potential risks, and the ongoing disclosure of information as the research progresses.

Choosing to participate in a clinical trial is a very personal decision. Participating may give you the opportunity to access potential new treatment options and give you a better understanding of your condition. ActivMed understands the importance of clinical research and the value that participants bring to the advancement of medical knowledge.  ActivMed is currently enrolling for studies in a variety of conditions. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more about how you or someone you love may qualify to participate in a clinical research study at ActivMed, click HERE.

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August 8, 2018

August brings the arrival of Psoriasis Awareness Month. A chronic, systemic disease of the immune system, psoriasis most often appears on the skin as raised, itchy red patches. Living with psoriasis can seem like an uphill battle, but it’s important to know that if you’re struggling with psoriasis, you’re not alone.

The National Psoriasis Foundation reports that as many as 7.5 million American have psoriasis. Included in that number are people like you and me, but also people that many look up to, even idolize, like Kim Kardashian and Cyndi Lauper.

Cyndi Lauper is an icon is the music world, known for many hits that are still popular today. She revealed to PEOPLE magazine her psoriasis struggle that began back in 2010 with irritation on her scalp that she simply chalked up to bad hair dye.

Unfortunately, her scalp irritation then turned into an entire body rash complete with itchy, scaly skin over the next couple of years. Her immune system suffered as well. It took a toll physically and emotionally, and affected her ability to perform. Now, Lauper has found a treatment plan that helps her to manage her symptoms. She also avoids eating and drinking things that are associated with inflammation.

Psoriasis is the most prevalent autoimmune disease in the U.S. and not every treatment is a good fit for each person struggling to mange systems. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with psoriasis, ActivMed is currently enrolling studies for potential new treatment options at the Portsmouth, NH and Beverly, MA sites. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see if you qualify for a study at our Portsmouth, NH location, CLICK HERE. For our Beverly, MA location, CLICK HERE.

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August 2, 2018
Biogen

Hopes are rising again for a drug to alter the course of Alzheimer’s disease after repeated failures. An experimental therapy slowed mental decline by 30 percent in patients who got the highest dose in a mid-stage study, and it removed much of the sticky plaque gumming up their brains, the drug’s makers said Wednesday.

Read Full Article on BostonGlobe.com

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Posted in Blog
August 2, 2018

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This video, featuring some of medical research’s most influential players — including National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, Apple Health Team’s Stephen Friend, FasterCures Senior Fellow Bray Patrick-Lake, Yumanity Therapeutics CEO N. Anthony Coles and American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown — describes how FasterCures brings sectors together and the work ahead to save lives.

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Posted in Blog
July 30, 2018

Read “For Scientists Racing to Cure Alzheimer’s, the Math Is Getting Ugly” on NYTimes.com

Without clinical trials, we would not have new medications. Volunteers are needed to help further investigate new Alzheimer’s Disease therapies. Learn more about getting involved at one of our site locations on our enrolling studies page today.

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Posted in Blog
July 23, 2018

Gluten-free diets have become a popular trend over recent years. Whether it’s in hopes to boost energy, lose weight, treat some health ailment, or just to improve general overall health. According to an article in JAMA Internal Medicine,  while gluten-free diets are on the rise, celiac disease diagnoses continue to remain steady with little fluctuation year to year.

While that’s not to say those following gluten-free diets don’t have a gluten sensitivity, a gluten sensitivity is not the same as celiac disease, and would not be detectable in a blood test. Living with celiac disease is much more than just living a gluten-free lifestyle. Eating gluten triggers an immune response in the small intestine and can lead to some pretty undesirable symptoms. Let’s explore a little further.

People with celiac disease can’t eat gluten. If you’re wondering what exactly gluten is, it’s a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. The immune response that happens in the small intestine when gluten is consumed can damage the lining of the intestine over time, and prevent absorption of nutrients.

This damage can also cause symptoms like: abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, nausea, weight loss, and even anemia. Although, many people with celiac disease don’t have any symptoms.

Currently, the only treatment for those with celiac disease is a strict, 100% gluten-free diet to help manage symptoms. ActivMed is currently enrolling in studies for potential new treatment options. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with celiac disease, you may be eligible to participate in a research study. Qualified candidates who and participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a study, CLICK HERE.

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July 10, 2018

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a chronic condition in which a person has uncontrollable recurring thoughts (obsessions) that lead to compulsive behaviors. OCD isn’t just about habits like nail biting, or always thinking a certain way. This disorder is much more serious and can interfere with all aspects of life such as work, school, and personal relationships.

1 in 40 U.S. adults suffers from OCD. According to the World Health Organization, OCD is one of the top 20 causes of illness-related disability.

Genetics play a role. People with first-degree relatives – think parent, child, sibling – who have OCD are at a higher risk for developing OCD themselves.

Most people are diagnosed by about age 19. While an OCD diagnosis typically occurs by age 19, disease onset after age 35 can happen. Boys typically have an earlier age of onset than girls.

How is OCD diagnosed? OCD is diagnosed when obsessions and compulsions consume an hour or more each day, cause significant distress, and interfere with daily functioning at work or school, in family relationships or with normal routines.

Symptoms of OCD vary widely depending upon the individual and the situation. These may include: fear of germs, fear of harm/illness/death, religious fears, urges related to numbers, discarding items, excessive doubt, urges to have everything “just right,” sexual fears, the list goes on. While the majority of people with OCD are able to function reasonably well, when OCD symptoms escalate to the point that they interfere with basic life functions – it’s time to consider seeking help.

Recognizing that you need help is the first step to help managing your OCD symptoms. If you or someone you love is struggling with OCD, ActivMed is currently enrolling in studies for those seeking new treatment options. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for an obsessive-compulsive disorder study, click HERE.

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July 10, 2018
Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety (ACRES)

The Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety is a global collective of like-minded organizations and individuals working together, committed to the mission of “finding the most effective, innovative, ethical means of building, implementing and maintaining an integrated, comprehensive global system for clinical research, in a timely and cost-efficient manner- and then do it!”

Recognizing the need for uniform standards in the clinical research industry, our CEO, Terry Stubbs, serves as a co-chair for the Site Accreditation & Standards Initiative (SASI). Volunteering her time and expertise, Terry is working with a team to help draft standards for the upcoming site accreditation system.

These quality standards are now being made available by request to qualified individuals and organizations for review and comment as part of an ongoing consultation, development, and validation process (https://standardsdevelopment.bsigroup.com/Projects/9018-01652).

The closing date for the public consultation is Wednesday 31 October 2018.

We are proud at ActivMed to be part of this global initiative, and are excited about the positive impact this will have on the clinical research industry.

For more information, you can read this recent article from the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Posted in Blog
June 21, 2018


On Tuesday 6/19, ActivMed participated in a presentation done by the Alzheimer’s Association at Langdon Place of Dover in Dover, NH.

Kendra and Victoria both spoke on our current clinical studies and how people can get involved. Laura spoke about ActivMed’s history and locations, as well as the need for active participants.

It was a great event with 25 in attendance and many questions asked!

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Posted in Blog, Events
June 20, 2018

Psoriasis is a disease that causes red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. It typically occurs on places like knees, scalp, and elbows, but can really show up anywhere. The uncomfortable rash can sometimes itch or burn. Psoriasis doesn’t stop at the skin. While the physical struggles associated with psoriasis can be considerable, the disease can also affect your mental and emotional health.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, people with psoriasis are more likely to suffer from depression. It’s even been said that depression is the number one comorbidity of psoriasis. Why is that? Some doctors believe that biological changes that cause psoriasis may play a part. The stigma associated with visible psoriasis can also make people depressed.

For most people with psoriasis, the red, scaly patches can be embarrassing. Many people will opt to wear long sleeves to conceal their psoriasis, and in the summer this is especially hard as heat and sweat can make psoriasis worse. While you may be anxious about showing too much skin, you don’t want to allow yourself to become overheated.

Many people with psoriasis will notice that their symptoms seem to improve during the summer months. While you may notice a reduction in your skin patches with added sunlight, remember to limit your sun exposure! Getting burnt could trigger a flare.

While psoriasis is one of the most common skin diseases, there is no cure. If you or someone you love is struggling to manage psoriasis symptoms, ActivMed is currently enrolling in studies for those seeking new treatment options. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a study at our Beverly location click HERE or at our Portsmouth site, click HERE.

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June 19, 2018

What a great presentation Dr. Portney did last week at the Andover Senior Center to a group of people who are either suffering from Parkinson’s Disease or have a loved one suffering. He answered many questions and discussed the research going on at ActivMed in Methuen. His presentation gave some hope of finding a cure with the help of great research.

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Posted in Blog
June 16, 2018

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Congratulations Dr. Koski. Thanks for being so humble and caring.

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Posted in Blog
June 12, 2018

Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a condition that causes skin to be red and itchy. The itching can be so uncomfortable it can get in the way of daily activities and cause problems when it comes to sleeping. It most commonly appears on the face, backs of the knees, insides of the elbows, hands and scalp.

The National Eczema Association estimates that over 31 million people in the U.S. have some form of eczema. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding this common skin condition. Here are just a few to help you understand eczema a little bit better.

  1. Eczema is contagious. This is a big one we hear all the time. You can’t ‘catch’ eczema from someone who has the disease and you can’t give it to someone by touching them if you have it.
  2. Eczema and acne are the same. This is false. The small bumps that eczema can cause are not acne.
  3. Eczema is caused by bad hygiene. The cause of the disease has nothing to do with personal hygiene. According to WebMD, doctors think eczema is caused by a combination of factors including combination of environmental, genetic and immune system factors.
  4. Eczema is caused by stress. While stress can trigger eczema and make it worse, stress does not cause eczema.
  5. Eczema can be cured. While there’s currently no cure for eczema, the condition can be better managed by knowing your personal triggers and making a treatment plan based upon that information.

Researchers at ActivMed are currently studying potential new eczema treatment options. If you or someone you love is struggling to manage eczema symptoms, you may be eligible to participate in a research study. Qualified participants are closely evaluated by board-certified dermatologists and other medical professionals, and may even gain access to new treatments before they are available to the general public. Compensation is also available for travel expenses. To learn more, click HERE.

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May 30, 2018

It felt like one day I was a healthy, normal woman and then…I just wasn’t. Nothing had happened to me. I wasn’t subject to infidelity, depressed, or unhappy with my husband. It just suddenly felt like one of my most basic instincts was gone. I simply had no interest in physical intimacy. If you’re a woman experiencing similar feelings, you may have Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD), and you’re no stranger to this feeling.

At first, I was embarrassed and unsure of what to do. What would my friends think? I wasn’t sure I could confide in them. I decided to do some research myself. According to WebMD nearly one-third of women ages 18-59 suffer from a lost interest in sex. I also learned that The Society for Women’s Health Research estimates that as many as one in ten women suffer from HSDD, which I would later be diagnosed with.[i]

After doing some research and learning how many women experience HSDD, I felt like less of an outcast.  I knew it was time to face my symptoms head on and make a trip to my doctor. I explained everything to my doctor; how I was feeling, how I didn’t want to feel, and the toll I knew this was taking on my marriage. It felt like a safe zone where I could say anything. I knew that I had been making excuse after excuse for why my husband and I weren’t being intimate, when in reality, it was because I just didn’t want to.

After I left the doctor I cried because I felt bad for my husband and how I know I had been making him feel. I cried because I had a diagnosis and wasn’t sure what we were facing. I cried for the thousands of other women feeling the way I had been, and hoped they were brave enough to face their feelings.

While HSDD is a complicated disorder and doctors are searching for ways to help. Research studies are being conducted by local physicians that may help to pave the way for potential new treatment options. ActivMed is currently seeking women for current and upcoming studies to help test these new treatments. Qualified candidates who participate will receive evaluations for HSDD and study-related care at no cost. Compensation is also available to qualified participants for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for an HSDD study, click HERE.

[i] http://www.issm.info/sexual-health-qa/what-is-hsdd/

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May 22, 2018

Approximately 16.2 million adults around the world struggle with depression. That is a staggering 6.7% of the population! With so many affected, what’s even more surprising is that the stigma attached to depression is still a major problem.

Many people state that the reason they often don’t seek out the help they need, is for this very reason. Stigma.

9 out of 10 people also report that the stigma associated with having a condition like depression has had a negative impact on their lives. From work to relationships and everything in between, the affects can be felt in almost every way.

Stigma can also deter people from seeking treatment, which can worsen depression symptoms.  Imagine having a problem and not being able to talk to your friends or family or get the treatment and care you need. This is a serious concern for healthcare professionals and patients alike.

So for Mental Health Month, here are a few ways you can help stop the stigma.

Educate yourself. Take time to learn what you don’t understand. Read, or better yet, talk to someone about what it’s like to have depression. Education can help increase your understanding and break down negativity.

Be careful with your words. Using first person language and avoid defining people based on their mental health. It’s also important to avoid saying things like, “Be Positive” or “I know how you feel,” as these may be taken in a negative way. For a helpful guide on phrases we should stop using when it comes to depression and other mental illness, check out this article from the Huffington Post.

Support organizations that support depression awareness. Getting involved and supporting organizations like National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) or the American Psychiatric Association can help on a larger scale. Each year, NAMI sponsors local races and other events to raise money for programs that are helping to fight stigma and get people the treatment and care they need.

NAMI is also promoting the theme of “CureStigma” throughout all of their awareness events, including Mental Health Month.

This month and every month, join the fight to raise awareness and get rid of the stigma.  Together we can help to improve and save lives.

Currently, ActivMed is seeking patients to take part in clinical studies for depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). To find out how you can participate, visit activmedresearch.com. Help us make a difference today!

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Posted in Blog
May 16, 2018

May 20th is recognized as International Clinical Trials day, to commemorate the first controlled clinical trial, conducted by Dr. James Lind.

May 20, 1747, Dr. Lind was a British surgeon aboard the HMS Salisbury for the British Royal Navy who took the opportunity to test a better way to treat the common problem of scurvy that had befallen 12 shipmates. Lind divided the sailors into groups of two. “They all in general had putrid gums, the spots and lassitude, with weakness of knees,” he wrote in his 1753 paper A Treatise on the Scurvy. The sick men were isolated from the rest of the crew, and given the same rations. He gave different treatments to each of the pairs. The treatments were cider, a few drops of a weak acid, vinegar, sea-water, nutmeg and barley water, or oranges and lemons. After 6 days, the two men who ate the oranges and lemons were well and fit for duty. The other men were still “weak in the knees.”

In 2003, Royal College of Physicians established The James Lind Library to commemorate 250th anniversary of publication of Dr. Lind’s pioneering contribution “Treatise on Scurvy”. The publicity and popularity of the James Lind Library has made 20 May to be designated International Clinical Trials Day, because James Lind’s celebrated controlled trial began on that day in 1747.5

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Posted in Blog
April 23, 2018
COPD_Cigarette_ResarchStudy_MethuenMA

If you or a loved one struggle with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), take comfort in the fact that you are not alone! Contrary to popular belief, COPD is more than just a smoker’s cough, it is a life-threatening disease that interferes with breathing. There are an estimated 64 million people who live with COPD.

The most common cause of COPD is tobacco smoke through tobacco use or second-hand smoke. Warning signs for COPD are frequently dismissed and, usually, people think that the reason they are short of breath is due to “just getting older.”

Living Life with COPD

Living Life with COPD

Common COPD Symptoms:

  • shortness of breath (often the first sign)
  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • having a tight feeling your chest
  • feeling winded going up the stairs
  • frequently needing to catch your breath.

People with COPD are more likely to have frequent colds, recurring bouts of the flu, or pneumonia and all of these can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and other symptoms. Shortness of breath and coughing can also be a sign of asthma which is why women with COPD are more likely than men to be misdiagnosed with asthma.

In the late 1960’s, tobacco companies heavily targeted women, resulting in an increase of women who started smoking and COPD now affects men and women almost equally because of increased tobacco use among women. Women are more likely to have lung damage from cigarette smoke than men are because women’s lungs are smaller and higher estrogen levels tend to worsen lung disease. Women are often misdiagnosed because COPD has been thought of as a man’s disease.

 

 

People are often diagnosed with COPD between age 50 and 60 when symptoms are so obvious that they can no longer be ignored, but COPD actually can begin to develop around age 40.

To find out if a patient has COPD, a doctor will have a patient breathe into a tube hooked up to a spirometer which measures how much air the patient exhales. More primary care doctors use this simple method to test anyone who is at risk for COPD, even if they don’t have symptoms.

COPD is the 5th biggest killer worldwide and is estimated to kill over 250 people worldwide. Although there is no cure for COPD, it can be found early and steps can be taken to help manage the disease. With medications, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and social support, many people diagnosed with COPD are able to live long lives.

Enjoying Life with COPD

Enjoying Life with COPD

How to Get Involved: 

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with COPD, a medical research study may be an option. ActivMed is currently seeking participants for several current and upcoming studies. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see if you or someone you love may qualify for a study, click HERE.

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