Category: Blog

April 13, 2022
How stress affects your heart and health

We all experience stress, and it’s more prevalent these days amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, long-term exposure takes a toll on our physical and mental health. Knowing how stress can affect your heart and body can be the biggest inspiration in finding healthy ways to reduce it. This is the message at the heart of the Stress Awareness Month initiative that kicks off every April.

Fight-Or-Flight: The Stress Response

The stress response is a series of changes that occur in the body to take care of a real or perceived threat. Stressors are different for everyone and are any situations a person perceives as mentally or physically terrifying. When a stressor triggers our stress response, our body goes into fight-or-flight mode. Your heart beats faster, breathing increases, and muscles tense up. Once the threat is gone, the body functions return to normal.

The stress response is a short burst of heightened awareness that dissipates with the threat. In today’s world, there are fewer physical and more psychological stressors such as:

  • Parenting
  • Financial issues
  • Family or relationship difficulties
  • Pressure at work

The Constant State of Heightened Awareness

Woman surrounded by stressors at work

Some stressors can take a while to resolve, meaning the threat is always present. It also means the stress response stays on, and the body is in a constant heightened awareness state. Long-term exposure to chronic stress takes a toll on the mind and body. Irritability, anxiety, depression, and insomnia are some of the mental health symptoms of chronic stress. No system in the body is safe from the effects of stress. At the same time, it also increases our risk of certain conditions. For example:

·                   Muscles– Contracting the muscles for prolonged periods can lead to tension headaches and migraines.

·                   Heart– Stress increases the heart rate and strength at which the heart muscle pumps. Doing this increases the size of the blood vessels and arteries. This raises the blood pressure and can eventually damage the blood vessels and lead to heart disease.

·                   Liver– The energy boost during the stress response comes from the liver, increasing the blood sugar it produces. Over time, higher blood sugar levels significantly raise your risk for type 2 diabetes.

Relax, it's Stress Awareness Month

You Can’t Avoid Stress, But You Can Manage It.

You can’t always avoid every stressful situation. Therefore, we have to learn effective ways to manage stress and reduce its effects on the body. Though every person’s needs will vary, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and relaxation techniques are some coping strategies helpful in managing stress.

Living with a chronic health condition can be stressful. Participating in clinical research studies can help you prioritize your health while you help advance care options for your condition. Volunteering also has many mental health benefits and has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression.

Potential benefits of clinical trials

Visit our website to view a list of enrolling studies in your area today!

Sources:

https://www.heart.org/en/news/2020/02/04/chronic-stress-can-cause-heart-trouble

https://www.verywellmind.com/stress-and-health-3145086

April 1, 2022
What is cytomegalovirus

Cytomegalovirus (sy-toe-MEG-a-low-vy-rus) (CMV) is a common virus that’s undoubtedly a tongue-twister. Even with a name that’s 15 letters long, many people know little about it. The majority of individuals who contract CMV are not aware they have it. Unfortunately, lack of awareness isn’t a positive thing in this case. Cytomegalovirus has a more nefarious side that preys on the most vulnerable populations. Through education and research, we are ending the commonality of CMV.

What is CMV, and How Common is it?

The virus that causes human CMV infections belongs to the herpes virus family. Once an individual contracts CMV, it stays with them their entire life. Like other herpes viruses, it can remain dormant and then reactivate. Re-infection from another strain is also possible.

Millions have CMV without knowing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between 50 and 80 percent of people in the United States have had a CMV infection by the time they are 40 years old.

Symptoms and Vulnerable Population for Severe Disease

In most cases, individuals with a CMV infection don’t experience symptoms, thus making them unaware they have it. Mild symptoms generally consist of fatigue, fever, sore throat, and muscle aches. Below are the three main populations at risk for severe CMV symptoms and complications:

  •   Congenital CMV: When an infant gets a CMV infection before birth.
    •  Severe symptoms include jaundice, fever, and enlargement of the spleen and liver.
  • Perinatal CMV: When a baby is infected with CMV during or shortly after birth.
    • Infants that contract CMV after birth can face deafness, blindness, and other long-term neurological complications such as intellectual disabilities.
  • CMV infection individuals with weakened immune systems:
    • Severe symptoms include advanced pneumonia and inflammation of the retina that can lead to blindness. Stomach and esophagus ulcers and infections in the brain can also occur.

Transmission and Prevention of CMV

Once CMV infection occurs, the virus can also pass into body fluids, such as saliva, urine, blood, tears, semen, and breast milk. Therefore, individuals with CMV can spread it to others in the following ways:

  • From direct contact with saliva or urine, especially from babies and young children
  • Through sexual contact
  • Nursing infants from breastmilk
  • Through transplanted organs and blood transfusions

In addition, pregnant women who have CMV can also pass the virus to their baby while still in the uterus or during birth. About 1 out of 200 babies is born with congenital CMV. Out of the babies infected, 1 in 5 will have symptoms or a long-term health problem that may be present at birth or develop after. As a result, CMV is the most common infectious cause of congenital disabilities in the U.S. Despite this, CMV is preventable. You can find general prevention tips and screening information for women of childbearing age and those currently pregnant on the National CMV Foundation website.

Sanitizing a doorknob

Antiviral medications are the traditional form of treatment because they can slow the spread of the virus. Even though none of the available therapies can eliminate the CMV virus, researchers are studying potential new options to treat and prevent it. ActivMed Practices & Research is looking for healthy women to join our CMV vaccine studies at our Methuen, MA location.

CMV is a common virus that often has no symptoms

Apply today via our website or contact us at (978) 655-7155.

Sources:

https://www.nationalcmv.org/overview/start-here

https://www.cdc.gov/cmv/overview.html

March 18, 2022
How to tell the difference between Palmoplantar Pustulosis (PPP) and Prurigo Nodularis

Palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP) and prurigo nodularis (PN) are a pair of tongue-twisting skin conditions we’re conducting clinical trials for. Though neither is very common, you can easily confuse the two because of their similarities. Here’s how to tell the difference between palmoplantar pustulosis and prurigo nodularis.

Symptoms of PPP and PN

PPP is a rare form of psoriasis where tiny blisters develop on the palms of hands and soles of feet. As the blisters dry up, they can turn brown and scaly, and deep cracks can form. PPP can be itchy and painful and cause a burning sensation in the hands and feet. As a result, patients may have difficulty walking comfortably or using their hands without pain.

Woman sitting on couch holding her foot. Palmoplantar pustulosis can cause burning in the hands or feet

PN affects the skin by causing hard, itchy bumps to form on the arms, legs, upper back, and abdomen. The itching is usually very intense, and patients often scratch themselves to the point of bleeding or pain. Loss of sleep, scarring, and changes to the skin’s surface are some of the most common impacts of PN.

Woman holding a sign that says Prurigo nodularis is not contagious.

Potential Causes

So far, we know that both conditions involve bumps that can be itchy and painful. On the other hand, they differ in:

  • Location on the body
  • Type of bump (blister vs. hard bump)
  • Itch severity
  • Ways they impact patients’ lives

Researchers are still working to identify the exact cause of both conditions better, though there are some potential factors for PPP include:

  • An effect of nicotine on the sweat glands of the hands and feet since most patients are current or former smokers
  • Family history
  • Medication side effects
  • Infections

For PN, researchers believe the “itch-scratch-itch cycle” is a significant player in developing this condition. PN begins with itchy skin that causes the uncontrollable urge to scratch and rub it. After about six weeks, the hard bumps form in the areas you’ve been scratching and rubbing. Many people who develop PN already have another condition that makes their skin extremely itchy, like eczema. Individuals with this condition also have thicker nerve cells in the skin, which may mean the signals letting the brain know the skin is itchy are more substantial than someone without PN.

Treatment

Treating both conditions involves a combination of therapies that you apply to the skin, take by mouth, or inject. These aim to:

  • Remove or lessen the appearance of bumps
  • Reduce the itchiness
  • Suppress the overactive response from the immune system
  • Control inflammation

In addition, habit reversal therapy is another part of treating PN that helps reduce the frequency of scratching. This technique uses awareness training and behavior modification therapy to create alternatives to scratching the skin.

ActivMed Practices & Research is looking for individuals with PPP and PN to join enrolling research studies evaluating potential new care options. To see if you may qualify, visit the Portsmouth, NH webpage for our PPP studies or visit the Beverly, MA webpage for our PN studies today!

Sources:

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/prurigo-nodularis-treatment

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

March 11, 2022
Eczema and Bathing

When living with atopic dermatitis (eczema), setting up a good skincare and moisturization routine is important for managing symptoms and preventing flares. Keeping the skin clean is one of the many reasons bathing and eczema go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Eczema and Dry Skin

The uppermost layer of our skin is what keeps irritants, bacteria, viruses, and allergens from getting into our bodies and moisture from getting out. Eczema is a skin condition that affects this layer and causes dry skin and a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Itchiness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Scaling
Picture of skin with eczema

Eczema also causes your skin to be more sensitive to irritants, leading to a flare-up. A flare-up is a phase of eczema where you experience worsening severity of one or more of the symptoms. Common triggers may include:

  • Extended exposure to dry air
  • Extreme heat or cold
  • Some types of soap, shampoo, bubble bath, body wash, facial cleansers
  • Laundry detergents and fabric softeners with chemical additives
  • Certain fabrics like wool or polyester in clothing and sheets
  • Metals, especially nickel, in jewelry or utensils

Soak and Seal

Woman soaking in a bathtub

Individuals with eczema tend to have drier skin and are sensitive to encounters. Proper bathing and moisturization are good ways to keep the skin clean and prevent drying out. The “Soak and Seal” method is what many providers recommend to combat dry skin and reduce flares. To get the full therapeutic benefit, follow these steps:

  1. Take a bath using lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 to 10 minutes. Use a gentle cleanser (no harsh soaps) and avoid scrubbing the affected skin.
  2. After bathing, pat the skin lightly with a towel leaving it slightly damp.
  3. Apply a topical prescription medication to the affected areas of the skin per your doctor’s instructions.
  4. Within three minutes, liberally apply a cream or ointment type of moisturizer all over the body.
  5. Wait a few minutes to let the moisturizer absorb into the skin before dressing or applying wet wraps.

Eczema Symptoms Can be Persistent.

Eczema shouldn't stop you from living your life

Do you have eczema and are experiencing persistent symptoms? Clinical research studies may help! As a research volunteer, you can help advance future care options for yourself and other individuals living with eczema. To learn more about currently enrolling eczema studies here at ActivMed, contact our Portsmouth, NH location at (603) 319-8863 or visit our website.

Sources:

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/childhood/itch-relief/baths-moisturizer

February 18, 2022
National Caregivers Day

Did you know that nearly 66 million Americans serve as caregivers to their parents and other loved ones? February 18th is National Caregivers Day, and in honor of our caregivers, we are shining a light on their work and exploring the different ways we can show them our appreciation.

What Does a Caregiver Do?

An adult male pushing an older male in a wheelchair, caregiver

A caregiver is a paid or unpaid member of a person’s social network or a healthcare provider who helps them with activities of daily living. There are different types of caregivers. The types are family caregiver, professional caregiver, independent caregiver, private duty caregiver, and informal caregiver. Here is a list of duties that a caregiver might engage in during a typical month::

  • Six days a month they spend grooming, feeding, dressing, bathing, and walking.
  • 13 days a month they spend commuting, cleaning, doing the laundry, monitoring medication, shopping, and cooking special meals for a loved one.
  • 13 hours a month are spent coordinating visits with physicians, researching symptoms and diseases, and managing finances.

Honoring Caregivers

While National Caregivers Day is the perfect time to acknowledge the dedicated individuals who work as caregivers, it shouldn’t end there. Showing your appreciation throughout the year with just a simple “thank you” can help lift the spirit of these individuals who work tirelessly to provide high-quality care to the loved ones in your life. You could even thank them over a simple note, letter, or email. Show your support on social media and use the hashtags, #thankacaregiver and #nationalcaregiversday, to share your story. A small gift to your family caregiver(s) would be an excellent idea, too. Here are some suggestions:

  • Books (affirmations, mindfulness)
  • Gift cards to their favorite store
  • Baked goods
  • Hand creams, aromatherapy diffusers, or other bath and spa related products
  • Donation to a worthy cause in the name of the caregiver
Is your loved one suffering from Alzheimer's?

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, clinical research studies may be an option. Research studies help advance prevention and treatment opportunities for Alzheimer’s and other chronic conditions. To learn more about our enrolling Alzheimer’s studies at our Lawrence, MA location, click here or call us at (978) 655-7155.

Sources:

https://www.nahc.org/national-caregivers-day/

February 8, 2022
Show Your Heart Some Love. Learn about cardiovascular health in honor of American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. In a person’s lifetime, their heart will beat on average over 3.5 billion times. February signifies the start of American Heart Month, which means there’s no better time to show your heart some love by making healthier choices to protect it.

Why You Need a Healthy Heart

The heart and circulatory system make up the cardiovascular system. When the heart expands and contracts, it moves the blood into each chamber, adds oxygen, and sends it back out into the body. Each cell and organ (including the heart) in our body depends on a steady flow of oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to function correctly.

Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term for various conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart. These include:

  • Blood vessel diseases
  • Damage to the heart from infection
  • Congenital heart diseases

American Heart Month

Picture of a heart and stethoscope. American Heart Month, Cardiovascular studies

Most diseases that affect the heart are preventable. Each February, American Heart Month is celebrated by motivating Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles to prevent heart disease. Here are some ways you can protect your heart:

  • Talk to your doctor about your blood pressure, cholesterol, and A1C
  • Reduce your sodium intake, and increase the quantity of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet
  • Be physically active
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Don’t smoke
  • Incorporate techniques to help manage stress
  • Learn how to cope with chronic conditions, like diabetes effectively

Visit The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) American Heart Month webpage to explore additional heart-healthy self-care resources and ways to help inspire others to protect their heart.

Cardiovascular Studies

Safe and effective treatment options for individuals living with heart disease are vital to successfully managing these conditions. When potential new options are developed to diagnose, treat, or prevent a disease, research studies help make sure they are safe and effective. Patient volunteers who participate in these studies make advances in medicine possible.

Give your heart the attention it needs, explore our heart disease studies today! American Heart Month

Help spread the love and brighten the future of heart disease as a clinical research volunteer. At ActivMed Practices & Research, we have several cardiovascular studies enrolling at our Methuen, MA location. Call us at (978) 655-7155 to learn more or visit our website today!

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/about.htm

https://www.heart.org/

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/education/american-heart-month/about

January 27, 2022
History of Vaccines

The CDC says, “Vaccines are one of the greatest success stories in public health.” Before vaccines, diseases like, measles diphtheria, and whooping cough posed serious threats to the well-being of individuals everywhere. However, thanks to routine immunizations, their devastating effects are preventable. Though the history of vaccines isn’t always cut and dry, their humble beginnings laid the groundwork for saving millions of lives each year.

Early Evidence

When most people think of the birth of the concept of vaccines, they think of Edward Jenner. In the late 1700s, Jenner most notably tested a method that involved taking material from a blister of someone infected with cowpox and inoculating it into another person’s skin. This is referred to as arm-to-arm inoculation.

Surprisingly, evidence exists that the Chinese employed a similar smallpox vaccination method as early as 1000 CE. During this time, Asian physicians gave children dried crusts from the lesions of people suffering from smallpox to protect against the disease. Some children developed immunity, while others developed the disease. The practice was also used in Africa and Turkey before spreading to Europe and the Americas.

200 Years

Vaccines- a vaccine needle injecting the earth.

Over the next 200 years, Jenner’s method underwent medical and technological changes that resulted in the eradication of smallpox. In 1881 Louis Pasteur, a French biologist, evaluated immunization against anthrax by injecting sheep with attenuated forms of the bacillus that causes the disease. Attenuation takes an infectious agent and alters it to become less dangerous. Four short years later, he developed a protective suspension against rabies. By 1980, polio cases declined by 99 percent. Many other vaccines help teach your immune system, how to combat germs and their diseases such as mumps, measles, typhoid fever, cholera, plague, tuberculosis, pneumococcal infection, tetanus, influenza, yellow fever, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, some types of encephalitis, typhus, and more.

MMR vaccine bottle with gloved hand holding it.

Before creating a new vaccine, scientists take several factors into account. For example, they’ll consider who is most vulnerable, what the immune response will be to a germ, and which method is best to use to develop the vaccine. It’s important to note that viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, so vaccines for viruses provide important immune protection.

Join an RSV Study Today!

Adults are capable of getting it. Explore our RSV studies today.

As more and more prevalent diseases become preventable through vaccines, their impact continues to lessen. ActivMed Practices & Research is seeking healthy volunteers over the age of 60 to join a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine study. RSV is a type of respiratory infection that can cause serious illness in older adults. Since there is no vaccine currently available to help protect individuals from the disease, there is a great need for its development. To learn more, click the location nearest you below:

Sources:

https://www.britannica.com/science/vaccine

https://www.historyofvaccines.org/timeline/allhttps://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-history/developments-by-year

January 12, 2022
Alzheimer

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. It initially causes forgetfulness that advances to severe memory and thinking impairment. Individuals with Alzheimer’s typically experience behavioral and psychological symptoms, such as agitation, increasing the burden on the caregiver. If your loved one is experiencing Alzheimer’s disease with signs of agitation and is struggling to cope, here’s what you need to know.

Agitation with Alzheimer’s Disease Is Common

Agitation is a common behavioral symptom that most patients with Alzheimer’s will experience. They may feel restless, causing a need to move around and pace, become upset in certain places, or when focused on specific details. The signs of agitation include:

  • Rapid, exaggerated changes in mood
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Aggression

Agitation is distressing and debilitating, causing significant negative consequences for patients and caregivers. Hence, it is one of the most common reasons patients with Alzheimer’s transition to nursing homes and other long-term care settings.

How to Cope and Make History in the Treatment of Agitation with Alzheimer’s Disease

If your loved one has Alzheimer’s and is showing the signs and symptoms of agitation, contact their doctor immediately. Their provider can identify other potential causes, such as underlying health conditions, circumstances, and medication interactions, and determine the best possible treatment path.

Steps you can take to reduce or prevent agitation include:

  • Remove stressors – Create a calm environment, reducing noise, clutter, and the number of people present at a given time.
  • Keep a routine – Set a schedule for bathing, dressing, and eating meals at the same times each day.
  • Be calm- Speak calmly, listen to their concerns, and provide reassurance. Ensure their personal comfort needs are met for fatigue, hunger, skin irritations, digestive issues, etc.
  • Help them feel secure – Keep familiar objects and photographs of friends and family around the house.

Furthermore, caregivers may need help with coping. To help ease the impact of caring for a loved one with agitation and Alzheimer’s disease, you can:

  • Make your health a priority. Keep your regular appointments, get enough sleep, and eat healthy foods.
  • Take time each day to do something you enjoy.
  • Talk with other family members about stepping in, so you can get a break. It may even be helpful to look into respite options in your area.
Listening to their frustrations can help ease agitation

Currently, there are no therapies approved by the FDA to treat the signs and symptoms of agitation in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. However, every FDA approval of new medicine starts with a clinical research study, as they provide the key tools used to find better ways to treat, detect, and prevent medical conditions.      

ActivMed Practices & Research is currently looking for individuals to join a research study looking into new options for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. If your loved one experiences agitation with Alzheimer’s disease, please contact our location in Lawrence, MA to learn more at (978) 655-7155 or visit our website today!

Sources:

https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/stages-behaviors/anxiety-agitation

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/coping-agitation-and-aggression-alzheimers-disease

December 28, 2021
Pediatric and adult migraines

The National Headache Foundation estimates that around 5% of children will experience a migraine by the age of 10.  However, pediatric migraines often go undiagnosed because children cannot fully communicate their symptoms. Pediatric and adult migraine symptoms do differ, and we’re going to show you how.

Adults Vs. Kids Migraine Symptoms

Light and sound sensitivity are common in adults with migraines. Children can also experience the same but may have trouble describing it. Instead, they may put on sunglasses or earplugs or go to a dark, quiet room. Children with migraines often experience vertigo, abdominal pain, and sensitivity to odors more than adults. They also have more involuntary symptoms such as:

  • Forehead and facial sweating or flushing
  • Eye redness or tearing
  • Runny nose or congestion
  • Swelling around the eye
  • Drooping eyelid

Phase Symptoms Difference

In general, migraines last a significantly less amount of time in children. Moreover, the location of the headache pain is also different in children. They feel pain on both sides of their heads or across their foreheads. Adults typically experience headache pain on one side of the head. During the different phases of a migraine, the differences between adults and kids include:

  • Pre-headache: Both children and adults commonly experience mood changes like irritability. However, a child may also appear paler or develop undereye shadows. In contrast, adults report more stomach issues such as diarrhea or constipation and muscle stiffness, fatigue, and yawning.
  • Aura: A child may have difficulty recognizing or reporting visual disturbances such as zig-zag lines, bright spots, or flashing lights.
  • Headache: Though a child may not verbalize it, the throbbing pain of a pediatric migraine is moderate to severe. Your child may stop eating or playing, cry a lot, or have temper tantrums.
  • Post-headache: The symptoms individuals experience following a migraine is called the postdrome, or post-headache phase. Adults report fatigue, weakness, mood changes, stiff neck, difficulties concentrating, or dizziness. Kids most commonly feel the following:
    • Thirst
    • Sleepiness
    • Vision changes
    • Food cravings
    • Numbness and tingling sensations
    • Eye pain

Recognizing how a pediatric migraine differs from an adult migraine is critical in proper diagnosis and learning how to manage this lifelong condition. ActivMed Practices & Research have several adult and pediatric studies enrolling at our Lawrence, MA location.

Migraines don't have to take over your life.

To learn more, call us at (978) 655-7155, or visit our website today!

Sources:

https://www.verywellhealth.com/pediatric-migraines-4178789https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/pediatric-migraine/

December 2, 2021
Gert the facts. Learn more about the importance of vaccines in our blog

Every year thousands of individuals become seriously ill and require hospitalization because of diseases that vaccines can help prevent. Many face long-term health complications or succumb to the symptoms of these diseases. Germs are all around us, and protecting our bodies from developing a serious illness goes beyond self-preservation. Vaccines are important. Here’s why.

The Soldiers, the Officers, and the Generals of Immune Response

When a pathogen (virus, bacterium, parasite, or fungus) enters the body, the immune system sends antibodies to fight it off. Whether you get sick or not depends on how effective they are and your immune system’s strength. If sickness occurs, the immune system targets a specific part of the pathogen that shows how to eradicate it. These instructions help to create a type of super antibody specifically trained to kill a pathogen. Lastly, another antibody group is created to remain in the body with the playbook of instructions for any potential future encounters with that particular disease.

Imitation is the Best Form of Flattery

Immunity after infection is tricky because you have to get sick first. When the disease has a high mortality rate or the person has pre-existing conditions that increase the risk for severe infection, gaining immunity naturally is a gamble. Vaccines mimic the body’s natural process by using weakened or inactive parts of the pathogen. Other vaccines only contain the kill instructions and don’t use parts of the virus. Each type is designed to trigger our immune response without having to get sick.

Vaccines Save Lives and so Much More

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a painful reminder of how widespread sickness and loss of life strain the economy, healthcare, national funding, and more. Thanks to clinical research, available vaccines distributed over the last year and a half have made normalcy a reality again.

Bottom line, vaccines are essential because they save lives and:

  • Protect us from spreading an illness to our loved ones and others.
  • Reduce the likelihood of an outbreak from preventable diseases.
  • Help protect individuals who are medically unable or too young to receive immunizations.
  • They are very effective in preventing severe disease.
  • The safest way to protect your health, so you don’t have to miss work or time with your loved ones.

RSV season is upon us. Respiratory syncytial virus is a common illness that causes cold-like symptoms that can be serious in infants and older adults. ActivMed Practices & Research is looking for individuals to join RSV vaccine studies at our Beverly, MA, Methuen, MA, and Portsmouth, NH locations.

To learn more about how you can get involved in our RSV or other vaccine studies, click here for contact information to your local office and their active studies.

Sources:

https://ftp.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/top-20-questions-about-vaccination

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/reasons-to-vaccinate.html

https://vaccineinformation.org/vaccines-save-lives/

November 12, 2021
Healthy skin month

November marks the celebration of the body’s largest organ, the skin. Nevertheless, it’s no secret that having healthy skin starts with taking care of it all year round. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology sponsors National Healthy Skin Month each year, and their website features a wealth of resources on what it takes to keep the skin healthy, as well as advice from dermatology experts on how to treat and prevent common skin problems.

Your Skin Is Important Because…

It serves many essential functions like:

  • Protection against trauma
  • Regulation of body temperature
  • Maintaining the balance of water and electrolytes
  • Recognizing painful and pleasant stimuli
  • Helps in synthesizing vitamin D

The skin keeps vital nutrients in the body while providing a barrier against dangerous substances from entering the body. For example, it provides a shield from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Moreover, the color of your skin, its texture, and folds help differentiate people as individuals. The skin consists of three layers, and each is responsible for performing specific tasks.

  • Epidermis– The outermost layer of the skin that creates a waterproof barrier and skin tone.
  • Dermis– The next layer of the skin that gives the skin its flexibility and strength. The dermis contains nerve endings, sweat glands, oil glands, hair follicles, and blood vessels.
  • Fat layer– Below the dermis is a layer of fat that helps insulate the body from heat and cold. It also provides protective padding and is used as an energy storage area.

#YourHealthiestSkin

Hands holding up various skin care products

You can celebrate National Healthy Skin Month by:

  • Visiting the AAD website to learn ways to take care of your skin better by exploring one of their many online resource articles.
  • Sharing your healthy skin story on social media using the hashtag #YourHealthiestSkin
  • Doing a self-skin check for changes and potential spots for skin cancer. See a dermatologist immediately for any concerns.

Furthermore, managing chronic skin conditions can be challenging, especially when symptoms persist despite trying several options. Participating in clinical research studies is a great way to potentially gain access to the newest cutting-edge options before being made available to the public. Clinical research volunteers can also have the opportunity to learn more about their condition from study medical staff, which may even lead to the better management of conditions.

Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema

ActivMed Practices & Research has several dermatology studies currently enrolling that are looking into possible new options. Explore your options today by clicking here for our Beverly, MA location and here for our Portsmouth, NH office.

Sources:

https://www.aad.org/public/public-health/awareness-campaigns/national-healthy-skin-month

https://nationaltoday.com/national-healthy-skin-month/

November 4, 2021

Family members are the primary source of support for older adults and people with disabilities in the U.S. Nearly half of all caregivers are over age 50. The significant emotional, physical, and financial toll caregiving can take means that many are vulnerable to their own health declining. In fact, managing mental health as a family caregiver is one of the support services highlighted during National Family Caregivers Month. As we recognize and honor the contributions of caregivers, let’s make sure we take care of them, too.

Engage, Support, and Empower

This year, National Family Caregivers Month builds upon the continued resilience of the care partner community. Over the past year, caregivers have taken on added responsibility to keep themselves and their loved ones safe from COVID-19. With this ever-mounting burden, many may have forgotten to address their own mental and physical well-being.

Caregiver, older woman in wheelchair, with middle-aged female by her side

Alzheimer’s disease is called a family disease because watching a loved one slowly decline creates chronic stress that affects everyone. Nevertheless, it’s important for caregivers to focus on their own needs, take time for their own health, and get support and respite from caregiving regularly to sustain their well-being during this journey. Emotional and practical support, counseling, resource information, and educational programs about Alzheimer’s disease help a caregiver provide the best possible care for a loved one.

You can celebrate National Family Caregivers Month by:

  • Taking a free mental health assessment if you are struggling with your own mental health
  • Making sure you are taking breaks to rest and enjoy the things you love
  • Keeping up with your regular doctor appointments
  • Sharing your caregiving story utilizing the hashtags #CaregiverAnd, #FamilyCaregiver, #Caregivers, and #NFCMonth
  • Utilizing online and local resources for support

The Vital Role of Caregivers in Dementia Research

Caregivers provide many vital roles when it comes to their loved ones. They are often the first to notice changes in symptoms and behaviors, attend doctor’s visits, and are responsible for communicating with other family members. Clinical research studies offer an opportunity for caregivers to help their loved ones leave a lasting legacy that impacts future generations of individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

If you are thinking about a memory screen.. it's time

ActivMed Practices & Research offers FREE baseline memory screenings and Alzheimer’s disease research studies that are currently enrolling. To learn more about setting up a free screening for you or a loved one or about our enrolling studies, call (978) 655-7155 or visit our website today!

Sources:

https://acl.gov/news-and-events/downloads-and-multimedia/NFCM

https://www.caregiveraction.org/national-family-caregivers-month

https://www.census.gov/newsroom/stories/family-caregivers-month.html

October 13, 2021
True or False? If you are over 50 you need a memory screening?

This year, National Health Education Week takes place from October 18th through the 22nd. Its purpose is to celebrate the role public educators play in increasing awareness of major public health issues. To commemorate this occasion, ActivMed wants to remind readers about our FREE baseline memory screenings. When it comes to brain health, memory screenings are a great first step.

What is a Baseline Memory Screening?

A baseline memory screening is a series of questions and tasks designed to test memory, language skills, thinking ability, and other intellectual functions. It’s a simple, safe, and quick way to determine your brain health. The screening doesn’t diagnose anything, but it can determine whether or not you would benefit from a full evaluation. The results are given to you right away and can also be sent to your doctor if a follow-up is a recommendation.

The short answer is yes. While some individuals are at a higher risk, anyone can develop Alzheimer’s or other dementia. As we get older, the brain changes, and memory loss and other issues become more common. But how do you know when your memory issues are more than age-related? Memory issues that disrupt your daily life are among the top 10 warning signs that The Alzheimer’s Association lists as reasons to consult your doctor immediately. These include:

Is a Memory Screening Right for You?

  • Repeating the same question over and over
  • Confusion with time places
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • New problems with speaking or writing

Other underlying medical issues and other factors can also cause memory issues. Hence, why you should always get checked out if experiencing any of these symptoms. Treating the underlying cause often improves symptoms.

Added Benefits

The National Institute of Health is now recommending everyone 50 years of age or older gets a baseline memory screening followed by annual memory exams to watch for cognitive changes. You can alleviate any concerns if the screening is negative. If positive, you can take steps that may result in the opportunity to play an active role in:

  • Creating or updating advance directives and planning long-term care.
  • Ensuring support services and a care network are put in place to help with future medical, legal, and financial concerns.
  • Working with caregivers to develop strategies to improve quality of life, make safety modifications for the home, and manage emotions related to the dementia diagnosis.
All the signs point to a degressive memory.

National Health Education Week is October 18th-22nd. To schedule your FREE baseline memory screening, call us at 978-655-7155 or fill out a request form online today!

Sources:

https://www.nchec.org/NHEW2021

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/assessing-cognitive-impairment-older-patients

October 7, 2021
Be a hero and volunteer for those who can

Medical heroes are all around us. Though their contributions aren’t always well-known, most of us have benefitted from their role as clinical research volunteers. Clinical trials provide a pathway to medical advances, and study volunteers help make that possible. You can be a clinical trials hero today too. Here’s how.

Clinical Trial Summary

Clinical research enables advances in medicine in two main ways. First, we can better understand a condition and what factors influence it in different populations (gender, age, ethnicity, etc.). The more we know about a disease, the better we can treat it.

Be the hero for their future

Second, research studies help evaluate the safety and effectiveness of newly developed therapies as they interact with the human body through research volunteers. Each potential treatment must successfully complete all clinical trial phases and FDA approval before it’s available to the public.

Not Like the Comics

Medical heroes aren’t like the comics, but we assure you, their impact saves lives. There’s no exaggeration here. Every prescription medication, surgical device, therapeutic approach, and diagnostic tool available on the market today is because of research studies and the volunteers who participate in them.

There are millions of people who suffer from diseases where there is not yet a cure – including Alzheimer’s, certain cancers, and Lupus, to name a few. Medical Heroes play an integral role in combatting and curing diseases like these.

Who can be a Medical Hero?

Medical heroes may be ourselves or people we know, such as neighbors, co-workers, family members, and friends. All ages, ethnicities, genders, and individuals from different backgrounds are needed for optimal diversity—those living with specific conditions and those generally in good health. Unfortunately, some situations do prevent some people from participating in research. Their voices carry on, though, in every able person who joins a research study.

Not all superheroes wear capes

We’re Holding Out for Clinical Research Heroes

The team here at ActivMed Practices & Research would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our past, present, and future research volunteers. Your partnerships have allowed us to continue our mission of advancing medicine through the clinical trials we conduct here. To see our list of enrolling study opportunities, visit us online to learn more, or click here for the contact information of the location nearest you.

September 24, 2021
September is Pain Awareness Month

Did you know that over 50 million Americans are living with chronic pain? September is Pain Awareness Month, and its initiative is to raise awareness about the issues that sufferers face every day. In the race to advance chronic pain management, clinical research studies are here to provide a path for bringing improved therapies closer to the patients who need them.

Managing Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can originate from many sources. These include injuries, illnesses, and prolonged physical, emotional, or social stress. Though the brain decides when you are in pain, this does not mean that the pain is in your head. For instance, a broken body part isn’t always the cause of pain. The more signals received to the brain, the more the brain labels the signals as pain. When this occurs, it often prolongs the difficulties that come with experiencing pain.

These tips, when used consistently and together, can help you manage chronic pain:

  1. Try whole-body stretches, gentle yoga, or tai chi for about 10 to 15 minutes daily.
  2. Stay active.
  3. Reduce stress and practice relaxation techniques.
  4. Pace yourself.
  5. Address other conditions that worsen the pain.
  6. Managing pain often means creating opportunities to be positive. Taking part in enjoyable activities has been shown to decrease the effects of pain signals in the body.
  7. Stay connected with others.
  8.  Get the sleep you need.

Pain Awareness Month

September marks a time to raise public awareness around pain, pain management, and the great work pain professionals do during the month and beyond.

This year, the focus is on the vital importance of an individualized, multidisciplinary, and multimodal approach to pain care. Use the tools on the International Association for the Study of Pain’s webpage to share important information on social media, access the latest research and science around pain, and help shed light on the pain field.

Chronic pain signals remain active in the NERVOUS system

Potential new options are being evaluated in clinical research studies for chronic pain. You can get involved in helping to improve healthcare for individuals with chronic pain by volunteering in clinical research studies.

To learn more about the studies enrolling at our Methuen, MA location, click here, or call (978) 655-7155. Other studies involving potential new therapies for conditions that cause chronic pain are enrolling, too. Click the links to explore these studies at our Portsmouth, NH, Beverly, MA, and Lawrence, MA locations.

Sources:

https://uspainfoundation.org/painawarenessmonth/

https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/8-tips-for-managing-chronic-pain

https://www.apa.org/topics/pain/management

September 14, 2021

Having atopic dermatitis (AD) causes your skin to become very sensitive. Most of the time, that heightened level of sensitivity influences the clothing you wear, as well as the laundry detergents, soaps, and cleaners you use. However, the good news is that you can still be fashionable without triggering an AD flare-up.

What is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema, is a chronic condition that leaves your skin looking red and feeling itchy. Since it is chronic, symptoms may worsen at different times and cause flare-ups. There are many factors that trigger flare-ups including clothing, lotions, and soaps.

Natural Fibers Are Your Best Friend

Choosing clothing made from natural fibers, such as cotton, bamboo, or silk, can help ease the sensitivity of AD. For example, it is good to wear clothing that is composed of 100% cotton. Cotton is being breathable and cool. Bamboo and silk are also considered to be quite soft, breathable, and effective. These fabrics are good at regulating the temperature of the body. Silk can be worn under clothing as a barrier to protect the skin from tighter fitting clothing.

Hypoallergenic Jewelry is a Must

Many people who suffer from atopic dermatitis have an allergy to nickel, so avoiding jewelry made of nickel is crucial. Choose jewelry that is hypoallergenic, such as ones that contain:

  • Stainless steel
  • At least 18-karat gold
  • Sterling silver
  • Polycarbonate plastic

These materials are less likely to cause flare-ups from increased skin irritation.

Managing Atopic Dermatitis Flare-Ups

You can still be comfortable and fashionable while living with AD. A simple search on the internet can help you find clothing and accessories that are easy on the skin. To minimize the frequency of AD flare-ups, it is best to identify and reduce your exposure to the various factors that trigger them. In fact, this step is vital in effectively managing the condition.

Like any chronic condition, learning everything you can about AD is integral to your overall health. Clinical studies are a great way to learn more about your condition from healthcare experts with specialized training in AD. As a result, participating in studies provides patients with the tools necessary to improve their self-care and the management of their AD.

Interested in learning about our enrolling AD clinical research studies? Click here and explore our Portsmouth, NH studies.

Sources:

https://atopicdermatitis.net/living/wear-best-clothing-fabric

https://eczema.org/information-and-advice/triggers-for-eczema/clothing-and-eczema/

https://dermnetnz.org/topics/jewellery-allergy/

August 30, 2021
RSV season is right around the corner

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is so common that most children get it before the age of two years. Healthy people usually experience mild, cold-like symptoms and recover within a week or two. However, the RSV virus can have serious effects on older adults, as well. In the U.S. specifically, RSV has caused an estimated 177,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths in people aged 65 and older every year.

Here’s what you need to know to have a better understanding of the virus.

What is RSV?

RSV is a virus that causes respiratory illness which covers the nose, throat, and lungs. It typically mimics a mild cold leading to symptoms, such as:

  • Runny nose or congestion
  • Dry cough
  • Low-grade fever
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Headache

In severe cases, the infection can spread to the lower respiratory tract, causing inflammation of the small airway passages entering the lungs. Examples of severe infection symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Severe, persistent cough
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bluish color of the skin due to lack of oxygen

Causes and Risk Factors

RSV symptoms usually begin within 4 to 6 days after exposure, and infected individuals are generally contagious for 3 to 8 days. The virus can be transmitted in several ways. For example, it can be spread through the respiratory droplets of an infected person, touching contaminated surfaces with the virus on them, or direct contact, like kissing the face of anyone with RSV.

While people of any age can get RSV, those at the highest risk for severe disease include:

  • Premature infants
  • Young children with heart or lung diseases
  • Adults and young children with compromised immune systems
  • Older adults, particularly those with pre-existing heart or lung disease

Prevention and Treatment

To prevent the spread of RSV, experts recommend engaging in health-protective behaviors. These behaviors include proper handwashing, avoiding close contact with others, covering coughs and sneezes, and not sharing personal items. Frequently cleaning toys and surfaces is essential, too.

Most RSV infections resolve on their own in a week or two, and for those who have contracted RSV, there are treatment options available. These options consist of self-care measures to make patients more comfortable, as well as over-the-counter therapies that help clear congestion, reduce fever, and keep people hydrated. However, if severe symptoms persist, you may need hospital care.

RSV can negatively impact older adults

Fortunately, researchers are working to develop vaccines and treatments to help fight RSV, as potential new options are currently being evaluated in clinical research studies. If you’re an adult over the age of 60 and are interested in learning about how you can get involved with upcoming RSV studies here at ActivMed Practices & Research, please call us today at (978) 969-6897!

Sources:

https://www.nfid.org/infectious-diseases/rsv/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/respiratory-syncytial-virus/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353104

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/RSV-When-Its-More-Than-Just-a-Cold.aspx

August 20, 2021
health never goes out of style

With so many individuals living long, active lives, the senior citizens in our communities show us that taking care of your health never goes out of style. Senior Citizens Day is a chance to understand the contributions and dedication of seniors. It’s an annual celebration on August 21st to honor the seniors in our families and communities and bring awareness to the issues they commonly face.

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s 

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are two conditions prevalent in people over the age of 60. Below is a summary of each and frequency they affect senior populations.

Simple tasks becoming not so simple?

  • Summary:
    • Alzheimer’s– Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurologic disorder that causes the brain to shrink and brain cells to die. It destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out daily activities.
    • Parkinson’s– Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common degenerative neurological disorder after Alzheimer’s disease. It causes the brain cells that produce dopamine (coordinates movement) to stop working or die. This leads to difficulties with movement and other non-motor symptoms.
  • Prevalence:
    • Alzheimer’s– an estimated 6.2 million Americans aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in 2021. 72% are age 75 or older.
    • Parkinson’s– It is estimated that PD affects 1 percent of the population over 60. Overall, as many as 1 million Americans are living with PD, and approximately 60,000 Americans receive a diagnosis of PD each year.

National Senior Citizens Day

Although some people think being a senior means retirement, the truth is that many adults remain active well into their advanced years. This holiday is the perfect time for people to let the senior citizens in their families and communities show their appreciation. Write a letter, send a card or volunteer at a retirement home. Spread awareness via social media using the hashtag #NationalSeniorCitizensDay.

Both PD and Alzheimer’s are progressive neurodegenerative diseases. Over time, they can rob seniors of their independence and quality of life. In turn, our lives are deprived of their well-earned wisdom and advice, and their support and guidance we navigate the many different aspects of life. Clinical research has led to many important discoveries that help improve how we detect, manage, and eventually cure these conditions.

Potential new options are currently being evaluated in research studies for PD and Alzheimer’s. Research studies partner with volunteers to make sure these new options are safe and effective. Becoming a research volunteer is a great way for seniors to give back to advancing medicine and future generations of seniors. ActivMed Practices & Research has several opportunities for seniors. We are currently seeking individuals to join enrolling PD and Alzheimer’s studies and for other future opportunities for other indications like shingles.

Memories matter

We also offer FREE memory screenings for adults at risk of Alzheimer’s or who are experiencing memory issues. Call us at (978) 992-4239 to schedule your memory screen and learn more about our enrolling Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s studies at our Lawrence, MA location. Or, feel free to visit our website.

Sources:

https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/magazine-world-senior-citizen-day-history-significance-and-how-to-celebrate-with-grandparents/

https://www.michaeljfox.org/parkinsons-101

August 10, 2021
Protection is important. Learn more about vaccine trials in our blog

With back to school in full force, it’s fitting August is also National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). The annual event highlights the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. Immunization is the single most crucial health measure you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Vaccine Importance

Vaccines are much like a manual for your body that shows how to recognize and defeat a harmful disease. Scientists and researchers take weakened or dead parts of a virus in the vaccination. This exposes your body to an illness so it can create antibodies for it—all without the risk of complications from a live version.

Vaccines save lives

Over 20 widely used vaccines are available today for severe illnesses like measles, meningitis, pneumonia, smallpox, and polio. Many of these diseases once ran rampant, leaving trails of death, disability, or serious illness. For example, smallpox has killed an estimated 300 million people since 1900. Thanks to widespread immunization efforts that eradicated it in 1977.

Though eradicated, the germs that cause smallpox and other viruses we vaccinate against continue to circulate in parts of the world. Now more than ever, the ease at which illnesses can travel to other parts of the world means we are all at risk. The World Health Organization estimates vaccines save over 4 million children alone every year.

National Immunization Awareness Month

NIAM is the perfect time to get with your health provider. They can ensure you and your loved ones are current on your vaccines and answer any questions you may have. The CDC has an interactive guide and other immunization tools to see recommendations by age group. You can also spread the word to others by using the hashtag #NationalImmunizationAwarenessMonth in social media correspondence.

Participating in clinical research studies may also be an option for those interested in getting vaccinated. ActivMed Practices & Research has current opportunities to get involved in now, and more are starting soon. At the moment, we are enrolling participants for meningitis vaccine studies at our Beverly, MA and Methuen, MA locations.

Protection: Don't Go Anywhere without it

Our COVID-19 vaccine booster studies that include either the flu or shingles immunization will begin enrolling shortly. We also have an RSV vaccine study starting soon too! To add your name to our list to call for additional information, click here to select your location for contact information or fill out the “future studies” form to submit your information electronically.

Sources:

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/vaccines-and-immunization-what-is-vaccination

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-immunization-awareness-month-august/

https://www.history.com/news/the-rise-and-fall-of-smallpox

July 26, 2021
How does the sun affect your skin conditions?

Summer typically means spending more time outside doing all the summer-y things most of us love. However, the increased exposure to sunlight and heated air can turn some skin conditions upside-down. Fortunately, you can take some simple steps to avoid flare-ups during the summer, which can quickly ruin your fun. Here are a few examples.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa and Summer

For Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS), it is clear that prolonged exposure to heat exacerbates symptoms. You can still enjoy the summer by taking a few precautions along the way, such as:

  • Wear lightweight clothing to keep you cool. Opt for fabrics with UV protection and that are made from lightweight materials like polyester that are moisture-wicking.
  • Drink enough water to keep hydrated throughout the day. Also, supplement with coconut water, homemade juices, and smoothies to change things up.
  • Avoid direct sun as much as possible. Use a portable mini fan to help in other cases.

Don't let HS cause you distress

Keep in mind it’s also important to be mindful of how your body always feels. Always be on the lookout for signs you may be getting overheated. Two of the most common heat-related illness are heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Some symptoms are dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea, confusion, fast pulse, and elevated body temperature.

Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema) and Summer

When UV therapy is a treatment for eczema-prone skin, you may wonder why summer isn’t always sweet for individuals who have it. Sweating is the number one enemy in the summer since it contains various things that can irritate broken skin, like that in eczema. Typically, it worsens in areas that trap moisture like the elbows, back of the neck, or the backs of the knees. Beat summer eczema flare-ups with these tips:

  • Avoid sweating by staying cool. Stick to the shade when outside, and drink plenty of water to keep your body temperature at an average level.
  • Choose a mineral sunscreen versus a chemical one. These should have the words “physical” or “mineral” on the bottle with ingredients in them like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
  • Rinse off after swimming and change out of wet clothes as soon as possible. If you can’t rinse off, keep a spray bottle with clean water and spray off your skin. Always bring a dry change of clothes to change into if you get sweaty or after swimming.

Stop hiding and start living with eczema

Beat the Summer Heat. Join a Dermatology Study Today!

Many of the tips above are great when managing most skin conditions this summer, along with keeping your skin moisturized. If you’re still looking for a way to give back this summer and beat the heat, consider one of our enrolling dermatology studies here at ActivMed Practices & Research. We have studies for psoriasis, eczema, hidradenitis suppurativa, facial acne, and more! To learn more, click to visit our Beverly, MA, and Portsmouth, NH locations for details today!

Sources:

https://www.everydayhealth.com/eczema/strategies-avoiding-eczema-flare-ups-summer/

https://hsdisease.com/living/beat-heat

https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/routine/prevent-summer-skin-problems

July 6, 2021
Ever wondered the affect chocolate has on migraines

On July 7th, chocolate lovers around the globe will guiltlessly indulge in their favorite treat during World Chocolate Day. Though chocolate connoisseurs may argue the benefits of responsible consumption, its impact on migraines isn’t always clear. Is it a trigger or a warning of an impending attack? In truth, the relationship between chocolate and your migraine is as unique as you are.

To Eat, or Not to Eat

Migraines are often triggered by different environmental, physical, and emotional factors. Changes in routine, dehydration, and stress are the most common. Excessive consumption of caffeinated products can contribute to the onset of a migraine. All chocolate has some caffeine in it. So, if that is a trigger for your migraines, you may want to consider that.

Box of chocolates

On the other hand, many people reportedly crave sweet food such as chocolate before the pain of a migraine. This leads them to conclude that eating sweets are causing their migraines. However, sometimes those cravings are symptoms of the beginning of an attack. Identifying what’s triggering your migraines and recognizing common symptoms before an attack are both crucial in managing your condition better. Therefore, knowing how chocolate affects your migraines is one way to help!

World Chocolate Day

Since 2009, World Chocolate Day celebrates all kinds of goodies made from chocolate. It is also the anniversary of when chocolate was first brought over from Europe on July 7th, 1550. Since then, the dark treat has led to the creation of chocolate milk, hot chocolate, chocolate candy bars, chocolate cake, brownies, and many other favorites. You can join in the chocolate-themed celebration by enjoying your favorite dessert, reading a related book, or learn more about chocolates around the world. Whatever you do, share it on social media using the hashtag #WorldChocolateDay!

Although the effects of chocolate are unique to each person with migraines, a surer way to help migraine symptoms is through clinical research studies. By participating in migraine research studies, you play a personal role in advancing options for current and future generations. You also learn more about your condition and may gain access to potential new opportunities not yet available to the public.

Migraines are also common in children, which drives the need for designing age-appropriate therapies for safer, more effective outcomes. ActivMed Practices & Research is currently enrolling migraine studies for children aged 6-17 at our Lawrence, MA location. To learn more, call (978) 992-4239 or visit our website.

Sources:

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/world-chocolate-day/

https://www.migrainetrust.org/about-migraine/trigger-factors/common-triggers/

 

 

June 28, 2021
OCD isn

Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is a chronic anxiety disorder that affects 1 in 40 Americans. Neatness and germaphobia are often what come to mind when people hear the term. In actuality, these are some of many rituals created to satisfy repeated, unwanted thoughts. OCD isn’t uniform and goes beyond a color-coded planner or organized pantry. It is so much more.

Obsession Categories and Associated Compulsions

OCD is a never-ending cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwelcome thoughts or urges that repeatedly play out in patients’ minds, creating immense anxiety and stress. These typically warn of impending doom which triggers a patient’s compulsion to act out certain behaviors or rituals to dispel the thoughts or relieve stress. The relief is only short-term, and the thoughts return, and the cycle is repeated over and over-consuming an hour, sometimes several each day.

Those with OCD know their thoughts and actions are not rational and wish they could be free of them but feel helpless to stop them. For instance, suppressing OCD behaviors end up worsening symptoms, so it’s not something you can stop on your own. There are several categories of obsessions and various associated compulsive behaviors. These generally include:

Common Obsessions:

  • Intrusive Thoughts
  • Unwanted Thoughts
  • Repetitive Thoughts
  • Racing Thoughts
  • Violent Thoughts
  • Sexual Thoughts
  • Religious Blasphemy Thoughts

Common compulsions:

  • Avoidance
  • Reassurance Seeking
  • Checking
  • Hand Washing
  • Excessive Prayer
  • Counting
  • Comparison Seeking
  • Excessive Guilt

Education, Healthy Living, and Treatment

OCD can severely impact one’s social, emotional, and work-related areas of life. However, with effective treatment, healthier lifestyle, and education, most experienced improved symptoms and quality of life.

New tools and ideas on how to better help people with OCD are being investigated in clinical research studies and providing hope to patients. Through patient collaboration, we continue to gain knowledge that improves the lives of current and future generations.

OCD is more than perfectionism

To learn more about enrolling OCD studies with ActivMed Practices & Research, contact our Methuen, MA office at (978) 655-7155 or visit our website.

Sources:

https://beyondocd.org/information-for-college-students/symptoms-of-ocd

https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/

June 18, 2021
Don

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection found throughout the United States and every continent except Antarctica. More than 475,000 Americans are diagnosed every year, but experts believe it is much higher. Lyme disease is treatable, but symptoms are often misdiagnosed as other conditions. Without treatment, the infection can progress into more severe symptoms. Guarding your family against Lyme disease involves a little surveillance and a good plan of defense.

The Best Offense is a Good Defense

Protecting your family from Lyme disease is a multi-faceted approach. To begin, you need to know how the infection occurs. Lyme disease is caused by a corkscrew-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi transmitted through the bite of an infected black-legged tick. Avoiding contact with this type of tick is the ultimate goal in a combination of the following measures:

  • Surveillance: Check recent surveillance maps of cases reported in your area to see where the infection rate is more widespread. Remember, these are only cases reported, so the map data can only go so far.
  • Avoiding Hot Spots: The ticks that can cause Lyme disease mainly live in wooded, bushy areas with long grass. Avoid walking in these areas.
  • Repellants, Clothing Care, and Self-Checks:
    • Repellants– Use one with a DEET concentration of 20% or higher. Apply products with permethrin to clothing or buy pretreated materials.
    • Clothing Care– When in tick hot spots, wear long-sleeved shirts, hats, and gloves. Removed clothing immediately once home and wash and dry on high heat.
    • Self-checks– Shower as soon as you get home with a washcloth to remove any unattached ticks. Check your body from head to toe. Underdeveloped ticks called nymphs are the primary transmitters and are about the size of a poppy seed, so look carefully.

It starts with a tick bite and can end with a chronic illness

Adopting these steps should reduce your chances of Lyme disease significantly. If you discover a tick has attached itself, it will be early and mostly means it didn’t have the 3-4 days it needs to transmit the infection. Even so, alert your provider immediately and keep a lookout for symptoms. You can find a checklist of common symptoms here.

Improving Detection 

There is currently no test determining whether a patient has an active infection or whether the infection has been eliminated by treatment. Available lab tests help identify antibodies to the bacteria, which your body takes a few weeks to make after an infection. This makes early diagnosis difficult with lab tests alone, so symptom history, tick prevalence in the area, and other factors are used to close the gap in diagnosis accuracy.

Potential new detection options are under evaluation in clinical research studies, and we need your help! ActivMed Practices & Research is currently seeking participants aged seven and older to join enrolling Lyme disease studies. Individuals currently experiencing Lyme disease symptoms have recently been diagnosed, and those with no prior history of Lyme Disease are welcome to apply.

Don't let Lyme disease ruin your summer

The studies are being conducted at our Methuen, MA, Beverly, MA, and Portsmouth, NH locations. Click here to select your preferred clinic location, view additional information, and application submission.

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20374651

https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-basics/lyme-disease/about-lyme/

https://www.aldf.com/

 

 

May 27, 2021

Binge eating disorder (BED) involves the repeated compulsion to eat large quantities of food. BED isn’t a lifestyle choice but rather a never-ending cycle you have no control over. It is one of the newest eating disorders the DSM-V recognizes, yet the most common in American. Extreme overeating is one of the many signs you might be binge eating. Let’s look into the others.

Urge, Compulsion, Shame, Repeat. 

Binge eating disorder involves recurrent episodes of eating large amounts of food followed by feelings of distress and shame afterward. The amount of food is beyond what anyone would want to eat and often consumed very quickly and to the point of discomfort. Those with BED are aware of their actions but have little control to stop them. They may fast between episodes but do not regularly use other countermeasures to get rid of food or calories by vomiting or excessive laxative use, for example. While it’s common for patients with BED to be overweight, not everyone is.

Binge eating disorder has psychological, behavioral, and physical symptoms that also include:

  • Feeling uncomfortable eating around others
  • Stomach problems, cramping
  • Eating even when already full or not hungry
  • Noticeable fluctuations in weight both up and down
  • Hoarding or stealing food and storing it in strange places
  • Frequently eating alone or in secret
  • Dieting often

Long-term physical effects of binge eating can be permanent, even fatal, if not treated in time. A few examples are obesity, heart disease, diabetes, esophagus and stomach damage, and sleep apnea.

Treating Binge Eating Disorder

Treatment for BED aims to reduce the frequency of episodes, manage thoughts related to bingeing, and improve mood. Weight loss and metabolic health[HW1]  are addressed as needed for patients at most risk (such as diabetes) but should not be the focus. Cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT) are the basis of most approaches to BED. CBT is a form of talk therapy. It shows you how to deal with negative behavior patterns by breaking them down into smaller parts.

Vyvanse is the first FDA-approved medication to treat moderate to severe binge eating disorders in adults. Topamax, an anti-convulsant, and some antidepressants have also been shown to help control episodes and other symptoms. Additional options are currently under investigation in clinical research studies.

BED Symptoms Can Feel Uncontrollable. Take Charge Today!

Have you been diagnosed with BED and frustrated with current treatment options? ActivMed Practices & Research is now enrolling studies for individuals diagnosed with binge eating disorder that may help. Get involved today and help advance medicine for BED. Call us at (978) 655-7155, or visit our website for more information.

References:

https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/types/binge-eating-disorder

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/bed

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/binge-eating-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353633

April 30, 2021
Raising the Bar, Raising Awareness for Parkinson

Parkinson’s disease (PD) occurs when the dopamine-producing cells in the brain stop working or die off. PD is progressive and can cause tremors, slowness, stiffness, and other non-motor symptoms. April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. This year’s theme is #KnowMorePD, focusing on raising the bar and raising awareness for Parkinson’s, and improving the lives of individuals affected.

5 Facts You May Not Know About Parkinson’s:

  1. British surgeon Dr. James Parkinson discovered it in 1817
  2. Around 500,000 new cases are diagnosed each year
  3. Most patients are middle-aged and diagnosed, on average, around age 56
  4. Small handwriting is an early warning sign
  5. It has no cure, but there are several effective treatments available
Parkinson's can be puzzling

#KnowMorePD

Activities are underway as PD patients, loved ones, and caregivers share their stories, petition local governments, and join one of the many events taking place this month. The goal is to raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease and all the resources available to make patients’ lives better. You can get join the efforts by testing your knowledge of PD with a quiz. You can also learn more about it through any of the following resources:

  • Podcast – Every other Tuesday, a new episode of Substantial Matters: Life and Science of Parkinson’s airs. Episodes focus on topics relevant to your daily life, including new therapies, exercise, clinical trials, nutrition, and more!
  • Publications – The PD Library is an extensive collection of publications that can help you #KnowMorePD.
  • Social media – Follow along and engage with @ParkinsonDotOrg on your social media platform of choice for the newest information for PD.

Volunteers Can Help Change the Future of Parkinson’s

April is Parkinson's Disease Awareness Month

Research initiatives continue to expand treatment options to people with Parkinson’s and, ultimately, help them live better with this condition. Volunteering for research gives you the power to help researchers understand how PD progresses and accelerates medical breakthroughs. To learn more about enrolling Parkinson’s disease studies at ActivMed Practices & Research, call (978) 992-4239, or visit our website.

References:

https://www.parkinson.org/parkinsons-awareness-month

April 10, 2021
Beneath the surface of skin issues

Many different skin issues exist in the world today. Ranging in severity and various causes, some conditions affect the skin and other parts of the body. Individuals with skin issues often face unseen challenges that lurk beneath the surface. Therefore, managing the complicated nature of skin conditions sometimes requires a collaboration of healthcare providers. Together, they can address the physical, emotional, and social impacts and ensure the overall health of each patient.

Function and Appearance

The skin is a living organism and the body’s largest organ. The skin is also the protective barrier that covers our body and gives rise to our hair, nails, and sweat glands. Also, our sense of touch (hot, cold, and pressure) comes from the skin. Protecting virtually all of our organs, it functions in cooling us in the heat and keeping us warm when we get cold. Your skin is also the most visible of all our organs and is an essential player in viewing ourselves.

Psoriasis isn't just about what's on your skin

Dermatologists specialize in skin and the conditions that may affect it. A few of the most common skin issues are:

  • Acne
  • Atopic Dermatitis – Eczema
  • Hives
  • Sunburn
  • Rosacea

When the Mind and Skin Interact

Skin issues can have powerful effects on the mind, especially severe ones. Some skin conditions can also worsen in the presence of specific emotional states. In more advanced cases, treating the skin condition and addressing its emotional impacts may be necessary. Psychodermatology involves the interaction between the mind and the skin. There are three categories of psychodermatologic disorders:

  • Psychophysiological disorders
    • React to emotional states such as stress.
  • Primary psychiatric disorders
    • Psychiatric conditions that result in skin manifestations like trichotillomania.
  • Secondary psychiatric disorders
    • Associated with disfiguring skin conditions resulting in psychological problems such as low self-esteem, depression, and social phobia.

Options for Treating Skin Issues

Most skin disorders are treatable, are managed in varying ways. However, most conditions may reappear due to specific triggers, such as stress or illness. Lifestyle changes in addition to your doctor’s treatment plan may help reduce flare-ups. Common therapies include:

  • Topical– Medicated creams and ointments
  • Oral-Antibiotics and prescription medications
  • Injections– Biologics, steroid, or vitamin injections
Skin problems? We've got a trial for that

Clinical research is vital to adequately cover the complexities of the numerous disorders of the skin in existence. As we learn more about these conditions, improved ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent them can be designed. To learn more about the dermatology studies enrolling here at ActivMed Practices & Research, visit our Portsmouth, NH website, or Beverly, MA.

References:

https://www.drugs.com/slideshow/most-common-skin-conditions-1086

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/1201/p1873.html

February 25, 2021

The Green Memory study focuses on targeting microorganisms in your gut to determine if
rebalancing certain bacteria may improve brain function and slow the development of
Alzheimer’s disease.

Memory decline is more than just forgetting. Local physicians are seeking volunteers with history of memory decline between 50 & 85 years old to evaluate a trial medication to see if it helps symptoms. Find out more today.

For more information call 978-655-7155 or click here.

November 11, 2020
Alzheimers

November is recognized as National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month! Every 65 seconds, an American develops Alzheimer’s disease. Approximately 5.7 million Americans are diagnosed with the progressive brain disease that destroys memories and cognitive ability. Family members across the world deal with watching their loved ones gradually lose their memory and eventually their independence.

Clinical research sites, including ActivMed, have invested time and energy in learning more about Alzheimer’s disease, and ultimately working towards a cure. However, the work being done by the professional medical community cannot happen without volunteers. It is the participants in clinical trials who play a crucial role in accelerating Alzheimer’s research.

The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation (GAP) seeks to honor the necessity of clinical trial participants. The organization understands that volunteers are essential in ultimately finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. In effort to pay tribute to these volunteers, GAP created an award called the Citizen Scientist Award. This distinction is given to four individuals each year who have participated in Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials.

ActivMed is one of GAP’s research sites and part of the network committed to conducting clinical trials related to Alzheimer’s disease. We celebrate ActivMed’s nominees for the 2020 Citizen Scientist Award! Ted Boileau, Alan Hall and Katherine Hall each represent individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or someone at risk of developing the disease. While their motivations may be different, we are encouraged by their desire to be part of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. They are three of the countless individuals who participate in clinical research each year.

The nominees for the Citizen Scientist Award were honored at the 7th Annual Trish Vradenburg Gala in October. The virtual event benefited UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, an organization pressing for greater urgency from government, industry and the scientific community in the quest for an Alzheimer’s cure. The organization plays a crucial role in educating the public, mobilizing volunteers and raising the funds that enable Alzheimer’s disease research to progress.

alzheimers

Organizations have the ability to advocate on a national level for Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, volunteer support of local research helps the medical community work towards identifying a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Without volunteer participation in clinical research and their encouragement to recruit new volunteers, Alzheimer’s research would not be possible. ActivMed applauds all participants for their willingness to be on the front line in the fight to end Alzheimer’s.

For more information about participating in a local research study, call 978-655-7155 or learn more about which studies are currently enrolling volunteers.

November 5, 2020

Terry Stubbs, CEO and President

ActivMed Practices & Research, LLC

For Immediate Release 11/5/2020

ActivMed joins clinical trial examining potential vaccine for COVID-19

Portsmouth, NH: Today, ActivMed Practices & Research, LLC, a private clinical research site, announced that they have joined a clinical trial to examine the safety and efficacy of a vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 in adults.  The trial’s Principal Investigator is Michael J. McCartney, M.D., ActivMed’ s Chief Medical Director, and he will be overseeing the study in the Portsmouth, NH location.

ActivMed has recently completed a clinical trial for a COVID-19 antibody test and is now joining this Phase III study for a potential vaccine. Study participants must be at least 18 years old, in good general health, and have had no previous positive COVID-19 test results.

Currently, there are no specific treatments available against COVID-19 and accelerated vaccine development is urgently needed. A safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 prevention would have significant public health impact.

 “Our team at ActivMed looks forward to help bring a vaccine against COVID-19 and a hopeful end to the pandemic.” says Dr. McCartney about this opportunity. He goes on to say “We hope you will help, as we are looking for trial participants. We are trying to provide as safe an environment as possible. We are following CDC recommendations for participant safety. It is through this collaboration that we will be able to conduct this monumental endeavor. Looking forward to seeing you in our Portsmouth, N.H. site!”

Preliminary studies show promising results. The vaccine is not approved in the United States and requires further testing before presenting data for approval by the FDA. The study will be conducted in approximately 100 sites across the U.S. and looks to enroll 30, 000 total participants. The study is sponsored by AstraZeneca.

Anyone interested in participating can visit https://www.c19vaccinestudy.com/#!/ for more information.

About ActivMed Practices & Research, Inc.: ActivMed is a clinical research network with 4 locations, based in Methuen, MA. Founded in 1994, ActivMed has conducted over 800 clinical trials, offering the same trials that are available in Boston hospitals without the hassle of travel and parking.

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Posted in Blog | Tags:
September 21, 2020
pain awareness month

Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks. It may have originated from an injury or is the result of a medical condition like osteoarthritis or diabetic neuropathy. Chronic pain faces many stigmas because society believes if an ailment isn’t visible, it doesn’t exist. For the more than 100 million Americans who deal with it daily, stigma is one more thing they don’t need to deal with. September is Pain Awareness Month. It was created by chronic pain sufferers to bring awareness to the community about issues that surround pain and pain management.

lower back pain

The Face of Chronic Pain

Pain is something we all experience at some point but imagine living with it every day. That is the reality of people that have chronic pain, and it can happen to anyone. Celebrities often make us common-folk think that their lives are perfect, and they have the world at their fingertips. But more and more, we are seeing them speak out about different issues we never knew they had. If you’ve ever seen the movie Dirty Dancing, you remember Jennifer Grey’s arched back in the arms of Patrick Swayze in their dances. You would never know she has suffered from chronic back pain since a car accident in 1987. She’s still dancing thanks to advice from her doctor and repair surgery.

Fitness guru and The Doctors co-host Jillian Michaels has been whipping us into shape for years with her no excuses trademark mentality. From the outside, you would never know she has endometriosis, an often-painful disorder. She suffered from debilitating abdominal cramps before finding relief in an all organic, non-processed diet. George Clooney no longer does the action, and stunt sequences in his roles due to a back injury suffered while filming Syriana in 2005. Before numerous corrective surgeries, his pain was so bad; he considered taking his own life. Although his injury never fully healed, he continues his passion for acting, with modifications.

The Cost of Chronic Pain

The cost of chronic pain spans much further than the estimated 635-billion-dollar annual cost of those diagnosed and society for healthcare costs, lost workdays, and lowered wages. Chronic pain sufferers juggle challenges at work both for limitations and missed days. Living with daily pain is also often associated with mental health issues due to activity limitations, reduced quality of life, and social life changes. I think we can all agree that it is too much for any person to deal with alone. If you have a family member or loved one with chronic pain, listen and learn how to support them better.

chronic pain studies statistics

With the cost of chronic pain being more than heart disease and cancer treatments, the pressure is on to improve options for pain and reduce costs. Clinical research studies help evaluate new promising therapies that hope to achieve that goal. ActivMed is currently looking into new potential options for those that suffer from chronic pain. Qualified participants must have chronic pain in the knees from osteoarthritis, lower back pain, or foot pain due to diabetic neuropathy. To learn more about the chronic pain studies enrolling at our Methuen, MA location, call (978) 655-7155, or click here.

References:

https://www.foxnews.com/health/famous-people-who-live-with-chronic-pain

https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=162927

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2729797

September 16, 2020
virtual tour of Portsmouth site

Take a virtual tour of our Portsmouth clinical research site. Conveniently located on the Pease Tradeport, this site is easily accessible to I-95. Our doctor’s office setting makes participating in research a comfortable experience. The Portsmouth site conducts many of our dermatology clinical trials, but also conducts studies in other therapeutic areas.

For more information on how you can get involved in clinical research happening here in Portsmouth, please call 603-319-8863 or browse enrolling studies here.

If you are a sponsor looking for a site for your study, see our Feasibilities page here.

Posted in Blog, Uncategorized
August 12, 2020

ActivMed is now recruiting patients for a new study to address a disease that is widespread in the Northeast– Lyme disease.

This disease is often missed – or misdiagnosed – due to unreliable tests.  ActivMed is joining this study, called ImmuneSense Lyme, to see if we can help develop better tests that could diagnose acute Lyme disease earlier and more accurately.

If you suspect you have Lyme disease – or have been recently diagnosed – your immune system may hold key information that can help advance novel diagnostic tests for the disease. You are eligible to participate if you have the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, including a bulls-eye rash or body aches, or were recently diagnosed and have not taken antibiotics for more than 3 days.

 

Participation is easy – you can come to our office to have your blood sample collected, or you can schedule an at-home visit, compliant with all social distancing guidelines. You will be compensated $50 for study participation.

About ImmuneSense Lyme

ImmuneSense Lyme is a study to help advance novel diagnostics for the disease. Your immune system may be able to tell us important information about how our own bodies detect and respond to the disease that current tests cannot. De-identified data collected from this study may accelerate the development of better diagnostics for Lyme disease and improve outcomes for many.

About Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is transmitted to humans via infected ticks. According to Global Lyme Alliance, there are estimates of 427,000 new cases of Lyme disease in the US every year. However, only about 30% of people with acute Lyme infections have a positive test result with existing diagnostic tests because the disease is difficult to detect in its earliest stages when it is easiest to treat. If left untreated, Lyme disease can become a serious illness for many people, but if caught early, Lyme disease can typically be treated with antibiotics and long-term complications can be avoided.

If you have recently spent time outdoors, taking part in activities such as hiking, camping, gardening, dog-walking, or more, and present with some of the below symptoms, there might be cause to suspect Lyme disease and seek a diagnosis: Bulls-eye rash, body aches, fever, breathlessness, eye pain, diarrhea, chest tightness, headache, fatigue or joint pain.

*Note: This study is not for those with chronic Lyme disease

To learn more and to see if you qualify, contact us:

Methuen, MA – 978-655-7155, or apply here

Beverly, MA – 978-969-6897, or apply here

Portsmouth, NH- 603-319-8863, or apply here

 

Posted in Blog
1 August 11, 2020

ActivMed announces it’s 2020 Citizen Scientist Nominees

 

Terry Stubbs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 11, 2020

ActivMed Practices & Research, Inc.                                      

978-655-7155

info@activmedresearch.com

 

2020 Citizen Scientist Awards®

 Methuen, MA: Today, Activmed Practices & Research, Inc., a private clinical research site, announced the nominees for the 2020 Citizen Scientist Awards®.

For the second year in a row, ActivMed has nominated a select few of their study participants for this first-of-its-kind award to celebrate Alzheimer’s disease clinical trial participants. ActivMed is part of a network of sites affiliated with the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation (GAP). GAP is a network of more than 80 private and academic clinical trial sites across the U.S. and Canada.

Each nominated individual will be presented with a certificate for being named a Citizen Scientist Award® Nominee. Four selected honorees will be chosen from all GAP-Net sites and will be recognized at the annual National Alzheimer’s Summit in Washington D.C., held in the fall of each year.

According to a 2016 Harris Poll undertaken by GAP, 60% of Americans are willing or would consider participation in Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials, but fewer than 10% do so. ActivMed works alongside GAP to increase awareness of clinical trials, through education about the disease and what participation involves.

A lack of volunteers for Alzheimer’s clinical trials is one of the greatest obstacles slowing the progress of potential new treatments.

This year’s nominees are:

Ted Boileau- Champion Award

Haverhill, MA

Ted has a personal dedication to contributing to the advancement of treatments for Alzheimer’s, having watched his father struggle with the disease. With a background in the pharmaceutical industry, Ted is passionate about bringing new options to future generations.

 

 

Alan Hall- Cornerstone Award

 

Orr’s Island, ME

Alan travels 250 miles roundtrip to participate in an Alzheimer’s clinical trial. His committment to helping future generations and gaining a sense of control over his health is evident in his positive attitude.

 

 

Katherine Hall- Collaborator Award

Orr’s Island, ME

New in 2020, the Collaborator Award aims to recognize the heroes that contribute to making participation in an Alzheimer’s study possible. Study partneres are crucial in helping participants attend study visits, and offer insights into any changes that may happen over time. Katherine travels with her husband Alan Hall from Maine to our Methuen office for monthly study visits. Katherine is also involved in a local community support group for Alzheimer’s.

 

We congratulate the nominees for 2020, and appreciate their committment to participating in research studies.

GAP’s philosophy is “the only way to find treatments and cures for Alzheimer’s is through clinical trials and these volunteers make that research possible”.

About ActivMed Practices & Research, Inc.: ActivMed is a clinical research network with 4 locations, based in Methuen, MA. Founded in 1994, ActivMed has conducted over 800 clinical trials, offering

the same trials that are available in Boston hospitals without the hassle of travel and parking. ActivMed was voted One of the Top 25 places to Work North of Boston for 2014 by North of Boston Business Magazine.

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August 1, 2020

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). NIAM’s purpose is to promote the importance of vaccines by educating the public on how they prevent serious, and often deadly diseases. With the COVID-19 US death toll currently sitting at almost 145,000 lives lost, the urgency for a vaccine and effective treatment grow with each passing moment.

History of Vaccines

In 1796, a country doctor by the name of Edward Jenner created the first vaccine. He took the pus from a milkmaid’s hand with a cowpox lesion and inoculated eight-year-old James Phipps, who had smallpox. His experiments laid the foundation for vaccinology. Vaccines are humanity’s greatest triumph over diseases like polio, smallpox, whooping cough, measles, and more. These diseases resulted in infant mortality rates of 20% just a little more than a century ago.

Vaccines help our body remember how to fight illnesses. When your immune system encounters a germ, it fights it off over several days while it makes and uses all the germ-fighting tools it needs to beat it. In this process, the immune system remembers what is necessary to protect the body in the future. It puts this information into memory cells, and the next time it encounters that same germ, it can quickly overcome it. Vaccines work similarly by imitating an infection. They rarely cause illness, but your immune system produces the needed antibodies to fight it. Some vaccines require repeated doses to complete immunity.

The Fight to End COVID-19

Around the world, over 165 vaccines are being developed by researchers against the coronavirus. 27 are in human trials. Although vaccines typically take years to become publicly available, scientists are racing to deliver a safe and effective vaccine by 2021. Moderna’s  mRNA-127 vaccine phase III trial began 7/27.  Astra Zeneca, Sinopharm, Murdoch Children’s Institute, and Sinovac all have vaccines in phase 3 trials.

None of these potential new vaccines would ever become available without research studies and the volunteers participating in them. Research studies give every able person the ability to advance medicine and help end diseases like COVID-19. Get involved in future studies by calling (603) 319-8863, or click here.

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/conversations/downloads/vacsafe-understand-color-office.pdf

https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.24.3.611

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/science/coronavirus-vaccine-tracker.html

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/campaigns/immunizations/Pages/default.aspx

July 21, 2020

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that impairs memory and many other essential mental functions. Although the changes are more subtle at first, eventually those diagnosed will need the help of a caregiver to perform their daily tasks. In many cases, the caregiver is a loved one or family member that volunteers to support them. Being a caregiver can be physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. Learning to care for yourself is the best way to ensure you will be there to care for your loved one.

From Care Partner to Caregiver and Burnout

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, many function independently, and your role is more of a care partner who will help support and plan for the future of your loved one. As the disease progresses, their reliance on you will continue to increase until they need you 100%. Navigating the physical and emotional ups and downs of this journey can test even the most patient souls. It can be all-consuming, and just like any fire, it will eventually burn itself out.

Approximately 15 million Americans provide unpaid care to an older adult. Those that provide substantial care are more likely to have physical and emotional health issues. Caregiver burnout is real and can snowball over time. Recognizing the signs of burnout can help you get the help you need to continue providing the best care possible.

Signs of Caregiver Burnout:

  • You have much less energy and always exhausted
  • Increasingly impatient and irritable with who you are caring for
  • Neglectful of your own needs
  • You get sick more often

How to be a Healthy Caregiver

One of the most important things you can do as a caregiver is to take care of yourself. Keep your health a priority by seeing your doctor when needed, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. The National Institute on Aging also recommends:

  • Ask for help, and take it when you need it
  • Take breaks during the day
  • Join a support group online or in-person
  • Spend time with friends

Research for a Better Future Free of Alzheimer’s

As an Alzheimer’s caregiver, you witness firsthand how this disease changes a person until very few pieces remain of their former selves. Alzheimer’s has no cure, and there is no way to stop the progression of it. Scientists and researchers are hard at work, identifying potential new ways to detect, prevent, manage, and eventually cure it. Clinical research studies and volunteers who participate in them provide a way to determine if they are safe and effective.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, research studies may be an option. All Alzheimer’s participants must have a study partner that spends some time with them during the week, to accompany them to some of the study visits. This relationship provides researchers additional insight into the changes that have occurred over time with the patient. Participating in research may provide caregivers another layer of support and education about memory loss.

Caregivers do not need to attend each study visit, sometimes allowing the flexibility to do some shopping or enjoy some alone time. Regular assessments at study visits and conversations with study staff also help caregivers stay informed on their loved one’s health. Caregivers make many decisions with and for their loved ones, consider participating in a research study.

To learn more about the Alzheimer’s studies currently enrolling at our Methuen, MA location, call (978) 655-7155, or click here.

References:

https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/getting-help-alzheimers-caregiving

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/caregiver-stress-and-burnout.htm

July 14, 2020

Alzheimer’s Research: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

On June 18, 2020, we had our first Virtual Alzheimer’s Presentation! Our Chief Medical Director, Dr. Michael J. McCartney, took some time to talk about the history of Alzheimer’s and the research we are working on today.

A brief history of Alzheimer’s

 

  • Alois Alzheimer – German neurologist discovered the disease in 1906.
  • At the time, the disease was only able to be diagnosed through an autopsy of the brain after death.
  • First diagnosed patient was Auguste Deter.

From 1906 to 2020, there has been progress along the way, but research is recent. The first Alzheimer’s drug trial was in 1987, and yet there are only 5 FDA- approved drugs available in the U.S today. These drugs only temporarily help memory and thinking problems but do not treat the underlying causes of the disease or slow its progression. There is still no cure for this disease.

No NEW drugs have been approved since 2003, although there is some promise in a new drug that Biogen is planning to file a Biologics License Application with the FDA for this year. If approved, the anti-amyloid antibody, aducanumab, would be the first approval in 16 years.

Current Alzheimer’s Research

Around the world, there are approximately 600 clinical trials looking at new treatments for Alzheimer’s.

There are two types of Alzheimer’s treatment trials:

  1. Treatments aimed at reducing symptoms.
  2. Treatments aimed at slowing or stopping the disease.

Prevention trials:

Researchers hope that early intervention in individuals at increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s will prevent cognitive decline.

Studies on other types of treatments such as:

  • Medications
  • Dietary supplements
  • Non-drug therapies
    • Behavioral interventions
    • Exercise / Nutrition
    • Physical treatments including acupuncture, electromagnetic devices, light therapy devices and even surgery.

Local Studies being done at ActivMed

Over the last 12 years, ActivMed has conducted 18 clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease. We focus on Alzheimer’s in our Methuen and Lawrence, MA sites, where we also work with New England Neurological Associates.

Types of studies we have done include device studies, non-invasive (non-drug), and drug therapies.

Alzheimer’s studies focus on early memory loss, mild-to-moderate stages, or healthy subjects.

A lack of volunteers for Alzheimer’s clinical trials is one of the greatest obstacles slowing the progress of potential new treatments.

Community Awareness

ActivMed is also partnered with the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation, a non-profit organization, to help move research forward by raising awareness for clinical research to increase participation. As a GAP-Net site, we work together to educate and engage with our community for Alzheimer’s research.

We are partnered with GAP to share information about a current Alzheimer’s clinical trial called the Clarity Study.

The Clarity AD Study is underway to evaluate an investigational drug in adults who suffer from memory loss. If this sounds like you or a loved one, consider enrolling today.

You may qualify if you:

  • Are between the ages of 50 and 90
  • Have a study partner willing to attend clinic appointments with you
  • Have a recent history of memory decline with gradual progression over the last year

If you qualify and participate you will receive study- related testing and medical care as well as travel stipend.

Contact us today to see if you or a loved one may qualify. Call 978-655-7155 or click here.

Memory loss or normal aging?

Many people might experience some memory issues and may be stressed or worried but are afraid to seek help. Most primary care doctors check your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, but don’t check your memory.

Recommended for adults over age 50, a memory screening can offer a baseline to be able to determine if there are changes each year. At ActivMed, we offer these screenings to the community at no cost to you. We do not bill your insurance, and only share the results with your doctor if you request it.

These assessments can be done in our office or as a telehealth appointment. The test takes about 15 to 20 minutes where we ask questions that will test different cognitive areas. Your privacy and health information are protected under HIPAA guidelines. We will not share or sell your information.

Call 978-655-7155 for more information

You can watch the entire presentation below and hear the questions and answers at the end.

 

 

 

 

July 8, 2020

Summertime symbolizes beaches, tiki torches, mosquitos, and late-night fun. However, for the many individuals who have skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, it means another season that brings, in some cases, a rollercoaster of symptoms that can flare-up more often than not. Skincare is essential all year, but with a little know-how, you can help keep the lid on summer skin issues.

Eczema and Psoriasis Summertime Care

Let’s look at two of the most common skin conditions and what you can do to manage during these summer months.

Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

Managing eczema during any time of the year can be a challenge due to it flaring up in extreme heat and cold fluctuations. Staying moisturized is vital in maintaining the much-needed protective barrier with eczema. Some of The National Eczema Foundation recommendations for managing the skin condition in the summer include:

  • Hydrate from the inside out by drinking plenty of water.
  • Swim! Chlorine helps eczema tremendously, but rinse and moisturize immediately after.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light clothing.
  • Carry a cooler bag with a bottle of cold water and a washcloth to wipe the sweat off right away.
  • Keep gels and lotions in the fridge to keep them cool.

Psoriasis

Summer humidity and sunshine help soothe psoriasis symptoms, while the potential dry out from chlorine and the constant AC running can trigger a flare-up. Some recommendations to keep your psoriasis better managed during this time are:

  • Protect your skin from sunburn. Approximately 50% of people with psoriasis experience Koebner phenomenon where psoriasis forms at the site of skin injury, like sunburn. Alternatively, protected and limited sun exposure is beneficial.
  • Rinse off after swimming and moisturize within three minutes of any shower. Reapply moisturizer during the day to prevent skin from drying out.
  • Saltwater can soothe psoriasis, so take that dip in the ocean!

Other Summer Skin Issues

Even without the diagnosis of a skin condition, other summer skin issues such as acne, folliculitis, heat rashes, and sun allergies can wreak havoc on summer fun. Changing out of tight, wet clothes, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and paying attention to specific plants and infested ocean waters can help you to avoid most of these. Learn more about preventing common summer skin issues on the AAD website. Also, remember to bring anything concerning to your dermatologist immediately.

Clinical Research is Improving Options for Skin Conditions

Chronic skin condition symptoms often persist despite the strictest routines and lifestyle changes. In many cases, working with a dermatologist and following their recommended treatment plan is the next step. However, there are still individuals that remain unable to benefit from the many options that exist. Clinical research studies are helping to ensure everyone has access to safe, effective skin management choices.

Volunteers participating in research studies make these opportunities possible. Qualified participants have the opportunity to gain access to potential new options not currently available and learn more about their skin condition along the way. ActivMed is currently looking for participants to enroll in a variety of dermatological studies. To explore now enrolling opportunities, click the link for our Portsmouth, NH location, or Beverly, MA location.

References:

https://nationaleczema.org/summer-tips/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/psoriasis/living-with/ways-to-soothe-psoriasis-summer

https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/routine/prevent-summer-skin-problems

July 1, 2020

ActivMed CEO, Terry Stubbs, had the opportunity to speak again at the annual MAGI clinical research conference.

The MAGI Clinical Research Cloud Conference 2020 (6/22/2020 – 7/2/2020) includes 49 online sessions, covering topics such as: clinical operation, project management & risk management, site management, contracts & budgets, regulatory compliance, and professional skills. MAGI sessions and workshops emphasize practical tips based on real-life examples, with lots of interaction.

Terry spoke 7/1/2020 on the topic of Accelerating Study Startup at the Site. Terry enjoys sharing her knowledge of over 25 years of clinical research management with other sites.

ActivMed is proud to be a MAGI Blue Ribbon Site. MAGI is helping to streamline clinical research by streamlining best practices for clinical research operations, business and regulatory compliance.

June 17, 2020
COVID-19 Study Now Enrolling

We are excited to announce that we are NOW ENROLLING for a new COVID-19 Observational Study! 

COVID-19 Study Now Enrolling

This study is for people who have had a COVID-19 test, regardless of the result, to evaluate the accuracy of an investigational antibody test.

As it is an observational study, it only requires ONE VISIT to our clinic.

To learn more about this study, please call

978-655-7155.

June 1, 2020

An estimated 50 million people are living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. June is the inaugural commencement of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. The Alzheimer’s Association states that “every person who has a brain is at risk.” This is the perfect time to act and create awareness for this expanding public health crisis. ActivMed is taking action in another way. With over 800 clinical trials completed between four free-standing facilities, our efforts are improving access to care and treatment planning.

Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

 

The purpose of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month is to raise awareness about the brain, Alzheimer’s, and other dementias on a global level. June also marks a time to recognize the millions suffering from Alzheimer’s and other dementias, along with the caregivers that are so essential in their care. June 20th is the summer solstice as well as the Longest Day fundraiser which raises money towards finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. Anyone can get involved, and currently, most of the activities can be modified to meet social distancing requirements.

ActivMed’s Role in Alzheimer’s Disease and Brain Health

ActivMed Practices & Research has partnerships with more than 40 physicians and six major hospitals in greater Boston and Southern New Hampshire. The company has four clinical research offices, providing access to nearly 2.5 million people. Our Lawrence location is set-up within the New England Neurological Associates, offering those with memory loss more options.

ActivMed offers free health screenings for glucose, depression, memory, blood pressure, and pulmonary.

In response to the current social distancing guidelines, ActivMed now offers telehealth memory screens. These brief cognitive assessments can provide insight into one’s cognitive abilities. Although no diagnosis is provided, it can be a tool used for early intervention in the event results warrant it. No insurance is required, and all information is kept confidential.

 

Since 1994, ActivMed Practices & Research, Inc. has conducted studies in the areas of Neurology, Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Dermatology, Gastroenterology, Pain, Nutraceuticals, Vaccines, Medical Devices, and more. ActivMed is also Virtual Trial Capable. Click on the links to learn more about the currently enrolling studies for Alzheimer’s at the Lawrence and Methuen locations.

References:

https://www.alz.org/abam/overview.asp

https://www.seniorlifestyle.com/resources/blog/alzheimers-brain-awareness-month/

http://act.alz.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=156121.0

 

May 22, 2020

Jon Younger with Assisted Living Locators interviews ActivMed’s Outreach & Events Manager, Laura Rocha. Watch as they discuss Free Memory Screenings and clinical research.

 

Posted in Blog
May 7, 2020

CBS Boston interviews ActivMed researcher, Dr. Demetrius Rizos.

Dr. Rizos and his wife, Susan, who is a nurse, have been working on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Dr. Rizos has been volunteering at North Central Bronx Hospital, and his wife is working in the ICU at Beverly Hospital. Dr. Rizos has been a researcher with ActivMed for several years, and Nurse Sue has also joined our team in 2019. Thank you Dr. and Nurse Rizos for your selfless love for others!

You can read the article here.

Posted in Blog
May 1, 2020

Just a few short months ago we rang in 2020. We all had different expectations for what the year was going to bring, but none of us could have ever imagined how the coronavirus outbreak would have changed life as we knew it. The altered daily routines, social isolation, overall uncertainty, and financial pressures can be overwhelming, especially for those already dealing with mental health issues. Learning some self-care strategies can help when it comes to coping with your mental health during this time. Let’s discuss.

Change can be stressful for anyone. Doing your best to maintain a routine in times like these can help you to stay in the right mindset. Perhaps you are now working from home on a daily basis instead of commuting to the office each day. Designate a work area, get up, shower and get dressed, and keep normal working hours. Doing your work in the same area where you binge-watch your favorite TV shows can be distracting and hard to separate work from home. Even if you’re working with minimal square footage, make sure your workspace and your relaxing space are separate.

Make sure to take care of yourself. It can be tempting to want to lay around and order Chinese take-out while you relax on the sofa all day. Instead, try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. Meditation has been shown to be helpful for a variety of conditions and can be done in the smallest of spaces – even if you’re confined to a studio apartment.

Don’t lose your outside connections. Social distancing doesn’t have to apply to the virtual world! Find the time each day to reach out to friends and family via phone, text, email, FaceTime, etc. There are several apps that allow you to meet up and “hang out” virtually with your friends and family members. You can even host events like book clubs this way or attend art classes or exercise classes.

Don’t be afraid to get help when you need it. When it comes to your mental health, it’s important to be upfront about how you’re doing. Expecting mental health issues to fade on their own can lead to a worsening of symptoms, so it’s key to ask for help when you have concerns. ActivMed offers depression screenings at no cost to you or your insurance. To learn more about requesting a screening appointment, visit https://activemedredev.wpengine.com/join-a-trial/free-medical-screening/. Research studies may also be an option. If you or someone you love is experiencing struggles with mental health, research studies may be an option. Participants may see a doctor or medical staff, have access to study drug, and may receive reimbursement for travel. Learn more about current and upcoming studies @ https://activemedredev.wpengine.com/join-a-trial/.

Posted in Blog
April 8, 2020

Now more than ever, we’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about vaccines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The time it takes to create a vaccine and how effective they are is something we are all interested in.

Here is some important information on vaccines and some things our team thinks you should know.

How do vaccines work?

To better understand how vaccines work, it’s important to know how our body fights off illnesses. When a virus or bacteria enters the body, it attacks and multiplies causing infection. In response, the body uses its tools (i.e. white blood cells, which are our immune fighting cells) to fight off the infection. It can take several days to a week for our body to fight off an infection, but once it does, the immune system remembers what it learned when it comes in contact with that virus or bacteria in the future.

Vaccines work by imitating a virus or bacteria without ever causing the illness. Our immune system responds the same way that it would if we were truly infected, creating the same antibodies that protect us in the future. 

How long does it take to produce and distribute a vaccine?

When it comes to production of a vaccine, we’ve heard some conflicting timelines in the news lately. Typically, when new therapies are developed for any illness, it can take many years for an approval to be received and distributed to the public on a mass scale. This is due to the time it takes to go through all 3 phases of research to ensure the therapy is safe and effective.

Some vaccine trials can happen more quickly with an FDA fast-track status.

Read more about the vaccine approval process here.

How effective are vaccines?

Vaccines are highly effective and safe for the general public. Take measles for example; vaccines were responsible for eliminating the disease back in 2000. As more and more people stopped vaccinating against measles, it made a comeback in 2019 causing over 1000 cases of measles in the US.

The polio vaccine is also another great example. The first vaccine was given in 1955 and by 1979 polio was eradicated from the US, while in other countries, it continues to be a concern.

Vaccines have undoubtedly saved lives and our team is dedicated to helping advance vaccine research, contributing to success stories like measles and polio.

How do I get involved? 

ActivMed Practices & Research, Inc. conducts clinical trials in a multitude of therapeutic areas. To learn more about how you can participate in our enrolling studies or future studies for COVID-19 or other vaccines, please choose the location you prefer.

Methuen, MA

Portsmouth, NH

Beverly, MA

Lawrence, MA

Participants may see a doctor or medical staff, have access to study vaccines or study drug, and may receive reimbursement for travel.

Get involved today and make a difference for generations to come.

Posted in Blog
April 1, 2020

The skin is a barrier that protects, warms, and cools our bodies. When there is an issue with the skin like psoriasis, those functions are compromised, leading to overwhelming physical and emotional effects. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, an estimated 20,000 American children under the age of 10 are diagnosed with psoriasis each year. Understanding when those itchy red spots need to be examined by a doctor starts with recognizing some of the common symptoms.

Symptoms

Psoriasis modifies the skin renewal process. Usually, the skin cells will mature and die then shed while new skin cells are made underneath, which takes around three to four weeks. Psoriasis causes the immune system to be activated mistakenly, speeding up the life cycle of the skin cells to three to four days. Rather than falling off, the dead cells build up on the surface of the skin, forming thick, red, scaly patches.

The most common form of psoriasis in children is plaque psoriasis. The patches vary in size, number, and can appear anywhere on the body, but typically occur on areas like the knees, elbows, and scalp. They can also be very itchy and sometimes burn. Dermatologists specialize in skin disorders and are the best option for accurate diagnosis and treatment since there is no specific diagnostic test or tool. The dermatologist will examine the affected areas and may take a sample of it to view under the microscope.

Treatments

Psoriasis treatment depends on the severity, type, and area of skin affected. Untreated psoriasis can lead to plaques that continue to build and spread. Minimizing the scaling, itching, discomfort, and inflammation is the goal of available therapies. Topical treatments such as creams, or shampoos, UV phototherapy, oral medications, and injected biologics are some of the choices.

Finding the best way to manage your child’s psoriasis that has the best effect may take some time or require a combination of available treatments. In most cases, many children can achieve symptom relief with the right medication.

In children where effective psoriasis treatment remains out of reach, clinical research is the key. In order to discover how to prevent, improve treatment of, and eventually cure psoriasis, more work needs to be done through clinical research studies. Volunteers participating in clinical trials are the only way these advances become possible.

To learn more about currently enrolling pediatric psoriasis studies at ActivMed click HERE.

 

Posted in Blog
March 30, 2020

Posted in Blog
March 23, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATES

ActivMed Practices and Research is committed to ensuring the safety of our patients and team. During this time, we are taking additional precaution listed below. If you have any questions, please reach out to the appropriate office.

For Patients:

We are still open for visits; a member of our team will contact you prior to ask about recent illness and travel. As soon as you arrive, your temperature will be taken. If you have a fever, you will be asked to go home and come back once your symptoms have resolved. Per state guidelines, we are asking patients to wear masks when visiting our site. If you do not have a mask, we will provide one to you.

Please reschedule your visit if you

 

For Sponsors:

All on-site visits have resumed. We are following social distancing guidelines and are staggering monitors and visitors. We are still accommodating remote monitoring, site selection visits, closeout visits, etc. Please reach out to us to arrange your visit.

Posted in Blog
March 17, 2020

In 2009-2010 ActivMed Practices & Research participated in clinical research trials for development of vaccines and research for the Swine Flu epidemic.  The new vaccines were successful in slowing and stopping the epidemic.  We are hopeful the same can happen with the current epidemic.

 

Our staff and offices are patiently standing by and awaiting the development and implementation of coronavirus vaccine trials, that could help prevent and stop the spread of this disease.  We will be keeping you updated as we find out more about when these trials will be coming to our local area.

For now stay safe and follow the CDC recommendations.

 

Terry L. Stubbs MA,CCRC,AS,CRQM

President and CEO

Posted in Blog
March 16, 2020

Glucose or sugar is an essential source of fuel for your body. Type 2 diabetes affects the way your body metabolizes glucose. It used to be known as adult-onset diabetes. However, in recent years, the number of children diagnosed has risen with childhood obesity rates. As with other chronic conditions, diabetes must be managed appropriately to avoid irreversible issues later in life.

What Causes Diabetes?

Just as glucose is an important source of fuel, insulin is a hormone that helps regulate the movement of sugar into your cells. Insulin is produced in the pancreas gland. In type 2 diabetes, your body is resistant to insulin, or cannot produce enough insulin. Without insulin, too much glucose stays in your blood. If too much is in your blood, it begins to stick to the blood vessels and will eventually impede blood flow.

Many of the complications from diabetes take a while to develop. Heart disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, and eye damage are a few of the conditions diabetics are at risk for. Symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst and hunger, fatigue, and blurred vision. Being overweight, genetics, and other environmental factors are possible causes.

What Increases Your Risk?

Some individuals will have a predisposition to developing diabetes due to family history or race. Other causes that raise your risks of developing diabetes are:

  • Weight– You do not have to be overweight to develop diabetes but being overweight is a leading risk factor.
  • PCOS– Insulin resistance is a cause of PCOS, so those diagnosed often develop diabetes if not managed.
  • Inactivity– Physical activity helps manage your weight and uses up the glucose as energy allowing your body to use the insulin properly.
  • Gestational Diabetes– Raises your chances of developing diabetes later down the road.

Life with Diabetes

Managing your diabetes involves monitoring your blood sugar levels, eating a diabetic-friendly diet, and keeping active. Individuals may be able to manage their diabetes through diet and exercise, but medications and insulin therapies are available if further intervention is needed.

Diabetes research continues to transform the way this condition is managed for the 1.5 million Americans diagnosed each year. The possibilities for less invasive and more cost-effective options are on the horizon. To learn more about how you can get involved in the diabetes research studies ActivMed is currently conducting at our Methuen, MA location, call (978) 655-7155, or visit us here.

References:

https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/type-2

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351199

https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/Diabetes-and-Your-Eyes-Heart-Nerves-Feet-and-Kidneys

March 6, 2020

ActivMed participated in the 2019 Citizen Scientist Awards program to honor those who have made the valiant effort to participate in clinical research for Alzheimer’s.

The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation (GAP) created a first-of-its-kind award to celebrate Alzheimer’s disease clinical trial participants. The only way to find treatments and cures for Alzheimer’s is through clinical trials and these volunteers make that research possible. Each participating site submitted nominees for a national award. Here are the national winners.

Citizen Scientist Award Honoree Rochelle Long (OH) received the Cornerstone Award. Watch her inspirational story here!

Citizen Scientist Honoree Barbara Silva received the Catalyst Award.

Our site will be nominating folks again this year, so stay tuned for our 2020 nominees!

To find out more, please contact csa@globalalzplatform.org

 

Posted in Blog
March 1, 2020

Your brain, like your body, goes through change as it ages. As a result, we may not remember things as well as we did before. It may take longer to learn something new and losing things may happen more often. Forgetfulness that goes beyond the occasionally lost keys and inability to remember a name may be a cause for concern. Although some people experience memory issues as a result of treatable conditions, Alzheimer’s-related memory loss gradually gets worse over time. Memory screenings serve as a baseline to evaluate our current memory and how it changes over time. They are also a good way to see what is typical as we age, and what is not.

Why Should I Get a Memory Screen?

It is recommended if you are 65 or older to have your memory assessed yearly; however, if your memory issues concern you at all, talk with your doctor. They can help rule out any treatable conditions or determine if further evaluation is needed for something more serious.

Alzheimer’s symptoms typically begin before people notice since mild to moderate memory issues are typical with aging. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or other forms of mild cognitive impairment helps you educate yourself and your family about the disease, allowing you to begin treatments to manage symptoms.

The National Institute on Aging lists the following as some of the signs of a more serious memory issue:

  • Making poor judgments and decisions a lot of the time
  • Problems taking care of monthly bills
  • Trouble having a conversation
  • Losing track of the date or time of year
  • Misplacing things often and being unable to find them

Free Memory Screening

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is now recommending that everyone get a baseline memory screening, then a yearly follow up memory exam to look for cognitive changes.

ActivMed offers free memory screenings at their Lawrence, Methuen, and Lowell offices for anyone over the age of 50. The memory exam will determine a generalized score from the cognitive assessment—the score aids in identifying if the cognitive decline is reasonable, mild, or moderate. The results are reviewed and signed by a physician, and copies can be given to you or sent to your doctor to evaluate. You can fill out our free memory screen request form here.

 

References:

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/noticing-memory-problems-what-do-next

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/in-depth/memory-loss/art-20046326

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1123445/

February 11, 2020

Being heart healthy and knowledgeable is so important for your overall well being. Knowing the steps to take to achieve a healthier life style can truly make an impact on someone’s daily life. There is a misconception that heart failure means that the heart completely stops. Heart Failure means that the heart does not pump blood and oxygen throughout the body the way it should. This condition affects affects about 5.7 million people in the U.S. but there is hope.

Heart Healthy Foods 

There are several foods you can eat more of tips for maintaining a healthier heart. Berries, acai and tomatoes are some of the many heart healthy foods to include in your diet. Learn more here.

Exercise 

Think its too late to exercise, especially if you are not used to the routine? Think again! According to the Harvard Heart letter, “even short forms of structured exercise may improve your heart health.” Starting out with walking at least 10 minutes a day can really make a difference, especially if you are new to the routine. Click here to learn more about exercising techniques.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking forward 

There is a lot you can do to maintain a healthy heart. If you are struggling, don’t give up hope. If you would like to know more about how you can check up on the overall status of your health at no cost, learn more about our free screenings here. Our free screenings include checking for blood glucose, depression, memory loss, blood pressure, and pulmonary function. Learn more today!  And remember to schedule regular check-ups with your doctor. If you want to make your doctor happy, keep good records of your vitals or lab numbers, and bring them to your appointments.

 

2 January 16, 2020

Seasonal Depression 

It’s very common to feel sad during this winter season. 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.

Statistics 

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
  • Feeling of isolation or wanting to be isolated for long periods of time

 

Possible 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 Inc. 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 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.

 

January 13, 2020

We are excited to announce another donation yet again! We donated $1,500 to Pease N Carrots, an organization that holds annual food drives for those in need. We have been supporting them for 4 years now, and we are very grateful to be able to lend a helping hand!

 

January 10, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever wondered what a medical screening is and how it could benefit you? Health screenings are tests that look for diseases before you have symptoms. Screening tests can find diseases early, when they’re easier to treat. You can get some screenings in your doctor’s office. Others need special equipment, so you may need to go to a different office or clinic.

Some conditions that are commonly screened for include:

ActivMed Practices & Research Inc provides health screenings at no cost to you.

At ActivMed Practices & Research Inc., we offer free medical screenings for Depression, Blood Pressure, Blood Glucose, Memory, and Lungs. Which tests you need depends on your age, your sex, your family history, and whether you have risk factors for certain diseases. After a screening test, ask when you will get the results and whom to talk to about them. Visit our free screenings here.

Memory Screening

Curious as to what to expect from a memory screening? A memory screening can help detect if an additional check-up is needed by a qualified healthcare professional. Interested in learning more? The following article provides more information on memory screenings.

**UPDATE**

We are now able to offer a no contact Telehealth Memory Screening- All information is confidential, following all HIPAA guidelines.

Call us at 978-655-7155 to learn more or request a call online here.

January 8, 2020

We are excited to announce our collaboration with NENA – New England Neurological Associates. We are  currently enrolling studies in Lawrence, MA for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease. To visit our enrolling studies page, click here. For more information, contact Deepa at 978-992-4212.

ActivMed announces collaboration with NENA

Posted in Blog
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