Category: Clinical Trials

June 15, 2020

Stress is a way of life these days, it seems. COVID-19 has effectively changed the way we live our lives, at least for the foreseeable future. Most of us know that stress is not good for the body, but do you know how it impacts our health? Prolonged exposure to stress changes the way our brains function. To dive deeper, it reverts to its primitive functions that help us sense and respond to danger. We become faster at solving quick issues but lose the ability to plan or deal effectively with complex problems. Stress doesn’t have to run your life. With a little basic care and healthful changes, you too can embrace the stress.

Stress Relief Tips

There is so much that is beyond our control, and the truth is that stress is ever-present. Fortunately, there are things you can learn to help manage how you react to stress and help you relax your brain.

  • Meditation– Meditation can help relax your mind, and help you become less reactive to stress triggers.
  • Restructure Stress Response– Cognitive restructuring is a technique that changes the habitual thinking patterns that trigger your stress response.
  • Stress Management– Learning more about stress, stress management, and what triggers your stress response will help you feel more confident to handle what life throws at you.
  • Confide in Someone You Trust– Talk things out with a trusted loved one instead of staying in your thoughts. Surround yourself with those who will help you identify you are stressed, and when to take action.

Brain Exercises

Taking care of your brain is important at any age. Engaging in regular brain exercises helps improve memory and focus so you can keep up with daily life. In our later years, brain changes begin to affect memory, and these activities become more and more important. Jigsaw puzzles, dancing, learning a new skill, and meditation are some ways you can challenge your mind.

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. The program’s focus is on providing brain health education, resources, and tools for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. One of the ways they do this is by helping to raise money for the vital research needed to detect, treat, and eventually cure these conditions through clinical research studies.

ActivMed Practices & Research can help you take charge of your brain health. You can get involved by participating in one of the Alzheimer’s research studies at our Methuen location or take advantage of our telehealth memory screens. To learn more about our free telehealth memory screens, call the Methuen office at (978) 655-7155 or by click here.

 

References:

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/coronavirus-covid19-stress-brain

https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-relax-your-mind-3144475

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/brain-exercises#focus

 

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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

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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/

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October 15, 2019

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

Clinical Research

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

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

Symptoms 

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

Tips for Management & Prevention

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

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

 

 

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October 9, 2019

 

What is it? 

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

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

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

 

Treatment options

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

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

 

Clinical Research Studies 

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

 

Outlook 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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September 17, 2019

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

The Toll of Time

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

Risk Factors

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

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

 

Prevention

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

References:

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

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

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

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September 9, 2019

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

What is Alzheimer’s?

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

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

Don’t Just Hope, Help.

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

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

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

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

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

 

References:

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

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August 21, 2019

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

The Black Hole

 

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

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

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

 

Types of Depression

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

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

Clinical Studies and Depression

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

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

 

References:

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

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