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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 13, 2019

Defining Prurigo Nodularis

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

The Cause

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

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

Diagnosis and Treatment

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

References:

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

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

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January 29, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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October 8, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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September 24, 2018
AcitvMed_Blog_Mental_Illness_Awareness_Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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August 21, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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August 8, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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July 23, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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July 10, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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June 20, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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