The FDA recently issued: “A guidance to clarify that manufacturers may share patient-specific information recorded, stored, processed, retrieved, and/or derived from a medical device with the patient who is either treated or diagnosed with that specific device. FDA believes that providing patients with access to accurate, useable information about their healthcare when they request it (including the medical products they use and patient-specific information these products generate) will empower patients to be more engaged with their healthcare providers in making sound medical decisions.”
The good news is new devices can give you and your doctor a heads up about your hidden inner health.
You go to your doctor’s office, for example, and your blood pressure is normal. After you leave, your blood pressure may intermittently spike. You may not know it. Now doctors at Columbia University Medical Center in New York described a study that monitored 317 African-Americans (69 percent women) from the Jackson Heart Study, an ongoing, population-based study in Jackson, Mississippi, that examines the factors associated with and occurrence of heart disease among African Americans. The New York researchers attached a small device to participant which measures blood 24 hours a day. In an article in the May issue of the journal Hypertension, the researchers this technique may help identify patients who have “masked” or undetected high blood pressure. Participants did not have high blood pressure and were not on high blood pressure medication when enrolled. They wore ambulatory blood pressure monitors at the first clinic visit and their readings were compared with clinic readings taken at a two subsequent visits. Participants were then followed for an average of 8.1 years. Results determined 187 out of the 317developed high blood pressure.
Marwah Abdulla MD, PhD, lead study author, says African Americans with any “masked” hypertension had twice the risk of developing clinic hypertension when compared to those who had both normal office and out-of-office blood pressure.
Why is unmasking high blood pressure so essential? It is a big factor leading to heart attacks, which also may be silent
In the May issue of Heart News, researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina noted nearly half of all heart attacks may be silent — occurring without any symptoms. Like heart attacks with symptoms, silent heart attacks increase the risk of death because people do not realize they had a silent heart attack.
Elsayed Z. Soliman, M.D., MSc., M.S., A senior author of the study and director of the epidemiological cardiology research center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center cautions. “Because patients don’t know they have had a silent heart attack; they may not receive the treatment they need to prevent another one.”
BRAIN WAVE DATABASE
What about using electrical signals from our brains to select the right psychopharmaceutical for a person who has a mental health condition? There are more than 100 drugs from which to choose. Usually the choice is done by trying different drugs. This trial and error procedure may involve a delay during which a patient is in distress and perhaps even suicidal because the chosen medication is ineffective for his or her individual need.
George Carpenter, president and CEO California based Mynd Analytics believes his company may have the answer to quickly selection of the right drug for a particular patient. In the journal PLOS Computational Biology, there is a report of. Mynd Analytics’ ’PEER (Psychiatric EEG Evaluation Registry). A healthcare professional will then use an EEG to record a patient’s brain waves. The recording will then be sent to Mynd Analytics, a database of more than 38,000 EEGs from 10,000 PATIENTS revealing the most effective drugs for an individual patient with a similar EEG record. This is more likely to help doctors choose one of the 130 psychotropic drugs that will be most effective instead of the long trial and error procedure to which many patients may be subjected, according to Carpenter.
How well do you Sweat it out?
Hot weather can be fatal, especially to older people. In a severe heatwave in France in 2003, there were 70,000 deaths, 15,000 in Paris alone.
Larry Kenney is the director of the Human Thermoregulation Laboratory at Penn State University.
In an article in Penn State Research by Cherie Winner, Kenney pointed out that with a laser light, areas of blood flow show up bright red and yellow. Constricted Vessels are dark blue.
Because sweat changes in skin blood flow are unique to humans, Kenney could not use lab animals. He had to entice volunteers to ride recumbent bikes to determine how well they dissipated heat generated by exercise.
Kenney, also a professor of physiology and kinesiology at Penn State, (email@example.com), says the experiments go far beyond deaths from heatwaves to vascular health in general.
“We are now using the skin circulation as a model for studying what ‘s going to happen to those bigger arteries– the more important vessels later in life—because changes in the little skin vessels precede and mimic things that happen with cardiovascular disease.
Getting down to the very basic of inside body functions
Loma Linda University and Siemens’ PETNET Solutions Inc. have recently completed a state-of-the-art PET (Positron Emission Tomography) Production and Research Facility to advance molecular imaging, according to a recent news release from the California University.
What is molecular imaging? It is the ability to see, characterize and measure the biological activity at the molecular and cellular levels in us.
Barbra Holshouser, PhD, medical physicist and Director of the Center for Imaging Research, said:” Molecular Medicine is the future of medicine that personalizes clinical Care by characterizing specific disease processes at the cellular level in individual patients. For example, there are molecular imaging agents designed to target specific Cancers such as breast and prostate cancer for enhanced detection of metastatic lesions. Once the lesions are visualized, we can use molecular therapies designed to target and deliver localized radiation to the metastatic lesions. This one day may diminish the need for more toxic treatments such as chemotherapy or large area radiation.”
New technology will certainly reveal more body secrets and advance prevention and treatment of many common afflictions.