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Walgreens Steps Foot into the Telehealth Sector

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Walgreens now provides easier access to your local healthcare providers through their new telehealth application: Find Care Now. This digital health service eases patients with busy schedules by connecting to a live provider from anyplace a patient wishes to connect.

The starting cost begins at $59 without insurance, and already 5 million active members have been introduced with this new link to healthcare services. After hearing about Amazon’s initiative to push into the healthcare industry with their small retail pharmacy called  PillPack, Walgreens partnered with other health care providers to introduce their new mobile health system.

The future of the drugstore industry has shifted with the increasing availability of selling and delivering prescription drugs online. The mobile app has been launched, and currently, Walgreen’s company officials are adding more features to their application and working with 17 other participating providers.

Soon enough, the digital marketplace will reach every household and has the potential to transform the healthcare platform significantly. Patients and physician will both benefit from having the opportunity to communicate with the convenience of being in separate locations.

A predicted number of 7 million Americans will be utilizing the telehealth platform in 2018. It targets underserved populations to provide primary care services for people, with or without insurance. The future of telemedicine is continuing to push boundaries and consumers are anticipating the next biggest technology these companies will soon establish.

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How Gut Bacteria Controls Your Brain

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The bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract (gut) is often referred to as your second brain, and for a good reason. Inside your stomach is a very complex, multi-organism microbiome that consists of not only your cells but also various bacteria that help you digest your food. The most prominent bacteria are Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, and Proteobacteria, but there are many more as well. The effects of these bacteria are currently in research, but recent scientific studies have discovered that these bacteria are not only beneficial but a necessity for survival.

The bacteria in your gut can make your basic life functions easier and overall happier in general. A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience conducted an experiment where they studied germ-free mice (in the gut) compared to mice containing bacteria. These germ-free mice displayed an exaggerated response to restraint stress and anxiety-related behaviors, which affected the overall well-being of the rat.

https://www.railyardapothecary.com/store/p248/The_Gut_Brain_Connection%3A_Learning_to_Trust_My_Gut.html

What makes it much more interesting is that gene expression of a key protein regulating neuronal plasticity and cognition was observed to have decreased, whereas a control group of normal mice with gut bacteria showed the necessity of such bacteria for survival. When the scientists re-introduced the bacteria in the gut, these effects were somewhat able to be reversed and symptoms, including neuronal cognition, were mediated; however, not all the mice with reintroduced gut bacteria were seen to recover from the symptoms and continued symptoms were especially prominent for mice that were not in early childhood/adolescence.

Scientists then applied this newly found information and analyzed human fecal matter. They began to see the effects of various dietary choices and how it affects your brain. The current focus is on probiotics, which is a $20 billion industry in today’s market, and it is promoted widely as healthy. But why?

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

The testing of gastrointestinal tract bacteria and probiotics is relatively early in its studies, but there are specific strains that have been proven to impact your gut microbiome positively. Additional studies of groups given probiotics against groups given a placebo in hospitals measured for mood and cognition. Using the total Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the researchers saw that the probiotics group had a higher percentage decrease versus the placebo group. These tests were based on the mood, something that is not quantifiable. However, suggested evidence tells us that probiotics help with increased mood and further, larger clinical trials are being conducted to find more evidence.

Manipulation of the microbiome in your gut is utilized for many applications, including chronic diseases and illnesses. Hepatic encephalopathy, a symptom of a chronically diseased liver, causes patients to have complications with cognitive function and patients treated by gastrointestinal tract bacteria manipulation. Antibiotics are given to help the patients because their diseased livers cannot process the gut bacteria metabolites. Reducing the bacteria that cause these metabolites to mediate the problem results in the disappearance of these metabolites, thus improving cognitive function. The bacteria microbiome here have a direct effect of the patients’ function, displaying how your gut bacteria controls your brain.

https://www.parentingspecialneeds.org/article/gut-brain-connection-special-needs/

Evidence in mice suggests that gastrointestinal tract microbiome may be not only necessary for yourself right now but also crucial for early brain development. Right after birth, the newborn is introduced to many different microorganisms, and this early microbiome is essential for the development of the early brain. A 2010 study, Normal gut microbiota modulates brain development and behavior, tested mice with different microbiome organisms to see the effects. Germ-free (GF) mice were tested versus normal mice in anxiety and exploratory activity.

Mice were tested to see if the absence of gut bacteria would affect the maturation of the brain of the mice. Key proteins were found missing from the GF mice, and later those mice experienced anxiety behaviors. Interestingly, proteins for the development of synapses were not expressed as much, which seems to lead to a long-term effect on the developing mice in motor control and anxiety. Results such as “elevated Noradrenaline (NA), Dopamine (DA), and 5-HT Turnover in the Striatum” appeared to cause the anxiety-like behaviors. In other words, mice without a bacterial microbiome saw anxiety-like behaviors due to changes in the neuronal chemistry inside the brain. This suggests that in humans early childhood, gut microbiome is important for the development of the synapses of the brain and controls the brain through gene expression leading to protein expression.

Your health, mood, and well-being may be in fact due to the microbiome that lays inside your gastrointestinal tract. Studies observed that mice gut bacteria cause anxiety-like symptoms. Eating probiotics have shown to be beneficial, but further research is still necessary. For now, understand the correlation between what you eat affects how you feel, and that your stomach bacteria plays a significant role in your health.

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The Human Sugar Project: The Next Major Breakthrough in Medicine- Glycome

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The key explanation of how life works reside in the gene. You may have heard of the Human Genome Project, a major breakthrough in 2003. This international scientific research is now the gold standard to diagnose certain diseases based on their nucleotide sequences. As a result of this unique gene mapping sequence, physicians are utilizing gene therapy to diagnose and treat patients. This depicted a significant advancement in our healthcare industry, but now there is a shift in the current focus.

Today’s emphasis revolves around glycans- the sugar component of DNA. It’s not the usual scientific study of utilizing genomics, the study of genes, or the proteomics, the study of proteins. The term glycomics is used for the study of glycome/sugar components of the cell, and it could soon potentially be the key to diagnose the next set of diseases.

Glycomes are sugars, but not the sweetener which you add to your coffee or components of your candy bar you may be thinking of. They are the powerful sugar structures that scientists have observed to be linked to health problems and autoimmune diseases. Glycomes are made up of long sugar chains of monosaccharides linked by glycosidic linkages. They are usually found attached to another component such as glycoproteins or proteoglycans and generally create a sugar coat around the surface of a cell and modifies the proteins and fats.

In a Nature article,  Dr. Wong and her colleagues found that glycosphingolipids (GSLs) play important roles in cell-to-cell recognition. These are a group of complex lipids linked to a glycan moiety. Malignant cancers show abnormal glycosylation of GSLs, which can be used to find cell surface glycosylation and cancer progression.

Another laboratory is currently involved in research of glycans and its associated attachments sites. Glycans are necessary to modify the proteins and fats on the surface of our cell and are vital for the protection of the human body from bacteria and pathogens. In this study, researchers are attempting to “crack the sugar code” to find the location of glycans on various cell types. With this information, medicinal therapies could be produced and specified for each developing diseases.     

For the next 5 years, the National Institutes of Health are investing greater resources into the area of glycosciences. The understanding of glycan-mediated processes could impact new discoveries for the treatment of chronic diseases related to sugars.

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“Just One More Drink” Could Be the Leading Cause of Death. Know Your Body’s Limit of Alcohol Consumption.

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How many of us have gone out to bars or parties and have lost count of the number of drinks consumed throughout the night? I’m sure many of us have experienced those regrettable mornings the day after. Don’t let yourself feel the regret and know your body’s alcohol tolerance before taking the first sip!

We may have heard that 1-2 drinks daily could be beneficial to your health since it is good for the heart. However, recent studies have shown that drinking any amount of alcohol is problematic for your health and is one of the leading causes of death.

Though drinking alcohol is merely a part of the social aspect in many countries, studies have shown that it has killed more people globally than before. Humans have been consuming alcohol for millions of years, long before brewing became a craft in itself. But as always, it’s important to do your research beforehand, especially knowing there is a direct impact on your body’s health!

How Bad is Alcohol?  

Alcohol is the number one overused drug consumed by minors. 86.4% have consumed alcohol before the legal age of 21, and 26.9% of the minors have engaged in excessive alcohol drinking. This is intoxicating to the body’s health. Hence, it is necessary to learn the impact of it before consumption.

It’s easy to drink a cup or two but could be horrifying when you start to lose count. Most people have probably hit that limit before. Therefore, it’s best to know how much you can take in before putting excess pressure on your liver or you could be more prone to long-term health issues.

There are 2.8 million deaths each year, and 1 in 10 deaths that occur are due to mishandling of alcohol. This alcoholic binge is worse now than ever imagined, and no amount of alcohol is shown to be “healthy.” Booze is a known neurotoxin; if taken in excess, it may cause memory impairment and reckless decision making.

Alcohol is a depressant, which are drugs taken to decrease the heart rate and breathing. There is a direct negative impact on cognitive ability, like loss of attention, inability to think abstractly, and loss of visuospatial abilities. Studies have shown that it deteriorates the gray matter in your brain and causes a lack of coordination and confusion. If this substance is abused, there are withdrawal symptoms, and it can gravely impair a person’s sleep and brain’s “hard-wiring.”

How Much Is One Drink?

  • Beer= 5% Alcohol= 1 can= 12 fl. oz.
  • Malt liquor= 7% Alcohol= 8-9 fl.oz.
  • Table wine= 12% Alcohol= 5 fl. oz.
  • Shot of distilled spirits= 40% Alcohol= 1.5 fl. oz.

PC: https://www.grandforks.af.mil/News/Features/Display/Article/764042/so-you-had-a-planto-go-drink-for-drink-with-a-buddy/

How Much Alcohol Can I Take?

Everyone’s body size is different, so that means everyone has a different alcohol tolerance range. Just because you have a fast metabolism or have a larger body mass, does not mean you are prompted to drink more. Your tolerance is based on a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) calculation where a Driving under the influence (DUI) conviction means 0.08% or higher. Note that it is still possible that you could be charged at any level above 0. Depending on which state you are convicted, the fines could go up to $1000 and is listed on your permanent record.

Approximately 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year. One in four college students have shown academic consequences due to poor habits and 696,000 students reported to have been involved in sexual assault due to excess alcohol consumption. People around you who are not educated or precautious about their consumption can pose an even more significant threat to innocent people.

Last but not least, if you decide to drink, do it with precaution! Do not let your lack of education or one bad decision determine your fate. These are not just scare tactic numbers, but it’s the hard truth that could come down to a life or death situation.  

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