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Pole fitness studio opens in Andover

Posted: September 25, 2012 at 6:12 am

ANDOVER After about 15 minutes of stretching and warmups, Dorian Brown demonstrates how to do a pole crunch.

Welcome to beginner pole fitness class at North Shore Pole Fitness. The new studio, which focuses on pole dancing as exercise, opened several weeks ago on Haverhill Street.

Typically, a first class will also include instruction on pole pull-ups, basic spins and climbing techniques on eight vertical poles installed in the studio. Brown said the poles are more than just a tool for adult entertainment, the vertical apparatus trains the body like no other weightlifting or resistance training available.

You can do an entire workout just using a pole, said Brown, 51, the owner of the new fitness studio. You can use every part of your body.

Brown, who lives in Georgetown, said first-time students need to overcome fear factors before performing anything fancy. While the training can be hard, the instructors also try to keep it sultry.

It is still pole dancing, Brown said. We don't want to be so removed making it just about fitness and boot camp. There is still a dance element.

Eventually students can learn how to do aerial tricks and inversions. Intermediate and expert pole fitness classes are also available.

On Thursday and Sunday, Sexy Stiletto" workouts are offered and there is also a pole fitness boot camp. A second room, without poles, allows them to offer additional classes in yoga and chair dance. The classes are for both men and women. People of all different ages, shapes and sizes can participate, Brown said.

This is the first studio of its kind in the area, Brown said, noting It is tough to find chair dance classes even in New York City. There are only two or three pole fitness studios in the Boston area, she said.

General manager Philip Deal, 32, of Winthrop, who competes in pole dancing competitions nationwide, said pole fitness began catching on in fitness circles around the world in 2006. It started in Australia and the United Kingdom before reaching the United States, particularly the West Coast, Deal said.

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Pole fitness studio opens in Andover

Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach Announces Fitness Week

Posted: at 6:12 am

MIAMI, Sept. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach Resort, located in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas, announces Fitness Week Oct. 6 - 13. The event will feature three world-class instructors who specialize in Yoga, Pilates and Zumba.

Each day of Fitness Week will begin at 8 a.m. with a beach walk and boot camp, continue with a Yoga session at 10 a.m. and Aqua Zumba at 12 p.m. Zumba classes will be offered at 3 and 4 p.m. followed by a Sunset Yoga session at 5 p.m. The three instructors include:

Ardie Hollander focuses on proper alignment so that Yoga poses are effective regardless of experience level. She has taught in San Francisco, New York, West Hampton Beach and Miami Beach. Ardie is Yoga Works Certified and Yoga Alliance Registered E-RYT.

Cathy Leblond's repertoire includes ballet jazz, hip-hop, Bollywood and gypsy dance. She has been teaching Zumba for six years. Her style is to have fun while working out. She teaches 32 dance, Zumba and fitness classes a week in different gyms and her dance studio in Canada.

Andrea Muir has a love for sports and athletics and her vision is to assist people on their journey to fitness. Andrea is an AFLCA Certified Fitness Instructor, CANFITPRO Certified Personal Trainer and specializes in multiple types of Zumba including Zumba Sentao, Aqua Zumba, Zumba Toning and Zumbatomic.

The Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach offers 276 island inspired guest rooms with balconies and features a secluded beach with 1,200 feet of white sands and crystal clear waters. As the only all-inclusive resort on the island, it is surrounded by tropical forests and parklands. Additionally, one of the world's largest reef systems is located just off shore which makes for memorable snorkeling. The resort is a 45 minute flight from Florida and 13 miles from Freeport Airport.

For reservations, call 1-800-WYNDHAM or visit http://www.vivawyndhamfortunabeach.com. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/vivaresorts.

About Viva Wyndham ResortsViva Wyndham Resorts features all-inclusive properties throughout the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Mexico. Viva Wyndham Resorts' multilingual staff, tropical settings, extensive amenities and thorough entertainment line-up ensures guests a truly customized vivid all-inclusive experience. As part of the brand's passion for life, it strives to protect all the resort's surrounding environments and cultures by implementing green programs throughout its resorts.

Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach Announces Fitness Week

Intone Fitness Centre joins payasUgym.com

Posted: at 6:11 am


Intone Fitness Centre (Alsager) is the latest club to join the worlds largest gym access programme, payasUgym.com. Intone Fitness Centre will provide the residents of Alsager and payasUgym.com customers with the opportunity to get fit, stay fit, recover from injury and de-stress in a pleasant and friendly atmosphere. As a family-friendly facility, customers can leave their children in the crche while they enjoy a wide range of cardiovascular and resistance machines, free weights and a punch bag.

With over 450 clubs already involved across the country, payasUgym is the largest network of its kind and has picked up numerous awards for innovation since launching just 18 months ago. The service enables people to use gyms and health clubs across the UK on a flexible basis with the objective of getting more people involved in fitness.

Having initially launched in London in February 2011, payasUgym.com has grown rapidly and includes gyms and health clubs of all shapes and sizes. Gym users are attracted by the flexibility of the service and the variety of clubs involved, whilst gym operators are keen to benefit from the new customers that start using their facilities thanks to the marketing carried out by payasUgym.com. Gaining the support of gym operators has been key to the rapid expansion of this free-to-participate service.

CEO Jamie Ward said, We pride ourselves on the fact that we can offer gym goers the opportunity to use clubs of all shapes and sizes and all types. Intone Fitness Centre is a very welcome addition to the network and will be very popular with payasUgym.com users.

To use the service customers simply create a free online account which they top-up with credit, similar to the process of topping-up a pay as you go mobile phone. They can then use this credit to buy passes for gym use at any of the listed gyms and health clubs which range from single day passes and a variety of cheap short term gym membership options.

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Intone Fitness Centre joins payasUgym.com

Accountable Health Care IPA Promotes Rhoda Brown to Director of Operations

Posted: at 6:11 am


Accountable Health Care IPA (Accountable), a physician-led independent physician association (IPA) that contracts with eight California health plans serving nearly 160,000 member-patients in Los Angeles County, announced that it has promoted Rhoda Brown to the position of Director of Operations. The move is part of the organizations efforts to expand its medical group management operations in Southern California in concert with Health Reform.

Most recently, Brown, 43, served as Director of Claims, leading claims process and payment operations. She is a graduate of University of Phoenix, where she received her Masters in Business Administration. Prior to joining Accountable, she was Director of Claims at Healthcare Partners. She will report to Mark Wright, newly appointed president of Accountable, at the organizations Signal Hill offices.

We are very pleased to announce Rhodas promotion to director of operations, said George Jayatilaka, M.D., CEO of Accountable Health Care IPA. Since arriving at Accountable in September 26, 2011, Rhoda has displayed the leadership and accountability that we consider fundamental to successfully serving our customers and growing our operations. We look forward to her continued contributions as a member of our leadership team here at Accountable.


Accountable Health Care IPA is a physician-led independent physician association (IPA) with core values based on reliability and accountability in the provision of appropriate, expedient and quality medical services for our members, with uncompromising integrity, compassion, and values. Our team of management professionals fosters a culture among our employees that supports interdependency and accountability in service to our members and to provide professional administrative support to our contracted providers on an accurate and timely basis. Together, we strive to become the leading integrated health service organization dedicated to promoting members' personal health status through improved communication, health maintenance, and coordinated delivery of care system.

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Accountable Health Care IPA Promotes Rhoda Brown to Director of Operations

Policy Leaders Receive Front-Line Look at Health Care Transformation

Posted: at 6:11 am

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Health policy advisors seeking to understand how hospitals and health systems are adapting to the changing industry environment heard real-life case studies from The Advisory Board Company and a panel of hospital senior executives on Monday on Capitol Hill. At the briefing, Advisory Board researchers shared their observation that more than two-thirds of the opportunities for hospitals to improve their financial outlook over the next 10 years come from reducing the growth of inpatient costs and shifting patient care to more appropriate settings.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110802/PH45999LOGO )

These strategies complement the movement by both private and public payers to restructure health care financing around incentives for higher-quality, more efficient care. Developing a more efficient system is critical for the health care sector given the aging of the U.S. population, the rapid increase in chronic illness, continued deceleration in prices paid by consumers and payers, and the increasing cost of providing health care.

"This transformation of how health systems deliver care is right for patients. While there is a lot of uncertainty among our member institutions, and the change will be difficult, there also is a lot of enthusiasm because this is an opportunity to align financial incentives with health systems' missions of providing patient-centered care," The Advisory Board Company's Chief Research Officer Chas Roades said during the briefing session, Reports from the Front Lines of Health Care Transformation: Real-World Examples of How the Care Delivery System is Migrating toward Value-Driven Care.

Monday's briefing was attended by Congressional staff, administration, and thought leaders from the health policy think-tank community.

The Advisory Board Company, a leading national advisor to health systems, is sponsoring a series of briefings on the practical impact of health care transformation, beginning with Monday's session. These Reports from the Front Lines sessions are designed to help health policy leaders understand the current state of the U.S. health care system. They also aim to connect these leaders with Advisory Board members who are succeeding at transforming care in diverse communities throughout the nation. Insights include how health systems are adapting to the changing environment, as well as examples of what is and is not working in the quest toward higher-quality, more efficient care.

"We bring more than 30 years of experience as a trusted advisor to America's health systems," said Frederick Isasi, Senior Health Policy Advisor and Managing Director, Government Strategies at The Advisory Board Company. "We believe that through our unique perspective on the industry we have valuable insights that can elevate policy discussions. We want to share our observations on the front lines of the U.S. health care delivery system."

In this first briefing, health policy leaders received a comprehensive overview of the critical challenges facing hospitals and physicians as they move toward value-driven health care. The briefing also included a panel discussion featuring health system leaders from the Advisory Board membership who achieved measurable results in improving care quality and reducing cost in their communities. Participants included:

"These panelists have terrific stories to tell," said discussion moderator Lisa Bielamowicz, MD, Senior Vice President for Physician Strategy at The Advisory Board Company. "They provide proof that transformation can really improve the quality of care, make it more patient-centric, and, at the same time, significantly reduce health care costs. Moreover, these panelists provide new stories of transformation that show that these changes are occurring throughout the country from rural Iowa to a small town in Michigan to suburban Virginia."

The Advisory Board Company employs more than 1,750 professionals worldwide and gathers authoritative insights from the on-the-ground experience of its network of 150,000 leaders at 3,100 health care institutions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. All told, The Advisory Board Company sponsors more than 180 national meetings annually for its members in 46 content areas; these draw more than 11,000 attendees.

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Health Care Quality Improvement Costs on the Rise

Posted: at 6:11 am


Health insurers spent more than $5.042 billion on health care quality improvement expenses in 2011, compared to $4.936 billion in 2010, according to a new report by Mark Farrah Associates (MFA). Health insurers are similar to property insurers in that by protecting the covered entity from harm, claims stay low and the business is more profitable. MFA found, after analyzing data in the Supplemental Health Care Exhibit (SHCE) portion of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) statutory filings, that health insurers are spending a great deal of money to keep policy holders free from harm. With an aging population, a renewed focus on controlling health care costs and an ability to deduct expenditures related to quality improvement costs from PPACA MLR rebate mandates, MFA expects these expenditures to rise in the future.

Health insurance quality improvement costs are expenses for activities that are designed to improve health care quality and increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes that can be objectively measured and produce verifiable results. These activities include: improving health outcomes, preventing hospital readmissions, improving patient safety and reducing medical errors, wellness and health promotion activities and activities that enhance the use of health care data (Health Information Technology or HIT) to improve quality, transparency and outcomes.

While the primary purpose of the SHCE is for calculating mandated medical loss ratio (MLR) rebates, the data can also be used to benchmark expenditures on various activities by segments. By using the data in the Supplemental Exhibit health plans can benchmark their own efforts against other health plans. Third party vendors can use the data to identify which plans may benefit from the services they offer and consultants, government agencies and other concerned organizations can analyze these data elements.

MFAs latest business strategy report analyzes the total dollars spent on quality improvement programs in 2011 and the activities and segments where the money was spent. To read the full text of Health Plans Quality Improvements Expenditures Rising, visit the Analysis Briefs section on Mark Farrah Associates website http://www.markfarrah.com.

Committed to simplifying analysis of health insurance business, our products include Medicare Business Online, Medicare Benefits Analyzer, Health Coverage Portal, County Health Coverage, Health Insurer Insights and Health Plans USA.

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Health Care Quality Improvement Costs on the Rise

Health plans are likely to increase premiums and raise charges for dependents

Posted: at 6:11 am

The health insurance open enrollment season is heading into full swing, and many employees will be reviewing their plan options over the next few months. Premiums will rise, although perhaps not as much as last year, and dependent coverage may be noticeably more expensive than in the past. Comparing plans may be easier, though, thanks to summaries that group health plans and insurers now must provide.

As workers ponder decisions, heres what they can expect:

Premiums go up

Health-care premiums are expected to rise 5.3 percent in 2013, to an average of $11,507 per employee, a slightly smaller increase than this year, according to a survey of mid-size to large companies by benefits consultant Towers Watson. Employees will pay an estimated $2,596 of that total.

Forty-two percent of employers said they planned to increase employees share of premiums by one to five percentage points; another 13 percent said they would bump up their employees share by five percentage points or more.

Pay more for dependents

Thanks in part to the Affordable Care Acts provisions that allow adult children to stay on their parents plans until they reach age 26, employers are scrutinizing dependent coverage more closely, experts say.

Companies are not really wanting to be a dependent magnet, says Tracy Watts, a partner at human resources consultant Mercer. They want to be competitive, but not so generous that everybody comes onto their plan.

Expect to see more dependent-coverage options employee plus one child, employee plus two children, and so on say experts, priced accordingly.

Over the next three to five years, companies expect to subsidize employee-only coverage at 75 percent and dependent coverage at 69 percent, according to Aon Hewitts 2012 employer health care survey.

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Health plans are likely to increase premiums and raise charges for dependents

Health care law ensures consumers get clear, consistent information about health coverage

Posted: at 6:11 am


Because of the health care law, millions of Americans will have access to standardized, easy-to-understand information about health plan benefits and coverage. Insurance companies and employers are now required to provide consumers in the private health insurance market with a brief summary of what a health insurance policy or employer plan covers, called a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC). Additionally, consumers will have access to a Uniform Glossary that defines insurance and medical terms in standard, consumer-friendly terms.

These tools will also assist employers in finding the best coverage for their business and employees.

Thanks to the health care law, Americans will now get clear, consistent and comparable information when shopping for health coverage, said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. These new tools empower consumers to make informed decisions about their health coverage options and to choose the plan that is best for them, their families, and their business.

The SBC includes a new comparison tool, called Coverage Examples, which is modeled on the Nutrition Facts label required for packaged food, that helps consumers compare coverage options by showing a standardized sample of what each health plan will cover for two common medical situationshaving a baby and managing type 2 diabetes.

The SBC will include information about the covered health benefits, out-of-pocket costs, and the network of providers. The glossary defines terms commonly used in the health insurance market, such as deductible and co-pay, using clear language.

Before today, people often lacked uniform and comparable information when shopping for coverage, often relying only on marketing materials to make decisions. Starting this fall, consumers will receive the SBC free of charge and in writing from the consumers insurance company or employer. This information can be requested at any time, but it will also be made available when shopping for, enrolling in or renewing coverage. It will also be provided whenever information in the SBC changes significantly.

The SBC will be available beginning today for consumers in the individual health insurance market. For enrollees in group health plans enrolling during an open enrollment period, it will be available during the next open enrollment period that starts on or after Sept. 23, 2012. For enrollees who enroll outside of an open enrollment period, it will be available at the start of the next plan year that begins on or after Sept. 23, 2012.

The SBC and Glossary were developed in collaboration with the Department of Labor, Department of Treasury, consumer groups, the insurance industry, State Insurance Commissioners, and other stakeholders.

For more information on todays announcement, please visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/features/rights/sbc/index.html

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Health care law ensures consumers get clear, consistent information about health coverage

Anytime Fitness To Expand, Relocate

Posted: September 24, 2012 at 9:16 am

Anytime Fitness, Yanktons only 24-hour fitness and tanning center, has announced it will soon be expanding its operations.

Brian Hoops, owner of Anytime Fitness in Yankton, Mitchell and Vermillion, has announced the Yankton Anytime Fitness gym will soon be moving out of its present location in the Yankton mall and relocating to the location currently occupied by First Fitness.

Jim Fitzgerald approached me about relocating our gym into his location as he was considering closing First Fitness. The First Fitness location allows Anytime Fitness to expand its operations by acquiring an extra 2,000 square feet of space, which will allow Anytime Fitness to offer classes and programs such as Step classes, Zumba classes, Pilates and Yoga classes and eventually a Virtual Training room, Hoops explained.

Renovations to the First Fitness location are expected to be completed in October, and Anytime Fitness will move as soon as renovations are complete.

We are committed to providing the best exercise experience in Yankton and this opportunity allows Anytime Fitness to offer the citizens of Yankton the best equipment, location and instruction in Yankton and the surrounding communities.

Yankton Anytime Fitness manager Lora Elliott will be assisting members of First Fitness and Anytime Fitness throughout this transition phase. During the transition phase, Anytime Fitness will be offering a free 30-day membership to anyone from the public that would like to try out the new facility.

Currently, Anytime Fitness has more than 2,500 territories, with a membership base of 700,000 and growing. The Anytime Fitness franchise will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary in October 2012.

The following are comments from the readers. In no way do they represent the view of yankton.net.

We encourage your feedback and dialog, all comments will be reviewed by our Web staff before appearing on the Web site.

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Anytime Fitness To Expand, Relocate

Fitness Consulting Group Offers Last Chance at Promotion for New Fitness Business Writing Product

Posted: at 9:16 am

Elizabethtown, KY (PRWEB) September 23, 2012

Fitness Consulting Group, the company which offers free fitness business coaching through FitBusinessInsider.com, is offering a last chance promotion on a new fitness writing product. The product is available today for $97, but will go up to its price of $147 after Midnight.

The product, How to Get Published: Writing Domination in the Fitness Industry, is now available. It has been designed by leading fitness industry writers to help struggling fitness business owners to get their work published for a mass audience.

Through FitBusinessInsider.com, I have reached a broader audience with my posts on fitness and running a personal training business, says Fitness Consulting Group CEO Pat Rigsby.

On his website, Rigsby has written blog posts on topics ranging from fitness marketing strategies to how to rapidly grow fitness business profits. This, he says, has been one of the keys to attracting clients to his company and thus boosting his own business success.

Rigsby notes that by learning how to write what they know and get it published, personal training business owners can actually improve their own public profile and draw positive attention to their fitness business.

I see it as the ultimate win-win in the fitness industry, Rigsby says. On the one hand, youre helping other personal trainers and exercisers by giving them priceless advice born out of years of experience.

He continues, And on the other, its a form of fitness branding that gets your name out there as an expert whom people can trust.

As Rigsby tells it, fitness advertising can be so much more than just fliers and newsletters. Part of it is just fostering the kind of trust where people can feel comfortable with what you have to offer. Getting published as a fitness writer goes a long way toward establishing that trust.

With that in mind, Rigsby has been strongly supportive of the new product How to Get Published: Writing Domination in the Fitness Industry.

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Fitness Consulting Group Offers Last Chance at Promotion for New Fitness Business Writing Product

A Hole-Based Taxonomy for Theories of Aging

Posted: September 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Something to think about for today: SENS, the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence is not put forward as a theory of aging, but it is a theory of aging, one that pulls from many other partial attempts to explain aging. It purports to describe, as best we know, the detailed mechanisms that lie at the root of degenerative aging - but is presented (and currently running) as a program of research and development to reverse aging. That is the testable part of the theory, if you like: implement SENS and we should see rejuvenation. If this comes to pass, then it is true that SENS as laid out at present does describe all forms of fundamental damage that cause aging. If not, then SENS is either wrong or, more likely, incomplete - there is some other form of damage that is important and unconnected to those already discovered.

(No new form of fundamental change or damage related to aging has been identified in the past 25 years, across a time of raging progress in biotechnology, which should gives us some confidence that there are no others. There is always room to argue, however, and science is anything but static).

There are, it has to be said, a great many theories of aging. Following this line of thinking, it occurs to me that we can classify most theories of aging according to where they stand with respect to the hole we find ourselves in - that hole being the inconvenient fact that we're all aging to death, and progressively increasing suffering and pain lies in each of our personal futures.

I see three broad buckets for this hole-based taxonomy:

  • How did we get into this hole?
  • What is going on in here?
  • How do we get out of this hole?

How did we get into this hole?

Evolutionary theories of aging seek to explain how we came to age the way we do. Here the proposed mechanisms of aging inform the discussion and modeling of plausible evolutionary processes that would produce them - as well as the staggering variety in lifespan and pace of aging that exists in the natural world. I see this as scientific dispassion at its finest: "Look at the interesting way in which we're all dying! Fascinating, no? We should take some time to think about how this came to pass."

What is going on in here?

Other theories of aging focus on modeling how aging happens: what are the exact mechanisms? Many different approaches to these theories exist. Consider, for example, those that describe aging at the high level, such as in the use of reliability theory to frame aging in the form of a systems failure model. At the other end of the room we have things like the mitochondrial free radical theory of aging, which proposes detailed and particular mechanisms in cells and cellular components that lead to damage and then the larger-scale manifestations of aging.

How do we get out of this hole?

So here we return to SENS, a meta-theory of aging that pulls from many of the mechanism-focused theories of aging proposed over the past century. Until the advent of SENS there really wasn't any sort of contingent in the scientific community whose members presented a theory of aging as something more like a theory on how to defeat aging - to prevent and treat aging with therapies, reverse frailty in the old by removing its root causes, and stop the young from becoming aged.

So we are in a hole, no arguing that. Getting out does require some understanding of the hole in order to best direct efforts - but the scientific community is far and away past the point at which we could be effectively working our way out. Spending all our time gathering more knowledge is no longer good strategy. We in fact don't need to know all that much about how we got here, nor exactly how fundamental causes of aging spiral outward to create the thousand and one causes of death we observe in old people. What SENS tells us is that we just need to know what those root causes are and how to fix them. Additional information is useful, and will probably improve efficiency, but it is not absolutely necessary and nowhere near as important as just forging ahead to get the job done. The test of SENS as a theory aging is for the research community to get out there and actually fix the problems that are killing us.


Genetic Hotspots for Diseases of Aging

Posted: at 3:49 pm

Some interesting results from genetic research: scientists "have shown definitively that a small number of places in the human genome are associated with a large number and variety of diseases. In particular, several diseases of aging are associated with a locus which is more famous for its role in preventing cancer. For this analysis, [researchers] cataloged results from several hundred human Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) from the National Human Genome Research Institute. These results provided an unbiased means to determine if varied different diseases mapped to common 'hotspot' regions of the human genome. This analysis showed that two different genomic locations are associated with two major subcategories of human disease. ... More than 90 percent of the genome lacked any disease loci. Surprisingly, however, lots of diseases mapped to two specific loci, which soared above all of the others in terms of multi-disease risk. The first locus at chromosome 6p21, is where the major histocompatibility (MHC) locus resides. The MHC is critical for tissue typing for organ and bone marrow transplantation, and was known to be an important disease risk locus before genome-wide studies were available. Genes at this locus determine susceptibility to a wide variety of autoimmune diseases ... The second place where disease associations clustered is the INK4/ARF (or CDKN2a) tumor suppressor locus [also known as p16]. This area, in particular, was the location for diseases associated with aging: atherosclerosis, heart attacks, stroke, Type II diabetes, glaucoma and various cancers. ... The finding that INK4/ARF is associated with lots of cancer, and MHC is associated with lots of diseases of immunity is not surprising - these associations were known. What is surprising is the diversity of diseases mapping to just two small places: 30 percent of all tested human diseases mapped to one of these two places. This means that genotypes at these loci determine a substantial fraction of a person's resistance or susceptibility to multiple independent diseases. ... In addition to the MHC and INK4/ARF loci, five less significant hotspot loci were also identified. Of the seven total hotspot loci, however, all contained genes associated with either immunity or cellular senescence. Cellular senescence is a permanent form of cellular growth arrest, and it is an important means whereby normal cells are prevented from becoming cancerous. It has been long known that senescent cells accumulate with aging, and may cause aspects of aging. This new analysis provides evidence that genetic differences in an individual's ability to regulate the immune response and activate cellular senescence determine their susceptibility to many seemingly disparate diseases."

Link: http://news.unchealthcare.org/news/2012/september/diseases-of-aging-map-to-a-few-hotspots-on-the-human-genome


A Look at the Allen Institute for Brain Science

Posted: at 3:49 pm

A comprehensive understanding of the brain is an important line item for future medical development, as the research community will have to develop ways to repair the brain and reverse aspects of its aging while preserving the structures that encode the mind. Here is a look at one of the higher profile projects of recent years: "Paul Allen, the 59-year-old Microsoft cofounder [has] plowed $500 million into the Allen Institute for Brain Science, a medical Manhattan Project that he hopes will dwarf his contribution as one of the founding fathers of software. The institute, scattered through three buildings in Seattle's hip Fremont neighborhood, is primarily focused on creating tools, such as the mouse laser, which is technically a new type of microscope, that will allow scientists to understand how the soft, fleshy matter inside the human skull can give rise to the wondrous, mysterious creative power of the human mind. ... His first $100 million investment in the Allen Institute resulted in a gigantic computer map of how genes work in the brains of mice, a tool that other scientists have used to pinpoint genes that may play a role in multiple sclerosis, memory and eating disorders in people. Another $100 million went to creating a similar map of the human brain, already resulting in new theories about how the brain works, as well as maps of the developing mouse brain and mouse spinal cord. These have become essential tools for neuroscientists everywhere. Now Allen, the 20th-richest man in America, with an estimated net worth of $15 billion, has committed another $300 million for projects that will make his institute more than just a maker of tools for other scientists, hiring several of the top minds in neuroscience to spearhead them. One effort will try to understand the mouse visual cortex as a way to understand how nerve cells work in brains in general. Other projects aim to isolate all the kinds of cells in the brain and use stem cells to learn how they develop. Scientists think there may be 1,000 of these basic building blocks, but they don't even know that. 'In software,' Allen says, 'we call it reverse engineering.'"

Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2012/09/18/inside-paul-allens-quest-to-reverse-engineer-the-brain/


Considering Senescent Astrocytes in Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted: at 3:49 pm

A few days back, I pointed out research that indicates brain cells increasingly become senescent with age. This is a challenge: we want to get rid of senescent cells and prevent their buildup because the harm they cause contributes to degenerative aging, but the obvious way to do that is through targeted destruction via one of the many types of cell-targeting and cell-killing technologies presently under development. This is fine and well for tissues like skin and muscle, in which cells turn over and are replaced - but in the brain and nervous system there are many small but vital populations of cells that are never replaced across the normal human life span. The cells you are born with last a lifetime, and some fraction of those cells contain the data that makes up the mind.

Thus it begins to seem likely that we can't just rampage through and destroy everything that looks like a senescent cell: possible therapies to address cell senescence as a contribution to aging will have to be more discriminating, and so more complex and costly to develop.

Following on in this topic, I noticed an open access paper today that examines the role of cellular senescence of astrocyte, the support cells of the brain, in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Unlike the research I noted above, the biochemical signatures of senescence examined here are the same as those used in last year's mouse study showing benefits resulting from a (necessarily) convoluted way of destroying senescent cells as they emerge - which of course starts the mind wandering on what might be going on in the brain of these mice. Astrocytes can perhaps be replaced without harming the mind or important nervous cells, but what about other cells in the brain?

In any case, here is the paper:

Astrocyte Senescence as a Component of Alzheimer's Disease

A recent development in the basic biology of aging, with possible implications for AD, is the recognition that senescent cells accumulate in vivo. Although senescent cells increase with age in several tissues, little is known about the potential appearance of senescent cells in the brain. The senescence process is an irreversible growth arrest that can be triggered by various events including telomere dysfunction, DNA damage, oxidative stress, and oncogene activation. Although it was once thought that senescent cells simply lack function, it is now known that senescent cells are functionally altered. They secrete cytokines and proteases that profoundly affect neighboring cells, and may contribute to age-related declines in organ function.


Astrocytes comprise a highly abundant population of glial cells, the function of which is critical for the support of neuronal homeostasis. ... Impairment of these functions through any disturbance in astrocyte integrity is likely to impact multiple aspects of brain physiology. Interestingly, astrocytes undergo a functional decline with age in vivo that parallels functional declines in vitro. We demonstrated that in response to oxidative stress and exhaustive replication, human astrocytes activate a senescence program.


The importance of senescent astrocytes in age-related dementia has been the subject of recent discussion, but to date, there is little evidence to suggest that senescent astrocytes accumulate in the brain. In this study, we examined brain tissue from aged individuals and patients with AD to determine whether senescent astrocytes are present in these individuals. Our results demonstrate that senescent astrocytes accumulate in aged brain, and further, in brain from patients with AD.

Furthermore, since A? peptides induce mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and alterations in the metabolic phenotype of astrocytes; we examined whether A? peptides initiate the senescence response in these cells. In vitro, we found that exposure of astrocytes to A?1-42 triggers senescence and that senescent astrocytes produce high quantities of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a cytokine known to be increased in the [central nervous system] of AD patients. Based on this evidence, we propose that accumulation of senescent astrocytes may be one age-related risk factor for sporadic AD.

As I mentioned in the last post on this subject, this all seems to point to the likely need for ways to reverse cellular senescence, not just selectively destroy senescent cells - at least for some populations of nerve cells. One open question here is whether fixing all the known fundamental forms of cellular damage (as described in the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) would be sufficient to achieve this end.


Correlating Progressive Frailty in Aging With Parental Longevity

Posted: at 3:49 pm

A nice demonstration of the degree to which the pace of aging is inherited - but remember that for the vast majority of us, lifestyle choices have more influence than genes, while progress in medical technology trumps all such concerns: "Various measures incorporated in geriatric assessment have found their way into frailty indices (FIs), which have been used as indicators of survival/mortality and longevity. Our goal is to understand the genetic basis of healthy aging to enhance its evidence base and utility. We constructed a FI as a quantitative measure of healthy aging and examined its characteristics and potential for genetic analyses. Two groups were selected from two separate studies. One group (OLLP for offspring of long-lived parents) consisted of unrelated participants at least one of whose parents was age 90 or older, and the other group of unrelated participants (OSLP for offspring of short-lived parents), both of whose parents died before age 76. FI(34) scores were computed from 34 common health variables and compared between the two groups. The FI(34) was better correlated than chronological age with mortality. The mean FI(34) value of the OSLP was 31% higher than that of the OLLP. The FI(34) increased exponentially, at an instantaneous rate that accelerated 2.0% annually in the OLLP and 2.7 % in the OSLP consequently yielding a 63% larger accumulation in the latter group. The results suggest that accumulation of health deficiencies over the life course is not the same in the two groups, likely due to inheritance related to parental longevity. Consistent with this, [sibling pairs] were significantly correlated regarding FI(34) scores, and heritability of the FI(34) was estimated to be 0.39. ... Variation in the FI(34) is, in part, due to genetic variation; thus, the FI(34) can be a phenotypic measure suitable for genetic analyses of healthy aging."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22986583


Reproducing Research Results: Removing a Scientific Roadblock

Posted: at 3:48 pm

The California stem cell agency faces
no easy task in trying to translate basic research findings into
something that can be used to treat patients and be sold commercially.

Even clinical trials, which only begin
long after the basic research is done and which involve more ordinary
therapeutic treatments than stem cells, fail at an astonishing rate.
Only one out of five that enter the clinical trial gauntlet
successfully finish the second stage, according to industry data
cited last spring by Pat Olson, executive director of scientific activities at the stem cell agency. And
then come even more challenges.
But at a much earlier stage of
research there is the “problem of irreproducible results,” in the
words of writer Monya Baker of the journal Nature. Baker last month reported on
moves by a firm called Science Exchange in Palo Alto, Ca., to
do something to ease the problem and speed up preclinical research.
The effort is called the Reproducibility Initiative and also involves
PLOS and figshare, an open science Internet project.
Elizabeth Iorns
Science Exchange Photo
Science Exchange is headed by Elizabeth
, a scientist and co-founder of the firm. She wrote about  test-tube-to-clinic translation issues in a recent article in New
that was headlined, “Is medical science built on shaky
Iorns said,

“One goal of scientific publication
is to share results in enough detail to allow other research teams to
reproduce them and build on them. However, many recent reports have
raised the alarm that a shocking amount of the published literature
in fields ranging from cancer biology to psychology is not

Iorns cited studies in Nature that
reported that Bayer cannot “replicate about two-thirds of published
studies identifying possible drug targets” and that Amgen failed at
even a higher rate. It could not “replicate 47 of 53 highly
promising results they examined.”
The California Stem Cell Report earlier
this week asked Iorns for her thoughts on the implications for the
California stem cell agency, whose motto is "Turning stem cells into cures." Here is the full text of her response.

“First, I think it is important to
accept that there is a crisis affecting preclinical research. Recent
studies estimate that 70% of preclinical research cannot be
reproduced. This is the research that should form the foundation upon
which new discoveries can be made to enhance health, lengthen life,
and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. The
irreproducibility of preclinical research is a significant impediment
to the achievement of these goals. To solve this problem requires
immediate and concrete action. It is not enough to make
recommendations and issue guidelines to researchers. Funders must act
to ensure they fund researchers to produce high quality reproducible
research. One such way to do so, is to reward, or require,
independent validation of results. The reproducibility initiative
provides a mechanism for independent validation, allowing the
identification of high quality reproducible research. It is vital
that funders act now to address this problem, to prevent the wasted
time and money that is currently spent funding non-reproducible
research and to prevent the erosion of public trust and support for


UPDATE 1-Doping is now a public health issue, conference told

Posted: September 22, 2012 at 7:16 pm

(Adds details)

STOCKHOLM, Sept 22 (Reuters) - The use of performance-enhancing drugs is now a public health matter rather than simply a sporting problem, delegates said at a top anti-doping conference.

"If we believe that around three percent of high school boys in the U.S. are taking a steroid or growth hormone, then that's a public health issue," said Dr. Timothy Armstrong of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

"Substance abuse in any shape or form has a physical and mental health aspect to it. The WHO, being the lead UN (United Nations) agency on health matters, takes this issue quite seriously."

Armstrong was speaking at the conference organised by the Arne Ljungqvist Foundation, named after the Swedish anti-doping official who is also chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical commission.

Ljungqvist, who invited the likes of the WHO and World-Anti-Doping Agency to the meeting, shared Armstrong's opinion.

"This is a first attempt to highlight this matter as a public health issue, which in my view it is," he said at a press briefing.

"Elite sport plays an obvious role. They are the role models of youngsters and if they are drug takers, that is not the right role model for the coming society.

"I am so happy today to see these international authorities coming together and sharing these concerns that are being expressed and I hope that we can find common ways to deal with them," he added.

WADA Director General David Howman told the briefing that what happens in elite sport has an effect on wider society and that the sharing of information was crucial to tackling the problem of doping.

UPDATE 1-Doping is now a public health issue, conference told

New Palomar Health Medical Center Utilizes Cisco Technology as Foundation for the Hospital of the Future

Posted: September 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - Sep 20, 2012) - Palomar Health, California's largest health district, announced today that it has selected multiple Cisco ( NASDAQ : CSCO ) collaboration, network and data center solutions as the foundation for building one of the most technologically-advanced hospitals in the nation. The new 288-bed, 11-story Palomar Health Medical Center in western Escondido opened for patient care on August 19, 2012.

Palomar's experienced leadership team worked closely with Cisco during the designing of the new hospital, which broke ground in late 2007. The goal was to help health care providers offer new levels of mobility and collaboration among caregivers, patients and families in a unique, healing environment. This means important patient information can be shared faster and more efficiently with the right caregiver, no matter their location or mobile device.Patients also have more freedom to communicate, as they can stay connected to a guest WiFi network throughout the facility. Using this highly reliable, highly secure network allows Palomar to deploy multiple new patient and caregiver applications today, including alert management and EMR systems, and primes the hospital for any future technological developments.

Key Highlights:

Supporting Quotes: Orlando Portale, chief innovation officer at Palomar Health "Cisco's advanced infrastructure and collaboration solutions are a key enabler for many of our innovation programs.This includes the infrastructure to enable next generation mobile wireless tracking, remote robotics, biometric person identification, and automated medication dispensing, to name a few. Our partnership with Cisco will enable us to translate new ideas into real world opportunities that help drive improvements in patient care and operational efficiencies."

Dr. Ben Kanter, chief medical information officer at Palomar Health "The ability Cisco provides to tie everyone in the hospital together -- patients, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, infection control, administrative teams -- through a security optimized, mobile and video-enabled environment, will have significant, positive impact across the healthcare continuum. Now patients have greater freedoms within the hospital, without compromising their health, as they are observed both inside and outside of hospital walls. And the ability for our doctors to review patient information from a mobile device, and conference in a nurse and a specialist at the same time to discuss the case, will completely change patient care."

Mike Haymaker, healthcare business manager at Cisco "Palomar Health is raising the bar in the integration of several technologies, such as voice, video and collaboration, to improve clinical workflow processes.Like Palomar, Cisco is keenly focused on helping to enable an exceptional care experience for patients and their families, as well as for the clinicians who deliver that care. It's not what we make, but what we make possible. And, our work with Palomar is a great example."

Additional Resources:

Tags/Keywords: Collaboration, Healthcare, Palomar Health, Cisco, Unified Communications, TelePresence, WebEx, Unified Computing System, Medical-grade Network

RSS Feed for Cisco: http://newsroom.cisco.com/rss-feeds

About Palomar Health Palomar Health is the largest public health care district by area in California and the most comprehensive health care delivery system in northern San Diego County. It is governed by a publicly-elected board of directors and its primary service area in Inland North San Diego County has more than 500,000 residents. A Magnet-recognized health system, Palomar Health has several facilities, including the new Palomar Medical Center and Palomar Health Downtown Campus in Escondido and Pomerado Hospital in Poway, skilled nursing facilities in both cities, Palomar Health expresscare health centers in Escondido, Rancho Penasquitos, San Elijo Hills in San Marcos and Temecula (Riverside County) and a health clinic currently under construction in Ramona. Palomar Health provides medical services in virtually all fields of medicine, including primary care, heart care, emergency services, trauma, cancer, orthopedics, women's health, rehabilitation, robotic surgery and bariatric surgery.

See the rest here:
New Palomar Health Medical Center Utilizes Cisco Technology as Foundation for the Hospital of the Future

Health Insurance Open Enrollment Time: eHealthInsurance Releases 5 Consumer Tips to Navigate New 'Summary of Benefits …

Posted: at 7:14 pm

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwire - Sep 21, 2012) - Today eHealthInsurance ( NASDAQ : EHTH ), America's first and largest private health insurance exchange, released its top five tips to help consumers navigate the new "Summary of Benefits and Coverage" forms which will be unveiled this month in accordance with provisions of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many consumers will come into contact with these new forms for the first time as they review and compare health insurance plans during this year's open enrollment season.

Health insurance companies are required to make copies of the new Summary of Benefits and Coverage forms available to consumers for each health insurance plan they sell beginning September 23, 2012. The intent of the new forms is to provide consumers with a standardized, easy-to-understand description of how benefits and costs are balanced by each health insurance plan, and to help consumers make informed purchasing and enrollment decisions.

"Translating health insurance terminology into language the average person can understand helps consumers make the right coverage decisions for their personal needs," said Gary Matalucci, eHealthInsurance Vice President of Customer Care. "That's why, at eHealthInsurance, we've been providing our own standardized cost and benefit summaries for each of the major medical health insurance plans we sell for over ten years. We even go one step further by allowing consumers to make detailed side-by-side comparisons of up to four different plans at a time while online."

The new Summary of Benefits and Coverage forms answer basic consumer questions (like "What is the overall deductible?" or "Does this plan use a network of providers?") and explain why answers to these questions matter. They describe "common medical events" (such as visiting a doctor's office, needing prescription drugs, or staying overnight in the hospital) and explain how much a patient may be required to pay for these services. The forms also provide a list of medical services excluded from coverage, and an estimate of the total patient responsibility for medical bills incurred in case of pregnancy and delivery, or for the management of Type 2 diabetes.

eHealthInsurance recommends that consumers shopping for health insurance on their own through eHealthInsurance.com take the following steps in order to make the most of the new Summary of Benefits and Coverage forms:

Links to the new Summary of Benefits and Coverage forms for each of the brand-name plans sold through eHealthInsurance will be made available for convenient download through eHealthInsurance.com as soon as they are provided to eHealthInsurance by the insurance companies.

The final template for the Summary of Benefits and Coverage forms produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is eight pages long, though actual forms may be longer. eHealthInsurance recommends that health insurance consumers review the whole form before making a final plan selection. The highlights and tips provided bellow were selected only to provide a summary guide to items of special consumer concern.

Top Five Things to Look for on the New Summary of Benefits and Coverage Forms:

1. The Maximum Out-of-pocket Limit. What would happen if you became seriously ill or suffered an accident and suddenly found yourself facing serious hospital bills? The maximum out-of-pocket limit (MOOP) describes the upper limit of your personal financial exposure per year under a particular plan. Once you reach your maximum out-of-pocket limit, the health insurance company picks up all bills for most covered, medically necessary expenses. A typical MOOP ranges between $5,000 and $7,500. Be sure that, if the worst happened, you could afford your MOOP. Note that the maximum out-of-pocket limit does not include your monthly premiums. To find a plan's MOOP on the new Summary of Benefits and Coverage form, look under "Important Questions" and find the question: "Is there an out-of-pocket limit on my expenses?"

2. The Deductible. The deductible is an amount you must pay out-of-pocket each year for specified medical services before the health insurance company steps in to provide coverage. Monthly premiums and copayments do not apply toward the deductible. Not all medical care is subject to the deductible, however. Many preventive care services, for example, are covered by most plans even before you meet your deductible. Some health insurance plans may also have more than one deductible. For example, some may have separate deductibles for in-network and out-of-network physicians. Others may have a separate deductible for prescription drugs. The new Summary of Benefits and Coverage form addresses deductibles in the "Important Questions" section.

View post:
Health Insurance Open Enrollment Time: eHealthInsurance Releases 5 Consumer Tips to Navigate New 'Summary of Benefits ...

New Health Show to Launch Late Fall in Canada on PBS

Posted: at 7:14 pm

Heart of Perfect Health surprises and inspires with breakthrough research and tips for optimal heart health

Editors Take Note: Brenda Watson (N.D., C.N.C., C.T.) will be in Toronto from October 1 - 4, 2012. Please contact dvCommunications to book an interview.

TORONTO, Sept. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - Brenda Watson, bestselling author, renowned PBS-TV educator, and digestive health expert, launches her fifth PBS show, Heart of Perfect Health, with a wealth of surprising and life-changing information on how Canadians can live longer, healthier and more productive lives.

Heart of Perfect Health: The Startling Truths About Heart Disease Heart of Perfect Health debuts late November-early December, 2012, on PBS-TV stations nationwide. In this groundbreaking expos, Brenda uncovers the root of Canada's silent killer, heart disease, in a hidden condition known as silent inflammation.

"Silent inflammation is so pervasiveand evasivethat most people have no idea it is happening to them," says Watson. "Yet research now tells us that silent inflammation is directly linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and obesity, which all lead to heart disease and diabetes. This is information that is vital to our nation's health."

And the Power You Hold to Stop It Heart of Perfect Health is not simply about the problem of silent inflammation, however, but about the real and accessible solutions we all have to stop silent inflammation and improve heart disease health markershigh cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.

"We don't think of the gut when we think of heart disease," says Watson, "though these two areas of the body are indeed linked. My new PBS show details this connection and what we can do to reverse the vicious cycle of silent inflammation for good, and avoid becoming another health statistic."

"Viewers will be shocked at what is causing their silent inflammation and delighted with the power they hold to turn it around, starting in their own kitchens."

About Brenda Watson Brenda Watson, C.N.C. is among the foremost authorities today on natural digestive care and nutrition. She is a New York Times best-selling author, celebrated PBS mainstay, and founder of ReNew Life Formulas, Inc., a nationally distributed line of award-winning digestive supplements and functional foods with a focus on superior consumer education.

Watch Heart of Perfect Health: The Startling Truths About Heart Disease and the Power You Hold to Stop It late November-early December, 2012, on PBS. For additional information, or to book an interview with Dr. Watson, please email: dina@prpro.ca or visit http://www.brendawatson.com.

New Health Show to Launch Late Fall in Canada on PBS

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