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Health boards 'fail deaf people'

Posted: February 1, 2013 at 2:46 pm

1 February 2013 Last updated at 09:42 ET By India Pollock BBC Wales News

Health boards in Wales are breaching the law by not providing accessible services for the deaf and hard of hearing, the BBC has learned.

The seven health boards should have published policies about improving access to services in December.

The director of Action on Hearing Loss Cymru said they were not meeting legal obligations from the Equality Act.

But the health boards said they were striving to improve access for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Meanwhile, a separate report shows that 90% of GPs in Wales are failing to provide reasonable alternative methods for deaf people to book appointments.

If you can't use the phone it's a considerable hurdle to booking an appointment

The Equality Act 2010 says that if someone is at a substantial disadvantage of accessing services because of a disability, reasonable adjustments must be made to allow access.

The director of Action on Hearing Loss Cymru Richard Williams said health boards were failing to meet that legal obligation.

"Hearing people don't have to walk to the GP's surgery to book an appointment or ask others to call on their behalf. If you can't use the phone it's a considerable hurdle to booking an appointment," he said.

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Health boards 'fail deaf people'

Health Canada reviewing safety of drug Diane-35, known to cause blood clots

Posted: at 2:46 pm

OTTAWA - Health Canada says it is reviewing all available safety information on the drug Diane-35 following France's decision to ban the medication in response to the deaths of four women over the last 25 years.

The women died of blood clots linked to their use of Diane-35, an acne drug that is also widely prescribed as an oral contraceptive because it halts ovulation. It has been sold in France since 1987.

France's National Agency for the Safety of Drugs and Health Products said this week that Diane-35, made by Bayer and licensed in 135 countries, would be withdrawn from sale in three months. Meanwhile, doctors are banned from prescribing the medication.

Available since 1998 in Canada, Diane-35 is approved only for the temporary treatment of severe acne in women who are unresponsive to other treatments, Health Canada said Thursday.

However, the drug is often prescribed "off-label" as a contraceptive.

Blood clots are a rare but well-known side-effect of oral birth control pills and other hormonal products such as Diane-35, said the federal department, noting that the product monograph for the drug contains clear warnings about this potential adverse effect.

Health Canada said Diane-35 should not be used in patients with a medical history that puts them at risk for blood clots, including smoking, being overweight or a family history of the condition.

The department has issued previous warnings about the increased risk of blood clots associated with Diane-35 compared with estrogen/progestogen contraceptives, and has cautioned against using the acne drug for birth control.

Consumers experiencing symptoms of a possible blood clot including persistent leg swelling, leg pain or tenderness, chest pain, or sudden shortness of breath or difficulty breathing should seek immediate medical attention.

Doctors should be told about any medications being taken, including Diane-35, Health Canada said.

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Health Canada reviewing safety of drug Diane-35, known to cause blood clots

Health Net 4Q profit plummets as costs pile up

Posted: at 2:46 pm

Health Net Inc.'s fourth-quarter profit sank more than 91 percent compared to the final quarter of 2011, when the health insurer recorded a $17.1 million gain from a business it has since discontinued.

The Woodland Hills, Calif., company also said Wednesday a loss tied to its divested Northeast business and severance and litigation costs hurt its performance in the most recent quarter.

Even so, Health Net reaffirmed a forecast it made last month for 2013 earnings.

Health Net earned $5.1 million, or 6 cents per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 31. That compares with earnings of $60.2 million, or 71 cents per share, in 2011's fourth quarter. Earnings from its core Western region and government contracts business totaled 36 cents per share.

Total revenue climbed 4.4 percent to $2.83 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected, on average, earnings of 38 cents per share on $2.78 billion in revenue.

Goldman Sachs analyst Matthew Borsch said in a research note the insurer turned in a "mostly solid" performance in the fourth quarter, considering that it reported weak earnings in the first half of the year.

"We are encouraged that (Health Net) is entering 2013 with stronger reserves on a reaffirmed outlook for the year," the analyst wrote.

Health Net provides commercial health insurance in California, Arizona and Oregon and privately run versions of the government's Medicare program, which covers the elderly and disabled people. It also administers the state-federal Medicaid program for poor and disabled people and works with TriCare, which provides health insurance for active and retired military members and their families.

Health Net also offers behavioral health, substance abuse and employee assistance programs.

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Health Net 4Q profit plummets as costs pile up

Analyte Health Names Chief Medical Officer and Chief Compliance Officer

Posted: at 2:46 pm


Analyte Health, Inc., a privately held online healthcare company offering specialty care, counseling and convenience not available in traditional primary care settings, today announced a strategic expansion of its executive team with the addition of Dr. Ramesh Subramani as Chief Medical Officer and Karen Soares as Chief Compliance Officer. Both join the company as more and more Americans turn to online healthcare resources such as Analyte Health to access services.

Analyte Health currently provides its services via the web, phone and mobile devices to individuals at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) through online clinics including SexualHealth.com and STDTestExpress.com.

About Ramesh Subramani MD, MBA, MPH, Chief Medical Officer

ER physician, social entrepreneur, venture capitalist and former McKinsey consultant, Subramani brings unique expertise to Analyte Healths executive team. Having previously been an investor in diagnostic companies at New Leaf Ventures, he believes that advances in diagnostics can dramatically reduce healthcare costs and keep people healthier by preventing and preempting disease. He brings experience working with insurers, pharma, medical devices, public health and non-profits to help engage Analyte within the healthcare ecosystem. As an ER physician who previously worked at Northwestern University, University of Chicago, and Columbia University, he will also drive the medical vision and standards for Analyte. Subramani will report directly to Analyte Health CEO Sridhar Murthy.

About Karen Soares, Chief Compliance Officer

Steeped in healthcare law during her tenure as a litigation associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP in Washington, DC, Soares brings to Analyte Health a keen understanding of the dynamic environment of healthcare compliance. She is charged with leading the internal compliance team and providing oversight on all related policies and procedures at Analyte Health. Soares also will oversee the companys ongoing compliance initiatives, including leading workforce education efforts, managing internal audits and regulatory reporting. She will report directly to Murthy as well.

Healthcare services are rapidly evolving in America, said Analyte CEO Murthy. During this time of intense change, it is important that Analyte Health holds itself to the highest standards of quality care and professional services. We continue to build an executive team that is unmatched among online healthcare services providers. The addition of Ramesh and Karen will fortify the already strong cadre of licensed doctors associated with the company and ensure compliance with healthcare laws and regulations.

Among the market trends driving the growth of Analyte Health and health 2.0 in general are the declining population of physicians, the projected rise in demand for services as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), scientific advances in molecular diagnostics and technology that addresses peoples overbooked schedules and enables them to access health services at their convenience.

Analyte Health is uniquely positioned in this changing environment, adds Murthy, to reduce barriers to diagnosis and care and to have a positive impact on public health. Ramesh and Karen will help Analyte continue to deliver healthcare consumers a true alternative to meeting their healthcare needs.

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Analyte Health Names Chief Medical Officer and Chief Compliance Officer

Sarah Harper- Extreme Longevity – Video

Posted: at 2:45 pm

Sarah Harper- Extreme Longevity
http://www.chartwellpartners.co.uk Professor Sarah Harper is Professor of Gerontology at the University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford Institute of Ageing, a multi-disciplinary research unit concerned with the implications of population ageing. Sarah works on globalisation and global population ageing, addressing such questions as the implications of the widespread falls in fertility and growth in extreme longevity, with particular interest in both Europe and the Asia--Pacific Region. Sarah is an author of the Royal Society report on population change, People and the Planet, combining population with environmental questions. As well as advising governments around the world, Sarah sits on the Global Ageing Council, the Advisory Board of Population Europe, the World Demographic Association, and the Scientific Board of Natural England. For more information, please visit http://www.chartwellpartners.co.uk

By: ATG Chartwell

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Sarah Harper- Extreme Longevity - Video

'Longevity gene works, but you must eat right'

Posted: at 2:45 pm

Two papers published in international journals by researchers from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) have resolved the long-standing controversy about the gene SIR2, the researchers said.

The studies show that SIR2 has anti-ageing properties and can combat ageing and age-related diseases, but it works only on a low-calorie diet. The gene is found in living organisms, including human beings. The findings have been published in the January editions of Cell Reports and Molecular and Cellular Biology.

A low-calorie diet positively impacts this gene in the human body, which subsequently provides protection from diseases like diabetes, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cardiovascular diseases, and promotes "healthy ageing", says the study.

The gene has been at the centre of a global controversy for many years, with one school of scientists saying it extends lifespans, while another school disagrees. The arguments questioned the relevance of expensive drugs to mimic the effect of this gene to defy ageing and age-related diseases. The new study shows SIR2 has anti-ageing properties.

"Our study resolves the hotly debated controversy about the role of SIR2 as a longevity gene. We have found that it may slow down the ageing process, but it may not directly increase the number of years one lives. We found a low-calorie intake has a significant impact on SIR2 protein and helps the body combat age-related diseases," said Dr Ullas Kolthur from TIFR's Department of Biological Sciences, and principal investigator of the study.

In a liver equivalent tissue, the gene helps in achieving metabolic and energy balance, and mediates beneficial effects throughout the body. The study, however, showed that high-calorie food adversely impacted the gene, and it was not able to protect the body from a series of diseases associated with old age and bad eating habits.

'Longevity gene works, but you must eat right'

Longevity gene may lead to 'molecular fountain of youth'

Posted: at 2:45 pm

Washington, Feb 1 (ANI): A new study has made a major advance in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind aging, providing new hope for the development of targeted treatments for age-related degenerative diseases.

Researchers were able to turn back the molecular clock by infusing the blood stem cells of old mice with a longevity gene and rejuvenating the aged stem cells' regenerative potential.

The biologists found that SIRT3, one among a class of proteins known as sirtuins, plays an important role in helping aged blood stem cells cope with stress. When they infused the blood stem cells of old mice with SIRT3, the treatment boosted the formation of new blood cells, evidence of a reversal in the age-related decline in the old stem cells' function.

"We already know that sirtuins regulate aging, but our study is really the first one demonstrating that sirtuins can reverse aging-associated degeneration, and I think that's very exciting," said study principal investigator Danica Chen, UC Berkeley assistant professor of nutritional science and toxicology.

"This opens the door to potential treatments for age-related degenerative diseases," Chen noted.

Notably, SIRT3 is found in a cell's mitochondria, a cell compartment that helps control growth and death, and previous studies have shown that the SIRT3 gene is activated during calorie restriction, which has been shown to extend lifespan in various species.

To gauge the effects of aging, the researchers studied the function of adult stem cells, which are responsible for maintaining and repairing tissue; it is a function that breaks down with age. They focused on hematopoietic, or blood, stem cells because of their ability to completely reconstitute the blood system, the capability that underlies successful bone marrow transplantation.

The researchers first observed the blood system of mice that had the gene for SIRT3 disabled. Surprisingly, among young mice, the absence of SIRT3 made no difference. It was only when time crept up on the mice that things changed. By the ripe old age of two, the SIRT3-deficient mice had significantly fewer blood stem cells and decreased ability to regenerate new blood cells compared with regular mice of the same age.

What is behind the age gap? It appears that in young cells, the blood stem cells are functioning well and have relatively low levels of oxidative stress, which is the burden on the body that results from the harmful byproducts of metabolism. At this youthful stage, the body's normal antioxidant defenses can easily deal with the low stress levels, so differences in SIRT3 are less important.

"When we get older, our system doesn't work as well, and we either generate more oxidative stress or we can't remove it as well, so levels build up. Under this condition, our normal antioxidative system can't take care of us, so that's when we need SIRT3 to kick in to boost the antioxidant system. However, SIRT3 levels also drop with age, so over time, the system is overwhelmed," said Chen.

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Longevity gene may lead to 'molecular fountain of youth'

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