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Artichoke Tea Benefits

Artichoke Tea Benefits | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
The major benefit one can derive out of artichoke tea is improved overall health as it helps in strengthening the body's immune system to fight against infections and diseases in a better way.
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Turning on Your Air Conditioning at Night Is Doing More Than Just Keeping You Cool

Turning on Your Air Conditioning at Night Is Doing More Than Just Keeping You Cool | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
A new study points to the surprising benefits of a cooler bedroom.
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Top Ten Questions To Ask When Choosing A Compounding Pharmacy

Top Ten Questions To Ask When Choosing A Compounding Pharmacy | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
In recent years, the pharmaceutical compounding industry has changed exponentially. Red flags were raised about the efficacy of compounding procedures after the fungal meningitis outbreak that occurred in the latter part of 2012. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) traced the outbreak to the fungal contamination of three lots of (supposedly) sterile medication prepared by the New England Compounding Center that spread through 23 states and resulted in 48 deaths. This preventable tragedy led to an increase of FDA involvement and regulation that continues to change the landscape of the compounding pharmacy industry. As a long-term consultant in the field, I see the need for increased due diligence on all sides of the doctor/patient/pharmacy triad. Your patient’s safety and continued welfare must always be guarded most conscientiously through every level of care provided.

As Allied Health Professionals, you may find yourself questioning what precautionary steps your compounding pharmacy is taking to ensure that your patients are receiving the highest quality sterile (USP 797), and non-sterile (USP 795) compounded medications? Here are some questions that you should ask your compounding pharmacy. 


1. Does my current compounding pharmacy provider have a license to prepare sterile medications?


As of March 31st 2014, in an effort to regulate sterile compounding some states such as Florida and California now require that all pharmacies preparing sterile injectable medications must have a special sterile license issued by that state. If you practice in Florida, you can read the facts by following this link:http://floridaspharmacy.gov/latest-news/special-sterile-compounding-permit/.  


In other states you should go to your State Board of Pharmacy’s website page to see if your state requires this special license.


2) Does my compounding pharmacy quarantine medication batches and perform third party testing on sterile compounded medications? 


Some compounding pharmacies take the time, and incur the added expense, to make sure the medications they dispense are within the proper range for sterility, endotoxins, and potency. The medication is prepared and then sent out to an independent third party laboratory for a time-dated study. Physicians can request to see a ‘Certificate of Analysis’ or, ‘C of A on a particular compounded medication from the pharmacy. This will verify the batch’s lot number and the test results proving that the medication results are within range.


3) What additional training does my compounding pharmacy require of its pharmacists and technicians? 


The compounding of medication is a skill that must be enhanced over time through continuing education. It is beneficial to make sure that the compounding pharmacies employees are in compliance with the existing regulations concerning national and state-mandated continuing education.  Pharmacists and technicians are required to complete a certain number of CE’s yearly in order to renew their licenses and certificates. A superior compounding pharmacy will go above and beyond these legal mandates by sending their staff out to supplementary courses in addition to earning mandatory CEs throughout the year.

The next part of our article is scheduled for release on Saturday 5.10.2014!
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The Mother Of All Antioxidants

The Mother Of All Antioxidants | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
We have all heard of antioxidants, but have we heard of the mother of all antioxidants? One that is the secret to prevent cancer, heart disease, aging, neurological issues and more?
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Should Congress free Medicare to negotiate drug prices? | The Opinion Zone

Should Congress free Medicare to negotiate drug prices? | The Opinion Zone | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
Florida’s Medicaid program has decided to pay for an extraordinarily expensive new treatment for hepatitis C — but only for the sickest of patients. Ideally, the blockbuster drug Sovaldi would be available to everyone diagnosed with hepatitis C. After all, the disease is terrible, highly contagious, and Sovaldi promises a cure rate of above 90 percent. In Palm Beach County, hepatitis C is so widespread that nearly 1,900 people were diagnosed with it last year. Florida’s Medicaid program is aware of over 20,000 recipients living with hepatitis C. But making Sovaldi available to everyone on Medicaid who needs it now would cost the state over $1.6 billion, and so it’s restricted. Blame greed. Greed from the drug industry, and greed from members of Congress who are so beholden to pharmaceutical industry campaign cash that they won’t consider allowing Medicare Part D plans to negotiate for better drug prices, as other countries do. Medicare’s rates become the basis for everyone else’s rates, and so this drives up health costs across the spectrum.
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Newport man survives flesh-eating bacteria

Newport man survives flesh-eating bacteria | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
Braden Leonard loses his hand to an infection that set in after a mountain biking mishap.
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Lexapro ingredients exposed: You won't believe what this drug is really made of

Lexapro ingredients exposed: You won't believe what this drug is really made of | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
(NaturalNews) Sure, we all know that drugs aren't made of sugar and spice, but sometimes the ingredients that are included in even the most popular and widely used drugs can be pretty disturbing. Although Lexapro is marketed as a drug for fighting both depression and anxiety, many of the ingredients contained in the medication have been linked with serious health conditions, including cancer. Yes, the active ingredient in Lexapro is escitalopram oxalate; this is the ingredient that acts on the brain's chemistry to exert influences over the brain's ability to produce and process serotonin. On its own, escitalopram oxalate is a fine, whitish-yellow powder. During the manufacturing process, escitalopram oxalate is mixed with a range of ingredients aimed at helping the drug be shaped into a pill form and to aid in absorption once the drug has been ingested. Inactive ingredients While the drug's label clearly lists escitalopram oxalate on its prescription label, the "inactive" ingredients are listed in tiny print on the prescribing sheet that accompanies the bottle. In fact, most men and women who've taken prescriptions medicines of any kind have probably seen -- and tossed out -- many of these information sheets, all of which feature miniscule print and language that can be extremely difficult to decipher. Even if the printing were clearly readable without magnifying lenses, understanding the chemical names of these so-called inactive ingredients as well as their potential health risks can take considerable effort and research. So what does inactive mean? Simply, that these ingredients are not the primary chemical embodied by the drug. It does not mean that these ingredients are harmless. In fact, here's a quick rundown of some of Lexapro's inactive ingredients and their potential health risks: Lexapro ingredients exposed Propylene glycol: In its industrial form, propylene glycol is used in anti-freeze and brake fluids. The pharmaceutical grade may also be used in certain types of antifreeze as well as a wide range of cosmetic and food products. Despite its use in cosmetics as a skin conditioner, it's been linked with skin reactions including dermatitis and hives. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also lists this ingredient as having a moderate risk for organ toxicity. (1) Propylparaben: Used as an antifungal preservative, propylparaben is listed as representing a "high overall hazard" for human health according to the EWG. (2) At least one study has suggested a link between propylparaben and the development of breast cancer, and the EWG also notes that the additive is associated with developmental and reproductive health risks as well as allergies and immunotoxicities. Propylparaben mimics estrogen and may act to disrupt the endocrine system. Methylparaben: Also used as an antifungal preservative, methylparaben has been associated with allergic and immune responses in individuals who are paraben-sensitive. Like propylparaben, methylparaben also mimics estrogen, which makes it a potential disruptor of the endocrine system. (3) Titanium dioxide: Recently classified as a "possible carcinogen" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), titanium dioxide is used as a whitening agent in Lexapro and other drugs. It's widely used in a broad range of medications and cosmetics -- even vitamin supplements. (4) Croscarmellose sodium: Usually derived from wood pulp, croscarmellose sodium is used as a filler and also to aid in the absorption of medications in the intestine. It has a marked ability to absorb fluids, and in some sensitive people, it may cause stomach discomfort and even bowel blockage. (5) Magnesium stearate: Linked with the development of both kidney stones and liver disease, magnesium stearate is often found in combination with hydrogenated cottonseed oil, which means that it also carries a fairly significant risk of pesticide contamination. (6) This quick review of Lexapro's inactive ingredients shows that, unfortunately, even when we think that we've researched the drugs that are prescribed to us, there can be hidden dangers of which we know absolutely nothing. Taking the time to research each and every inactive ingredient included in Lexapro and other anti-depressant drugs is one way to understand the multitude of hidden risks posed by these drugs. But there is a better way -- one that's healthier for your body and for your overall health. Try holistic first Many studies have shown that, when it comes to treating depression and anxiety, there are plenty of holistic alternatives. For instance, regular moderate exercise of just 30 minutes each day has been shown in studies to improve mood and fight depression more effectively than antidepressant drugs like Lexapro. In one study, 30 percent of people who exercised regularly had complete remission of their depression symptoms. (7) Adding foods and supplements known to enhance mood is another great way to fight depression, anxiety and stress without consuming harmful "inactive" ingredients. If you're struggling with depression, before taking any antidepressant drug, take some time to learn your alternatives that can help you treat your condition without compromising your health. Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/046038_Lexapro_ingredients_antidepressant_drugs.html#ixzz37kExw5L8
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This Is Your Stressed-Out Brain On Scarcity

This Is Your Stressed-Out Brain On Scarcity | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
When we don't have enough of something — love, time or money — we spend extraordinary effort worrying about how to get by, research shows. The stress of poverty changes the way people think.
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Test, Train and Improve Your Brain | Better Memory Center

Test and train your brain using the monthly Better Memory Assessment and Better Memory Games.
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22 Diseases That Can Be Effectively Treated With Marijuana

22 Diseases That Can Be Effectively Treated With Marijuana | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
The news: Twenty-three states now allow medical marijuana use, and 11 others have limited allowances for CBD (one of the therapeutic compounds in the plant), and yet the full medical potential of the plant won't be realized in many of these places. Many new medical marijuana laws limit the number of conditions for which doctors can prescribe marijuana. For example, New York state has the newest medical marijuana law, but lawmakers restricted the treatable ailments list, omitting conditions like brain injury, PTSD and other things that cannabis has been proven to treat. An insufficient approach. This type of incremental approach toward recognizing the therapeutic value of cannabis leaves behind all those who are currently suffering from excluded illnesses without the benefit of medical marijuana. If cannabis has been proven to treat a disease, why should the people with that disease have to wait until their state decides to include it in its medical marijuana law?
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The Life Extension Blog: 6 Foods for a Better Mood

The Life Extension Blog: 6 Foods for a Better Mood | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
Want to spice up your mood? W in your fridge. The foods you eat can actually make a big difference in the way you feel. It’s probably not all that surprising, since eating is often thought of as one of life’s most fundamental pleasures. So let’s “dig in.” Perhaps some of your favorites have made it onto our list. Mood Food #1: Coffee Did you know that coffee drinkers are 20% less likely to suffer from depression?1 The relationship was found in a study for women who drank four or more cups of coffee daily. The consumption of coffee was linked to a decreased risk of depression in men, too.2 The culprit behind coffee’s mood-boosting effects is probably caffeine, since the women in the study drinking decaf did not experience the same benefits. Caffeine supports the release of dopamine, a euphoria-inducing neurotransmitter. Mood Food #2: Spicy foods When you eat spicy foods, your brain perceives pain. Consequently it releases a flood of endorphins, to help you feel better. Endorphins are your body’s feel-good chemicals. They have anti-depressant effects. So it’s no wonder why some people are “addicted” to spicy foods. They were probably experiencing this all along. Mood Food #3: Fruits and vegetables A study revealed that people who ate 7-8 servings of fruits or vegetables daily were happier.3 This came after a survey analyzed the eating habits of 281 people. It just goes to show that you don’t have to eat unhealthy comfort foods when you’re feeling down. It turns out that produce is pretty comforting within itself. Mood Food #4: Dark chocolate This one may seem pretty obvious, since eating chocolate makes just about everyone feel good. What many people don’t know, however, is that chocolate has been found to offer calming effects. In a clinical trial, people reporting feeling highly stressed were given 40 grams (1.4 ounces) of dark chocolate daily. After two weeks, levels of stress hormones decreased.4 Mood Food #5: Turmeric Ever tried curry chicken? The yellow coloring is from turmeric, an Indian spice. A key ingredient in turmeric called curcumin has been clinically shown to be just as effective as Prozac in alleviating depression.5 Turmeric can be added to almost all of your dishes. It has a subtle flavor and is extremely healthy. Mood Food #6: Yogurt The probiotics in yogurt aren’t just good for your gut, they’re good for your brain too. Studies show animals given probiotics increase their production of GABA6, a calming neurotransmitter. The Bottom Line Feeling relaxed after drinking a cup of tea isn’t pure coincidence. Certain foods are calming, and research substantiates this. If you want to feel your best, remember, your diet must come first! References: Arch Intern Med. 2011 Sep 26;171(17):1571-8. Public Health Nutr. 2013 Mar 4:1-9. Br J Health Psychol. 2013 Nov;18(4):782-98. J Proteome Res. 2009 Dec;8(12):5568-79. Phytother Res. 2013 Jul 6. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008 Feb;72(2):278-85. You might also like: Mood Solutions You May be Overlooking Can Chocolate Reduce Body Fat? Can Curcumin Spice Up Your Mood? Can Probiotics Help Reduce Anxiety? Linkwithin
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Women Who Eat Apples Daily May Have Better Sex

Women Who Eat Apples Daily May Have Better Sex | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
Eating the forbidden fruit of an apple tree may be even racier than the Bible says. Women who eat one to two apples a day experience a better sexual quality of life than women classified as having "no...
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Natural compounds to improve thyroid function

Natural compounds to improve thyroid function | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
(NaturalNews) One of the fastest rising health conditions in the US is hypothyroidism. The most common symptoms experienced are lethargy, depression and weight gain. Some of the newest reports are estimating that 15 to 30 percent of the population may have thyroid problems. Natural compounds can help improve your thyroid function. Eighty percent of hypothyroid conditions in the US are thought to be auto-immune conditions. Few doctors test for thyroid anti-bodies and so most do not ever get the proper diagnosis. In the medical system, an auto-immune condition and a sluggish thyroid are treated the same, with synthetic T4. Because the treatment is the same, most doctors do not concern themselves with testing for thyroid anti-bodies. From a natural health perspective it is especially important to understand if it is a sluggish thyroid, a sluggish liver or pituitary gland, elevated sex hormones or if it is an auto-immune condition. There are many different compounds that can help the thyroid to function better. Some of these include the proteolytic enzyme bromelain, the adaptogenic herb ashwagandha, vitamin A, selenium, zinc and manganese. Bromelain Thyroid disorders are characterized by increased inflammation in the body and in the case of auto-immune thyroid disorders there is a tremendous amount of inflammation around the thyroid tissue itself. Bromelain is a key proteolytic plant-based (pineapple) enzyme that helps reduce inflammatory stress in the body.(1) Proteolytic enzymes work to modulate or coordinate the activity of inflammatory immune complexes and have no major adverse reactions. They work as a lock and key mechanism and have an affinity for pro-inflammatory cytokines such as Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) and C Reactive Protein (CRP).(2) Ashwagandha This adaptogenic herb contains compounds that have been shown to have a stimulatory effect on both T3 and T4 hormone synthesis.(3) It has also been shown to improve liver function and boost intracellular anti-oxidants such as superoxide dismutase.(4) Oxidative stress and sluggish liver function are known to alter thyroid metabolism. Ashwagandha also helps to balance blood sugar and stabilize cortisol. Elevated cortisol negatively effects the pituitary gland, suppresses T4-T3 conversion in the body and increases the inactive rT3. By stabilizing cortisol, ashwagandha has been shown to improve TSH, T4 and T3 levels and modulate blood sugar and inflammation.(5) Vitamin A The thyroid hormone binds to thyroid receptors and undergoes a process called intercellular transduction.(6) This carries the message of binding to the nuclear receptors. Thyroid hormone nuclear transcription is dependent upon vitamin A in order to be activated.(7) Selenium This is the major cofactor for the key thyroid enzyme 5'deiodinase which is what converts T4 into T3. 5'deoidinase also degrades the inactive rT3. Studies have indicated that individuals with lower selenium levels are at higher risk for low T3.(8) Selenium has been shown to reduce rT3 levels and improve active T3 status.(9) It also reduces anti-thyroid anti-body formation.(10) Zinc Low zinc status has been shown to compromise T3 production. Zinc plays an important role in immune modulation which may reduce thyroid anti-bodies.(11) Additionally, it is a key player in 5'deiodinase activity. Manganese Manganese is involved in the function of numerous enzymes and is important for normal thyroid function. Manganese superoxide dismutase is a key anti-oxidant enzyme that is responsible for neutralizing the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species. This is especially important for individuals with thyroid problems as they are known to have higher levels of oxidative stress.(12) Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/045918_thyroid_function_hypothyroidism_nutrients.html#ixzz370iEPW46
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Stress Causes Health Problems, Which Then Cause More Stress

Stress Causes Health Problems, Which Then Cause More Stress | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
People under stress are more likely to have health problems, according to a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. That's true for caregivers, too.
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The EC3 Health Hair Ambassadors Club

The EC3 Health Hair Ambassadors Club | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it

The first billable hair restoration formula is now available exclusively through EC3 Health and we are now accepting physicians to join with us in an exclusive public roll out program.

This energizing formulation helps prevent hair thinning, encourages healthy hair growth, and thickens the diameter of each hair strand. We are offering a good cash price for both the shampoo and activator serum as well. You will be amazed as to what our special ingredient is!

We've identified fourteen payers that cover this special formulation but is not limited too. For the patients who do not have sufficient coverage, we are delighted to offer them a special cash price so that none of your clients are denied this new and exciting therapy.

By partnering with EC3 Health you will receive a discount on the Alan Bauman training program, and at no additional cost, all the marketing materials you need to help you fast-track this instant revenue generator into your practice.

 

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The Blood Harvest

The Blood Harvest | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
The thing about the blood that everyone notices first: It's blue, baby blue. The marvelous thing about horseshoe crab blood, though, isn't the color. It's a chemical found only in the amoebocytes of its blood cells that can detect mere traces of bacterial presence and trap them in inescapable clots. To take advantage of this biological idiosyncrasy, pharmaceutical companies burst the cells that contain the chemical, called coagulogen. Then, they can use the coagulogen to detect contamination in any solution that might come into contact with blood. If there are dangerous bacterial endotoxins in the liquid—even at a concentration of one part per trillion—the horseshoe crab blood extract will go to work, turning the solution into what scientist Fred Bang, who co-discovered the substance, called a "gel." "This gel immobilized the bacteria but did not kill them," Bang wrote in the 1956 paper announcing the substance. "The gel or clot was stable and tough and remained so for several weeks at room temperature." If there is no bacterial contamination, then the coagulation does not occur, and the solution can be considered free of bacteria. It's a simple, nearly instantaneous test that goes by the name of the LAL, or Limulus amebocyte lysate, test (after the species name of the crab, Limulus polyphemus). The LAL test replaced the rather horrifying prospect of possibly contaminated substances being tested on "large colonies of rabbits." Pharma companies didn't like the rabbit process, either, because it was slow and expensive. So, now, the horseshoe blood test is a big business. "Every drug certified by the FDA must be tested using LAL," PBS's Nature documentary noted, "as do surgical implants such as pacemakers and prosthetic devices." I don't know about you, but the idea that every single person in America who has ever had an injection has been protected because we harvest the blood of a forgettable sea creature with a hidden chemical superpower makes me feel a little bit crazy. This scenario is not even sci-fi, it's postmodern technology. The only problem is that the companies need a large supply of the blood of live crabs. Horseshoe crabs live on the seafloor, near the shore. When they want to mate, they swim into very shallow water, and horseshoe crab collectors wade along, snatching the crabs out of their habitat. The biomedical collectors are not the first to make use of the crabs' bodies. As far back as colonial times, "cancerine fertilizer" was used to enrich fields. In the 20th century, though, this became an organized industry around the Delaware Bay. The crabs were steamed and then ground into meal for the fields. Others were fed to hogs. Millions of crabs were harvested.
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The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence

The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
In some jobs, being in touch with emotions is essential. In others, it seems to be a detriment. And like any skill, being able to read people can be used for good or evil.
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Who Needs Dentists? Early Humans Ate This Weed

Who Needs Dentists? Early Humans Ate This Weed | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
The purple nut sedge, or nut grass, is generally considered a nasty, fast-spreading, and hard-to-kill nuisance weed today. But for our ancestors, it not only served as a nutritious meal, it cleaned their...
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Drug-resistant superbug infections explode across U.S. hospitals: 500% increase foreshadows 'new plague' caused by modern medicine

Drug-resistant superbug infections explode across U.S. hospitals: 500% increase foreshadows 'new plague' caused by modern medicine | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
Drug-resistant superbug infections explode across U.S. hospitals: 500% increase foreshadows 'new plague' caused by modern medicine
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Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference 2014 | SENS Research Foundation

Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference 2014 | SENS Research Foundation | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it

SENS Research Foundation is proud to present the Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference: Emerging Regenerative Medicine Solutions for the Diseases of Aging. This conference will bring together leaders from the Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular, cancer, and other age-related disease communities to discuss preventative and combinatorial strategies to address the diseases of old age.

The Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference builds upon novel strategies being pioneered by the Alzheimer’s and cancer communities. By convening the foremost leaders from academia, industry, investment, policy, and disease advocacy, SRF seeks to inspire consideration of the wider potential of these strategies and evaluate the feasibility of preventative and combinatorial medicine applications to treat all aging-related diseases. Through a series of presentations and panel discussions, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, macular degeneration, musculoskeletal disease and Parkinson’s disease will be examined with scientific, economic, regulatory and other considerations in mind.

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Prevagen® Receives 2014 Vity Award for the Best Brain Support Formula

Prevagen® Receives 2014 Vity Award for the Best Brain Support Formula | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it

Quincy Bioscience, a biotechnology company located in Madison, Wis., is proud to announce that Prevagen® is the 2014 recipient of the Vity Award for the best brain support formula.

Vity Awards are given each year by Vitamin Retailer magazine, the leading trade publication in the vitamin/supplement industry. Awards are voted on by retailer readers across the country.

“We are thrilled that Prevagen is a three-time Vity Award winner for the best brain support supplement,” said Mark Underwood, president and co-founder of Quincy Bioscience. “We routinely hear from people telling us how Prevagen helps their thinking, concentration, and memory. We thank our retail partners who help communicate the value of Prevagen to their customers who are concerned with keeping their brains sharp.”

For over six years, Quincy Bioscience has been promoting the benefits of the unique memory ingredient called apoaequorin the main ingredient in Prevagen, the company’s flagship product.

Backed with published safety and efficacy studies, Prevagen has sold over two million bottles nationwide in health food stores, pharmacies, and physician offices since the product was launched in 2007.

About Quincy Bioscience
Quincy Bioscience is a biotechnology company based in Madison, Wis. that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel technologies to support good health in aging. The company’s products focus on supporting memory and cognitive health. Quincy Bioscience is set apart by its cutting-edge applications of the protein apoaequorin, which is breaking new ground in the area of brain health.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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The Life Extension Blog: 5 Home Health Remedies Backed by Research

The Life Extension Blog: 5 Home Health Remedies Backed by Research | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
Before there were prescription medications and fancy trips to the doctor, there were home remedies. Tested through time, most have been passed down from generation to generation.
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The WHO Wants All Gay Men to Take HIV Prevention Medication

The WHO Wants All Gay Men to Take HIV Prevention Medication | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
Condoms aren't enough: For the first time, the agency is recommending that all men who have sex with men use prophylactic treatment.
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Girl 'Cured' of HIV at Birth Now Has Virus

Girl 'Cured' of HIV at Birth Now Has Virus | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
A girl believed to be “cured” of HIV at birth now has detectable levels of the virus, health officials said today.
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Locally acquired dengue fever confirmed in S Fla

Locally acquired dengue fever confirmed in S Fla | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it
Health officials say a 50-year-old Miami-Dade County woman is the state's first case of locally acquired dengue fever so far this year.
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Florida Shifts Medicaid Mental Health Strategy - Kaiser Health News

Florida Shifts Medicaid Mental Health Strategy - Kaiser Health News | Health & Life Extension | Scoop.it

Seeking to improve care and lower costs, Florida this month became the first state to offer a Medicaid health plan designed exclusively for people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar conditions.

 

The plan -- offered by Avon, Conn.-based Magellan Complete Care -- is part of a wave of state experimentation to coordinate physical and mental health care for those enrolled in Medicaid.

Mental illness is a big driver of Medicaid costs because it is twice as prevalent among beneficiaries of the public insurance program for the poor as it is among the general population. Studies show that enrollees with mental illness, who also have chronic physical conditions, account for a large share of Medicaid spending.

Yet many Medicaid programs, including Florida’s, have traditionally contracted with separate companies to provide coverage for mental health services, making coordination more difficult. 

“We don’t want to have a situation where your brain is in one HMO, your teeth are in a second HMO and your eyes are in a third HMO,” said Florida Medicaid Director Justin Senior. “Your whole head should be in the same organization and that is why we have done this reorganization.”

About 140,000 low-income Floridians are expected to be eligible and Magellan predicts about 20,000 will participate voluntarily in the first year.  Medicaid recipients who meet the plan’s criteria will automatically be assigned to it by the state, though they have the option to switch to a different managed care plan within 90 days of enrollment.

Coverage begins July 1 in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, then will roll out to other regions by September.

Magellan, a for-profit company that oversees the behavioral health of 34 million enrollees, was the only company that bid on the mental health plan contract, which could be worth as much as $1.5 billion over five years.

The health law, which is adding millions of people to Medicaid nationwide this year, has put more pressure on states to improve mental health care services. Such services are one of 10 categories of required “essential health benefits” under the law. The law also provides money to help states design programs to coordinate care.

Other state experiments to boost coordination of mental health care include:

-- An Arizona program that gives some Medicaid enrollees with serious mental illness the option to receive physical and mental health services from providers that share their information. They can also visit clinics offering medical and behavioral care under one roof.

-- A Minnesota program to make providers accountable for physical and behavioral health by paying them one fee for all services, including chemical dependency treatments.

-- A Tennessee rule allowing managed care companies to subcontract for mental health services if the subcontractor operates inside the health plan offices to ensure coordinated management.

Florida, which is among the 24 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid eligibility under the health law, decided to create a comprehensive plan for those with mental illness as it requires virtually all Medicaid recipients to enroll in a managed care plan.

“Everybody is hoping the integrated plan will be able to provide some fairly decent medical care and behavioral health care,” said Karen Koch, vice president of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health, an advocacy group.

Traditional health plans sometimes fail to authorize sufficient outpatient treatment and rehabilitation services, so people end up needing to be hospitalized, she said. And patients with severe mental illness often have more difficulty dealing with other problems such as obesity and diabetes.

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