Researchers have enrolled 2,000 people with metastatic breast cancer in 7 months using a social media-enabled, direct-to-patient model of recruiting. The study is using social media and blogs to drive patients to a website where they can consent to share medical records and genomic data with the researchers.
A team from the Broad Institute and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute set up the study to address the lack of genomic data from the tumors of patients with metastatic breast cancer. This situation is a consequence of many breast cancer patients being treated in community care settings. Faced with this shortfall in knowledge, the researchers designed a study that allows patients to consent to share parts of their tumor biopsies, medical records and saliva samples using at-home spit kits.
The design of the data-gathering elements of the trial free participants from the need to visit a study site. This makes it easier for the researchers to enroll subjects, but only if they can contact patients and persuade them of the value of participating. Like Pfizer ($PFE) before it, the Broad/Dana-Farber team has used social media to enroll subjects in its virtual trial. But, while the approach proved to be flawed for Pfizer’s trial, the strategy pursued by Broad and Dana-Farber is working for its study.
A new UCSF study finds that some of the most popular apps for diabetes, depression and caregivers are too difficult to use, especially by underserved populations.
The study, published this week in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, finds that the apps aren’t easy to use, especially by low-income and underserved users who should be their target audience. And if they’re too difficult, the user will get frustrated and ditch them.
Gourley and Urmimala Sarkar, MD, a UCSF associate professor of medicine, led a team of researchers in the study at The Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, a UCSF partner hospital. The team introduced 26 patients to three or four apps apiece, each focused on their condition, be it diabetes or depression; some of the users were caregivers to elderly patients, and were asked to try caregiver apps.
In many cases, patients had difficulty accessing features or entering data, and in almost every case the patient didn’t get far enough to use that data. Over the course of the study, the patients only completed about half of the data-entry tasks, and only 43 percent were able to retrieve data from the apps.
“We have such a great opportunity now for patients to use mobile technology to interact with their medical providers and to become more involved in their own care – which we know results in improved health outcomes,” Sarkar said in the press release. “Nowhere is this more important than for vulnerable populations who often suffer disproportionately from a multitude of chronic, serious conditions. If we can give them the tools to manage their health between medical visits, the benefits could be tremendous.”
It’s like a FitBit for your sweat, detecting your blood alcohol level.
Skyn is a wristband from breathalyser company BACtrack, and it detects alcohol using a fuel cell technology not unlike that used by your friendly roadside RBT.
The device is worn on the wrist and offers continuous, real-time, and non-invasive monitoring of your TAC (Transdermal Alcohol Content). Alcohol is detected and measured with transdermal monitoring, which tracks the ethanol molecules escaping through the skin.
TAC samples are then converted into a history of your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) with BACtrack’s proprietary algorithm. BACtrack Skyn uses an electrochemical sensor and connects via Bluetooth to an app on your smartphone.
Since it can take up to 45 minutes for alcohol to be transmitted through the skin its accuracy for some applications (like replacing traditional breathalysers) is unreliable. But what it can reliably be used for is continuous monitoring.
You can relay data to your doctor, it can warn you if you’ve had too much to drink.
Basically, you can passively track alcohol consumption in real-time. There’s no need to take a breath alcohol test — your estimated BAC result is on their wrist, continuously. For instance, your phone could vibrate to notify you that you’re approaching 0.04 per cent BAC and remind you to slow down your drinking.
If you’re aiming for sobriety, a nominated contact could receive a notification when your BAC has gone above 0.00 per cent.
Based in San Francisco, BACtrack won the “Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge” competition held by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism with the Skyn, which came with a $200,000 prize. The competition aimed to uncover wearable technologies that can be used comfortably by everyday people, and was judged on accuracy.
The Preamble of the Constitution of the World Health Organization reminds us that «Informed opinion and active cooperation on the part of the public are of the utmost importance in the improvement of the health of the people» (Grad, 2002). Nonetheless, nearly seven decades later, the conditions under which people can be informed and actively participate in their health management in a meaningful way are being globally challenged. Drawing from experience in a variety of areas that I will delve into in this article, I remain a believer that we can marshal the necessary forces to advance the communication of health issues and create a base for a health-literate population to make smart(er), healthier decisions that advance health and well-being.
Keywords: health communication, health literacy, Ebola, vaccines, innovation.
The ultimate goal of health communication is to advance an informed and empowered individual who can make smart choices for themselves, their families and communities whether it be in daily life, business and/or public policy. While the goal and practice may seem elusive, a simple fundamental tenet is that we need to advance our communication prowess to develop health literacy from individuals to the body politic. Ideally, an ethical, evidence-based communication approach can build upon historical challenges of how we address issues in science and health – from creationism to the heliocentric theory of the universe to nuclear physics to climate change. While Darwin, Galileo, Copernicus and others challenged the conventional wisdom and the «faith-based» approach of their time, countless others joined then and now in advancing science-based approaches to make the world a better place.
(AFP) - Le Haute autorité de santé (HAS) s'est prononcé contre le dépistage systématique du cancer du poumon par scanner chez les fumeurs, estimant que les conditions n'étaient pas réunies à ce stade pour un tel dépistage.Sollicitée pa...
Via Giovanna Marsico
According to a Pew Research Center report released last month, Americans are engaged and connected like never before. Nearly 70 percent own a smartphone, and 45 percent have a tablet-like device. It’s clear that almost all of us interact with mobile devices on a daily basis. Wearable sensor technology as well as connected watches and other mobile monitors are becoming more commonplace. And these new devices have the potential to significantly impact health care delivery in the U.S. today.
Drinking diet (or sugar free) fizzy drinks during pregnancy makes women more likely to give birth to overweight children, according to research from the University of Manitoba in Canada.
The researchers found that mothers who drink sugar free, artificially sweetened beverages during pregnancy are twice as likely to have an overweight baby by the age of 12 months.
The findings suggest the possibility that children who are exposed to artificial sweeteners in the womb could develop a sweet tooth, leading them to eat foods higher in calories — but cautioned that this was not a biological study, and that they had merely observed a link.
Replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat might not prolong life
It is widely accepted that diets rich in polyunsaturated fats protect against heart disease. Recently, the Global Burden of Disease team reported that each year insufficient intake of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, the most common subgroup of polyunsaturated fats, results in over 700 000 deaths from coronary heart disease.1 Or does it? A linked study by Ramsden and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.i1246) adds to the doubts around the health benefits of replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fats.2
This new study re-examines recovered data from a double blind randomised controlled trial that took place 45 years ago. The Minnesota Coronary Experiment (MCE) followed 9423 participants from state mental hospitals and a nursing home for 4.5 years. The trial tested whether replacement of saturated fat with vegetable oil rich in linoleic acid (an omega-6 polyunsaturated fat) reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and death through a reduction in serum cholesterol concentration.
McKenzie-Mohr and Associates, based in Fredericton, Canada, provides online forums where information regarding fostering sustainable behavior and community-based social marketing can be freely exchanged.
This book is about making the transition gracefully. It provides a comprehensive introduction to community-based social marketing and how it is being applied throughout the world to foster sustainable behavior. It introduces the five steps of communitybased social marketing (selecting behaviors, identifying barriers & benefits, developing strategies, conducting a pilot, and broad-scale implementation), and showcases numerous programs illustrating its use. In this third edition, each chapter has been updated. Further, Selecting Behaviors has been added as a new first step in community-based social marketing. As well, a new behavior change tool—social diffusion—has been added to the array of tools already covered.
A study led by Harvard Medical School investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital reveals how spontaneous changes in the molecular characteristics of tumors can lead to tumors with a mixed population of cells requiring treatment with several types of therapeutic drugs.
In their report in Nature, the research team describes finding a mixture of HER2-positive and HER2-negative circulating tumors cells (CTCs) in blood samples from patients who developed metastatic disease after originally being diagnosed with estrogen-receptor (ER)-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer.
"This population of tumor cells is able to spontaneously oscillate between HER2-positive and HER2-negative states."—Shyamala Maheswaran
“Not only did we observe the acquisition of HER2 positivity in patients with ER-positive/HER2 negative breast tumors, we also found that this population of tumor cells is able to spontaneously oscillate between HER2-positive and HER2-negative states, which contributes to tumor progression and resistance,” said Shyamala Maheswaran, HMS associate professor of surgery at Mass General and co-senior author of the paper. “We also showed in mouse models the types of therapies that may be most useful for patients with these difficult-to-treat tumors.”
Osteoarthritis — the age-related, “wear-and-tear” form of joint disease — is the most common type of arthritis. And the knee is the most commonly affected joint. In fact, almost half of the population will have knee pain due to osteoarthritis by age 85. There is no cure; the only permanent treatment is a total knee replacement. More than 700,000 of these operations are performed in the U.S. each year, and the rate of knee replacement surgery has nearly doubled between 2000 and 2010.
Since surgery is a last resort, what can you do in the meantime? The mainstays of treatment include losing weight if you need to, exercise, various pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. But these approaches don’t always work well. If they did, we’d have far fewer joint replacement surgeries!
Considering how common osteoarthritis of the knee is and how limited our treatments are, news of a novel approach to treating osteoarthritis of the knee comes none too soon.
Background: Prevailing health care structures and cultures restrict intraprofessional communication, inhibiting knowledge dissemination and impacting the translation of research into practice. Virtual communities may facilitate professional networking and knowledge sharing in and between health care disciplines.
Objectives: This study aimed to review the literature on the use of social media by health care professionals in developing virtual communities that facilitate professional networking, knowledge sharing, and evidence-informed practice.
Methods: An integrative literature review was conducted to identify research published between 1990 and 2015. Search strategies sourced electronic databases (PubMed, CINAHL), snowball references, and tables of contents of 3 journals. Papers that evaluated social media use by health care professionals (unless within an education framework) using any research design (except for research protocols or narrative reviews) were included. Standardized data extraction and quality assessment tools were used.
Results: Overall, 72 studies were included: 44 qualitative (including 2 ethnographies, 26 qualitative descriptive, and 1 Q-sort) and 20 mixed-methods studies, and 8 literature reviews. The most common methods of data collection were Web-based observation (n=39), surveys (n=23), interviews (n=11), focus groups (n=2), and diaries (n=1). Study quality was mixed. Social media studied included Listservs (n=22), Twitter (n=18), general social media (n=17), discussion forums (n=7), Web 2.0 (n=3), virtual community of practice (n=3), wiki (n=1), and Facebook (n=1). A range of health care professionals were sampled in the studies, including physicians (n=24), nurses (n=15), allied health professionals (n=14), followed by health care professionals in general (n=8), a multidisciplinary clinical specialty area (n=9), and midwives (n=2). Of 36 virtual communities, 31 were monodiscipline for a discrete clinical specialty. Population uptake by the target group ranged from 1.6% to 29% (n=4). Evaluation using related theories of “planned behavior” and the “technology acceptance model” (n=3) suggests that social media use is mediated by an individual’s positive attitude toward and accessibility of the media, which is reinforced by credible peers. The most common reason to establish a virtual community was to create a forum where relevant specialty knowledge could be shared and professional issues discussed (n=17). Most members demonstrated low posting behaviors but more frequent reading or accessing behaviors. The most common Web-based activity was request for and supply of specialty-specific clinical information. This knowledge sharing is facilitated by a Web-based culture of collectivism, reciprocity, and a respectful noncompetitive environment. Findings suggest that health care professionals view virtual communities as valuable knowledge portals for sourcing clinically relevant and quality information that enables them to make more informed practice decisions.
Conclusions: There is emerging evidence that health care professionals use social media to develop virtual communities to share domain knowledge. These virtual communities, however, currently reflect tribal behaviors of clinicians that may continue to limit knowledge sharing. Further research is required to evaluate the effects of social media on knowledge distribution in clinical practice and importantly whether patient outcomes are significantly improved.
L'assureur français Axa a décidé lundi de se débarrasser de ses propres actifs liés au tabac, qui pèsent environ 1,8 milliard d'euros, une grande première dans le secteur de l'assurance saluée par des défenseurs de la lutte contre le tabagisme et des promoteurs de l'investissement durable.
"La poursuite de nos investissements dans des entreprises de l'industrie du tabac n'a plus de sens", a expliqué l'Allemand Thomas Buberl, qui prendra les rênes du groupe dès septembre.
Axa, dont l'ensemble des primes santé s'est élevé à "près de 12 milliards d'euros" en 2015, est le "premier assureur global" à faire ce choix, a affirmé à l'AFP un porte-parole de l'entreprise.
Le groupe, qui se présente comme un "assureur santé et investisseur responsable", souhaite jouer un rôle dans la "prévention" et "soutenir les efforts des gouvernements" de la planète pour enrayer le tabac et ses effets désastreux sur la santé, selon un communiqué.
"Cette décision a un coût, mais notre conviction est claire: le coût humain du tabac est dramatique, son coût économique est énorme", écrit M. Buberl dans ce document.
Axa, qui avait annoncé le retrait de ses investissements dans le secteur du charbon à hauteur d'environ 500 millions d'euros, il y a tout juste un an en vue de la COP21, va cette fois encore plus loin dans sa politique d'investissement responsable.
La compagnie d'assurances, qui s'est engagée l'an dernier à tripler ses investissements "verts" d'ici 2020, va "immédiatement céder" les actions qu'elle détient dans des entreprises du secteur du tabac, et dont la valeur actuelle s'élève à environ 200 millions d'euros.
Editor's Note: PLOSBLOGS invited independent science journalist Beth Skwarecki to assess and contextualize the controversy which errupted in the US surrounding last month's release of Vaxxed, a documentary film made by and about anti-vaccine proponent and discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield. Our purpose in publishing the post that follows is not to review this film (problematic in any event since preview copies were not made available to press), but rather to provide a context for the reignited debate about vaccines that it has already provoked--and may still cause as its distribution expands to Asia. We want to help our readers--including parents attempting to make the correct decision about vaccinating their children, public health providers responding to vaccine hesitancy on the part of worried parents and public health researchers charged to provide evidence-based guidance on best practices for communicating vaccine efficacy and safety--to counter the current re-emergence of anti
Réseaux sociaux et pros de santé, ça vous évoque quoi ?
Les réseaux sociaux ont pris une place croissante dans la vie des Français ces dernières années et les professionnels de santé n’y échappent pas. De plus en plus de communautés de médecins, infirmières ou pharmaciens émergent sur le web, de façon structurée avec des plateformes dédiées ou de manière spontanée et informelle sur les médias sociaux existants (groupe Facebook ou LinkedIn, hashtag sur twitter…).
On constate aujourd’hui que les professionnels de santé, et notamment les médecins, ont de moins en moins de temps pour se rencontrer et échanger. Les réseaux sociaux répondent donc à différents besoins importants comme : la création d’un réseau de partenaires dans le cadre des parcours de soins (notamment pour les jeunes praticiens), le partage d’expertise et d’avis sur des cas patients ou l’échange autour de l’actualité médicale.
One of the subtler sleights of hand used by obesity crusaders is to talk about obesity while using figures that refer to people who are obese or overweight. Health reporters do it all the time and subeditors frequently put the word ‘obesity’ in the headline when the story is actually about people who are overweight (see here and here, to pick two examples at random).
Since there are more overweight people than there are obese people, the effect — and probably the intention — of this blurring of the lines is to inflate the number of supposed victims of the obesity ‘epidemic’. A quarter of Britons are obese, but if you add in people who are merely overweight this rises to 60 per cent.
I am not at all surprised that new Cochrane evidence showed yoga may be beneficial to those with asthma. I am a devoted yogi who has practised a combination of hot power and bikram yoga about twice a week for the past two years.
As more new drugs are bred in little biotechs, executives at giant firms are decamping to startups.
As a vice president of the $38 billion (sales) French drug company Sanofi, Victoria Richon witnessed constant reorganizations that affected her oncology drug development program. Teams shuffled, priorities shifted, and processes changed. She says she spent far less time on drug discovery and far more time sorting out the changes and persuading committees to keep her programs going. “That’s just the nature of a big company,” says Richon, whose 28-year career has included roles at cancer research centers and Merck MRK-0.44%.
Promuovere il consumo di cibo sano: un nuovo modello di marketing sociale per identificare e promuovere politiche basate sulle evidenze, per la promozione della salute e la prevenzione di malattie.
Il Community-based prevention marketing (CBPM) applica strategie e tecniche del marketing alla progettazione, all’implementazione e alla valutazione di programmi o politiche per la promozione della salute o per la prevenzione di malattie. Data la mancanza di un quadro sistematico per l'identificazione, la selezione e la promozione di politiche basate sull'evidenza, risulta necessario un cambio di prospettiva.
Nell’articolo “Community-Based Prevention Marketing for Policy Development: A New Planning Framework for Coalitions” apparso sulla rivista Social Marketing Quarterly (SMQ) (1) viene descritta l’adozione e l’applicazione pratica di un nuovo modello di riferimento: il Community-Based Prevention Marketing for Policy Development (CBPM-Policy Development) con l’obiettivo ultimo di migliorare la capacità della Comunità nell’identificare e promuovere politiche basate sulle evidenze.
Il progetto, guidato dai principi di ricerca/azione, ha rafforzato un legame già esistente tra i ricercatori universitari esperti di marketing sociale del Florida Prevention Research Center e l’insieme di partner della Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition, impegnati da anni nella prevenzione dell’obesità infantile.
Il risultato di questa partnership accademica consiste in un nuovo modello di riferimento da otto punti così intitolati: 1.“Creare le basi”, 2.“Che cosa dovremmo cambiare?”, 3.“Quale politica dovremmo promuovere?”, 4.“Identificare il pubblico”, 5.“Ascoltare”, 6.“Sviluppare un piano strategico”, 7.“Monitorare e valutare”, 8.“Stiamo seguendo il piano?”.
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