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May 14, 2021 HealthcareNews

 

Wound healing is a clinical problem, that is rising over the years, that is affected by age and multi-morbidity, which is when someone has two or more chronic conditions that affect their quality of life. This morbidity increases the risk of developing wounds and are extrinsic factors, however, there are also intrinsic factors that can intensify the development of chronic wounds.

As someone gets older, there are changes in body composition and energy imbalance, specially changes in the skin, with loss of elasticity and thinning of the dermis. These intrinsic factors make the skin vulnerable to trauma and have a major effect on wound healing.

Currently, the estimated number of chronic wound patients in the United States are 6.5 million, and it is estimated that these patients usually experience pain and loss of function and mobility. Furthermore, the costs spent with treating wound related complications are huge, which imply the necessity of a better plan for managing wound healing, specially in older people.

The care of elderly patients with chronic wounds requires a multidisciplinary approach, that incorporates the skills of nursing, geriatric medicine, and palliative care. This approach makes it possible to achieve wound healing, costs reduction and improve the patient’s outcomes. Specialized wound centers have also been developed to better heal the most difficult chronic wounds, specially for elderly people.

For patients that use medical devices on a daily basis, the medical adhesive-related skin injuries (MARSI) are also another important thing to be aware of and to be prevented, so that there are no further harmful effects that compromise the integrity of the skin. Fortunately, MARSI is easily preventable if the products used are correctly chosen, as the adhesive used, for example. Current adhesives are viscous, chemical, and glue-based materials, that cause a lot of pain to patients, and that can lead to complications in elderly people.

A way to erase MARSI is using products like Bio2Skin, a glue-less medical adhesive, that overcomes the disadvantages of the current medical adhesives and that can be an important solution for providing better quality of life and health to older individuals, using a sustainable product with impact in the environmental and financial healthcare system.

 

Source:

http://www.rimed.org/rimedicaljournal/2016/02/2016-02-34-wound-gould.pdf



May 7, 2021 HealthcareNews

Children are being affected by chronic skin diseases, and atopic dermatitis is a very common one. Its diagnosis has been rising, being about 10 to 20% of the pediatric population in Europe and affecting up to 20% of children worldwide. Despite not being a life-threatening condition is an important topic to address, because it can significantly lower people’s quality of life, beyond the fact that one third of patients carry the disease into adulthood.

Atopic dermatitis is a multifactorial disease, being the result of the combination of genetic, immunologic, and environmental factors, infections causing dysfunctions of the skin barrier, and inflammation. The main symptoms of atopic dermatitis include pruritus, skin dryness and other skin lesions and it can be controlled for most of the patients with topical therapy and skin care.

The topical therapy depends on the patient’s adherence and to achieve maximum effect is necessary to individualize the treatment to the patient’s needs, for example, the skin condition.

However, there are some cases where is difficult to control the disease. These patients with severe atopic dermatitis are mainly those with generalized skin lesions and long and continuous disease course. In this case, systemic therapy must be considered, in other words, treatments using substances that travel through the bloodstream. These therapies have potential to manage the disease, however, besides cyclosporine, approved in some European countries, none of the other systemic therapies are currently approved.

Cyclosporine can be sufficient in short-term therapies but patients with severe atopic dermatitis might require long-term therapy, with an individually adjusted maintenance dose at lowest levels controlling the disease. Cyclosporine should not be combined with phototherapy because of an increased risk for skin cancer.

Despite the availability of cyclosporine, the scientific community and the affected patients are expecting new developments for this disease. There is a clear medical need that should be addressed in the future by the pharmaceutical industry.

Beyond systemic therapies, new approaches are being developed, which target the pathways involved in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis, which may be more effective than systemic therapy. These agents modify or block a specific cellular signal or a pro-inflammatory pathway.

To sum up, this disease has been rising in the world, but there have not been a lot of studies regarding it, being necessary more research regarding the topic.

 

 

 

 

Souce:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566979/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/all.12339

https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/484406



The skin is the largest organ of the human body, being a physical barrier against harmful substances, so keeping its integrity is very important for our health. However, our skin is compromised a lot of times, due to a variety of reasons, being one of them due to medical adhesives.

Medical adhesives provide numerous functions, from securing both heavy and critical as well as lightweight devices, to facilitate skin protection and healing, and even allowing continuous non-invasive monitoring. Despite their common usage, adhesives often cause severe skin injuries, known as Medical Adhesive-Related Skin Injuries (MARSI). MARSI is a silent epidemic, a prevalent, and often an under-recognized complication of wound care, that occurs when the attachment between the adhesive and the skin is stronger than the attachment between skin cells. As a result, the adhesive removal results in skin damage and pain. MARSI has serious negative impact on patient quality of life, being an underreported issue that can occur in all health care settings in wound dressing, ostomy care and in any case where medical devices must be adhered to the skin.

In clinical context, this injuries range, approximately, between 3.4% to 25% daily, being a high-risk factor in users of devices and dressings, such as oncology, dialysis and ostomy patients.

MARSI is extremely costly to hospitals, healthcare systems and health insurance providers. Treating these injuries entails costs in service provision, supplies, nursing care time and hospital beds resources. In Europe, the average cost associated with the treatment of MARSI was calculated to be €82.2, per patient and per episode. The cost burden of MARSI is expected to continuously rise due to the increasingly elderly population, higher access to health care and high incidence of comorbidities diseases (for example, obesity, diabetes and vascular diseases) and increase in the number of surgeries (for example, ostomies).

The need for a better medical adhesive is clear, not only for the industry but also for the clinical stakeholders. The current adhesive products in the market are viscous, chemical, and glue-based materials, that are associated with skin injuries since their peeling removes a large number of epidermis cells, damaging the skin. Thus, they do not provide an effective solution, especially for the patients at high-risk of MARSI. Adhesive removal is considered one of the most painful wound-care interventions, affecting the patients’ safety, satisfaction, and quality-of-life.

Therefore, there is an urgent need for a medical adhesive that offers good adhesion, multi-diversity of application and is gentle to the skin.

Did you know that Pressure Sensitive Adhesives can be the solution?

Pressure sensitive adhesives (PSA) are a type of adhesive that form a bond with the surface (for example, the skin) when pressure is applied. BestHealth4U has a PSA that will revolutionize healthcare – Bio2Skin.

 

Bio2Skin is the first adhesive technology that effectively prevents, and even eliminates, MARSI. Bio2Skin is a glue-less medical adhesive that uses the natural features of the dermis to establish a water-based adhesive and overcomes the main disadvantages of the current types of adhesion materials. This adhesive can positively impact the health and quality of life of patients, as well as decrease the economic, social, and environmental burden that MARSI has on society.

Bio2Skin possesses several advantages for product manufactures, such as being environmentally friendly and recyclable, being versatile and has a cost-effective, functional, and adaptable production.

This adhesive solution will not only reduce economical costs but, more importantly, improve the clinical outcomes and increase quality-of-life and health of patients.

Want to know more about Bio2Skin? Take a look at our website or get in contact with us!



April 19, 2021 HealthcareNews

Around 800 000 citizens in Europe undergo ostomy surgery, a procedure that allows bodily waste to pass through a surgically created stoma on the abdomen into an ostomy bag on the outside of the body. This surgery is necessary due to a variety of diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, cancer of the colon or rectum or obstruction, that compromise the normal function of urinary or digestive system. Despite the rising of ostomy surgeries in the world, this is still a tabu, even for ostomates. However, having an ostomy does not mean people will have to change their lives, in reality, a lot of patients say that having an ostomy gave them their life back!

After the surgery recovery, patients can go back to their regular life, and this means returning to work, travelling, doing exercise, and going to the beach. A lot of people think ostomates have their life limited, but they can return to the same level of physical activity they used to do before surgery.

Last week we talked with Andreia Lima, a 26 year old young woman from Portugal who has been ostomized for 3 years now, due to an ulcerative colitis. Despite her hard journey with the disease, being an ostomate gave her life back and she demystified some myths about it with us.

So, if you could describe yourself, who would you say is Andreia today?

‘I’m still discovering who is this Andreia, because this Andreia is a new Andreia. I was always very reserved, and I didn’t speak to anyone. After the operation, I became someone else or maybe I was always this person and I never had this experience, which is the fact of being much more resilient, of trying to endure a little more, and of always having a word for someone who needed it. Now I try to demystify everything that may exist and help to create this sharing of information.’

What was your health condition before having the first symptoms of your disease?

‘Since I was little, I have had some health problems – being asthmatic and many ear infections, so my immune system was not that healthy already. But other than that, I had a normal life and normal diet until I discovered the disease. My life was a perfectly normal life, with a lot of work, because I started to work at the age of 15, until a few years later, after my grandmother’s death, that was when everything started to fall apart. I started to have extreme tiredness, to wake up exhausted, and I associated it with work, because at the time I had 2 or 3 jobs. Then I started going many times to the bathroom, with diarrhea already, which was not normal, and then I started to have blood in the feces and that’s when I realized that something was not working as it should.’

After you discovered the disease, what were the treatments that you did to try to overcome it and why at some point you had to be ostomized?

‘When I was diagnosed with the disease, I started biological treatments, at the hospital, the treatments lasted 6 hours, so I was at the hospital all day doing the treatment. Also, a lot of cortisone, because I was already in a very advanced stage of the disease and it is a strong medication to reduce the inflammation of the intestine. This therapy helped a lot at the time, however, it started to have no effect, so we started experiencing new treatments, I was also taking oral pills, which helped to control the disease, but it was not enough to have a normal life again. So, at certain time my ostomy was the only solution. I tried everything that was available at the moment and I was already extremely tired of trying everything, physical and psychological, because the side effects are huge.’

How much time passed since you started having the symptoms of your disease to be ostomized later?

‘4 to 5 years. I started having the symptoms at 18 years old and I was ostomized at 23.’

How much the treatments for your disease cost before you were ostomized?

‘The treatments were very expensive. For example, an ampoule that I had to take every 2 or 3 weeks, depending on how I was, an ampoule cost about 3000 euros. It didn’t pay for it, it was the state that paid, but it costs the state, and it is not a treatment that is available to everyone, because we have to do a lot of tests in order to have authorization for this treatment.’

After you’ve decided to take the surgery, how was the all process?

‘From the moment I decided to take the surgery I waited a month at home until I went to the hospital for the surgery. During this month, the process was very smooth, I was very anxious to have the surgery, I really wanted it to happen.

After the surgery, the process was not easy, I was hospitalized for 6 months plus 1 month in the rehabilitation hospital, because there were many complications. But this is not the normal recovery, usually an ostomy takes 15 days to recover, and it took me 6 months!’

There are ostomies that are reversible and some that are definitive, which one is your case?

‘Mine is definitive! There is no possibility of reversal. However, there are a lot of reversible ostomies and this usually happens when you want to give the intestine the opportunity to recover over a certain period, usually between 6 months to a year, depending on the case of the intestine or the colon. And it is done precisely to recover and then be able to return the normal intestinal transit.’

A lot of people think ostomates cannot do the same things they used to do before taking the surgery. Can you tell us how is your day? What things you need to be careful about in your daily activities?

‘My life is completely normal! I do not have to be special careful with my ostomy, in the sense that, I take my shower and as my ostomy is always working, it works 24 hours, for me, there is no way to take a shower without the ostomy bag. So, I take my shower, change my bag and my plaque and then do my normal day. The only thing that I need to be careful about is trying to avoid any exercise in which there is a direct contact with the abdominal area. I also use a shapewear, because it helps me with the scar and prevents intestinal prolapse, but I do not see any limitations.

I don’t stop doing anything, quite the opposite, I do a lot more things than I did before!’

And have you ever had Medical Adhesive-Related Skin Injuries?

‘At the beginning it was very difficult because I am allergic to a lot of things, I am allergic to the anti-allergic, for example, and I was allergic to the dressings that they put on my scar and to the plaque also, so I had my skin with a lot of injuries for a long time.

After that adaptation period, I started to tolerate it more, however, there are periods when I get sores again due to the glue of the adhesives as well.’

If you could change something in the way ostomy is seen in Portugal, what would you like to change?

‘At the ostomy level, it is not known at first, and we should be included in many more situations.

In terms of inflammatory bowel diseases, we do not have any rights, we spend our lives at the hospital, and we have to pay for everything, we do not have access to bathrooms, we do not have access to more expensive treatments, and we don’t have any support when we are hospitalized or if we have to stay at home without being able to work. There is no inclusion.’

What would you say to someone that is now in the process of being ostomized?

‘There is so much I can say! There is a phrase that I always use, and it helps me a lot, that is: when we are ostomized nothing is the end, everything is the beginning! Because a second chance has been given to us. And the second opportunities do not happen very often. So, if we have this new opportunity, it is because we are in fact able to learn from it and enjoy it even more than before.

Despite the difficulties that we have as an ostomate, it is possible to live with it, be happy with it, and have a perfectly normal life like any person without an ostomy.

Most of our problems come from us, from underestimating ourselves, so I think the click has to happen first on us and from there everything happens more easily and naturally.’

 

 



April 9, 2021 HealthcareNews

Nowadays, sustainability is being one of the things most talked about, specially with the covid pandemic outbreak and the urgent need of huge changes in the world for our survival as humanity! However, huge changes are only possible with the contribution of every person, industry, or business. That is why is so important to talk about sustainability and innovation, because it is necessary a collaborative effort to create significant environmental changes and combat the effects of climate change!

So, are innovation and sustainability related? Of course. In the health sector this is something that is constantly being rethinking, specially with the arising issue of single-use medical devices. However, most businesses see sustainability only as a way of following restrict regulations, which is limiting its potential to generate better businesses. Sustainability can generate innovation and increase productivity, leading to more efficient ways of managing the company’s resources.

There are a lot of advantages to a company that is trying to be more sustainable oriented. First, keeping pace with regulation allows the company to be more proactive when it comes to environmental issues, which leads, not only to a better image, but also to costs reduction and creation of new businesses. Second, a lot of consumers prefer more eco-friendly offers, which can put the company in a more competitive place that will make them dominate the market in the future. Last, sustainability makes the company exploring alternatives to doing their business, which can lead to new products and more innovative solutions.

In fact, sustainability and innovation should be seen together and not as separate things. Being sustainable can really put your business in a more competitive place and make room for innovation to happen!

Around 90% of medical devices have single-use products, which represents a lot of waste. However, it is not that simple to reduce the volume of disposable components because it is necessary to maintain the safety standards of the device. Even though, small enterprises in the healthcare sector can play a huge rule on how we can be sustainable and innovative in a long-term vision!

 

 

 

 

Source:

https://hbr.org/2009/09/why-sustainability-is-now-the-key-driver-of-innovation



April 2, 2021 HealthcareNews

The number of surgical procedures is increasing worldwide over the years, being the most common ones the cataract surgery, caesarean, and transluminal coronary angioplasty. Every surgery has a risk for the patient, that can be related to the anesthesia, bleeding, blood clots, infections, and other factors. An important step of a surgery is the closing part, because it will allow the closure of the surgical incision. The current surgical closure techniques lead to secondary tissue damage, infections, scars, and other consequences due to the use of sutures, staples, or surgical glue.

For this reason, there is a need of new technologies that can overcome this side effects since the closure of a surgical incision or wound is crucial for the success of the surgical intervention. An option that has been studied in the past years, is the use of pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSA). These adhesives are non-reactive and when pressure is applied, they form a bond. The main positive points comparing to the current surgical closure are the reduction of induced trauma in the surrounding tissues, their biodegradation, unnecessary post-surgical removal and speed and ease of application.

However, there are some challenges when producing PSA: the need of polymerization in a moist environment and the formation of biocompatible products as a result of their degradation. To overcome these challenges, is necessary to develop adhesives based on biodegradable and biocompatible polymers.

The synthetic aliphatic polyesters are a potential polymer, being the polylactic acid (PLA) the most used. Usually, PLA is combined with other polymers that have higher degradation rates, such as unsaturated polyesters (UP).

Furthermore, the UP can enhance the hydrophilicity, biocompatibility and bio adhesion of the materials synthesized. However, despite PLA being widely used, its application as a tissue adhesive needs to be studied in more detail, to overcome potential issues. Can you imagine a life without staples? With PSA that can really be a possibility in the future!

 

 

Source: Bhagat, V. & Becker, M. L. Degradable Adhesives for Surgery and Tissue Engineering. (2017) doi:10.1021/acs.biomac.7b00969.

Cernadas, T. M. et al. Preparation of biodegradable functionalized polyesters aimed to be used as surgical adhesives. Eur. Polym. J. 117, 442–454 (2019).



March 26, 2021 HealthcareNews

We all already forgot to take medication, right? Now, imagine people that have to take it on a daily basis for the rest of their life! People that really depend on it to have a stable health! But, if there are people that depend on medication to have a healthy life, what is the risk of forgetting to take medicine? Or to take it wrong? This has become a major problem, and not only for patients, but also for hospitals and professionals, because this leads to more hospitalizations and higher healthcare costs.

There are some measures that have been taken to overcome this, such as giving initial training to patients about the medication they take and their medical devices. However, overtime patients forget, and the errors of the self-administration become undetected and are only seen when there is a serious health problem. So, what can we do to overcome this?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology did a research on the possibility of using artificial intelligence to access the medication self-administration of patients at home! Their focus was on inhalers and insulin pens, but their findings can easily be applicable to other devices and medications.

Their solution uses a Wi-Fi sensor that analyzes the radio reflections of the signal from the environment to track specific movements associated with the use of an inhaler or insulin pen. This system documents the results of the self-administration and uploads it in a digital health record of the patient, that can be accessed by health professionals. Furthermore, the system sends reminders to the patient if the medication was not taken at the prescribed time.

This innovation can have a huge impact on people’s health, especially in a pandemic crisis like the one we live today!

Artificial intelligence can really change the way we provide healthcare, and this technique is the prove of that! There still research to be done, mainly in the upscale of the AI system to other medical devices and in the upgrading of the current one, but this study already shows promising results!

 

 

Source:

Zhao, M., Hoti, K., Wang, H. et al. Assessment of medication self-administration using artificial intelligence. Nat Med (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01273-1



March 19, 2021 HealthcareNews

For a long time, research has been done about drug’s efficacy, and the major factor that impacts the drug’s performance inside the body is the way in which it is delivered. A lot of drug delivering systems have been studied in the past years, and microneedle arrays have become an attractive option for their minimal invasion through the skin, being a promising transdermal drug delivery system.

The microneedle arrays are minimal invasive devices that penetrate the skin’s barrier – the stratum corneum – creating a pathway for drug permeation. These microneedles are applied to the skin surface and create microscopic aqueous pores through which drugs diffuse to the dermal microcirculation, painlessly. However, microneedles have limited ability to deliver drug loading doses and therapeutically
sufficient drug concentrations and can break up in the skin tissues, causing skin irritations.

However, Tohoku University has been studying a technique that have shown promising results, enhancing the permeation of macromolecular drugs through the skin, solving some of the microneedle’s limitations. They studied a solid polymer-based ion-conductive porous microneedle that contains interconnected micropores for improving iontophoresis, which is a technique that applies a direct current through the skin, accelerating the transdermal penetration. This allows dose individualization and pulsed delivery profiles.

With the need of improving home healthcare systems, especially because of the growing problems of an aging society and improving medical care during epidemics, this technique shows progress in the development of healthcare patches for transdermal drug delivery.

The iontophoretic transdermal drug delivery systems have been actively studied and some of the applications already commercialized are for fast dosing of drugs for dermal anesthesia, post-operative pain relief, anti-migraine and as a simple collection method for medical diagnosis.

So, the combination of iontophoresis and microneedles is being investigated as an option for transdermal delivery, showing promising advantages of their ability to deliver macromolecular drugs.

 

 

Source:
<https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-20948-4>
<https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0927796X16300213>
<https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S0928098718305268?token=A51B2E1485061458C6EF8B3BC58290
350D405B29ED4A42A793574BB90C10AC67F9CEBD15B5369DF5BEC049DE278A95B7>
<https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1773224721000137?dgcid=rss_sd_all>



March 12, 2021 HealthcareNews

 

You probably already heard about clinical trials, but you might have been hesitant to participate in one. Don’t worry, we will clarify in this post about how clinical trials are conducted, what are the different phases of clinical trials and the benefits of volunteer in one.

Have you ever thought about the fact that in every disease prevention and innovative treatments there was a lot of volunteers that participated in clinical trials? Probably you wouldn’t be that healthy if it wasn’t because of that people’s initiative!

But what are clinical trials?
Clinical trials are research studies performed in people to find out if a new treatment, drug or medical device is safe and effective.

However, there are a lot of phases in a clinical trial, and they are only done after a lot of laboratory tests and animal studies, that show favorable results and are approved to be tested in humans.

The first phase of a clinical trial consists of experiments done in a small group of health people, so the research group can evaluate the safety and side effects. The second phase uses more people and focus on the effectiveness of the treatment, meaning tests are made in people with a certain disease or condition. The third phase gathers more information and studies various populations and dosages. If the results of this phase are positive, they will be approved for the next phase. The last phase allows tests to be done in a larger population for a longer period, so researchers can have great proof of the treatment’s efficacy.

It’s important to notice that these studies have very strict regulations, and each trial is monitored by a lot of experts. People usually are reluctant about participating in clinical trials, but did you know that you are just likely to experience side effects from a clinical trial as from medication already approved? Furthermore, clinical trials can help to find new treatment options for diseases that you or your family might have in the future or have at the moment.

So, if you never thought about volunteering in a clinical trial, you can find
about what is currently being done in https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ .

 

Sources:
<https://www.policymed.com/2010/05/the-importance-of-clinical-trials.html>
<https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-are-clinical-trials-and-studies



March 5, 2021 HealthcareNews

 

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.80 million cancer cases in 2018 were from people with colorectal cancer (which includes cancers of the colon and rectum), being one of the most common causes of cancer death.

In the past years, the number of younger adults (people with less than 50 years old) with the disease has been increasing, and some analysts estimate that the risk among millennials is, approximately, 2 to 4 times higher than their grandparents. This means that there are health behaviors and environmental
factors that are impacting the increase of numbers.

As scientists discussed in an event organized by NCI and NIEHS, the main priority is to identify the risk factors that are leading to the emerging of younger adult’s cases, especially because young people tend to be diagnosed at later stages.

In their discussion three main risk factors were presented – diet, bacteria in the gut and inflammation.

Regarding diet, several studies showed that overweight can increase the chance of having colorectal cancer, and we can see the increase of overweight young people in the past years.

The bacteria in the gut are also another possible factor, as it may affect the effectiveness of the cancer treatment. However, gut bacteria are affected by the food people eat, because It can change the type of bacteria in the gut, so this is related with the previous factor discussed.

Another factor is inflammation, because bacteria in the gut block immune cells that fight cancer, which can intensify inflammation due to the bacterial toxins. Furthermore, some conditions can also increase inflammation, as diabetes or Crohn’s disease.

In addition, is also important to understand the environment factors, as it can expose people to many chemicals that will interact with their genetic.

However, beyond the research about what is causing these numbers, is also important to identify the disease at early stages. A common prevention treatment is screening but usually It is used for people over 50. For young adults, this treatment is not that common, as it is costly and invasive. There have been done some research about alternatives to this technique, as the Epi proColon, a bloodbased test, however, are necessary more results to come to more concrete
conclusions.

So, if we can have a clear vision about the main factors that are contributing for the growth of cases in young adults, we can have more clear approaches to prevent the disease.

 

Source:
‘Why Is Colorectal Cancer Rising Rapidly among Young Adults? by the National Cancer Institute
<https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2020/colorectal-cancer-risingyounger-adults>



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