Walgreens Selling Overdose Reversing Nasal Spray

While researchers have been working tirelessly to treat conditions such as blindness and HIV, drug use as a health issue is sitting on the back burner. To bring attention back to the opioid epidemic, pharmaceutical giant Walgreens is selling medication that reverses the effects of heroin overdoses.

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, [is a] medicine that can reverse the effects of an overdose from opioid drugs or heroin within seconds.

The treatment is selling over-the-counter at more than 8,000 branches in nearly every state. The remaining five states that don’t offer the drug are battling regulation issues. Dr. Dan Lustig of addiction treatment facility Haymarket Center has since commended Walgreens’ efforts.

“This actually signifies, I think, a significant step in the battle that we have with this epidemic.”

“First and foremost, it gives families a fighting chance to save loved ones,”

Many remain skeptical, citing Narcan as an encouraging factor to continue drug use. Though the ethical implications of the drug are problematic, it’s still better to be safe than sorry.

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Alzheimer’s Drug Can Fill Cavities And Regrow Teeth

Let’s face it, when it comes to dental hygiene, a visit to the dentist is less than appealing. At the end of the day, if you run into a toothache, green tea is apparently a quick fix. But what happens when your clickers start to decay? A drug used to treat Alzheimer’s may be the answer.

Tideglusib works by stimulating stem cells in the pulp of teeth, the source of new dentine. Dentine is the mineralized substance beneath tooth enamel that gets eaten away by tooth decay.

If you’re familiar with dental jargon, you’ll know teeth can regenerate dentine naturally. But for this to happen, a cavity must exist and the amount of dentine restored is hardly enough to cover it. The Tideglusib was found to repair damages within six weeks. Better yet, the drug is already approved.

Using a drug that has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease provides a real opportunity to get this dental treatment quickly into clinics.”

If you’re not too keen on Colgate, you’d better hope a nearby clinic is stocking up on Tideglusib!

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V.R. Is Helping Doctors Treat Cancerous Tumors

Things are looking up for cancer patients — from gene editing to the humble avocado, various forms of treatment are manifesting all over the world. Now, virtual reality systems are making it easier for doctors to treat cancerous tumors.

Once wearing the Oculus VR headset, the wearer can clearly see how the drug combats certain DNA strands inside the cell of a cancerous growth.

The wearer can then look around 360 degrees inside the tumor to see how the drug attaches itself to DNA strands to help dismantle the cancer.

The Oculus VR can eliminate the need of replica training, which is less practical and more expensive. It also provides users with feedback, allowing surgeons to perform more accurately.

“It is helpful in engaging the brain through interacting with a personalized animation someone is familiar with, so it feels real.”

I suppose this means virtual reality can escape its video game bubble and transition into the education industry. After all, there is always value in new technology.

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Pediatric Cancer Drug Displays 93% Success Rate

Breakthroughs in cancer research such as gene-altering treatments and the discovery of nanomachines have made waves in the past few years, persistently leading humanity through not-so-tiny victory after not-so-tiny victory in a battle between human and disease that has spanned decades. Just this month, a drug specifically targeting a fused gene found in several cancer types resulted in a 93% response rate among children.

“In some cancers, a part of the TRK [tropomyosin receptor kinase] gene has become attached to another gene, which is called a fusion. When this occurs, it leads to the TRK gene being turned on when it’s not supposed to be and that causes the cells to grow uncontrollably. What’s unique about the drug is it is very selective; it only blocks TRK receptors,” said lead author Dr. Ted Laetsch, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

Most drugs that are already known and used to cure cancer usually target a particular location or organ in the body. According to the researchers at UT Southwestern’s Simmons Cancer Center, Larotrectinib is the first cancer drug designated for people with TRK fusions, or the fusion of two genes in the cancer cell, regardless of whether their cancer is in the lung, colon, or other areas.

“…none of the patients with TRK fusions had to quit the study because of a drug-induced side effect. Equally important, the response was long-lasting for most patients.”

The TRK fusions tend to occur mostly in certain types of pediatric cancer. This implies that, despite also being 75% effective in adult cancers, Larotrectinib is a bigger breakthrough in pediatric cancer research. This is a hopeful and life-giving discovery for children, or the people most capable of giving us hope in our own lives.

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Former Patient Becomes Nurse At Childhood Hospital

After delivering her baby brother, 12-year-old Jacee Dellapena decided she wanted to be an OB-Gyn. These dreams are not so uncommon. For 24-year-old Montana Brown, realizing her dream of becoming a nurse doesn’t seem simple at all. A two-time cancer survivor, Brown decided she would pay it forward in the very hospital she was treated in.

When she was 2 years old, Brown was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of childhood cancer of the connective tissue. She underwent chemotherapy for a year at the AFLAC Cancer Center.

Brown had gone into remission, only to later find out, at the age of 15, that her cancer had returned. The same nurses that cared for her 13 years prior were once again by her side. Brown has since expressed her deepest gratitude for their compassion.

“The nurses here, as great as they were when I was 2… they were extremely loving and caring and compassionate. And, just the love they showed me and my family in our time of need just really helped me,” she said. “It helped me want to become as kind and as caring and as compassionate as they were for me.”

Brown has come full circle and is now a pediatric oncologist at the AFLAC Cancer Center. I suppose that sometimes, the best way to pay it forward is to have a look back.

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Less Invasive Epilepsy Treatment at Sourasky

Finding minimally invasive treatment procedures for significant illnesses have been the preoccupation of some of today’s medical breakthroughs, as exemplified by the research and development of light-activated methods in cancer treatment using nanomachines.

In Sourasky, minimally invasive procedures using advance laser and MRI technologies have been conducted in the treatment of epilepsy patients who are not responsive to medication. Offered in the neurosurgery department by Prof. Yitzhak Fried, Dr. Ido Strauss, and director of epilepsy service Dr. Firas Fahoum, it is the first time the procedure is being performed outside the US.

“If in the past we had to consider surgery in cases where the patient did not respond to medication, we can now make do with a minimally invasive procedure that is almost as successful as open surgery,” explained Strauss.

What made this possible is Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT) technology. A small optic fiber is inserted into a small hole in the skull, and is then connected to a device called the Visualase system. While this is happening, an MRI scanner monitors brain temperatures and the size of the ablated tissue. Compared with open surgery, this procedure is more keen on preserving the areas of the brain proximate to the ablated issue and responsible for other bodily functions.

“Today, we know that the source of the disorder that causes epileptic seizures is found in neural networks in the brain and that the attacks can be prevented by proper medical treatment,” explained Fahoum. “In most cases, patients are given medication to try to control the seizures. But if this doesn’t help, it is necessary to consider neurosurgical intervention, in cases where the area where the seizures begin is located and surgically removed. But seizures come as a surprise and may cause cumulative damage to the cognitive and mental functioning of the patients along with physical injuries when they fall to the ground.”

The use of LITT, Visualase, and MRI technologies provides a less invasive procedure to the other surgical options such as nerve pacemakers and neuromodulation, as well as the removal of the seizure’s focal point. Moreover, the therapeutic option also provides easier recovery and may even be offered to children with epilepsy.

Hopefully, it is time we have more and more medical breakthroughs of less and less invasive treatment procedures.

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Dental Augmented Reality Acts As Virtual Mirror

The world of dentistry is now more futuristic than ever. Alternative treatments include some unexpected new contenders such as green tea extract and squid ink. Like all whitening and strengthening products, however, results take time — unless you’re working with this Swiss startup. Kapanu has created a dental augmented reality device that allows patients to “try on” their future smiles.

It works by matching a 3D scan of the person’s mouth cavity… to scans of known sets of good teeth… Once the software locks onto the user’s mouth and teeth, it overlays the improved teeth — and that’s where the fun starts.

Because the program is interactive, users can edit the spacing between teeth, as well as their shape. While the system may seem like a teeth-only version of The Sims, the fact that replacement teeth are molded down to every detail is mind-blowing. 

Once the patient has customized their teeth and given them a preview in the AR “virtual mirror,” the final model is sent off for manufacture wherever it is replacement teeth are made.

Shown at the International Dental Show in Cologne, the dental augmented reality program immediately hit some marks for investors. As an independent operator, Kapanu has yet to lay down its terms for commercial use. In the meantime, I’ll remember to stay off the sweets.

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Hallucinogenic Plant May Help Treat Depression

With the destigmatization of mental illness in a digital playing field, many are turning to the Internet for treatment. Apps like Koko allow patients to seek help virtually, and now many can use DIY kits to self-diagnose. More alarming cases may call for medication, but a U.K. research team thinks the psychedelic ayahuasca plant may be able to treat depression.

“The psychedelic state induced by ayahuasca often makes users reflect on personal concerns and memories and produces intense emotions,” note Dr. [Will] Lawn and colleagues. “These effects are highly valued by ayahuasca users who characterize the drug experience as similar to a psychotherapeutic intervention.”

The brew does contain addictive compounds but proved in last year’s Global Drug Survey to be psychologically beneficial. Furthermore, users tended not to gravitate towards alcohol.

“Recent research has demonstrated ayahuasca’s potential as a psychiatric medicine,” [Lawn] adds, “and our current study provides further evidence that it may be a safe and promising treatment.”

As a purely observational study, Lawn and his team will have to commit to (possibly years) of additional research about the plant’s potential to treat depression. While their analysis has been the most in-depth to date, controlled trials make for a safe bet. The world could use another upper.

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Woman Forgoes Cancer Treatment To Save Baby

Parents do a lot for their children and, occasionally, the children of others. This generous mom donated 5,000 pints of breastmilk to parents in need. 37-year-old Carrie Deklyen saved her baby’s life — and she didn’t even know it. Deklyen chose to forego cancer treatment in order to protect her unborn child, giving birth while in a coma.

Dekylen… discovered she was pregnant in April, just two weeks after being diagnosed with glioblastoma. She underwent two surgeries to remove the tumor and, along with her husband, Nick, chose to forego a clinical trial in order to protect the baby.

The miracle baby was born at 24 weeks and conveniently named Life. Weighing only 1 pound and 4 ounces at birth, Life has progressed immensely, according to doctors. Unfortunately, they couldn’t say the same for Dekylen.

Dekylen’s tumor was showing rapid growth, and doctors were forced to drain fluid from her brain several times. Doctors had hoped to delay delivery until 28 weeks gestation, but a decline in both Life and Dekylen’s health had forced them to act earlier.

Alongside Life, Dekylen will be survived by five other children. As proven by Dekylen, nothing compares to a mother’s love.

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Disney Commits $100 Million To Kids’ Hospitals

When it comes to health, hospitals are necessary but hardly ever enjoyable. Despite the rise of surgical robots, many prefer to self-diagnose. Still, Google remains a breeding ground for hypochondriacs, in spite of Apple’s efforts to create health-centered mobiles. To make pediatric wards a little less daunting, Disney is donating $100 million to institutes around the globe.

“Disney’s timeless stories have touched hearts and lifted spirits for generations, and we believe they can bring comfort to children and families going through a very difficult time,” [said] Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company.

Disney will be bringing games, entertainment, and movie magic into infirmaries. Familiar characters will likely put children at greater ease and perhaps even pull some laughs. Patient rooms will be laden with murals (Disney-themed, of course), and staff will undergo extra training.

“The renowned Disney Institute, a part of The Walt Disney Company that provides professional development training focused on leadership, employee engagement and high quality service, will create a customized program for healthcare professionals designed to foster a less stressful, patient and family-centric hospital experience,”

Truth be told, I’d be slightly less nervous getting my blood drawn by Mickey Mouse. Or, if not, who doesn’t love Pluto?

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