Target Health Blog

April

Origin of Blood-Brain Barrier 'Sentry Cells'

April 24, 2017

,Basic Biology

The blood-brain barrier is the layer of cells that line the blood vessels of the brain. The inner cell layer that lines vessels, known as the endothelium, is present in all the blood vessels of the body. Within the blood vessels of the brain, endothelial cells and other adjacent cells form a tight barrier that helps to prevent toxins and microbes from entering the brain. Although their function is not completely understood, a special population of cells covering the blood vessels on the brain's surface is thought to contribute to the organ's protection. The cells act as sentries, engulfing toxins, cellular wastes and microbes and then encasing them in sphere-like structures called vesicles. These sentry cells are called fluorescent granular perithelial cells (FGPs) because the vesicles they contain give off a yellow glow in the presence of light. FGPs are thought to be important in a variety of human brain disorders and conditions. These cells appear to be a major entry point for HIV infection of the brain. Age-related decline in cognitive function is associated with a decline in the scavenging function of FGPs. According to the authors, learning more about how FGPs function may lead to a greater understanding of dementia and other conditions.

Warren Pearlson Vacationed in Iceland and Wow!

April 24, 2017

,What's New

Warren Pearlson, our esteemed Director of Business Development, visited Iceland recently and came back with some fantastic photos the he and a colleague took. Fortunately for Target Health, Dr. Mitchel will be presenting on the topic of EHR/EDC integration in Iceland in a few weeks at the Spring meeting of the eClinical Forum. Hope to see you there.

Drug Approved to Treat Tardive Dyskinesia

April 17, 2017

,Regulatory

Tardive dyskinesia is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive involuntary movements, usually of the jaw, lips and tongue, such as grimacing, sticking out the tongue and smacking the lips. Some affected people also experience involuntary movement of the extremities or difficulty breathing. Tardive dyskinesia is a serious side effect sometimes seen in patients who have been treated with antipsychotic medications, especially the older medications, for long periods to treat chronic conditions, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Tardive dyskinesia can also occur in patients taking antipsychotic medications for depression and certain medications for gastrointestinal disorders and other conditions. It is unclear why some people who take these medications develop tardive dyskinesia yet others do not.

Gene Silencing Shows Promise for Treating 2 Fatal Neurological Disorders

April 17, 2017

,Neurology

In 1996, it was discovered that mutations in the ataxin 2 gene cause spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2), a fatal inherited disorder that primarily damages a part of the brain called the cerebellum, causing patients to have problems with balance, coordination, walking and eye movements.

Rates of New Diagnosed Cases of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Rising

April 17, 2017

,Diabetes

In the United States, 29.1 million people are living with diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes, and about 208,000 people younger than 20 years are living with diagnosed diabetes.

Arvid Carlsson MD (1923 to Present) and Still Going Strong at 94!

April 17, 2017

,History of Medicine

Editor's note: Short background Kathleen Montagu (died 28 March 1966) was the first researcher to identify dopamine in human brains. Working in Hans Weil-Malherbe's laboratory at the Runwell Hospital outside London, the presence of dopamine was identified by paper chromatography in the brain of several species, including a human brain. Her research was published in August 1957, followed and confirmed by Hans Weil-Malherbe in November 1957. Nobel Prize-rewarded Arvid Carlsson to be the first researcher to identify that dopamine is a neurotransmitter. His research was published in November 1957, along with colleagues Margit Linsqvist and Tor Magnusson.

BIOMED 2017 Conference - Tel-Aviv (May 23-25, 2017)

April 17, 2017

,What's New

Target Health will again be attending the 16th MIXiii-BIOMED 2017 Conference and Exhibition, being held at the David Intercontinental, (May 23-25, 2017) in Tel-Aviv. This is the 16th anniversary of the conference which we have been attending since 2009. We have many clients and friends in Israel, so please let us know if you will be attending. We look forward to getting together and having a coffee.

10 Steps to Consider to Fund and Provide Health Care for All

April 10, 2017

,What's New

By Joyce Hays, MS and Jules Mitchel, MBA, PhD

First Direct-to-Consumer Tests that Provide Genetic Risk Information

April 10, 2017

,Regulatory

The FDA has allowed marketing of 23andMe Personal Genome Service Genetic Health Risk (GHR) tests for 10 diseases or conditions. These are the first direct-to-consumer (DTC) tests authorized by the FDA that provide information on an individual’s genetic predisposition to certain medical diseases or conditions, which may help to make decisions about lifestyle choices or to inform discussions with a health care professional.

First Drug for Aggressive MS Wins FDA Approval

April 10, 2017

,Quiz

Editor’s note: For us at THI, the Hauser goal and its challenges, reads like an exciting adventure story. Couldn’t put it down.

First Drug Approved for Primary Progressive MS

April 3, 2017

,Regulatory

On March 28, the FDA approved Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) to treat adult patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). This is the first drug approved by the FDA for primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). The FDA granted this application breakthrough therapy designation, fast track designation, and priority review.

Urinary Biomarker That May Help Track ALS

April 3, 2017

,Neurology

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease in which motor neurons, cells that control muscle activity such as walking, talking and breathing, gradually die off, resulting in paralysis. There is no cure for ALS.

Conference: eSource Data in Clinical Investigations - May 2-3, 2017 - Doubletree Center City, Philadelphia, Pa

April 3, 2017

,What's New

Target Health Inc. is pleased to announce that Dr. Jules Mitchel will be presenting at CBI’s 4th Annual Bootcamp on eSource Data in Clinical Investigations. The conference aims to initiate meaningful dialogues around early successes, failures and pain points through collaborative sessions and investigative case studies so that you can build an eSource adoption business case for senior leadership addressing balance of risk and cost.

Cancer Death Rates Continue to Decline

April 3, 2017

,Oncology

According to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2014, published early online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI; 31 March 2017), overall cancer death rates continue to decrease in men, women, and children for all major racial and ethnic groups. The report finds that death rates during the period 2010-2014 decreased for 11 of the 16 most common types of cancer in men and for 13 of the 18 most common types of cancer in women, including lung, colorectal, female breast, and prostate cancers. Meanwhile, death rates increased for cancers of the liver, pancreas, and brain in men and for liver and uterine cancer in women. The report finds overall cancer incidence rates, or rates of new cancers, decreased in men but stabilized in women during the period 1999-2013.

Higher Death Rate Among Youth With First Episode Psychosis

April 3, 2017

,Psychiatry

A new study, published online in the Schizophrenia Bulletin (6 April 2017), shows that young people experiencing first episode psychosis have a much higher death rate than previously thought. The study used insurance claims data to identify approximately 5,000 young people aged 16-30 who had been diagnosed with a first episode of psychosis in 2008-2009, and used data from the Social Security Administration to identify deaths in this population within 12 months of the initial psychosis diagnosis. Results showed that the 12-month mortality rate for these young people -- from any cause -- was at least 24 times higher than their peers in the general population. In the general United States population, only individuals over age 70 come close to a similar 12-month mortality rate.

Gerontology

Gerontology, from the Greek, geron, “old man” and -logia, “study of”; coined by Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov (in 1903) is the study of the social, cultural, psychological, cognitive, and biological aspects of aging. It is distinguished from geriatrics, which is the branch of medicine that specializes in the treatment of existing disease in older adults. Gerontologists include researchers and practitioners in the fields of biology, nursing, medicine, criminology, dentistry, social work, physical and occupational therapy, psychology, psychiatry, sociology, economics, political science, architecture, geography, pharmacy, public health, housing, and anthropology.

Stephen L. Hauser MD (1949 to Present)

Stephen L. Hauser is the Robert A. Fishman Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where his work has focused on immune mechanisms and multiple sclerosis (MS). Hauser is a principal investigator of a large multinational effort to identify genetic effects on MS, and part of the team that identified that humoral immune mechanisms are important in the pathogenesis of MS lesions, leading to the development of B-cell based therapies for MS. He has contributed to the establishment of nationwide and international genetics consortia that have identified more than 50 gene variants that contribute to MS risk.