Study: Direct Medical Cost of COPD Set to Reach $49 Billion

Between 12 million and 15 million adults in the United States say they have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. But the actual number may be higher due to under-reporting. (Courtesy National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute)

Between 12 million and 15 million adults in the United States say they have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. But the actual number may be higher due to under-reporting. (Courtesy National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute)

Direct costs associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the United States totaled $32.1 billion in 2010 and is set to reach $49 billion by 2020, the CDC reported in a study published in journal Chest.

The study attributed another $3.9 billion to COPD-related absenteeism, bringing the total burden of the chronic disease to $36 billion in 2010. The latest estimate counts 16.4 million days of lost work annually due to COPD and related illnesses.

Private insurance paid 18% of the medical costs, Medicare 51%, and Medicaid 25%, according to the study, which was published online early.

About 15 million people in the United States say they have been diagnosed with COPD, often under-reported and under-diagnosed, though the actual number may be higher, according to the CDC.

In the developing world, poor indoor air quality is thought to play a key cause of COPD, but tobacco smoke remains the leading factor in the development of the chronic disease.

Dr. Earl Ford and his colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used national surveys, medicare and medicaid data, and the 2010 census to compile their findings and project costs through 2020.

“Evidence-based interventions that prevent tobacco use and reduce clinical complications of COPD may result in potential decreased COPD-attributable costs,” the study concluded.

COPD Resources:

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3D-Printed CPAP Mask May Revolutionize Therapy

3D-Printed CPAP Face Mask by Metamason

Metamason hopes to revolutionize CPAP therapy by 3D-printing custom face masks for each patient. (Courtesy Metamason)

A small California-based start-up wants to dramatically boost CPAP therapy compliance and reduce quit rates by creating custom-molded, 3D-printed face masks. Each mask is designed to fit a person’s unique facial features, superficial as well as subcutaneous, to maximize comfort and flow, the start-up says.

“We personally know several people who struggle with sleep apnea and CPAP therapy (including some members of our team), and quickly identified the opportunity that parametric design could yield a perfectly customizable product if coupled with 3D scanning and printing.” says Leslie Oliver Karpas, founder of Metamason, told 3Ders in an interview.

Metamason first aggregates data from 3D face scans, sleep studies, and thermal imaging of facial and subcutaneous tissues. The scan data is compiled using proprietary algorithms in a computer software, where patients and clinicians can adjust settings to find the maximum flow and comfort. The custom masks are then 3D-printed in medical-grade silicone.

Once Metamason receives clearance from the F.D.A., Karpas promises the final cost of a custom-printed mask to be either on par or cheaper than conventional CPAP masks out in the market today.

 

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Thunderstorm Asthma, Slow Growth and Looking to the Nervous System for Answers

(Alexander / Flickr)

(Alexander / Flickr)

With more than 235 million asthma sufferers worldwide, researchers are working to understand rare triggers, such as thunderstorms, study the impact of common asthma drugs on children’s growth rate, and open new treatment approaches, including the nervous system responsible for putting the airway into overdrive.

Often under-diagnosed and under-treated, asthma is a public health problem worldwide and imposes a health burden on the individuals and their families, according to the World Health Organization. Risk factors include genetic predisposition and environmental exposure, such as allergens and pollution. But precise causes are not entirely understood.

Scientists have documented a relationship between thunderstorms and asthma attacks, but the mechanisms are still not well understood, the Washington Post reports. Thunderstorm asthma is highly unpredictable and not everyone with severe asthma is likely to experience an attack.

COPD-6 and other portable lung monitors can help manage asthma and COPD.

COPD-6 and other portable lung monitors can help manage asthma and COPD.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that even those with mild hay fever might suddenly experience respiratory distress following a thunderstorm, according to the Post. Dr. Joe Turbyville, an allergy specialist, told the Post that even some of his patients experienced heightened reactions to routine allergy shots after thunderstorms. He’s studying the link between thunderstorms and adverse reactions to immunotherapy.

Inhaled corticosteroids have been the first line of defense for adults and children with persistent asthma and have helped reduce mortality and hospital visits and improve their quality of life. But a restrospective study found that corticosteroids may suppress growth in children by 0.2 in., or 0.5 cm, on average.

“The evidence we reviewed suggests that children treated daily with inhaled corticosteroids may grow approximately half a centimeter less during the first year of treatment,” Dr. Linjie Zhang, who is based at the Faculty of Medicine at the Federal University of Rio Grande in Rio Grande, Brazil, said in a press release.

“But this effect is less pronounced in subsequent years, is not cumulative, and seems minor compared to the known benefits of the drugs for controlling asthma and ensuring full lung growth,” Dr. Zhang was quoted as saying.

Citing limitations of the study, Dr. Zhang recommended that the minimum effective dose be administered until further study can establish more definitive links between corticosteroids and growth rate.

Inhaled corticosteroids help counter an immune system response to an asthma trigger, but neuroscientists (and neurobiologists) have been looking into a completely different approach to limiting, and possibly silencing a group of sensory neurons that restrict the airway.

In the latest study, researchers have been able to systematically shut off a set of neurons in mice that were made sensitive to egg white and to confirm that the neurons that were shut down could not be activated by the immune system.

The study’s authors believe that innate genetic mutations are not likely to be the cause of severe airway constrictions. “Our guess is that instead, the immune system can permanently change these neurons during some initial immune response,” Dr. Dimitri Tränkner told Science.

The study, published online in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, confirms suspicions that neurons could become a target of treatment, but observers note that additional studies are needed.

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Now Available: CED Data Acquisition and Analysis System

Our new partnership with Cambridge Electronic Design allows us to offer our customers the full range of CED’s well known high-quality data acquisition and analysis products.  For over 40 years, CED has been offering laboratories around the world the latest in data acquisition tools.

They currently offer two different software programs (Spike2 and Signal) designed for users requiring continuous or episodic data acquisition, as well as two different hardware systems to support the programs.

All of their offerings are directly compatible with A-M Systems’ own amplifiers and stimulators.  Of note, CED’s innovative solution to Dynamic Patch Clamping is directly compatible with A-M Systems Model 2400 Patch Clamp Amplifier.

Check out the full line of CED’s data acquisition and analysis software and hardware.

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New Opsin Enables Non-Invasive Optogenetics

Researchers at MIT have overcome the current challenges in optogenetics by creating a new opsin that responds to red light from outside the skull.) (Courtesy Jose-Louis Olivares/MIT/McGovern Institute for Brain Research)

Researchers at MIT have overcome the current challenges in optogenetics by creating a new opsin that responds to red light from outside the skull.)
(Courtesy Jose-Louis Olivares/MIT/McGovern Institute for Brain Research)

Researchers at MIT have overcome a key hurdle in optogenetics by creating a new photosensitive protein that responds to a light source outside the brain. The latest findings, announced by the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, would allow the use of optogenetics in long-term studies without the need for implanting a light source, the researchers said.

Current opsins used in optogenetics respond best to blue and green lights, but the newly engineered protein, Jaws, responds to red light.

Ed Boyden’s team at MIT turned to bacteria Haloarcula marismortui and Haloarcula vallismortis, where they had previously identified red-light sensitive opsins, but found their photocurrent insufficient. Graduate student Amy Chuong and the team tested the electrical properties of various mutations of the protein until they found one that was just as responsive to red light and strong enough to switch off neural activity.

The new opsin allowed the researchers to turn off neuronal activities as deep as 3 mm in the brain, according to the McGovern Institute.

In addition to using optogenetics for long-term studies, where invasive optogenetic light sources are undesirable, the new findings could help researchers inhibit a larger area of the brain in larger animals.

Researchers at Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Switzerland, who have already tested Jaws in the mouse retina, found that it could also be useful in treating a degenerative disease of the cone cells known as retinitis pigmentosa.

(Sources: McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT)

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MIR Spirobank II Spirometer Gets Overhauled

MIR Spirobank II Spirometer Showing Plethysmographic CurvesMIR’s latest Spirobank II spirometer represents a complete redesign of its older model and comes with all the latest features that are indispensable to modern spirometry. The new Spirobank II is 20-percent lighter and 15-percent smaller, and comes with a longer-lasting, USB-rechargeable lithium battery (about 40 hours).

Beside the form factor, two conspicuous improvements are the high-resolution, backlit screen and, to its left, indicator lights used for instant diagnosis—from normal spirometry to very severe restriction or obstruction.

MIR Spirobank II Spirometer features intuitive menu options. (Image Courtesy: MIR)

With Bluetooth® (2.1) and an expanded memory capacity (10,000 tests), the new MIR Spirobank II makes an ideal pulmonary diagnostic tool for field tests in occupational settings, bedside tests in hospitals as well as at primary care clinics.

Spirobank II is available in three versions: Basic, Advanced and Advanced Plus. As its name suggests Spirobank II Basic was designed for quick, but accurate screening for 12 main spirometry parameters: FVC, FEV1, FEV1%, PEF, FEF25-75%, FET, EVOL, ELA, VC, IVC, IC, and ERV.

Both Advanced versions of Spirobank II come with the Winspiro Pro software and measure and/or calculate dozens of additional parameters: FEV1/FVC%, DTPEF, FEV 0.5, FEV0.5/FVC%, FEV0.75, FEV0.75/FVC%, FEV2, FEV2/FVC%, FEV3,FEV3/FVC%, FEV6, FEV1/FEV6%, FEF25%, FEF50%, FEF75%, FEF 75-85, FIVC, FIV1,FIV1/FIVC%, FIF25%, FIF50%, FIF75%,R50, PIF, IRV, VT, VE, Rf, ti, te, ti/t-tot,VT/ti, MVV measured, and MVV calculated.

Advanced Plus includes a pulse oximeter unit, which can be used for built-in oximetry tests.

Spirobank II Advanced Plus (with oximetry option) during an FVC maneuver.

Spirobank II Advanced Plus (with oximetry option) during an FVC maneuver.

Ready to upgrade your spirometer? Contact us for more information.

 

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Performance Heat and Moisture Exchanger for Clinicians and Patients

Heat and Moisture Exchanger: Filter HMENot all filter HME is created the same. HydroMax™ HMEf was designed to be a heat and moisture exchanger with a built-in filter without compromising performance, efficiency or cost. And for a limited time, you can try them for free.

Passive humidification under anesthesia is widely accepted as an alternative to costlier, active humidification, which some patients might still require.

Passive humidification with an efficient HMEf can be a cost-effective alternative to costlier, active humidification.

HydroMax™ combines a heat-and-moisture exchanger (HME) with a viral and bacterial filter for passive humidification applications in anesthesia, respiratory care and critical care. After an extensive development and testing phase, HydroMax rivals or exceeds the specifications, including moisture output and resistance to flow, of many HME filters out there today.

We followed our goal to develop a filter HME that not only exceeds ATS recommendations, but also meets the needs of clinicians in the O.R.

Use the promotion code “HMEFREE” at check-out to try HydroMax HMEf in your environment.

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Ready for the “Pollen Vortex?”

Layer of pollen inside a loft in Atlanta, Ga., in March 2007. (Courtesy flickr/Brooke Novak)

Layer of pollen inside a loft in Atlanta, Ga., in March 2007. (Courtesy flickr/Brooke Novak)

The polar vortex that swept across a large swath of the United States has messed with the natural order of things and, experts say, could lead to an unusually harsh allergy season being referred to as the “pollen vortex.”

Spring is getting a late start after record-setting cold temperatures and snowfall in many parts of the U.S., delaying the release of pollen by trees, grass and weeds. Thanks to colder temperatures, the daily pollen count has been 50 percent or below the average for this time of year, Dr. Susan Kosisky, head of the U.S. Army Centralized Allergen Extract Laboratory, told NBC News.

The delay could lead to a “perfect storm of pollen” in the coming days and weeks and a more intense allergy season than usual, according to The Washington Post. “If it warms quickly, everything is going to pollinate at once,” Dr. Estelle Levetin, biology professor at the University of Tulsa told The Post.

Almost 45 million Americans suffer from nasal allergies and another 25 million from asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Asthma alone accounts for $18 billion in hospitalization costs and lost productivity, according to the foundation.

You might be more likely to be affected by allergies if you live in Louisville, Memphis, Baton Rouge, Oklahoma City or Jackson, Miss., which rounded out the top five metropolitan area where spring allergies are expected to be most challenging. The foundation’s annual “Allergy Capitals” report lists 100 areas based on the average pollen count, the use of allergy medication , and the availability of allergy specialists.

Here are some tips from allergy and asthma specialists on how to survive the season:

  • Shower before bed to wash off any pollen on your skin, and toss the clothes in the hamper.
  • Use a neti pot to wash out pollen from the sinus.
  • Keep windows closed and set your car air to recirculate.
  • Watch the pollen count to determine whether to limit outdoor activities.
  • Wear large sunglasses to keep pollen out.
  • Get tested for seasonal allergies.
  • Use a dose counter if you’re using an inhaler.

[Sources: AAFA, USA Today, ABC News, The Washington Post]

 

 

 

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Introducing the HumBug Noise Eliminator

humbug_fpA-M Systems is proud to offer to our customers another high quality instrument designed to improve electrophysiological recordings at an affordable price: The HumBug Noise Eliminator from Quest Scientific. The ‘HumBug’ Line Noise Eliminator removes line frequency noise from electrophysiological signals without filtering or requiring ongoing user attention. That means more time getting results, and less time solving continuously evolving noise and ground loop problems. The Humbug has been used successfully in neurophysiology laboratories worldwide.  For a short time, receive free ground shipping on any Humbug sold and shipped to an address in the continental United States or Canada.

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Join Us for the Unveiling of Optopatcher and SIU at Neuroscience 2013

Optopatcher: Micropipette Holder with Integrated Fiber Optics for Optogenetics

The Optopatcher combines a recording electrode with an optical fiber in a compact holder for optogenetic applications.

Welcome to Neuroscience 2013! We’re unveiling the optopatcher, a new tool for optogenetics, as well as Model 3820 Stimulus Isolator, at our booth (#1729) today.

The optopatcher is a new micropipette holder with an integrated optical fiber and a recording electrode for optogenetic activation in in-vivo patch clamp protocols. The compact electrode holder is compatible with many connectors and capillary glasses and eliminates the need for a second manipulator.

Model 3820: Stimulus Isolator

Model 3820: Stimulus Isolator

Also on display are our MultiStim: Programmable 8-Channel Stimulator (Model 3800) and Stimulus Isolator (Model 3820) as well as the Model 2400 Patch Clamp Amplifier and a range of intra- and extracellular amplifiers.

Stop by our booth (#1729) and say hi to Dr. Jon Bakin and Dr. Dave Mittmann who’ll be happy to answer your questions.

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