Archive for April, 2014

America’s other drug problem: prescriptions not taken

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

(BPT) – America has a serious drug problem, but it’s not the one you might be thinking about. The problem is not illegal drugs or drug abuse, but rather an alarming percentage of Americans who do not take their prescriptions as instructed. Approximately 125,000 deaths per year in the United States can be attributed to medication non-adherence, according to the National Pharmaceutical Council.

The problem of non-adherence is not new, but it is getting a closer look as experts seek to reduce costs and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our health system. Data suggests that roughly half of the 2 billion prescriptions filled each year in America are not taken correctly. For particularly vulnerable Americans such as the elderly and those suffering from multiple chronic conditions, adherence rates are even worse. Even with such life-threatening diseases such as cancer, patients are non-adherent to medication.

The impact of non-adherence, beyond patient outcomes, is a significant source of waste in our healthcare system. Unnecessary medical costs resulting from patients not taking their medication as prescribed, such as ER visits, hospitalizations and extra tests, cost our system over $300 billion annually according to the New England Healthcare Institute.

Many factors contribute to poor medication adherence. In some patients, non-adherence is a choice, while in others non-adherence is quite unintentional. For some people, a lack of symptoms, coupled with denial, high out-of-pocket costs or concerns over potential side effects make them less inclined to even fill their prescriptions let alone adhere to medications. It is estimated that as many as 22 percent of all prescriptions filled are not picked up from the pharmacy.

For these patients, better adherence starts at the doctor’s office. Physicians, nurses and other caregivers can help by better educating the patient about the importance of following directions, and by creating a treatment plan that fits patients’ needs and lifestyles. Emphasizing the details on how and why patients should take their medications properly, including details on possible interactions and refill requirements, can be a good first line of defense against the problem of non-adherence.

However, experts also agree that a substantial portion of the non-adherence problem is inadvertent. The accidental misuse of prescription medications is largely a result of complexity, confusion and general forgetfulness.

“Many patients are dealing with multiple medications, all in nearly identical containers, but each one with a different set of dosage instructions,” says Ian Salditch, CEO of Medicine-On-Time. “It’s a recipe for mistakes – all of which could be addressed through better prescription packaging.”

There are a variety of high-tech monitoring systems aimed at improving adherence, including pills with digestible sensors. To date, strict monitoring has been seen by consumers as being overly intrusive. Solutions such as financial incentives and greater screening offer promise. But Salditch has focused on the low-tech, common sense approach of simplified packaging and has achieved encouraging results.

Using Medicine-On-Time, pharmacists will sort and organize medications into personalized pill cups labeled with the day, date and time to take them. Pharmacists provide pill cups to the patient organized into medication calendars. In addition, the packaging is designed to be easily opened by the frail and elderly.

Background information and specific details about customized packaging can be found on the company’s website, www.Medicine-On-Time.com. Consumers can also find the closest retail pharmacy offering the Medicine-On-Time system and take advantage of offers at www.sortmymeds.com.

Courtesy of BPT

The future of the family road trip

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014


For families, time on the road is a part of life, whether you’re going for a family vacation or traveling to visit grandparents for the holidays. While time in the car together is nothing new, the way families are spending their time in the car and the tools that help get them safely to their destinations are rapidly evolving.

Nowadays, kids are less likely to pass the time playing 20 questions than they are to watch their favorite movie on an iPad. And while you might have once reached for the atlas to find your way, GPS systems or mobile phones have long since replaced your paper maps.

Each day new car and mobile technologies are improving the way families travel. New safety features, tools to help with directions, finding amenities, and increased entertainment options are available for passengers. But what if all of these helpful tools were integrated into one easy-to-use system within the family car?

Comprehensive in-vehicle systems designed to provide drivers with useful information may soon be the norm. Technology experts at Intel are currently working with automakers on in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems that have the potential to make the family road trip safer and more entertaining for everyone involved.

It is estimated that automobiles will be among the top three fastest growing Internet connected devices for Internet-based content by 2014, according to technology research form Gartner. This should come as no surprise given consumer demand for access to their digital lives anytime, anywhere, since the average American driver spends 18 hours a week behind the wheel. That’s over two months every year spent in the car.

So how exactly could this type of technology help traveling families? Here are a few examples of the types of travel-friendly features that experts at Intel are exploring with leaders in the automotive industry:

* Cars could have a driver’s side display that would be able to offer alerts about upcoming traffic signs and relay images about blind spots from cameras placed in a car. Alerts about upcoming stop signs or exits would be especially beneficial when driving in unfamiliar territory.

* What could be worse than a flat tire while on vacation? Emergency sensors connected to the car’s infotainment system could alert you immediately when a tire loses pressure, giving you time to safely pull over or make it to the next exit for help. The intelligent infotainment system could also provide directions to the nearest repair shop.

* Like to travel with other families? New connected cars will offer you the ability to connect with other cars in your caravan through GPS tracking.  No need to describe your location over the phone or two-way radio.

* Have you made a habit of streaming your children’s favorite shows through a subscription service like Netflix? Soon, these types of entertainment options could be standard in the car’s in-vehicle infotainment system, and music and video files could be kept in one place. You could even stream different movies on each of the backseat screens to accommodate everyone in the family.

To see more of what your family road trips might look like in the future, visit www.intel.com/automotive.

Courtesy of BPT

A woman’s ‘rare’ journey: life with an uncommon disease

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

A%20woman%27s%20%27rare%27%20journey Everyone has a rare quality or a characteristic that sets him or her apart from others – a special talent, a unique interest or, for some, a rare disease. A disease is considered ‘rare’ if it affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. There are 7,000 known rare diseases affecting 30 million people, or one in 10, Americans. For comparison, one common disease, diabetes, affects more than 25 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People living with rare diseases are extraordinary in many ways, often demonstrating exemplary traits when faced with extraordinary challenges. Lacey Williams, a young adult who is currently attending college in Spokane, Wash., has overcome difficulties that other people her age will likely not face in their lifetime because of her rare disease, hereditary angioedema (HAE).  
Williams’ rare disease journey began at age 4 when she was diagnosed with HAE. HAE is a genetic disease that affects about 6,000 people in the United States. People with the disease can get repeated swelling attacks anywhere in the body, including their arms, legs, hands, feet, stomach, genitals, face or throat. HAE attacks can be unpredictable, painful, debilitating and disfiguring. This often makes everyday activities like walking, driving or even fastening a button difficult, or even impossible. Many patients with HAE also live in fear of a swelling attack in the tongue or throat, which could be fatal if the airway closes.  
Growing up, Lacey, like many people living with a rare disease, found her condition embarrassing and alienating. She wanted to fit in and be “normal,” so she hid her HAE from her friends and classmates. Williams feared that people would treat and look at her differently if she told them the truth about her disease. But during her senior year of high school, Williams’ perspective on having a rare disease changed. She hesitantly revealed her condition to some close friends and family, finding them to be not only understanding, but remarkably supportive. Embracing their support, she realized she no longer needed to deny her rare disease. Instead, she saw the importance of using her story to help other people with rare diseases accept and embrace them as unique.  
Williams was determined to not let HAE set her back. She maintained a positive outlook and stayed involved in school and sports, including basketball and lacrosse. “My swelling attacks affect me physically, but I don’t let them stand in my way,” says Williams. “I live my life and keep up with my priorities daily, even if I’m dealing with a swelling attack.”
Williams feels lucky that there are now treatment options available for HAE; 95 percent of rare diseases do not have treatments available. Since opening up about her disease, Williams has given speeches at local schools about HAE, as well as discussed her condition in her college essay. Her story was even featured in a newspaper and on a TV news segment in her hometown. She hopes that this recognition will continue to raise awareness about rare diseases like HAE, encourage tolerance for people with differences that make them rare, and improve the road to diagnosis and treatment for those dealing with a rare condition.
“Hereditary angioedema has taught me to put up with hardships and continue on with my responsibilities. The most important thing that I’ve learned from this disease is not to let uncontrollable adversities overtake my ambitions,” says Williams.
For those living with HAE, please visit www.HAEA.org. For those interested in rare diseases, the people living with them, as well as ways to embrace being “rare,” please visit www.globalgenes.org.* To learn more about HAE, including how HAE impacts people living with the disease, visit www.HAEandMe.com, an online resource for people with HAE, their friends and family members that offer tips and advice for people of all ages. (*These links will take you to third party sites containing information that is reviewed or managed by the respective parties responsible for the content.)



Courtesy of BPT

Massage tips to help ease your over-active muscles

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014



(BPT) – Living an active lifestyle is being embraced by both young and old – helping to keep bodies healthy and fit. Whether you’re trying a new sport or simply pushing yourself to the next level in your workout routine, you may experience aches and pain in muscles. Did you know massage therapy can help to alleviate discomfort naturally? Here are some- tips for achieving a great massage therapy experience.

“It’s important to remember that increasing activity can take a toll on our bodies,” says DeJuan Williams, massage therapy lead instructor at Everest College – St. Louis. “While there are many ways to ensure that our muscles, bones and joints stay healthy and injury-free, massage therapy is a great way to decrease stress, improve circulation and minimize fatigue.”

Williams offers these tips for achieving the best massage therapy experience:

Start slowly. If you’ve been less active, give your body time to adjust and ease into more outdoor activities. “Having patience with your body can help minimize soreness,” says Williams. “You may experience some discomfort after resuming strenuous outdoor activities, but massage therapy can play a role in providing comfort after an intense day.”-

Find the right professional.Once you’ve decided to begin massage therapy, find a professional therapist who is licensed, insured and has academic credentials. “Reading online reviews and getting personal recommendations from friends are great sources,” says Williams.

Ensure compatibility. At your first appointment, have a list of questions ready to determine if you’re compatible with the massage therapist. “Ask them before you begin, to ensure you’re comfortable with the therapist,” says Williams. “You should also disclose any current health issues you’re facing, in order to have the safest, most effective session.” -

Customize your therapy. Discuss with the therapist any massage preferences you have, including depth of pressure, room temperature and music. “During the massage, feel free to speak up and let the therapist know if you’d like to adjust any aspects of the therapy,” says Williams.

Relax and enjoy. The key to getting all the benefits of a massage is to relax your body and mind. Stopping or limiting your breathing during a massage can cause you to become tense and potentially hinder the effectiveness of your massage. “Especially if a particular muscle or joint area is sensitive from recent outdoor activity, try to breathe normally,” says Williams. “Massages should never hurt, so be sure to communicate any discomfort immediately.”

Stay hydrated, stay healthy. Making sure you’re hydrated can help you to feel better pre- and post-massage. “Always drink extra fluids before and after massages to ensure that your muscles are hydrated, and to help flush toxins from the body,” says Williams. “Just as it’s important to be disciplined with a steady workout regimen, a consistent massage therapy plan can boost your overall health and keep you feeling great.”

Courtesy of BPT

Secrets of what’s driving American travelers this season

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014


Secrets of what's driving American travelers this season
Now that the warmer weather is arriving, drivers will be hitting the road in earnest to enjoy it. In fact, according to Hankook Tire’s latest Quarterly Gauge Index, 56 percent of Americans are planning to take a road trip that involves driving 50 miles or more. On average, they estimate they will drive 1,025 miles. What is it about summer – besides the obvious pleasurable weather – that has so many people hitting the road?

Family time: The same survey found that one third of Americans will consider taking a road trip for family reunions. Not only is the warmer weather ideal for driving, it is perfect for picnics, barbecues and other fun outdoor activities. 

Music concerts and festivals: The sounds of birds chirping aren’t the only tunes filling the summer skies. From Coachella to the New Orleans Jazz Festival to Bonnaroo, music fans will rack up the miles to jam with their favorite artists.

Sporting events: With America’s favorite pastime in full swing, many people will be traveling to their local ballparks to take in all the action. But why stop there? Avid fans also pack up and follow their teams to opponents’ stadiums.

There is no shortage of reasons for taking a drive this summer, but before cruising away you will want to take care of a few items.

Cleaning – Carry your spring cleaning efforts to your vehicle and make sure it is tidy before heading out. Hankook Tire found out that 49 percent of American drivers polled stated they plan to clean their cars before their closets this summer, compared to 32 percent who said they will first clean their closets. The survey also uncovered that not all Americans share a spring cleaning mindset. Nineteen percent do not intend to clean their cars or their closets.

Check that tire pressure – Drivers should check tire pressure at least once a month to ensure proper inflation. When tires are under-inflated, they wear out faster, are less efficient and waste energy and fuel. Properly inflated tires save you money at the pump. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires

Avoid potholes – Potholes are prevalent in the summer, when temperatures rise and high moisture levels cause sinkholes. Try not to drive directly over potholes to mitigate any damage to your tires.-

Be prepared for any weather – Summer isn’t all sunshine, as rain is often sprinkled into weather forecasts. Tires like the Hankook Ventus S1 noble2 have an advanced silica tread compound for improved traction in both wet and dry conditions. They also offer lower rolling resistance, delivering improved efficiency and fuel savings by minimizing wasted energy.



Courtesy of BPT

Tips to keep potty training positive

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014



(BPT) – Parents everywhere agree – potty training can be a struggle. You worry about taking your toddler out in public or trying to find ways to simultaneously encourage potty training and boost your child’s self-confidence. Still, of 1,000 moms surveyed, 76 percent feel that their child’s personal growth as a result of potty training is, ultimately, a big reward.

Every parent goes through the potty training stages, and every parent will experience a challenge or two during the experience. The following advice from Pull-Ups Potty Training Partners Dr. Heather Wittenberg and Jen Singer addresses the fears parents and toddlers have during the training process and explains the Pull-Ups Potty Breaks Ritual – a simple call-and-response routine that keeps potty training fun and consistent.

* Not making it in time – It’s helpful to monitor how long it’s been between potty breaks and how much your child has had to drink. Reminding your child to go is another important step. Sixty-eight percent of 1,000 moms surveyed say that accidents occur as a result of their toddler not wanting to stop playing and take a potty break. Get your child excited with the potty breaks ritual by calling out, “What does a Big Kid take?” and let them excitedly respond, “A potty break”.

* Fear of the toilet – For children, the fear of falling in the toilet or of something reaching up to grab them is both real and scary. Remember that toddlers may not understand a logical explanation. Instead, try to take their mind off of the fear by turning the experience into something fun. The Pull-Ups Big Kid App offers more advice for parents and fun activities and games to help toddlers have fun with potty training.

* Accidents – We all know accidents happen. While it may feel like you’re causing a scene, remember that no one around you is as concerned about it as you. Try to stay positive and be prepared. When heading out the door, bring an emergency kit containing wipes, a change of clothes and some fresh training pants. Pull-Ups Training Pants have new Disney Monsters University designs to help get kids excited and to take the scare out of potty training.

* Taking too long to train – As one of the most common potty training concerns, every parent has a different idea about what is “too long.” Don’t let external pressures give you false expectations about your child’s development or potty training process. Potty training is a marathon, not a sprint, so enjoy the ride.

* Training on the road – Vacations and trips can interrupt a child’s schedule, from traditional sleep times to potty training. Try your best to schedule stops and count on spending extra time for potty breaks. Once you’re at your destination or back home, jump back into your normal training routine.

Every child will have a unique experience with potty training. Establishing a fun, consistent routine ensures you’ll both endure fewer frustrations and share a positive experience together. Before you know it, your little one will soon be a Big Kid.

For more potty training tips, inspiration and tools, visit Pull-Ups.com.

Courtesy of BPT