Saturday, November 12, 2016

SunnyPharma.info is Now Live generics of Sovaldi $695, Harvoni $1495, Daklinza $695 and Epclusa $2195

Dear HCV Communities and Loved Ones,

  We are under increase pressure to stop using certain names within our website domain name.

The giants of pharma are treading on our ability to find affordable treatments and make it available for our patients back home.

We have lost two of our websites and now promote affordable treatment through SunnyPharma.infoSoulofHelaing.org is the American non profit that we have partnered with to help our community have access to affordable treatment.

Get ready and tell your hepatitis C support groups, they will get treated, we will never deny any of our patients.

We have donated over 400 treatments to hepatitis C patients around the world.  Your support is immeasurable and the lives we have all saved together.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year 2017.

Sincerely,

Melissa McKnight
Patient Outreach Coordinator
hcvmeds@gmail.com
1-858-952-1077

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Diabetes Health Center

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 19, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Eating more healthy fats, like nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, while limiting animal fats and refined carbohydrates, can help prevent or control type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.

The large study found these dietary changes can lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

"The world faces an epidemic of insulin resistance and diabetes. Our findings support preventing and treating these diseases by eating more fat-rich foods like walnuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, flaxseed, fish and other vegetable oils and spreads, in place of refined grains, starches, sugars and animal fats," said study co-leader Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian. He is dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston.

                    You Can Receive a FREE Diabetes Test Kit from Tufts University

"This is a positive message for the public. Don't fear healthy fats," Mozaffarian said in a university news release.

Researchers analyzed results of 102 trials including 4,660 adults to evaluate how different types of dietary fat and carbohydrates affected key risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

The analysis, published July 19 in PLOS Medicine, involved studies that provided participants with meals with different amounts of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates. The researchers assessed how these dietary differences affected measures of metabolic health, including blood sugar and insulin levels, as well insulin sensitivity and production.

Following a diet rich in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat instead of meals high in carbohydrates or saturated fat helps improve blood sugar control, the researchers found.

Previous studies have estimated that each 0.1 percent drop in HbA1C -- an indicator of long-term blood sugar control -- could reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes by 22 percent and heart disease by 6.8 percent, the researchers said.

"Among different fats, the most consistent benefits were seen for increasing polyunsaturated fats, in place of either carbohydrates or saturated fat," said the study's first author, Fumiaki Imamura, of the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge in England.

The study authors said their findings should help inform doctors and patients about the effects of diet on metabolic health and the risk for type 2 diabetes.

"Until now, our understanding of how dietary fats and carbohydrates influence glucose, insulin and related risk factors has been based on individual studies with inconsistent findings," Imamura said. "By combining results from more than 100 trials, we provide the strongest evidence to date on how major nutrients alter these risks."
View Article Sources Sources

The Influence of Diabetes Management on Kidney Function

worldwide. It has affected about 285 million patients in 2010 and is expected to reach 439 million by 2030. The globalization of the diabetes epidemic, given its micro- and macrovascular problems, imposes enormous economic burden on patients and healthcare systems in both developed and developing economics. Among the diabetic microvascular diseases, chronic kidney disease (CKD) presents unique challenges. Diabetes is the leading cause of end stage renal disease (ESRD). Chronic kidney disease contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease and therefore increases the risk of death and cardiovascular events. Approximately 40 % of patients with type 2 diabetes have higher urinary albumin excretion consistent with underlying renal disease and 17% of patients with diabetes have CKD. Intensive glycemic control may play a vital role to halt or slow down the advancement of diabetic kidney disease. Anti-hyperglycemic agents in these patients are inadequate due to safety and tolerability concerns. Metformin, sulfonylureas and thiazolidione are connected with an increased incidence of hypoglycemia, weight gain and lactic acidosis in patients with type 2 diabetes and CKD. Patients with type 2 diabetes and CKD do not achieve or maintain adequate glycemic control. The use of metformin in CKD patients is controversial, and is even on FDA black box warnings as causing lactic acidosis, which is rare but potentially fatal. A previous study (ADVANCE) proved that intensive glucose control in type 2 diabetes patients drastically decreased the risk of renal outcomes, including new or worsening nephropathy and ESKD.
The purpose of this study was to find out if long-term intensive glycemic control can lead to ESKD. ADVANCE-surviving patients were recruited for ADVANCE–ON, a post-trial study. HbA1c fasting blood glucose, blood pressure, weight, and serum creatinine of patients were assessed at their first post-trial and then annually. The cause of death for patients who died was recorded. Telephone or home visits are offered to patients who cannot do a follow-up. The study outcome was ESKD, stroke, cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction and hypoglycemia. Cumulative incidence survival curves and Cox proportional hazards models were some of the statistical methods used. The patients end points of the date of death, date of last visit, and date of vital status were noted.
Of the 8,494 patients, 4,283 of them did intensive glycemic treatment while 4,211 underwent the standard glucose control. Of these, 5,131 of them completed their visit. The post-trial follow-up of 5.4 years, gliclazide modified release, metformin, insulin, glitazones and glucosidase inhibitors are used in both intensive and standard glucose with an HbA1c of (0.67%, 95% CI 0.64, 0.70 P<0.001) was observed at the end of randomized therapy. 2.9 years later, the post-trial visit had (0.08% 95% CI -0.07, 0.22 P =0.29). There was a rise in HbA1c in the intensive control group versus the standard group. The HbA1c levels of the two groups converged at the post-trial visit (7.3% vs 7.3%, P=0.29). 27 patients recorded ESKD during in-trial events and 37 of the patients died due to renal causes. 55 patients recorded ESKD during post-trial and 64 died due to renal causes. There was a drastic decrease in the risk of ESKD witnessed in intensive glucose control in trial period. (7 vs 20 events, HR 0.35 95%CI 0.15, 0.83 P=0.02). These values persisted after 9.9 years of follow-up (29 vs 53, HR 0.54 95% CI 0.34, 0.85 P< 0.01). Over the 9.9 years, 194 patients needed to be treated with intensive glucose control to prevent one ESKD event. Also, the number needed to be treated by CKD stage was 109 for CKD stages 1 and 2 and 393 for CKD stage 3 or more.
In conclusion, it was clear that intensive glucose control had no effect on overall cardiovascular death, all-cause mortality, myocardial infarction, or stroke. Also, baseline CKD status had no effect on intensive glucose control on these outcomes. However, control continues to protect against the development of ESKD in type 2 diabetes patients, but the patients with most benefit are those with preserved kidney function. The weakness of this study includes the non-adjudicated renal end points and lack of complete biochemical data for all patients during the post-trial follow-up.
Practice Pearls:
  • CKD is the leading cause of end stage renal disease worldwide and contributes to the development of cardiovascular diseases, thus increasing the risk of death and cardiovascular events.
  • Intensive glycemic control in type 2 diabetes decreased drastically the primary composite outcome of microvascular events mainly as consequence of a reduction in nephropathy.
  • Type 2 diabetes patients who benefit the most are those with preserved kidney function. Intermediate effects in in the group were those with CKD stage 1 and 2 and a lesser effects in CKD stage 3 or greater at baseline.

Can Statins Cause Diabetes?

It’s true. All medications have side effects, and numerous studies have shown that cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are linked to a small increase in the risk of Type 2 diabetes, even as they reduce the risk of heart attacks.

The higher the dose of a statin, the greater the diabetes risk, said Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and chief academic officer at Scripps Health. But many heart doctors, including Dr. Mary Norine Walsh, president-elect of the American College of Cardiology, say concern about diabetes should not deter patients from taking statins “if you fall into the higher risk category” for heart disease.

On the other hand, someone who has never had heart disease and who has high cholesterol but no other risk factors is less likely to derive benefit from a statin drug while still facing the risk of diabetes, Dr. Topol said, adding, “There you have a very tight benefit-to-risk ratio.”

The Food and Drug Administration updated its advisory about statins in 2012 to include warnings about the slightly increased risk of higher blood sugars and Type 2 diabetes, based in part on two large analyses of earlier studies that controlled for diabetes risk factors like being overweight or being older. One found a 9 percent increase in the risk of diabetes among statin users, and the other a 12 percent increase, with a greater risk for those on intensive rather than moderate doses of the drugs.

The 2012 F.D.A. advisory also warns of other side effects of statins, such as muscle injury, rare cases of liver damage and reports of memory loss and confusion.

“You and your physician need to be aware of risks,” said Dr. Walsh, and you may want to be assessed for diabetes. But she said, “It is not a reason not to take a statin if you fall into the higher risk category. The overall benefit of statins for people who need them because of their cardiovascular risk far exceeds the risk of diabetes.”

Do you have a health question? Submit your question to Ask Well.

Related:

Meet the brothers who reversed their father's diabetes



Growing up, Anthony and Ian Whitington’s father, Geoff, was an energetic and committed dad. Having divorced from the boys’ mother when they were 10 and eight respectively, Geoff, then a BT engineer, gave up his weekends to allow the boys to do whatever they fancied – be it sports or day trips.

Like most men, Geoff was always quick with a joke but grew stubborn as a mule in middle age. When he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2003 at the age of 51, both he and his sons (by then grown up and moved away) thought little of it.

After all, they were told at the time the disease was 'manageable’ by tidying up Geoff’s diet, prescribing some pills and keeping a keen eye on his blood sugar. He did this, attempting every fad diet available but never quite managing to keep the weight off and never quite seeing that as a problem.
fixing dad
Geoff Whitington with his sons on a family holiday Credit: Christopher Pledger

Over the course of the next decade Geoff’s weight ballooned to 20 stone, exacerbated by excessive snacking during sedentary night shifts in his post-retirement job as a security guard.
"They were asking me to sign a contract that said I’d do everything they told me. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for"Geoff Whitington

By 2013 complications had set in: he contracted Charcot Foot – a progressive and gory destruction of the joint – which, in addition to diabetes-related ulcers on his other foot, meant a grave risk of amputation.

He fell into near-depression, withdrawing from visiting his sons and grandchildren. Consigned to an early death from diabetes, he even took to writing a will.

“He was retracting. He wasn’t the same Geoff, no jokes, no banter,” recalls Anthony, now 38. “Reading up, we found out that people who have a foot amputated are expected to live for about two years beyond that. Something needed to be done.”
geoff whitington
Geoff's foot prior to his sons' interviention Credit: Christopher Pledger

Anthony, a freelance filmmaker, and Ian, 37, a cameraman, hatched a plan to help their father. The pair also decided to make a documentary, Fixing Dad, to chart Geoff’s progress, which airs on BBC Two tonight.

“I thought they were just calling my bluff,” says Geoff, 64. “They were basically asking me to sign a contract that said I’d do everything they told me. I agreed, but I had no idea what I was letting myself in for.”

The brothers researched the disease - which affects more than 3.6 million people in the UK - drew up a three-pronged attack on Geoff’s fitness, nutritional and mental hurdles, and set a daunting target: that the three of them would complete a the 100-mile Prudential RideLondon-Surrey cycling event in July 2014.
Fixing Dad: meet the brothers who reversed their fathers diabetes Play! 03:52

“Dad could barely walk, so running was immediately out, and he wasn’t keen on the body image of swimming, so that left cycling,” Anthony says. “It turned out to be the ideal exercise for him, exerting far less pressure on his feet and easy to get in to.”

They joined him at every turn. On Geoff’s daily cycles, Anthony would either run or ride with him, while Ian filmed. They’d eat together too, measuring their sugar levels after meals. Kebabs and pub lunches were replaced with lean, carbohydrate-free meals.

“The key was taking dad out of his environment, to break his cycle and make him realise what was at stake,” Anthony says. “We organised a group camping trip to Spain, with our bikes, and at the end we sat him down and showed him a load of family photos, of him as a young man and of his grandchildren.”
What is diabetes? In 60 seconds Play! 01:05

In the documentary, Anthony and Ian express guilt at having let their father deteriorate for so long as they focused on their careers, while Geoff appreciates all he could lose by refusing to change his life.

“The grandchildren were a big thing,” Geoff concedes. “In the past I didn’t really have a close relationship with them at all. The threat of never having that was a huge driving factor.”
"At the end of the film we pose a question: who would you miss most when they’re gone?"Anthony Whitington

The journey wasn’t always easy – various explosive arguments are captured at points where the pressure felt too much – but just nine months after he began the programme, Geoff completed the 100-mile ride through London.

Then, in February last year came the news they’d always wished for. The diabetes had been successfully 'resolved’. Geoff was fixed.
fixing dad documentary
Anthony and Geoff in training Credit: Ian Whitington

“It was amazing. They told us that as long as he stays on this course, he’d have no need for the pills,” Anthony says.

Today Geoff stands at a lithe 13 stone – having lost seven - and says the project has brought the whole family together.

“Marilyn, my wife, has lost three stone coming out on the bike with me. My step-children and Ian and Anthony’s families have caught the bug too. I’m the fittest I’ve ever been and completely addicted.”
geoff whittington
Success: Geoff and Anthony crossing the finish line  Credit: Christopher Pledger

Now employed helping his sons’ film work, and a regular speaker at diabetes conferences around the world, Geoff’s life has been entirely transformed.

“Without a shadow of a doubt,” he says, “my boys saved my life. I wouldn’t be here with the family if it weren’t for what they did.”

Plans are now afoot for a follow-up to Fixing Dad, focusing this time on other diabetes sufferers across Britain.

“At the end of the film we pose a question: who would you miss most when they’re gone?” Anthony says. “Until you’re proven otherwise, diabetes is a condition that’s entirely fixable.”

Fixing Dad will be shown on BBC2

Diabetes Health Center

TUESDAY, July 19, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Eating more healthy fats, like nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, while limiting animal fats and refined carbohydrates, can help prevent or control type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.

The large study found these dietary changes can lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

"The world faces an epidemic of insulin resistance and diabetes. Our findings support preventing and treating these diseases by eating more fat-rich foods like walnuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, flaxseed, fish and other vegetable oils and spreads, in place of refined grains, starches, sugars and animal fats," said study co-leader Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian. He is dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston.

"This is a positive message for the public. Don't fear healthy fats," Mozaffarian said in a university news release.

Researchers analyzed results of 102 trials including 4,660 adults to evaluate how different types of dietary fat and carbohydrates affected key risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

The analysis, published July 19 in PLOS Medicine, involved studies that provided participants with meals with different amounts of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates. The researchers assessed how these dietary differences affected measures of metabolic health, including blood sugar and insulin levels, as well insulin sensitivity and production.

Following a diet rich in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat instead of meals high in carbohydrates or saturated fat helps improve blood sugar control, the researchers found.

Previous studies have estimated that each 0.1 percent drop in HbA1C -- an indicator of long-term blood sugar control -- could reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes by 22 percent and heart disease by 6.8 percent, the researchers said.

"Among different fats, the most consistent benefits were seen for increasing polyunsaturated fats, in place of either carbohydrates or saturated fat," said the study's first author, Fumiaki Imamura, of the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge in England.

The study authors said their findings should help inform doctors and patients about the effects of diet on metabolic health and the risk for type 2 diabetes.

"Until now, our understanding of how dietary fats and carbohydrates influence glucose, insulin and related risk factors has been based on individual studies with inconsistent findings," Imamura said. "By combining results from more than 100 trials, we provide the strongest evidence to date on how major nutrients alter these risks."

FDA Panel Supports Dexcom CGM For Insulin Dosing in Diabetes

A US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel has voted in favor of allowing the Dexcom G5 Mobile continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system to be used as a replacement for fingerstick glucose monitoring in patients with diabetes.

At a hearing held July 21, 2016, the FDA's clinical chemistry and clinical toxicology advisory panel voted 8 to 2 in favor of safety, 9 to 1 for efficacy, and 8 to 2 that the benefits of the proposed new indication would outweigh the risks.

Currently, the Dexcom G5 CGM is indicated for adjunctive use along with self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG), done using a fingerstick test, to provide trend information and alert the patient of high and low blood glucose values. If the FDA follows the panel's advice, the new indication would allow patients to skip the premeal fingersticks and instead use the CGM's data to determine their insulin doses, as well as make other lifestyle decisions such as whether to exercise.

The new label would provide instructions for patients on how to use the CGM's data to determine their insulin doses, including how to adjust insulin doses up or down based on the trend arrows that the device displays. The label would also advise when SMBG testing is necessary, including twice daily for calibration, when the CGM fails to provide a reading, or when symptoms don't match the reading.

Despite the overall favorable vote, many panelists expressed discomfort with the meal dosing simulation model data presented by the company — validated with clinical data from just 71 patients with type 1 diabetes — to support the indication, rather than results from actual patients in randomized clinical trials. Panel members advised the company to gather additional post-marketing data.

Patients Already Using Devices in This Way

Most panelists also said that Dexcom would need to provide training beyond simply a pamphlet or video to make sure that patients understand how to properly use the CGM data to determine insulin doses. There was debate, however, regarding the extent to which the company could provide usage information vs how much of the responsibility would fall to healthcare providers, who would also need to be up to speed.

The stronger vote on efficacy reflected the fact that the Dexcom technology has advanced considerably in recent years. The current G5 iteration is nearly as accurate as SMBG, with a mean absolute relative difference of about 9%, compared with 4% to 9% for the various cleared SMBG meters.

Also influencing the vote was the fact that many current Dexcom users are already using the devices off-label to dose insulin (69% according to market survey data presented during the public comment session by DiaTribe founder Kelly Close) and at least now the company would be able to advise patients about this use, which it is currently forbidden to do.

Over 30 people, including endocrinologists and patients, spoke during the public comment session — many with travel expenses paid by Dexcom — nearly all in favor of approval for the dosing indication. Representatives from the American Diabetes Association, Endocrine Society, and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists also spoke in support of the indication. Continue Reading

FDA Panel Supports Dexcom CGM For Insulin Dosing in Diabetes



A US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel has voted in favor of allowing the Dexcom G5 Mobile continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system to be used as a replacement for fingerstick glucose monitoring in patients with diabetes.

At a hearing held July 21, 2016, the FDA's clinical chemistry and clinical toxicology advisory panel voted 8 to 2 in favor of safety, 9 to 1 for efficacy, and 8 to 2 that the benefits of the proposed new indication would outweigh the risks.

Currently, the Dexcom G5 CGM is indicated for adjunctive use along with self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG), done using a fingerstick test, to provide trend information and alert the patient of high and low blood glucose values. If the FDA follows the panel's advice, the new indication would allow patients to skip the premeal fingersticks and instead use the CGM's data to determine their insulin doses, as well as make other lifestyle decisions such as whether to exercise.

The new label would provide instructions for patients on how to use the CGM's data to determine their insulin doses, including how to adjust insulin doses up or down based on the trend arrows that the device displays. The label would also advise when SMBG testing is necessary, including twice daily for calibration, when the CGM fails to provide a reading, or when symptoms don't match the reading.

Despite the overall favorable vote, many panelists expressed discomfort with the meal dosing simulation model data presented by the company — validated with clinical data from just 71 patients with type 1 diabetes — to support the indication, rather than results from actual patients in randomized clinical trials. Panel members advised the company to gather additional post-marketing data.

Patients Already Using Devices in This Way

Most panelists also said that Dexcom would need to provide training beyond simply a pamphlet or video to make sure that patients understand how to properly use the CGM data to determine insulin doses. There was debate, however, regarding the extent to which the company could provide usage information vs how much of the responsibility would fall to healthcare providers, who would also need to be up to speed.

The stronger vote on efficacy reflected the fact that the Dexcom technology has advanced considerably in recent years. The current G5 iteration is nearly as accurate as SMBG, with a mean absolute relative difference of about 9%, compared with 4% to 9% for the various cleared SMBG meters.

Also influencing the vote was the fact that many current Dexcom users are already using the devices off-label to dose insulin (69% according to market survey data presented during the public comment session by DiaTribe founder Kelly Close) and at least now the company would be able to advise patients about this use, which it is currently forbidden to do.

Over 30 people, including endocrinologists and patients, spoke during the public comment session — many with travel expenses paid by Dexcom — nearly all in favor of approval for the dosing indication. Representatives from the American Diabetes Association, Endocrine Society, and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists also spoke in support of the indication. Continue Reading

Diabetes May Raise Mental Health Admission Risk in Young Adults



Young people with diabetes were four times more likely to be hospitalized for mental health or substance use treatment in 2014 than were young adults without the disease, according to a recent study that shines a harsh light on the psychological toll the disease can take on this group.

For every 1,000 young adults aged 19 through 25 who had diabetes, 37 were hospitalized for mental health/substance use, compared to nine young adults without diabetes. The study by researchers at the Health Care Cost Institute also found the incidence of such hospitalizations is on the rise for these patients. The 2014 rate was 68 percent higher than two years earlier, when the rate of mental health/substance use hospitalizations per 1,000 for that group was 22.

“It was definitely not something that we were expecting,” said Amanda Frost, a senior researcher at HCCI, who worked on the recently published study. HCCI researchers will examine the trend more closely in future work, she said.

The study analyzed the insurance claims of more than 40 million people younger than age 65 from 2012 through 2014 with work-place provided coverage from three major health insurers. No other age group showed such high rates of hospitalization for mental health or substance use, according to the study. The rate for children up to age 18 with diabetes was second highest, at 21 per 1,000 in 2014.

One possible contributor to the rise in hospitalizations may be the health law, which permitted young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance until they turn 26, said Frost.

In 2014, “we saw a big jump in employer-sponsored insurance coverage for those young folks,” she said. In addition, “we could see an increase in young adults’ mental health hospital admissions at that time.”

Depression is two to three times more common among young people with diabetes than those that don’t have the disease, said Tina Drossos, a clinical psychologist at the University of Chicago Medicine Kovler Diabetes Center.

Managing the disease is tough at any age, but young people may find it particularly challenging. “It’s a 24/7 disease,” she said, requiring kids to continually test their blood, monitor their carbohydrates, and take more insulin if their blood sugar gets too high. In contrast, some other chronic conditions require someone to take a pill once a day, nothing more.

Young people may feel their condition sets them apart. “Everybody wants to fit in, and this is something that doesn’t fit in,” she said, noting that young people with diabetes can be subject to bullying and teasing.

But that doesn’t explain the increase in hospitalizations for mental health issues, she said. Typically, young people would be hospitalized if they tried to commit suicide or had seriously entertained the idea of suicide and formed a plan to carry it out.

“Most people who are depressed don’t commit suicide,” she noted.

Please contact Kaiser Health News to send comments or ideas for future topics for the Insuring Your Health column.

Study: Diabetes shrinks the brain, new link to dementia

FUKUOKA--Diabetes shrinks the part of the brain deeply associated with memory, a development that is also often observed in dementia patients, a Kyushu University study has found.

Hippocampal atrophy advances with the years that diabetes is present, according to the researchers.

The study’s subjects were residents of Hisayama, Fukuoka Prefecture, southern Japan, where the university is conducting a long-term epidemiological survey.

Earlier sessions of the survey found that people with diabetes have double the risk of developing dementia compared to people without the disease.

The latest study provided the evidence that the brains of people with diabetes are actually damaged by the disease.

“The changes in the brains may have started in diabetics even if they haven’t developed dementia yet,” the research team said.

The findings were presented at a scientific session of the American Diabetes Association, which were held through June 14 in New Orleans, La.

During the study, researchers measured the brain volumes of Hisayama residents aged 65 years or older using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the head and examined the differences between the brains with the presence or absence of diabetes. Of 1,238 participants, 286 had diabetes.

As brain size varies from person to person, researchers assessed the extent of brain atrophy under the guideline “the ratio of brain volume to the volume of the inner skull.” The researchers also used statistical procedures to prevent the participants’ ages from affecting the results.

The results then showed the tendency that the longer patients have the disease, the more likely it is that their brains get smaller.

In particular, the volume of the memory-related hippocampus, located deep within the brain, was about 3 percent smaller among participants who had lived with diabetes for 10 to 16 years than those without the disease. For those with more than 17 years of living with diabetes, it was about 6 percent smaller than in non-diabetics, the results found.

Although diabetes can damage blood vessels and make them fragile, therefore raising the risk of neurological disorders and kidney damage, the disease can apparently damage brains as well.

Types of diabetes that tend to sharply increase blood sugar levels after eating are especially related to the risk of brain atrophy, the researchers said.

“Diabetes also heightens the risks of strokes and other diseases,” said research team member Jun Hata, an associate professor of epidemiology at Kyushu University.

“First and foremost, we should be careful not to become diabetic.”

On the other hand, it is believed that exercise lowers the risk of developing diabetes and dementia.

Mongrel mobster 'Fats' on a mission to get fit before diabetes claims his life video

Mongrel Mob member Anaru 'Fats' Moke might want to consider a new nickname.

The 43-year-old from Lower Hutt does not want his 11 children to see him die early from diabetes, just like he saw his father go when he was a boy.

So now the man known as 'Fats' is busy getting fit, after a shock diabetes test put him at a "nearly lost my legs" level of health.
Fats Moke, 43, is a big man with a gang history who has worked with Dr Tom Mulholland to get his diabetes under control.
MONIQUE FORD/FAIRFAX NZ

Fats Moke, 43, is a big man with a gang history who has worked with Dr Tom Mulholland to get his diabetes under control.

Moke said he came out of college fit and enjoyed playing sport. But bone cancer in the form of multiple myeloma took him off the field.

READ MORE:
* Dr Tom comes home to the Hutt
* Dr Tom promotes healthy thinking
* Farmers learn how to look after themselves
* Moke leads Justice for Moko in Lower Hutt

"Going through chemotherapy, [taking] a lot of medication ... driving in and out of Wellington, getting tested everyday for four years - that contributed to my ankle injury and that's why I stopped playing sports," he said.
Play
0:00
/
2:31

Share
Fullscreen
Dr Tom on a Mission

Dr Tom Mullohand and his team have been helping Fats Moke with his diabetes to raise awareness for people who do not regularly see a doctor.

"I was really over taking medication ... so I stopped everything. Hence the reason I didn't get tested for diabetes."

Moke said he fell into a lifestyle that was too relaxing. He ate everything, drank everything and wound up hungover every Sunday morning.

But two months ago, he met Dr Tom Mulholland and his team at the Walter Nash Centre in Taita who are on a Ministry of Health-funded mission to pop-up with their makeshift 1988 V8 ambulance in communities around the country.
Fats Moke plays basketball with his son Rufus Moke, 11, at the Walter Nash Centre in Taita.
MONIQUE FORD/FAIRFAX NZ

Fats Moke plays basketball with his son Rufus Moke, 11, at the Walter Nash Centre in Taita.

The team are offering people blood tests for diabetes and heart disease who have not had themselves checked in the past few years.
Ad Feedback

Over a six-week period they taught Moke about healthy shopping, exercise, and keeping his sugar levels in check.

"I just want to live. I want to see [my children's] 21sts, watch my mokos grow up, play rugby league ... take them on trips to the beach, take them diving. I just want to be there for them. Simple as that," Moke said.
Dr Tom Mulholland (let) was conducting health the checks outside the Walter Nash Centre in Taita when he met Mongrel Mob ...
SUPPLIED

Dr Tom Mulholland (let) was conducting health the checks outside the Walter Nash Centre in Taita when he met Mongrel Mob member Anaru 'Fats' Moke.Fats.

"I wanna be that example because I've got a lot of unhealthy whanau and friends."

About fifty people are diagnosed with diabetes everyday in this country. About 90 per cent of those cases are type-2 diabetes.

Dr Mulholland, who grew up in Lower Hutt, said nine out of ten cases of type-2 diabetes, such as Moke's, were preventable through diet and exercise.

"If we can do something with [Fats] now, we're more likely to save his life rather than waiting ten years down the track when I'm trying to amputate his legs or something."

Moke's blood sugar level was 20.2 but it should have been below 8. It is now down to 8.8.

Meet the brothers who reversed their father's diabetes



Growing up, Anthony and Ian Whitington’s father, Geoff, was an energetic and committed dad. Having divorced from the boys’ mother when they were 10 and eight respectively, Geoff, then a BT engineer, gave up his weekends to allow the boys to do whatever they fancied – be it sports or day trips.

Like most men, Geoff was always quick with a joke but grew stubborn as a mule in middle age. When he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2003 at the age of 51, both he and his sons (by then grown up and moved away) thought little of it.

After all, they were told at the time the disease was 'manageable’ by tidying up Geoff’s diet, prescribing some pills and keeping a keen eye on his blood sugar. He did this, attempting every fad diet available but never quite managing to keep the weight off and never quite seeing that as a problem.

        Affordable Generic Harvoni, Epclusa, Sovaldi American Doctors & Nurses Approved

Over the course of the next decade Geoff’s weight ballooned to 20 stone, exacerbated by excessive snacking during sedentary night shifts in his post-retirement job as a security guard.
"They were asking me to sign a contract that said I’d do everything they told me. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for"Geoff Whitington

By 2013 complications had set in: he contracted Charcot Foot – a progressive and gory destruction of the joint – which, in addition to diabetes-related ulcers on his other foot, meant a grave risk of amputation.

He fell into near-depression, withdrawing from visiting his sons and grandchildren. Consigned to an early death from diabetes, he even took to writing a will.

“He was retracting. He wasn’t the same Geoff, no jokes, no banter,” recalls Anthony, now 38. “Reading up, we found out that people who have a foot amputated are expected to live for about two years beyond that. Something needed to be done.”
geoff whitington
Geoff's foot prior to his sons' interviention Credit: Christopher Pledger

Anthony, a freelance filmmaker, and Ian, 37, a cameraman, hatched a plan to help their father. The pair also decided to make a documentary, Fixing Dad, to chart Geoff’s progress, which airs on BBC Two tonight.

“I thought they were just calling my bluff,” says Geoff, 64. “They were basically asking me to sign a contract that said I’d do everything they told me. I agreed, but I had no idea what I was letting myself in for.”

The brothers researched the disease - which affects more than 3.6 million people in the UK - drew up a three-pronged attack on Geoff’s fitness, nutritional and mental hurdles, and set a daunting target: that the three of them would complete a the 100-mile Prudential RideLondon-Surrey cycling event in July 2014.
Fixing Dad: meet the brothers who reversed their fathers diabetes Play! 03:52

“Dad could barely walk, so running was immediately out, and he wasn’t keen on the body image of swimming, so that left cycling,” Anthony says. “It turned out to be the ideal exercise for him, exerting far less pressure on his feet and easy to get in to.”

They joined him at every turn. On Geoff’s daily cycles, Anthony would either run or ride with him, while Ian filmed. They’d eat together too, measuring their sugar levels after meals. Kebabs and pub lunches were replaced with lean, carbohydrate-free meals.

“The key was taking dad out of his environment, to break his cycle and make him realise what was at stake,” Anthony says. “We organised a group camping trip to Spain, with our bikes, and at the end we sat him down and showed him a load of family photos, of him as a young man and of his grandchildren.”
What is diabetes? In 60 seconds Play! 01:05

In the documentary, Anthony and Ian express guilt at having let their father deteriorate for so long as they focused on their careers, while Geoff appreciates all he could lose by refusing to change his life.

“The grandchildren were a big thing,” Geoff concedes. “In the past I didn’t really have a close relationship with them at all. The threat of never having that was a huge driving factor.”
"At the end of the film we pose a question: who would you miss most when they’re gone?"Anthony Whitington

The journey wasn’t always easy – various explosive arguments are captured at points where the pressure felt too much – but just nine months after he began the programme, Geoff completed the 100-mile ride through London.

Then, in February last year came the news they’d always wished for. The diabetes had been successfully 'resolved’. Geoff was fixed.

fixing dad documentary

             Generic Epclusa, 12 Weeks, 84 Tablets $2195 Free Delivery within the US

“It was amazing. They told us that as long as he stays on this course, he’d have no need for the pills,” Anthony says.

Today Geoff stands at a lithe 13 stone – having lost seven - and says the project has brought the whole family together.

“Marilyn, my wife, has lost three stone coming out on the bike with me. My step-children and Ian and Anthony’s families have caught the bug too. I’m the fittest I’ve ever been and completely addicted.”
geoff whittington
Success: Geoff and Anthony crossing the finish line  Credit: Christopher Pledger

Now employed helping his sons’ film work, and a regular speaker at diabetes conferences around the world, Geoff’s life has been entirely transformed.

“Without a shadow of a doubt,” he says, “my boys saved my life. I wouldn’t be here with the family if it weren’t for what they did.”

Plans are now afoot for a follow-up to Fixing Dad, focusing this time on other diabetes sufferers across Britain.

“At the end of the film we pose a question: who would you miss most when they’re gone?” Anthony says. “Until you’re proven otherwise, diabetes is a condition that’s entirely fixable.”

Telegraph News 1.7 million undiagnosed cases of heart disease and lung cancer, health body warns



Around 1.7 million people in England could be living with heart disease, lung cancer or lung disease without knowing it, Public Health England (PHE) is warning.

The watchdog said anyone with an ongoing cough or who gets out of breath more easily should visit their GP as soon as possible.

Figures suggest around 80,000 people in England have undiagnosed lung cancer.

A million people have undiagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and another 600,000 people are living with undiagnosed heart disease.
"Diagnosis often comes too late, which can have a devastating impact"Jane Ellison, Health Minister

All three illnesses are leading causes of death, with lung cancer alone accounting for around 28,400 deaths every year.

PHE is launching the next phase of the Be Clear on Cancer campaign relating to lung cancer but also wants people with signs of lung disease or heart disease to get checked.

Experts say a persistent cough or getting out of breath doing tasks that used to be managed easily, such as mowing the lawn or vacuuming, could be a sign of lung problems.

Breathlessness is also a sign of heart disease

Web App Boosts Survival for Lung Cancer Patients

atients with lung cancer who participated in a Web-based system for reporting and tracking their symptoms achieved dramatic gains in survival compared with individuals who were followed with typical protocols, according to study results presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

The MoovCare system made a difference for patients because it resulted in early detection of dangerous conditions or recurrences, resulting in healthier individuals who were better able to undergo optimal therapy and earlier supportive care that improved their quality of life, said lead study author Fabrice Denis, MD, PhD, during an ASCO press cast. The median overall survival (OS) rate for patients who used the MoovCare system was 19 months compared with 12 months for participants in the control group (HR, 0.325; P = .0025), after 20 months of follow-up. Additionally, 75% of the patients followed through MoovCare were still alive at 1 year versus 49% with standard procedures.

There also was a 50% reduction in the average number of imaging tests per patient per year with the use of the app, said Denis, a researcher at the Institut Interrégional de Cancérologie Jean Bernard in Le Mans, France. These improvements were achieved even though the relapse rates were similar for both groups: 49% among those who used the app and 51% among those with typical follow-up, researchers reported. However, performance scores stayed higher among patients who used MoovCare. As a result, 74% of these patients were able to undergo optimal therapy upon relapse compared with 33% who had not used the app (P<.001). -

Telegraph News 1.7 million undiagnosed cases of heart disease and lung cancer, health body warns



Around 1.7 million people in England could be living with heart disease, lung cancer or lung disease without knowing it, Public Health England (PHE) is warning.

The watchdog said anyone with an ongoing cough or who gets out of breath more easily should visit their GP as soon as possible.

Figures suggest around 80,000 people in England have undiagnosed lung cancer.

A million people have undiagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and another 600,000 people are living with undiagnosed heart disease.
"Diagnosis often comes too late, which can have a devastating impact"Jane Ellison, Health Minister

All three illnesses are leading causes of death, with lung cancer alone accounting for around 28,400 deaths every year.

PHE is launching the next phase of the Be Clear on Cancer campaign relating to lung cancer but also wants people with signs of lung disease or heart disease to get checked.

Experts say a persistent cough or getting out of breath doing tasks that used to be managed easily, such as mowing the lawn or vacuuming, could be a sign of lung problems.

Breathlessness is also a sign of heart disease

New therapeutic targets for small cell lung cancer identified

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a protein termed ASCL1 that is essential to the development of small cell lung cancer and that, when deleted in the lungs of mice, prevents the cancer from forming.

The new findings identify ASCL1 as an important therapeutic target for small cell lung cancer, for which there have been few changes in treatment for the past 30 years.

"We used a genetically engineered mouse model that develops human-like small cell lung cancer and identified two regulatory pathways that in turn revealed vulnerabilities in this cancer," said senior author Dr. Jane E. Johnson, Professor of Neuroscience and Pharmacology and a member of UT Southwestern's Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.

                               Affordable Lung Cancer Treatment in India 

The findings, published in the journal Cell Reports, are important because survival for patients with small cell lung cancer is poor and few therapies are available.

"Small cell lung cancer is a devastating disease that is diagnosed in 30,000 people a year in the U.S. and accounts for roughly 15 percent of lung cancer cases. Most patients survive one year or less and therapy has not changed significantly in 30 years. Our work shows the possibility of developing entirely new types of targeted therapies for small cell lung cancer by focusing on ASCL1," said Dr. John D. Minna, Professor and Director of the Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research, and Director of the W.A. "Tex" and Deborah Moncrief Jr. Center for Cancer Genetics. He is Professor of Internal Medicine and Pharmacology, co-directs the Experimental Therapeutics of Cancer Program at the Simmons Cancer Center, and holds the Max L. Thomas Distinguished Chair in Molecular Pulmonary Oncology, and the Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research.

Signs and symptoms of small cell lung cancer include coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain, and the rapid development of widely spread disease around the patient's body. Smoking is the major risk factor for small cell lung cancer according to the National Cancer Institute, which helped fund the study along with the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

The team of researchers, which included Dr. Melanie H. Cobb, Interim Director of the Simmons Cancer Center and Professor of Pharmacology, determined that the ASCL1 protein found in most small cell lung cancer tumors is required for formation of the disease. When researchers deleted ASCL1 in the lungs of mice genetically engineered to develop small cell lung cancer, this loss prevented development of the cancer.

Additionally, researchers were able to differentiate between the tumor-promoting function of ASCL1 and a related protein, NEUROD1, in small cell lung cancer. Some small cell lung cancers expressed ASCL1 whereas others expressed NEUROD1, and although the two genes regulate different processes in the cells, both appear to control genes that are important in driving this cancer.

Dr. Johnson, holder of the Shirley and William S. McIntyre Distinguished Chair in Neuroscience, has been studying the roles of ASCL1 in the developing nervous system for many years , and was able to identify new roles for the protein in small cell lung cancer using UT Southwestern's Genomics and Microarray Core facility, which provides cutting-edge molecular technologies and services to hundreds of investigators pursuing different research projects.

In Case You Missed It, 5 New Lung Cancer Drugs Have Been Approved Since October

Cancer is an utterly terrifying six-letter word since it's a disease that's still largely a mystery to researchers, and in many cases, there are no definitive cures. Chances are better than not that you, or someone close to you, has battled cancer, with men and women having a respective 42% and 38% chance of developing cancer during their lifetimes.

However, some types of cancer are considerably scarier than others. Although everything depends on the stage at which cancer is diagnosed, men with prostate cancer have about a 99% chance of surviving for at least five years post-diagnosis according to the 2016 Cancer Facts and Figures report from the American Cancer Society. In this respect, a cancer diagnosis, while scary, is far from a death sentence.

On the other end of the spectrum are diseases like pancreatic cancer and lung/bronchus cancer, which have much lower five-year survival rates. Per ACS data, pancreatic cancer has just an 8% five-year survival rate, with a five-year survival rate of just 18% for lung and bronchus cancer. The latter disease is a particular worry since lung cancer is the leading cancer-related cause of death in the United States. ACS estimated that more than 158,000 people would die of lung cancer in 2016 compared to the next-deadliest cancer type, colorectal cancer, with around 49,200 estimated deaths this year.
A number of new lung cancer drugs have recently hit pharmacy shelves

Still, researchers aren't sitting idly by and letting cancer proliferate at will. If you haven't been paying close attention to the latest drug breakthroughs, you'd have missed not one, two, or three... but five new lung cancer drug approvals since October.

These new therapies generally fall into one of two categories: immunotherapy or gene-specific.
Opdivo & Keytruda

Unquestionably the biggest step forward in lung cancer treatment came in the form of a label expansion for Bristol-Myers Squibb's (NYSE: BMY) Opdivo and Merck's (NYSE: MRK) Keytruda.

Image source: Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Opdivo and Keytruda are both cancer immunotherapies, a new type of drug designed to expose cancer cells to the immune system to allow it to attack. Opdivo and Keytruda work to inhibit PD-1, a checkpoint protein found on a type of immune system cell known as a T-cell. By binding with PD-1, it disallows the interaction of PD-1 with PD-L1 receptors on the outside of cancer cells, cutting off cancer's ability to hide from the immune system.

Currently, Opdivo is approved to treat second-line metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) for both squamous and non-squamous NSCLC (Opdivo received FDA approval for squamous NSCLC in March 2015 and the larger non-squamous indication in Oct. 2015). Merck's Keytruda is approved to treat second-line metastatic NSCLC in instances where patients have high levels of PD-L1 expression from their tumors. It, too, received FDA approval for this indication in October.

Opdivo's approval came after overall survival improved to an average of 12.2 months compared to the docetaxel arm, where median survival was 9.4 months. Additionally, 19% of patients treated with Opdivo exhibited a complete or partial response, with those experiencing a response having a median duration of 17 months. Comparatively, the docetaxel arm has a 12% complete or partial tumor shrinkage rate, with an average duration of just six months. Bristol-Myers is currently running dozens of additional combination studies with Opdivo with the possibility that peak annual sales could eventually top $10 billion.

Image source: Merck.

Merck's Keytruda had its label expanded after it met its primary endpoint of a superior overall response rate relative to the placebo. In the subgroup of patients tested, Keytruda generated a 41% overall response rate with an average duration lasting between 2.1 months and 9.1 months. Mind you, typical response rates for NSCLC could be anywhere from 10% to 20%, so Keytruda is a major step forward. Sales of Merck's Keytruda should easily eclipse $1 billion in 2016.
Alecensa & Tagrisso

As researchers learn more about why cancer forms and how it spreads, they've discovered certain genetic mutations along the way believed to lead to the formation of cancer. They've therefore spent the time to develop drugs to target these mutations. Two newly approved gene-based lung cancer therapies are Roche's (NASDAQOTH: RHHBY) Alecensa and AstraZeneca's (NYSE: AZN) Tagrisso.

The thing to know about gene-focused medicines is that they're inherently patient-pool-inhibitive. In other words, they're typically focused on only a small percentage of a diseases patient population. On the other hand, focusing on a specific genetic mutation can lead to unparalleled response rates.

For example, Roche's Alecensa is an oral therapy that targets patients with ALK-positive advanced NSCLC. This is a gene mutation found in about 5% of NSCLC patients. But the clinical results from its two studies that led to approval were phenomenal. In the first study, the overall response rate was 38% with an average duration of response of 7.5 months. The second study was even more impressive, with an overall response rate of 44% and an average duration of response of 11.2 months! Additionally, 61% of patients who also had measurable brain metastases experienced a complete or partial reduction in the size of their brain tumors.

Image source: Getty Images.

AstraZeneca's Tagrisso is another oral advanced NSCLC medication that targets a specific mutation -- in this instance, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation T790M. Tagrisso had some of the most impressive response rates we've seen for a cancer drug. Over two studies, 57% and 61% of T790M mutation-positive patients experienced a complete or partial reduction in their tumor size despite progressing on a prior EGFR-blocking medication.

These gene-focused therapies aren't cheap, but they've given patients with these rare mutations a much better chance of exhibiting a durable response.
Portrazza

Lastly, the FDA also approved Eli Lilly's (NYSE: LLY) Portrazza, a drug used in combination with two other forms of chemotherapy to treat first-line advanced squamous NSCLC patients.

Portrazza is a monoclonal antibody that's targeted at inhibiting EGFR, the aforementioned protein commonly found on squamous NSCLC tumors. In clinical studies, Lilly's Portrazza helped improve median overall survival to 11.5 months in combination with Gemzar and cisplatin as opposed to a median overall survival of 9.9 months that the placebo cisplatin and Gemzar arm produced.

The point is, we are beginning to see meaningful progress in even the toughest-to-treat cancer indications. This progress may not be of the same lightning speed with which we saw an effective hepatitis C cure produced, but it's progress in the right direction that drugmakers can be proud of.

A secret billion-dollar stock opportunity

The world's biggest tech company forgot to show you something, but a few Wall Street analysts and the Fool didn't miss a beat: There's a small company that's powering their brand-new gadgets and the coming revolution in technology. And we think its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early, in-the-know investors! To be one of them, just click here.

Breakthrough lung cancer drug must be available on NHS, AstraZeneca says



A breakthrough lung cancer drug developed by UK scientists, which passed final clinical trials this week, might not be available on the NHS because it has been deemed too expensive by the drugs watchdog, it has emerged.

AstraZeneca’s experimental Tagrisso treatment passed final clinical trials on Monday after it was shown to materially increase the life expectancy of people suffering from a form of lung cancer.

But the medication, which was so effective in early trials that US and European regulators allowed Tagrisso to be administered to patients before studies were completed, has been rejected by the UK’s drugs gatekeeper as not cost effective enough to fund on the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), which determines which drugs patients can access via the health service, said in a preliminary report in June that Tagrisso should not be funded on the NHS or included in the cancer drugs fund.

The decision is, however, out for consultation. That means Nice could reverse its recommendation after it examines additional trial data later this month.

Lisa Anson, president of AstraZeneca UK and Ireland, has called on Nice to make the drug routinely available on the NHS, pointing out that several other European countries, including France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Croatia, have already approved the drug for use in their health systems. She also criticised Nice for being too slow in making its decisions.

“Tagrisso is clinically effective and we have shown that. We recognise there has been some uncertainty because of the speed of its development, but we were still very disappointed with the draft guidance," she said.

“I do believe the new data we are submitting is compelling and that Nice will make the right decision."

Tagrisso, which treats patients with a type of lung cancer that is especially resistant to treatment, is the fastest oncology development programme in the industry, having gone from human trials to approval in less than three years.

Also known by its clinical name osimertinib AZD9291, it is one of six cancer medicines AstraZeneca hopes will rebuild its sales following patent losses on older drugs. AstraZeneca says Tagrisso could eventually generate revenues of $3bn a year.
AstraZeneca

The drug was also the first to be approved under the regulator's accelerated access scheme, which speeds up authorisation of drugs deemed to be either of major public interest or for which there is unmet need.

NHS patients are currently eligible for Tagrisso, but only because AstraZeneca agreed to fund treatment through a compassionate use programme in February for six months, to allow Nice and the NHS time to work through funding issues. The programme will end on August 2.

“Our frustration in the UK is it takes longer for Nice to agree on the same data set that other markets have had and granted access to," said Ms Anson.

“This is about making sure patients get early access to breakthrough therapies, particularly for drugs invented in the UK. That is the goal of the new cancer drugs fund and we support that. However, we still call on the Government to reform Nice.”

A spokesperson at Nice said: “Osimertinib (Tagrisso) has shown early promise, however the long-term benefits it could have on overall survival and quality of life are uncertain. This is a preliminary decision which is out for consultation. The manufacturer can request to submit further evidence which the committee can consider before they reach a final decision.”

Early tests also suggest that Tagrisso can cross the blood brain barrier and reduce the size of brain lesions, which occur i

EASTAR uses CAT scans to detect lung cancer earlier

In a state with an already high rate of lung cancer cases, Muskogee County has a rate significantly higher than the state average.
According to the National Cancer Database, Oklahoma sees 60.2 cases of small-cell carcinoma per 100,000 people, and Muskogee County sees 74.7 cases per 100,000. Both are well above the national average of 54.1 cases per 100,000. The data was collected between 2008 and 2012.
However, two oncologists at EASTAR Health System are bringing hope to those wanting to diagnose cancer earlier.
Dr. Selam Negusse, a radiation oncologist, and Dr. Fuad Hassany, a medical oncologist, are bringing a relatively new cancer screening technique to EASTAR. The screening, which uses a low-density computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan, has been found to catch lung cancer in much earlier stages, both doctors said.
Hassany said that with the new screening process, they would be able to “make an impact on survival” for lung cancer patients.
“In the past, we’ve used chest X-rays and sputum tests to check for abnormal cells,” he said. “That did not show any benefit. But new studies have shown that by using this fast, low-density CAT scan, you can pick up early stage cancer and impact survival.”
According to a National Cancer Institute lung cancer screening trial, screening individuals with low-dose CAT scans could reduce lung cancer mortality by 20 percent.
Negusse said the problem with lung cancer is that it’s so hard to detect in the early stages, and when detected in the later stages, it’s almost certainly too late.
“In the early stages there are no symptoms,” Negusse said. “You only notice something is wrong when you experience weight loss, coughing up blood, or shortness of breath. By that point, it’s already at stage three or stage four.
“If we do this screening, and we’re able to catch it in stage one or stage two, survival rates are much higher. The cure rates are higher as well. For stage two, two-year survival is as high as 92 or 93 percent.”
According to documents released by EASTAR, the lung cancer screening program is open to patients who are between 55 and 80 years old, are current or former smokers with a 30-pack-per-year history and those who no longer use tobacco products but have quit within the last 15 years.
Hassany said that the screening procedure has been approved by Medicare and the American Cancer Society.
“Medicare is paying for it,” Hassany said. “And most of the other insurances are paying for it, as well.”
Belinda Farmer, the director of oncology and wound care, said that even if insurance doesn’t cover the cost, the procedure is affordable for its potential life-saving effects.
“The procedure is $125,” Farmer said. “Plus there is an additional cash discount for patients who prefer to pay cash.”
Hassany said the screening should be done once per year. He compared it to a mammogram.
“The only difference is, a mammogram is for all women, and this screening is for high-risk patients,” he said. “The first thing we’re going to tell people is they need to stop smoking. If you stop smoking now, and go on this program and we find cancer in the early stage, there’s a good chance we can cure you.”
Negusse added that the statistics for lung cancer are not very positive.
“Lung cancer is the second-leading killer for men and women,” she said. “For women, breast cancer is No. 1, and men, prostate cancer is No. 1. But lung cancer is the No. 1 killer of men and women both. And the chance for surviving five years with lung cancer is about 15 percent.”

Monday, July 18, 2016

The transformation and future of China's biomedical innovation

CHINA is on the cusp of an innovation revolution, with the country's biomedical and healthcare sectors making great leaps in the last decade. The achievements are quite visible: the exponential growth of publication of academic articles, patent filings, international exchanges, globalisation of new drug R&D activities, and accessibility of new drug R&D technology capability platforms from both China and overseas, just to name a few.

China's basic scientific research has witnessed huge achievements. According to the latest Nature Index, China's progress in basic scientific research, particularly in the biomedical and healthcare fields, is one of the fastest in the world.

China's drug discovery and development capabilities have also improved significantly in the past decade, giving hope and new treatments to patients. Shenzhen Chipscreen Biosciences, for example, successfully launched Chidamide to the market after 14 years of hard work. Icotinib from Zhejiang Beta Pharma, a new class 1 anti-cancer drug, has also been made available to Chinese patients.

Zepatier, a new drug from the leading global pharmaceutical company MSD (known as Merck in the US and Canada), was approved by the US FDA early this year for the treatment of hepatitis C. This innovative drug was a result of a multi-year close collaboration between Merck and WuXi AppTec. These events demonstrate that the emerging Chinese biotech and pharmaceutical companies are capable of developing innovative drugs with proprietary intellectual property.

China has also made advancements in another area that has attracted the attention of the world. By virtue of the maturation of its biomedical innovation ecosystem, China was named a "future innovator" based on the comparison of the biomedical innovation ecosystems of 11 emerging countries. Over the past 15 years, biopharma R&D service companies have successfully established new drug R&D capabilities, providing new possibilities for open-source drug innovation activities to lower the costs, shorten the timeline and boost productivity for R&D.

Several key factors have been driving the great progress in China's biomedical innovation. The Chinese government's pro-innovation policies and investments have been critical. China's biomedical industry was named one of the key pillar industries of the national economy in both the "11th-five year" and "12th-five year" bio-industry development plans. The government has also made significant investments in basic research in terms of both funding and talent.

But it is too simplistic to claim that government support is the only reason China has had this innovation success. The strength of the country's scientific and technical talent is growing. Companies with Western trained senior management, entrepreneurial team, and top-notch local talent increasingly bring real capabilities to the table. The openness and value of China's new drug innovation system has also been fully demonstrated in terms of global collaborations.

It has been well recognised that China's industry can only be developed with a global perspective from the very beginning by integrating itself with the international community, and adopting global quality standards and state-of-the-art technologies. This integration has happened across the board with companies and institutions in the United States, Europe, and Asia, including many leading innovation-driven organisations in Singapore.

HOW WILL THE FUTURE UNFOLD?

From "made in China" to "serving Chinese people with Chinese discoveries", and further to "serving the world with Chinese discoveries", the biomedical industry in China has come a long way. That said, the China healthcare innovation ecosystem is still at its formative stage. The gap between innovation and commercialisation is still yet to be bridged, and the potential of CFDA regulatory reforms is still yet to be realised.

The availability and affordability of novel medicines in China remain a daunting challenge. Only one third of the world's most innovative blockbuster drugs have been made available to Chinese patients, and for those drugs that eventually reached the China market, their average launch delay is six-to-eight years compared with Western launches. Some were delayed for as long as 12 years.

Despite these challenges, I'm optimistic that China's biomedical industry will soon experience a true innovation revolution, and China will evolve from exploratory innovation, to a country of innovation, and further to one where breakthrough innovation is common.

The government will play a powerful role in that evolution. We will continue to receive strong policy support from the government, as innovation has been recognised as the foundation for growth in the 13th five-year plan, which is set to continuously drive the transformation and advancement of the industry.

In addition, I believe that under the spirit of "mass entrepreneurship and innovation", which is advocated by Premier Li Keqiang, a greater number of young entrepreneurs will emerge with fresh ideas, great creativity, and the drive for innovation.

International collaboration will also remain highly important. China will continue to learn advanced concepts and technologies from its Western counterparts, and the Chinese R&D community will be able to integrate synergistically with the global community. I'm confident that China will make unique contributions to the development of the global biopharmaceutical industry by leveraging the resources in China, be it in the field of gene technology, cell therapy, mobile healthcare, or personalised medicine.

Today, I see very few places where you would find the level of energy that you find in China. There is energy around entrepreneurship, around innovation, and most importantly, the energy around possibilities. As the landscape of China's life science industry continues to evolve, we will see the global community come together more and more to help fuel innovation and create better healthcare solutions for patients.

Life after hepatitis C


SPONSORED: These two Alaskans are enjoying life one year after a new treatment cured them of the virus they once saw as a lifelong burden.

    Published 5 hours ago Author: Presented by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

Carl Mann,* a former missionary and pastor, led a quiet life with his wife and children ministering to the people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region and the Kenai Peninsula. His hepatitis C diagnosis was a surprise. Finding out just how he became infected with the virus was another.

The hepatitis C virus is transmitted through contact with infected blood. Mann contracted the virus under unusual circumstances—related to a medical procedure at a private hospital. In the months following his surgery, Mann's doctor was baffled when his blood count was continually off. That doctor referred him to Dr. Brian McMahon, medical and research director of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's Liver Disease and Hepatitis Program, who finally diagnosed Mann with hepatitis C.

Drug use with contaminated needles accounts for slightly more than half of all infections, said Dr. McMahon. Blood transfusions were once a common means of infection, but in 1992, a test was developed that detects the virus in the blood. Transmittal via that method is almost non-existent today.

Mann's story sets him apart.

"I felt like I'd been sucker-punched," Mann recalled. "I'd had a triple bypass and I'd been through cancer. It tests your faith a little bit."

Living with hepatitis C, Mann became more cautious, almost to the point of paranoia. He wore gloves when handling food, bandaged even the smallest cut and ordered his wife to steer clear of any blood. He didn't hide his diagnosis, but he didn't share it openly, either; he knew people viewed hepatitis C as a death sentence and didn't want to frighten them.

A death sentence was exactly what Susan Wamser felt she'd been handed when she was diagnosed in 2008. A former commercial fisherman, Wamser was rocked by the sudden deaths of her husband and brother and used drugs to numb the pain.

"This deadly, horrible disease, just from one poke of a needle," she recalled thinking when she was given the diagnosis. "I was devastated."

Whereas Mann experienced no outward symptoms and had only a slow progression of liver damage (many hepatitis C patients develop cirrhosis of the liver), the virus took a toll on Wamser. She was constantly fatigued, in near-constant pain, nauseous and had no appetite.

Mann and Wamser both declined treatment beyond check-ups with their doctors. The only treatment option at the time had a 50 percent cure rate and side effects that mimicked the flu at best and, at worst, chemotherapy. Mann, who had undergone chemotherapy during a battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1990, wasn't eager to be ill for a year. Wamser's strain of the virus was so severe, she said, it was virtually untreatable with past treatments.

But then a new treatment became available—one that was shorter, had fewer side effects, promised a 95 percent cure rate and was effective even for Wamser's strain.

"When I heard that there was a drug that was going to cure me, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps," she said. "I started feeling that there's hope, so I didn't give up."

"We know many tribal members have been denied treatment, but our doctor recommends them to purchase generic version of Harvoni, Sovaldi and Epclusa.  We go through an American non profit, SoulofHealing.org who has an affiliate pharmacy in India called SunnyPharma.org.  That pharmacy is God's sent, they have helped so many community members get their treatment and are now hepatitis C free" Said Dr. McMahon

Wamser marked every day off her calendar for the full 90 days of treatment.

"I felt more and more alive with every pill I took," she said. "I knew I was (going to) live."

Now cured of hepatitis C for more than a year, Mann and Wamser's lives have changed both physically and mentally.

Mann, who retired in June, purchased an RV so his wife can "chase the colors come fall." He'll be spending more time with his family—he has two grandchildren in North Carolina and four in Wasilla—something he enjoys a bit more now, since he no longer worries that he may infect them. He remains cautious when it comes to blood, but said he is not as paranoid as he once was. He also shares his story more freely.

"People need to realize that ordinary people [who] don't participate in risky behavior get hepatitis C too," Mann said. "It's not just the people who live on the margins who get it."

Being cured, he said, has also decreased his worry load.

"The biggest difference in life after [hepatitis C] is there are a lot of things to worry about, but my liver's not one of them," he said.

Wamser said that treatment literally gave her a second chance at life, and she doesn't intend to squander it. She has returned to doing things she enjoyed in the past but gave up while she was ill—playing the guitar and mandolin, writing music and poetry and cooking and baking, skills she picked up while working as a bull cook in Prudhoe Bay. She is spending more time with her children and extended family and has taken up painting. Best of all, she said, is the return of her energy levels, which allows her to keep up with her 2-year-old grandson.

"Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind me that I am still cured," she said. "And if I ever have a bad day, because of going through this, nothing could ever bring me down again."

*Name has been changed at the request of our source.
ANTHC sponsor message

This article was produced by the special content department of Alaska Dispatch News in collaboration with ANTHC. Contact the editor, Jamie Gonzales, at jgonzales@alaskadispatch.com. The ADN newsroom was not involved in its production.

A Review Of The Components Of The I-Shares Biotech ETF: Gilead Sciences

Summary

The I-Shares Biotech ETF remains one of the most popular ways to invest in the biotech industry.

In the third part of a series, I will review the investment case for Gilead Sciences.

An interesting technical set-up may occur as detailed below.

The I-Shares Biotech ETF (NASDAQ:IBB) remains one of the most popular ways to invest in the biotech industry. An investment in the ETF offers broad exposure to the industry without single company risk. In the third part of a series, I will discuss the investment case for Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD).

IBB Holdings

The above table illustrates the top ten holdings of the IBB. The focus of this series is the top five holdings as they will account for a significant portion of the move in the IBB. The first part discussed the investment case for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) which can be seen here. The second part of the series discussed the investment merits of Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) whichalso can be seen here.

Gilead Sciences

Shares of GILD have morphed into the ultimate battleground stock. The company caught fire in 2014 as the tantalizing prospect of a cure for Hepatitis C (HCV) entered the marketplace. The initial price tag of $1k per month generated a ton of negative publicity as many seized on the list price as an egregious example of price gouging by the biotech industry. Lost in the echo chamber of modern media is the incredible advance in treating infectious disease. The vast majority of remedies brought forth from research only treat an underlying disease state; a cure is often tantalizingly out of reach.

Sales thus far for the HCV franchise is $35 billion and growing, yet the share price is trading on par with levels seen in 2014. A significant portion of the negative price action is attributed to the poor performance in Q1 of the HCV franchise. As discussed in an earlier piece, HCV sales dropped with Harvoni sales posting an unexpected year over year decline.

Occult hepatitis B among Iranian hepatitis C patients

Occult hepatitis B is defined as presence of HBV DNA in tissue or serum without hepatitis B surface antigen. The aim of this study is to determine frequency of occult hepatitis B among hepatitis C patients in Tehran and compare the route of transmission and liver enzymes between positive and negative HBV DNA patients.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;&lt;strong&gt;METHODS&lt;/strong&gt;: In a cross sectional study, serum of 103 hepatitis C cases (79.6% men and 20.4% women) were analyzed for s, x and core genes via a nested polymerase chain reaction technique.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;&lt;strong&gt;RESULTS&lt;/strong&gt;: HBV DNA was detectable in serum of 20 patients (19.4%). No significant difference in age, sex and route of transmission were seen in HBV DNA positive and negative patients. In HBV DNA positive and negative groups, mean of AST was 73, 47 (p &lt; 0.05) and mean of ALT was 76 and 36 respectively (p &lt; 0.05).&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;&lt;strong&gt;CONCLUSION&lt;/strong&gt;: Occult hepatitis B was observed in a considerable number of hepatitis C patients in Tehran. It was associated with elevation in liver enzyme but was not related to route of transmission.

Hepatitis C reinfection among population of people who inject drugs

Background & Aims: On-going risk behaviour can lead to hepatitis C virus (HCV) reinfection following successful treatment. We aimed to assess the incidence of persistent HCV reinfection in a population of people who inject drugs (PWID) who had achieved sustained virological response (SVR) seven years earlier.
Methods: In 2004–2006 we conducted a multicentre treatment trial comprising HCV genotype 2 or 3 patients in Sweden, Norway and Denmark (NORTH-C). Six months of abstinence from injecting drug use (IDU) was required before treatment. All Norwegian patients who had obtained SVR (n = 161) were eligible for participation in this long-term follow-up study assessing virological and behavioural characteristics.
Results: Follow-up data were available in 138 of 161 (86%) individuals. Persistent reinfection was identified in 10 ...
SunnyPharma.org and SoulofHealing.org

Axium Healthcare Pharmacy Now Dispensing Epclusa®, the First Oral Medication FDA-Approved to Treat All Hepatitis C Genotypes

Axium Healthcare Pharmacy announced today that it is dispensing Gilead’s Epclusa (sofosbuvir 400 mg/velpatasvir 100 mg), the first all-oral, pan-genotypic, single tablet regimen for the treatment of adults with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections, genotypes 1-6. Epclusa is also the first single tablet regimen approved for the treatment of patients with HCV genotypes 2 and 3, without the need for ribavirin. A 12-week regimen of Epclusa was approved in patients without cirrhosis or with compensated cirrhosis (Child-Pugh A), and in combination with ribavirin (RBV) for patients with decompensated cirrhosis (Child-Pugh B or C). Providers and patients can find full prescribing information at http://www.epclusainfo.com.
“Simpler all-oral dosing, shorter treatment durations, and high success rates across all hepatitis C genotypes—through a single medication—have created a promising milestone in today’s HCV therapy options,” commented Mark Montgomery, President and CEO of Axium Healthcare Pharmacy. “This is a particularly exciting development for patients with genotypes 2 and 3 who, until now, have had fewer, yet more complex treatment options to work with. Through medications like Epclusa, we are pleased to simplify the path to better outcomes for patients and providers.”
Axium dispenses and supports Epclusa therapy through its HepVisions® program. With HepVisions, patients and providers get:
  •     Clinical support for adherence, side effect management, appropriateness of therapy, and drug utilization review.
  •     Insurance Verification and Prior Authorization. Axium handles insurance verifications within 24 to 48 hours, and works with many third-party prescription plans.
  •     Copay assistance for qualifying patients.
  •     24 x 7x 365 clinical support.
  •     Convenient, confidential medication delivery.
In addition, providers can save time with Axium’s #oneteam single source referral program. The program means that Axium now accepts referrals for all hepatitis C specialty medication patients, and will perform—and complete—full prior authorization work, if permitted by health plans, even if it cannot fill the prescription.
Download Axium’s hepatitis C referral form from http://www.axiumhealthcare.com today.
About Axium Healthcare Pharmacy
Founded in 2000, Axium Healthcare Pharmacy, Inc. is a nationwide provider of specialty pharmacy services. A wholly-owned subsidiary of The Kroger Company, Axium provides drug therapies and patient support services to treat chronic, genetic, and other complex conditions such as Hepatitis C, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and a number of others.

‘Never again let people die because medicines are too expensive’

The organizations‚ which include South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign‚ will hand a memorandum of demands to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Monday morning when the conference is scheduled to get under way.

    Generics of Harvoni, Sovaldi, Epclusa and Daklinza from SunnyPharma.org

“The 2000 International AIDS Conference in Durban was a turning point in the struggle to access AIDS medicines. Since that conference‚ we have had unprecedented success in ensuring more people have access to affordable AIDS medicines.

    Antiretroviral therapy lower risk of HIV in couples having condomless sex: study

“However‚ 16 years after the 2000 Conference‚ many people with diseases such as cancer‚ hepatitis C‚ and drug-resistant tuberculosis cannot afford life-saving medicines thanks to the intellectual property monopolies held by multinational pharmaceutical companies‚” the organisations said in a statement on Sunday.

“Instead of learning from the struggle for AIDS medicines‚ where generic competition lowered the price of antiretrovirals by over 99%‚ we are allowing the same morally abhorrent history to be repeated‚” they added.

The group noted that people with certain forms of cancer‚ with hepatitis C‚ with drug-resistant TB‚ and their families and friends were daily facing avoidable suffering and loss because life-saving medicines were grossly overpriced.

       Generic Harvoni $1495, Verified by American Doctors and Nurses SunnyPharma.org

“This is an access to medicines crisis facing rich and poor countries alike.”

World leaders‚ the organisations said‚ had a moral and legal obligation to ensure that everyone could access the medicines they needed without incurring catastrophic out-of-pocket costs.

“World leaders also have a duty to consider alternative ways to finance R&D for the development of new medicines. Simply accepting the status quo monopoly rights of biopharmaceutical companies means denying people the right to health and in many cases the right to life.”

The organisations added that the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Panel (HLP) on Access to Medicines provided a unique opportunity for governments to make historic changes in healthcare.

The HLP had evidence from 181 submissions and “big” public hearings focused on “remedying the policy incoherence between the justifiable rights of inventors‚ international human rights law‚ trade rules and public health in the context of health technologies”. Its final report was expected to be made public soon‚ the organisations said.

“The HLP will make a set of recommendations that will be tabled at the UN General Assembly in September. We expect bold recommendations from the panel on a new intellectual property regime for pharmaceutical products that is consistent with international human rights law and public health requirements‚ and simultaneously safeguards the justifiable rights of inventors. “

    Generic Eplcusa $2195, Verified by American Doctors and Nurses SunnyPharma.org

VA reports see Hepatitis C spike in baby boomers

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
Jackson's VA Center is seeing an increase in Hepatitis C cases among Baby Boomers.
Infectious Disease specialists began offering HIV and Hepatitis C screenings in December of 2014, and so far 280 patients have tested positive for Hepatitis C. The HIV/HEP C tests are offered in conjunction with patients receiving treatment for substance use disorders.
Doctors attribute the spike is linked to opioid use.
When opioids are not available, some users turn to injecting heroin. Physicians said not all cases come from needle injections.  
"We discovered about one in five had Hepatitis C and 25% of the cases that we discovered were brand new cases," said Jackson VA Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Mary Jane Burton. "Meaning the day they walked into substance use disorder treatment they did not know they were infected."
VA physicians said the spike in Hepatitis C is among those born from 1945 to 1965 and screenings are recommended for all patients in that age range.

Max Minghella and Ann Dowd Come Aboard Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale


It's totally cool if you (and everyone from your high-school AP English class) are still reeling with excitement over Elisabeth Moss playing Offred in Hulu's straight-to-series adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Get ready to reel a little more: Both Max Minghella and Ann Dowd are joining Moss on her dystopic journey to Gilead, an imagined, futuristic United States where religious fundamentalists run a totalitarian government and women like Offred have become "handmaids" — property of male officials, forced to be their sex slaves and bear their children.
Max Minghella (The Social Network, The Mindy Project) will play Nick, a driver employed in the household Offred resides in, who develops an illicit relationship with the titular handmaid. Ann Dowd (Captain Fantastic, The Leftovers) will play Aunt Lydia, head of the Red Center, the organization charged with indoctrinating the handmaids before they are placed in the homes of high-ranking Gilead officials.
The ten-episode series is set to commence production this fall, and will debut on Hulu in 2017.

The Drug Costs $95K. Its Maker 'Dodged' $10B in Taxes

 (Newser) – A pharmaceutical company that has in recent years made billions of dollars on hepatitis C treatments—the three the FDA has approved range from $75,000 to $94,500—has been named a "price gouger" and "tax dodger" in a new report. Gilead Sciences, the sixth richest drugmaker in the world, "is making a fortune selling essential drugs to the very government and taxpayers that helped pay to develop them, and then dodging taxes on the resulting profits," says Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, which issued the report this month. Gilead has avoided some $10 billion in taxes by moving assets to Ireland, where there is a lower tax rate, and then not bringing some $28.5 billion in profits back into the US. Per the Washington Post, the California-based company's revenues in 2015 hit $32.6 billion, up three times from 2012.

As for the accusation of gouging: Last year, a Senate investigation found that the company "pursued [a] profit-driven strategy" with its hepatitis drugs, rather than making the drugs more accessible at a lower price (it had considered $50,000). As the Post notes, Gilead, which declined to comment on the report, isn't alone in looking overseas for tax relief. Plenty of other pharmaceutical and technology companies do it. Apple, for instance, has squirreled away nearly $200 billion abroad, Bloomberg reported last year. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, that's enabled the company to avoid paying $59.2 billion in US taxes. Pfizer has some $193 billion abroad, per the Post. The new report singling out Gilead, the Post points out, highlights the "simmering battle" between President Obama and big business over the practice of sending assets to foreign countries.

Former addict treated for Hep C contracted from used needles

A Beulaville heroin addict had a wake-up call when he used a secondhand needle to shoot up and contracted Hepatitis C.

On Friday, 23-year-old Dylan Smith was driving to a doctor’s appointment. He started taking Harvoni in May, a once-a-day pill that treats Hepatitis C, according to its website.

It’s a 90-day treatment that Smith hopes removes the disease from his body completely, effectively reversing the effects of his drug use.

In part to prevent what happened to Smith from happening to others, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill authorizing needle exchange programs in North Carolina.

It went into effect on July 1.

Dylan’s story

Smith, clean since 2014, said his drug addiction began with Percocet he was given during recovery from injuries sustained in a car wreck.

His drug addiction ended with heroin and a bad needle.

He turned his life around, he said, after realizing the devastating effect his drug abuse was having on his life and the lives of those he loved most.

It was after he quit that he started feeling sick and a hospital visit confirmed his kidneys were failing. His spleen, gallbladder and liver were enlarged. He later learned he was also suffering from Fibrosis.

While using, Smith said he shot up and felt relaxed, like everything was OK — but it wasn’t.

“A 20-dollar high for me turned into about $20,000 in medical debt,” Smith said.

He unknowingly used a recycled needle of a family friend’s to shoot up. His friend had Hepatitis C and didn’t tell Smith beforehand.

Smith shared his personal story in a Facebook post on April 27, a post that was shared 2,090 times, where he explained he’d been chasing a never-ending high.

Smith said his drug addiction changed him from “a great kid” into someone who was verbally abusive. He asked his mother for money daily and she called the Beulaville Police Department on a number of occasions, including when Smith got into a shoving match with his stepfather.

Smith has teeth missing that he said makes him feel self-conscious.

“I have so many regrets,” Smith said.

Local needle exchange

The North Carolina bill was passed with the objectives to reduce the spread of diseases, reduce injuries to law enforcement and encourage addicts to seek treatment, according to the bill.

The established programs, the bill states, will offer disposal of needles, supplies at no cost and in quantities large enough to ensure the given needles won’t be shared or reused, educational materials and access to naloxone kits, which provide emergency reversals in drug overdoses.

Due to the relative newness of the bill, a program is not currently available at the Onslow County Health Department, said Public Information Officer Pam Brown.

The program still needs to be researched and the needs specific to Onslow County identified before a program is provided at the health department, Brown said, and it will take some time to understand it all.

What works in other counties may not be the best fit for Onslow County and determining exactly what the needs are locally will be the key to providing the best service here, Brown agreed.

“We just want to make sure we’re doing what will be the most beneficial for Onslow County,” she said.

Recovering

At his June doctor’s appointment Smith said the Hepatitis C in his blood was almost undetectable.

This month, he hopes to hear that it’s completely gone.

Smith said he’s happy to hear about the needle exchange program and believes it will help prevent the spread of diseases, but he’s wary of the belief that it will help stop addicts.

“I understand what they’re doing,” Smith said, “but until an addict is truly ready to stop, something needs to happen for them to want to fix themselves.”

Providing clean needles won’t necessarily stop someone from using and give them the drive to stop, he said.

However, the needle exchange program has the possibility of preventing someone from contracting a disease like Hepatitis C, and Smith said he supports it for that reason.

“I don’t think they are going to fully stop ... until something happens like in my situation,” he said.