efforts

health

My Weight-Loss Efforts Are Messing With My Sleep. Any Knockout Tips?

It’s a nightmarish scenario: you stave off cravings from dawn to dusk, only to be rewarded with a night of broken sleep. Not only will you struggle to recover properly from yesterday’s workout, but your sleep deprivation causes the hunger hormone ghrelin to surge, making another day of sticking to the meal plan all the more difficult.



The MH experts put this problem to bed for good


© Malte Mueller
The MH experts put this problem to bed for good

If you want to put this problem to bed for good, you need to wake up to your diet’s deficiencies. As nutritionist and weight-loss consultant Kim Pearson explains: “If you suddenly slash your daily calorie count too far, your blood sugar levels will plummet at night. And to stop it from dropping further, your body releases stress hormone cortisol. That’s what jolts you awake at 3am.”

Sadly, indiscriminately scoffing more calories isn’t the remedy for blissful slumber – a Pot Noodle free pass, this ain’t. While your body will burn through a plate of starchy food and max your blood sugar concentrations mid-sleep, an evening meal of protein, healthy fats and fibre offers a slow-energy release, says Pearson. Plus, upping your intake of steadily digestible fibre promotes the release of your sleep hormone melatonin, knocking you out 20 minutes faster, according to the Journal of Sleep Medicine.

Don’t worry if this upsets your overall calorie tally, as extra time between the sheets can power up your diet’s fat-burning potential. As a University of Chicago study found, increasing your sleep time from five to eight hours supercharges your metabolism, helping you shift 55% more body fat over a period of two weeks. It’s a weight-loss plan so easy that you can do it with your eyes closed.

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health

Connecticut Department of Public Health receives five-year, $3.5M grant from CDC to fund suicide prevention efforts

The Connecticut Department of Public Health has received a five-year, $3.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to enhance statewide suicide prevention efforts, Gov. Ned Lamont announced at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford Thursday morning.

The grant, which runs through Aug. 31, 2025, will be a joint effort between DPH, the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and UConn Health. The prevention efforts will concentrate on populations that are disproportionately impacted by suicide or attempted suicide, including middle-aged adults, particularly men with mental illness or substance use disorder, and adolescents and young adults (ages 10-24).

State officials at the news conference spoke about the intense mental health toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on Connecticut residents.

With COVID-19 cases increasing and the winter approaching, “I can feel the stress building again,” Lamont said. He described a “witches’ brew” of health concerns, economic distress and social isolation.

“I hear a lot of, ‘I thought we had a light at the end of the COVID tunnel and it looks like it’s receding,’ ” Lamont said. “I hear the economic anxiety every day.”

Dr. Steven Wolf, chairman of emergency medicine at St. Francis, said that social isolation has exacerbated local residents’ experiences of mental illness and substance use disorder.

Seven people under the age of 18 have died by suicide in Connecticut this year, including four since October, according to Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, the commissioner of the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Connecticut averages about eight suicides of children under the age of 18 annually, Vannessa Dorantes, the commissioner of the state’s Department of Children and Families, said. She emphasized that the state must “work together to get that number to zero.”

On average, 403 Connecticut residents died annually of suicide between 2015 and 2019, a 14% increase from the annual average of 351 residents between 2010 and 2014, according to state officials.

“Though Connecticut has one of the lowest suicide rates in the United States, we know even one death is too much,” Delphin-Rittmon said.

Karen Jarmoc, president & CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said that calls to CTSafeConnect, the organization’s domestic violence hotline, rose by 30% due to the COVID-19 pandemic and domestic violence advocacy groups across the state faced increased demand for their services.

“When the pandemic hit in March in our state, understandably there were shut-in orders to keep people safe from a public health standpoint,” Jarmoc said. “From our perspective, it created a precarious situation where victims of domestic violence were shut in with their abusive partner.”

Early in the pandemic, 18 sites across the state that house victims of domestic violence had to send some people to hotels in order to reduce capacity and the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak, she said. That resulted in more than $390,000 in unexpected fees to house about 200 adults and 200 children in hotels, from March through

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fitness

Wearable fitness devices can improve public health efforts to control COVID-19

Examining data from the first six weeks of their landmark DETECT study, a team of scientists from the Scripps Research Translational Institute sees encouraging signs that wearable fitness devices can improve public health efforts to control COVID-19.

The DETECT study, launched on March 25, uses a mobile app to collect smartwatch and activity tracker data from consenting participants, and also gathers their self-reported symptoms and diagnostic test results. Any adult living in the United States is eligible to participate in the study by downloading the research app, MyDataHelps.

In a study that appears today in Nature Medicine, the Scripps Research team reports that wearable devices like Fitbit are capable of identifying cases of COVID-19 by evaluating changes in heart rate, sleep and activity levels, along with self-reported symptom data–and can identify cases with greater success than looking at symptoms alone.

What’s exciting here is that we now have a validated digital signal for COVID-19. The next step is to use this to prevent emerging outbreaks from spreading. Roughly 100 million Americans already have a wearable tracker or smartwatch and can help us; all we need is a tiny fraction of them–just 1 percent or 2 percent–to use the app.”


Eric Topol, MD, director and founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute and executive vice president of Scripps Research

With data from the app, researchers can see when participants fall out of their normal range for sleep, activity level or resting heart rate; deviations from individual norms are a sign of viral illness or infection.

But how do they know if the illness causing those changes is COVID-19? To answer that question, the team reviewed data from those who reported developing symptoms and were tested for the novel coronavirus. Knowing the test results enabled them to pinpoint specific changes indicative of COVID-19 versus other illnesses.

“One of the greatest challenges in stopping COVID-19 from spreading is the ability to quickly identify, trace and isolate infected individuals,” says Giorgio Quer, PhD, director of artificial intelligence at Scripps Research Translational Institute and first author of the study. “Early identification of those who are pre-symptomatic or even asymptomatic would be especially valuable, as people may potentially be even more infectious during this period. That’s the ultimate goal.”

For the study, the team used health data from fitness wearables and other devices to identify–with roughly 80% prediction accuracy–whether a person who reported symptoms was likely to have COVID-19. This is a significant improvement from other models that only evaluated self-reported symptoms.

As of June 7, 30,529 individuals had enrolled in the study, with representation from every U.S. state. Of these, 3,811 reported symptoms, 54 tested positive for the coronavirus and 279 tested negative. More sleep and less activity than an individual’s normal levels were significant factors in predicting coronavirus infection.

The predictive model under development in DETECT might someday help public health officials spot coronavirus hotspots early. It also may encourage people

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health

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Awarded 5-Star Hospital Award by Patient Safety Movement Foundation for Efforts to Eliminate Preventable Deaths

The Patient Safety Movement Foundation presented Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) with the Foundation’s 5-Star Hospital award for making commitments in alignment with the Patient Safety Movement Foundation’s evidence-based Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS). The APSS addresses patient safety challenges that hospitals are facing daily and offer solutions designed to help hospitals eliminate preventable patient deaths.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201028005223/en/

The Patient Safety Movement Foundation presented the award virtually to Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s (from left to right): Associate Chief Quality Officer, Quality Assurance & Safety, Lori B. Key, MBA, RN, and Chief Quality & Value Officer, George T. Blike, MD, MHCDS (Photo: Business Wire)

“Each year, more than 200,000 patients die from preventable hospital errors in the U.S., and 4.8 million across the globe. Those numbers are simply not acceptable and unthinkable,” said David Mayer, MD, Patient Safety Movement Foundation CEO. “Our 5-Star Award acknowledges the commitment these organizations have made toward achieving ZERO preventable deaths. The leadership demonstrated by these leaders is a model others can follow in instituting best practices in patient care.”

Mayer virtually presented the award to Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Associate Chief Quality Officer, Quality Assurance & Safety, Lori B. Key, MBA, RN, and Chief Quality & Value Officer, George T. Blike, MD, MHCDS. You can view the presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yevVBFjc-3M&feature=youtu.be

This award is a result of the collective work of DHMC employees and leaders who adopted the principles of high reliability and demonstrate those behaviors by establishing safety behaviors, reporting opportunities to improve systems and processes, and by providing individual expertise in designing and implementing quality and safety improvements.

“We’re very honored to receive this award and very pleased to be part of this movement and committed to a group that has the philosophy of ‘all teach, all learn and all improving’ when it comes to patient safety,” said Blike. “The spirit of sharing, learning, growth and improvement is what we value as an organization.”

More than 4,793 hospitals across 48 countries have committed to implementing one or multiple of the APSS developed by the Patient Safety Movement Foundation workgroups. For more information about the 5-Star Hospital program, please visit:

5-Star Hospital Program

About Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health: DARTMOUTH-HITCHCOCK HEALTH (D-HH), New Hampshire’s only academic health system and the state’s largest private employer, serves a population of 1.9 million across northern New England. D-H provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH. DHMC was named again in 2020 as the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in 9 clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth-Hitchcock also includes the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 51 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation; the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the state’s only children’s hospital; affiliated member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene, and New London, NH, and Windsor, VT, and Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and

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health

Health officials ramp up flu shot efforts, including free vaccines at Audubon Zoo on Oct. 26 | The Latest | Gambit Weekly

Health officials at the Louisiana Department of Health and the City of New Orleans are asking Louisianans to roll up their shirt sleeves and get flu shots as they ramp up efforts to distribute these essential vaccines.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, for which there is still no vaccine or cure, health officials say it’s more important than ever to get the shot, especially because COVID-19 and the flu sometimes have similar symptoms and both can be fatal. They have for months warned of a “twin-demic” this fall and are concerned about overwhelmed hospitals, as the flu can also lead to lengthy stays and require medical care around the clock.

Dr. Gina Lagarde, the LDH’s regional medical director for the Northshore, said the health department will be conducting “mass vaccination exercises in each of the state’s regions” over the next several weeks, in partnerships with local pharmacies. The department will be making an extra effort to reach out to historically under-vaccinated populations, including low-income, rural and minority communities that frequently lack access to health care.

On Oct. 26, free vaccines will be available at the Audubon Zoo from 1 to 6 p.m., in partnership with New Orleans Health Department, New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and the Audubon Zoo. 

 “It is critical,” Lagarde told Gambit. “We worry about the surge to our emergency rooms. With the cold and flu season, we know the impact on our emergency rooms and in our hospitals. We need to get as many people as vaccinated as possible.”

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and the LDH have long recommended a yearly flu shot for everyone over 6 months of age and note that it’s especially crucial for people at higher risk of serious complications, including babies and young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions and citizens aged 65 years and older.

Most seasonal flu activity occurs between October and May, peaking between December and February. The LDH notes that the flu shot will not prevent COVID-19, but it will reduce the burden of the flu illness, hospitalizations and deaths. Though the flu is less fatal than COVID-19, both are highly contagious illnesses that can impact long-term health and require lengthy recovery periods.

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The Health 202: Emergency approval for a coronavirus vaccine could undermine efforts to keep researching it

A panel of independent experts is evaluating how the Food and Drug Administration is shepherding coronavirus vaccine development. 

This type of meeting would normally only attract interest from Wall Street analysts and those closely involved with vaccine development. But today’s gathering is attracting widespread attention given the pandemic’s high stakes and lagging public trust in the vaccine development process. 

The meeting, which will be live-streamed today, is widely viewed as reassurance that science, not the White House, is guiding the endeavor.

The unprecedented speed at which the vaccines are being developed has raised an ethical question.

Instead of waiting months or years to fully collect data on trial participants, developers are expected to apply to the FDA through an alternative pathway known as emergency use authorization. If an EUA is granted for a coronavirus vaccine, the vaccine could be given to certain high-risk populations to be spelled out by regulators.

The plan is to continue Phase 3 trials even while the vaccine is being distributed to select people, so researchers can get a fuller picture of how long the vaccine works and whether it causes side effects — and eventually apply for full authorization. 

But continuing the trials requires maintaining a placebo group of patients. One question the panel is likely to consider today is whether to allow the placebo group to get the vaccine once it’s available. 

If an EUA is approved, participants in that trial may want to know whether they received the vaccine – and if they didn’t, to get inoculated. 

But vaccinating the placebo group could undermine the ability of researchers to make ongoing, longer-term comparisons that help determine the efficacy and safety of the vaccine. 

There’s another challenge, too. There are currently 10 vaccine candidates in final-stage trials, according to The Washington Post’s tracker. If one gets emergency approval, patients in the other clinical trials may also want to know whether they received a placebo. If so, they also may be tempted to drop out of that trial so they could receive the approved vaccine.

“Issuance of EUA will likely slow down the trials,” said former FDA scientist Luciana Borio.

Vaccine manufacturers and other groups have raised concerns about this possibility.

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization wrote that it has an ethical obligation to inform trial participants that a vaccine may be available, saying “additional discussion is needed to determine how placebo-controlled trials can be maintained after an EUA is granted.”

“It is likely that any EUA issued for a covid-19 vaccine will have a broad impact on other covid-19 vaccines in development,” BIO wrote in comments submitted to the review panel.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which owns coronavirus vaccine developer Johnson & Johnson, submitted a letter outlining similar concerns.

“Once the first vaccines are licensed/authorized, this may lead willing volunteers to seek available vaccines over participating in ongoing trials,” the company wrote.

If the FDA approves use of the vaccine only for a narrow group of people, it could potentially minimize this risk. For example, if it

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