January 31, 2020

When an epidemic has the same name as a popular beer...

Cue not only widespread panic, but also a disturbing level of severely confused folks. Recent Google search trends are finding that there is also a large number of searches for "corona beer virus" in North America and Western Europe. As of January 30th, more than 8,100 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in mainland China. Over 200 people have been declared dead, while nearly 60 million people across China are under full or partial lockdown. Additionally, there have been over 900 confirmed cases outside of china, with at least five of those being in the US. While these numbers are certainly not welcoming to hear, there's no need to be alarmed (yet); keep in mind that the normal flu causes between 12,000-60,000 deaths per year in the US.

Illinois becomes second state to make insulin affordable again

Last Friday, Illinois became the second state in the US to cap the price of insulin. (Colorado was the first to do so in May of 2019.) The bill keeps the out-of-pocket cost to a maximum of $100 for a 30-day supply (check out last week's Handoff to see why this is such a big deal). While some advocates argue that this bill doesn't go far enough in making insulin affordable to all who need it, it's certainly a step in the right direction. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker had this to say: "Health care is a right for all, not a privilege, and that is why I am so proud that we created an insulin price cap that successfully puts patients above profit."

A replacement for exercise? Sign us up! —

A recent study conducted by the medicine research team at Michigan Health Lab found that we might be able to replicate the benefits of exercise with the use of a naturally existing protein called Sestrin. Sestrin accumulates in muscles following exercise and is now associated with improved endurance, aerobic capacity, respiration, and fat burning. Researchers found that when tested on flies and mice, Sestrin alone, without actual exercise, could produce these benefits. This is incredibly exciting news because it gets us one step closer to a treatment for people whose activity is limited by acute injury or chronic illness.

What wellness trends your patients are following in 2020 —

Whether or not you believe the hype, these are the latest wellness trends your patients are going to be putting in, on, and around their bodies in 2020. The Global Wellness Summit (GWS), the largest annual conference for the leaders of the wellness industry, released its 2020 report identifying 10 future wellness trends: from focusing on circadian health to rebranding the idea of "aging" to the rise of "wellness" music.

A new approach to treating dementia —

Time machines. Well, not exactly. Jean Makesh, CEO of Lantern assisted living facilities knew something had to change in the way we treat elderly patients with Alzheimers and dementia, so he came up with an indoor facility that mimics the outside world (particularly that of the 1940s and 50s). Each patient gets their own "home" in a large hallway "neighborhood," detailed with a changing sky (the lighting matches patients' circadian rhythm throughout the day), carpet that looks like grass, and even aromatherapy that is meant to calm and soothe. He believes that patients will eventually be able to live independently in this environment (and maybe even outside the facility).

This doctor is going the extra mile —

Dr. Robert Parry, Director of Pediatric Surgery at Akron Children's Hospital, has been helping children adjust and cope with major surgeries by hand drawing incredible pieces of childrens' favorite cartoon or animal over their wound dressings. Dr. Parry is a great example and testament to how impactful a little extra effort can be to a patient, especially a young one.

Clockin' Out ✌

Unfortunately, a banana bag in the ER will not cure your coronavirus.