#mHealth, #PsychiatricServices, #FOCUSgroup, #WellnessRecoveryActionPlan, #WRAP, #PearTherapeutics; #Novartis, #JorisVanDam, #Woebot, #DrAlisonDarcy, #GoogleHangouts, #Apple'siMessage
Ottawa, June 5 (Canadian-Media): According to a recent study by mHealth published by Psychiatric Services it was revealed that compared to an in-person group therapy, mobile health interventions were as effective in treating patients with serious mental illness, media reports said.
“The mHealth intervention showed superior patient engagement and produced patient satisfaction and clinical and recovery outcomes that were comparable to those from a widely used clinic-based group intervention for illness management,” the authors of the study wrote.
The study included 163 patients, most of which were from a racial minority group, with serious long-term mental illnesses, including schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, and depressive disorder.
Participants were randomly assigned to the mobile health intervention group, called FOCUS or to the traditional clinic-based group intervention, called the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP),
Patients in the FOCUS group reportedly received a smartphone-delivered intervention that was designed for people with serious mental illnesses.
The technology is made up of an app, a clinician dashboard, and support from an mobile health specialist, which allows patients to access videos, audio clips, or written materials at any time of the day.
The users are prompted by the system to take daily assessments, which are relayed to the specialist.
Researchers found only 58 percent of patients in the traditional clinic-based intervention group stayed with the program, compared to 90 percent of participants that received their care through smartphones.
With the emerging world of apps, ranging from screening tools to coaching platforms, mental health platforms have become increasingly popular.
Pear Therapeutics, a digital therapeutics company with several platforms dedicated to treating mental illnesses is another notable company.
In March, Pear inked a deal with Novartis, a pharma company, to collaborate together to develop two digital therapeutics, including one for schizophrenia.
The company also has a platform for treating addiction.
“We’ve had a lot of experience and a lot of engagement with MS patients and clinicians treating MS patients,” Joris Van Dam, head of digital therapeutics at Novartis, told MobiHealthNews. “And what we’ve heard from them is over and above the symptoms they experience from MS itself, they’re really suffering from a mental health burden...We’re very excited about exploring a future where we can treat our patients with the best of drugs and the best of digital and we think that Pear Therapeutics is certainly among the best of digital today.”
Joris Van Dam/Courtesy of Novartis.com
Recently a mental health AI platform, Woebot was launched in February.
The app is designed to help users talk about their anxiety or depression and give them ways of coping.
“We have a huge issue of access [to mental health specialists], particularly globally,” Dr. Alison Darcy, CEO and founder of Woebot, told MobiHealthNews. “Woebot was created to be a fun and engaging way to talk about your mental health and look after mental health. It is drawn from cognitive behavioral therapy.”
“It can talk them through their thinking and helping them rewrite those thoughts,” Darcy said. “Up until now that practice hasn’t been available outside the [therapists’ office].”
Users can access the messaging function on the app — just like using Google Hangouts or Apple's iMessage, but instead of a person at the other end of the messages,
it's an artificial intelligence programmed to help users talk through their mental health using cognitive behavioral therapy principles.
#Kerala, #SouthernIndia, #DrIsaacBogoch; #WorldHealthOrganization, #HanaWeingartl
Ottawa, May 25 (Canadian-Media): There had been an outbreak of a rare brain-damaging Nipah virus in southern India, the first reported outbreak in the country, causing a alarm to the health officials working to treat those infected with the virus, media reports said.
"It's in the southern part of India, in Kerala, where it has never been seen before," said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at Toronto General Hospital who treats tropical diseases.
The virus had been blamed for reportedly 10 deaths including a nurse, in Kerala state, the epicentre of the outbreak.
Nipah Virus Infection. Image credit: Wikipedia
Beaches, the main tourist attraction of Kerala are not as busy as normal as due to many cancellations by the tourist agents in the beaches
The Kerala outbreak "is definitely a concern," Hana Weingartl, a research scientist and head of the special pathogens unit at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (CFIANCFAD) in Winnipeg, said. " As a scientist, I would like to know how bad it is, what it is, what is the transmission route."
The virus responsible for nearly 300 human cases and 100 deaths was, discovered in Malaysia in 1999, and is named after the Malaysian village where it was first identified.
People who eat fruit that's been in contact with bat, which are the natural reservoir of the disease, reportedly can pick up the infection, Bogoch said.
Fruit bats, source of Nipah virus. Image credit: Wikipedia
Although fever, chills, muscle aches and pain are the initial signs, ultimatetly the virus causes encephalitis, inflammation of the brain.
Some people suffer from seizures and headaches but severe inflammation can reportedly cause a coma.
Close contact with an infected person should be avoided either by health-care providers or family members.
Bogoch said that death rate ranges from 40 percent to 75 percent.
Many survivors of the virus are left with continuing problems. "Those can include cognitive deficits, some people are left with a seizure disorder afterwards and there's been reports of hearing and vision changes," Bogoch said.
In the absence of any specific treatment or commercial vaccine for humans or animals, prevention is the best recourse for managing the illness.
"In a way it's work which is a little bit invisible because we don't have Nipah virus in Canada, so people are not aware about the danger," Weingartl said in an interview and added,
"But internationally, it is important to be able to work with the virus and be prepared because the virus is changing, and similarly to influenza it is quite possible it can … obtain the ability to readily transmit from humans to humans."
Three candidate vaccines in animals had been tested in the lab, one intended for humans use eventually and the others for veterinary use.
But Companies reportedly did not find the vaccine as an attractive proposition
Of the three, the first was excellent, she said, but the company had decided not to follow up.
The second reportedly needed more work, and England and Australia are busy working on it.
The third alternative is being tested by Weingartl and her team.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#accuratediagnosis; #UnitedNationhealthagency; #WorldHealthOrganization, #WHO, #EssentialDiagnosticsList; #TedrosAdhanomGhebreyesus; #MariângelaSimão; #MarleyGhizzone
Geneva/Ottawa, May 16 (Canadian-Media): WHO published its first list of essential diagnostic tests May 15 to solve the prevalence of late or incorrect diagnoses and to globally improve treatment outcomes.
World Health Organization. Image credit: Twitter handle
“An accurate diagnosis is the first step to getting effective treatment,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general for WHO, said in a press release.
According to the release, WHO created the Essential Diagnostic List as a reference for countries to create personalized indexes of vital tests — similar to the Essential Medicines List WHO initially released in 1977.
As with the Essential Medicines List, WHO said it will regularly update the Essential Diagnostics List and will eventually expand it to include diagnostics that screen for antimicrobial resistance, emerging pathogens, neglected tropical diseases, and other noncommunicable diseases.
Patients not diagnosed quickly or correctly end up in developing infectious diseases leading to outbreaks; patients with with undiagnosed chronic diseases suffer health complications with their increased costs for treatment.
The list was reviewed by WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on In Vitro Diagnostics, according to the release.
It was also created by WHO through extensive internal and external consultation.
The Essential Diagnostics List comprises 113 products and focuses on in vitro tests of human specimens, such as blood and urine.
The list gives clear instructions whether a diagnostic test can be used in a primary health care setting or if it must be handled by a larger health facility with a lab.
The list also specifies each diagnostic by test type, intended use and format.
Furthermore, a wide range of common conditions can be screened by 58 of these tests and 55 in the list screen for “priority” diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis B and C, HPV and syphilis.
Some of the tests which do not require electricity or trained personnel, such as those that screen for diabetes or acute malaria in children, can be performed anywhere.
“Our aim is to provide a tool that can be useful to all countries, to test and treat better, but also to use health funds more efficiently by concentrating on the truly essential tests,” Mariângela Simão, MD, WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines, vaccines and pharmaceuticals, said in the release.
“Our other goal is to signal to countries and developers that the tests in the list must be of good quality, safe and affordable," said Marley Ghizzone.
#DemocraticRepublicofCongo; ##MédecinsSansFrontières, #Ebolavirusdisease; #EVD; #WorldHealthOrganization, #WHO, #InstitutNationaldeRechercheBiomédicale; #INRB; #IncidentManagementSystem; #PersonalProtectiveEquipment; #PPE; #ContingencyFundforEmergencies; #ProvincialDivisionofHealth; #DrPeterSalama; #EmergencyPreparednessandResponse; #DrMatshidisoMoeti; #DrAllarangarYokouide
Republic of Congo/Ottawa, May 12 (Canadian-Media): After confirmation of laboratory of two cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Bikoro in Equateur Province on May 8, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared a new outbreak EVD, media reports said.
The Ebola virus reportedly causes a serious illness, often fatal if untreated; average EVD fatality rate is around 50 percent.
The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
World Health Organization (WHO) -- established in 1948 and based in Geneva, is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health -- was informed by the Ministry of Health of Democratic of the Congo (DRC) that two out of five samples collected from five patient tested positive for EVD at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) in Kinshasa and more specimens are being collected for testing.
World Health Organization. Image credit: Official
When WHO learnt about the laboratory results, WHO set up its Incident Management System was set up within 24 hours of the outbreak being announced.
WHO deployed more than 50 experts to work closely with government and partners.and deployed epidemiologists, logisticians, clinicians, infection prevention and control experts, risk communications experts and vaccination support teams and to fully dedicate staff and resources across the organization to the response in the coming days.
The first multidisciplinary team comprised of experts from WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières and Provincial Division of Health travelled today to Bikoro -- situated in Equateur Province on the shores of Lake Tumba in the north-western part of the country near the Republic of the Congo -- to strengthen coordination and investigations.
An effective response to the 2017 EVD outbreak was achieved through the timely alert by local authorities of suspect cases, immediate testing of blood samples due to strengthened national laboratory capacity, and support of international partners, and speedy access to flexible funding.
WHO released US$ 1 million from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies to support response activities for the next three months with the goal of stopping the spread of Ebola to surrounding provinces and countries and also alerted neighbouring countries.
WHO will also reportedly be determining supply needs and help fill gaps, such as for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
“Our top priority is to get to Bikoro to work alongside the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and partners to reduce the loss of life and suffering related to this new Ebola virus disease outbreak,” said Dr Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General, Emergency Preparedness and Response. “Working with partners and responding early and in a coordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease.”
#InternationalDayofMidwife, #WorldHealthOrganization, #HandHygieneDay, #AgendaforSustainableDevelopment; #InternationalConfederationofMidwives
New York, May 5 (Canadian-Media): The International Day of the Midwife (IDM), observed every year on May 5 recognizes the important role played by these healthcare professionals helping mothers, and expectant-mothers, make informed, healthy choices for themselves and their babies and in preventing maternal and newborn deaths, media reports said.
it was first launched by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) on May 5, in 1992 and since then this day is globally celebrated as IDM.
Midwife reportedly is a professional specializing in pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, women's sexual and reproductive health
The theme for this year’s observance of the IDM is: “Midwives leading the way with quality care.”
Ahead of the observance of IDM, Elizabeth Iro, World Health Organization's (WHO)'s chief Nursing Officer, said everywhere communities were best served when midwives work together with mothers and their newborns.
“This is based on research that demonstrates that not only is continuity of care preferred by women but also that there are profound impacts, including a 24 per cent reduction in pre-term births,” said Iro
According to evidence, added Iro, 87 percent of the needs of women and newborns are reportedly met by professionally-qualified midwives and also highlighted the importance of the role of midwives on tpe globally-agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Midwife performing ultrasound. Image credit: Wikipedia
Progress on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health being key health targets to meet development goal Iro said that this puts midwives at the centre of delivering this agenda.
“As midwives we have come a long way” she said, “to help all women, newborns and their families to not only survive but to thrive and transform the world we live in.”
Hand Hygiene Day is also being observed today, highlighting the importance of washing your hands regularly to ward off infections or disease.
“It’s in your hands: prevent sepsis in health care”, is the theme this year.
“Join us and be a champion promoting hand hygiene and preventing sepsis in health care,” said Iro.
Iro said that this practice is all the more important for midwives, as sepsis – a life-threatening condition – affects three million newborns, can kill up to five hundred thousand before they are a month old, and causes one in ten maternal deaths.