A Breath of Hope: Navigating the Landscape of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among American men and women, accounting for about 1 in 5 of all cancer deaths. Every year, more people die of lung cancer than prostate, colon and breast cancers combined. But as the American Cancer Society points out, the number of new cases continues to drop, partly because more people are quitting smoking (or avoiding tobacco altogether) and also because of advances in early detection and treatment.This article will uncover the latest treatment options and supportive resources available to lung cancer patients and their loved ones. We'll also give insights into the complexities of lung cancer and the ongoing efforts to improve outcomes and quality of life for the people affected by this disease.

Understanding Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the lungs. When lung cells start growing out of control, they form tumors that can interfere with the lung's ability to function appropriately. Over time, these cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body if undetected.

There are two main lung cancer types: small-cell and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Risk Factors for Lung Cancer

Lung cancer can affect anyone. According to the American Lung Association, about 238,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in the US every year, and about 604,000 are living with it. Here are some risk factors:

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Symptoms vary based on the type of lung cancer, its stage, and other factors. For example, stage 1 lung cancer symptoms can be subtle or nonspecific, and in some cases, individuals may not experience any symptoms at all. With that said, here are some common symptoms that do occur:

Please note that many of these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, and not everyone with lung cancer will experience all of these symptoms. However, if you experience any persistent or concerning symptoms, especially if you're at risk, you should talk to your doctor for checks and tests. Early detection and treatment can significantly improve outcomes for people with lung cancer.

Lung Cancer Survival Rates

The overall five-year lung cancer survival rate is relatively low compared to many other types of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society:

The relative five-year survival rates for small-cell lung cancer are as follows:

The relative five-year survival rates for non-small cell lung cancer are as follows:

The lower survival rate is mainly due to many patients being diagnosed in later stages. It's important to remember that survival rates are general estimates and may not accurately predict one's prognosis.

Medical Evaluation and Diagnosis

Diagnosis typically begins with a thorough medical evaluation, including physical examination, a review of the patient's medical history, and imaging tests like chest X-ray, CT scan, and PET scan.

A biopsy is often performed to confirm the presence of lung cancer and determine its type and subtype. This involves the removal of a small tissue sample from the lung or lymph nodes for examination under a microscope.

Treatment and Care

Lung cancer treatment varies based on factors like the type of cancer, its stage and the patient's medical history. Generally, treatment includes:

Surgery

Lung cancer patients with early-stage cancer who are deemed suitable candidates can get surgery. Surgery removes the lung tumor and any affected surrounding tissue or lymph nodes and can be all the treatment needed.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy, either alone or in combination with other treatments, may be used to shrink tumors, prevent cancer from spreading, or alleviate symptoms in advanced stages of lung cancer.

Radiotherapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to target and kill cancer cells. It may be used as the primary treatment or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy, particularly for tumors that cannot be surgically removed.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy boosts the body's immune system to fight cancer cells. It's often used for advanced lung cancer or when other treatments haven't worked. The FDA has approved two immunotherapy drugs, pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and atezolizumab (Tecentriq), as adjuvant treatments after surgery and chemotherapy for some people with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy drugs target specific genetic mutations or alterations present in cancer cells. They are particularly effective in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients harboring gene mutations such as EGFR, ALK, ROS1, or BRAF. Some examples of targeted therapies include EGFR inhibitors, anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitors, BRAF Inhibitors, ROS1 Inhibitors, etc.

Supportive Care

Patients with metastatic or advanced lung cancer can get palliative care, which addresses symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and emotional distress. Doctors may also recommend symptom management strategies like medications, physical therapy, breathing exercises, and nutritional support to alleviate the side effects of treatment and improve overall well-being. 

And since lung cancer diagnosis and treatment take a toll on patients and their families, counseling, support groups, and other psychosocial interventions are critical. Psychological support could make it easier for people to navigate the challenges of living with lung cancer.

Follow-Up Care

Regular follow-up appointments with healthcare providers are essential for monitoring treatment response, managing side effects, and addressing new symptoms or concerns.

The doctor may perform imaging tests, blood tests, and other diagnostic procedures periodically to assess disease status and detect any recurrence or progression of lung cancer.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are always ongoing to explore new treatment approaches for cancer, mainly through immunotherapies. One area of focus in clinical trials involves investigating combinations of immunotherapies with or without chemotherapy to enhance their effectiveness in treating various types of cancer, including lung cancer. Targeted therapies are also becoming increasingly available for advanced lung cancer, and more are in development.

Science 37 also offers a series of clinical trials that provide an opportunity for people with lung and breathing disorders. If you wish to join our decentralized clinical trials and help advance medical research for lung cancer care, you can sign up today.

Beyond the Surface: Illuminating Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancers are a group of cancers that affect different tissues of the head and neck area. While they often start in the throat, mouth, larynx, salivary glands, and sinuses, they can also develop in other parts of the head and neck, including the nasal cavity and pharynx.This blog will explore the complexities of head and neck cancer, including the risk factors and treatment. We'll also discuss the challenges patients and caregivers face and the latest advancements in diagnosis and care, thanks to clinical trials and research initiatives.

Understanding Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer refers to several types of cancers that start in the cells lining your throat, mouth or voice box. In some cases, head and neck cancers form in the salivary glands or sinuses.

Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for 90% of all head and neck cancers. It arises from the squamous cells, which are flat, thin cells that line the surfaces of the mucous membranes in the head and neck region.

Other less common types include mucoepidermoid carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, and lymphomas, among others. Each type of cancer may have different risk factors, presentations, and treatment approaches.

Types of Head and Neck Cancers

Some common types of head and neck cancer include:

Despite their anatomical proximity to the head and neck region, thyroid, esophageal, eye, and brain cancers are not typically classified as head and neck cancers. Each of these cancers arises from distinct tissues and structures with different embryological origins and functions, leading to differences in their classification, diagnosis, and management.

Who is at Risk for Head and Neck Cancers?

Anyone can develop head and neck cancer. However, some people may have a higher predisposition due to various risk factors. Here are some high risk groups:

People Who Smoke or Chew Tobacco

Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc., use is a significant risk factor for head and neck cancers. Tobacco smoke contains numerous carcinogens that can damage the cells lining the upper respiratory and digestive tracts, leading to the development of cancer. Chewing tobacco is also linked to an increased risk of cheek, gum and mouth cancer.

People who Drink Alcohol

Chronic and heavy alcohol consumption, especially when combined with tobacco use, further elevates the risk of developing head and neck cancer. Alcohol can act as a solvent, allowing carcinogens from tobacco smoke to penetrate the lining of the mouth, throat, and esophagus more easily.

People With Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection

Infection with certain high-risk strains of HPV have been associated with an increased risk of oropharyngeal cancers. HPV-related head and neck cancers are more common in younger people. This underscores the importance of HPV vaccine as a preventive measure.

People Who Work in Certain Environments

Exposure to certain substances like asbestos, wood dust, formaldehyde, and certain chemicals used in the manufacturing or construction industries can increase the risk of developing head and neck cancer. People working in environments with high levels of these carcinogens may have an elevated risk.

Other Risk Factors

Other risk factors include genetic predisposition, age and gender as well as poor oral hygiene and nutrition.

Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancers

Head and neck cancers can manifest with different symptoms based on stage, and location. They include:

These symptoms can happen due to other conditions other than cancer. But if they persist for more than a few weeks or are accompanied by other concerning symptoms, you should seek medical help for further assessment and diagnosis. Early detection and prompt treatment can improve prognosis and treatment outcomes for people with head and neck cancer.

Treatment Options

Head and neck cancer treatment varies based on the stage, location and types of the cancer. But factors like the patient's overall health and preferences also come to play. Treatment modalities may include:

Surgery

This is the removal of the tumor and affected lymph nodes. It can be done alone or in combination with other treatments. Surgery aims to get rid of the cancerous tissue while preserving essential functions and structures. It is usually done for cancers that have not spread to other parts of the body.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy targets and destroys cancer cells with high-energy radiation beams. It is used as the primary treatment or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may be delivered externally (external beam radiation) or internally (brachytherapy).

Chemotherapy

Powerful drugs are administered either orally or intravenously to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. Chemotherapy may be used alone or in combination with other treatments, like surgery or radiation therapy.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy drugs specifically target certain molecules involved in cancer growth and progression, offering a more precise treatment approach. These drugs may be used for cancers that express specific molecular markers.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy drugs work by harnessing the body's immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. Immunotherapy may be used as a standalone treatment or in combination with other therapies for certain types of head and neck cancer.

Challenges of Navigating Head and Neck Cancers

Head and neck cancer patients and caregivers face a myriad of challenges, ranging from physical discomfort and difficulty eating and speaking to emotional distress and financial strain. The complex nature of treatment, potential long-term side effects, and impact on quality of life further compound these challenges.

Patients often grapple with changes in appearance, loss of function, and uncertainties about the future, while caregivers navigate the demands of providing support and managing practical aspects of care. Additionally, accessing comprehensive care and navigating the healthcare system can be daunting.

Advancements in Diagnosis and Care

However, advancements in diagnosis and care offer hope in navigating these challenges. These initiatives, driven by research from clinical trials are exploring innovative diagnostic techniques, targeted therapies, immunotherapies, and supportive care interventions that aim to improve outcomes and enhance the quality of life for head and neck cancer patients.

Clinical trials like those offered by Science 37 test new therapies and technologies and provide valuable insights into effective approaches for managing the disease. They also pave the way for personalized treatment strategies customized to the unique needs of each individual.If you or someone you know is facing a diagnosis of head, neck, or throat cancer, you could benefit from a clinical trial. Science 37 is actively seeking individuals diagnosed with cancers of the oropharynx, hypopharynx, or larynx. Click here to see if you qualify. Your participation could be a vital contribution to the ongoing fight against head and neck cancer.

Understanding the Threat of C. diff Infections

Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection is a severe threat to public health. According to the US Department of Health, the Clostridioides difficile germ causes about 500,000 infections in the US each year. Sadly, an estimated 1 in 6 patients who get the infection will get it again in the subsequent 2 to 8 weeks.

This article will help you understand the causes, treatment options, and preventative measures that you can take to mitigate the risk of infection. We'll also highlight potential new treatments through clinical trials by Science 37.

What is Clostridioides difficile (C. diff)?

C. diff, short for Clostridioides difficile, is a type of germ (bacterium) that can cause severe infections in humans. This germ is common and can be found in many different settings where it can quickly spread among people who are already sick or vulnerable.

Infection happens when you come into contact with the bacterium, either by touching or ingesting food from contaminated surfaces. Once it enters your body, C. diff produces toxins that attack the lining of your large intestine, causing inflammation and damage. This leads to the unpleasant symptoms that characterize a C. diff infection.

The tricky part is that C. diff bacterium loves it when your gut environment is thrown off balance – like when you take antibiotics to fight off another infection. Antibiotics tend to wipe out the good bacteria in your gut that keep C. diff in check, giving it a chance to multiply and cause more health issues.

Why is C. diff So Contagious

The C. diff germ is tough. It forms spores like little protective shells that allow it to survive in harsh conditions. The spores resist acid, heat, and many disinfectants and antibiotics. So, even if someone with C. diff leaves a room, those spores can stick around and infect someone who comes into contact with them.

The germ is also good at spreading through the fecal-oral route. This implies that the bacteria may be present in feces and subsequently transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces. This can lead to potential ingestion when individuals touch their mouth.

In places like hospitals, where there are many sick people and opportunities for contact with contaminated surfaces, C. diff can quickly find new hosts. C. diff is one of the most common infectious diseases in the US.

C. diff Risk Factors

Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is usually a side effect of antibiotics. But it can also happen to people with conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, and immunosuppression because of the compromised immune system. Other risk factors include age and hospitalization or institutionalization.

Symptoms of CDI

CDI impacts range from mild discomfort to something much more severe. For some people, it might just mean a few days of feeling “under the weather”, but for others, especially those who are already dealing with health issues like blood pressure, kidney failure, etc., it can be downright life-threatening. Let's explore some common symptoms of C. difficile:

C. diff symptoms may resemble stomach flu or food poisoning at first; however, they stick around longer. In some cases, the symptoms are very severe and life-threatening. As CDI cases continue to increase and treatments become more refractory, experts say more patients will have C. diff-associated toxic megacolon in the future. C. diff has been shown to cause about 15,000 deaths each year in the US alone.

What Does C. diff Stool Look Like?

If you're on antibiotics, it's easy to mistake C. diff diarrhea for an average side effect. But basically, C. diff stool is mushy or porridge-like diarrhea that lasts for several days. It might have some green tint and occasionally contain pus, mucus, or blood.

You should also note that the CDI may happen without diarrhea. That's usually because some people have other medications or health conditions that affect their bowels and may prevent diarrhea.

Preventative Measures to Mitigate the Risk of Infection

Here are some critical steps you can take to protect yourself and others from C. diff:

C. diff Treatment Options

Typically, antibiotics are the go-to treatment to combat the infection. Medications such as metronidazole, vancomycin, or fidaxomicin are commonly prescribed to help treat C. diff infections. Alternative treatments may be necessary in some cases, particularly with recurrent infections or severe cases. One such treatment is fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), where healthy bacteria from a donor stool are transplanted into the patient's gut to restore a healthy balance of bacteria and eliminate C. diff.

Despite these treatment options, C. diff infections can be challenging to manage, with recurrence being common. This is why organizations like Science 37 are engaged in developing innovative solutions to address this persistent problem. Through gastrointestinal-focused clinical trials, Science 37 aims to explore new avenues for treating C. diff infections and reducing the likelihood of recurrence. These trials may involve testing novel medications, alternative treatment methods, or innovative approaches such as microbiome modulation.

If you or someone you know has experienced the challenges of C. diff infections or is concerned about the risks associated with this bacterium, participating in a clinical trial with Science 37 could offer hope for better outcomes. Such trials give you access to the most advanced treatments and allow you to be a part of the scientific community's efforts to combat C. diff infections.

Science 37 Gastrointestinal Clinical Trials

If you want to learn more about participating in a gastrointestinal-focused clinical trial with Science 37, we encourage you to contact us directly or speak with your healthcare provider. Our trials are ongoing, seamless, and decentralized, meaning you can participate from the comfort of your own home. We also provide compensation for your efforts.

Together, we can make strides towards finding innovative solutions for managing gastrointestinal conditions like C. diff infections. Your involvement could pave the way for better treatment options and improved outcomes for individuals worldwide.

Itching for Answers: Understanding Cholestatic Pruritus in PSC and PBC

A healthy liver produces bile, which helps with digestion and overall body function. Bile, a greenish-yellow fluid, flows freely through bile ducts to the small intestine to break down fats and facilitate the absorption of nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K. This seamless process maintains digestive health and overall well-being. However, conditions like primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) disrupt bile flow and lead to complications like cholestatic pruritus.

What is Cholestatic Pruritus?

Cholestatic pruritus is a type of itching sensation due to impaired bile flow in conditions like PSC and PBC. Normally, bile produced by the liver flows through bile ducts to the small intestine, aiding digestion and nutrient absorption. However, in PSC and PBC, this flow is disrupted due to inflammation, scar tissue, or damage to the bile ducts.

As bile flow becomes impaired, bile acids accumulate in the bloodstream. These accumulated biles trigger various neurological and immunological responses, leading to the sensation of itching. The itching is usually intense, and those who experience it describe it as maddening.

Cholestatic pruritus typically affects the skin all over the body and worsens at night. It can be so severe that it disrupts sleep and significantly impacts your quality of life.

What Causes Cholestatic Pruritus?

The primary cause of cholestatic pruritus w/ PSC or PBC is chronic liver disease that happens when bile blockage in the biliary system or the liver cells fail to secrete bile. In PSC, inflammation scars and narrows the bile ducts, thereby obstructing bile flow. In PBC, damage to the small bile ducts within the liver disrupts the normal flow of bile. When bile flow is impaired, bile acid and Lysophosphatidic acid accumulate in the bloodstream, leading to systemic effects, including pruritus.

Apart from PSC and PBC, several other diseases and conditions can cause cholestatic liver disease, leading to cholestatic pruritus. Some of these include:

What are the symptoms of Cholestatic Pruritus?

Cholestatic liver disease can cause various symptoms that affect your body's digestion and overall well-being. Here are some common side effects of the condition:

Cholestatic Pruritus Diagnosis

Diagnosing cholestatic pruritus involves a few steps:

First, doctors look for symptoms like intense itching, especially at night, and examine the skin for any signs of scratching or irritation. They'll also ask about any underlying liver conditions or other health issues you might have.

Next, they may order blood and liver function tests to check liver function and levels of bile acids in your blood. These tests help determine if there's a problem with bile flow in your liver. Sometimes, additional tests like imaging studies (like computed tomography) or a liver biopsy might be needed to get a clearer picture of what's going on inside your liver.

Once all the information is gathered, your doctor will be able to make a diagnosis of cholestatic pruritus and work with you to develop a treatment plan to manage your symptoms and address any underlying liver issues.

Cholestatic Pruritus Treatment

Treating cholestatic pruritus can be a bit tricky because it involves dealing with the underlying liver condition that's causing it. So, the first step is to treat whatever's going on with your liver. This might involve procedures to clear any blockages in the bile ducts or stopping medications that could be causing the problem.

If your itching is mild, you might find relief by using moisturizers or lotions. These can help soothe the itchiness and keep your skin hydrated.

But if those simple measures don't cut it, your doctor might prescribe cholestyramine. It's a resin medication that works like a sponge, soaking up excess bile in your body and helping to get rid of it.

If cholestyramine doesn't do the trick, your doctor might consider giving you a medication called rifampicin, which works to relieve the symptoms by lowering lysophosphatidic acid levels. However, the adverse effects, like liver and kidney issues, may reduce its effectiveness in people with liver disease.

There are also drugs called opioid antagonists that can block specific receptors in your body involved in the itch sensation. If you are pregnant and are itching because of hepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, your doctor may recommend ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), which helps improve bile flow and can also reduce itching.

In more severe cases, your doctor might suggest UV light therapy, which involves exposing your skin to a specific type of light. This can sometimes help ease the itching. And if things are really serious and you're dealing with end-stage liver disease, your doctor might talk to you about the possibility of a liver transplant. It's a big step, but it can be a life-saving option for some people.

Everyone's situation is different, so it's essential to work closely with your healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for you. They'll consider things like the severity of your symptoms and any other health conditions you might have to devise a plan that works best for you.

Latest Research and Treatment Approaches

There have been exciting advances in treating cholestatic pruritus in recent years thanks to ongoing research and clinical trials. Clinical trials test new therapies and help researchers explore innovative treatments, improve existing therapies, and ultimately enhance the quality of life for people affected by cholestatic pruritus.

Check out Science 37 clinical trials to learn more about clinical trials for cholestatic pruritus or other liver-related conditions. Science 37 takes a decentralized approach to clinical trials, making participation more accessible and convenient for people across diverse geographical locations. Visit our website to learn more about current trials and find out how you can get involved in advancing medical research and improving healthcare outcomes for everyone with this condition.

Unraveling Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Insights into a Growing Health Concern

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus is the most common type of diabetes. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 38.4 million Americans have diabetes, and 95% of the cases are type 2 diabetes. The condition mostly affects people 45 years and older, but more and more young adults, teens, and children are also developing it.

What is Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition that happens when your body becomes unable to use insulin or produce enough of it to maintain normal glucose levels. Healthy glucose (blood sugar) levels are 72 to 99 mg/dl before meals and less than 140 mg/dl two hours after meals.If you have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, your blood sugar levels consistently measure 126 mg/dl or above. 

In type 2 diabetes, there are two major issues: either the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, or the cells in the body don't respond properly to insulin.

Insufficient Insulin Production by the Pancreas

Normally, your pancreas produces insulin, a hormone crucial for regulating blood sugar levels. However, when you have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas doesn't make enough insulin, or sometimes it doesn't work as effectively as it should. This means there's insufficient insulin to help glucose get into your cells, leaving too much sugar circulating in your bloodstream.

Poor Response of Cells to Insulin

In some cases, the pancreas manages to produce insulin. However, the cells in your body may not respond to it properly. This means that even though insulin is available, the cells don't open up enough to let glucose in. As a result, sugar builds up in the bloodstream, resulting in high blood sugar levels, a hallmark of type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms and Risk Factors for T2D Mellitus

Type 2 diabetes is often sneaky – it can develop slowly over many years, and sometimes, you might not even notice any symptoms at all. That's why it's crucial to understand the risk factors. These are like warning signs that could indicate you're at higher risk of developing diabetes.

You should talk to your doctor if any of these risk factors sound familiar. Your doctor will perform a simple blood test to check your sugar levels and see if you're at risk of diabetes. Remember, catching it early can make a big difference in managing it effectively. With that said, some common type 2 diabetes symptoms include:

Complications

Diabetes Mellitus affects major organs, including kidneys, eyes, nerves, blood vessels, and the heart. Besides, its risk factors are also risk factors for other critical conditions. Therefore, it's crucial to manage and control blood sugar levels as this lowers the risk for diabetes mellitus and other medical complications like:

Prevention and Management

A healthy lifestyle choice is key to preventing type 2 diabetes. Even if you've been told you have insulin resistance or pre-diabetes, meaning your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet in the diabetic range, there's a lot you can do to prevent it from progressing further. Here's how:

Diagnosis and Screening

Diagnosing type 2 diabetes mellitus typically involves blood tests to measure fasting plasma glucose levels, oral glucose tolerance tests, and HbA1c levels. These tests indicate average blood sugar levels over the past few months. Screening guidelines recommend regular testing for those at high risk, including those with a family history of diabetes, obesity, or other risk factors.

Monitoring and Complications Prevention

Regularly monitoring blood glucose levels, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and kidney function is essential for preventing diabetes-related complications. This includes screening for eye problems (retinopathy), nerve damage (neuropathy), kidney disease (nephropathy), cardiovascular disease, and foot complications. Early detection and proactive management can help minimize the risk of complications and improve long-term outcomes.

Join Science 37 Type 2 Diabetes Clinical Trial

The quest for better treatments and advancements in diabetes care continues. Clinical trials help in this journey, as they pave the way for discovering new treatments and improving existing ones. If you're interested in contributing to advancing knowledge about type 2 diabetes and potentially accessing cutting-edge treatments, consider participating in our clinical trial.

Science 37 offers clinical trials to explore new avenues for managing type 2 diabetes. Join our clinical trial today and participate in the journey towards improved health and well-being for people with type 2 diabetes.

Decoding Asthma: Advances in Clinical Trials for Improved Management

Asthma management has come a long way, with recent strides in clinical trials and medical research opening new avenues for improved care. Earlier, the focus was primarily on relieving symptoms through bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory medications. However, the persistence of asthma-related emergency room visits shows the need for better solutions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the frequency of ER visits remained relatively constant from 2010 through 2018, with a much higher rate among children than adults.

Clinical trials are looking to change that by introducing innovative approaches to asthma management. One such groundbreaking initiative is the investigational budesonide/albuterol combo inhaler, which is currently being tested in clinical trials. This novel inhaler aims to offer a quick relief  for acute asthma symptoms and address the underlying inflammation that often leads to severe attacks.

Understanding the Impacts of Asthma

Asthma patients often have a slight swelling inside the airways of the lungs. Swelling makes airways extra sensitive with cold air, dust mites, pet dander, tobacco smoke, emotions, air pollution, fumes, and chemicals, for those with occupational asthma. The slightest exposure to these triggers can cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness, among other symptoms. One study found that the symptoms are more severe or life-threatening for asthma patients who are sick with flu due to a compromised or weakened immune system.

When an asthma flare-up happens, the inside of the airways swells further and may increase mucus production. This narrows the passageways through which air moves in and out of the lungs, making breathing difficult. This exacerbation of airflow restriction leads to what’s called an asthma attack or episode.

The Perils of Persistent Inflammation

Persistent inflammation in the airways contributes to a cycle of recurrent symptoms and poses the risk of irreversible damage. The American Lung Association highlights that poorly controlled asthma can lead to airway remodeling, a serious condition characterized by structural changes in the airways. These changes, including thickening of smooth muscle, increased mucus production, and alterations in the airway walls, are associated with a decline in lung function and severe health risks.

Why is Asthma Management Important?

The primary goal of asthma management is to break the cycle of inflammation, preventing the progression to airway remodeling. Timely and effective interventions can mitigate the risks associated with structural changes in the airways. Chronic symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath can significantly impact daily activities. Effective asthma management allows you to lead a more normal life, participating in work, exercise, and other daily activities without constant concern about symptom exacerbation.

Reasons to Participate in Asthma Clinical Trials

Clinical trials can be a great asthma action plan for those who want to try out more advanced and effective solutions for managing your asthma. Let’s explore some benefits of participating in these screening trials.

Early Access to Cutting-Edge Treatments

Participating in clinical trials gives you the unique advantage of gaining early access to innovative and cutting-edge treatments that may not yet be widely available. As a participant, you become one of the first to experience the potential benefits of groundbreaking treatments specifically designed to address the challenges of asthma.

These treatments often represent advancements in medication development, or more targeted approaches. Early access can be especially advantageous if you have not responded well to standard treatments or seek alternatives that offer superior efficacy.

Tailored Approaches for Better Outcomes

Some clinical trials incorporate a personalized or tailored approach to treatment. This means that researchers consider individual characteristics, such as genetic factors to design interventions uniquely suited to each participant. This level of customization increases the likelihood of positive outcomes by addressing the specific nuances of each participant's asthma.

Tailored approaches may involve adjusting dosages, modifying treatment regimens, or incorporating additional treatments based on the participant's response. This personalized care enhances the effectiveness of the intervention, potentially resulting in improved symptom control and overall asthma management.

Active Contribution to Medical Progress

Participating in clinical trials allows you to actively contribute to advancing medical knowledge and progress. When you volunteer for these studies, you become an integral contributor to the scientific community's understanding of asthma, its underlying mechanisms, and the effectiveness of new treatments.

This contribution extends beyond personal benefit and has a broader impact on the development of future treatment strategies. You play a crucial role in shaping the landscape of asthma care, helping researchers refine existing approaches and pave the way for more effective and targeted interventions. This sense of active participation fosters a collective effort toward improving asthma management not just for you but for the broader population.

Empowerment through Knowledge

Clinical trial participation allows you to gain in-depth knowledge about your condition and the latest advancements in asthma management. You become an informed participant, understanding the intricacies of the treatments being tested, potential benefits, and any associated risks or side effects. This knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions about your healthcare, fostering a sense of control and active involvement in your treatment plan.

Compensation For your Effort

Many clinical trials compensate participants for their time, effort, and inconvenience. This compensation may include financial reimbursement, coverage of medical expenses related to the trial, or other forms of recognition. While compensation is not the primary motivation for participation, it acknowledges the value of your contribution while recognizing your commitment to advancing medical research.

Science 37 Asthma Clinical Trials

If you or someone close to you is interested in participating in asthma clinical trials, Science 37 offers a unique and convenient opportunity.

As a participant in their lung disease clinical trials, you will have potential access to the investigational treatments. You might also receive up to $350 as an acknowledgment of the value of your participation. And the best part is it's a home-based study, so you will participate from the comfort of your home.

Healing Hearts: Advancements in Clinical Trials for Heart Disease

Cardiovascular disease is a pressing issue in the United States, affecting a substantial portion of the population. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 50% of all US adults have some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This reality means researchers and clinicians are invested nationwide in developing better interventions and treatments to address the rising prevalence of heart disease among Americans.

Clinical trials are at the forefront of the concerted effort to address heart disease in the United States. With an estimated 17.9 million lives lost each year globally due to cardiovascular diseases, the urgency to develop better interventions and treatments has never been more pressing. In this landscape, clinical trials emerge as pivotal platforms for innovation, research, and progress in the quest for healing hearts. Organizations like Science 37 are leading the charge by enabling universal trial access for patients.

Understanding the Impact of Cardiovascular Diseases in the US

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes CVDs as a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels that include hypertension, rheumatic heart disease, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation (AFib), cerebrovascular disease, etc. Over 4 in 5 cardiovascular deaths in the US are as a result of strokes or heart attacks, and a third of these deaths happen prematurely in people under 70 years old.

Heart disease symptoms vary based on the type of heart condition and range from mild to life-threatening. Conditions like coronary artery disease reduce blood flow to the heart and other body parts and can lead to chest pains, stroke, or heart attack. On the other hand, the symptoms of irregular heartbeats include dizziness, chest pain/discomfort, slow heartbeat, and, in some cases, cardiac arrest.

The exact cause of heart disease is unknown, but there are many risk factors like smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, family history, inactivity, obesity, etc. The more risk factors one has, the higher the chances of developing the condition. CVD is the leading cause of death in the US – it claims a life every 33 seconds.

The good news is, heart disease can be managed effectively with a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, and, in some cases, surgery. Treatment plans may include medications like beta blockers, statins, blood thinners, diuretics, and procedures like coronary angioplasty, Coronary artery bypass graft, and heart transplant.

Current Clinical Trial Landscape in Heart Disease Medicine

Clinical trials for heart disease have played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of cardiac care. The earliest trials were done in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until the 70s and 80s that the results of clinical trials profoundly impacted the management and treatment of heart disease.

Before the outcomes of the first trial in the late 60s, medical decisions were anecdote-based, guided by untested therapies and confounded observational studies. The emergence of clinical trial outcomes challenged these practices, introducing a new era of evidence-based medicine for heart disease.

The overarching goal in treating heart disease has always been to alleviate symptoms and enhance the quality of life for patients. However, the approach to achieving these goals has evolved over the years through distinct periods of medical progress.

The treatment strategies employed today are not confined to singular goals but rather encompass a comprehensive mix aimed at improving symptoms, correcting disease markers, and enhancing overall clinical outcomes.

There’s also a significant shift towards patient-centric care. Participants are not just subjects; they are active contributors to the advancement of scientific knowledge. Inclusive participation ensures that diverse populations are represented, enhancing the generalizability of trial findings and promoting equitable access to emerging therapies.

Innovative Approaches to Heart Disease Treatment

Medical professionals and researchers are continuously working toward developing innovative treatments to combat CVDs. Clinical trials are exploring minimally invasive surgeries, new medications, and lifestyle interventions to help restore blood flow, prevent further damage to the heart, and improve the quality of life for patients with coronary artery disease.

Clinical research studies are also exploring the underlying causes of myocardial infarction to develop targeted therapies that can treat the immediate condition and prevent future cardiac events. A promising area of focus is regenerative medicine, which aims to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels and repair damaged heart tissue.

Researchers are also exploring the efficacy of targeted drug therapies designed to modify specific molecular pathways involved in the development and progression of myocardial infarction. This aims to mitigate the immediate impact of MI and lay the foundation for long-term prevention.

Moreover, the ongoing trials assess novel diagnostic techniques, such as advanced imaging technologies like cardiac MRI and CT scans. These technologies provide detailed insights into the structure and function of the heart, enabling early detection of potential issues. Early diagnosis, facilitated by these advancements, allows for prompt intervention and treatment, ultimately reducing the risk of complications and improving overall patient outcomes.

There are ongoing trials for congestive heart failure focusing on innovative medications that target specific mechanisms implicated in heart failure. These medications reduce symptoms, improve heart function, and prevent disease progression. Researchers are also studying device therapies like cardiac resynchronization therapy and implantable cardiac defibrillators to enhance heart function and improve quality of life.

In addition to medical interventions, clinical trials investigate lifestyle interventions as integral components of CHF management. Trials rigorously assess the effectiveness of interventions such as dietary modifications and exercise regimens in promoting heart health and mitigating the impact of CHF.

How Can Your Participation Help?

Participation in cardiac clinical trials is a powerful way to contribute significantly to cardiovascular health, research and pave the way for successful treatment adoptions. These trials help advance our understanding of heart conditions, explore innovative treatment modalities, and shape the future landscape of cardiovascular care.

Successful treatment adoption hinges on individuals' diverse and representative participation in clinical trials. Enrolling in these trials ensures that potential treatments are rigorously tested across various demographics, ensuring their efficacy for a broad spectrum of individuals. Your involvement in heart clinical trials is a proactive step towards advancing medical science and contributing to developing interventions that can positively impact countless lives.

Enroll in Science 37 Clinical Trials Today

You have the power to make a lasting impact on cardiovascular health. Consider enrolling in Science 37 clinical trials—a leading organization dedicated to accelerating clinical research. Your participation will contribute to cutting-edge advancements in heart health and bring us one step closer to improved treatments and a healthier future.

Life with Homocystinuria: Navigating Challenges & Embracing Hope

Homocystinuria (HCU) is a rare metabolic disorder that affects the body's ability to process certain amino acids. These amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and when not processed correctly, they can lead to a buildup of homocysteine in the blood. Elevated levels of homocysteine can cause various health issues, affecting various organs and systems in the body.

HCU is usually present from birth, but symptoms may not become evident until later in infancy or childhood. The symptoms vary based on the type of HCU, often involving the eyes, vascular system, central nervous system, or skeletal systems. They include:

Newborn screening programs can help identify elevated levels of methionine in the blood, prompting further diagnostic tests, such as:

Early diagnosis is vital for initiating treatment promptly and preventing complications associated with untreated HCU.

Understanding the Genetic Basis

Homocystinuria is primarily a genetic disorder, and its occurrence is rooted in mutations that impact the body's ability to process amino acids. The most common form of homocystinuria, known as classical or CBS deficiency, is caused by mutations in the CBS gene. CBS gene provides instructions for the production of an enzyme called cystathionine beta-synthase, which plays a pivotal role in the breakdown of the amino acid methionine.

Other types of HCU are associated with mutations in different genes, like Methylene Tetrahydrofolate Reductase (MTHFR) and Methionine Synthase (MTR). Mutations in these genes hinder the proper functioning of their respective enzymes, resulting in the accumulation of homocysteine. Research studies still haven't uncovered why excess homocysteine causes the symptoms associated with homocystinuria.

How is Homocystinuria Inherited?

Homocystinuria follows an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern, meaning an individual must inherit two copies of the mutated gene (one from each parent) to manifest the disorder. Those who inherit one mutated and one normal gene are carriers of the condition but do not typically show symptoms. Carriers have a 50% chance of passing the mutated gene to their offspring.

When both parents are carriers, there's a 25% chance that the child will inherit two mutated genes with each pregnancy, leading to homocystinuria. HCU is rare; it only affects about 1 in 100,000 to 200,000 in the United States.

Some studies have found that HCU mostly affects people from the following countries:

Homocystinuria Treatment

While there is no cure for HCU, treatment aims to manage symptoms, prevent complications and side effects, and enhance overall well-being. Here are some strategies that help manage this rare disorder:

Supplementation

HCU is mostly caused by genetic mutation. However, it can also happen due to non-genetic reasons, like a severe lack of vitamin B12, vitamin B9 (folate) and vitamin B6. In this case, supplementation with these vitamins can help manage the problem.About 50% of people with HCU show improvement from taking vitamin B6 supplements. Those who don't respond well to vitamin B6 must take B12 and B9 (folic acid) supplements for the rest of their lives.

Dietary Management

In cases where supplements don't work, dietary changes become a critical component of managing homocystinuria. Dietary management focuses on controlling the intake of methionine, the amino acid central to the disorder. This means reducing the intake of foods like fish, meat, pulses, nuts, eggs, cheese, and dairy products, which are abundant methionine sources.

Baby milk also needs to be monitored and measured. Dietitians can advise on the appropriate composition of baby milk to ensure the infant receives the necessary nutrients while managing methionine levels. In some cases, they may recommend a special diet that includes vitamins, minerals, and specific amino acids to meet the growth and development needs of infants with HCU.

Early diagnosis and intervention in homocystinuria have shown positive responses, particularly when patients, including infants, switch to a low-protein diet. Catching HCU at early stages allows for timely implementation of dietary changes, leading to better symptom management and overall health outcomes.

Regular Blood Tests

To ensure effective management of HCU, patients must get regular blood tests to monitor the amount of homocysteine in their blood. These tests provide valuable insights into metabolic control and the impact of dietary management. Regular monitoring allows healthcare professionals to adjust the treatment plan and provide personalized care.

Homocystinuria Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of people with homocystinuria has significantly improved over the years due to advances in medical understanding and treatment options. With early intervention, most children with the condition can expect to live normal, healthy lives.

Prevention

Since HCU happens because of genetic mutation, it is hard to prevent. But if you are expectant or planning to conceive in the future, certain steps and considerations can be taken to manage the risk of homocystinuria or its impact on future generations.

First, you can do genetic counseling to assess your risk of passing on the mutated gene and explore available options. If there is a known risk of HCU based on carrier status or family history, prenatal testing can be considered during pregnancy to determine if the developing fetus has homocystinuria. In this case, early detection enables prompt initiation of treatment, improving outcomes.

Homocystinuria Clinical Trials At Science 37

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with classical homocystinuria, there is an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the future of HCU research. Science 37 is actively conducting clinical trials to explore innovative solutions and therapies to improve the lives of those within the HCU community.

Your involvement has the potential to benefit not only yourself but also future generations within the HCU community. Science 37 makes it easier to participate in this research from the comfort of your home. We also offer compensation to thank you for your time and commitment. Sign up today to get started.

Breathe Easy: How to Pick the Best Humidifier for Asthma Relief

Extreme indoor humidity levels can trigger flare-ups and worsen asthma symptoms. If it's too little, your throat and nose can become dry and irritated, making it hard to control asthma. And if it is too much, asthma triggers like mites and molds may escalate and increase allergic reactions or respiratory infections. So you need to find a balance, and one way to do so is to use a humidifier.

But with so many options in the market, it can be hard to know the right one for your needs. This article will show you how to pick the best humidifier for asthma relief.

What is a Humidifier?

A humidifier adds moisture to the air in indoor spaces. It helps combat the adverse effects of dry air by releasing cool or warm vapor mist, creating a more comfortable environment. Dry air mostly happens during winter when you turn up the heat in your home. But it can also be due to dry climate. 

A humidifier can help you maintain the proper humidity levels in these cases. For high humidity levels, you can use a dehumidifier to reduce excess moisture.

How to Use a Humidifier

Humidifiers are pretty easy to use. Most of them are plug-and-play. But as with most devices, you’ll need to be careful, and ensure your humidifier is adequately maintained and regulated to avoid risks. So basically:

Types of Humidifiers

There are many different humidifier options, each with its strengths and weaknesses. Here's a look at some:

Ultrasonic Humidifiers

This portable humidifier features a metallic diaphragm that vibrates at high frequencies to create a cool mist released into the air.

Advantages
Disadvantages

Evaporative Humidifiers

These humidifiers use a fan to blow air through a wet wick or filter, causing water to evaporate into the air. They are eco-friendly and quiet and add a touch of nature to your home.

Advantages
Disadvantages

Central Humidifiers

Central humidifiers are integrated into the home's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

Advantages
Disadvantages

Impeller Humidifiers

Impeller humidifiers use a rotating disk to fling water at a diffuser, breaking it into fine droplets released into the air.

Advantages
Disadvantages

Steam Humidifiers

Also known as vaporizers, steam humidifiers heat water (using electricity) to produce steam that is cooled slightly before being released into the air.

Advantages:
Disadvantages

How to Buy the Right Humidifier for Asthma Relief

With so many humidifier options in the market, it can be overwhelming to know which one to settle for. Here are a few considerations to help you make the right choice. 

Type of Humidifier

A humidifier can be warm mist or cool mist; the cool ones release cool moisture, while the warm ones release warm moisture. Warm humidifiers tend to do a great job easing congestions that come with environmental asthma and allergies. But you’ll need to keep track of your home’s humidity level so it doesn’t become too much and attract dust mites.

If you prefer the cool mist humidifier, then it’s best to go for those that have air purifiers. This way, you can eliminate issues with impurities. Air purifiers help reduce irritants in the air, and also improve air quality.

Humidification Output

Humidifiers come in different sizes. The goal is to find one with an output capacity that matches the room you’ll use it on. And the best way to do this is to measure the room’s area (length by width) and check the specs on the device to see if it can cover the area. Note that the specification of an average humidifier assumes that the ceiling is 8ft high – so if your room has higher ceiling, factor that in too.

Noise Level

For bedrooms or other quiet spaces, choose a humidifier with low noise levels to avoid disturbance during sleep or other activities.

Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance

Opt for a humidifier with easily removable components for straightforward cleaning. Regular cleaning is crucial to prevent bacteria and mold growth.

When to Seek Medical Help for Asthma

A humidifier might lessen the irritation of dry air and, therefore, prevent asthma flare-ups. But there's no hard and fast evidence that they are effective. You can try it, but ensure to adhere to the cleaning and maintenance recommendations. It's also good to keep your inhaler close in case of an attack.

Humidifier or not, if asthma symptoms persist, you should seek medical advice. You can also sign up for Science37 clinical trials. Our investigational inhaler has the potential to offer rapid relief for asthma symptoms and treat inflammation that leads to severe attacks in the first place. And the best part is it's all free, there's compensation for participation, and you get to do it all in the comfort of your own home. Click here to enroll in the study today.

Screening Saves Lives: The Power of Early Detection In Healthcare

Screening tests are one of the most powerful tools we have in modern medicine. Not only can they find diseases when they’re most treatable, but they can also prevent them from developing in the first place. Screening tests play a key part in detecting cancers, heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes at their earliest stages when they are most treatable.

What is a Screening Test?

A screening test helps detect potential diseases or health disorders in people who do not have any symptoms. The goal is early detection and surveillance or lifestyle changes to lower the risk of disease or treat it before it gets worse. Healthcare experts don’t use screening tests to diagnose health problems. But screening helps check if a person may need more tests to figure out if they have a disease.

Why is Early Detection Essential in Healthcare?

Early detection enhances the likelihood of favorable treatment results. When a disease is identified in its early stages, it tends to be more receptive to treatment. Moreover, early detection and timely intervention can halt the progression of the illness, mitigating the risk of complications and ultimately enhancing long-term health outcomes.

Reduces Mortality Rates for Various Diseases

A disease diagnosed in its early stages increases the odds of successful treatment and survival. For example, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer diagnosed at stage 1 is 99%, compared to just 27% for late-stage diagnoses. Similarly, early detection and intervention for cardiovascular disease can drastically lower the risk of stroke and heart attack, the two leading causes of death worldwide.

Translates to Lower Healthcare Costs in the Long Run

Proactive intervention through screening often translates to significant cost savings in the long run. Treating advanced diseases is typically more expensive, even for those with health insurance. The cost of intensive surgeries, medications, and prolonged hospital stays add up. Early detection allows for less invasive and more cost-effective treatments, reducing the burden on patients and healthcare systems.

Improves Quality of Life

Early diagnosis and treatment often lead to less aggressive and more effective treatments, preserving a better quality of life for those with chronic diseases. This means less pain, fewer side effects, and a greater ability to maintain daily activities and routines.

Leads to Better Prognosis and Cure Rates

When diseases are caught early, more treatment options are often available, and the chances of curing the condition are significantly higher. It also prevents the spread of disease to other organs and systems, making treatment more effective and reducing the risk of complications.

When is a Screening Test Helpful?

Screening tests are most beneficial when applied strategically – to individuals with risk factors, a family history of specific conditions, or those reaching certain age milestones. The effectiveness of screening tests lies in their ability to detect potential problems while minimizing ambiguous, confusing, or unclear results. While they are not always 100% accurate, it’s generally valuable to get these tests as per the recommendations of a medical care provider than not to have them at all. With that said, screening is only effective:

A Glimpse into Common Screening Tests

Here are some of the most common screening tests and the diseases they can help detect:

Cholesterol Screening

A cholesterol screening test is a simple blood test that checks the level of bad cholesterol in your blood. High cholesterol levels mean high risk for cardiovascular diseases. It's a crucial part of preventive health care as cholesterol can cause accumulation of plaque in your arteries and result in heart disease or stroke. CDC and The American Heart Association recommend the test every 4-6 years from age 20 for people with low risk of heart disease.

Pap Smear

Pap smear is used to detect abnormal cell changes in the cervix. It can identify precancerous changes before they become cancerous, allowing for early intervention and treatment to prevent cancer development. According to IARC, there’s sufficient evidence that screening can reduce cervical cancer deaths by 80% or more among screened women. ACOG recommends a test every three years for women between 21 and 29 and every five years (when combined with the HPV test) for women between 30 and 65.

The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test

The PSA test screens for prostate cancer in men. It detects PSA levels (a protein produced by cancerous and non-cancerous tissues) in the blood. General guidelines recommend starting this test at age 55, but men may need the screening between ages 40 and 54 if they are high-risk.

Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)

FOBT is a screening test used to detect hidden (occult) blood in the stool. The presence of blood in the stool may indicate various gastrointestinal conditions, including colorectal cancer, polyps, or other digestive tract issues. A colonoscopy is to be done within 90-180 days of a positive FOBT.

Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy is a more comprehensive and direct test for examining the entire colon and rectum. It involves using a flexible tube with a light and camera (colonoscope) to visualize the lining of the colon. During a colonoscopy, a healthcare professional can identify and remove polyps (small growths on the colon lining that can potentially turn into cancer) and also take tissue samples (biopsies) for further analysis. Regular colorectal cancer screening is recommended for people age 45 and older.

Blood Sugar Test

Blood sugar tests measure blood glucose levels in the blood. It's a simple yet crucial test that helps diagnose and manage diabetes, prediabetes, and other conditions related to blood sugar levels. Early diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes allows for lifestyle changes and treatment to prevent complications like heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, and vision problems. The American Diabetes Association recommends regular screening for anyone ages 35 or older.

Mammography

A mammogram is an X-ray imaging that helps in breast cancer screening. It can detect small, suspicious changes in breast tissue before they can be felt as lumps. This allows for early intervention and treatment, leading to better prognoses. According to the American Cancer Society, women over the age of 40 should get mammograms every year.

Screen tests offer a proactive approach to preserving health and preventing the progression of diseases. The ability to detect potential problems early, coupled with timely intervention, can improve treatment outcomes and minimize the impact of the disease on your overall well-being.

Early detection is not just about catching diseases early; it's about maximizing your chances for successful treatment, improving your quality of life, and, ultimately, living a longer, healthier life. By prioritizing preventive healthcare and taking advantage of screening tests, you are investing in your future well-being.If you're looking for opportunities to participate in clinical trials and contribute to the advancement of medical science, we’ve got you covered. At Science 37, we offer a wide range of clinical trials across various health conditions, allowing you to play an active role in advancing scientific research while potentially benefiting your health.