FOR YOUR HEALTH: Get the Facts on Eating for Health And Boosting Your Immune System Naturally

(NAPSI)—Registered dietitian for California Strawberries, Colleen Wysocki, explains what factors play a role in immunity, eating for health, and how to boost immune systems naturally:

Factors Influencing the Immune System

Factors that can influence immunity include:

  • Diet
  • Sleep
  • Stress
  • Exercise
  • Microbiome
  • Germs

Eating for Health

Eating for health means increasing whole foods while cutting back on processed foods high in sugar, salt, and saturated fats. People are cautioned not to look for a single “super food” to prevent illness, but rather, start eating a balanced diet to build a strong immune system over time.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans promotes the “My Plate” method of eating for health:

  • ½ of your plate: Colorful fruits and non-starchy vegetables
  • ¼ of your plate: Lean protein
  • ¼ of your plate: Whole grains or starch
  • Low-fat dairy is also encouraged at each meal for those who tolerate lactose.

Consistently building your plate this way prepares the body to fight illness and stress. Eating for health is a long-game; popping a few berries in your mouth when you start to feel a cold coming on will have limited effect. However, if you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day, your cells will be better prepared to overcome viruses and infections when your body does encounter them.

The Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables is at the Heart of Immune-Boosting Foods

Eating the rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day is key to increasing immune cell responses to bacteria and viruses. The phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables that promote health depend on the color of the food.

For instance, red, blue, and purple fruits provide antioxidant and antimicrobial activity. These immune-boosting foods help protect cells from damage and may reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, stroke, and heart ­disease.

Green vegetables, on the other hand, are recognized as foods good for the immune system and they have anti-cancer properties and protect against neural tube defects in pregnancy.

It’s important to strengthen the body against non-communicable diseases with a variety of fruits and vegetables first; then when contagious germs enter the body, its defenses will be available to fight them off.

Eating a single color in the diet is like going to school and learning a single subject. If first graders were only taught physical education—that would be important, but they would miss out on learning how to add, subtract, read, and write. Similarly, if a person were to only eat one color of fruits and vegetables (such as greens), they risk missing out on nutrients that may promote a more complete immune response.

Protein is Vital for Repair and Recovery from Illness

Protein is also essential for growth and illness recovery. Protein repairs cells and DNA damage caused by illnesses. Skinless poultry, fish, yogurt, eggs, low-fat cheese, and milk are great sources of protein. If you choose vegetarian protein, pair it with vitamin C-rich foods such as strawberries. Iron from plant protein is difficult to absorb without ­vitamin C.

Foods High in Vitamin C

Food sources of vitamin C are more effective at strengthening immunity and overall health than supplements. In addition, fruits and vegetables such as strawberries offer much more than vitamin C; all of their micronutrients work together to help prevent and fight disease.

One serving of eight strawberries provides all the vitamin C you need for a day. Oranges, red peppers, cantaloupe, papaya and kale are also foods high in vitamin C.

How to Boost Immune System Naturally

  • Exercise’s Role in Immunity. For those who want to know how to boost the immune system naturally, after diet, physical activity is key. Exercise is another long-term approach to building strength against germs and disease. Working out not only builds muscle, it also reduces abdominal fat, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and stress—all risk factors for disease. It can help you sleep better and decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise and at least three days of strength-building exercises per week.

  • Sleep and Stress. Increasing sleep and decreasing stress are also on the list of how to boost your immune system naturally. Do your best to get adequate sleep (7+ hours each night).

During stressful times, techniques to help manage anxiety may include talking to someone, checking in on loved ones, exercise, sleep, and eating a nutritious diet.

  • Microbiome and Germs. Don’t neglect the role bacteria play in spreading harmful germs. While you can wipe out germs and bacteria on surfaces, it’s critical to feed your gut good bacteria.

Pre- and probiotics are immune-boosting foods because they feed the good bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics include fiber from fruits and vegetables, while probiotics include strawberries, apples, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sourdough bread, and some cheeses.

For more strawberry nutrition information and recipes, visit californiastrawberries.com.

FOR YOUR HEALTH – The Cleaning Season: Dust Your Ducts

To make it easier to breathe clean at home, have your HVAC system inspected regularly.

(NAPSI)—When you breathe a sigh of relief after giving your home its annual thorough cleaning, you may be breathing in more dust, dirt, and pollution than you realize — unless you’ve also gotten the HVAC system cleaned.

A Hidden Problem

Through normal living, people generate a great deal of contaminants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals. These get pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated five to seven times a day, on average. Over time, this causes a build-up of dirt in the duct work.

Some people are more sensitive to these contaminants than others. Allergy and asthma sufferers, as well as young children and the elderly, tend to be more susceptible to the types of poor indoor air quality that air duct cleaning can help address. Also, some homes may be more susceptible to certain pollutants, including places with pets, smokers, or remodeling projects.

An Answer

Fortunately, it’s easy to deal with. The experts at the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) say HVAC systems should be inspected and cleaned regularly by a reputable, certified HVAC professional.

The ones who are NADCA members possess general liability insurance, are trained and tested regularly, sign on to a code of ethics, and must clean and restore your heating and cooling system in accordance with NADCA standards, so they provide a high level of security.

Learn More

For further facts on having healthy air in a healthy home, visit www.BreathingClean.com. To find a NADCA member nearby, go to http://nadca.com/en/prosearch/all and enter your zip code.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Seven Myths You May Mistakenly Believe About Long-Term Care

Preparing for a pleasant retirement should include considering a long-term care planning solution.

(NAPSI)—As you develop your retirement plans and think about how a potential need for long-term care may impact those plans and your loved ones, certain misconceptions may prevent you from taking action.

So—let’s dispel these seven common long-term care myths:

Myth #1: I’ll never need long-term care.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, almost 70 percent of Americans turning 65 today will need some type of long-term care in their remaining years.1

Myth #2: Government programs will cover all of my long-term care expenses.

Medicare pays for nursing home care, but only a portion of the costs for a maximum of 100 days and only if the three-day hospital stay requirement has been met. And, while Medicaid covers certain long-term care costs, it’s intended to be a safety net for those with limited or minimal income and assets. To qualify for benefits, you must spend nearly all of your savings and reduce most of your assets before the government will step in to help.

Myth #3: My family will take care of me.

The financial, physical, and emotional stress that full-time caregiving may place on families can be overwhelming. Sometimes the best way to take care of a loved one needing long-term care is to ensure they have access to professional care. With advances in home care services, many people needing long-term care are actually able to stay at home, with or near family, and still receive the professional care they need.

Myth #4: I can pay for my long-term care out-of-pocket.

In 2018, nursing home costs averaged more than $91,000 a year nationally.2 The majority of Americans would quickly deplete their retirement savings if they needed care for an extended period of time. Even if you can afford to cover long-term care services out-of-pocket, consider the benefits of sharing the risk and costs using a long-term care planning solution such as insurance.

Myth #5: I am better off waiting until I am closer to retirement to obtain long-term care coverage.

Generally, it is best to plan for long-term care in your 40s or 50s when you are younger and more likely to be healthier and insurable (underwriting is required). Also: premiums are generally lower when you are younger. Your insurability can change any time and a need for care can arise at any age, so purchasing coverage earlier can be a wise decision.

Myth #6: Long-term care coverage is just too expensive.

Long-term care coverage options have evolved to meet most any need, with some options starting at $100-$150 per month per person. Plans can be personalized to suit your budget and discounts may be available to partners and spouses. Even a small policy can help reduce the financial and emotional burden of a long-term care event and provide access to valuable benefits.

Myth #7: Long-term care policies only cover nursing homes.

Long-term care solutions may offer valuable benefits that allow you to stay in your home for as long as possible. Some even reimburse family members for providing care. Long-term care solutions can also help cover the cost of adult day care centers, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes as care needs evolve.

Some of these misconceptions may have prevented you or a loved one from creating a plan to address future long-term care needs. It’s important to take a step back, consider your financial plan and desired future care, and how you want to address it with you and your loved ones in mind.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Manage Your Blood Pressure And Protect Your Kidneys

Getting your blood pressure checked regularly can go a long way toward protecting you from kidney disease.

Getting your blood pressure checked regularly can go a long way toward protecting you from kidney disease.

(NAPSI)—Did you know if you have high blood pressure you are at increased risk for chronic kidney disease?

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is the second leading cause of chronic kidney disease in the United States. About 1 in 5 adults with high blood pressure may have chronic kidney disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels. If your blood pressure gets too high, the blood vessels in your body—including those in your kidneys—may become damaged. This damage makes it harder for the kidneys to filter blood and remove wastes and extra water from the body. Kidney disease can get worse over time, and if not treated it can lead to kidney failure.

And while high blood pressure can lead to kidney disease, the reverse is also true: kidney disease can lead to high blood pressure. Simple tests can tell you whether you have high blood pressure or kidney disease. Ask your health care professional if you have been tested for high blood pressure and kidney disease.

Many people with kidney disease don’t know they have the disease until their kidneys begin to fail. Research suggests that fewer than 1 in 10 people who have kidney disease are aware they have the disease. This is because kidney disease often doesn’t have any symptoms early on.

The good news is that you can help protect your kidneys by managing high blood pressure with healthy lifestyle habits.

“Our research continues to uncover the complexities of the link between high blood pressure and kidney disease,” says Griffin P. Rodgers, MD, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “And what we are finding supports the message that you can help protect your kidneys by managing high blood pressure with healthy lifestyle habits.”

Adopting healthy lifestyle habits that help you manage your blood pressure will also help to keep your kidneys healthy. You can prevent or slow kidney disease progression by taking the following steps to lower your blood pressure:

  • Take medicines as prescribed. Blood pressure medicines often play a key role in lowering blood pressure.
  • Aim for a healthy weight. If you are overweight or have obesity, reducing your weight may lower high blood pressure.
  • Select healthier food and beverage options. Follow a healthy eating plan that focuses on heart-healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats that are low in sodium.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking damages blood vessels, increases your risk for high blood pressure, and worsens problems related to high blood pressure. For help quitting, call 1-800-QUITNOW or go to Smokefree.gov.
  • Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can have an adverse effect on your blood pressure and metabolism. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Manage stress and make physical activity part of your routine. Healthy stress-reducing activities and regular physical activity can lower blood pressure. Try to get at least 30 minutes or more of physical activity each day.

“You can manage your blood pressure and its complications through healthy lifestyle habits, which include exercise, following a healthy eating plan and taking blood pressure medication as prescribed by your doctor,” says Gary H. Gibbons, MD, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). “It’s important to know your numbers because controlling or lowering your blood pressure can prevent or delay serious complications like kidney disease and heart disease.”

For more information, visit the NIDDK website at www.niddk.nih.gov.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: You Could Be Part Of The 33 Percent

One in three American adults are at risk of life-threatening kidney disease, and most don’t know it—but that can be remedied. One in three American adults are at risk of life-threatening kidney disease, and most don’t know it—but that can be remedied.

(NAPSI)—Look around the next time you’re in a crowd. One-third of everyone in there with you is at risk of developing dangerous kidney disease.

Kidney Disease Facts

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and more than 90% aren’t aware of it. Often there are no symptoms; they won’t find out until their kidney’s fail. Kidneys are vital organs—as important as your heart, liver or lungs—that work 24/7 to clean toxins from your body. No one can live without functioning kidneys. When kidneys fail, only immediate dialysis or a transplant can save you.

A Solution

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF)—the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S.—wants to change the odds. Every adult in the United States needs to know the risk and can find out with a simple, one-minute online quiz rolled out for National Kidney Month in March that can let you know if you’re in the 33 percent—and what to do about it.

“We have a public health crisis that needs to be addressed by all Americans,” said NKF CEO and kidney transplant recipient Kevin Longino. “We will never give up trying to find ways to reach people, slow or stop the progression of this disease and lessen the burden for patients. Early testing and interventions are the key.”

What To Watch For

Risk factors for kidney disease are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • A family history of kidney disease.

What To Do

If you have one or more of these factors, you should to go to MinuteForYourKidneys.org to find out what to do next and how to talk to your doctor about it.

Life-threatening kidney disease can strike anyone, young or old, and has many causes, but early intervention can make a difference. Lifestyle changes and a healthy diet can sometimes slow the progression of the disease when caught in the early stages, and sometimes can stop kidney failure.

The first step to preventing kidney failure is knowing your risk, then getting tested. Two simple tests, one blood and one urine, can let your doctor know how your kidneys are doing. It’s easy to get tested yet the results can save your life.

Learn More

For further information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: If You’re Feeling Down, You’re Not Alone. It’s That Time of Year

You don’t have to let the dark days of winter get you down. Learn how to beat the blues and when to recognize it’s time to seek help.

(NAPSI)—You may have heard the terms—winter blues, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Depressive Disorder with a Seasonal Pattern. No matter what you call it, with approximately 17.3 million adults in the U.S. experiencing seasonal depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, feeling gloomy this time of year isn’t uncommon—but it can be overcome.

The Problem

Depressive Disorder with a Seasonal Pattern (formerly called SAD) can affect anyone of any age. Whether you’re a student returning to class, a busy working professional who’s always playing catch-up, or even newly retired with found time on your hands, the excitement of the holidays is long over and wintry dark days are here. While January and February are the typical peak months for the disorder, symptoms can persist through April, according to Mental Health America.

Doctor’s Advice

When that feeling of sadness persists for several weeks, it’s time to take action, according to Dr. Desreen Dudley, a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Behavioral Health Provider of Therapeutic Services for Teladoc Health. But, she points out, often the toughest thing for many is how to discern whether what they feel is temporary or something more serious.

“If someone has a few days of feeling low, that’s normal and typically nothing to worry about. It’s when the feeling lingers for weeks and people lose interest in daily activities and suffer persistent negative thoughts, that lend a stronger basis for Depressive Disorder with a Seasonal Affective Pattern diagnosis,” she says.

What To Watch For

Other symptoms she warns about are:

  • Change in appetite
  • Change in sleep pattern
  • Decreased energy
  • Decreased concentration
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • An inability to think, concentrate, or finish tasks at work or school
  • Thinking about suicide, self-harm, or death

Dr. Dudley contends individuals already struggling with depressive disorders are susceptible to SAD patterns. For older Americans, a Vitamin D deficiency can exacerbate low moods. On the other end of the spectrum, she has worked with newly independent college students who find SAD a heavy burden and say their new responsibilities of classes, exams and jobs can compound their depression. For some, not rising as early for classes as they did in high school means sleeping in more and further limiting their exposure to sunlight.

What To Do

In addition to considering therapy, such as virtual care, which is available on your terms and from any location you choose, Dr. Dudley recommends:

  • Avoiding or cutting back on alcohol and other addictive substances
  • Eating healthfully—more lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and eliminating sugar
  • Daily exercise at least 30 minute a day (walking counts)
  • Yoga or meditation
  • Learning about and trying light therapy
  • Regularly surrounding yourself with those you enjoy being around.

When To Seek Help

According to a recent global study conducted by Ipsos MORI for Teladoc Health, individuals often recognize when they’re struggling, but even so, over a third of the respondents who have had one mental health episode admitted to not seeking professional help. The reason? For many, it’s often the difficulty in finding mental health care.

“Thankfully, virtual care is becoming increasingly available as a source of convenient mental health care,” Dr. Dudley says. “It eliminates the traditional obstacles of in-person visits and has opened up access for anyone with a busy schedule, individuals who may have difficulty getting out of the house and students who may fear the stigma of walking into the campus mental health clinic.”

Learn More

For further information, visit www.Teladoc.com/therapy.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: A Quick Brush-Up On Children’s Dental Health

Getting kids into good dental habits early is a wise idea and easier than many parents realize.

(NAPS)—For most parents, happiness is seeing a smile on their child’s face—right from that first gummy grin. Instilling good dental hygiene habits early can help protect your child’s precious smile.

Your dentist can help. Most dental plans cover children, starting at birth. And since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, now is a great time to brush up on the topic. Here are some hints that can help:

Baby Their Baby Teeth

Even though baby teeth eventually fall out, they still matter. Decay and other problems can set the stage for dental problems in adult teeth.

To help prevent decay in baby teeth, never put baby to bed with a bottle. Milk and juice break down into sugars, which can pool around their teeth and cause cavities.

Even before the first tooth pops up, get in the habit of gently wiping baby’s gums with a clean, moist cloth after feedings and before bedtime, to prevent bacteria from growing.

Concerned about pacifiers and thumb-sucking? Both can contribute to an overbite. The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children stop all sucking habits by 36 months or younger. But pacifiers put less pressure on the teeth than thumb-sucking, and they’re an easier habit to break.

Year 1: First Toothbrush, First Dentist Visit

When that first tooth pops up, it’s time for baby’s first, soft-bristled toothbrush. Also, per the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, brush gently with plain water or just a drop of toothpaste with fluoride—no bigger than a rice kernel. Be sure to schedule your child’s first dental appointment soon after their first birthday, too. Early visits can help them become comfortable with your dentist and reduce anxiety down the road.

If your child is especially fearful or has special physical or developmental needs, consider a pediatric dentist. They have years of specialized training in child psychology and development.

Age 3 And Up: Make Brushing Fun

By age 3, kids can begin using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride. Make brushing and flossing a fun daily experience: once in the morning and once at night. Remember that it’s difficult for little hands to use a toothbrush correctly—and at a 45-degree angle. They’ll need your help for quite a while.

Try setting a timer for two-minute brushing sessions. You can brush together, have a special brushing song, and treat your kids to a colorful character toothbrush. With a little creativity (and much patience), brushing can be a positive, feel-good experience.

A “Silver Lining” For Cavities

A cavity or tooth decay can result when tooth enamel breaks down. Although most cavities are preventable, tooth decay is the most common childhood disease of children aged 6 to 19.

The good news? Dentists now have a painless way to deal with cavities. “An application of silver diamine fluoride can effectively slow or stop the tooth decay process in its tracks,” says Dr. Gregory Theis, Director, Dental Services, Delta Dental of Wisconsin.

Applying the antimicrobial liquid is quick and easy. And, because it can prevent the loss of a tooth, many dental plans cover two applications per year.

Teens’ Teeth Need TLC, Too

Teenagers are known for their big appetites and busy schedules. They often grab whatever food comes their way—including sticky sweets that tug on braces, and sodas or sports drinks that can erode enamel.

Do your best to offer healthier meal and snack options at home—and don’t let your teen skip dental or orthodontic appointments. If you’re weary of reminding your teens to wear their elastics or to stop chomping on ice and sticky sweets, give your dentist or orthodontist a heads up—and let them help reinforce healthy choices at the next appointment.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Protecting your ability to drive safely for as long as possible

SAFETY ON THE ROAD

(NAPS)—Driving a car means maintaining independence for many older adults. Driving allows you to shop, see friends and family, keep up with
medical appointments, and avoid social isolation. But sometimes staying safe behind the wheel as you age can be a challenge.

Age-related physical and mental changes can affect your ability to drive safely. If you’re alert to these changes and manage them carefully, you may be able to continue driving safely for some time.

To keep your skills as sharp as possible, consider following these suggestions from experts at the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), healthcare professionals dedicated to improving the health, independence, and quality of life of older people:

Check your eyesight to keep it as sharp as possible by getting a complete annual eye exam once you turn 60. Test yourself to monitor your vision:
  • Do you have problems reading street signs?
  • Are you having difficulty seeing road or pavement markings, curbs, or other vehicles or pedestrians, especially at dawn, dusk, and nighttime?
  • Is glare from oncoming headlights making it hard to see when driving at night?
Assess your physical fitness to drive by asking yourself:
  • Can I comfortably turn my neck to see over my shoulder when I change lanes?
  • Can I easily move my foot from the gas pedal to the brake? Can I easily turn the steering wheel?
  • During the past year, have I fallen one or more times?
  • Do I regularly walk more than a block a day?
  • Can I raise my arms above my shoulders?
Perform a reality check on your attention span and reaction time:
  • Are you overwhelmed by signs, traffic signals, and car and pedestrian traffic, especially at busy intersections?
  • Does it seem harder to merge into traffic on the highway?
  • Do you take any medications that make you sleepy, dizzy, or confused?
  • Do you feel less confident about driving at highway speeds?
  • Do you react slowly to cars entering your roadway, or to cars that have slowed or stopped in front of you?
Pay attention to changes and warnings:
  • Have friends or family members expressed worries about your driving?
  • Have you ever gotten lost on familiar routes or forgotten how to get to familiar destinations?
  • Has a police officer pulled you over to warn you about your driving?
  • Have you been ticketed for your driving, had a near miss, or a crash in the last three years?
  • Has your healthcare provider warned you to restrict or stop driving?

Consider Getting a Professional Driving Assessment

If you’ve experienced driving problems like these or are worried about your ability to be a safe driver, consider getting a professional assessment of your skills.

Occupational therapists trained as driving rehabilitation specialists can evaluate your driving skills and strengths, as well as any physical, visual, and cognitive challenges you may face. They can also evaluate your ability to operate a vehicle safely and, if needed, recommend ways to reduce your risks.

Driving rehabilitation specialists are trained to evaluate older drivers for:
  • Muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion
  • Coordination and reaction time
  • Judgment and decision-making skills
  • Ability to drive with special devices that adapt your vehicle to your needs

The specialist may recommend ways for you to drive more safely after the evaluation. Suggestions may include getting special equipment for your car or helping you sharpen your skills.

Not sure how to find a driving rehabilitation specialist? Talk to your healthcare provider or contact the American Occupational Therapy Association for a directory. You can also visit the AGS’s public education website, https://www.healthinaging.org/driving-safety, for more safe driving resources for older adults and caregivers.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Cracking the Code to Society’s Most Feared Disease

Medical researchers may have come up with a way to treat such dreaded conditions as Alzheimer’s disease, MS and spinal cord injuries.

(NAPS)—Even more than cancer, there’s one disease most people fear. The thought of falling prey to Alzheimer’s disease and to the inevitable desecration of the mind is something that can make even the bravest shudder.

After all, if you’re robbed of your sense of who you really are, you’re doomed to live your last days without the dignity that defines you and that you hold dear. Perhaps the ultimate horror of Alzheimer’s disease is that it is as indiscriminate, merciless, and devastating as a wind-swept wildfire.

As a result, a disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s disease has become a Holy Grail of sorts in the biotech industry. The disease is so ubiquitous, it casts a shadow over just about everyone’s family. At the same time, it exacts a devastating financial toll on society—perhaps even greater than cancer—with Alzheimer’s disease patients needing 24-hour care for an average of eight years and sometimes as many as 20 years.

The estimated cost for caring for Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is well in excess of a quarter of a trillion dollars per annum. This doesn’t even include unpaid caregiving. Also, Alzheimer’s disease is ranked as the third leading cause of death of seniors in the United States, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer. Approximately 6 million Americans have become its victims, and this number rises each year as lifespans increase due to advancements in medical science.

Progress From Pharmaceuticals

Fortunately, a few pharmaceuti­cal companies, including Biogen, AC Immune SA and NervGen Pharma, have come up with ways to potentially treat the condition and perhaps slow it down. NervGen’s medical researchers are working on what may become an important breakthrough for Alzheimer’s and other afflictions that are defined by nerve damage.

Could This Be Modern Medicine’s Holy Grail?

Until recently, NervGen’s focus has mostly been on developing nerve regeneration for the treatment of spinal cord injuries. In fact, some remarkable results have been achieved in preclinical trials, including one where the treated rodents regained substantial functionality in their legs after sustaining severe spinal cord damage.

Assuming it also works in humans, the medical science world will be paying very close attention because there are no known therapies that can stimulate human nerve regeneration now.

In addition, NervGen intends to commence a Phase 2 clinical trial for treating multiple sclerosis. The company’s drug candidate is expected to treat many of such debilitating symptoms as numbness, loss of sensation, chronic and debilitating pain, partial loss of movement, paralysis, and even incontinence due to additional mechanisms of action called “remyelination” and “plasticity.”

The research team also believes that the same nerve-rejuvenating biotechnology can be adapted to treat Alzheimer’s disease, not just mitigate its symptoms due to its truly novel and innovate approach.

The essence of this technology is that it unlocks a damaged nervous system’s natural ability to repair itself. Proprietary molecules “unstick” nerves and prevent new ones from getting stuck by interfering with synaptic-like connections so the nerves can regrow in places that are normally highly inhibited by scar tissue.

The co-inventor of NervGen’s technology, Dr. Jerry Silver, is one of the world’s most foremost neuroscience researchers of spinal cord injury. Dr. Silver, who is also Professor of Neurosciences at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine, has been working this unique approach to nerve rejuvenation biotechnology since the early ’90s by focusing on a protein called CSPG that inhibits the body’s natural ability to grow and regenerate.

Heretofore, no drugs have been approved anywhere in the world for nerve regeneration and remyelination, as well as improved plasticity in damaged nerves. Additionally, existing treatments are not considered very effective. So, the stakes are especially high for NervGen to create a blockbuster drug candidate that promises to even outshine any other Alzheimer’s disease drug. This is a wonderful opportunity to pioneer nerve repairing drug therapies that target some of the most devastating and pervasive diseases known to humankind.

Learn More

For further facts and figures about NervGen Pharma, go to www.nervgen.com.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Hollywood Legends Recruit Military Caregiver Champions

(NAPSI)—Academy Award winner Tom Hanks is rallying the nation behind America’s military caregivers with help from the legacy of a legend, Bob Hope. Hanks launched the Military Caregiver Champion program with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to fund resources for the 5.5 million Americans voluntarily caring for a loved one who was wounded, made ill or injured through military service. Hope’s daughter, Linda Hope, was the first to join the campaign, donating $1 million on behalf of the Bob and Dolores Hope Foundation.

“My dad, Bob Hope, dedicated so much of his life to connecting members of our military to the nation they served and their loved ones waiting at home. He would be so proud to join another passionate entertainer like Tom Hanks in making that same connection between America’s military caregivers and the country that owes them such a debt of gratitude and support,” said Hope.

Military caregivers provide $14 billion of unpaid care to veterans every year. They devote their lives to their loved ones, often sacrificing their own health, jobs and financial security.

“As Senator Elizabeth Dole says, our military caregivers are hidden heroes and I am honored to have the spirit of Bob Hope helping us support them,” said Hanks. “There has never been, nor will there ever be, a greater ambassador between the military community and us Americans than Bob Hope.”

All Americans are invited to become Caregiver Champions. Supporters will receive a Caring Tag, which reimagines the honored symbol of the military dog tag and includes the name and story of a military caregiver.

All administrative costs have been sponsored. One hundred percent of donations will support the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s resources for caregivers.

“We cannot take away the injuries or the illnesses but we can ensure our caregivers do not walk this difficult journey alone,” said Hanks.

To become a Caregiver Champion, visit www.hiddenheroes.org/champion.