New Blood Test Could Help Diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

September 20th, 2023

Hand with Stop Chronic Fatigue stamped on itA new blood test is highly accurate at diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), offering for the first time, an objective way to identify the disabling condition.

Blood Test for CFS

CFS is estimated to affect up to 2.5 million people in the United States.

A research team compared test results among 61 people with CFS, 21 people with multiple sclerosis and 16 people who have no known health problems.

The new test uses artificial intelligence to analyze vibrations in a single blood cell caused by a laser. The technology is called Raman Spectroscopy, which can “interrogate individual cells.”

The test can differentiate between mild, moderate and severe cases of the illness 84 percent of the time.

The researchers wrote that the new test could help differentiate between other conditions that have similar symptoms, such as fibromyalgia, Lyme disease and long COVID. 

The new test is 91 percent accurate according to the findings.

The findings were published in the journal “Advanced Science.”

What is CFS

CFS causes extreme fatigue that lasts for at least six months. Symptoms worsen with physical or mental activity, but don’t fully improve with rest.

Symptoms can vary from person to person and the severity of symptoms can fluctuate from day-to-day.

In addition to fatigue, symptoms may include:

  • Extreme exhaustion after physical or mental exercise
  • Dizziness that worsens with moving from lying down or sitting, to standing
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Problems with memory or thinking skills
  • Unrefreshing sleep

The cause of CFS is unknown, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At this time, CFS is so difficult to diagnosis that an estimated nine in 10 people who have the condition don’t even know they have it.

What IAA has to Say

Any new research on CFS is something that Insurance Administrator of America wants to hear about. Researchers are finding new information all the time and IAA wants to make sure you are in the know.

Eye Tracking Technology Could Help Diagnose Autism

September 13th, 2023

Eyeballs Just one in four children with autism is diagnosed before age three, but a new eye tracking technology may allow for earlier diagnosis and intervention, according to three clinical studies of more than 1,500 kids.

New Method for Autism Diagnosis

In the United States autism affects about one child in 36, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The new eye tracking technology provides automated measures of children’s looking behavior and can help spot signs of autism as early as 16 months of age, researchers said. It may also help predict kids’ strengths and vulnerabilities.

The eye tracking tool measures a child’s eye movements while they watch a 10-minute video. Hundreds of important social cues are presented during the video, and the technology captures around 120 measurements per second.

Researchers compared measurements from children with suspected autism to those of typically developing peers.

The tool was further tested in 475 children aged 16 to 30 months who were evaluated at six U.S. autism specialty clinics.

Both studies found that the device’s diagnostic abilities were comparable to those of the specialists.

The idea behind the technology is to identify children with autism by picking up on their seeming lack of interest in people. Children typically learn social skills by observing how people around them interact. The new technology identifies children who are not paying attention to the kid-to-kid interaction in the video.

The studies were published in “JAMA” and “JAMA Network Open.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening for autism at 18 months and 24 months.

Signs of Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain, according to the CDC. People with ASD have problems with social interaction and different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention.

Some children show signs of autism in early infancy, such as reduced eye contact, lack of response to their name or indifference to caregivers. Other children may develop normally for the first few months or years of life, but they suddenly become withdrawn or aggressive or lose language skills they’ve already acquired. Signs are usually seen by age two.

Each child with ASD is likely to have a unique pattern of behavior and level of severity from low functioning to high functioning.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants people to better understand this disorder. Just think of IAA as your third-party health information connection, here to keep you in the know about world of healthcare.

Paper Straws not as Eco-Friendly as Imagined

September 7th, 2023

Soda with straw in glassPaper straws, which were meant to be an eco-friendly alternative, may not be better for the environment, a new study suggests.The study warns that paper straws can contain “forever chemicals” that can harm human health.

Paper Straws and PFAS

The research team tested 39 straw brands in a variety of materials, for poly and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The straws were made of paper, bamboo, glass, stainless steel, and plastic. Each straw went through two rounds of testing for PFAS.

PFAS were found in 69 percent of straws. Testing detected 18 different PFAS. These chemicals were found in 90 percent of paper straws; 80 percent of bamboo straws; 75 percent of plastic straws, and 40 percent of glass straw brands. PFAS were not detected in any of the five types of steel straws tested.

These all pose a limited risk to human health because people tend to use straws only occasionally and chemical concentrations were low, researchers said. But the chemicals can build up in the body for years.

Researchers said the prevalence of PFAS in the straws suggests they were added as a waterproof coating

The study was published in “Food Additives and Contaminants.”

PFAS and Your Health

PFAS are a family of synthetic chemicals used in the manufacture of consumer products because they can resist stains, grease and water.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research suggests that high levels of certain PFAS may lead to the following:

  • Changes in liver enzymes
  • Decreased vaccine response in children
  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure or preeclampsia in pregnant women
  • Increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer
  • Small decreases in infant birth weights

Scientists are still learning about the health effects of exposure to mixtures of different PFAS.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants to keep you up to date in the world of health. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

Doctors Restoring Vision to Those With Catastrophic Eye Injuries

August 30th, 2023

Eyeballs A new type of stem cell treatment appears to be a safe option for people with limbal stem cell deficiency, a condition that can lead to painful ulcers, clouding of the cornea and blindness.

New Treatment for Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency

Chemical burns and accidents can lead to a condition called limbal stem cell deficiency. Overwearing contacts, multiple eye operations and inflammatory conditions can cause this as well.

The stem cells are from the limbus, a zone of tissue around the cornea that generates transparent cells that protect and heal the eye’s surface.

The new procedure known as cultivated autologous limbal epithelial cell, or CALEC, transplantation is considered safe. In a Phase 1 trial, four patients who had chemical burns in one eye underwent CALEC transplants.

That only one eye is injured is important for the procedure. It involves removing stem cells from the patient’s healthy eye, cultivating them in the laboratory for two or three weeks and then transplanting them into the damaged eye. Once they have been transplanted, it takes time for the cells to grow, so researchers followed the patients for a year.

The results were published in “Science Advances.”

What is Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency?

Limbal stem cell deficiency is a condition that results from failure in limbal cells to properly repair and regenerate the surface of the cornea. This can lead to thinning, painful ulceration, opacity in the cornea, and eventually, possibly blindness.

Causes of the condition range from the following:

  • Chemical and thermal burns
  • Chemotherapy
  • Ocular surgery
  • Radiation
  • Toxins
  • Trauma

Limbal stem cell deficiency is one of the main causes of corneal blindness, which affects six million people worldwide.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America is here to keep you up to date on the world of health. Stay tuned to IAA’s blog to learn more.

Vitamin K Could Help With Lung Health

August 23rd, 2023

Lettuce leafA new study suggests that people who have low levels of vitamin K also have less healthy lungs. They are more likely to report having asthma, COPD and wheezing. Vitamin K (found in leafy green vegetables) may boost lung health.

New Study on Vitamin K

Researchers recruited more than 4,000 participants, ages 24 to 77.

Study participants underwent lung function testing, which measures the amount of air a person can breathe out in one second (forced expiratory volume or FEV1) and the total volume of air they can breathe in one forced breath (forced vital capacity or FVC).

Participants also gave blood samples and answered questionnaires on their health and lifestyle. The blood tests included a marker of low levels of vitamin K in the blood.

People with markers of low vitamin K levels had lower FEV1 and lower FVC on average.  

The study was published in “ERJ Open Research.”

Vitamin K and Your Body

You typically get enough vitamin K through food, occurring mainly in plant-based foods.

Vitamin K plays a role in:

  1. Blood clotting: Vitamin K assists with the blood clotting process. It makes four of the 13 proteins needed for blood clotting. Blood clots stop your injuries or wounds from bleeding so they can heal.
  2. Bone health: Vitamin K strengthens bones. It does this by helping make osteocalcin, which helps prevent low bone density.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America is here to keep you informed in the world of health. IAA wants you to think about adding some green to that dinner plate!