New Coronavirus Hits United States

January 29th, 2020

Travel Alert SignThere are now five confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States. Two are in southern California, one in Arizona, one in Illinois, and one in Washington State.

Protective Measures

The outbreak which began in Wuhan, China, has now hit the U.S. All five people diagnosed with the coronavirus have been linked to travel in Wuhan.

The State Department issued a new travel advisory on January 23, declaring the Hubei region Level 4 Do Not Travel, the strongest of the four travel warnings issued by the U.S. government.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are currently screening for the virus at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Atlanta, and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The CDC is looking for symptoms such as coughing and difficulty breathing. They are also checking passengers’ temperatures with an infrared thermometer.

Health officials reported the first case of coronavirus in the U.S. on January 21, when it was diagnosed in a man who had recently traveled to Wuhan.

The death toll from the virus has increased to 80, as of January 27.

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

A coronavirus is a type of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. The virus that started in China is a new type of coronavirus called the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Coronaviruses were first identified in the 1960s, but their origin is unknown. They get their name from their crown-like shape. 

Most coronaviruses spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do: through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person’s hands or face or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched.

The symptoms of most coronaviruses are similar to any other respiratory infection, including runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and sometimes fever.

To help prevent infection:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  2. Keep your hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
  3. Avoid close contact with people who are infected.

The World Health Organization said there are multiple known coronaviruses circulating in animals that have not yet been transmitted to humans.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America finds it important to share health related travel alerts. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way! Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

Like this blog post? Let IAA know by going to our Facebook page and clicking the Like button.

What is Your Ageotype?

January 22nd, 2020

Apple sitting next to small weightsHigh school reunions are always the same. There are people who look like they haven’t aged a day since they graduated, and there are those who you would never recognize without the name tag. Scientists are now delving into why this occurs.

New Study Reveals Ageotypes

In a study published on January 13 in “Nature Medicine,” scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine found that people have an “ageotype.” Ageotypes are a combination of molecular and other changes that are specific to one physiological system. These changes can be measured when the individual is healthy and relatively young, researchers report, perhaps helping physicians pinpoint ways patients can extend good health.

In the study, researchers tracked 43 healthy adults over a two year period, analyzing blood and other biological samples to look for a variety of molecular change.

In theory, if people are able to learn their personalized ageotype, as well as the rate of their aging process, they might actively work to make healthy changes.

There are already proven ways to reduce the risk for disease and disability: not smoking, losing extra weight, getting plenty of exercise, and a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, and sleeping from seven to eight hours per night.

The research is still in its infancy, but experts say it is an important step forward in learning more about aging.

Different Ageotypes

Through blood and saliva and urine tests, genetic analyses, microbiome inspections of their nose and gut, scientists measured 10,343 genes, 306 blood proteins, 722 metabolites, and 6,909 microbes, and found they clustered into four ageotypes: liver, kidney, metabolic, and immune. 

So what could this mean for people in these categories?

  • Immune agers may generate more inflammation and therefore be at a higher risk for immune-related diseases
  • Liver and kidney ageotypes may be more prone to liver or kidney disease
  • Metabolic agers may be at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes as they grow older

Some study participants fit multiple ageotypes, while others were found to be aging in all four categories. 

There are likely other pathways, such as cardio agers, who may be more prone to heart attacks, but the study was limited to four main aging pathways.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America is here to bring you updates on the world of health.  Just think of IAA as your third party health monitor, here to keep you in the know!

Like this blog post? Let IAA know by going to our Facebook page and clicking the Like button!

Researchers May Have Found Answer to Cosmetics Allergy

January 15th, 2020

Makeup setNew research is being done on allergic reactions to cosmetics and skin creams.

Molecule May be Allergy Culprit

An international team of dermatologists, rheumatologists and immunologists has identified CD1a, a molecule found in human skin cells, as the culprit in a complex process that triggers allergic contact dermatitis or ACD.

Researchers decided to explore how the skin’s immune cells respond to the introduction of the chemicals found in consumer products. The team suspected that CD1a, which is found in the skin’s Langerhans-or immune cells, might be responsible for making these chemicals visible to T-cells, the cells that trigger the immune system response.

To test their hypothesis, researchers exposed human T-cells in tissue culture, to material from skin patch testing kits used in allergy clinics. In general, they found that the T-cells responded to certain substances, including balsam of Peru, a tree oil widely used in cosmetics and toothpaste. Specifically, two chemicals found in balsam—benzyl benzoate and benzyl cinnamate—were directly responsible for stimulating the T-cell response.

In all, researchers identified a dozen chemicals that appeared to elicit a similar response. The authors believe these chemicals cause ACD by binding with CD1a molecules on the surface of Langerhans cells. Essentially, by binding with CD1a, these chemicals become “visible” to T-cells, prompting the immune system to respond.

The researchers suggested that confirming CD1a’s role in the development of ACD could provide future researchers with a pathway for developing new treatments for the condition.

Researchers published their findings on January 10, in the journal “Science Immunology.”

What is Allergic Contact Dermatitis?

Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when a substance to which you are sensitive (allergen) triggers an immune reaction in your skin. It usually affects only the area that came into contact with the allergen. But it may be triggered by something that enters you body through foods, flavorings, medicine, or medical/dental procedures.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Bumps and blisters, sometimes with oozing
  • Dry, cracked, scaly skin
  • Itching, which may be severe
  • Red rash
  • Swelling, burning or tenderness

Poison ivy is perhaps the best known trigger for ACD, but it can also be caused by many ingredients in soaps, cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry, toothpaste, and plants.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to know what is going on in the world of health. Keep up to date with IAA! Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

Like this blog post? Let IAA know by going to our Facebook page and clicking the Like button!

Studies Back up Intermittent Fasting

January 8th, 2020

Large bathroom scaleA review of existing studies published last month in the “New England Journal of Medicine” suggests that periodically forgoing meals can improve overall health.

Intermittent Fasting and the Body

Studies in animals and people have shown that alternating between times of fasting and eating supports cellular health, likely by triggering an age-old adaptation to periods of food scarcity called metabolic switching. Metabolic switching occurs when cells use up their stores of rapidly accessible sugar-based fuel and begin converting fat into energy.  Since most Americans eat three meals plus snacks each day, it was noted they do not experience metabolic switching or its potential benefits.

When a person depletes his or her sugar energy stores during fasting, fats are released from fat cells and converted to keytone bodies by the liver. Keytone bodies are not just an energy source, but also have a “potent signaling” function. The body responds by activating certain pathways that boost beneficial processes like autophagy, a mechanism that helps regenerate cells. These pathways are untapped or suppressed in people who overeat and are sedentary, the review noted.       

Studies and clinical trials have shown that the eating regimen has “broad spectrum benefits” for health problems, including helping to reduce:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity

The review showed intermittent fasting can also help improve verbal memory, executive function and global cognition in adults with mild cognitive impairment.

Different Types of Fasting

Intermittent fasting has a few different methods:

  1. Day-time restricted feeding which narrows eating times to six to eight hours per day.
  2. 5:2 intermittent fasting, which is when people limit themselves to one moderate size meal two days per week.
  3. Alternate fasting: This means eating nothing or very little one day, then eating whatever you want the next, and then repeating that process.

The review advised to ease into this process and to check with your doctor before making any changes.

What IAA has to Say

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

Like this blog post? Let IAA know by going to our Facebook page and clicking the Like button!

Healthier Eating Could Save the U.S. Billions in Healthcare

January 2nd, 2020

Apple sitting next to small weightsHealthier eating could save the United States more than $50 billion a year in healthcare costs associated with heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and related illnesses, according to a new study.

Eating More Green Could Save the U.S. Some Green

In the study, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Tufts University in Massachusetts, created a model to measure the impact of food and nutrient groups on cardiometabolic disease costs for Americans aged 35 to 85 years. Those 10 groups were:

  • Fruits
  • Nuts/seeds
  • Polyunsaturated fats
  • Processed meats
  • Seafood omega-3 fats
  • Sodium
  • Sugar sweetened beverages
  • Unprocessed red meats
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains

Researchers first looked at the effects of current eating habits and then did a recalculation if Americans ate the healthiest amounts of the 10 food/nutrient groups.

The study authors concluded that poor eating habits cost the U.S. about $300 per person, or $50 billion a year and accounted for 18 percent of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes costs. Of these costs, 84 percent was for acute care, researchers reported.

The study was published December 17 in the journal “PLOS Medicine”.

What Americans can do

The typical eating patterns currently consumed by many in the U.S. do not align with dietary guidelines.

Don’t be a statistic! Help improve your health by creating healthy eating goals:

  1. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Choose red, orange and dark green vegetables for your meal. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as a dessert. The more colorful you make your plate; the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals and fiber your body needs to be healthy.
  2. Make half the grains you eat whole grains.
  3. Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk: Both have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but fewer calories and less saturated fat.
  4. Choose a variety of lean protein foods.
  5. Compare sodium in food: Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose lower sodium versions of foods. Select canned foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”
  6. Drink water instead of sugary drinks: Soda, energy drinks and sports drinks are a major source of added sugar and calories in American diets.
  7. Eat some seafood: Adults should try to eat at least eight ounces a week of a variety of seafood.
  8. Cut back on solid fats: Eat fewer foods that contain solid fats. The major sources for Americans are desserts.  

About three-fourths of the population has an eating pattern that is low in vegetables, fruits, dairy, and oils and most Americans exceed the recommendations for added sugars, saturated fats and sodium.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to be in the best shape possible! Getting healthy could help you save on healthcare. Remember, with IAA one call does it all. 

Like this blog post? Let IAA know by going to our Facebook page and clicking the Like button!