Women at Higher Risk for Chronic Pain Conditions

April 21st, 2021

DNAWomen appear to be at a higher risk for chronic pain conditions and that may be due to genetic differences between men and women, a study found.

Genetics and Chronic Pain Conditions

For this study, researchers looked for genetic variants associated with chronic pain in 209,093 women and 178,556 men and compared the results.

In women, 31 genes are associated with chronic pain and all but one are active in the dorsal root ganglion, a cluster of nerve cells in the spinal cord that transmit pain signals from the body to the brain, researchers said. 

In men, 37 genes are associated with chronic pain, and all of them are active in the dorsal root ganglion, the researchers said.

That the sexes each have 30 or more different genes at the base of the spinal cord involved in chronic pain, supports the researchers’ previous work which showed that chronic pain originates to a large extent in the brain and less so at the sites where people may be experiencing pain, they said.

In the study, the genetic differences seen were subtle, but it may be that small differences at the cellular and gene expression level are also involved in differences in male versus female chronic pain development.

At the gene level, distinct genes were associated with chronic pain depending on sex, and there was evidence many were also potentially androgen and estrogen-regulated (the male and female sex hormones).

The study was published on April 8 by PLOS Genetics.

Chronic Pain Symptoms

Common chronic pain complaints include:

  • Arthritis
  • Headache
  • Low back pain
  • Neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system itself)
  • Psychogenic pain (pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside or outside the nervous system)

Such chronic pain conditions can include:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction

It is not known whether the disorders share a common cause.

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Regular use of Aspirin may Reduce Colorectal Cancer Death

April 14th, 2021

Prescription bottleNew research shows how regular use of low-dose aspirin may reduce the risk of death from colon and rectal cancers.

Aspirin and Colon Cancer

Researchers found that aspirin prevents blood cells (called platelets) from producing an enzyme that allows them to clump together. Tumor cells can attach to these clumps and spread, or metastasize, throughout the body.

For the study, a team analyzed data from more than 2,500 colon and rectal cancer patients in the United States.

Timing of the aspirin use appears to be critical, according to the study. Patients who used it for at least 15 months before being diagnosed with localized colon or rectal cancer were less likely to see their tumor spread.

At the same time, while patients who began taking aspirin after their cancer diagnosis had better outcomes than those who didn’t take aspirin, the difference was not significant, the study found.

The use of non-aspirin such as ibuprofen wasn’t associated with better outcomes.

The findings were recently published in the “Journal of the National Cancer Institute.”

Signs of Colorectal Cancer

Signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer can include:

  • Abdominal pain, aches or cramps that don’t go away
  • A change in bowel habits
  • Blood in your stool
  • Diarrhea, constipation or feeling that the bowel does not empty all the way
  • Unexplained weight loss

Colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first.

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Masks may Help With Allergy Season

April 7th, 2021

FacemasksWorried that allergy season may drag you down? Masks could help guard against severe spring allergies.

Masks may Reduce Spring Allergy Symptoms

More patients are doing well this allergy season because they are spending more times indoors and wearing a mask when they go outside.

A 2020 study showed that hay fever symptoms among nurses had been significantly reduced with face mask usage during the pandemic.

Any type of face covering can significantly reduce the pollens and allergens that may enter your nose and mouth. However, it is important not to touch the front side of your mask when removing it and not to flip the mask when reusing it.

Ways to Reduce Allergy Symptoms

Along with wearing a mask, there are other things you can do to reduce allergy symptoms:

  1. Identify your allergens and if you’re allergic to pollen, limit outdoor activities when pollen counts are high.
  2. Remove clothes you’ve worn outside and shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
  3. Bathe and shampoo daily before going to bed to wash off pollens.
  4. Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
  5. Don’t hang laundry outside—pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
  6. Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening activities that stir up allergens.

Don’t let allergy season get you down! Take steps so you can enjoy this beautiful season.

What IAA has to Say

With all of the sneezing, itching, and watery eyes, it may be hard to even read this blog post! Insurance Administrator of America knows that allergy season is no fun, but IAA hopes masking up can help reduce those symptoms.  

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Pfizer Begins Oral COVID-19 Drug Trial

March 31st, 2021

Prescription bottlePfizer announced on March 23, it has begun a U.S. based early-stage study of an oral anti-viral drug to treat COVID-19.

Oral COVID-19 Treatment

The Phase 1 trial involves healthy adults to evaluate safety and tolerability of the drug.

The antiviral candidate is called PF-07321332. It is a protease inhibitor and could be prescribed to patients showing the first signs of a COVID-19 infection.

Protease inhibitors work by binding to a viral enzyme, preventing a virus from replicating inside a cell.

PF-07321332 was designed as a potential oral therapy that could be prescribed at the first sign of infection, without requiring that patients are hospitalized or in critical care.

Fighting COVID-19

Currently, the best available method to fight the coronavirus is through vaccination. Three vaccines are now authorized and recommended to protect against COVID-19:

  1. Pfizer-BioNtech: This requires two shots given 21 days apart.
  2. Moderna: This requires two shots given 28 days apart.
  3. Johnson & Johnson/Janssen: This only requires one shot.

COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes coronavirus without people having to get the illness.

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CDC Releases Guidelines for Fully Vaccinated People

March 24th, 2021

ShotOn March 8 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a set of recommendations on activities that fully vaccinated people can resume.

Recommendations

About 26.1 million people have received both doses of the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. What does that mean? Those who are fully vaccinated can:

  • Refrain from quarantining and testing if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 after contact with someone who has COVID-19
  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or staying six feet apart
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from one or other households indoors without wearing masks or staying six feet apart if everyone in the other household is at low risk for severe disease

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last dose.

Precautions Still Apply

The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people continue to take these COVID-19 precautions when in public, when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple other households and when around unvaccinated people who are at high risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19:

  • Avoid medium and large-sized in person gatherings
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations
  • Follow guidelines issued by individual employers
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Stay at least six feet from the people you do not live with
  • Wear a well-fitted mask

How long vaccine protection lasts and how much vaccines protect against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants are still under investigation.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America cannot wait until the day everyone is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.Until then, IAA wants to remind everyone to still take the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe.

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