HEALTH

Thrive Allergy Expo kicks off in Chicago

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO The Thrive Allergy Expo will be kicking off its inaugural consumer expo this weekend, April 18 and 19, at the McCormick Place, providing consumers education and samples around a number of allergy-related conditions.

Thrive will present speakers across two platforms — the Healthy Living Forum and Marketplace Forum.

At the Healthy Living Forum, the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, American Lung Association, Children’s Memorial Hospital: Food Allergy Study, MedicAlert, University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center and the Gluten Intolerance Group will speak on both days of the event. Discussion topics and presentations include asthma, eczema, food allergies, Celiac Disease and precautions and avoidance tips to increase allergy safety.

At the Marketplace Forum speakers include Twinject, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immnology, AllergyZone, Gluten Intolerance Group, Lisa Cooks Allergen Free, Merchant du Vin, and authors Jules Shepard and Kim Koeller. Anaphylaxis, indoor air quality, evolution of gluten-free beer, how to keep a gluten-free kitchen and how to safely eat out with food allergies and Celiac Disease are some of the topics that will be addressed at this Forum.

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FDA approves ExpressMD Solutions’ health monitoring system

BY Michael Johnsen

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. The Food and Drug Administration recently granted 510(k) marketing clearance to ExpressMD Solutions for its remote patient health monitoring system, the company announced Tuesday.

The Electronic House Call System is designed for use by healthcare professionals who manage patients with chronic conditions, such as heart disease, COPD/asthma and diabetes. Vital signs collected by the system’s connected peripheral devices include a patient’s weight, temperature, pulse and blood pressure, and other specific patient data such as blood glucose levels.

“Now that we have received FDA approval for the ExpressMD telehealth solution, Electronic House Call, we can move forward with the next phase of our sales and marketing strategy, and selling systems into the market,” stated Ronald Mills, ExpressMD Solutions managing director. “Part of this effort will be supported through a non-exclusive distribution agreement already in place with Cyntrist, which covers the Southeastern U.S. region. We believe that remote patient monitoring has the power to effectively change the landscape of the patient care model by lowering costs and improving patient care.”

The Electronic House Call monitor securely transmits a patient’s vital signs to its data center and makes that data available to a licensed care provider via a secure Web site. By remotely receiving patient data daily, licensed care providers can adjust treatment accordingly and provide an enhanced level of care.

ExpressMD Solutions is a joint venture formed by Authentidate Holding and EncounterCare Solutions on the delivery of remote patient monitoring telehealth systems and services.

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National survey reveals gap in ‘uncontrolled asthma’ knowledge

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON A new nationwide telephone survey of 1,001 patients released Wednesday found that while 66% of asthma patients considered asthma a serious condition, the majority of the 21% who reported discontinuing taking an asthma controller medicine did so because they incorrectly believed their asthma was controlled.

“This survey shows there’s an alarming divide between what people know about their asthma and the actions they take to achieve optimal control of their asthma symptoms,” stated Mike Tringale, director of external affairs for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, which conducted the survey with support from AstraZeneca. “Part of the problem may be that many patients believe their asthma is under control once they’re no longer experiencing symptoms. Asthma patients can take action to better manage their asthma symptoms through appropriate treatment, tools and resources.”

People with asthma suffer from chronic lung inflammation (swelling), which, if left untreated, can lead to progressive loss of lung function and other severe consequences. Nearly 42% of patients surveyed incorrectly believe that when asthma symptoms subside, their controller medicine can be taken less regularly. For those with persistent asthma, a controller, or maintenance medication, helps manage chronic lung inflammation. When taken over the long-term, asthma controller medications are shown to not only help control asthma symptoms, but also help to improve lung function. Of the patients taking a controller medication, nearly all (93%) of patients indicate that controller medications work best when taken every day.

The survey also found that 87% of physicians think their patients stop their asthma controller medications without their advice.

“There is a clear need for more physician-to-patient education about asthma control and appropriate therapies,” stated Reynold Panettieri from the University of Pennsylvania and an author of the study. “The first step to asthma control is for patients and physicians to create an asthma action plan, which may include a controller therapy.”

Asthma, considered one of the most serious chronic diseases in the United States, affects more than 22 million Americans. In 2004, sudden uncontrolled asthma episodes accounted for an estimated 1.8 million emergency room visits and nearly 500,000 hospitalizations. Current asthma management guidelines from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute note that properly controlled asthma is marked by patients being able to carry out all normal day-to-day activities, a decrease in weekly symptoms (no more than two times per week) and a decrease in yearly asthma attacks (no more than one attack per year which required oral corticosteroid therapy).

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