Obesity, a chronic condition characterized by increased body fat, has emerged as a global health crisis. Data from 2017-2018 estimate that approximately 42% of U.S. adults have obesity Obesity is a progressive, relapsing, and treatable multifactorial disease that poses significant threats to a person’s overall health.. In this blog, we delve into the nature of obesity, its association with other health issues such as type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cardiovascular disease (CVD), and the importance of research in addressing this multifaceted condition. Join us as we explore the urgency of understanding obesity and how it impacts our lives. Understanding Obesity: Obesity is a complex condition influenced by various genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors. It occurs when excess body fat promotes adipose tissue dysfunction. Body Mass Index (BMI) is commonly used to classify obesity, with a BMI of 30 or above indicating the condition. The Link with T2D and CVD: Obesity is closely intertwined with a multitude of health problems, particularly T2D and CVD. Excess body fat disrupts the body’s metabolic balance and can lead to insulin resistance, a key driver of T2D. Additionally, the chronic inflammation associated with obesity contributes to the development of cardiovascular complications, including hypertension, congestive heart failure, and thromboembolic events such as stroke or pulmonary embolus. These interrelated conditions create a vicious cycle, where each exacerbates the other, ultimately heightening the risk of life-threatening consequences. The Importance of Research: Obesity’s impact on our community demands research efforts to uncover effective prevention strategies, therapeutic interventions, and improved clinical management. Here’s why clinical research is crucial: Understanding the Underlying Causes: Clinical research can help identify the root causes of obesity, shedding light on genetic, environmental, and socio-economic factors contributing to the condition. By unraveling these intricate connections, researchers can develop targeted interventions and personalized treatments. Developing Effective Interventions: Research endeavors can help pave the way for evidence-based interventions. From behavioral modifications to pharmacological advancements and surgical options, ongoing research aims to improve existing treatments and discover innovative approaches to combating obesity. Empowering Individuals and Communities: Research provides vital knowledge and empowers individuals and communities to make informed choices about their health. By disseminating accurate information and raising awareness, this can aid in promoting healthier lifestyles and combating the obesity epidemic. Obesity is more than just a number on a scale; it is a complex condition with far-reaching consequences. The link between obesity, T2D, and CVD requires research to unravel the underlying causes and develop effective interventions. By fostering a collaborative approach between researchers, healthcare providers, and individuals, we can fight this silent epidemic and pave the way for healthier lives. Because together, we can make a difference. Arizona Clinical Trials is now conducting clinical trials in and around Phoenix and Tucson to help fight these complex diseases. If you or a loved one are living with obesity or type 2 diabetes, click here and sign up to receive more information about local paid research efforts.
Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a viral infection that affects many women and children worldwide and in Arizona. While CMV infection often goes unnoticed in healthy individuals, it can cause severe complications when transmitted from a pregnant woman to her unborn child. In this blog, we will discuss the impacts of congenital CMV on women and children, shedding light on its potential consequences and exploring preventive measures. What is Congenital CMV? Congenital CMV is when a baby is infected with the cytomegalovirus before birth. CMV is a common virus from the herpesvirus family and is mainly spread through bodily fluids such as saliva, urine, and blood. It is estimated that approximately 1% of all newborns are affected by congenital CMV, making it the most common viral infection during pregnancy. Impact on Women: Maternal Health: CMV infection during pregnancy typically does not cause any significant symptoms in the mother. However, pregnant women who contract the virus for the first time may experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, and swollen glands. These symptoms are often mild and may be mistaken for other common illnesses. Regular prenatal check-ups and screening for CMV can help detect the infection early. Emotional Stress: A diagnosis of congenital CMV can be emotionally challenging for expectant mothers. The uncertainty and potential health risks associated with the infection can lead to anxiety, stress, and feelings of guilt. Proper support should be provided to help women navigate this difficult period. Impact on Children: Hearing and Vision Loss: Congenital CMV is a leading cause of hearing loss in children. The virus can damage the auditory nerves, resulting in mild to severe hearing impairment or deafness. Additionally, it can affect the optic nerves, which may lead to visual impairments and even blindness. Neurological Complications: CMV can affect the developing brain, increasing the chances of neurological complications. Some children may experience developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, seizures, and motor skill impairments. These challenges can impact their overall quality of life and usually require specialized interventions and therapies. Preventative Options for CMV Education and Awareness: Raising awareness about congenital CMV is crucial in preventing its transmission. Pregnant women should be educated about the risks associated with the virus and the preventive measures they can take, such as practicing good hygiene, avoiding close contact with young children’s saliva and urine, and refraining from sharing food, drinks, or utensils. Prenatal Screening: Routine prenatal screening for CMV during pregnancy can help identify women who are at risk of transmitting the infection to their unborn child. Early detection allows for appropriate medical interventions and monitoring throughout the pregnancy. Clinical Trials: While there are medications to help treat the symptoms associated with the virus, there is currently no cure for CMV. CMV studies are underway to help bring us closer to finding new treatments and potentially a cure. Congenital CMV infection can have significant consequences for both women and children. While the impact on pregnant women is often mild, the potential long-term effects on children can be severe, including hearing and vision loss and neurological complications. By raising awareness and encouraging participation in local studies, we can strive to decrease the spread of CMV and make a difference in women’s and children’s lives! Arizona Clinical Trials is looking for women to join CMV vaccine clinical trials in and around Phoenix and Tucson. Click here to learn how to get involved today!
The month of May celebrated Older Americans Month, so join us in recognizing the value of older adults in research. Read below to learn more! Age Diversity in Clinical Research Clinical trials are essential in helping researchers develop new treatments and potential cures for diseases. However, including older adults in research is imperative to realizing the full potential of medical treatments. Yet, despite the critical role older adults play in clinical research, the older demographic is often underrepresented due to various obstacles such as economic constraints, communication issues, and physical mobility issues that hinder their ability to participate. These obstacles can have a domino effect and lead to an inadequate understanding of drug effects, dosage levels, and efficacy amongst a group of people who are seeking these treatments the most. As we age, our bodies undergo numerous changes that can leave us vulnerable to various health conditions. For example, older adults are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and obesity than other populations. These conditions can dramatically impact an individual’s quality of life, leading to a myriad of health complications and limitations. For this reason, it’s crucial that older adults are included in research studies that seek to understand and address these issues. Especially seeing as how medications and therapy’s function varies significantly among different age groups. By increasing older adults’ participation in clinical trials, we can ultimately lead to more targeted therapies and better healthcare for all age demographics. Additionally, a single person may be managing a combination of conditions simultaneously. Thus, understanding how new drugs may interact with their current health regimen is also relevant. All Ages Needed – One Size Does NOT Fit All The potential dangers of not considering age diversity can be detrimental. A one-size-fits-all approach cannot be applied to a broad range of patients. As it may affect the efficacy and safety of the treatment being tested. Age influences multiple factors in our bodies, such as metabolism, metabolic rate, and organ function, all of which could affect how a drug is processed. It’s important to ensure that patients in different age categories are represented in clinical trials. It can benefit these patients as the older community is the most impacted by the disease for which treatments are being tested. Ultimately, it leads to more robust research with accurate and meaningful results that can help future generations of patients. Age-related diversity should never be overlooked when considering patient eligibility in clinical trials. Through innovative research and collaborative efforts, we can work to help increase the participation of older adults in studies. At Arizona Clinical Trials, we are committed to increasing diversity in clinical research throughout the state. Help us make a change in public health by learning how you or a loved one can participate in local trials! Visit our website or contact us at (480) 360-4000 to learn more about current and upcoming study opportunities. Resources: https://www.appliedclinicaltrialsonline.com/view/importance-age-diversity-clinical-trials https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4640010/ https://academic.oup.com/ageing/article/51/5/afab282/6581615
There is no denying the immense value of vaccine research on public health. While scientific research and advancements in vaccine technology may not always be visible. They have undoubtedly have made an impact on our society. Learn more about the vaccine research process and the importance of their continuance in our latest blog! Vaccines – The Development Process The vaccine development and approval process are highly regulated to ensure safety and efficacy. The first step is the preclinical stage, where vaccines are tested on animals. If successful, the vaccine moves on to clinical trials, which are conducted in four phases. In phase one, the vaccine is given to a small group of volunteers to test for safety and determine dosage. Phase two involves a larger group of people and tests for effectiveness and side effects. Now, phase three involves a much larger group of people and is used to confirm the vaccine’s safety and overall effectiveness. Next, if the vaccine is successful in all three phases, it can then be submitted for FDA approval. In phase four, drugs that have already been approved by regulatory agencies are put to further testing in larger and more diverse patient populations. Providing important data on any unexpected adverse effects, patient adherence, and practical applications in real-world settings. How Do Clinical Trials Contribute to Vaccine Development? Clinical trials are the essential ingredient in the recipe for vaccine development. Without them, researchers would not be able to evaluate the efficacy of a potential vaccine on a large scale. Clinical trials are the bridge between the lab and the community. They are meticulously designed and monitored to obtain reliable data on vaccine performance. Then once a vaccine passes the clinical trial stage, it can go to the market to benefit the masses. The Impact of Vaccine Research Immunizations have been a game-changer in public health, with vaccines preventing an estimated 4 million deaths yearly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every vaccine available today is the product of years of thorough testing. The value of vaccine research cannot be overstated. With new and emerging diseases constantly threatening global health, it’s more important than ever to invest in developing effective vaccines. In addition to saving millions of lives per year, vaccines have the power to prevent diseases from spreading and protect vulnerable individuals from potentially deadly infections. Furthermore, vaccine research allows us to better understand the ways in which viruses and diseases spread and how our bodies respond to them. This knowledge is invaluable as it can lead to new treatments and prevention strategies. Clinical trials and vaccine development are the perfect pair, with each playing a crucial role in making sure we are one step closer to eradicating infectious diseases! Are you ready to make a difference? Take a shot at vaccine trials now enrolling at Arizona Clinical Trials! Visit our website to learn more about how you can participate. Making a change tomorrow starts with today! Resources: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/basics/test-approve.html https://historyofvaccines.org/vaccines-101/how-are-vaccines-made/vaccine-development-testing-and-regulation
While affecting a large portion of the population, cytomegalovirus (CMV) and its effects remain relatively unknown. So, what exactly is CMV? Take a closer look at this often-misunderstood virus in our latest blog. What is Cytomegalovirus? Commonly abbreviated as CMV, cytomegalovirus is a double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the herpes family, and once contracted, it can remain in the body long-term. The condition is quite common – it’s believed that most of us have been exposed to CMV at some point. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately half of all adults have been infected by age 40. CMV can be contagious yet completely asymptomatic in healthy individuals with strong immune systems. However, those with weakened immune systems and those in daily contact with children are more vulnerable to severe health effects. Warning Signs of CMV Cytomegalovirus is transmittable through body fluids such as saliva, urine, breast milk, and blood transfusion. While often going unnoticed in healthy adults, the virus can cause a wide range of symptoms affecting people of all ages. Symptoms may range from mild cold-like symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes to more severe signs such as seizures. The most prevalent symptoms include fatigue, fever, sore throat, and swollen glands. However, more severe symptoms may arise for the immunocompromised, such as issues with the lungs, intestines, and liver, such as hepatitis. CMV and Pregnancy Complications Although the condition can prove harmless for some, it can also result in serious health concerns for others. This is especially true for women, especially those who are pregnant. If an expecting mother is exposed to the virus during pregnancy, there is a chance they can pass it onto the fetus, known as congenital CMV. Possible health complications that can occur as a result include: Autism Developmental delays Epilepsy Hearing loss Hyperactivity Disorder Visual impairment Several tests are available, including urine tests, blood tests, and swabs of fluid samples in the case of newborn infections. Treatment depends on the severity of the virus. While there is no specific medication to treat CMV, antiviral drugs can be used to help shorten the duration. While cytomegalovirus has no cure, avoiding contact with those infected can help prevent its transmission. Eating nutritious food, practicing good hygiene, and getting tested early are small steps that could help decrease health risks. If you’ve had trouble shaking that cough, sneeze, and fatigue for longer than usual, it may be time to check in with a healthcare professional. With proper testing and treatment, the effects of CMV can be minimal. Cytomegalovirus Prevention Studies Since there’s no cure for cytomegalovirus, clinical trials are underway to help advance the research for this virus. The best way to avoid cytomegalovirus is to stay ahead of it! Learn more about our CMV vaccine enrolling clinical trials for women in and around the Phoenix and Tucson areas by visiting our website or calling us at (480) 360-4000 today! Resources: https://www.cdc.gov/cmv/overview.html https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-complications/cytomegalovirus-infection/ https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21166-cytomegalovirus
Genetic liver diseases are rapidly becoming a more prevalent cause of liver disease, showing us that more than just good looks can run in the family. Learn more about genetic liver diseases, the most common kinds, and why maintaining good liver health remains important. About Genetic Liver Diseases Genetic liver diseases are a group of metabolic and genetic defects that are known to cause chronic liver disease. Unlike a liver condition such as NASH that’s typically caused by environmental and lifestyle factors, genetic liver conditions are hereditary and are likely to be found in close relatives or family members. The most common and critical genetic liver conditions are Alpha-1 Antitrypsin deficiency, hereditary hemochromatosis (HHC), and Wilson’s disease. However, various inheritable liver conditions exist but are rarer, such as Alagille syndrome and Crigler-Najjar syndrome. These inherited liver conditions can lead to various health complications and over time can manifest into liver scarring, cirrhosis and in some cases, liver failure. Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a protein made by the liver that serves to protect the lungs. An alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency is a hereditary condition classified by the lack of a distinct enzyme. As a result, excess alpha-1 antitrypsin can accumulate in the liver. It’s not uncommon for adults afflicted by AAT deficiency to be asymptomatic until it advances into cirrhosis. Symptoms may be chronic or occur with acute respiratory infections and may include: Chest pain that escalates when breathing in Continuous exhaustion and low energy Decreased ability to exercise Excessive coughing with phlegm Lack of appetite Shortness of breath and wheezing Initial symptoms of AAT deficiency typically occur between the ages of 20-50 but affect some as early as infancy. If the lung disease associated with the Alpha-1 antitrypsin is not severe, those who develop cirrhosis and liver failure might be eligible for a liver transplant. Hereditary Hemochromatosis Hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) occurs when a surplus amount of iron gathers in the body. Excess iron in the body is toxic, and if left untreated, iron levels rise over time, and organ damage can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer. Hemochromatosis patients are revealed mainly through abnormal iron levels via bloodwork but can also be detected through genetic testing, and some may require a liver biopsy. Symptoms include abdominal pain, bronze or grey clear skin, joint pain, lethargy, loss of sex drive, and weight loss. The leading cause of death for HH patients is liver-related complications. The earlier you can achieve a diagnosis, the increased likelihood of avoiding these complications. Wilson’s Disease Approximately one in 30,000 people have Wilson’s disease. This genetic disorder doesn’t allow the body to discard extra copper, which causes a build-up in the liver and other organs. Like most things in life, moderation is essential, and the same can be applied to copper within our body. A person with a family history of Wilson’s disease is highly susceptible to also having it, with symptoms manifesting between the ages of 5-40. However, some diagnoses have been made as early as nine months and in adults seventy and up. It’s important to note that symptoms often remain undetected until it is too late but can be treated with appropriate medication if targeted appropriately. Importance of Liver Health Liver health maintenance is vital especially for those who are living with genetic liver diseases or those who are genetically predisposed to developing one. Through a balanced diet, routine exercise, responsible alcohol use, and weight management, you can help maintain good overall health. In addition, regular liver scans and check-ups can help detect any issues sooner rather than later. Click here to request your FREE
To uncover the truth about dyslipidemia, we must first know what is, often referred to as high cholesterol, dyslipidemia is the imbalance of lipid or fat found in your bloodstream. While moderate lipid levels in your body are okay, high levels can put you at higher risk for other medical health concerns. Read on for more information on dyslipidemia and how it affects your liver health. There are three prime types of lipids found in your blood: High-density lipoproteins (HDL) – are considered the “good” cholesterol because their primary function is to remove LDL from your bloodstream and redirect it to your liver. This works because once LDL returns to the liver, cholesterol is crushed down and passed from the body. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) – are known as the “bad” cholesterol due to their creation in your arteries of a waxy layer referred to as plaque. The accumulation of plaque is dangerous; it can make the arteries stiffer but can also obstruct the arteries allowing less blood to flow. Triglycerides – play a part by storing fat in your cells so that you may use them as a source of energy. They develop when calories are stored in fat cells rather than burned immediately. If not monitored and controlled, dyslipidemia can be severe. If high cholesterol is left untreated, you allow plaque buildup in your blood vessels. This may result in health complications such as cardiovascular disease. Can Dyslipidemia Affect Liver Health? The short answer is yes! Your liver produces cholesterol and transfers it to the parts of your body where it’s needed. However, it becomes more complicated when cholesterol levels are too high. The build-up of excess fat can cause damage to the liver. The liver is vital to the management of cholesterol in your body. Thus, changes in lipids can play a fundamental role in chronic liver diseases, such as: Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease Hepatitis B Hepatitis C Cholestatic Liver Disease Cirrhosis Dyslipidemia is strongly associated with non-alcoholic liver disease based on recent study findings. Symptoms and Treatment Unless severe, minor dyslipidemia is challenging to detect since symptoms are relatively unseen. Most frequently, it is found via blood work or when testing for a different condition. Implementing lifestyle adjustments such as routine exercise and the reduction of unhealthy fats can have positive outcomes on those learning to best manage their dyslipidemia. More severe symptoms of dyslipidemia can include chest pains, dizziness, difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, and swelling of the ankles or feet. When it comes to treatment, a healthcare professional will target lowering the levels of triglycerides and LDL. Treatment will vary depending on the severity of dyslipidemia and the underlying causes found. Here at Arizona Liver Health, we offer a FREE fibroscan for those who worry they are at risk for liver disease. Prioritize your liver health and follow this link to set up your appointment today! For interest in dyslipidemia or any future studies, learn more on our website here. Resources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4542078/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6748890/#:~:text=Liver%20disease%20etiology%20is%20a,induced%20%E2%80%9Cimprovement%E2%80%9D%20of%20dyslipidemia.
The Sudden Wave of Hepatitis Amongst Children A recent upsurge in hepatitis cases involving children has caused alarm nationwide. Let’s dive into why this age group is suddenly experiencing a spike in occurrences. An Origin Story – How Cases of Hepatitis Amongst Children Began The first flare-up of hepatitis in kids emerged in the United Kingdom in early April of this year. A total of 10 severe cases were brought to the attention of the World Health Organization. All of them were ages ten and younger. The numbers, however, did not end here. As of June 2022, thirty-three countries were combating the hepatitis outbreak in children and, when combined, equaled a sum of 920 reported cases. Arizona is considered to be one of the hot zones for activity. What You Should Know About Hepatitis Amongst Children When a child has hepatitis, they will experience an inflammation of their liver. A list of different viruses can cause this; however, the two most common are hepatitis B and hepatitis C. A link doctors are finding between the newfound cases in children involves a virus by the name of adenovirus. There is expected to be about 100 types of this virus and fifty percent known capable of infecting humans. When discussing hepatitis, you may often hear the terms acute and chronic hepatitis mentioned. Here’s what they mean. Acute hepatitis occurs when a child with no previous health issues begins to display liver concerns. Chronic hepatitis deals with predisposed children with ongoing issues with liver disease. Tell-Tale Symptoms of Hepatitis Amongst Children What’s particularly odd with this volume of cases is that it’s very unusual to encounter a healthy child with such severe liver injury suddenly. Children may even go on to develop Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease (NAFLD). This takes place when the liver becomes intruded with a fat named steatosis. If inflammation or scarring come about, it’s then called steatohepatitis or the more commonly used NASH. If you’re worried your child or a child that you know may be combating hepatitis, here are some signs to look out for. Fever Nausea or vomiting Stomach pain Diarrhea Yellowing of skin and eyes Flu-like symptoms Joint pain Loss of appetite Dark urine or Clay-colored stool Prevention of Hepatitis in Children is Around the Corner It’s hard to not feel overwhelmed when something concerns our little ones or ones we know, but thankfully there are preventative measures that can be taken to ensure the safety of those you care about. If there’s one thing kids love, it’s touching everything in sight. A simple implementation of routine handwashing throughout the day can go a long way in helping stop the spread of hepatitis from child to child. You can also assist on your end by providing the child with supportive care, such as introducing a healthy diet into their daily routine and assuring they receive the necessary rest. Medications are also frequently used for treatment, depending on the individual case. Last but most certainly not least are vaccines. Currently, vaccinations for hepatitis A and B are readily available. This is a tremendous precaution to employ especially in young children before the exposure that follows age. The Investigation Continues To see so many cases of hepatitis affecting such a young demographic nationally and in the state of Arizona naturally bumps it up to the top concern for the CDC. At this time, adenovirus remains the believed leading cause for hepatitis in children, but investigation remains ongoing. The CDC is working with state and local health departments to help gather as much data as possible in hopes to best
At their very root, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and cirrhosis are two medical conditions that affect the liver. However, this seemingly separate duo shares more in common than you may think. When NASH and cirrhosis get together, your liver is at the heart of their destruction. Knowing their similarities and how they differ is part of the ongoing education slowing a growing epidemic for our liver and overall health. What is NASH? NASH is the most severe form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is an umbrella term for various diseases that cause excess fat accumulation in the liver. Many individuals with NAFLD have a simple fatty liver without any complications. On the other hand, around 25% develop NASH. NASH is the chronic inflammation of the liver triggered by the immune system after enough fat accumulation. Over time, chronic inflammation starts to damage and scar the liver, leading to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure. What is Cirrhosis? Cirrhosis is a chronic, long-term condition where scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. Viruses like hepatitis, alcohol abuse and NAFLD like NASH are the most common causes of cirrhosis. In regards to NASH, the damage from chronic inflammation comes from the body’s healing response continuing when it’s meant to stop once repairs are complete. Instead of eliminating excess repair supplies like collagen, it continues depositing it. This results in fibrous scar tissue that spreads across and stiffens the liver. Without treatment, cirrhosis can lead to loss of liver function and progress to liver cancer and liver failure. A Growing Epidemic NAFLD is the most common chronic liver condition in the U.S. At the current rate, health experts expect NASH prevalence to increase 63% by 2030. Because most people don’t know they have NASH, we can only estimate how many individuals have it. While even the estimations can be scary, it’s never too late to get your liver health back on track. Many factors fuel NASH. However, obesity, diabetes, and other conditions caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices are among the most common causes. By knowing your risk for NASH, you and your provider can begin regularly monitoring your liver, and you can make healthier lifestyle changes. Together, these can significantly positively impact the progression and prevention of liver disease. Prioritizing Your Liver Health May be Easier Thank You Think! Prioritizing your liver health doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Arizona Liver Health has options to help you get started. Do you know you’re at risk for liver disease but haven’t gotten checked out? No problem! We offer a FREE fibroscan for adults at risk of liver disease that can quickly and painlessly determine your liver health. We also conduct clinical research studies to help expand care options for individuals living with liver disease. So, if your fibroscan results indicate the presence of a liver condition, our team will talk with you about enrolling study options that may help! Click on the links above to learn more, or call us today at (480) 470-4000. Sources: https://www.the-nash-education-program.com/what-is-nash/how-prevalent-is-nash/ https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/nafld-nash/definition-facts https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/chronic-liver-disease-cirrhosis#:~:text=The%20most%20common%20causes%20of,triglycerides%2C%20and%20high%20blood%20pressure) https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/cirrhosis/symptoms-causes