Clinical Research Archives - AZ Clinical Trials

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The liver is one of the most vital organs in our bodies. It is impossible to survive without the life-sustaining functions it provides. Understandably, how well we take care of our liver impacts its ability to function properly. National Liver Awareness Month is an annual designation occurring in October to create awareness around liver health. By giving it the attention it deserves, we can stay healthy for as long as possible.

Why the Liver is Important

The liver is the second largest organ in your body and is located right under your rib cage on your right side. Your liver processes what you consume and breaks it down into nutrients your body uses. It also:

  • Cleans your blood of toxins
  • Gives you energy
  • Produces bile for digestion

Causes of Liver Disease

There are over 100 different diseases that can damage the liver. Nevertheless, most damage the liver in similar ways and follow the same progression. The common causes of liver disease include:

  • Viruses
  • Genetics
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Excessive abuse of alcohol
  • Unhealthy diet and obesity
  • Medication side effects, illegal drugs, or toxic chemicals

National Liver Awareness Month

Liver disease affects from 50 million to 100 million individuals globally. Numerous diseases pose an increasing concern, such as liver cancer, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and hepatitis. Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in America. Despite the growing prevalence, there is hope. With early detection and treatment, the progression can be stopped or reversed. Those at risk of developing liver disease can also potentially prevent its onset.

An estimated 30 million Americans suffer from NASH

 Start taking care of your liver today. You can celebrate National Liver Awareness Month by taking some simple steps towards liver health, such as:

  • Work towards achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Eat healthier by avoiding high-calorie meals, refined carbohydrates like white bread/enriched flour, and eat a good amount of fiber.
  • Exercise regularly up to 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Use alcohol responsibly.
  • Avoid using drugs.
  • Follow prescribed directions on all your medications.
  • Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B.

The liver pulls its weight, it's time you pulled yours.

Are you concerned about your risk of liver disease? Arizona Liver Health can help! We offer FREE liver scans using fibroscan technology for adults at risk of developing liver disease. A fibroscan is a quick, painless way to determine liver health. Individuals whose results indicate the presence of liver disease will also have an option to learn more about our enrolling liver research studies. Schedule your appointment today! Call us at (480) 470-4000, or visit our website for more details and online request form.

Sources:

https://nationaltoday.com/national-liver-awareness-month/

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-liver-awareness-month-october/

https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/the-progression-of-liver-disease/


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September 15, 2021 Clinical ResearchCOVID-190

COVID-19 has affected the lives of millions of people around the world since late 2019. You can also be asymptomatic, meaning you have no symptoms but still are carrying the virus. With this in mind, a lot of people have been asking themselves if they have already had the virus because some of the symptoms are similar to the common cold. We’ve come up with a list of signs and symptoms that could indicate whether you may have already had COVID-19 without realizing it.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Unfortunately, there’s no way to be 100% certain whether the bad cold you developed last season was COVID-19, but here are some possible signs that you may have already had coronavirus.

  • Cough – Do you have a cough that won’t go away? The CDC reported over 40% of people experienced a dry cough for weeks after having COVID.
  • Fatigue – Fatigue is one of the biggest lingering effects after COVID-19.
  • New loss of taste or smell – Loss of taste or smell is a hallmark symptom of COVID. While it’s possible to experience this with other respiratory illnesses, If you experienced this at any point, you may have had COVID-19.
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing – Lasting inflammation in the lungs can be cause for shortness of breath or trouble breathing.
  • Other symptoms that are all associated with COVID-19 include body aches, stuffy nose or runny nose, fever or chills, headache, and sore throat.

Testing for COVID-19

In addition to knowing the symptoms of COVID-19, you should know the various tests available for the virus. There are two forms of testing for COVID-19: a viral test or an antibody test. The viral test shows if you currently are carrying the virus. The antibody test shows any past exposure to COVID-19. An antibody test is not recommended to assess immunity after a COVID-19 vaccination. Click here to learn more about testing for COVID-19 and to find out where you can get tested at a testing site near you.


Please note that just because you may have had these symptoms, does not mean you had COVID-19. The only sure way of knowing is by undergoing testing specifically for the COVID-19 virus. If you believe you might have COVID-19, FREE testing is available at Arizona Clinical Trials. If you know that you have COVID-19, consider looking into clinical trials that may be an option.

Clinical trials are important for the future of overcoming COVID-19. Participating in a COVID-19 clinical allows you to be a part of history. Helping evaluate future treatments for COVID-19 is vital to improving the lives of those living with this virus. Are you interested in COVID-19 clinical trials or getting a free COVID-19 test? Learn more by clicking here.

Sources:
https://www.healthline.com/health/sure-signs-you-ve-already-had-covid#signs


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Cirrhosis is when the permanent scarring of the liver has replaced the healthy tissue. While cirrhosis is most often associated with chronic alcohol consumption, it is brought about by many types of liver disease. Here’s how you get from liver disease to cirrhosis.

Inflammation to Fibrosis

When you have liver disease, the liver enters into a perilous cycle to heal itself. The immune system sends the signal to repair cells triggering chronic inflammation and to continue depositing collagen. In a healthy liver, the collagen stiffens around the tissue, and any extra is discarded. However, with liver disease, there is no signal to stop the inflammation discarding the excess collagen. So, the inflammation and more deposits of collagen continues. This leads to more liver stiffening and the development of fibrosis.

Fibrosis is when collagen and other proteins build up between the cells. This forms scar tissue which can block or limit blood flow within the liver, eventually starving and killing healthy liver cells. More scar tissue forms, and unlike healthy liver cells, it cannot function or repair itself.

Fibrosis to Cirrhosis

While fibrosis is reversible even into the later stages of liver disease, there is a point where the damage is too significant, and the liver can’t fix itself. No treatment can cure cirrhosis; by staying away from things that could harm your liver further, like liquor, certain drugs, and fatty food, you can help improve some of the scarrings. Treatment for individuals with cirrhosis includes managing its symptoms and treating the underlying cause to prevent liver function from worsening or liver failure. Those with cirrhosis have a high risk of developing liver cancer and eventually needing a transplant.

Our livers are versatile, continuing to work even when they’ve become seriously scarred. Most individuals with liver disease do not know it until routine blood work picks it up or symptoms become present in the later stages. Talk with your doctor about preventative measures you can take if you’re at risk of liver disease.

Regular liver checks are important for those at high risk of liver disease.

Arizona Liver Health offers FREE fibroscans for adults at risk of liver disease. A fibroscan is a quick way to determine the health of your liver and the presence of liver disease. Should your results indicate fatty liver or other liver conditions, our staff will talk with you about enrolling studies that may be an option. To learn more, call us at (480) 470-4000, or fill out a request form online today!

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/understanding-cirrhosis-basic-information

https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/the-progression-of-liver-disease/#cirrhosis-severe-scarring


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Having liver disease affects the person with it but also loved ones around them. Often a family member or friend fills the role of meeting a variety of physical and emotional needs. If you are a caregiver for someone with liver disease, here are some tips to help you feel better prepared to handle your loved ones’ needs.

Caregivers Help When Necessary

Most who care for a loved one with liver disease don’t consider themselves a “caregiver” initially. In reality, you play an essential role in your loved one’s life by lending a hand with the following.

Daily Tasks

  • Feeding, bathing, grooming, and dressing.
  • Cleaning, cooking/meal preparation, and running errands.
  • Manage finances/provide financial support
  • Emotional support and companionship

Medical Tasks

  • Keeping medication schedules on time. Examples are giving reminders of dose times. Also, keeping track of supply and need for refills.
  • Recognizing signs and symptoms of worsening liver disease, as well as medication side effects.
  • Manage medical records and schedule their medical appointments.
  • Provide transportation to appointments, shopping, and other events.

Helpful Tips for Managing Caregiver Demands

caregiver

A caregiver manages their loved one’s daily life. Likewise, you are also managing your own family and personal needs. Here are some tips developed from expert advice and others who have cared for those with liver disease:

Daily

  • Ask for help from other family members or friends to help avoid caregiver burnout.
  • Take care of your physical and emotional health too. Take time daily to break away and do something that brings you joy. The better you care for yourself, the better you can care for your loved one.
  • Learn as much as you can about their condition. This way, you become informed of the best ways to help them thrive.

Emotions

  • Take one day at a time and learn ways to manage stress better. Understand that frustration from your loved one isn’t purposeful or personal.
  • Contact your benefits advisor at your workplace to verify what support resources are available. Including free counseling sessions, legal aid, etc.
  • Build a support network to connect with others who are going through the same experiences that you are.

Medical

  • Ensure your healthcare provider has given you a complete understanding of the information provided in each appointment.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about arranging home care services if needed.

Finances

  • Check with your bank or financial advisor to review any short-term solutions to help with any financial changes causing strain.
  • Meet with other family members to involve everyone in future planning, more importantly, to better allocate financial responsibilities.

Having liver disease and needing the help of a caregiver can be challenging. Your loved one may feel defeated and a burden on you and other loved ones. Participating in clinical research studies can help them give back by advancing medicine for liver disease. Volunteering has been shown to counteract symptoms of anxiety, depression and boost confidence.

Invest in your liver health

If your loved one has liver disease, enrolling liver disease research studies here at Arizona Liver Health may be an option. For more information, call us at (480) 470-4000, or visit our website.

Sources:

https://www.liver.ca/patients-caregivers/for-caregivers/

https://liverfoundation.org/caregivers/tips-for-caregivers/


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49.2% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at the current writing of this blog. After months of decline, new cases are rising again. In part, thanks to things like the delta variant, vaccine hesitancy, and July 4th gatherings. If anything, the rise in cases should solidify the fact the COVID-19 is still prevalent. Therefore, we should still know the symptoms and when to get tested at the very least. So, here’s your updated refresher.

COVID-19 Symptoms

COVID-19 has a wide range of symptoms. Some only get mild symptoms, and others develop severe illness. Symptoms typically appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Common symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

As far as the delta variant, we are still learning about it. Unfortunately, this means there is a limit to the information available. We know that it seems to spread faster than the alphavirus variant first detected in Wuhan, China. So far, studies suggest that authorized vaccines offer strong protection against severe disease and death from the delta variant. As scientists and researchers continue efforts to understand these variants better, more information will become available.

When to Test, and When not To. 

Anyone should undergo testing who is experiencing symptoms, regardless of their vaccination status. Other situations warrant testing if you don’t have COVID-19 symptoms. According to the CDC, if you don’t have symptoms and are not fully vaccinated, you should still be tested if you:

  • Had close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19, This is including someone who does not have symptoms within ten days of their positive test result.
  • Are an individual who’s taken part in activities that put you at higher risk for COVID-19. Attending large social or mass gatherings or being in crowded indoor settings are examples.
  • Belong to a prioritized group for expanded community screening for COVID-19.
  • Have been asked or referred to get testing by your school or workplace. If you are a healthcare provider or a member of a state, tribal, local, or territorial health department.

You can find the interim recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals here.

Are you Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms?

Adults experiencing COVID-19 symptoms

If you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, we can test you for FREE here at Arizona Clinical Trials. Those with a positive test may be eligible to participate in enrolling COVID-19 clinical trials. Don’t delay; we can test you today! Call (480) 360-4000 to schedule your appointment, or visit our website to learn more!

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/07/07/delta-variant-covid/


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The number of U.S. adults with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) currently sits around 25%. Approximately 2-3% of them will go on to develop non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH is a more severe form of NAFLD and can lead to fibrosis, cirrhosis, and liver failure. By 2030, it is estimated this number will increase from 2-3% to up to 63%. Among the ethnic groups affected, Hispanic populations face the most significant risk of liver disease. Here’s why.

Dangers of NASH and Prevalence in Hispanics

NASH often stems from high-sugar, high-fat diets. To compensate, our livers begin storing excess fat. If nothing changes, inflammation occurs over time. Eventually, the inflammation progresses to cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer, the need for a liver transplant, and even death. NASH also has a close association with other conditions such as heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in patients.

Thirty million Americans have NASH. The problem is most don’t know it because there typically aren’t any symptoms. Liver disease is a top cause of death among Hispanics, with NAFLD being among the most prevalent type. Hispanics are more often diagnosed in more advanced stages of liver disease and less likely to get help. Hispanic mortality rates are double that of other races.

Risk Factors

Multiple factors are contributing to the disproportionate effects of liver disease on Hispanics. Each element is also a top cause of fatty liver disease. These include:

  • 43% of Hispanics in the U.S. are considered obese
  • 35% of Hispanics in the U.S. have metabolic syndrome
  • Diets high in carbohydrates and sugar
  • Many Hispanics possess the gene variation PNPLA3, which is associated with a heightened risk of NAFLD and NASH

The predisposition of Hispanics to these multiple risk factors further increases their risk higher than other ethnicities.

Be Proactive with Your Liver Health

By knowing the risk, Hispanic individuals can take steps to protect their liver health proactively. You can work with your doctor to routinely check your liver for any changes. Those with NAFLD or NASH can slow, stop, or reverse disease progression through healthier lifestyle changes. Prevention is also possible for at-risk individuals. Here are three lifestyle changes you can start immediately:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a well-balanced, sensible diet
  • Exercising moderately at least five days a week for 30 minutes or longer

Lifestyle changes are the basis of liver disease treatment and prevention. By reversing the same behaviors that contribute to this condition, you can make a big impact on a healthier, better-functioning liver. The liver is a regenerative organ and can heal itself if caught in time. Don’t wait!

Millions of livers suffer in silence

Arizona Liver Health offers FREE fibroscans for adults at risk of liver disease. A fibroscan is a test that detects the stiffness in a liver to determine fatty liver disease or other conditions. It’s a quick, painless way to evaluate the health of your liver, and the results are immediate. There’s no cure for NASH. As a result, potential treatment options are under investigation in clinical research studies. If your results show the presence of liver disease, our team with review enrolling study options that may help.

Schedule your FREE fibroscan today! Call us at (480) 470-4000, or request an appointment online.

Sources:

https://txliver.com/media/hispanics-and-liver-disease/

https://salud-america.org/the-silent-liver-disease-epidemic-among-latinos/


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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution, 43.7% of Americans are now fully vaccinated. Most states have fully opened, and most have fully lifted mask mandates. Daily new cases and deaths are at a fraction of where they were previously. Nevertheless, they are still occurring. Is this the end of quarantine? Not yet.

Group of people unmasking, COVID-19

Quarantine Guidelines from the CDC

Just because many people are vaccinated doesn’t mean those exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms no longer have to quarantine. The vaccinations have changed things a little but are mainly divided into directives for fully, partially, and unvaccinated individuals. Here is what the CDC says:

  • Unvaccinated must quarantine:
    • 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
    • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
    • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.
  • Partially vaccinated means:
    • You have either not received your 2nd dose, or:
  • It has not been 2 weeks since your second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
  • It has not been 2 weeks since your single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen.
  • Partially vaccinated individuals experiencing symptoms or exposed to the virus would need to follow the standard quarantine guidelines as an unvaccinated person does.
  • Fully vaccinated exposure to virus:
    • You do not need to stay away from others or go through testing unless you have symptoms. Symptomatic fully vaccinated individuals will then follow the standard quarantine guidelines listed under unvaccinated individuals.

Herd Immunity and Continuing the Fight

Herd immunity became a buzzword when cases skyrocketed last year. It means the number of people in a population who can get the disease drops to such a low level that any new cases cannot spread. The problem is that accomplishing herd immunity means isolating people with symptoms and isolation from any new factors altering what we know about the disease. Neither of which is present in COVID-19. Variations in the virus and vaccine hesitancy further challenge the reality of reaching herd immunity.

The reduction in cases and deaths is directly related to vaccine distribution and emerging treatments. The data gathered so far has shown vaccines are effective at preventing the virus, while treatments are helping more people to recover once they get it.

COVID-19 is not over

Is this the end of the need for quarantine? No. If the virus has taught us anything, it’s to be respectful of each other’s health. It’s also evident that when a community unites against a public health threat, nothing’s impossible. Get involved in COVID-19 studies currently enrolling here at Arizona Liver Health. Healthy individuals, those experiencing symptoms, or have tested positive for COVID-19 are needed. Call us at (480) 360-4000 or visit our website to learn more!

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html

https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2021/05/Herd-immunity-illusive-vaccination-best-to-stave-off-COVID-19.html


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When it comes to detecting and identifying the severity of liver disease, the gold standard is typically a liver biopsy. Newer technological advances have paved the way for other non-invasive options such as the fibroscan. It comes without any risks. It’s also cheaper, quicker, and more accurate. If you are at risk for or already have liver disease, your overall health depends on early detection and regular monitoring. Both are just some of the reasons your liver can benefit from fibroscan technology.

Time-Tested, Trusted Technology.

For decades, ultrasound technology has enabled us to see a growing baby in the womb and many other medical uses. Fibroscan technology harnesses this technology to measure the stiffness of the liver. As the sound waves pass through the liver, the device measures how fast they go. The faster they move, through it, the greater the degree of fibrosis or stiffness. There are over 100 types of liver disease. However, most will follow the same path of progressive damage.

Don't treat your liver like chopped liver

Chronic inflammation as the body repeatedly attempts to heal the liver ironically ends up doing the exact opposite. In a healthy liver, the body produces and transports collagen to repair the damage. It does this by surrounding healthy tissue and strengthening it. With liver disease, more collagen is sent than needed. It builds up between liver cells, binding with other proteins forming scar tissue or fibrosis. The scarring can reduce or stop blood flow, starving and killing healthy cells. More scarring occurs, eventually replacing more and more healthy cells with non-function performing scar tissue.

Early Detection, Progression Monitoring, Lifesaving. 

The liver is a regenerative organ and can heal itself even well into the later stages of liver disease. Ideally, those at risk of developing liver disease would work with their doctor to proactively monitor their liver health. By measuring the degree of stiffness, fibroscan technology can detect the presence of liver issues. Similarly, it is an essential monitoring tool for managing disease progression, stagnation, and regression.

There isn’t a limit to the number of times your provider can perform a fibroscan. In turn, this allows for real-time results measuring how well lifestyle modifications and other therapies are working. The best part is that along with typical lab tests, fibroscan technology continues reducing the need for liver biopsies. Ultimately, it is improving, prolonging, and easing the management of the lives of liver disease patients. Your liver really can benefit from a fibroscan!

Free fibroscan for adults at risk

Arizona Liver Health offers FREE fibroscans for adults at risk of developing liver disease. Based on the exam results, you may be eligible to participate in currently enrolling research studies evaluating potential new options for liver diseases like NASH. Take control of your liver health today! Schedule your free screen by calling (480) 470-4000 or requesting an appointment online.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3594956/

https://hemaware.org/bleeding-disorders-z/do-wave

https://www.hje.org.uk/benefits-fibroscan-liver-health/


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Regular physical activity is the cornerstone of a healthier body and quality of life. It also has been proven to reduce your risk of chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and dementia. Physical activity and liver disease go hand in hand. It could even save your life.

Exercise and the Effect on the Liver

Exercises focusing on your cardiovascular system have a positive influence on blood oxygenation. These activities increase your heart rate and change your breathing pattern. In turn, this increases the amount of oxygen you take in and quickly delivers oxygen to your vital body organs, such as your liver. Exercise also reduces stress on the liver, raises energy levels, and helps prevent obesity, a risk factor for liver disease. Other benefits include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight helps prevent developing conditions that can lead to liver damage. Examples are fatty liver, elevated blood glucose, diabetes, and elevated blood insulin.
  • Regular exercise helps ease the depressive effects by triggering the release of endorphins. Exercise also helps balance out neurotransmitter levels. Together, these promote a sense of well-being and strength.
  • In addition to improving the delivery of oxygen to vital organs, regular exercise improves the efficiency of the cardiovascular system. The outcome helps greatly improve energy levels.

Scar tissues form in the liver because of the progressive damage. Ultimately, fibrous scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue leading to chronic damage (cirrhosis). Cirrhosis is often accompanied by loss of muscle mass and strength. Therefore, for those already with liver disease, physical activity may not only be beneficial but interventional too.

Life-Saving Benefits Discovered Thanks to Research Studies

The fact that exercising comes with many benefits is not some new revolutionary concept. Most of us know it’s good for you and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. A recent clinical research study proved a ground-breaking theory in the correlation of physical activity and cirrhosis-related deaths. It showed a 73% reduction in mortality risk when patients regularly walked during the week. When strength training was combined with walking, the risk was even less.

Liver disease research

As we continue learning more about liver disease and what causes it to develop, we increase community awareness and improve the lives of those living with this condition. A greater understanding of the disease also equips scientists and researchers with the tools necessary to improve management options. Arizona Liver Health is seeking participants to join enrolling studies for individuals diagnosed with NASH. NASH is a more severe form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and a growing epidemic in America. Learn more about how you can get involved by calling us at (480) 470-4000 or stopping by our website.

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/physical-activity.htm#:~:text=Regular%20physical%20activity%20helps%20improve,depression%20and%20anxiety%2C%20and%20dementia.

https://www.liversupport.com/exercise-for-chronic-liver-disease/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/287774-the-effect-of-exercise-on-liver-function/



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