Pneumonia Concern Heightens amid Flu Season and Global Pandemic

Pneumococcal Vaccine—Why it’s important to get vaccinated now more than ever

What is Pneumococcal Pneumonia and why do I care?

Contrary to what you have probably heard your entire life, pneumonia is not a cold or the flu, but a potentially dangerous lung disease that forces roughly 150,000 people into hospitalization each year and contributes to about 3,500 annual deaths in the U.S. alone. Those rising numbers are certainly intimidating, but even more so are the less than glamorous symptoms that ride along with the disease. Chest pain, difficulty breathing, extreme fatigue and a high fever will leave you wishing you washed your hands a few extra times. Not only has pneumonia been a diagnosis on the rise for years, but it has also gained extensive publicity since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and flu season. Dr. Roy St. John, one of Aventiv’s Principal Investigators adds, “It is important for at-risk people to get a pneumonia vaccine to reduce their risk of getting a common cause of bacterial pneumonia (Pneumococcal pneumonia), which can cause significant morbidity and mortality. There are 2 vaccines available for Pneumococcal pneumonia: Prevnar 13 (protects against 13 of the most common strains) and Pneumovax 23 (protects against 23 of the most common strains). Prevnar 13 is indicated for babies and is given at age 2, 4, 6, and 12-15 months. It can also be given to adults age 65+ once. Pneumovax 23 is given to at-risk adults once or twice. At-risk adults include anyone age 65+, or patients with chronic diseases like COPD.”

Pneumonia linked to the Flu and Covid-19?

While we are all less acquainted with pneumonia, the flu is something that plagues us every year as we hobble to a nearby clinic for a flu shot. Pneumonia is the flu’s less famous sister, but they are certainly in the same family of illnesses that no one wants to contract. The flu is a contagious viral infection that has become the most popular in the Winter season, spreading among its victims mostly through coughs and sneezes. For at risk populations, influenza is a leading cause of pneumonia.

The pandemic has left many countries with a shortage of pneumonia vaccines, as healthcare providers seek to lessen the impact of the outbreak by vaccinating the elderly population and rationing remaining supplies. According to Fierce Pharma, Sanofi alone plans to ship out at least 80,000 flu vaccines this year, up from their 70,000 last year and efforts to create a Covid-19 vaccine are at an all time high. Dr. St. John adds, “It is even more important this year for people to get a pneumonia vaccine because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is well-known that there is an increased incidence of bacterial pneumonia after someone has a seasonal Influenza infection. It is not clear whether the same will hold true for people who get infected with COVID-19, but it is likely a good idea for them to get a pneumonia vaccine.”

Future Developments for Pneumonia

While you can do your part in protecting yourself, it has become a national health objective to increase vaccination levels, especially for the at risk populations. Aventiv Research is currently participating in a pneumococcal vaccine study at our Columbus, Ohio location. The primary objective of this clinical trial is to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of an investigational novel pneumococcal vaccine in healthy adults. We are currently enrolling healthy volunteers ages 50-84 years of age. You may contribute to improving the health of others and reducing the risk in your community. Our studies provide free medical care, and many provide monetary compensation for time and travel. To see if you qualify for this study please contact us for more information at 614-501-6164 or visit our website at www.aventivresearch.com.

Company Wide Wellness Day—Taking Employee Wellbeing into Our Own Hands

Wellness Days Off Awarded to Employees Globally

As we head into the eighth month of a global pandemic, no one could have predicted the changes that companies would be forced to face. Working from home certainly presents its own difficulties. With staff being distanced from the office environment and collaborative company culture—motivation is at an all time low. A collective wellbeing holiday is one of the newly found effective ways to lower employee burnout, boost company satisfaction, reward employees for their hard work, and promote a healthy work-life balance.

Aventiv’s Inspiration to create a #WellnessDay

So where did Aventiv get the inspiration to host a wellness day for employees and why NOW? Dr. Samir Arora spoke on this noting, “We had done something like this for our ten year anniversary. I had also noticed that with the Covid vaccine study, everyone had worked really hard and I wanted to do something more than just the normal.” Incentive Days reward hard working staff by allowing them to come together outside of an office environment to connect and enjoy each other’s company. Dr. Arora adds, “It was a way for all of our remote workers to engage with their counterparts and communicate and spend some time together.”

#AventivIncentive Setting the Stage for the Future?

With what seems like a permanent shift in the nation’s work culture as a result of the global pandemic, will companies use wellness days as a new tool to foster a healthier work environment and contribute to preventative health? Before the pandemic, the most common way to show appreciation for valued staff was through office parties, goodies in the break room, or office games. With many people going remote or hybrid, Dr. Arora mentions, “I felt the ongoing pandemic, political climate and civil unrest had taken a toll on all of us. Sometimes these small surprises help people feel better and give a little joy. In the end, if people are happy, they are more productive at work.”

How did the #AventivTeam Spend their Wellness Day?

Dr. Arora was adamant about everyone taking the designated time to catch up on sleep, family events, a hobby, and take full advantage of the day. So how did our Aventiv Team indulge themselves? An employee at our Phoenix location caught up on some much needed hiking time and took in the scenery of the surrounding area. Others took a quick flight to a fun destination last minute to maximize their bonus day. Some of our Columbus employees spent quality time with family, friends, and pets, while others got outside for some exercise and fresh air. This much needed wellness day was certainly not taken for granted by our amazing Aventiv Team. Everyone treated themselves in a fun way to recharge and come back to work with a mental reboot.

Is this the new norm?

The response we have seen from this wellness day off is positively overwhelming—so where do we go from here? When the global pandemic settles down and some remain remote or hybrid indefinitely, should wellness days take precedence to promote productivity and satisfaction? Dr. Arora adds, “I do think there is potential to make this an annual occurrence, with group activities and fun events.” As of right now, a collective wellbeing day has been 2020 exclusive, but looking to the future, it could be a holiday that is critical to “work from home” culture and integrated into the calendar in years to come.

 

PCOS, What is it anyway?

Did you know September is PCOS month?

 

But, what in the world is PCOS and why do I care?

PCOS is a syndrome with a publicity problem. The name PCOS sounds a bit mysterious and does little to describe the condition. Perhaps we should call it The Condition That 10% of Women Don’t Know They Have. Unfortunately, not only can this condition cause unpleasant symptoms such as obesity, excessive hair growth, acne and infertility, it is also linked to serious medical conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. What is it anyway? Medical experts debate the exact criteria for diagnosis, so that should tell you how much confusion there is about this condition. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is basically a hormonal condition in which women experience irregular menses, usually too far apart, plus signs or symptoms of excessive androgens or male hormones. Such symptoms may include excessive hair growth in areas such as the face or abdomen, obesity, acne, infertility, glucose intolerance. Yes, 10% of women have this condition. And many don’t even know about it. There is a real need to find better treatment options for PCOS.

 

 

What is Polycystic?

Polycystic just means multiple cysts or fluid-filled sacs. Well, we’ve all had cysts of various kinds, right? Have you ever had a pimple? That’s a cyst! The normal, routine job of ovaries is to make a group of cysts every month, one of which releases an egg—this is ovulation! So, what’s abnormal about PCOS ovaries? During the process of making a several small cysts, in preparation for releasing an egg ready for fertilization, PCOS cysts never reach the proper conditions for releasing the egg. It’s like these cysts are stuck in a pre-ovulation stage. These small cysts accumulate every month, which means on ultrasound they appear as polycystic ovaries.

When the cysts get stuck like this the body responds by trying harder, the ovaries make more and more small cysts while the brain structures responsible for managing the ovaries try harder and harder to get them to ovulate. More and more hormones are released, but not in the proper amount or sequence to stimulate normal ovulation. This leads to a delay in the menstrual period, and the unreleased ovarian cysts also lead to an increase in male hormones such as testosterone. This ramping up of the body in response to the abnormal cycles then leads to the obesity, hirsutism, infertility, and other symptoms common in PCOS. These conditions then contribute to the abnormal menstrual cycles. An endless loop or circle of abnormal stimulation and erroneous feedback continues.

Treatments for PCOS

Treatments so far have been aimed at treating the symptoms of PCOS rather than the cause of the disorder. Many doctors prescribe hormones to regulate menses, medications to reduce hair growth, and medications to improve glucose control. However, rather than just treating symptoms of PCOS, promising new medications for PCOS may help correct the central defects in the pathways of the brain’s hormonal management. This exciting approach aims to affect the hormonal stimulation that is causing the ovary to ‘misfire’ its ovulatory cysts.

Future Developments for PCOS

Aventiv Research is currently conducting a trial of an investigational study medication using this new approach for treating PCOS. If you or someone you know have irregular menstrual periods or the other symptoms described above, you may qualify for participation in this study. There are many reasons to consider volunteering for a research study. You may gain access to new treatments or find a treatment option with fewer side effects. You may contribute to discovering important treatments to help others. Volunteers also value the extra time our medical staff spends with them, providing medical care and education about their condition. Our studies provide free medical care, and many provide monetary compensation for time and travel. Please contact us for more information at 614-501-6164 or visit us at www.aventivresearch.com.

Combating the Columbus Flu Virus

Fall is in full swing which means it’s almost that time again- FLU SEASON! Every year, the influenza, or flu, epidemic strikes the United States leaving people feeling icky for days. Common symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, cough, muscle aches and fatigue. Generally, there are no prescription antibiotics that can treat the flu, so it’s usually a waiting game. Severe cases of the flu can be accompanied by dehydration due to vomiting or diarrhea. It is important to treat the illness at the onset of symptoms to avoid downward progression. Eating foods high in vitamins, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of rest are the most common forms of treatment. Continue reading “Combating the Columbus Flu Virus”