$9.5 million in health funding awarded from the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Health System program
CALGARY, Alberta, Feb. 23, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Alberta Innovates and Alberta Health Services are announcing eight projects from the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Health System – Digital Health (PRIHS) program. Eight researchers from the University of Alberta and University of Calgary will share $9.5 million in funding for digital health projects that will provide promising solutions to priority health system challenges.
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One of the successful projects is being led by Dr. Prism Schneider, from the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health, in the Cumming School of Medicine, at the University of Calgary, who will look at bone health. At least one in three females, and one in five males, will experience a fragility fracture due to osteoporosis or low bone mass at some point in their lifetime. Fragility fractures occur from a standing height, or less. Individuals experiencing a fragility fracture are two to four times more likely to have another fracture in the following two years.
Dr. Schneider is developing an electronic health solution that will alert, monitor, educate, survey, triage, and communicate with patients to ensure engagement in life-long bone health care in order to reduce both the personal and economic burden of fragility fractures on patients, caregivers, and the healthcare system.
35 expressions of interest, and applications, for this year’s PRIHS funding were received and ultimately eight were funded. Investigators will have up to three years to complete their projects. Researchers will use technologies to support the delivery of innovative care models that empower patients, families and health care teams to improve quality of care.QUOTES
“Health care needs to be efficient, effective and timely, and innovation supports those objectives. These projects illustrate the ingenuity of Alberta’s research and innovation teams. With their resourcefulness we can develop a more progressive health system that offers improved care to Albertans.”
Jason Copping, Minister of Health
“Technology is not just an industry, it is the future of every industry, and it must be the future of healthcare. Research projects like this are critically important to developing new advanced treatments, and ultimately delivering better healthcare for all Albertans.”
Nate Glubish, Minister, Technology and Innovation“By integrating innovation into our health care system we continue to improve health outcomes for Albertans. Alberta Innovates is pleased to partner with Alberta Health Services and the Strategic Clinical Networks to add innovative new programs to our health system. We congratulate all eight applicants, and we look forward to the results that flow from this partnership.”
Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates
“Using virtual care technologies, AHS can increase access to care for patients closer to home, particularly those in rural and remote communities. By supporting digital health initiatives such as Virtual MD through Health Link, we will grow our ability to provide virtual care to patients with less urgent concerns. In doing so, we can improve capacity within our urgent care and emergency departments to care for those with more medically complex concerns.”
Dr. Braden Manns, Vice President, Provincial Clinical Excellence, Alberta Health Services“Dr. Schnieder’s research exemplifies how innovations in digital and data-enabled technologies have the potential for tremendous positive impact on our health system. UCalgary is grateful for Alberta Innovates’ support of our researchers and colleagues in the Alberta Health Services Strategic Clinical Networks. The PRIHS program enables our scholars to align their research efforts with the needs of our health system to advance evidence-based solutions to improve healthcare quality and health outcomes for Albertans.”
Dr. Andre Buret, Associate Vice President, Research University of Calgary
Successful PRIHS – Digital Health Projects:
University of Calgary
Integrating Prevention into Connect Care for Health (IPiC-Health
University of Alberta
Adoption and enhancement of a care pathway for children with medical complexity: an implementation evaluation project for tracheostomy in pediatrics
University of Alberta
Optimization of Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia Management (OPTIMUS-SAB)
University of Alberta
Telemonitoring to reduce adverse events for hospitalized patients in Alberta
University of Calgary
UPTAKE: Using personalized risk and digital tools to guide transitions following acute kidney events – computer decision support and remote monitoring to reduce acute care hospitalization.
University of Alberta
Diabetes, Obesity, and Nutrition
Linking diabetes care: An integrated digital health approach to diabetes with First Nations in Alberta (LINK).
University of Calgary
Bone and Joint Health
POWER Program: Personalized Osteoporosis Care With Early Recognition, a novel digital provincial outpatient fracture liaison service.
University of Alberta
Patient dashboard (PD-IDB) to improve complex care and self-management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Alberta innovates is the province’s most comprehensive research and innovation agency. From funding to commercialization, we are Alberta’s innovation engine. We foster and accelerate research and innovation to benefit citizens and drive economic growth.
We are currently managing a project portfolio worth $1.2 billion.
Alberta Innovates works across sectors to fund, partner and enable entrepreneurship throughout the province. The corporation operates in 11 locations with more than one million sq ft of industrial testing and lab facilities and 600 acres of farmland. Alberta Innovates employs 589 highly skilled scientists, business and technical professionals and has an annual operating budget of $250 million.
More than 1,900 elementary school students in Windsor and Essex County have been suspended for out-of-date immunization records, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said Monday.
Parents must provide the health unit with an up-to-date immunization record for the suspension to be lifted and the student to return to school. Immunization clinics are available at both health unit locations in Windsor and Leamington on Monday and throughout this week, while immunization records are accepted in-person between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday at both locations.
Students who were suspended but attend and receive vaccinations at the health unit clinics, or who update their records with the health unit, will receive a notice and can return to school the same day.
Proof of immunization can also be submitted online at immune.wechu.org. Primary care providers can also send immunization records to the health unit at 519-258-7288.
The Immunization of School Pupils Act requires local health units to maintain and review vaccination records for all students and to enforce school suspensions if records are incomplete. These routine immunizations are often administered by primary care providers, but records must still be updated and on file with the health unit.
The review of student immunization records began in December 2022, when more than 12,000 students received notice their records were not up to date.
Earlier this month the health unit warned 3,200 students faced suspension for incomplete records; ultimately 1,908 were suspended on Monday, according to health officials.
The list of ways a COVID-19 infection disrupts the body’s natural functions is long and diverse, and, as Viktorya Skrypnyk’s clients have come to learn, includes hair loss.
Skrypnyk is a registered nurse who owns and operates VBeauty Spa, a medical aesthetic clinic in Toronto. The last two years have sent a parade of people through the doors of her clinic struggling with hair loss they say began after a COVID-19 infection.
“Lately, I do see that there’s people that are coming in that have no history of hair loss in the family, no history of alopecia that are developing these symptoms of alopecia within last few years,” she told CTVNews.ca on Friday. “Most of them are saying that they generally noticed an increase in the year loss specifically after acquiring COVID.”
Multiplepublishedstudies have shown COVID infections can trigger a type of hair shedding called telogen effluvium (TE). With TE, thinning typically occurs around the top of the head.
When clients suffering from TE come to Skrypnyk, it’s usually for a treatment she offers known as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. Before the pandemic, Skrypnyk estimates 70 per cent of her PRP therapy clients were men. Now?
“Lately I’ve noticed, after COVID especially, it’s been more popular among women,” she said.
WHAT IS PRP THERAPY?
Platelet-rich plasma therapy is a form of regenerative medicine that uses a patient’s own blood cells – specifically platelets – to accelerate healing in a specific area of the body.
Plasma is the liquid portion of blood; the medium that carries red and white blood cells and platelets through the body. It’s made mostly of water and proteins. Platelets are blood cells that aid in blood clotting and contain a naturally-occurring substance called growth factor, which stimulates cell growth and wound healing.
In PRP therapy, a patient’s blood is collected and spun in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelet component of the blood. The patient’s own platelet-rich plasma is then injected into an area of the body that needs help with growth or healing, like an injured muscle or, in some cases, a scalp losing hair.
“We usually withdraw the platelets and re-inject them back into the hairline, specifically where there’s a lot of hair loss,” Skrypnyk said.
PRP meets the definition of a drug under Canada’s Food and Drugs Act, but isn’t covered by provincial health insurance plans. At VBeauty Spa, a treatment typically costs $600, though other clinics may charge more or less.
According to an entry by doctors Neera Nathan and Maryanne Makredes Senna in the Harvard Health Blog, most of the research on PRP for hair loss has looked at its use to treat androgenetic alopecia, also known as hormone-related baldness. Androgenetic alopecia affects both men and women, resulting in balding at the crown and front of the head in men, and balding that begins with a widening of the part in women.
“There is not enough evidence to make conclusions about the effectiveness of PRP for other types of hair loss, like telogen effluvium, alopecia areata or forms of scarring hair loss,” Nathan and Senna wrote.
YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY
A person can elect to receive PRP therapy for any type of hair loss, but Dr. Jeff Donovan cautions it should only be considered as a second- or third-line treatment for most patients and most types of hair loss.
“PRP is very popular, but the overwhelming message that I would have is that there is no hair loss condition for which PRP is the first-line option,” Donovan told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview on Friday.
Donovan is a dermatologist and member of the Canadian Dermatology Association who specializes in hair loss. Like Skrypnyk, he sometimes treats patients using PRP therapy. However, he rarely uses it to treat the type of hair loss most commonly linked to COVID-19 infections – telogen effluvium – and he never prescribes it as a first-line treatment.
For one thing, he explained, TE normally resolves on its own after four to eight months, as long as the condition that triggered it has resolved. It often doesn’t respond to the typical hair loss treatments.
“Telogen effluvium is a hair loss condition that happens due to a trigger,” Donovan told CTVNews.ca on Friday. “The treatment for telogen effluvium involves treating the trigger, not a bandaid with some other treatment plan.”
If a patient’s TE was triggered by low iron, treatment would involve restoring their iron levels, he said. Likewise, TE triggered by a thyroid condition, or a condition like anorexia nervosa, should resolve after the underlying condition has been treated.
In rare cases, Donovan will recommend PRP therapy for a patient suffering from TE for which an underlying cause can’t be pinpointed. More often, he’ll recommend it for patients suffering from other types of hair loss, but even then, only after exhausting other treatment options.
“When we speak about treatment for hair loss, we must speak about what is the first line treatment, what is the second line treatment and what is the third line treatment,” he said. “These are treatment ladders according to evidence-based medicine.”
For a client with alopecia areata, a type of hair loss that results in circular bald patches, Donovan said the first-line treatments are topical steroid injections and topical minoxidil, which is the active ingredient in Rogaine. For genetic hair loss or androgenetic hair loss, Donovan would first recommend oral and topical minoxidil as well as topical and oral anti-androgens.
Among clients who do end up using PRP therapy, Donovan said between 20 and 40 per cent will see mild benefits, such as a slower rate of hair loss or some modest growth. In order for PRP therapy to provide long-term benefits, however, Donovan said clients typically need to return for treatments three times per year, indefinitely.
Like Skrypnyk, Donovan has noticed more people seeking out PRP therapy for TE in the past year or two. However, he cautions against shelling out for the treatment before speaking to a doctor.
“Due to the popular nature of PRP and the marketing that goes into PRP, there has been an increase in the number of patients demanding that therapy,” he said. “However, that is not necessarily reflective of the benefit of the treatment. Nor is it reflective of how these conditions should be managed based on current scientific evidence.”
Instead, Dovovan said anyone who has hair loss concerns should start by seeking a diagnosis from their usual health-care provider, who can screen for underlying triggers and suggest treatments.
“In my practice, I really prefer when patients come after having tried several therapies,” he said, “because then I get a sense of how well the hair is responding to certain types of treatments.”
A drug-resistant and potentially deadly fungus is spreading rapidly through US health facilities, according to a government study.
Researchers from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the fungus, a type of yeast called Candida auris or C. auris, can cause severe illness in people with weakened immune systems.
The number of people diagnosed, as well as the number who were found through screening to be carrying C. auris, has been rising at an alarming rate since the fungus was first reported in the US in 2016.
The fungus was identified in 2009 in Asia, but scientists have said C. auris first appeared around the world about a decade earlier.
Dr Meghan Lyman, chief medical officer of the CDC’s mycotic diseases branch, said the increases, “especially in the most recent years, are really concerning to us”.
“We’ve seen increases not just in areas of ongoing transmission, but also in new areas,” she said.
Dr Lyman also said she was concerned about the increasing number of fungus samples resistant to the common treatments for it.
More on United States
Dr Waleed Javaid, an epidemiologist and director of infection prevention and control at Mount Sinai Downtown in New York, said the fungus was “worrisome”.
“But we don’t want people who watched ‘The Last Of Us’ to think we’re all going to die,” Dr Javaid said.
“This is an infection that occurs in extremely ill individuals who are usually sick with a lot of other issues.”