Category Archives: Health

What is new in the field of Health. Trending topics, and cutting edge research in the are of Health. Press Releases that give us updates on Health.

Grant Cardone Announces 10X Challenge To Help Millions Recover And Rise Up

“I am living proof that someone can rise up from rock-bottom to fulfill their ambitions and realize their dreams. Anyone who knows me should know that if I could do it then anyone can. If you give me ten hours I’ll prove it to you.”

Grant Cardone, internationally-known business guru, marketer, billion-dollar real estate investor and best-selling author of The 10X Rule, recently announced his upcoming 10X Challenge. This will be a 10-day program in which Cardone and numerous celebrity guest speakers will join together every day for a live event on Facebook. The goal of the 10X Challenge is to help people around the world improve all aspects of their lives especially those who have been affected by the pandemic and other events. The 10X Challenge is named for Cardone’s 10X philosophy whose core principles are that massive success requires massive action and that people must be willing to do what others are not in order to attain their financial and life goals. The 10X Challenge begins September 28th and continues for 10 days until October 7th. Each episode of the challenge will begin at 8:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. Anyone interested in joining the 10X Challenge can learn more at

In addition to Cardone and his wife, Elena, also a prime mover in various business ventures, the 10X Challenge will feature 14 celebrity guest speakers who have achieved remarkable success in their respective fields. The all-star roster includes Daymond John from ABC’s Shark Tank, #1 New York Times bestselling author and former monk, Jay Shetty, fashion designer and international brand creator, Rebecca Minkoff, Miami hospitality entrepreneur, David Grutman, champion athlete trainer, Tim Grover and many others with additional guests being announced daily. While the approximate total cost to hire all these speakers would be in the millions, the 10X Challenge is completely free of charge to all participants.

During the 10X Challenge, for one hour every day, Cardone and his guests will share their life stories, their experiences, and their expertise along with the techniques and strategies they use to gain and maintain their phenomenal success, even today while so many others are struggling. Cardone and the rest of the speakers will set daily goals for the attendees and then guide them through the process of achieving those goals. When asked about the nature of the challenge itself, Cardone replied, “The challenge is just showing up every day and doing the work. No one is going to come to your house and make your dreams come true. You gotta show up and get after it.” In his numerous best-selling books, Cardone espouses the pursuit of one’s goals in an aggressive, persistent manner with a “commit now and figure out how later” mentality. Cardone refers to this as “over-promising and over-delivering”.

The idea for the 10X Challenge came to Cardone as he observed how so many people were being adversely affected by the effects of the pandemic. He was shocked by the ensuing economic consequences ranging from business closures to job losses numbering in the millions in the United States alone, to say nothing of the number of newly unemployed people around the world. Realizing that something had to be done, Cardone, who is famous for achieving enormous success on every level after overcoming almost unimaginable personal difficulties in his life, became determined to give as many people as possible a way to help themselves in as short a time as possible. As someone who is famous for achieving his goals through his rugged individualism, Cardone sincerely believes that everyone has the capability to improve their circumstances in every aspect of their life whether it’s personal, professional or financial. This belief is what led Cardone to write his bestselling 10X Rule whose success was the catalyst for a 10X movement which has spread around the world. In fact, 10X has become so popular that Cardone even hosts his own annual event in Las Vegas, The 10X Growth Conference, whose attendees number in the tens of thousands.

In addition to leading the global 10X movement, Cardone owns and operates several successful business ventures including Cardone Capital which manages nearly $2 billion in multifamily real estate assets. Cardone also appears at speaking engagements around the globe to share his unparalleled expertise on sales and marketing. When not running his companies or flying around the world in his signature private jet, Cardone spends a significant amount of time raising funds for several charities including his own Grant Cardone Foundation, which seeks to assist at-risk youths, particularly those without fathers, as Cardone lost his own father at the age of ten. His foundation is extremely important to him since one of, if not the main guiding principle in Cardone’s life is to pay it forward now that he has achieved what most would call the pinnacle of success. This is the reason behind the creation of the 10X Challenge, so that Cardone can give the maximum number of people the information and tools they need to elevate themselves and live their best lives. Cardone concluded by saying, “I am living proof that someone can rise up from rock-bottom to fulfill their ambitions and realize their dreams. Anyone who knows me should know that if I could do it then anyone can. If you give me ten hours I’ll prove it to you.”

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Decode Earns Spot on Houston Business Journal’s Fast 100 List

Decode, a full-service marketing agency in Houston, Texas, was named #48 on the Houston Business Journal’s 2020 Fast 100 List. These awards recognize Houston-area private companies with the fastest revenue growth between the 2017 and 2019 fiscal years. Winners were announced at a virtual awards event hosted by the Houston Business Journal on Friday, September 18.

“I’m proud that Decode is featured among such amazing companies,” said Kathleen Perley, founder and CEO of Decode. “I’m extremely grateful for the enduring support of our clients and the hard work of the Decode team. I feel positive that this growth will continue for Decode.”

Decode, a full-service marketing agency, was founded in 2014 and has since expanded to feature 42 employees. Serving both local and national clients, Decode is proud to be a part of the Houston marketing community and help build up our city’s reputation as a hub for both traditional and digital marketing.

Decode would like to thank all sponsors and partners of the Houston Business Journal’s 2020 Fast 100 List for making this event possible. Decode is also thankful for their clients, who let them flex their creative minds, and their entire team, who works eagerly and passionately to get the work done right.

About Decode

Based in Houston, Texas, Decode began as a digital agency fueled by the possibilities of solving clients’ problems through the humanization of data. Since that time, they have established themselves as an award-winning, full-service marketing agency that views strategy through a customer-centric digital lens. Due to their analytical insight and focus on results, they have become one of the most awarded agencies in Houston’s yearly prestigious marketing award programs, including the AMA Houston Crystal Awards and the AAF-Houston American Advertising Awards. Learn more about Decode by visiting their website at

About the Houston Business Journal

The Houston Business Journal is a publication of the American City Business Journals. They provide readers with the latest breaking business news, updated throughout the day. To learn more, visit


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Dracen Pharmaceuticals Announces the Initiation of First-in-human Study of DRP-104 in Adult Patients With Advanced Solid Tumors

Dracen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical stage privately-funded biotech company developing anti-cancer drugs, today announced the initiation of its first-in-human Phase 1/2a clinical trial of DRP-104.

“Tumors are constantly growing and changing requiring novel therapeutic approaches. Our goal at Dracen is to create a therapeutic that can metabolically reprogram cancer cells,” said Thomas Estok, chief executive officer of Dracen Pharmaceuticals. “DRP-104 is a novel broad-acting glutamine antagonist that has been shown to directly target tumor metabolism and induce a strong anti-tumor response. In addition, DRP-104 leads to profound remodeling of the tumor microenvironment leading to stimulation of both the innate as well as the adaptive immune systems, resulting in a synergy with immune checkpoint inhibitors.”

DRP-104 has demonstrated broad antitumor activity in both engineered and patient-derived in vivo models across a wide spectrum of malignancies, both as a single agent and in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors.

“The initiation of this study allows us to explore the profile and promise of immuno-metabolism approaches like DRP-104 in a clinical setting,” said Margaret Dugan, MD, chief medical officer. “We are grateful to the investigators and their clinical colleagues, all participating patients and their families and care givers who are making it possible for us to create a potential new treatment paradigm aimed at treating an unmet medical need for a wide-range of solid tumors.”

The primary outcome of this study is to determine the safety and recommended Phase 2 Dose of DRP-104 as a single agent and in combination with checkpoint inhibitors. Please refer to (Identifier: NCT04471415) for additional clinical trial information.

About DRP-104

Our lead glutamine antagonist, DRP-104, is currently in early stage clinical development. The mechanisms of action and subsequent effects of DRP-104 include: (1) direct inhibition of tumor cell addiction to glutamine leading to substantial single agent activity and tumor regression; (2) broad metabolic remodeling of the tumor microenvironment leading to enhanced anti-tumor immune activity; (3) stimulation of T effector, NK and NKT cells; and, (4) inhibition of immunosuppressive myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and macrophage cells, leading to greater long-term durable responses and survival.

About Dracen Pharmaceuticals

Dracen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a privately held biotech company developing proprietary anti-cancer drugs that target immuno-metabolism. Dracen’s investors include Deerfield Management; Osage University Partners; and The Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague). Dracen is headquartered in New York, NY with research operations in San Diego, CA.

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Coastal Detox Reports a Decline in Rehabilitation Enrollment

Spiking Alcohol Sales and Declining Rehab Enrollment

Spiking Alcohol Sales and Declining Rehab Enrollment

Mental Health Issues on the Rise

COVID-19, racial tension, wildfires, and hurricanes have defined 2020 to this point. Behavioral scientists worry that alcohol and drug addiction could define the aftermath of this overtly traumatic time.

The American Journal of Psychiatry referred to current challenges as the perfect storm for alcohol and substance use disorder (ASUD). COVID increases fear, anxiety, and social isolation, which leads to increased craving, consumption, and risk of relapse, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

The Perfect Storm

Chronic stress triggers and addictive agents synergize to drive and maintain ASUDs and last long after the stressor passes. Researchers proved this theory with survivors of Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 reporting higher numbers of ASUDs.

Our need for social isolation in the pandemic fight significantly increases at-home ASUD while increasing domestic violence and reducing the availability of treatment options.

ASUD and COVID combine to exacerbate each other. Alcohol and drugs dampen the immune system response, increase the risk of respiratory infections and complications, raise the rates of cardiovascular and pulmonary comorbidities, and make individuals more prone to infection-related consequences.

Disruptions of the illicit drug market and alcohol accessibility add withdrawal risks and high-risk pandemic behavior to alleviate that withdrawal.

Behavioral Health Service Demand Increasing

As expected, the National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH) found increased demand for behavioral health services in its September member survey. Fifty-two percent of organizations reported increased demand for services, while many saw decreases in capacity and revenue.

Necessary shutdowns and social distancing diminished capacity, forcing 54% to close programs and 65% to cancel, reschedule, or turn patients away. With nearly 23% annual revenue lost, 39% of NCBH members reported they wouldn’t survive the next six months.

Organizations made staffing cuts with 26% laying off employees, 24% furloughing employees, and 43% decreasing staff hours.

ASUD Marginalization

Marginalization and stigmatization, combined with increased demand, add to the perfect storm. Limited education and training of ASUD in medical school and other clinical programs leads to a large part of the problem. As COVID-19 took medical priority, that gap in ASUD education increased.

According to the NIAAA, many treatment facilities attempt to combat the pandemic challenges with online mutual support programs, telemedicine, and other internet technologies. While online support works well for some, many ASUD sufferers lack internet access.

The NCBH survey found that 41% lost revenue from lack of in-person availability, while 48% reported sustained revenue through telemedicine. The CARES Act provided zero funding to 32% of NCBH members, many of which are smaller organizations.

More than a quarter of survey respondents also claimed a lack of personal protective equipment in the last two months. A similar percentage can’t access COVID-19 testing for staff or clients. Only 5% receive test results within 24 hours.

Dire Consequences

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported in August that more than a quarter of 18-24 year olds (82.5 million people) considered suicide in the previous 30 days. Forty percent of adults report struggling with mental health or substance abuse in that same period.

“Without immediate Congressional action, we are on the verge of a second public health epidemic,” Chuck Ingoglia, CEO and president of the NCBH, said.

The NCBH estimates a need for a $38.5 billion infusion into behavioral health services. They began warning of the ASUD problems in April, and the gap has only widened since then.

Coastal Detox Solutions

Coastal Detox combats the 2020 rehabilitation hurdles with 17 locations following the latest CDC guidelines. We practice increased disinfecting, hand washing, and hygiene standards. We also respond quickly and efficiently to Coastal Detox community members who display COVID-19 symptoms.

Our extensively trained staff offers the latest medical addiction treatment combined with diverse holistic care and clinical therapy. We treat the whole person with a customized detox program based on each client.

Contact Us

We staff our intake department 24 hours a day to keep you from delaying this vital step a single minute.

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London hypnotherapist creates lockdown friendly hypnotherapy IBS programme

Covid-19 Lockdown has been tough for many people suffering from Irritable bowl syndrome (IBS). Seeing a rise in inquires for IBS help, London hypnotherapist Jason Demant has created a unique hypnotherapy IBS programme. It’s medication free, safe and deliverable in a socially distanced way via online sessions or downloads.

The easing of restrictions didn’t ease the anxiety for many IBS sufferers

It is estimated that up to 20% of the population will experience some IBS symptoms. As lockdown restrictions began to ease, the public were able to go and visit shops and restaurants again. However, for many people, IBS began to feel like an invisible disability. When you are constantly worried about diarrhea and frequent toilet visits, you need easy access to public toilet facilities. However, even though shops and retail parks were open again, most did not have any suitable toilet facilities. This meant that many IBS sufferers remained home, unable to visit shops without toilet facilities. The anxiety of going to shopping was too high.

A hypnotherapy treatment for IBS symptoms

For several years, London hypnotherapist, Jason Demant has been using ‘Gut directed hypnotherapy’ to help people reduce their IBS symptoms. Covid-19 and its stresses has seen a rise in inquires. Jason explained that, “When lockdown started I had a number of calls from IBS suffers looking for a medication and socially distanced treatment to ease symptoms’.

Jason soon was emailing hypnosis mp3 recordings and when face to face session could resume, began again seeing people for IBS symptom reduction in London.

Jason added that he found that people wished to engage with hypnotherapy to also reduce new anxieties; Covid-19 created anxiety or to reduce the stresses and strains that the lockdown and also the easing of lockdown has created.

What is hypnotherapy?

Gut directed hypnotherapy, of course, uses hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is a safe and relaxing way to create positive change. Hypnotherapy is a guided, relaxed state. Whilst in this gentle trance, the hypnotherapist will conduct different visualizations and use different techniques and tools to address whatever the person has come for. It is a form of therapy which is useful for all sorts of challenges and complaints. These can include phobias, addictions, pains, anxieties, or even overcoming traumatic experiences.

The gut has been called our ‘second brain’

Often the gut is referred to as a kind of second brain by many medical experts. This is because the gut is where we often will feel anxiety and stress.

Just think of phrases we use such as ‘having butterflies in the stomach’ or ‘feeling it in your guts’. We naturally view the digestive system as a place where we experience emotions. Many people feel their tummy go into ‘knots’ at a time of heightened anxiety. Our guts are the places where the effects of stress and anxiety can be felt and seen and where IBS symptoms can be most strongly expressed.

Jason Demant commented that during this time following lockdown, people are feeling more instability around work and home life and this contributes to IBS flare ups. “For many it’s been stress levels, job uncertainty, relationship strains, home schooling. This stress gets expressed in digestive issues, such as IBS. It’s the gut or the stomach where that feeling of anxiety and the physical symptoms of bloating, cramping, pain are felt.”

For many people locked down has meant an increase of IBS symptoms, but also unfortunately new restrictions on seeing doctors, with many gastroenterologists stopping seeing patients face to face.

What is Gut directed Hypnotherapy?

Gut directed hypnotherapy is a research based and medication free way to reduce IBS pain, bloating and discomfort.

Gut directed hypnotherapy has been shown in clinical studies to be effective for both adults and children. Respected studies have been published about its effectiveness in both in the British Medical Journal and the Lancet. (See )

How does Gut directed hypnotherapy work?

Gut directed hypnotherapy is a wonderfully relaxing method to help reduce IBS symptoms. London hypnotherapist Jason Demant explained that IBS clients, in general, will attend sessions once a week. During these sessions, as well as hypnotherapy, symptoms will be discussed, which importantly centers on any emotional or psychological challenges that are important or relevant. For example, have there been IBS flare ups due to stress or anxiety? Coping mechanisms and strategies are addressed also. Jason looks with clients at whether IBS symptoms cause them to reduce activities, out of fear of diarrhoea or the need to go to the toilet.

A new approach to lockdown related IBS

Jason found that lockdown meant a new approach was needed for many IBS clients. This was especially due to the extra stresses combined with not being able to come for face to face sessions. Jason has found that his new programme continues to help people in London feel calmer and control around their IBS symptoms.

This approach includes a feature that clients are given take home recordings. Jason explained that these recordings are often tailor-made for the individual and must be listened to every day.

“It’s really about changing the relationship between the gut and the brain slowly, but surely that relationship is calmed,” Jason added.

Jason continued that, “Often a client will come, who has had some negative experience involving their stomach. There’s been a parasite or illness, which has left the stomach and digestive system tenderer. The brain is then more reactive to even very small changes in the gut. Even the smallest of changes causes a reaction in the mind, an overreaction in the mind. That creates pain and discomfort, bloating, wind, and other symptoms.”

Gut directed hypnotherapy works to reduce the over reactive relationship between digestion and the mind.

Jason commented that during this time of the easing of lockdown with the uncertainty and instability around work, schooling or money, he’s seeing Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms are on the increase.

Jason’s effective and pioneering sessions of Gut directed hypnotherapy are available in Northwest London. Jason also takes referrals from consultant gastroenterologists and local doctors. If you’d like to find out more about Jason’s IBS pain programme, get in touch with him today. Don’t let lockdown stress or increased IBS symptoms get you down. Help is available. ( )


Fairleigh Dickinson University Launches Transact Mobile Ordering

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“This is much more than providing new technology to students – it’s an opportunity to provide outstanding service to our school community and help ensure a safe environment for all,” said Bob Valenti, Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services at FDU.

To support its Plan for Reopening, Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) is partnering with Transact Campus Inc. to roll out mobile ordering capabilities on its two New Jersey campuses. The mobile ordering solution supports food, book, and other supplies ordering and capacity management, for retail, dining and vending locations, and local restaurants.

“Prior to the pandemic, FDU was already working to update our technology and processes – COVID-19 only accelerated our plans and overall approach to how we can best serve students, faculty and staff,” said Bob Valenti, Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services at FDU. “This is much more than providing new technology to students – it’s an opportunity to provide outstanding service to our school community and help ensure a safe environment for all.”

Transact’s Mobile Ordering solution lets students order food from on-campus dining halls and facilities, plus nearby eateries via Transact’s off-campus merchant program. FDU will use a wide range of the solution’s capabilities, including using the mobile ordering app to track and maintain dining hall capacity limits to help facilitate social distancing requirements.

“As institutions plan for this semester and beyond, we’re all-in on supporting our clients, and we’re partnering with them to help with a safe return to campus,” said Erica Bass, VP of Product Management at Transact. “The landscape of higher education continues to change in response to COVID-19, and Transact is committed to continually innovating on our solutions to exceed the market expectations.”

FDU’s fall 2020 semester began on August 17, with courses being delivered remotely. A limited number of in-person courses began September 14 on FDU’s Metropolitan Campus in Teaneck and the Florham Campus in Madison. Most of FDU’s courses will be delivered remotely or fully online for the entirety of the fall 2020 semester.

For more information about Transact’s Campus Commerce offerings, please visit

About Transact

Through market-leading credential-driven transactions and privileges, and innovative payment solutions, Transact enables a connected experience across the spectrum of student life. We partner with institutions to deliver a mobile-centric, personalized student and family experience both on and off-campus. Our cloud platform and open APIs deliver mission-critical capabilities that support student success—facilitating meaningful student engagement and rich data for keen institutional insight. Transact is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona and has served the education community for over 35 years. Visit

About Fairleigh Dickinson University

Devoted to the preparation of world citizens, Fairleigh Dickinson University offers over 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including doctoral programs in pharmacy, nursing practice, clinical psychology and school psychology; and an AACSB-accredited business school. Degree programs are offered on two New Jersey campuses and at two international campuses: Wroxton College, in Oxfordshire in England, and the Vancouver Campus, in British Columbia, Canada. For more information, visit

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EuropeFX Adds Pharma Stocks To Asset List



EuropeFX is clearly aware of this demand, having recently expanded its offering to include a basket of Pharma Stocks. The brokerage is now offering exposure to seven different pharmaceutical companies that are currently the frontrunners for a Covid-19 vaccine.

2020 has been defined by the outbreak of Covid-19, which, according to many health experts, has yet to even reach its peak. To date, a vaccine has not yet been created to combat the virus, though pharmaceutical companies worldwide are aggressively pursuing one.

This has made an investment in pharmaceutical stocks one of the most attractive options in 2020, given the substantial potential upside of rolling out the first vaccine for Covid-19.

“EuropeFX is clearly aware of this demand, having recently expanded its offering to include a basket of Pharma Stocks. The brokerage is now offering exposure to seven different pharmaceutical companies that are currently the frontrunners for a Covid-19 vaccine,” said EuropeFX CEO Keith Ioakim.

According to EuropeFX CEO Keith Ioakim, “Hundreds of thousands have died worldwide, and the demand for a vaccine has never been higher. This has created an unprecedented demand, which could catapult a pharmaceutical’s valuation through the roof overnight.”

Traditionally, pharmaceutical companies face long roads to inventing vaccines. Long before these get to the market, a vaccine has to pass multiple stages of trials to ensure its safety. These are decreased, however, once the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced a pandemic, which is the case for Covid-19.

As a result, several pharmaceutical companies have seen an extraordinary level of speculative interest from investors during the trial stages of a vaccine.

EuropeFX now has on offered the seven pharmaceutical companies leading the race for a Covid-19 vaccine globally. This includes the following companies:

Gilead Sciences Inc.

A research-based biopharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences, currently carries over twenty-five marketed treatments in the United States for HIV and Aids, Liver Diseases, Hematology and Oncology, Cardiovascular Disease and Inflammation, and Respiratory Disease. Gilead is currently in Phase-3 trials for Remdesivir, a Covid-19 drug.

Merck KGaA

Founded in Darmstadt, Germany, Merck & Co is active in 66 countries, and with around 57,000 employees, the Company generated sales of €16.2 billion in 2019. The Company is involved in all areas of pharmaceutical production and food safety and is heavily involved in the performance material sector for a broad and diverse range of industries.

Amgen Inc.

Founded in the United States in 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world’s leading independent biotechnology companies. Amgen is currently focused on six therapeutic areas: cardiovascular disease, oncology, bone health, neuroscience, nephrology, and inflammation; the Company generated sales of $22.2 billion in 2019.

Dynavax Technologies Inc.

Dynavax Technologies Corporation develops and commercializes novel vaccines.

The Company’s first commercial product, HEPLISAV-B [Hepatitis B Vaccine (Recombinant), Adjuvanted], a hepatitis B vaccine for adults, is approved in the United States. 2019 saw product revenue of $34.6 million.

Biogen Inc.

Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, Biogen helped pioneer the biotechnology industry. A leader in the development of treatments for Multiple Sclerosis, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and Alzheimer’s Disease, Biogen’s revenues in 2019 were over $14.3 billion, for a 4.5% increase in total revenues year over year.

Biotest Aktiengesellschaft

Founded in Germany, Biotest markets different products in three therapeutic areas: clinical immunology, hematology, and intensive care medicine. The Company is active globally, with locations in Europe, South America, and the Russian Federation. 2019 saw revenues of over €419 million, and the Company embarked on an ambitious expansion program with investments of over €300 million planned for their Dreieich location with the creation of over 300 new jobs in the region.

Moderna, Inc

Moderna, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company, develops therapeutics and vaccines based on messenger RNA to treat infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.

About EuropeFX

EuropeFX is a leader in FX, CFDs, stocks, commodities, cryptocurrencies, and more. The Company utilizes STP trade execution, offering live webinars and education sessions and an extensive lineup of tradable assets, markets, platforms, and trading options.

Risk Warning: CFDs are complex instruments and carry a high risk of losing money quickly due to leverage. 78.94% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Managing the Pigment-Loss Condition Vitiligo

Christina Smitley, FNP-C

Vitiligo is not contagious and, in most cases, does not carry health risks.

Megawatt model Winnie Harlow’s striking appearance is in part due to her symmetrical dark-and-light skin pattern. The actor Jon Hamm, who entered millions of households as Don Draper in Mad Men, wore makeup on his hands to camouflage their sudden loss of pigment. “The public faces of vitiligo,” notes Christina Smitley, a board-certified family nurse practitioner specializing in dermatology with Advanced Dermatology PC, “have helped increase awareness.”

Research continues on vitiligo, which results in the skin’s loss of melanocytes: the specialized skin cells that produce melanin, which gives skin its color. “There may be a number of causes,” explains Smitley. “Genes, environment, disease, stress – perhaps in conjunction. Some cite a ‘convergence theory,’ with a number factors together triggering an autoimmune response.”

As many as two percent of the population develop vitiligo. “It typically onsets without warning,” says Smitley. “Patients will observe the sudden appearance of white patches of skin. For those with darker skin, the patches can be especially noticeable. Often, vitiligo starts on the hands and can also present on the face. Understandably, patients can be distressed.”

Most vitiligo is ‘generalized’ – also called ‘nonsegmental’ – with pigment loss occurring in corresponding patches on both sides of the body, and start-and-stop periods over time. In cases of ‘localized’ vitiligo, however, pigment loss is limited. Finally, in rare instances, some patients develop universal vitiligo: the skin loses almost all its pigment.

Vitiligo is not contagious and, in most cases, does not carry health risks. “However,” Smitley cautions, “it can occur alongside eye and autoimmune conditions, and, for that reason, is a medical condition that requires evaluation.”

“Also,” continues Smitley, “ongoing research is opening up future possibilities.”

With that in mind, she makes the following suggestions.

6 Tips for Managing Vitiligo:

1. Don’t ‘wait and see’: “Make an appointment with a specialist as soon as you notice any loss of skin pigment,” emphasizes Smitley. “The earlier vitiligo is identified, the greater the treatment choices the patient has.”

2. Get a diagnosis: “This is the first step in a management plan,” notes Smitley. “One of the reasons to work with a dermatologist with expertise in skin-pigment conditions is that there are different causes for pigment loss, with vitiligo being one. A specialist’s examination may include a skin biopsy: The absence of melanocytes in a skin sample is indicative of vitiligo.”

3. Understand your choices: “Location, extent, and progression,” lists Smitley, “are important factors when considering re-pigmentation options. For example, early onset on the face can respond to topical corticosteroids. For small areas, lasers can be an effective choice, while UVA and UVB phototherapy are often better suited for more extensive areas. Topical and light therapy can also be used in tandem – ‘PUVA’ refers to the use of topical or oral psoralen in conjunction with UVA light treatment. And for adults with ‘stable’ vitiligo – that is, no change in at least six months – skin-transplant surgery is an option.”

4. Make sure that you are aware of any side effects: “Light therapy, steroids, surgery,” Smitley enumerates. “These treatments carry varying side effects. For example, steroids can cause skin atrophy, and PUVA treatments can affect the eyes. Make sure you understand the risks of any treatment and follow your doctor’s monitoring plan to minimize those risks.”

5. Stay informed of your treatment’s timeline and its duration: “In some cases,” explains Smitley, “treatment requires a time commitment. For example, PUVA is typically a series of weekly sessions carried out over the course of a year. Also, treatments may last for varying times: Pigment restored by light treatment, for example, may begin to fade after a year. Being fully informed from the outset is an important factor in patient satisfaction.”

6. Build a partnership with your skin-care specialist: “There are promising treatments in the pipeline,” advises Smitley. “For example, the topical agent ruxolitinib is being evaluated as a re-pigmenting treatment. Make sure that you’re working with an expert who can keep you informed of new possibilities.”

“Growing awareness of vitiligo,” concludes Smitley, “supports patients’ access to timely care that can help them manage the condition.”

Bio: Christina Smitley, FNP-C, is a family nurse practitioner with Advanced Dermatology pc, and is board-certified through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies.

Allegheny Health Network, Innovation Works Announce New Startup Accelerator Focused on Health Care Technologies and Life Sciences

Jeffrey Cohen, MD, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Chief Physician Executive for Community Health and Innovation.

“We believe AHN’s partnership with Innovation Works will spur further economic development in this region, and contribute to a stronger investment ecosystem,”Jeffrey Cohen, MD, AHN Chief Physician Executive for Community Health and Innovation

Allegheny Health Network (AHN) and Pittsburgh-based technology investor Innovation Works today announced the creation of a health care and life sciences accelerator to be headquartered at the Allegheny General Hospital Suburban campus in Bellevue.

The accelerator, AlphaLab Health, will serve as an innovation hub for the region’s life sciences sector, cultivating promising medical technologies and making early-stage investments in participating companies. The collaboration between AHN and Innovation Works is also supported by Pittsburgh-area universities, corporations, and foundations.

AlphaLab Health builds on the success and reputation of Innovation Works’ other accelerator programs, AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear. Like those accelerators, AlphaLab Health will offer its cohort companies early-stage funding, mentorship opportunities from industry experts, clinical resources, and office and lab space when available and as appropriate.

AHN is part of one of the nation’s largest integrated health and wellness organizations, while Innovation Works is one of the nation’s top 10 most active seed-stage investors. Innovation Works’ AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear accelerators are consistently ranked among the world’s top accelerator programs.

“AlphaLab accelerators specialize in helping great entrepreneurs build great companies,” said Innovation Works President and CEO Rich Lunak. “Marrying our capabilities to AHN’s health care expertise will benefit founders, who can test their concepts with clinicians, researchers, and operational experts on an accelerated timeline. This will result in better health care products and greater capital efficiency as they scale their businesses and find the right product-market fit.”

By surrounding promising companies with a network of investors, mentors, and other resources, entrepreneurial teams will be able to accelerate their businesses toward a successful launch, and faster customer growth. AlphaLab Health will also help participating companies navigate the regulatory pathway and manage other issues affecting their traction, Lunak said.

Initially, the AlphaLab Health collaboration will focus on seeding four business categories – diagnostics, therapeutics, medical devices, and health information technology. Companies selected for the formal cohort will receive investment from Innovation Works and AHN.

AHN will also pilot some of the technologies that are developed, allowing the health network to act as a living commercialization lab for translational, “bench-to-bedside” research.

In addition to the formal AlphaLab Health cohort, AHN and Innovation Works may also invite other health- and life-science-focused startups to share office space in a co-working environment at AGH Suburban. Those startups will have access to AlphaLab Health programming and resources, and will be able to collaborate side-by-side with other life sciences companies.

The application cycle is open now. Entrepreneurs should go to for more information and to access the application.

Six companies are targeted for the first cohort. Over the coming cycles, the investments and AlphaLab Health curriculum are expected to spur the creation of hundreds of regional jobs.

“Starting a new company can be risky, especially in the life sciences field,” Lunak said. “By providing seed funding, Innovation Works and AHN are helping to de-risk those businesses in the earliest stages, preparing them to attract talent and secure future investors.”

When completed, the new AlphaLab Health hub will include wet and dry labs, offices, and shared conference areas for companies participating in the accelerator programs at AGH Suburban, bringing new intellectual resources and economic activity to the Bellevue community, which is 10 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh.

“Suburban has been a fixture in Bellevue for more than a century, and we are extremely pleased to be able to creatively reuse this space for the benefit of the community and Western Pennsylvania’s life sciences sector,” said Jeffrey Cohen, MD, AHN’s Chief Physician Executive for Community Health and Innovation. “We believe AHN’s partnership with Innovation Works will spur further economic development in this region, and contribute to a stronger investment ecosystem for all health care entrepreneurs.”

AHN is partnering with Innovation Works, Dr. Cohen said, because of the organization’s national reputation as a true business accelerator for early-stage companies.

“Our goal is not to take ownership of the technologies or manage the companies,” Dr. Cohen said. “We want to provide startups with the tools, resources and space they need to grow and thrive.”

Suburban General Hospital opened at its current location in 1912. Since 1994, when the hospital affiliated with Allegheny General, the site has been home to an inpatient hospital, administrative offices, an urgent care clinic, outpatient services, and a privately-operated long-term care facility.

In 2010, the hospital’s inpatient units and emergency department closed, and the private nursing facility closed in June 2019, allowing the facility to be more fully redeveloped. AGH Suburban’s urgent care clinic and outpatient clinics continue to operate.

Designs for the new lab and office spaces are currently being finalized, with construction to follow.

“We’re excited to see a new use for this regional asset, and we anticipate that the collaboration of AHN and Innovation Works will create a premier accelerator for launching new life science innovations,” Dr. Cohen said. “AlphaLab Health will be a leading resource for life sciences startups that want to build the next great innovations in our region, improving the quality and efficiency of care for patients.”


About AHN

Allegheny Health Network (, a Highmark Health company, is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the greater Western Pennsylvania region. Among the network’s 300 clinical locations are 13 hospitals and five Health + Wellness Pavilions. AHN also is home to a comprehensive research institute; home- and community-based health services; and a group purchasing organization. The network employs more than 20,000 people and has more than 2,400 doctors on its medical staff. Established in 2013, AHN’s member hospitals share legacies of charitable care that date back more than 160 years.

About Innovation Works

Innovation Works is one of the nation’s top 10 most active investors in seed-stage technology companies and is the leading supporter of the Pittsburgh region’s tech startups with investment, business assistance and connections to other resources. Innovation Works is the Ben Franklin Technology Partner (BFTP) of SWPA. The BFTP network of four centers financially and operationally support innovative startup, early-stage, and high-growth companies across the Commonwealth. The BFTP is supported in part by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority and is overseen by the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development.


Dan Laurent


Terri Glueck


Sneez, LLC Selected as a Venture Atlanta 2020 Showcase Company

Image of simple survey that screens for what the CDC recognizes as symptoms of COVID-19

Access to real-time health screening and tracking information is more important now than ever, and Sneez delivers.

Sneez, LLC announced today that it has been chosen out of a record-breaking 400 applicants as one of the top technology companies in the Southeast to present at Venture Atlanta 2020. Now in its 14th year, the annual conference to be held October 21-22, pivoted to a fully virtual format, Venture Atlanta Live Online. One of the nation’s best venture capital conferences continues to showcase innovators from the hottest tech markets in the US and boosts its largest number of selected companies and represented investor funds to date. Even in light of COVID-19, Venture Atlanta continues to fuel capital and growth, serving the needs of the region’s vibrant tech community.

“We are honored to have been selected as a Showcase Company of Venture Atlanta 2020,” said Sneez, LLC CEO, Danielle Lamphier. “Our portfolio of health and wellness technology solutions is rapidly gaining traction, and this opportunity to network with other growth minded innovators and investors couldn’t be more timely. Access to real-time health screening and tracking information is more important now than ever, and Sneez delivers.”

Sneez, LLC, is the creator of the leading mobile application for real-time illness tracking, the Sneez app. The company recently added SneezSafe to its portfolio of wellness technology solutions. This new web-based tool is designed for employers and other organizations, such as colleges and universities, to enable employees to screen for symptoms associated with COVID-19 each day before going to work or class. The customizable tool uses the latest CDC guidelines and decision logic to process user data instantly, directing users to seek further evaluation or connect to care when needed – right from the platform. SneezSafe features a robust employer reporting dashboard and is approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to serve as a data gathering tool for the Community Research Partnership National COVID-19 Study conducted through Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

“Venture Atlanta has become the authority for recognizing technology innovation across the Southeast and beyond, connecting the best and brightest innovators with top-tier, national investors and other leaders in our technology ecosystem that helps drive success and results with over $4.5 billion in funding awarded to date,” said Venture Atlanta CEO Allyson Eman. “This year, we’ve pivoted to a digital format to best serve the needs of our vibrant tech community and are thrilled to be showcasing our largest line up of companies ever. These companies reflect our incredible pool of talented people, inspiring innovation, and continued opportunities for growth within the technology community.”

Venture Atlanta Live Online will offer an unparalleled experience that streams two days of immersive events and interactive networking opportunities. Attendees will be able to connect with others at the conference, set up one-on-one meetings, stroll the virtual show floor, watch pitches in real-time, and use features like live chat, and audience polling. Atlanta-based independent investment management firm, Invesco, is this year’s premier sponsor, with Cherry Bekaert, Nelson Mullins and Truist as additional headline sponsors. Venture Atlanta Live Online will conclude with TechSquare Labs’ Atlanta Startup Battle, in which top five companies will pitch on stage against one another to win a $100,000 investment.

To learn more about the Sneez, LLC, portfolio of products, visit and For additional information about Venture Atlanta, to register for the event or to view the conference schedule, please visit

About Venture Atlanta

Venture Atlanta, the Southeast’s technology innovation event, is where the region’s most promising tech companies meet the country’s top-tier investors. This year’s event is going all digital through Venture Atlanta Live Online.

As the Southeast’s largest investor showcase helping launch more than 400 companies and raise over $4.5 billion in funding to date, the event connects the region’s top entrepreneurs with local and national investors and others in the technology ecosystem who can help them raise the capital they need to grow their businesses. The annual non-profit event is a collaboration of the Atlanta CEO Council, Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). For more information, visit For updates, follow us on Twitter and visit our blog.

About Sneez, LLC

Sneez, LLC, uses technology and health data integration to help local communities stay informed and healthy. The Sneez brand was born when pediatric doctors, William Satterwhite, MD and Steven Hodges, MD, created the Sneez app in 2016 – the first of its kind real-time illness tracking app. The Sneez app uses diagnosis data from local physicians and urgent care locations to inform the public of a variety of sicknesses occurring in their specific geography, including flu, colds, strep throat and other common illnesses. This data is used to create a virtual heat map of illnesses circulating in local communities by zip code. The app also helps consumers and their families connect with local healthcare providers through scheduling in-office and virtual visits with providers, as well as equipping users with helpful information such as the wait times at their local emergency room.

In response to COVID-19, Sneez has launched SneezSafe, a workplace solution for health screening and care. The web-based platform screens employees and other community members for COVID-19 through a simple daily survey and connects them with healthcare providers for evaluation and treatment. For more information, please visit and For updates, follow us on LinkedIn.

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