Chronic Pain Incidence Is High in the U.S.

by Judy George: Complete Post through this link…

New cases occur more frequently than other conditions, and often persist.

New cases of chronic pain — defined as pain experienced on most days or every day over 3 months — occurred more frequently than new cases of other common chronic conditions, U.S. survey data showed.

Chronic pain incidence was 52.4 cases per 1,000 person-years, reported Richard Nahin, MPH, PhD, of the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, and co-authors.

This was higher than the incidence of diabetes (7.1 cases/1,000 person-years), depression (15.9 cases), and hypertension (45.3 cases), the researchers said in JAMA Network Openopens in a new tab or window.

Moreover, chronic pain was persistent: nearly two-thirds (61.4%) of adults with chronic pain in 2019 continued to have it in 2020.

The findings come from National Health Interview Survey (NHISopens in a new tab or window) data and are the first nationwide estimates of chronic pain incidence.

Recent NHIS data showed the prevalence of chronic painopens in a new tab or window in the U.S. was about 21%, affecting an estimated 51.6 million adults. High-impact chronic pain — pain severe enough to restrict daily activities — affected 17.1 million people.

“Understanding incidence, beyond overall prevalence, is critical to understanding how chronic pain manifests and evolves over time,” Nahin said in a statement. “These data on pain progression stress the need for increased use of multimodal, multidisciplinary interventions able to change the course of pain and improve outcomes for people.”

BREAKING NEWS: Medicare Covers Seat Elevation for Medicare Beneficiaries using Power Wheelchairs

From Independence Through Enhancement: Complete Post through this link…

We are thrilled to announce that CMS decided to cover seat elevation in all power wheelchairs for the purposes of performing all transfers or to improve reach in performing mobility related activities of daily living (MRADLs) in their homes. This is a major expansion of coverage from the preliminary coverage decision announced in mid-February and CMS attributed these coverage improvements to the 2,130 public comments received by wheelchair users, advocates, clinicians, and researchers. The final seat elevation Decision Memo can be viewed HERE.

For the first time, CMS determined that seat elevation in power wheelchairs is considered “primarily medical in nature” and is, therefore, covered durable medical equipment (DME) under both traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Seat elevation will be covered in Groups 2, 3 and 5 Complex Rehabilitative Technology (CRT) power wheelchairs when a patient needs seat elevation to transfer from one surface to another, with or without caregiver assistance, assistive devices, or lift equipment or to improve one’s reach in order to perform MRADLs. Seat elevation will also be covered in non-CRT power wheelchairs when determined by Medicare contractors to be reasonable and necessary.  Individuals must undergo a specialty evaluation performed by a licensed/certified medical professional who has specific training and experience in rehabilitative wheelchair evaluations.

This decision is effective immediately but CMS will consider new coding and payment determinations in the future. Beneficiaries who are most likely to benefit from this decision include people with Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, spinal cord injury, paralysis, ALS, limb amputation, Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, myositis, and other mobility-related conditions.

Risk of Parkinson Disease Among Service Members at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

By Samuel M. Goldman. et al.: Complete Post through this link…

Key Points

Question  Is Parkinson disease risk increased in military service members who were stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, during 1975-1985 when the water supply was contaminated with trichloroethylene and other volatile organic compounds?

Findings  This cohort study of 340 489 service members found that the risk of Parkinson disease was 70% higher in Camp Lejeune veterans compared with veterans stationed at a Marine Corps base where water was not contaminated. In veterans without Parkinson disease, risk was also significantly higher for several prodromal features of Parkinson disease.

Meaning  The study’s findings suggest that exposure to trichloroethylene in water may increase the risk of Parkinson disease; millions worldwide have been and continue to be exposed to this ubiquitous environmental contaminant.

Why Lyme disease symptoms go away quickly for some and last years for others

By Caroline Hopkins: Complete Post through this link…

Why some people recover from Lyme disease, while others experience months, years or even decades of chronic symptoms has long puzzled doctors. New research offers some clues to an immune system marker in the blood that is elevated among people with lingering Lyme disease symptoms, even after they’d received antibiotics. 

In the new study, published on May 9 in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, researchers found an immune system marker in the blood called interferon-alpha was elevated among people who had been treated for Lyme disease but had lingering symptoms.

Interferon-alpha is one of a handful of key signaling proteins the body makes to tell immune cells to fight off bacteria or viruses. If the blood levels are too high, the immune system can overact, causing pain, swelling and fatigue — symptoms often seen with Lyme disease.

In patients with high levels of interferon-alpha, the immune response to the Lyme bacteria may cause chronic inflammation, even once the infection is gone, said Klemen Strle, an assistant research professor of molecular biology and microbiology at Tufts University and an author of the new study. 

The FDA just approved rub-on gene therapy that helps “butterfly” children

By Antonio Regalado: Complete Post through this link…

Biotech companies are getting creative with how they deliver DNA fixes into people’s bodies.

Antonio Vento is 13 years old. He’s a tiny figure in bandages who doesn’t walk and, until recently, couldn’t see more than shadows. He has dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, an inherited disease that makes his skin so fragile that kids with the illness are called “butterfly children.”

But now, thanks to a novel gene therapy squirted onto his skin and dripped into his eyes, things are better. His wounds have gotten smaller, and a visit to the eye doctor this week confirmed that his vision had dramatically improved.

“They said my right eye is 20/25,” he chirped in Spanish during a phone call. “Now I can see small things.” That includes the blocks and items in the video game Minecraft, which he has started to play.

And call him Anthony, he said. He prefers it.

Brain Activity Reveals Chronic Pain Signatures

From Neuroscience News: Complete Post through this link…

Summary: Researchers successfully recorded data directly from the brains of individuals suffering from chronic pain caused by stroke or amputation. This milestone, accomplished using machine learning tools, identified specific brain regions and biomarkers associated with chronic pain.

The findings mark a significant stride towards devising novel methods for monitoring and treating chronic pain. This research is expected to inform future deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapies and guide the search for non-addictive chronic pain treatments.

Key Facts:

  1. This is the first study to record chronic pain-related data directly from the brain, identifying an area of the brain associated with chronic pain.
  2. The researchers utilized machine learning tools to analyze the recorded data, offering new insights into the brain’s representation of pain.
  3. The findings are expected to guide future therapies, particularly deep brain stimulation (DBS), and contribute to the development of non-addictive treatments for chronic pain.

1 in 10 People Suffer From Autoimmune Diseases

From Neuroscience News: Complete Post through this link…

Summary: A study of 22 million people found autoimmune disorders now affect around one in 10 individuals, with women more affected than men.

The research also revealed socioeconomic, seasonal, and regional disparities among several autoimmune disorders. The researchers suggest such variations are unlikely to be attributable to genetic differences alone, and may point to the involvement of potentially modifiable risk factors such as smoking, obesity, or stress that contribute to the development of some autoimmune diseases.

The study also confirmed that in some cases, a person with one autoimmune disease is more likely to develop a second, indicating that some autoimmune diseases share common risk factors, such as genetic predispositions or environmental triggers.

Key Facts:

  1. Autoimmune diseases affect around 10% of the global population, with 13% of women and 7% of men being affected.
  2. The study used a large dataset of anonymized electronic health records from the UK, covering 22 million people, to investigate 19 of the most common autoimmune diseases.
  3. The research found that there are socioeconomic, seasonal, and regional disparities among several autoimmune disorders and that some autoimmune diseases share common risk factors, such as genetic predispositions or environmental triggers.

Listen Up: Using AI to Build Personalized Assistive Hearing Devices

By SIMON HILL: For Complete Post, Click Here…

A new partnership between Google and an Australian hearing coalition is using machine intelligence to improve the customizability of hearing aids and cochlear implants.

EARLIER THIS YEAR, Cochlear, the manufacturer of cochlear implants, announced a collaboration with Google and Australian Hearing Hub members, the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL), Macquarie University, the Shepherd Centre, and NextSense. The aim is to improve existing hearing-assistance technologies, like hearing aids and cochlear implants, and to develop new solutions for folks experiencing hearing loss.

There’s a growing awareness that it’s important to protect our hearing. Nevertheless, the world faces a hearing loss crisis. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.5 billion people worldwide live with hearing loss today (430 million with disabling hearing loss), but it predicts that by 2050, those figures will grow to 2.5 billion and 700 million, respectively. 

By bringing together expertise and resources from across the spectrum of hearing research, technology, academia, government, and health care, this partnership hopes to make real breakthroughs in hearing technologies over the next few years. 

Complete Customization

Although every person with hearing loss is unique, the industry has a one-size-fits-all approach with most hearing aids. Experts and people with hearing loss have long been calling for a more personalized approach. Google hopes to bring its AI and machine learning expertise into play.

“The idea is to be able to customize the experience for each person, and for the environment they are currently in,” explains Sam Sepah, lead accessibility research product manager at Google.

Doctors More Neurotic, Less Open Than Patients, Surveys Find

by Michael DePeau-Wilson: Complete Post through this link…

ngd-Maybe this has something to do with the appalling work processes that doctors have to operate under in order to work at all…

Personality data may have clinical implications for doctor-patient relationships.

Doctors may be more neurotic than both patients and the general population, according to two nationally representative Australian surveys.

When it comes to the “Big Five” personality traits, doctors were also significantly more agreeable, conscientious, and extroverted than both the general population and patients, according to Mehdi Ammi, PhD, health economist of Carleton University, in Ottawa, Canada, and the University of Queensland, in Australia, and coauthors.

The Hidden Impact: Lingering Brain Injury Symptoms Haunt Concussion Patients

By UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE: Complete Post through this link…

Mild traumatic brain injury – concussion – results from a blow or jolt to the head. It can occur as a result of a fall, a sports injury or from a cycling accident or car crash, for example. But despite being labelled ‘mild’, it is commonly linked with persistent symptoms and incomplete recovery. Such symptoms include depression, cognitive impairment, headaches, and fatigue.

While some clinicians in recent studies predict that nine out of 10 individuals who experience concussion will have a full recovery after six months, evidence is emerging that only half achieve a full recovery. This means that a significant proportion of patients may not receive adequate post-injury care.

Predicting which patients will have a fast recovery and who will take longer to recover is challenging, however. At present, patients with suspected concussion will typically receive a brain scan – either a CT scan or an MRI scan, both of which look for structural problems, such as inflammation or bruising – yet even if these scans show no obvious structural damage, a patient’s symptoms may still persist.

Dr Emmanuel Stamatakis from the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Division of Anaesthesia at the University of Cambridge said: “Worldwide, we’re seeing an increase in the number of cases of mild traumatic brain injury, particularly from falls in our ageing population and rising numbers of road traffic collisions in low- and middle-income countries.