Take that, peanuts! New US drug treats most common food allergy in children

Lunchtime, birthday parties and sleepovers may no longer need to be cause for concern thanks to Palforzia, a recently U.S. FDA-approved “oral immunotherapy” to treat peanut allergy – the first North American-approved food allergy medication. Millions of Canadians have food allergies, including about 1 in 14 children, and the numbers have increased in recent years. Peanut allergy is the most common one among children, and among the most dangerous. Accidental exposures are frequent, with patients at risk of reactions ranging from hives and abdominal pain to life-threatening anaphylaxis. As there is no cure for food allergies, strict avoidance is necessary for survival in some cases. Research s

Improving Mental Health Through Outdoor Experiences

The physical and mental health benefits of being in the outdoors have long been recognized. Besides simply encouraging people to spend more time outside, researchers are increasingly interested in how to harness these benefits through more deliberate and structured use of the outdoors. A project aimed at doing exactly this was implemented in the UK recently. The program provides outdoor work experiences such as forestry and building work to people suffering or recovering from various mental health related illnesses such as stroke or depression. Researchers analysed the effectiveness of the program, reporting statistically and clinically significant improvements in depression, anxiety, resili

23andMe licenses first drug

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing company 23andMe announced last month that it had licensed its first in-house developed drug, a biologic, to Spanish drugmaker Almirall SA. The bispecific monoclonal antibody targets the IL-36 cytokine, which is associated with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases including lupus and Crohn’s disease. 23andMe was particularly interested in use of the drug to treat severe forms of psoriasis. Although preliminary testing has been conducted, human clinical trials have not yet commenced. The deal grants Almirall rights to develop and commercialize the antibody for worldwide use. This is not the first foray into drug discovery for 23andMe, which boasts a therapeut

Herd Immunity

Netflix’s docuseries Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak couldn’t have come at a more crucial time with the recent coronavirus outbreak. Pandemic follows several viruses and diseases around the globe and analyzes strategies to combat them. The series creates urgency for the need to prepare for infectious disease outbreaks, and demonstrates the importance of herd immunity by conceptualizing some of the most tragic outbreaks in history including the Spanish, swine and bird flus, Ebola and measles. Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who ar

World Cancer Day 2020

Today is World Cancer Day. Building on last year’s theme, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) is continuing their “I Am and I Will” campaign, featuring each and every one of us as the hero of the story. #IAmAndIWill is an empowering call to action urging for personal commitment to reducing the global impact of cancer. Every individual’s actions (large or small) contribute to spreading the word, starting discussions and advocating for action. Progress is possible only if each of us recognize that we have a part in taking action against this disease. MEDUCOM showed their commitment to continued education and learning, by reading up on various cancer-related facts that were posted


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