Apple now has dozens of doctors on staff, showing it’s serious about health tech

Apple Watch Series 4 at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new Apple products Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, in Cupertino, Calif. 

Marcio Jose Sanchez | AP
Apple Watch Series 4 at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new Apple products Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, in Cupertino, Calif.

Apple has dozens of medical doctors working across its various teams, say two people familiar with the company’s hiring, showing how serious it is about health tech.

The hires could help Apple win over doctors — potentially its harshest critics — as it seeks to develop and integrate health technologies into the Apple Watch, iPad and iPhone. It also suggests that Apple will build applications that can help people with serious medical problems, and not just cater to the “worried well,” as many have speculated.

These hires are not just for show, according to people familiar with the doctors and their roles. Many haven’t disclosed their role at Apple at all, which is commonplace at a company that prides itself on secrecy. One example is Stanford pediatrician Rajiv Kumar, who has worked there for several years. CNBC was able to locate 20 physicians at Apple via LinkedIn searches and sources familiar, and other people said as many as 50 doctors work there. Apple has more than 130,000 employees globally.

Will Apple replace your family doctor?   8:01 PM ET Fri, 20 Oct 2017 | 01:39

Other tech companies also employ doctors. A LinkedIn search revealed a handful at Amazon — the most notable are cardiologist Maulik Majmudar and family physician Ben Green — and more than a dozen across Alphabet, with the biggest chunk at Verily (its life sciences arm), Brain (its AI research group) and the venture investing groups. However, the actual number of doctors at these companies may be higher, depending on how strict they are about confidentiality.

Apple declined to comment on personnel matters.

Managing disease

The number of doctors on staff is an indication that Apple is serious about helping customers manage disease, and not just wellness or fitness.

For instance, the company hired an orthopedic surgeon, Sharat Kusuma, to manage its partnership with medical device maker Zimmer Biomet to study whether Apple technology can help patients recover from knee and hip replacement surgeries. Kusuma’s LinkedIn profile states that he’s leading that particular team.

Doctors can also help Apple guide the medical community on how to use Apple’s new health technologies and to deflect criticism. As an example, when Apple announced its electrocardiogram sensor to track heart rhythm irregularities, the company put up a website to help answer physicians’ questions. That’s important because there’s a very high bar to win approval among doctors who fear liability and are already overburdened by technology.

The doctors at Apple aren’t in one singular group but are spread out across the organization.

Many are working on Apple Watch, which has a variety of different product groups focusing on health sensors (several teams contain an embedded doctor, according to people familiar). Some are on the health records group, helping develop the company’s software to aggregate patient medical information and store it securely, and others are doing research and development work. There’s also been a recent spate of hires into Apple’s AC Wellness primary care group, which treats employees near its headquarters. Some of these folks come from Crossover Health, which Apple contracts with to provide health care to employees in other locations.


You’re Getting Older. Is It Time To Get Medical Care From A Geriatrician?

You're Getting Older. Is It Time To Get Medical Care From A Geriatrician?

Once, turning 65 typically meant retirement, Medicare and the inevitable onset of physical decline. It also often signaled the need to search for a geriatrician, a doctor who specializes in caring for the complex medical problems of the elderly.

But many of today’s older Americans are healthy, vigorous and mentally sound, with no urgent need to change doctors. They aren’t afflicted with age-related diseases or functional impairments. This raises interesting questions about when – and whether – those 65 and older need to make that switch.

Seeing a geriatrician “should never be age specific,” says Nir Barzilai, a longevity researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “Biological age and chronological age are not the same. Asking what age to start seeing a geriatrician is not the right question. The right questions are: What conditions do you have? Are you mobile? Are you starting to get frail? Are you losing weight, or not walking well? Can you shop? Can you get to your apartment? Can you live by yourself?”

Ula Hwang, healthy and 47, already has answered those questions for herself. She has chosen a doctor who devotes much but not all of her practice to the elderly and expects to grow old under her care. Hwang’s mother, 76, also is her patient.

“I like her comprehensive view about health, medical care and the quality of life,” says Hwang, an emergency medicine researcher at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. “I don’t want to have to switch later on. Why wait until I’m frail? I’d rather have someone who will know me a long time.”

For those who are frail and have multiple health conditions requiring many medications, a geriatrician might be the best choice, says Laurie Jacobs, a geriatrician and president of the American Geriatrics Society. “They probably need someone to organize all their care,” she says. “If someone has troubles functionally or cognitively, a neurologist can evaluate, but doesn’t take care of you.

“Geriatricians are patient-centered,” adds Jacobs, who also chairs the department of internal medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. “They are internists on steroids – they know about medical problems, but know a lot more about people. They are good listeners, and involved with the whole person.”

If you are looking for a geriatrician, however, you might have trouble finding one. There is a nationwide shortage. Only 6,910 certified geriatricians exist in the United States, including 3,590 full-time practicing geriatricians, according to the geriatrics society. Certified means they have undergone at least one fellowship year of specialty training beyond their primary care practice, with the option of two additional years of geriatric-focused research.

But keep in mind that many primary care physicians – such as Hwang’s – lack certification but still have considerable experience treating geriatric patients. Many doctors shy away from full-time geriatrics because it typically pays less than other specialties. “Fellowship-trained geriatricians are a dying species,” Hwang says. “Many fellowship spots go open every year because the payment incentives to become a geriatrician are so low. You get paid more as an internist right out of residency than you would be paid if you did one or two years of additional training to become a geriatrician.”

To encourage more primary care physicians to move into geriatrics, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) has targeted specific research grants for them to “get their feet wet, and design a professional career plan that will create a niche for geriatrics,” says Susan Zieman, a medical officer in NIA’s geriatrics division. The program, called Gemsstar, is research oriented – the institute can fund only research – but the goal is to get primary care doctors excited about geriatric care and better equip them to deliver it, she says.

While salaries and Medicare reimbursements are low and the public perception is that “aging isn’t very sexy in our society,” Jacobs says geriatricians are among the most satisfied of clinicians. “They feel they are doing important work, and they are happy,” she says. “Those of us in the field love talking to older people, and find them very enjoyable to take care of.

“Many of our patients have led very interesting lives, and we love hearing their life stories,” she adds. “Still, geriatrics is a hard sell, since most physicians want to do something high tech or cure people. But I think it’s a great field, and I’m very dedicated to promoting it.”

Jacobs also treats patients younger than 65.

“I have a lot of older, frail patients, but I also have some who are younger and fit who know they will have me on their side when they become old and frail,” she says. “I call them my ‘pediatric’ patients. I’ve had some patients for 25 years. I don’t think the public knows this. People think it’s just end-of-life care. I’ve had a couple of patients whose children waited until they were old enough to also become my patients.”

Thus, there really is no firm time or age to make a switch – that is, if you can find geriatricians who will have room in their practice to take you. To be sure, some conditions require a deeper dive that a geriatrician in particular can provide, such as dementia, frailty and mobility problems. On the other hand, if you have a primary care physician comfortable handling geriatric patients, you may want to stay put. It’s a decision that should be made based on individual circumstances.


How vial sizes can be optimized to reduce pharmaceutical wastage

Pharmaceuticals are often dosed according to patient weight or body size which means that a dose must be individually measured. In a new study, lead author Anthony Hatswell of Delta Hat Limited and University College London in the UK, shows that by optimizing drug dose sizes available, wastage can be cut by as much as 50 per cent. The research is in the Adis journal Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, which is published by Springer Nature.

Many pharmaceuticals, such as drugs used for cancer treatment, are only available in standard quantities, for example in 100 milligram packages. In this study, Hatswell and his co-author Joshua Porter investigated how the quantity of medicine in each package could be varied to reduce the overall wastage. This would allow manufacturers to cut their costs, helping to make medicines available to patients.

To calculate the level of wastage, the authors looked at statistics from the Health Survey for England, which gives data on the height and weight of over 5000 individuals. Using this data they calculated how much drug would be wasted at every combination of vial sizes. The analysis was then tailored to the characteristics of patients with the disease (for example, males are heavier and taller than females on average), before the total wastage was aggregated over the population. By looking at all possible combinations of package sizes, Hatswell and Porter were then able to find those with low levels of wastage. The steps laid out in the publication can therefore be applied to any drug that does not have a fixed dose.

The researchers found that wastage from the cancer drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda®, Merck, which is on track for sales of more than $5 billion in 2018) could be cut from 13.3 per cent to 8.7 per cent. Similarly the prostate cancer drug cabazitaxel (Jevtana®, Sanofi) could see wastage cut from a projected 19.4 per cent to 6.5 per cent.

” We use methods such as integer programming and operations research which date back to the Second World War and are widely used in the manufacturing of consumer goods. Their application to healthcare represents a novel step which ultimately we hope will help patients access important new medicines,” explains Hatswell.


Scientists cut main heart disease risk locus out of DNA by genome editing

Microscopy image showing vascular smooth muscular cells made from blood-derived induced pluripotent stem cells. The Scripps Research team found that a deleting genetic risk factor for coronary artery disease rescued the health of these cells.
Credit: Baldwin lab/Scripps Research

Over the past decade we’ve learned that billions of people carry a mysterious specter in their DNA that strongly increases their risk for life threatening cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks, aneurysms or strokes, no matter what diet, exercise or medical regimen they follow.

Now, Scripps Research scientists have made a major breakthrough in unveiling this medical mystery by precisely cutting the DNA culprit from the genome, which prevents blood vessel cell abnormalities related to these devastating diseases.

Surprisingly they also find that this widely prevalent yet poorly understood DNA region may orchestrate a nefarious network of more than a third of all genes known to increase risk for coronary artery disease, opening the door to a new set of precision treatments aimed at cells of the blood vessel wall.

In a paper published December 6, 2018, in Cell, the researchers report that a large block of DNA, known as the 9p21.3 cardiovascular risk haplotype, causes abnormalities in vascular smooth muscular cells — the cells in blood vessel walls that normally allow them to expand and contract. These cells also can dysfunction and contribute to plaques that clog blood vessels, leading to heart attacks and stroke.

“We’ve known for more than a decade that the 9p21.3 haplotype was the most influential genetic risk for cardiovascular disease cases — accounting for an astonishingly large 10-15 percent of cases in the United States per year. But, until now we’ve been in the dark about what it might be doing to cause this,” says Kristin Baldwin, a professor at Scripps Research and senior author on the new paper. “Now, with strong evidence suggesting the 9p21.3 haplotype undermines the stability and function of vascular muscle cells, we may have a opened a new route to interventions that could impact many millions of people worldwide.”

Cardiovascular disease, an umbrella term for heart disease, stroke and other conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels, is the leading cause of mortality in the world, resulting in around 18 million deaths worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization. These diseases often stem from atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaques inside vessels that can block blood flow and cause eruptions of the vessel walls.

A number of factors put people at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, including high-cholesterol, high-blood pressure, smoking, obesity and inactivity. In recent years, genomic studies have uncovered a number of predominantly genetic risks for cardiovascular disease. The 9p21.3 haplotype was the first common genome region associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease — a disease that damages vessels that carry blood to the heart — and also increases chances for related diseases such as aneurysms and stroke. It is the currently the most impactful known genetic cause of cardiovascular disease worldwide.

Although researchers knew the haplotype was tied to heightened disease risk, precisely what was happening in people’s bodies remained a matter of speculation. One hurdle is that the disease risk haplotype is found only in humans, with poor similarity to regions in mice or other laboratory animals. Another challenge is that this region doesn’t harbor any traditional protein coding genes, making it hard to predict what it might do.

“We call such regions ‘gene deserts’, and in the past they were neglected in research because people thought it was ‘junk’ DNA,” says Ali Torkamani, co-author on the paper and an associate professor at Scripps Research and director of genome informatics at Scripps Research Translational Institute. “With rapid advances in genome sequencing and analysis, we are finding that these regions frequently play critical roles in the emergence of disease.”

To overcome the research hurdles, Baldwin and her team wanted to produce human blood vessel cells in a dish and then genetically interrogate them using genome editing. They collected blood from people who had either the high-risk or low-risk versions of the haplotype and reprogrammed them into induced pluripotent stem cells. At this stage the cells could be genetically tailored using specialized molecular scissors, called TALE nucleases, to remove the risk promoting or benign versions of this DNA from affected and unaffected donor cells. Next, they coaxed the edited stem cells into becoming vascular smooth muscle cells and studied them in detail using high-resolution gene profiling and bioengineering methods.

The Scripps Research team found that the cells of high-risk individuals showed an unusually broad set of abnormalities, with the risk cells affecting more than 3000 genes — nearly 10 percent of the total human gene catalog. Computer-based examinations of these genes suggested that the muscle cells might be deficient in key functions related to disease. When this was tested by Professor Adam Engler’s laboratory at UC San Diego, his team found that the mature high-risk VSMCs were weaklings compared to the low-risk cells, contracting with much less force and less able to cling to their surroundings than low-risk vascular muscle cells.

Next, the Baldwin group asked whether these 3000 or so genes might help demystify the influence of around 100 other genes recently linked to coronary artery disease risk. Unexpectedly, the high-risk cells showed changes in more than a third of these (38), suggesting that the 9p21.3 haplotype somehow interacts with or even controls this network of genes.

Delving more deeply, the group identified a potential key master regulator (ANRIL), which itself is a member of an enigmatic class of genes that do not make proteins — instead generating genetic molecules called long non-coding RNAs. They noticed that risk cells had higher levels of several short forms of ANRIL. When they added these short ANRIL RNAs to healthy cells they developed key signatures of disease, indicating that these ANRIL RNAs may be master conductors of the switch between healthy and disease-promoting cell states in vascular muscle cells.

“This study demonstrates the power of genome editing of pluripotent stem cells for studying human genetic risk for disease, especially when risks are in uniquely human regions or gene deserts,” says Valentina Lo Sardo, a staff scientist at Scripps Research and first author on the Cell paper. “Our findings not only provide insight into how the high-risk 9p21.3 haplotype undermines vascular health, but also offer a new avenue to study and target gene regulatory networks widely involved in coronary artery disease.”

“It’s remarkable that one region of our genome could have such a significant impact on both the functional and genetic characteristics of these blood vessel cells,” says Eric Topol, MD, a co-author on the paper, cardiologist and executive vice president of Scripps Research. “It may be a gene desert without any protein-coding function, but its impact on disease is extraordinary. Now that we know it’s role in damaging the vascular wall, we are in a better place to find novel ways to prevent it.”


Why alcohol makes some people violent

December 7, 2018, Bangor University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Heavier drinkers are much more likely to be involved in violence if they have suffered high levels of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), according to a new study.

The link between ACEs, alcohol and violence is especially pronounced in young men (18-29 years), with 62 percent of those with high levels of ACEs who are heavier drinkers having hit someone in the previous 12 months. This compares to 13.5 percent in heavier drinkers with no ACEs.

The study by Public Health Wales and Bangor University of 12,669 adults across England and Wales is published today in the medical journal, BMJ Open. The results show:

  • 1.3 percent of men with no ACEs who were moderate drinkers or abstainers had hit someone in the last 12 months. This rose to 3.6 percent in those with no ACEs who were heavier drinkers. However, levels escalated to 28.3 percent in those with who were both heavier drinkers and had experienced high levels of ACEs (four or more ACE types) as a child
  • The combination of ACEs and heavier drinking increased risks of recent violence in individuals of all ages studied (up to age 69). However, the effect was particularly marked in young men aged 18-29, with more than six in 10 (62 percent) of those who were heavier drinkers and had high levels of ACEs having hit someone in the last 12 months
  • The equivalent figure for women was lower but still substantial. Approximately one in four (24.1 percent) women aged 18-29 who were heavier drinkers and had high levels of ACEs had hit someone in the last 12 months
  • Overall, 8.6 percent of men in this national sample reported high levels of ACEs in their past and over half of those with high ACEs also reported heavier drinking levels. As a result, one in 20 of all men studied reported the most violent combination of a history of high ACEs and heavier alcohol consumption

Lead author of the study, Professor Mark Bellis, Director of Policy, Research and International Development at Public Health Wales, and Honorary Professor at the College of Human Sciences said:

“We know that people who suffer high levels of adversity in their childhood can find it more difficult to control their emotions as adults, including feelings of aggression. Our results suggest that when they are also heavier drinkers this may further erode their control and increase the risk of them being involved in violence.

“Unfortunately, our results also suggest that individuals who were abused and neglected as children or exposed to traumas such as parents fighting in their home are also more likely to become heavier drinkers. In many circumstances drinking more heavily may be something they began in order to cope with childhood traumas.

“Sadly, a toxic mix of childhood trauma and high adult alcohol consumption is not uncommon, and we found this combination in one in 20 of all men we surveyed. Such individuals are more than 20 times more likely to have hit someone in the last 12 months compared to lower level drinkers with adversity free childhoods.”

Other results from the study identified similar relationships between ACEs, alcohol use and being a recent victim of violence.

  • In women with no history of ACEs who were moderate drinkers or abstainers, less than one percent (0.8 percent) had been hit in the last 12 months but this rose to 13 percent in those with high levels of ACEs and heavier alcohol consumption
  • In men this difference was even more marked rising from 1.9 percent (no ACEs and low or no alcohol consumption) to 32 percent (high levels of ACEs and heavier alcohol consumption)

Professor Karen Hughes, co-author the study, also from the College of Human Sciences, said: “If you hit someone you are more likely be hit yourself and this may be part of the explanation why people who are currently heavier drinkers and have a history of adverse childhood experiences are more likely to have been a recent victim of violence.”

“However, for some people their childhood adversities will have included experiencing violence and seeing domestic violence in their homes. Some women who experience such childhoods may believe suffering domestic violence is expected and so stay in abusive relationships and use alcohol as a coping mechanism.”

The paper concludes that results support wisdom established for over two thousand years such as in vino veritas (in truth wine) which suggests that alcohol can expose underlying traits that people may otherwise wish to supress.

The study combined data from four studies undertaken in England and Wales between 2012 and 2015.


Extended napping could cause cognitive decline in older people

Extended napping could cause cognitive decline in older people
Brain scans can help reveal which activities promote cognitive health in older age. Credit: Silver Santé Study

Regular naps may be one of the privileges of retirement but research is pointing to napping as a contributor to cognitive decline. Scientists are now testing the idea that older people should instead meditate or learn a language to preserve brainpower and wellbeing.

Sleep serves a crucial function in brain health and maintenance, but regular, extended naps during the day may be counterproductive in elderly people, damaging the processes that help the brain to keep working at its best, according to Dr. Christina Schmidt, from the University of Liège in Belgium.

By exploring this link, Dr. Schmidt hopes she will be able to identify ways to ensure that as we live longer, people are able to retain their cognitive health well into old age.

“I am not saying that napping is something bad, but that it might be counterproductive for the temporal organisation of sleep – the sleep and wake cycle – when it occurs in a very specific context,” Dr. Schmidt said.

The problems appear to specifically affect the ageing brain, and where people nap regularly, perhaps every day, for at least an hour.

What Dr. Schmidt thinks is important about the context is that as we tend towards old age, our in-built circadian clock – which organises sleep and wake states – effectively ticks more quietly.

We may end up in a vicious circle: we nap because the clock is more and more silent as we age, but in turn our regular, extended napping makes night-time sleep less efficient and further disrupts the rhythm of wakefulness and rest, with negative effects on brain maintenance processes.

This summer Dr. Schmidt and fellow researchers in a project called COGNAP began observing the circadian rhythms of people aged 65 or more, who have been retired for at least a year, with assessments of cognitive function, regular saliva checks and monitoring of brain activity.

Some participants are allowed to nap as often as they like, for as long as they like. The others are encouraged to keep occupied, rather than snooze.

Age-related decline

Dr. Schmidt’s colleagues have already made some pilot findings that the structural organisation of the brain during ageing seems to be significantly linked to a decreased ability to tell the difference between day and night and so the propensity to sleep.

She posits that after a year, the non-napping group in COGNAP should have increased or restored the efficiency of their circadian rhythm, with an impact on brain ageing. To check if this is the case, the researchers will again run their tests and see if there are observable differences between the two groups.

And if her research does confirm that napping is not universally good, Dr. Schmidt hopes that older people would be able to take simple steps that preserve cognitive function, with major consequences for their quality of life.

“Completely suppressing naps might be difficult, but it may prove to be worthwhile for older people to try not to do it every day, and not to do it for long, because the longer the nap, the more it affects the temporal structure of the sleep-wake cycle,” she said. “So rather than encouraging routine napping, it would be better to combine avoiding a nap with a more challenging activity.”

Exactly what kind of activities can stave off cognitive decline in the ageing brain is the focus of Dr. Gaël Chételat, from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), who is leading a project called MEDIT-AGEING, or Silver Santé Study as it is known to the public.

She and her partners in the UK, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Switzerland are carrying out trials to see if meditation or learning a new language could offer elderly people benefits in terms of cognitive health and wellbeing – holding out the prospect of practical steps people can take to preserve their brain function well into old age.

“With age, there is a decrease in attentional and executive performance and we expect that language learning will promote preservation of those cognitive functions,” said Dr. Chételat.


Specifically, she suspects that learning a new language in later life can promote processes that are important in maintenance of brain regions that play crucial roles in these functions.

And in parallel with the language-learning research, Dr. Chételat and her partners are also looking at the potential impact of secular forms of meditation, which she suspects can have a positive impact on emotional regulation – particularly on those factors that are affected by age.

The techniques in focus are mindfulness and compassion meditation, where the participants focus on thoughts and emotions, bodily sensations and breathing, without any religious content.

“These different kinds of meditation techniques, mindfulness and compassion-based meditation, should impact emotional regulation, but also attention regulation, because these are also attention-related exercises,” she said.

In the first clinical trial, the volunteers are randomly allocated to the language-learning, meditation or the control group. All are over the age of 65 and have been retired for at least a year.

Before and after the 18-month interventions, which are being done in three groups, the participants undergo a range of cognitive and behavioural assessments, as well as a battery of blood tests, sleep monitoring, and structural and functional neuroimaging scans.

One group has already completed the trial and participants are having their follow-up scans. The second group is reaching the end of the intervention and the third group is about halfway through.

The second trial has been looking at impacts on elderly people with memory complaints, which in some cases could be the first symptoms of dementia. Volunteers take part in either a meditation or a health programme over two months, with behavioural and blood tests before and after the interventions and again four months later to assess any longer-term effects. Those have already been completed and the researchers are currently compiling their data.

Dr. Chételat says it is still too early to know the outcomes of the clinical trials. First results will be obtained in 2019 and 2020 for the second and first clinical trials, respectively. She believes any positive outcomes could help to encourage preventive public health programmes.

“If the study does show these interventions to be helpful, we would want as many people as possible to be able to take advantage of our findings, through advice and interventions that can help them to retain mental function and emotional well-being,” she said.

Facebook adds collection sharing for holiday gift collaboration

Facebook is giving you the ability to share your post collections and potentially spread holiday gift ideas.

You’ve been able to collect posts on the social network and group them under titles such as “Cute Puppies” or “Clothes I Want” for more than a year. But up until now those posts have only been for you.

This week, Facebook is rolling out the ability to share those collections so your friends can view content you’ve gathered and add new posts, it said Tuesday.

The company gave a festive example — if you gather a bunch of posts about products you want, you can share it with people who might be wondering what gift to get you (a little like an Amazon Wish List). Just be sure to include that Lego Hogwarts you’ve been eyeing

You could also open up to a list to let your friends collectively create a collection of recipes for a holiday party, pool vacation ideas, a wedding registry or favorite memes.

The new feature comes towards the end of a challenging year for Facebook, which has dealt with problems ranging from a data privacy scandal to concerns about its leadership.


Father’s cute photo of his daughter contained sinister clues she was suffering from cancer

When a father took an adorable snap of his daughter falling asleep on a swing, he was soon to learn it was a symptom of a deadly disease.

Dave Fletcher meant to capture a tender childhood photo of his daughter Izzy dozing off on a swing with her doll clenched tightly to her chest — but instead it became a photo he will never forget.

No long after he took the snap, Dave, 39, and his wife Vicky, 37, found out their toddler’s tiredness was actually a sign that she had leukaemia, The Sun reported.

“It was just an afternoon pop out to the swings. She was swinging away — I turned around and she had dropped off,” Mr Fletcher said.

“She was drowsy and fell asleep but I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was a cute moment and just took a picture of her, as you do.”

Mr Fletcher is now warning other parents to be vigilant and keep an eye out for the signs of the disease.

“It was only afterwards we realised it was all part of the symptoms and what I’d captured was her displaying signs of something more sinister.”

The photo Dave Fletcher took of his daughter falling asleep on a swing when she was 23-months-old.

The photo Dave Fletcher took of his daughter falling asleep on a swing when she was 23-months-old.Source:Supplied

Mr Fletcher, from Worcester, England, said his little girl had been tired, had had a few colds or viruses, and had quite a bit of bruising on her legs.

“But we put all this down to normal childhood bumps and minor illness,” he said.

Looking back at pictures of Izzy before she fell ill, Mr Fletcher said it’s hard now to fathom how much she has been through at such a young age.

It was back in January when the couple first took Izzy to a GP after a strange rash appeared on her leg — it had spread the next morning and with a high temperature, they rushed her to the hospital.

She was diagnosed with leukaemia the same day and began a course of chemotherapy the following week.

Now three, Izzy has undergone 570 doses of gruelling chemotherapy and is now receiving maintenance therapy in a bid to stop the cancer returning.

She spent her second birthday in Birmingham Children’s Hospital waiting to have a procedure to sample her bone marrow.

Dave Fletcher and his wife Vicky were distraught to learn their little girl was Izzy was suffering from cancer. Picture:

Dave Fletcher and his wife Vicky were distraught to learn their little girl was Izzy was suffering from cancer. Picture: SWNS.comSource:Supplied

“She has grown up very quickly and been subjected to medicine she doesn’t like but has taken everything in her stride so far,” Mr Fletcher said.

He said while they were devastated by the shocking news, they were lucky Izzy was quickly diagnosed and lucky she has coped well with the treatment.

“The type of leukaemia she has (has) a better chance of recovery than some others. She is young which helps those odds,” Mr Fletcher said.

Izzy has now been enrolled on a clinical trial called UKALL 2011, which aims to see if changing chemotherapy treatment will reduce side effects, and will remain on treatment until May next year, The Sun reported.

“It makes us more optimistic. She doesn’t have to have so many steroids because of the trial she is on,” Mr Fletcher said.

Grateful for the opportunity, he said it goes to show the importance of research in pioneering new treatments.

This Is How Turmeric Helps People With Heart Ailments

This Is How Turmeric Helps People With Heart Ailments

There are a plethora of things that one can do to maintain a healthy heart free from diseases, which includes maintaining a healthy weight, morning walks, yoga sessions, and paying close attention to diet, caloric and food intake. These simple measures can help you have a positive effect on your heart. There is a list of certain foods that one must include in their diet to ensure smooth and healthy functioning of their heart, and one of the foods from that list is turmeric. Why turmeric, you ask? It is because of the presence of curcumin in turmeric. According to the study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, curcumin – the active compound in turmeric – may repair exercise intolerance faced by patients with heart failure. People with heart failure have a reduced function of the left ventricle – the chamber of the heart that pumps blood out to the rest of the body – called reduced ejection fraction. This is linked to decreased ability to exercise.

(Also Read: 7 Health Benefits Of Turmeric (Haldi))

turmeric face pack

Curcumin – the active compound in turmeric – may repair exercise intolerance faced by patients with heart failure.

The findings showed that curcumin treatment improved muscle function and exercise capacity in mice with heart failure. Curcumin, a chemical that comes from the turmeric plant, has been used as a traditional Asian medicine for centuries, primarily to treat gastrointestinal ailments and skin wounds. Researchers from the University of Nebraska in the US, theorised that a reduction in the normal signalling of a protein Nrf2 may play a role in the impaired expression of antioxidant enzymes. The antioxidant enzymes both prevent and repair damage from oxidative stress as well as improve exercise performance.

For the study, the team gave one group of mice with heart failure daily doses of curcumin, which is known to promote activation of Nrf2, for 12 weeks, while another group did not receive treatment. The results showed that the expression of Nrf2 increased and levels of antioxidant enzymes improved in the animals with heart failure that were given curcumin. In addition, both groups that received curcumin – even the animals without heart failure – had improved exercise capacity when compared with the untreated groups.

“This data suggests that activation of Nrf2 in skeletal muscle may represent a novel therapeutic strategy to improve … quality of life” in people with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, the researchers noted.

It is always advisable to consult your doctor before making any drastic changes in your diet. Do check for allergies before you make turmeric a common affair in your daily diet.


DeepVeer Mumbai Wedding Reception: Kulfis, Ice-Creams, Gajar Ka Halwa And More Sweetness That Was Dished Out

DeepVeer Mumbai Wedding Reception: Kulfis, Ice-Creams, Gajar Ka Halwa And More Sweetness That Was Dished Out

Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh had a sparkling wedding reception in Mumbai on Wednesday. The reception, that took place at Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai, saw the new bride and the groom dressed in absolutely regal outfits from Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla. Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh were couple goals if there ever were, as they took the stage hand-in-hand during the reception. The couple were seen laughing and giggling the whole time that they were being clicked, making for some amazing photographs that have been mesmerising us since yesterday. While Deepika Padukone looked absolutely riveting and every bit of the Indian bride that she clearly likes to be, Ranveer Singh looked dapper in an outfit that was colour coordinated with that of his wife. It would be an understatement to say that the couple’s sartorial sense was spell-binding.

Paparazzi and the rest of the media greeted the couple with a congratulatory bouquet. The wedding reception was the couple’s second function in India, after they returned from Lake Como in Italy, after wrapping up their wedding ceremonies at a luxurious villa there. However, the wedding reception at Grand Hyatt in Mumbai didn’t look any less luxurious. A look at the desserts served at the event will give you an idea about just how much thought was put into organising it. Bollywood paparazzo Viral Bhayani posted a video of all the sweet dishes that were served at Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh’s Mumbai reception, and we’re ruing the fact that we weren’t invited.

From gajar ka halwa to delicious chocolate desserts and what looked like rasgullas or ras malais were served to the guests at the wedding reception yesterday. Ranveer Singh’s hair stylist Darshan Yewalekar, who was present at both Ranveer Deepika’s Italy wedding and the Wednesday reception in Mumbai, also gave us a peak into the catering services at the event. Mumbai ice-cream parlour Koldplay India was seemingly serving up delicious cold treats at Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone’s wedding reception.