Private Companies 26

USA

June 23, 2017: Lifescript, Inc.: More consistent guidelines needed for therapy animals

NEWS BITES - PRIVATE COMPANIES

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities don't consistently follow guidelines to ensure the safety of therapy animals and the people they aim to help, according to a survey of U.S. hospitals, eldercare facilities, and therapy animal organizations.

"While most facilities allowed therapy animals to visit, they didn't always have strong policies in place to ensure programs that were safe and effective - for both the people and the animals," Dr. Deborah E. Linder from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, Massachusetts told Reuters Health.

"Many facilities assume that a friendly animal or any therapy animal organization will have liability insurance, strong training and testing programs, and rigorous health and grooming requirements. But this study shows that this is not always so," she said in an email.

Pet Partners, a Bellevue, Washington-based organization that registers therapy animals, is the only national therapy animal organization that requires volunteer training and recurring evaluation of animal-handler teams every two years, as well as prohibiting a raw meat diet (which can increase the risk of carrying bacteria that can harm patients with weakened immune systems), according to Linder's team. Other therapy animal organizations have less comprehensive standards.

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) wrote guidelines for animals in healthcare facilities that include such important steps as establishing written policies, identifying people to act as liaisons for therapy animal visits, and having training programs for both animals and handlers, but these guidelines are only voluntary.

Dr. Linder's team surveyed 45 hospitals, 45 eldercare facilities, and 27 regional and local therapy animal organizations regarding their therapy animal policies.

Eight hospitals and one eldercare facility said they don't allow therapy animals. All the facilities that do allow therapy animals fell short on at least one of the SHEA guidelines, according to a report scheduled for publication in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Therapy animal policies varied widely. Two hospitals and 10 eldercare facilities had no policy whatsoever.

In general, eldercare facilities had fewer animal health and behavior requirements than hospitals, with some requiring only a minimal written health report for the animals. Most hospitals, though, required at least a meeting or registration from a therapy animal organization before participating.

As for the therapy animal organizations, one-third required only an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen certificate and only 52% required regular retesting of animals.

The organizations' health guidelines varied widely, too. Most required a veterinary examination, but two of the 27 organizations did not even require a rabies vaccination and 26% did not require a fecal test.

Nearly 70% of therapy animal organizations had no policy against feeding raw meat diets to therapy animals, and only 19% had policies specifically forbidding it.

"The relatively new pet food trend of feeding raw meat. is without any documented health benefits and can have serious health risks to animals and to people," Dr. Linder said. "This includes the risk of bacterial infection, since up to 48% of raw meat-based diets can be contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella."

"Most facilities don't think to ask about the diet of animals visiting their facilities," she said.

Liability insurance was available from 19 of the therapy animal organizations. Two organizations said handlers needed to obtain their own liability insurance.

"You cannot assume that any program is safe without asking about the health and safety policies, insurance coverage, and rigorous training and evaluation of therapy animals," Dr. Linder said. "We recommend people be aware and follow the expert guidelines that are out there."

"We register our therapy animal teams through the national organization Pet Partners because they currently have the most rigorous guidelines and policies for therapy animals (www.petpartners.org)," she said.

Dr. Linder added, "Lax health and safety policies typically aren't intentional but occur as a result of enthusiasm for therapy animal programs without being aware of potential risks and what questions to ask."

For institutions that want to do more, she said, her team has created a free manual "that walks facilities through developing a program including what questions to ask," available at http://bit.ly/2t4601l.

Dr. Indu Mani from Brookline Animal Hospital in Massachusetts studies how pet therapy can enhance patient care. She told Reuters Health by email that therapy animals have had good clinical and psychosocial effects in varied settings. But, she added, the potential for allergies, fear of animals/animal temperament, and the risk for infectious diseases need consideration.

She too recommends following the SHEA guidelines.

Lack of adherence to accepted professional guidelines could put both pets and human beings at risk, Mani concluded.

She added, "The lack of regulatory oversight and lack of enforcement of the SHEA guidelines is startling."

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2hMzBXC American Journal of Infection Control, released June 19, 2017.

INDEX

SECTION 1 LIFESCRIPT, INC. ACTIVITIES

SECTION 2 LIFESCRIPT, INC. PROFILE

SECTION 3 BUSINESS NEWS ROUND UP

SECTION 1 LIFESCRIPT, INC. ACTIVITIES

Lifescript, Inc. operates a health and health and wellness portal for women. The company offers daily email newsletters that cover a range of topics, including recipes, healthy eating guides, diet and fitness tools, health conditions, family health, pregnancy and parenting, diet and fitness, food and recipes, life and relationships, and soul and spirits. The company was founded in 1999 and is based in Mission Viejo, California with additional offices in New York City, New York; Chicago, Illinois; and Beverly Hills, California.

SECTION 2 LIFESCRIPT, INC. PROFILE

PermID: 5043465967

Website: http://www.lifescript.com

Industry: Software and Technology Servic

SECTION 3 BUSINESS NEWS ROUND UP

June 23, 2017: Lifescript, Inc.: REFILE-Hitting cardiovascular health targets can help elderly live longer

Meeting some or all of the American Heart Association's seven ideal cardiovascular health goals is associated with longer life and fewer heart attacks and strokes, no matter your age.

In fact, in a recent group of elderly patients, "the benefit of an ideal cardiovascular health in reducing mortality and vascular events was comparable to what is observed in younger populations," Dr. Bamba Gaye from University Paris Descartes in France told Reuters Health by email. "This is a very good news, which suggests that it is never too late to prevent the development of risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD)."

Gaye and colleagues analyzed whether achieving some or all of the American Heart Association (AHA) seven "ideal" goals - "Life's Simple 7" - would affect people's risk of dying or having a stroke or heart attack during a specific study period.

The seven goals include:

-Keep body mass index (BMI) - a ratio of weight to height - lower than the overweight cutoff;

-Never start smoking, or have stopped at least 12 months ago;

-For at least 75 minutes a week, perform vigorous activity, or perform moderate physical activity at least 150 minutes a week;

-Follow a healthy diet that includes vegetables and fresh fruit daily, fish twice or more a week, and less than 450 calories a week from sugar;

-Keep blood pressure below 120/80 without medication;

-Maintain a normal cholesterol level without medication;

-Maintain a normal blood sugar without medication.

Out of the 7371 study participants, whose average age was 74, only one individual had met all seven goals. Only 5% of participants met at least five goals, researchers reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

For all goals except physical activity and total cholesterol, women were more likely than men to be at ideal levels.

The research team tracked the study subjects to monitor their health; half of the participants were tracked more than nine years.

Compared to people who meet no more than two of the goals, in those who met three or four the risk of death during the study was reduced by 16 percent, and meeting five to seven goals cut the risk by 29 percent.

In fact, the risk of death fell by 10 percent for each additional goal at the ideal level.

Similarly, the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke fell by 22 percent for each additional goal at the ideal level.

"The ideal goal would be to have no risk factors for cardiovascular disease at all," Gaye said. "However, our study also shows a graded benefit on outcome according to the number of risk factors at the optimal level. Hence, a perhaps more realistic approach would be to advise older subjects to have at least one risk factor at an optimal level, and to progressively gain more risk factors at optimal level."

"We would like emphasize that (good) health in general and cardiovascular health in particular is the cornerstone of (good) life and we all need to take care of it over the life course," Gaye concluded. "The good news is that it is never too late to optimize our own health in elderhood."

"The goal of successful aging is not immortality, but limiting time spent with illness and disability," writes Dr. Karen P. Alexander from Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina in an editorial published with the study.

This study, she continued, "reminds us that risk factor and lifestyle modifications have no expiration date and continue to yield benefits for a healthy old age, well beyond age 70."

"Older adults should focus not so much on the perfect attainment of Life's Simple 7, but on the process of working to achieve these goals," she concludes.

Dr. Dana E. King from West Virginia University Medicine, Morgantown, West Virginia, who has studied elderly health extensively, told Reuters Health by email, "It is never too late to start or improve your healthy lifestyle habits. Elderly people who adopt healthier diets, get active, and quit smoking, actually benefit sooner and to a greater degree than young people."

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2sOWXS0 and http://bit.ly/2s51MCd Journal of the American College of Cardiology, online June 19, 2017.

June 23, 2017: Lifescript, Inc.: Anthem to pay record $115 mln to settle U.S. lawsuits over data breach

Anthem Inc, the largest U.S. health insurance company, has agreed to settle litigation over hacking in 2015 that compromised about 79 million people's personal information for $115 million, which lawyers said would be the largest settlement ever for a data breach.

The deal, announced Friday by lawyers for people whose information was compromised, must still be approved by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, who is presiding over the case.

The money will be used to pay for two years of credit monitoring for people affected by the hack, the lawyers said. Victims are believed to include current and former customers of Anthem and of other insurers affiliated with Anthem through the national Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

People who are already enrolled in credit monitoring may choose to receive cash instead, which may be up to $50 per person, according to a motion filed in California federal court Friday.

"We are very satisfied that the settlement is a great result for those affected and look forward to working through the settlement approval process," Andrew Friedman, a lawyer for the victims, said in a statement.

The credit monitoring in the settlement is in addition to the two years of credit monitoring Anthem offered victims when it announced the breach in February 2015, according to Anthem spokeswoman Jill Becher, who said the company was pleased to be resolving the litigation.

The Indianapolis-based company did not admit wrongdoing, and there was no evidence any compromised information was sold or used to commit fraud, Becher said.

Anthem said in February 2015 that an unknown hacker had accessed a database containing personal information, including names, birthdays, social security numbers, addresses, email addresses and employment and income information. The attack did not compromise credit card information or medical information, the company said.

More than 100 lawsuits filed against Anthem over the breach were consolidated before Judge Koh.

The breach is one of a series of high-profile data breaches that resulted in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars to U.S. companies in recent years, including Target Corp, which agreed to pay $18.5 million to settle claims by 47 states in May, and Home Depot Inc, which agreed to pay at least $19.5 million to consumers last year.

June 23, 2017: Lifescript, Inc.: Hitting cardiovascular health targets can help elderly live longer

Meeting some or all of the American Heart Association's seven ideal cardiovascular health goals is associated with longer life and fewer heart attacks and strokes, no matter your age.

In fact, in a recent group of elderly patients, "the benefit of an ideal cardiovascular health in reducing mortality and vascular events was comparable to what is observed in younger populations," Dr. Bamba Gaye from University Paris Descartes in France told Reuters Health by email. "This is a very good news, which suggests that it is never too late to prevent the development of risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD)."

Gaye and colleagues analyzed whether achieving some or all of the American Heart Association (AHA) seven "ideal" goals - "Life's Simple 7" - would affect people's risk of dying or having a stroke or heart attack during a specific study period.

The seven goals include:

-Keep body mass index (BMI) - a ratio of weight to height - lower than the overweight cutoff;

-Never smart smoking, or have stopped at least 12 months ago;

-For at least 75 minutes a week, perform vigorous activity, or perform moderate physical activity at least 150 minutes a week;

-Follow a healthy diet that includes vegetables and fresh fruit daily, fish twice or more a week, and less than 450 calories a week from sugar;

-Keep blood pressure below 120/80 without medication;

-Maintain a normal cholesterol level without medication;

-Maintain a normal blood sugar without medication.

Out of the 7371 study participants, whose average age was 74, only one individual had met all seven goals. Only 5% of participants met at least five goals, researchers reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

For all goals except physical activity and total cholesterol, women were more likely than men to be at ideal levels.

The research team tracked the study subjects to monitor their health; half of the participants were tracked more than nine years.

Compared to people who meet no more than two of the goals, in those who met three or four the risk of death during the study was reduced by 16 percent, and meeting five to seven goals cut the risk by 29 percent.

In fact, the risk of death fell by 10 percent for each additional goal at the ideal level.

Similarly, the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke fell by 22 percent for each additional goal at the ideal level.

"The ideal goal would be to have no risk factors for cardiovascular disease at all," Gaye said. "However, our study also shows a graded benefit on outcome according to the number of risk factors at the optimal level. Hence, a perhaps more realistic approach would be to advise older subjects to have at least one risk factor at an optimal level, and to progressively gain more risk factors at optimal level."

"We would like emphasize that (good) health in general and cardiovascular health in particular is the cornerstone of (good) life and we all need to take care of it over the life course," Gaye concluded. "The good news is that it is never too late to optimize our own health in elderhood."

"The goal of successful aging is not immortality, but limiting time spent with illness and disability," writes Dr. Karen P. Alexander from Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina in an editorial published with the study.

This study, she continued, "reminds us that risk factor and lifestyle modifications have no expiration date and continue to yield benefits for a healthy old age, well beyond age 70."

"Older adults should focus not so much on the perfect attainment of Life's Simple 7, but on the process of working to achieve these goals," she concludes.

Dr. Dana E. King from West Virginia University Medicine, Morgantown, West Virginia, who has studied elderly health extensively, told Reuters Health by email, "It is never too late to start or improve your healthy lifestyle habits. Elderly people who adopt healthier diets, get active, and quit smoking, actually benefit sooner and to a greater degree than young people."

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2sOWXS0 and http://bit.ly/2s51MCd Journal of the American College of Cardiology, online June 19, 2017.

June 23, 2017: Lifescript, Inc.: Sleep may suffer in African Americans who face discrimination

African Americans who experience everyday discrimination may be sleeping poorly, researchers say.

Among 3,749 black adults participating in a long-term study of heart disease risk factors, experiences with discrimination were a strong determinant of poor sleep, and in particular, short sleep duration and poor sleep quality, the lead researcher told Reuters Health.

"It is important to identify those most at risk, and in our study, women were particularly vulnerable to the effects of discrimination on sleep. Women with the most experiences with discrimination slept on average 30 minutes less at night than those with fewer experiences with discrimination," Dr. Dayna A. Johnson of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston added in an email.

Johnson and her colleagues reported their findings at a joint meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society in Boston.

Between 2000 and 2004 and again between 2008 and 2012, study participants completed the Modified Williams Everyday Discrimination Scale, a questionnaire that asks about the frequency of experiences with everyday mistreatment. For example: How often on a day-to-day basis do you have the following experiences: being treated with less courtesy; being treated with less respect; do people act as if you are dishonest?

Participants also reported their sleep duration and rated their sleep quality from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent).

At the start, the participants were 55 years old on average, about two-thirds were women, and about 55 percent reported that they slept no more than six hours a night.

From the beginning, discrimination and sleep quality were linked. The association remained constant over time, the research team found.

Compared to participants who reported low levels of discrimination, participants who reported higher levels had 43 percent higher odds of short sleep; they slept 15 minutes less on average per night; and they had lower sleep quality scores.

Women who reported higher levels of discrimination slept 22 minutes less on average compared to those who reported lower levels of discrimination.

"Research has shown that discrimination is strongly related to adverse health outcomes among African Americans," Johnson said. "Based on our findings, it is likely that the influence of stress on sleep is partially attributable to experiences with discrimination. African Americans are continually exposed to experiences of discrimination firsthand, through the vicarious experiences of friends and family, or through the media."

"As a result of the differences in the coping strategies, women may be more affected by experiences of discrimination although they report lower levels and thus have sleep difficulties," she added.

Dr. Michael Grandner, Director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, told Reuters Health that in earlier research, exposure to racial discrimination was associated with worse sleep, even after taking stress and depression into account.

"Racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. routinely have worse sleep, and this is important for their overall health and well-being," noted Grandner, who was not involved in the study.

"Knowing that these social-environmental factors play a role in sleep health may persuade clinicians not only to take sleep more seriously, but also to focus more on how they may need to be creative in order to improve health in a social environment that may not be supportive," he said by email.

Johnson said that the study's strengths include the large number of African Americans who participated. She also acknowledges limitations, including that study was confined to residents of Jackson, Mississippi, which limits the generalizability of the results. Also, she points out, people often overestimate how long they've slept, so the amounts in the study might not be completely reliable.

Johnson said her team plans to study the issue further using more-reliable sleep data.

June 22, 2017: Lifescript, Inc.: INTERVIEW-Danone looks to ride healthy food revolution wave

Emmanuel Faber, CEO of Danone, wants the world's biggest yogurt maker to play a central role in the revolution sweeping the global food industry as it tries to respond to a consumer shift towards healthy eating.

As more consumers, notably the "Millennial" generation, opt for healthier diets and a more socially responsible way of life, Danone, along with rivals such as Nestle, have been seeking to adapt.

Faber unveiled a new company "signature" dubbed "One Planet. One Health" for Danone on Thursday in Berlin at the annual meeting of the Consumer Goods Forum, a gathering of the world's biggest retailers and packaged food companies.

"A revolution is cooking, what are we going to do about it?" Faber told the meeting, warning that consumers will turn their backs on big food companies if they do not do more to address issues like obesity, inequality and climate change.

"We are losing them. They are getting out of our shops, out of our brands. They are going for food without the food industry. Not only without us, but maybe against us," he said.

Danone has bought U.S. organic food producer WhiteWave in a $12.5 billion deal, bringing the company more into line with healthier eating trends.

The deal also aims to boost growth at Danone, whose shares trade at a discount to rivals. The company's depressed valuation was highlighted this week as a reason for it being touted as a potential bid target.

Faber told Reuters that Danone, which has no large controlling shareholder, was "no more and no less than usual" vulnerable to a possible takeover bid.

Danone is seeking to build on the WhiteWave deal with a campaign to promote itself as a leader in terms of healthy eating habits.

"The global industrial food system is reaching its limits," Faber told Reuters in a phone interview before his speech in Berlin. He said evidence of this included obesity and malnutrition, wasting water and food, soil depletion, and climate change.

"Everywhere people want to regain control over their food," said Faber, a rock climber and campaigner for corporate social responsibility.

PermID: 5043465967

Created by www.buysellsignals.com for News Bites Finance