HEALTH

Bayer gives $100,000 to women’s heart health organization

BY Michael Johnsen

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Bayer HealthCare on Monday supported WomenHeart, an advocacy organization solely dedicated to promoting women’s heart health, with a $100,000 educational grant from the Bayer USA Foundation.

“The Bayer USA Foundation and Bayer Consumer Care are pleased to support WomenHeart and the organization’s mission to improve the health and quality of the lives of women living with or at risk of heart disease,” stated Bayer Aspirin brand director Rob Schumm. “Its activities align with Bayer’s own cardiovascular public health objectives of increasing the awareness of prevention and early detection, accurate diagnosis and proper treatment of heart disease.”

Through the grant, WomenHeart plans to develop an array of educational materials for all women — especially those living with heart disease — such as “Passport to a Healthy Heart” and “Living Well with Heart Disease” pamphlets. In addition, the grant will fund educational programs such as online seminars and support chat rooms.

“WomenHeart is thrilled to have Bayer’s support,” commented Lisa Tate, CEO of WomenHeart. “The Bayer brand is synonymous with quality and customer care and we are proud to partner with Bayer in our continuing effort to provide information that can help women live longer heart healthier lives.”

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Hamacher Resource Group adopts ReadyTouch technology

BY Michael Johnsen

MILWAUKEE Hamacher Resource Group on Monday announced an exclusive alliance with in-store kiosk pioneer ReadyTouch, a provider of retail marketing systems designed to seamlessly bring the latest product expertise to consumers at the point of decision.

ReadyTouch’s technology was first deployed to wine and spirit retailers, and the unique browser-based search capabilities are also ideally suited for retail health care, Hamacher stated. The ReadyTouch System leverages content management technology on an NCR hardware platform to enhance the consumer shopping experience, to allow product promotions and ultimately to boost retail ROI and sales. 

“With increased focus on in-store influence and the overall shopping experience, we are extremely confident and excited about this new relationship that will allow innovative health, beauty and wellness retailers to step out of the shadow of conformity and into an era of leadership,” stated Dave Wendland, Hamacher VP. 

 “HRG is the ideal partner for us in retail healthcare,” stated Peter Bostwick, president and founder of ReadyTouch.  “They have a thorough understanding of the market, enjoy an unprecedented level of respect and have a robust library of content that will enhance the consumer’s experience with our technology,” he said. “This kiosk system will bring efficiency, excitement and cost savings to shoppers, retailers, distributors and manufacturers of health, beauty and wellness products.” 

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Research finds vitamin D helps prevent multiple sclerosis

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO Researchers have found evidence that a direct interaction between vitamin D and a common genetic variant alters the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. The research, published Friday in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics, suggests that vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy and the early years may increase the risk of the offspring developing MS later in life.

“Our study implies that taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy and the early years may reduce the risk of a child developing MS in later life,” stated lead author Sreeram Ramagopalan. “Vitamin D is a safe and relatively cheap supplement with substantial potential health benefits. There is accumulating evidence that it can reduce the risk of developing cancer and offer protection from other autoimmune diseases.”

The researchers found that proteins activated by vitamin D in the body bind to a particular DNA sequence lying next to the DRB1*1501 variant, in effect switching the gene on.

“In people with the DRB1 variant associated with MS, it seems that vitamin D may play a critical role,” stated co-author Julian Knight. “If too little of the vitamin is available, the gene may not function properly.”

“We have known for a long time that genes and environment determine MS risk,” stated Professor George Ebers, University of Oxford. “Here we show that the main environmental risk candidate – vitamin D – and the main gene region are directly linked and interact.”

MS is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults. More than 85,000 people in the United Kingdom and 2.5 million worldwide are thought to suffer from the condition, which results from the loss of nerve fibres and their protective myelin sheath in the brain and spinal cord, causing neurological damage.

The causes of MS are unclear, but it has become evident that both environmental and genetic factors play a role. Previous studies have shown that populations from Northern Europe have increased MS risk if they live in areas receiving less sunshine. This supports a direct link between deficiency in vitamin D, which is produced in the body through the action of sunlight, and increased risk of developing the disease.PLoS Genetics is published by the Public Library of Science, a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world’s scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource.

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