HEALTH

BioElectronics brings wearable pain-relief line to U.S. market

BY Michael Johnsen

FREDERICK, Md. — BioElectronics has initiated retail sales of both its Smart Insole heel pain product and its ActiPatch musculoskeletal knee pain device, the company announced Thursday.

The Smart Insole is an excellent and matchless healing product for heel pain sufferers. The product is the perfect innovation for people required to stand or walk daily.

The ActiPatch musculoskeletal knee pain device provides osteoarthritis sufferers long-lasting 100% safe drug-free pain relief. Unlike knee braces and traditional wraps, the devices are placed on the shelf and sold with aspirin and other pain relief drugs.

The devices are also sold in the Walgreens Boots UK stores as well as other leading retail pharmacy outlets worldwide.

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Study: Baby boomers to drive possible new hearing aid opportunity

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — The aging of America's baby boomers are behind a projected increase in demand for audiologic health care services, according to a study published online by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

With more than two-thirds of adults 70 years or older in the United States having clinically meaningful hearing loss, researchers found that the number of adults in the United States 20 years or older with hearing loss is expected to gradually increase from 44 million in 2020 (15% of adults) to 74 million by 2060 (23% of adults). This increase is greatest among older adults. In 2020, 55% of all adults with hearing loss will be 70 years or older; in 2060, that statistic will be 67%.

"These projections can inform policy makers and public health researchers in planning appropriately for the future audiologic hearing health care needs of society," noted lead author Adele Goman of Johns Hopkins University. "Given the projected increase in the number of people with hearing loss that may strain future resources, greater attention to primary (reducing incidence of hearing loss), secondary (reducing progression of hearing loss) and tertiary (treating hearing loss to reduce functional sequelae) prevention strategies is needed to address this major public health issue."

Already the Food and Drug Administration is moving toward expanding access to hearing aids. In December, the agency announced its commitment to considering a category of over-the-counter hearing aids that could deliver new, innovative and lower-cost products to millions of consumers.

And at a recent ECRM event, where OTC suppliers meet with their retail counterparts to discuss new product introductions as well as merchandising and category management strategies, several hearing aid companies were on hand to discuss possible future product launches.

 

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Study: High-dose flu vaccine reduces post-influenza deaths in elderly

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. — The high-dose flu vaccine appeared to be more effective at preventing post-influenza deaths among older adults than the standard-dose vaccine, at least during a more severe flu season, according to a large new study of Medicare beneficiaries released Thursday and published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases. The findings build on earlier research suggesting that the high-dose vaccine may be better at preventing influenza virus infections and other flu-related outcomes in seniors, including office visits and hospitalizations, compared to the standard-dose vaccine.

Older adults are at high risk for serious complications from flu because of their age. In recent years, between 71% and 85% of flu-related deaths have occurred among people 65 years of age and older, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The high-dose flu vaccine was approved in 2009 in the U.S. for adults 65 and older. "This is the population that everybody worries about," stated study author David Shay of CDC's Influenza Division. "Many of the most serious outcomes of flu infections occur in older people."

In the study, researchers from CDC, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Food and Drug Administration drew on data from Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 or older who received either the high-dose or standard-dose flu vaccine during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 flu seasons from community-located pharmacies. More than a million recipients of each vaccine type were studied in each of the two seasons.

During the 2012-2013 season, people who got a high-dose vaccine were 36% less likely to die in the 30 days following hospitalization or an emergency department visit that included a flu diagnosis compared to the standard-dose vaccine, the researchers found. H3N2 influenza viruses, which are usually associated with higher mortality in older adults, were predominant during that season. During the following season (2013-2014), when H1N1 viruses dominated and the standard-dose vaccine had better effectiveness than the previous season, the high-dose vaccine was not significantly better at preventing deaths among the Medicare patients studied.

"The high dose vaccine does appear, at least in this particular H3N2 season, to be more effective at preventing deaths that occur within 30 days of an influenza hospitalization," Shay said. "We didn't see a significant effect on post-influenza deaths during the 2013-2014 H1N1 season."

 

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