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Survey: Understanding blood test results would lead to healthier behaviors

BY Michael Johnsen

RARITAN, N.J. — Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, in partnership with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, on Wednesday released a survey that determined consumers would more likely discuss health-and-wellness plans with their doctors, and take action, if they understood their blood test numbers.

The survey found that although nearly 90% of people would prefer to discuss blood test results during a doctor’s visit, only about 40% have discussed their results in person, primarily because the results were either mailed or emailed to the patient or the patient never received the results. In addition, some respondents reported that providers told them to assume everything was alright if the doctor did not notify them about the results.

“A key finding from the survey is that patients recognize the importance of their blood test results and want to have the information to participate in their care,” OCD company group chairman Nicholas Valeriani said. “Initiatives, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ recently proposed rules to provide direct access for patients to their lab test results, will help ensure that consumers can take a more active role in managing their health in partnership with doctors and healthcare providers.”  

Among consumers who reported an awareness and understanding of their numbers, more than a third made positive lifestyle changes, such as changing eating habits, maintaining regular medical visits and paying more attention to test results, to improve their health. Of those who reported that they did not make changes following results of a blood test, nearly 90% said it was because they did not need to make changes to maintain their health.

Based on the survey results, OCD and NACDD recently brought together representatives from government, business, healthcare professional groups and consumer advocates to examine the state of the nation’s health literacy regarding blood tests. The result of this effort, “Fundamentals to Wellness and Prevention: A Call to Action,” is a report that encourages business, healthcare and government leaders to work together to help consumers become more aware of the importance of blood tests, facilitate timely access to test results and help consumers understand their blood test “numbers” so they can translate the knowledge into action.

“Diagnostic test results are your personal healthcare report card, influencing 60% to 70% of healthcare decision-making. It is crucial that people are able to obtain blood test results in a timely manner and understand the basic information provided to have a meaningful conversation with their doctors,” NACDD CEO John Robitscher said.  “Empowering patients to understand the connection between their blood tests and lifestyle may help prevent the onset of a chronic disease, as well as help reduce unnecessary healthcare costs attributed to inadequate health literacy.”

The survey results, “Fundamentals to Wellness” report and “Know Your Numbers” educational materials can be found here.


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CVS/pharmacy to host Halloween customer appreciation event in stores

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy is holding on Oct. 23 its first annual "2011 Halloween Party and Customer Event" at all 7,200 locations nationwide.

Children who slip on a Halloween costume and purchase any item at any CVS/pharmacy location on Oct. 23 during regular store hours will receive one free Halloween gift pack per child, as well as an in-store costume photo shoot, which includes a free 5×7 print, during select times throughout the day.

The Halloween gift pack, available for free with any purchase while supplies last, includes:

  • $5 value of candy, toys, trick-or-treat safety items; and

  • $10 in coupons for additional Halloween products.

In addition, from Oct. 23 to 25, shoppers will find deals on two Halloween must-haves: candy corn and 4-in-1 pumpkin carver kits. ExtraCare cardholders can pick these items up for free after ExtraBucks Rewards.

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Living Proof launches Restore to battle dry, damaged hair

BY Antoinette Alexander

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Hair care brand Living Proof, which is sold at such retailers as Sephora and Ulta, has launched its latest breakthrough in hair care: Restore.

"Restore really challenges the status-quo. It is a solution that addresses the causes of dryness and damage, offering immediate and long-term benefits, without oils and silicones," Living Proof co-founder and CEO Jon Flint said. "Living Proof aims to solve the toughest beauty problems. We’re not satisfied with offering just a quick fix."

Before hair is ever color-treated, processed or heat-styled, it is virgin hair — strong, smooth, soft, shiny and manageable. Virgin hair has a protective layer that is perfectly intact, which is why it is in such great condition. But everyday routines damage this protective layer, making it highly porous. Therefore, hair is unable to seal in moisture and becomes dull, rough, stiff, brittle and defenseless against damage.

Oils and silicones mask dryness and damage under a heavy coating that weighs hair down. And hair is left feeling greasy and dirty, so you have to wash your hair over and over again. But washing again leads to more brushing and heat styling, so the cycle of dryness and damage continues, the manufacturer stated.

To battle the problem, Living Proof scientists invented Restore, a weightless solution that reduces the porosity of dry or damaged hair to make it look, feel and behave like virgin hair. The shampoo, conditioner and mask treatment are developed with a moisture-controlling molecule, PolyfluoroEster, to create a protective layer. This layer acts like the natural, protective layer on virgin hair and is designed to reduce porosity by 100%. The end result is hair’s porosity is normalized to be like virgin hair. According the manufacturer, Restore also increases the hair’s resistance to breakage by 20 times, while healing, protecting and preventing further damage.

The first step to breaking the cycle of dryness and damage is to use Restore shampoo and conditioner. For more intensive treatment, use Restore mask treatment after first cleansing with Restore shampoo. Restore mask treatment can be used in place of Restore conditioner up to two times weekly, depending on the severity of the hair’s dryness or damage. It is safe for color-treated hair.

Restore will be available at Sephora, QVC, Ulta, Nordstrom and Livingproof.com; $28 for shampoo, $28 for conditioner and $42 for mask treatment.

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