Articles

Putting the focus back on treatment.

At some point or another, a scandal touches every industry; medicine is no exception. But seldom has one name scorched so many great cultural institutions as that of the Sackler family. The affected museums, universities, and foundations that were beneficiaries of the Sackler family’s largesse include: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Tate Gallery, The Smithsonian, the Guggenheim, Yale, The New York Academy of Sciences, and other renowned institutions.

sackler-linkedin-BW.jpg

The crisis of conscience experienced by these institutions and also the righteous anger of the attorney generals across the nation who are suing both members of the family, as well as the family-owned company, Purdue Pharma, was caused by the misuse of OxyContin, the company’s best-selling product. The irony is that this medicine, hailed as a wonder drug, offered doctors a way to alleviate severe pain suffered by countless patients including those with cancer and terminal illnesses.

Both Purdue and members of the family have been accused of aggressive, reckless, and even criminal marketing of the drug; including encouraging their sales force to ignore the practice of unethical doctors who ran infamous pill mills. As a result, this former “miracle drug” has become a symbol of the most despicable kind of corporate greed. Although some might argue that Purdue and the Sacklers have become scapegoats for a society that has failed to treat a decades-long catastrophe in a responsible, let alone effective way.

The discussion entered the mainstream with an article in The New Yorker magazine, “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain,” by Patrick Radden Keefe. Since its publication in October 30, 2017, the story of OxyContin and its role in our nation’s very real “opioid crisis” has only grown more intense. 

As a company working at the leading edge of clinical toxicology, Acutis has developed innovative technologies and science and advanced methodologies that enable our medical and drug treatment clients to quickly identify the misuse of OxyContin, as well as other prescription and illicit drugs, including natural and semisynthetic opioids, synthetic opioids, methadone, fentanyl, tramadol, and heroin.

Throughout our collaborations with doctors and our peers in the industry, our conversations have moved outside the lab and into the culture at large. These conversations have made us extremely aware of all that’s at risk by ignoring the real problem.

First, there is the complexity of managing pain, an imperfect art that physicians and others who help suffering people must practice. Second, these professionals do their work fully aware of the frailty of these human beings and their susceptibility to addiction.

The New Yorker’s investigation brought to the surface countless intersecting dynamics that help us understand a cause of crisis—from Purdue’s aggressive marketing practices and the greed of a small number of doctors, to the desperate financial situations of patients who found themselves in possession of a valuable commodity. We also learned a great deal of the role these drugs play in the lives of men and women living in depressed, largely rural and impoverished places.

The story of the Tate Gallery’s and other’s repudiation of new funding by the Sackler trusts, as well as the noisy, even vengeful protests, led by the artist Nan Goldin make for a good story. That said, Acutis has never chased headlines. In fact, we are saddened by the growing number of lawsuits, both those brought by Attorney Generals and also litigators on behalf of their clients. Some settlements have already been made and others will be litigated with the expectation of reclaiming some of the costs related to the 1,000s of deaths attributed to OxyContin.

But we think the emphasis on the Sackler Family and OxyContin, which is still, when used as prescribed, a great help to people suffering from terrible pain, is misguided.

As a company intimately familiar with the workings and expectations of physicians and substance-abuse practitioners and facilities, Acutis refuses to be distracted by sensational news. Nor will we point our finger at a convenient villain.

Few things are as seductive as watching the mighty fall, or the opportunity to turn up our noses at “filthy lucre,” or witness the humbling of the glamorous art world. That said, we will leave the schadenfreude and moralizing to politicians, activists, and cultural critics.

Our task as a clinical toxicology lab is to continually refine our science and technology to provide our clients with the best tools to address the real threats to our individual and collective well-being. We will judge ourselves solely by the following criteria: The precision of our results, delivered in the most timely manner, which together enables our clients in the healthcare community to provide the most appropriate treatment. This is our work and no news, no matter how sensational, will distract us from it

February is, historically, the month with the most reported cases of Influenza.

What are the facts?

  • We are in the midst of 2019 flu season and February is, historically, the month with the highest rate of Influenza.

  • The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

  • The flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of flu and its potentially serious consequences.

  • Acutis Reveal can determine if you are suffering from the flu or simply a cold.

  • The facts are not in dispute: Get vaccinated today.

post-flu.jpg

As we wrote elsewhere, flu is not easy. One reason, as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reminds us, is that each season introduces different viruses. To provide optimum protection, the makeup of U.S. flu vaccines is updated to match the current circulating flu viruses.

Once you’ve received your shot, it takes about two weeks for the antibodies to develop in the body. So, even if you haven’t had the shot yet, this is a case where later is better than never. As the season could last well into May, even a late vaccination can prove beneficial. This is especially true for high-risk individuals. These include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions, and the elderly.

Sans titre-1.jpg

The words “Flu Season” are meant to be taken literally. They are not used metaphorically. It is not medicine taking poetic license. Flu can be active from October until May.

As the flu spreads—from the most intimate settings, to the most public spaces—the Centers for Disease Control suggests we take these precautions to stop the spread of the viruses:

· As much as possible, try to avoid close contact with people suffering from the flu or who show signs of the flu.

· If you’re ill, limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.

· If you have flu-like symptoms, the CDC recommends you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Leave your home only to seek medical care or for other necessities.

· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and then wash your hands.

· Wash your hands frequently using soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.

· Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with flu germs.

Flu vs Cold

One of the most confusing aspects of the flu is that its signs and symptoms resemble the common cold and other less dangerous illnesses. See the list below to better determine the nature of your illness, or those of the people around you.

 
 


Flu complications can be more than a little complicated

Most people who get the flu will recover in anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. But for those who develop complications such as pneumonia, complications can lead to serious illness, even death.

Sinus and ear infections are examples of moderate complications from the flu, while pneumonia is a serious flu complication that can result from either influenza virus infection or from co-infection of flu virus and bacteria. Other possible serious complications triggered by the flu can include inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis), or muscle (myositis, rhabdomyolysis) tissues, and multi-organ failure (for example, respiratory and kidney failure). Flu virus infection of the respiratory tract can trigger an extreme inflammatory response in the body and can lead to sepsis, the body’s life-threatening response to infection.

The flu also can make chronic medical problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience more violent asthma attacks when suffering from the flu, and people with chronic heart disease may experience a worsening of their condition.


What are the emergency warning signs of influenza in infants,
children and adults?

Infants. Pay close attention to these signs:

· No appetite or unable to eat
· Difficulty breathing
· No tears when crying
· Fewer wet diapers than normal

Children. Watch for these symptoms:

·
 Fast breathing or trouble breathing
· Bluish skin color
· Refusing fluids
· Difficulty waking or interacting
· Irritability and refusing to be held
· “False recovery”— a fever returns along with painful cough
· Fever with a rash

Adult. Look for these indications:

·
 Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
· Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
· Sudden dizziness
· Confusion
· Severe or persistent vomiting
· Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Acutis Diagnostics recognized by Newsday as a New York success story.

In early December, Acutis was the subject of a feature article by James T, Madore, who writes about Long Island business for NewsdayThe piece describes our work, our rapid growth, and also our plans to expand our current competencies. In the piece, Acutis is described as a “great success story.” As a company in motion and as one committed to the medical community and the public its serves, everyone at Acutis is happy to share this story with you,

A clinical laboratory involved in the fight against opioid addiction and misuse of antibiotics wants to quadruple its space by moving west, from Suffolk County to Nassau, executives said.Acutis Diagnostics Inc., begun three years ago, has grown from two employees working in 1,000 square feet of space in Farmingdale to more than 100 in 10,000 square feet in East Northport. And the company now is looking to buy a 40,000-square-foot building in Hicksville to meet increased demand for its lab tests. CEO Jibreel Sarij said recently that the opioid crisis has fueled sales of Acutis’ medication monitoring systems by physicians, drug treatment centers and others.

Read more

Just don’t call it weed

In early July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex® (cannabidiol or CBD), an oral solution derived from marijuana, for the treatment of two severe pediatric seizure disorders. Epidiolex® is the first, yes, the first, FDA-approved medicine made from a purified extract of the marijuana plant—all natural and nothing synthetic.

Studies have confirmed what has been reported anecdotally about CBD oils—that they are helpful in treating seizures. But stories that circulate like rumors have always been incomplete if not disappointing. That said, starting this autumn, parents whose children suffer from Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes will have a safer and more reliable treatment than CBD products currently hawked on the Internet or sold in marijuana dispensaries.

article-july23-def4.jpg

FDA approves first drug derived from marijuana.
July 2, 2018

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) approved Epidiolex® (cannabidiol, or CBD), a medication extracted from marijuana, for the treatment of two severe pediatric seizure disorders, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. CBD is a compound typically found in very small quantities in the marijuana plant, and it has been of interest to scientists and the public for several years due to its anti-seizure properties and other possible therapeutic benefits. The approval comes at the end of a four-year series of trials showing the benefits of CBD in relieving the symptoms of these seizure disorders, which are highly resistant to existing treatments.

Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes are extremely debilitating. Children often suffer multiple seizures per day, they are likely to have developmental problems and are at high risk for early mortality. For several years, desperate parents with children suffering from these disorders sometimes relocated to states where marijuana had been legalized to obtain CBD oils, since this compound had been reported anecdotally to be helpful.

Read the full article online on the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) website.