Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Nearly 1 in 5 adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year. Yet, 56% of adults with mental illness do not receive treatment. Amid COVID-19 and preparations being made to reopen the country, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month was created in 1949 by Mental Health America to reach millions through local events, screening, and media. The purpose is to show that everyone should care about mental health. The theme of 2020 is “Tools 2 Thrive.” A toolkit has been created to provide real-life tools and techniques that can be used by everyone to increase resilience and improve their mental health.

The printable handouts include ways to connect with others, screening kit, tips for staying positive, and more. This information can also be modified for the short term in response to dealing with COVID-19 and social distancing.

 

COVID-19 and Mental Health

Mental illness directly impacts your body. For example, those with depression are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Scientists have found that increased inflammation, metabolic changes, and changes in heart rate and circulation are present in those with depression.

The lifetime prevalence of any anxiety disorder is 31.6%, making the number of U.S. adults diagnosed a whopping 42.5 million. COVID-19 has changed the way we live our lives, possibly forever. The number of cases, misinformation, and distance learning are just a few reasons anxiety these days can increase. Learning how to recognize when it’s more than “worry” is only one of the reasons why mental health awareness is so important.

What You Can Do

 

Mental Health America states, “84% of the time between first symptoms and first treatment is spent not recognizing the symptoms of mental illness.” When a mental illness is screened and caught early, treatment is more effective, resulting in positive effects being seen sooner. Many have said that before the results of their screening, they would not have known they needed treatment or had a mental illness. Mental Health America offers a free screening tool to see if you have any early warning signs. Although it is not a diagnosis, it provides insight into beginning those conversations with your doctor or family about your mental health.

Participating in clinical trials is also a great way to learn more about different mental health conditions, and be a part of potential new options that are being studied to diagnose and manage them. To learn more about getting involved in future mental health studies at one of our locations, visit our website here.

References:

https://www.mhanational.org/mental-health-month

https://www.mhanational.org/mentalhealthfacts

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/chronic-illness-mental-health/index.shtml

 


A pandemic a disease that is prevalent over an entire country or around the world. In early March, COVID-19 was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), but one could argue that there is another silent pandemic sweeping the nation, fatty liver disease. In fact, according to the NIH, between 30 and 40 percent of adults in the US are living with or at risk for a fatty liver.[1]

Fatty Liver Has Virtually No Symptoms 

Unlike the coronavirus, a fatty liver has virtually no symptoms, which means someone could be living with a fatty liver and not even know it. This could make living with a fatty liver disease even more dangerous. While some damage done to the liver can be reversed, without proper action, a fatty liver could eventually lead to irreversible cirrhosis or even cancer of the liver.

As mentioned, most people experience no symptoms, but some symptoms one could experience includes[2]:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Jaundice
  • Extreme fatigue or tiredness

A Fatty Liver Comes in Stages

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, or NAFLD, is a type of liver disease caused by the accumulation of fat around the liver due to a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. It is a progressive condition that occurs in the following four stages[3]:

Stages of liver damage

  • Stage 1 – Normal Liver: Excess fat has built up in the liver cells, but there are typically no symptoms. This stage is considered harmless.
  • Stage 2 – Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH): The excess fat around the liver has caused the liver to become inflamed, suggesting some liver damage.
  • Stage 3 – Fibrosis: The inflammation caused by the excess fat around the liver has become persistent, resulting in fibrosis scar tissue replacing some of the healthy liver tissue.
  • Stage 4 – Cirrhosis: The most severe stage. There are now bands of scar tissue, and the liver has shrunk and become lumpy. Eventually, the liver could fail to function.

Is Your Liver At Risk?

Certain risk factors make a person more susceptible to developing a fatty liver. Those include being obese, having high cholesterol, having type 2 diabetes, or another metabolic syndrome.

NASH, Liver Disease

Fatty liver disease is a progressive condition, but by taking the right steps, it may be manageable or even reversible. Diet and exercise may not be enough for everyone, so it’s essential to know your options. There is currently no FDA treatment available, but research studies are evaluating potential new options.

Free fibroscans are available to adults who think they may be living with a fatty liver. Based on the results, research studies may be an option. Learn more about scheduling your free fibroscan here.

 

[1] https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/nafld-nash/definition-facts

[2] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15831-fatty-liver-disease

[3] https://www.your.md/condition/fatty-liver-disease

World Immunization Week: Bringing the Importance of Vaccines to the Forefront During the COVID-19 Pandemic

World Immunization Week is celebrated the last week of April and aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect those of all ages against diseases. Each and every year, millions of lives are saved due to vaccines, and immunizations are recognized as one of the most cost-effective health interventions. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the importance of vaccines to the forefront of public health on a global scale. We are all interested how quickly vaccines can be produced and what all is involved.

How does a vaccine work?

 Vaccines work to give you immunity to a disease or illness without actually causing the illness. They are made up of a killed or weakened version of the disease causing germ or parts of the germ (antigens). Vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses to build protection. Since our immune system is designed to remember, if you are exposed to the germ in the future, your immune system then knows to destroy the germ before it makes you sick.

What does the process look like for new vaccine approvals?

You have probably been hearing a lot of information in the news lately regarding vaccine timeline approvals due to the dire need to find a treatment for COVID-19. Typically, it can take a number of years for approvals for new therapies. This accounts for the time is takes to go through 3 phases of research to make sure that the therapy is safe and effective to be distributed for use to the public.  The FDA does have a fast-track status that is designed to expedite the review of drugs to meet an unmet medical need for serious conditions. You can read more about that here.

What diseases do vaccines prevent?

Vaccines protect against many different diseases including: Measles, Hepatitis B, Influenza, Polio, Rabies, Rubella, and Meningitis. Many other vaccines are currently being developed thanks to research.

 How do I get involved in vaccine research?

Evolution Research Group conducts clinical trials in a multitude of therapeutic areas. To learn more about how you can participate in our upcoming studies, please browse our current and upcoming studies for the location you prefer.

Participants may see a doctor or medical staff, have access to study-related medication, and may receive compensation for time and travel.