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NEWS

What will it take to improve recruitment for clinical trials?

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As medicine becomes more precise, it means clinical trials often require recruiting from smaller, and more specific patient pools. While precision medicine can mean incredible advancement and efficacy of new therapies, it also increases the likelihood that travel will be involved. Travel can be a challenge for patients —often requiring car services, trains, or even flights, not to mention the potential to incur upfront costs that can range from a slight financial inconvenience to amounts large enough to prevent participation completely.

Whether clinical trial travel requires a short rideshare trip or a flight halfway across the world, the key to keeping participants enrolled and engaged is to make it as convenient as possible for the patient. Key facets of patient convenience include no-hassle travel coordination that accommodates any particular set of needs, elimination of upfront costs where possible and fast and easy reimbursement for any other expenses that might be incurred.  

The number of registered studies has increased dramatically over the last decade, including a significant rise in the number of studies being conducted internationally.

As the number of trials continues to grow and expand across the globe, more people are volunteering to participate. This is great news for life science and for patients seeking treatment, but willingness to participate often means an element of travel, whether it’s 50 miles to the nearest large city, 3,000 miles cross country or even international travel. As the distance expands, so should the movement towards finding ways to make the experience more convenient for patients. 

Reimbursement matters

There are various types of costs associated with participating in a trial. Oftentimes participants aren’t aware of the upfront costs until they’ve already been enrolled in the study and begin to participate – only to quickly realize they are not financially able to complete the trial requirements and are forced to drop out. Some common examples of expenses are hotel accommodations, food and heavy transportation costs which can include flights, car services, gas, tolls, parking, etc.  In addition, costs often not accounted for include lost wages, childcare and even pet care. All of these expenses can significantly impact a patient’s ability to participate in a clinical study. 

Many trial sponsors do reimburse patients for key costs incurred when participating in a trial. However, just as important as getting compensated is the method and timeliness of payment. What’s critical for these patients is ensuring that these upfront costs don’t hinder their participation. Having to wait weeks or months for checks to arrive can be the difference between a patient who is able to participate and one who cannot. As a result, some sites and patients have spoken out in favor of reloadable debit cards, which enable immediate reimbursement to eliminate financial burden. For some patients who are critically ill and are out of work, every dollar counts and receiving their reimbursement quickly and easily is paramount. 

Rideshare in clinical trials

While reimbursement for gas, a taxi, parking, tolls, etc. is wonderful, sometimes the best option a trial can offer is eliminating the need for reimbursement altogether. Recently, there has been a move towards offering rideshare transportation options for patientsthat would allow sites to control both travel bookings and additional patient reimbursements via the same system. The rides can be pre-arranged by the site and offer the highest level of convenience for participants while removing out-of-pocket costs. 

In addition to making travel easier on trial participants through a third-party technology, sites and sponsors who employ rideshare for their studies are saving money and gaining deeper financial visibility. 

Programs that have implemented pre-paid participant reimbursement for trial-related expenses along with personalized travel arrangement (travel and lodging) have revealed a positive impact on patient enrollment and retention. In fact, these programs provide access to a broader and more diverse population, opening the opportunity for patients from varying socioeconomic backgrounds and locations to participate. 

There are many considerations to be accounted for in planning a clinical trial and reimbursements and travel arrangement should be among them. A clinical trial does not happen without the patient. By improving a patient’s experience, sites and sponsors can have a measurable impact on the success of their study. With an increased focus on patient-centric travel and payments, recruitment and retention can become less of a barrier to bringing new medications and treatments to market.

Picture: drante, Getty Images

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NUTRITION

How Celebrity Chefs Make Christmas Roast Potatoes

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Roasted potato in cast oron pot

Let’s be honest here: for many of us, roast potatoes are the star attraction of Christmas dinner (it’s never the sprouts). We all feel pretty passionate about them, and every single member of your family will have an opinion on the best way to cook them. Hot oil? Duck fat? Olive oil? The methods vary wildly (although the potato variety tends not to — it’s Maris Piper all the way). A lot of our favourite TV chefs have a foolproof roast potato method, but here’s what they do at Christmas when they want their roast spuds to be really special.

Mary Berry: the Classic Maris Piper

Of course Mary Berry opts for the classic maris piper, what else? She opts to cook her spuds in goose fat and also has a couple of time-saving tips for the big day. Part-roasted spuds? If it works for Mary, we’re willing to give it a go.

Jamie is the king of classics with a twist, and this year, his roast potato offering is no exception. He’s whipping up “black roast potatoes” on his show Jamie’s Italian Christmas, which airs on Dec. 19. Not convinced? Try his festive sage and orange recipe or his classic perfect roast potatoes. He reckons using a potato masher is the key.

Nigella: in Hot Goose Fat

Nigella’s perfect roast potatoes feature in her Christmas book, and she’s firmly in the camp that the oil should be searingly hot before the spuds go in. She’s also got a nifty trick up her sleeve for the ultimate crispiness: covering them in semolina.

The Hairy Bikers: With Polenta

Like Nigella, The Hairy Bikers are fans of hot melted goose fat, but they opt for a good scruffing up after boiling and then a dredging in polenta for maximum crispiness.

Gary Rhodes: in Cold Oil

It’s actually Gary Rhodes’ wife Jennie who takes care of the roast potatoes on Christmas Day. She gives them a shake to fluff up the edges so there’s no need for hot oil.

If you want something a little less conventional on Christmas Day, try Ramsay’s spiced roast spuds. Here’s a video of him making them — he even ropes his mum in to help, and amazingly she doesn’t immediately put her sherry down and take over the entire running of the kitchen.

Delia Smith: With Lard

There’s really nothing sexy about lard, but if you want roasties the Delia way, then you’ve got to go all in.

Tom Kerridge: Boil Them All the Way

Tom Kerridge has no truck with parboiling. He reckons that this leaves unwanted moisture in the spuds, which stops them from going crispy. His method tells you to boil all the way through so be careful not to shake or over fluff or you’ll be left with Christmas mash instead.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: Using Groundnut Oil

Don’t fancy goose fat? Opt for groundnut oil like Hugh instead. This is a simple recipe, and your potatoes will have a really interesting flavour. Perfect if you want to mix things up without any extra faff, or if you’re serving up a vegetarian feast.

Heston Blumenthal: With Beef Dripping and Herb Salt

If you’re going to follow a Heston recipe, you’re probably already aware that a certain amount of effort will be involved. His Christmas roast potato recipe is a delicious concoction of beef dripping and homemade herb salt.

Nigel Slater: Around the Bird

Nigel also opts for goose fat (it’s richer than duck fat), but he chooses to cook his around the bird if there’s room in the tin. Meaning that you’ve got extra room to try out his chickpea and lemon stuffing. Don’t forget: your kitchen, your rules.



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FOOD

Celebrity Chef Christmas Turkey Recipes

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Group of unrecognizable people toasting with wine during Thanksgiving dinner at dining table.

If you’re tasked with making Christmas dinner this year, it can be quite overwhelming. It’s not just another Sunday roast; it’s the main event, and the entire day often centres around it. No matter how good your roast potatoes are and how delicious your gravy, everyone will remember the year you set the turkey on fire. (And still no one really cares about the brussels sprouts.) So let’s turn to the pros. Here’s how your favourite chefs make their Christmas turkeys truly special.

Jamie Oliver: With Flavoured Butter

Jamie is a fan of classics, but he always steps it up a notch at Christmas, and that means putting a cranberry-flavoured butter under the skin. Not only will this keep the turkey moist (and make the skin super crispy!), but it’ll also add a delicious festive flavour. Don’t forget his famous Christmas gravy.

Nigella Lawson: Brined

Nigella’s turkey is so popular, it made its way into the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special. That’s because she brines it before roasting — in a pan of salted water with oranges and Christmassy herbs and spices. Never tried this method before? Heston Blumenthal’s a fan of the brine, too.

Gordon Ramsay: Flavours of the Mediterranean

Everyone’s favourite angry chef keeps things pretty simple with his turkey, taking his inspiration from the Med with lemon, parsley, and garlic.

Mary Berry: Tradition

Of course Mary Berry sticks to a traditional turkey recipe, and if you want to follow the same route, you can’t go wrong.

Delia Smith: Go For a Crown

Delia goes down the tradition route, too, with a sage and pork stuffing, but she’s also got a turkey crown recipe with apricots, pancetta, and pistachio — perfect if you’re not cooking for a huge group but can’t quite convince yourself that chicken is festive.

Nigel Slater: Keep It Simple

Of all the chefs on this list, Nigel Slater certainly offers up the simplest recipe. This is a great option if you’re hosting for the first time! Pick the best bird you can afford and let the oven do its thing. Then go to town on the stuffing.

The Hairy Bikers: Double-Stuffed

The bearded duo keep things interesting with two different stuffing flavours. And they cook it quickly, so if you don’t fancy getting up at the crack of dawn to get your turkey on, this is the recipe for you.



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FITNESS

How To Do The Zercher Carry

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Sometimes it’s hard to see how the exercises you do in the gym will translate to any substantial benefit in the real world. That is absolutely not the case with the Zercher carry.

“Simply put, Zercher carries make you really good at carrying something in front of you,” says Will McAuley, strength and conditioning coach at London personal training studio PerformancePro. “Think of carrying a box down a set of stairs on moving day, lifting luggage into an overhead compartment on a plane, or even picking up one of your children!

“The Zercher carry works a whole bunch of different muscles, but mainly it focuses on your trunk, which has to stay stable while you walk so that the weight you’re carrying doesn’t tip to one side. You also get some work for your forearms, biceps, shoulders – mainly the anterior deltoid – and pecs.”

How To Do The Zercher Carry

“The execution of a Zercher carry is simple, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy!” says McAuley. “You can use any kind of bar for these, but I would recommend using a log-like implement. If you are using a bar, use a bar pad to avoid getting welts in your elbows – you can thank me later.

“Set up the bar or log below elbow height in a rack or a free-standing squat stand, or elevated on a couple of blocks or benches. Squat down slightly, place your elbows directly underneath the bar, and bend your arms around it so that you’re cradling it in your elbow crease. Take a short, sharp breath, brace your trunk and stand up tall. The weight of the bar should be in your arms.

“Once you’re balanced, start walking. When you reach the end of your track, be it ten, 20 or 50 metres, stop, turn – this is the tricky part – and walk back without dropping the bar. Then put it back in the rack.”

Common Mistakes

Walking Too Far

“If it’s your first time with a Zercher carry, don’t go overboard,” says McAuley. “If you try to carry it further than you can, you’ll end up dropping the bar, and have no way to get it back to the start other than rolling it along the floor – not a good look. Start off with a light weight and gradually increase the distance over time.”

Not Holding The Bar Tight Enough

“People often forget that this is an exercise for your arms and shoulders, as well as your trunk,” says McAule. “If you don’t hold the bar tight, you won’t get the same benefits from the carry, and will lift a lot less weight than you should be able to. Once you’re holding the bar, squeeze it tight with your upper and lower arms and pull it in close to your chest, almost as if someone’s trying to pull it off you. This will recruit more muscles, and allow you to lift more weight and carry it further.”

Setting The Rack Up Too High

“With a heavy carry, as your arms and shoulders get fatigued, you won’t be able to carry the bar as high as you did at the start,” says McAuley. “So the height you picked it up from may be too high to put it back, and you’ll have to drop the bar and start over again. Make sure to set the rack up fairly low, so that no matter how fatigued you are, you’ll always be able to put it back.”

Holding The Bar In Your Hands

“This isn’t a biceps curl or some sort of arm endurance exercise,” says McAuley. “Don’t hold the bar in your hands, because your biceps will fatigue well before anything else. All the weight should be on your forearms, elbows and upper arms, and your hands should just be there to keep the weight close. Don’t worry – you’ll still get a biceps pump this way.”

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NEWS

The effect of patient financial experience on critical access hospitals in 2020

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Rural hospitals in America are fighting for their lives. More than 150 facilities have succumbed to financial pressure since 2005, with the closure rate doubling in the last seven years to almost 14 hospitals per year. While these facts have been well documented, what doesn’t always make the headlines is that nearly 35%of rural hospitals closing since 2010 were critical access hospitals (CAHs).

CAHs: basics, benefits and challenges
About two-thirds of rural hospitals and 25% of all hospitals in the U.S. are CAHs, a designation created by Congress in 1997 to reduce hospital closures and ensure rural Americans had essential medical services. The program requires Medicare to reimburse CAHs 101 percent of reasonable costs for inpatient and outpatient services to Medicare recipients. State Medicaid agencies have the flexibility to determine how they pay CAHs for providing services to Medicaid enrollees.

To qualify as a CAH, a hospital must offer 24/7 emergency services, have no more than 25 beds for inpatient services, maintain an annual average stay of 96 hours or less for acute care patients and be at least 35 miles from another hospital, among other criteria.

While the 101% Medicare reimbursement seems favorable, the model still leaves many CAHs financially vulnerable. Their small size and location can diminish economies of scale, reduce leverage with payers and vendors and limit the feasibility of offering profitable services that generate cash. Low patient volume, high rates of uninsured patients and rising non-Medicare and non-reimbursable Medicare bad debt add to the challenges CAHs face in covering costs and remaining viable.

Yet another hurdle: Collecting patient payments
Many healthcare providers have trouble collecting payment from uninsured and underinsured patients. The problem is exacerbated for CAHs because Americans living in rural areas are older, sicker and poorer, and nearly half say they can’t pay an unexpected $1,000 expense right away. Forty percent have had trouble paying medical bills and 45 percent didn’t seek healthcare because they couldn’t afford it.

Rural areas also have less access to health literacy, which means residents may have trouble finding and understanding insurance and what they qualify for. Fewer commercial health insurers serve small rural markets and those that do often charge higher premiums. As a result, nearly 10 percent of rural residents had no insurance of any kind in 2017, compounding financial problems for CAHs and other rural hospitals on the edge.

The future of CAHs in 2020
Self-pay patients can lead to high accounts receivable and slow collections, which are common problems for CAHs. The key to improving performance in these areas is for hospital administrators to scrutinize the patient financial experience and tailor it to meet their patients’ unique needs. For many CAHs, this means focusing on four areas that can build patients’ trust, increase collections and improve financial performance:

  1. Earlier patient engagement and registration. CAHs are oftentimes more successful whenever patient engagement starts well in advance of the appointment to ease patients’ fears and increase efficiency. By contacting patients to confirm insurance eligibility, co-pays and deductibles, and provide accurate bill estimates, patients know what they’ll owe before they arrive at the hospital.
  2. Personalized financial planning. Tools are available to help staff evaluate patients’ ability and propensity to pay their medical bills. Using this information, they can recommend a payment plan that fits the person’s circumstances and increases the likelihood of collecting the full amount owed. Also essential to personalizing this part of the experience is a patient advocate who can explain federal, state, local and third-party medical programs and the benefits that uninsured and self-pay patients may be eligible for.
  3. A thoughtful approach. Because people in small communities often know each other, conversations about personal finances can be uncomfortable. Training and tools can help guide staff to handle each situation based on patients’ needs and sensitivities.
  4. No surprises. Studies show Americans worry more about surprise medical bills than insurance premiums, deductibles or drug costs. Healthcare providers help reduce this anxiety with transparent, consistent pricing; clear communication tailored to the patient’s level of understanding and an organizational culture where staff treat patients with compassion throughout their clinical and financial experiences.

Measures of success for 2020
CAHs are often the only source of high-quality medical care for people in rural areas, and their survival is crucial. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which certifies hospitals as CAHs, periodically reviews and adjusts certification requirements to improve care and operational efficiency. In late 2019, for example, CMS announced rules changes that lessen some regulatory and reporting burdens, which should save CAHs time and expenses. While these measures may help, CAHs must proactively make changes on their own to boost their bottom lines. In 2020, streamlining patient registration, offering more financial services and protecting patients from unexpected medical bills are proven ways to collect more revenue, improve cash flow and reduce bad debt.

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HEALTH

How to Control PCOS with your Diet

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As often pointed out by experts, life can suddenly throw shocks and surprises. That is why some of us swiftly get affected by diseases like the bolts from the blues. Among the diseases, there are a few obvious ones, and there are a few others that may not be very much visible. Some of these so-called “invisible” diseases can be known only by observing their symptoms. One such disease is PCOS. Let us find out the symptoms, the causes of this disease, the details of the PCOS diet, and the lifestyle women, who have been affected by PCOS, should follow.

Table of Contents

What is PCOS?

PCOS or Polycystic ovarian syndrome is an endocrine system disorder that affects a woman’s hormone level. This means women with PCOS produce more-than-normal levels of male hormones, which causes a hormonal imbalance that leads to several health issues. Firstly, PCOS causes skips in menstrual periods. Secondly, it may negatively impact the process of getting pregnant. In fact, PCOS affects women more particularly during their child-bearing age. The findings of the study reveal that 70 percent of women who have this problem are not aware that they have been affected by it.

What are the symptoms that show that a woman has been affected by PCOS?

There are a few symptoms that indicate that a woman has been affected by PCOS. Let us look at a few of them.

1. Irregular periods

Women affected by PCOS confess that they get fewer periods than normal women. Usually, women get 11 to 12 menstrual cycles a year, however, women affected by PCOS get it between the range of 8 or even less. Some women even experience heavier or lighter bleeding during their cycles, which is because of the lack of ovulation that prevent shedding by their uterine lining. 

2. Hair growth

Over 70% of women who have been affected by PCOS have continuous growth of hair on their body and their face. In fact, growth of hair may be on their backs, bellies, and chests as well. 

3. Acne

Due to the predominance of male hormones, those who have been affected by PCOS have oilier skin than that of normal women. This oily skin can then lead to breakouts in their chest, face, and the upper back.

4. Weight gain

Nearly 80 per cent of the women who have been affected by PCOS are either obese or overweight. This is because women with PCOS do not produce normal insulin levels. Instead, their bodies over-produce insulin in an attempt to maintain a normal blood sugar level, and this frequently leads to more androgen (male harmones) production and weight gain. 

5. Baldness is similar to that of males

Some of the women affected by PCOS lose hair due to the high levels of androgen (male hormones). In fact, their baldness will be similar to that of males such as receding frontal hairline or thinning of the scalp. 

6. Darkness of the skin

Women with PCOS have higher levels of the hormone, insulin, in their blood. These high levels of insulin can sometimes cause patches of darkened skin on the back of the neck, under the arms, and in the groin region. 

Are these symptoms conclusive evidence to prove that a woman has been affected by PCOS?

People cannot come to a straightforward conclusion that women with the above symptoms have been affected by PCOS. But even if the doctors have confirmed PCOS, women need not give up hope because there are very good treatments for the problem. Of course, affected women should make some changes in their lifestyle and follow the PCOS diet plan. If they consistently follow the PCOS diet and exercise meticulously, they can overcome the issue and lead a healthy life.

Factors that cause PCOS in women

Doctors are in a quandary while trying to clearly say which factor has caused PCOS problem in a woman. In fact, even experts in the medical field are not able to pinpoint the real factor that causes this problem. But they are certain that the presence of predominant levels of male hormones in women obstructs the production of female hormones by their ovaries. Therefore, their body does not make eggs as the ovaries of normal women do. In general, the factors that cause PCOS in women are insulin resistance, inflammation, and of course, genes. These factors lead to excessive production of androgen or male hormones in their body. Let us delve deeper into these factors.

1. Genes

Several studies have been conducted to prove that the problem of PCOS has a genetic cause. The findings of these studies reveal that if grandparents or parents have this problem, the granddaughters are also likely to be affected by it. But it is not just a single gene that may cause PCOS. A number of genes work together for causing this condition.

2. Insulin resistance

Studies conducted on a number of women who have been affected by PCOS have shown concurrent problem of insulin resistance. Conversely put, chances of those with the problem of insulin resistance getting affected by PCOS are high. The reason is that the body cells of women affected by PCOS do not use insulin properly. If insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, does not help the body use the sugar in the foods they consume, their body will always be in need of insulin. Therefore, the pancreas will over-work and secrete more amount of insulin. Due to this extra insulin, ovaries are seen to produce more amounts of male hormones that dominates the body, thereby causing severe symptoms and finally resulting in PCOS. Obesity or overweight is yet another factor that may cause insulin resistance.

3. Inflammation.

Inflammation in women has strong links with higher levels of androgen or male hormones. To put it differently, higher levels of male hormones will cause inflammation, and hence, women with PCOS are likely to suffer from inflammation as well. Obesity and excess body weight can cause inflammation also.

What foods must women with PCOS add to their diet?

Women affected by PCOS should add liberal amounts of high-fibre foods in their diet. Especially, vegetables like broccoli and foods such as fish and those that contain lean proteins will bestow immense benefits. These high-fiber foods will help in overcoming the problem of insulin resistance also by retarding the digestion process and reducing the negative effects of sugar on their system.

high fiber foods

Some of the high-fiber foods they can eat in abundant quantities are cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, greens that include spinach, lettuce, green and red peppers; beans, and lentils, berries, squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins. Lean protein items such as chicken, tofu, and fish may not provide affected women with good amounts of fibre, but women who eat these items can feel “full.” Hence, these foods can be great dietary options for women affected by PCOS.

They should also opt for anti-inflammatory spices and foods such as tomatoes, turmeric, etc. A few other foods that can reduce inflammation in them and that can benefit them are kale, almonds, walnuts, olive oil, and fruits. Especially, fruits like strawberries and blueberries can be beneficial and can reduce inflammation. Food items that can supply a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids can also be beneficial for affected woman. Some examples of such foods are fish like sardines, salmon and mackerel.

Foods to avoid

Women affected with PCOS should avoid eating food items and spices that cause inflammation such as red meat, fried foods, processed foods, carbonated drinks, and sodas. They should also refrain from eating foods that contain large amounts of refined carbohydrates such as ice creams, cakes, pastries, white potatoes, sugary desserts and drinks, sugary snacks, muffins, white bread, and all items that are made of white flour. These foods will increase insulin resistance leading to problems mentioned above. Therefore, affected women should try to avoid or restrict eating these items to a considerable extent.

Diet plan for women affected by PCOS

Women affected by PCOS should make sure to follow a diet that is not only nutritious but also fibrous. Given below are a few tips that women affected by PCOS can follow.

  1. Women affected by PCOS should make sure to eat good nutritious breakfast and the foods chosen, should not contain bad carbohydrates or inflammation-causing ingredients. Skipping breakfast should never be an option for affected women as it would induce them to over-eat during their mid-day meal and hence cause them to become obese or over-weight. 
  2. Secondly, drinking water about 30 minutes before meals can help control over-eating and help one feel full. 
  3. Women affected should also make sure to eat slowly and chew their food as many times as possible as this would aid in improved digestion and will reduce the chances of insulin resistance. Hence, avoiding weight gain. 
  4. Women affected with PCOS should make sure to finish their dinner 2 hours before they retire for bed. Delayed dinners will lead to indigestion and cause disturbed sleep. This may bring down the ability for the body to repair itself. 
  5. Since women with PCOS should keep a check on their weight, they should make sure to follow a set diet plan. Large meals have to be split into smaller portions and one has to make sure to eat every two hours. This is a proven method that can help in maintaining their weight. Given below is a diet plan that women affected with PCOS can follow: 
7:00 am 1 tsp Methi seed powder + water
8:00 am 2 small vegetable dosa/cheela and green chutney 
OR
Vegetable Omelette and 2 whole-grain toast
11:00 am  Fruit salad (1 katori)
1:00 – 2:00 pm Mixed vegetable salad (1 katori), 1 multigrain/whole wheat/millet roti + ½ katori brown rice, and mixed vegetable sabzi 
OR
Vegetable Millet Pulao and cucumber raita 
4:30 pm  Puffed Rice + Roasted Chana – 1 Katori and tea/coffee with less sugar/without sugar
7:30 pm 1 Chapathi/millet roti and methi dal (1 katori)
OR
Vegetable masala oats (1 katori) 

A few other changes women with PCOS should make in their lifestyle

1. Women with PCOS should always give importance to physical activities. Experts suggest that these women should do at least 150 minutes of exercises or work-outs every week.

2. PCOS weight loss diet should not contain unhealthy foods including junk foods, fried items, and foods that contain bad fats and bad carbohydrates.

3. They should ensure to have sufficient sleep. It has been proven that those who are sleep-deprived will have a tendency to overeat the following day. This will make them obese or overweight. Ultimately, these women may be affected by PCOS.

4. Women affected by PCOS should learn to manage their stress levels. Stress is another factor that may increase insulin resistance and cause type 2 diabetes. Experts suggest yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises for managing stress levels.

5. Most importantly, these women should never lose their self-confidence. The medical world has been coming out with several mind-blowing innovations and hence, they can get good treatment for their PCOS problem. These treatments will get them excellent results if they have confidence or faith in themselves and stick to PCOS treatment diet as advised by their doctors.

Summary

To summarize, women who have been affected by PCOS can combat this issue and lead a healthy and normal life by following the right diet plan meticulously and by making a few changes to their lifestyle. In short, their life should be a package of all good things.



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HEALTH

3 Ab Workouts I Always Do Before a Run

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I never go for a run without doing an ab workout first. Why? It warms up my body, gets me in the mood to work out, and — most importantly — engages my core, which is key before any workout. (It’s also fine to do abs after a run when your body is all warmed up; I just prefer to get it out of the way!)

Over the years, I’ve tried a ton of pre-run ab workouts and narrowed it down to my top three: two 10-minute Youtube videos and one three-minute plank workout right here on POPSUGAR. That supershort option is perfect for my rushed weekday morning runs. Before a longer weekend route, I’ll pull up one of the longer, more challenging videos. Switching off between the three options ensures that my abs get a new challenge every time.

Keep reading for my three favourite pre-run core workouts and try one for yourself next time you want to work your abs before the rest of your body, or any time you just want a quick, effective core challenge.



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NEWS

Investors pump $20M into Singapore-based liquid-biopsy company

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A genomic medicine company based in Singapore has raised $20 million in Series A funding as it looks to develop a blood test for early detection of cancer, a pursuit that has drawn the attention of both investors and biotech startups around the world.

Lucence makes blood-based tests for cancer screening and treatment selection and spun out of Singapore’s Agency for Science Technology and Research in 2016. The Series A funding round was led by IHH Healthcare, a healthcare provider with operations in Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey, India and other countries. Other participants include SGInnovate and existing investor Heliconia Capital, a subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, a sovereign wealth fund in Singapore.

“Our investment in Lucence will provide IHH patients with better access to this advanced technology,” IHH’s CEO-designate, Kelvin Loh, said in a statement. “IHH looks to drive greater synergies with Lucence and co-develop solutions for patients, as well as explore opportunities to sharpen our precision medicine capabilities with other like-minded partners across our 10-country network.”

The blood test Lucence developed was launched in 2018. Known as LiquidHallmark, it is designed to detect both cancer-related gene mutations and cancer-causing viruses within a single assay. So far it has been used by oncologists in cancer diagnosis, monitoring and treatment selection for over 1,000 patients in Asia, according to the company. The test detects clinically relevant mutations in 14 cancers, including lung, breast, colorectal, pancreatic, nasopharyngeal and liver cancers.

Backed by the latest funding, Lucence is launching clinical studies of its test for use in early detection of cancer.

“We see that prospective clinical studies of cancer screening will be key to validate our unique panel design that spans cancer-related mutation and cancer-causing virus profiling in a single blood draw,” said Min-Han Tan, founder and CEO of Lucence, in an email response forwarded by a spokeswoman.

The liquid biopsy market, in which Lucence is playing, is pretty crowded, with one estimate of more than 30 startups all vying for success.  Illumina-spinout Grail, which has raised more than $1 billion, is one of the more prominent ones in the field, which. Others in the hunt include Guardant, Thrive and is Freenome, which raked in $160 million this fall to support clinical trials of its blood-based colorectal cancer screening.

Investment in liquid biopsies and early cancer detection are likely buoyed by studies that show these tests do work. For example, a Grail study found that the test was able to detect early-stage cancer with a single blood test and the company also detected what it called strong signals for 12 cancers with a 99 percent specificity rate. This means that no more than 1 percent of tests generated false positives.

Another study done by U.S. and Korean researchers found Guardant360’s detection of the MSI-H/dMMR biomarker “highly concordant” with that of standard and invasive tissue biopsy, including in a subset of gastric cancer patients who responded to immunotherapy.

In September, researchers from Personal Genome Diagnostics, another liquid biopsy company, academic researchers from Johns Hopkins University and researchers New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and other institutions found that the company’s test was able to detect microsatellite instability in circulating tumor DNA. Further, the test was also able to estimate the chances of an immediate and durable, sustained response to treatment with an immune checkpoint inhibitor.

The potential is not lost as more and more clinicians are ordering such tests thereby boosting the global liquid biopsy market. That market is projected to reach $6.5 billion by 2026 though another market research report puts the number to nearly double that.

Lucence wants a piece of that overall revenue and expects to use the Series A funding to grow its lab operations and the commercial side of its business. Specifically, it plans to build a San Francisco-area lab, which would allow for speedier results to its U.S. customers. Tests for U.S. customers currently are done in the company’s Singapore lab. Currently, the company has a three-person team in the San Francisco area.

“Lucence is currently engaged in discussions with top U.S. cancer centers to make our technology available to patients through our CLIA-licensed laboratory [in Singapore],” Tan said in an email response forwarded by a spokeswoman.

Photo: jxfzsy, Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

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FITNESS

Grace Beverley’s Opening a Sustainable Pop-Up Shop in London

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Your bank account is about to take a hit, team, but we promise it’ll be worth it. Grace Beverley is bringing her activewear brand to London, with a pop-up “conscious concept store” this November. That means you can shop her collection in real life for the first time since it launched six months ago. The store will be located at Protein Studios in Shoreditch, and it’ll be open to the public on Nov. 23 and 24 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for two days of fun activations.

Grace announced the concept store on Nov. 11 via Instagram, giving us all an exciting teaser of exactly what we can expect from the two-day pop-up event. “Think interactive education with a retail twist: a TALA concept laundrette, our unreleased collections ready to try on and purchase before anyone else (including unisex come on mens!!!!),” she wrote. Plus, there’ll also be “exclusive products, the launch of our accessories (yes, those ones you’ve been eyeing up), delicious munch and more.” Based on her recent posts, a few new products you might be able to pick up at the store (if our sleuthing is to be trusted) are Tala socks, gorgeous windbreakers in deep neutral colours, and neon-trimmed activewear.

Grace returned to London earlier this week after a huge month in Los Angeles, where she launched a collection of limited-edition resistance bands with Jordyn Woods. Prior to the trip, Grace launched her new fitness app Shreddy, and honestly, she’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Image Source: Shreddy



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HEALTH

How I Started Running in the Morning

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Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not a morning person. Due to unfortunate personal circumstances (looking at you, two-hour commute), I’ve had to forcibly become one. The only way for me to get in a workout is to do it super early, and exercise is a priority for me, even if I have to get up at — shudder — 5:25 a.m. to do it.

Yes, that’s when I have to set my alarm if I want to run in the morning. Once I’m out the door, it’s surprisingly OK: I like running, and going early means there aren’t as many cars rushing past or other people clogging up the sidewalks. Finishing a morning run leaves me relaxed for the rest of the day, too. It’s the part before the run that’s really challenging. My schedule is so tight that if I lose five minutes, I won’t make the train to work. I have to be on the ball from the moment I get out of bed, and for me, at 5:30 in the morning, that’s not easy.

To make these runs happen, I’ve come up with a routine that’s designed to wake me up and get me out the door even when my body feels magnetized to the bed. When all goes according to plan, I’m out the door by 6 a.m., back home by 6:45, and leisurely making my way to the train station by 7:20. If you can relate to the morning workout struggle, go ahead and give these strategies a try.

My Pre-Run Routine

  1. Set out everything the night before. I know . . . everyone’s favourite workout tip! This really is non-negotiable for me. I need a lot of equipment and there’s no way I’m lugging it out at 5:30 a.m. I lay my clothes on a dresser and, in the living room, set out all my warm-up and running gear so it’s right where I need it to be: exercise mat, foam roller, shoes, earphones, phone holder, and headlamp.
  2. Immediately make my bed after the alarm goes off. It’s simple: making my bed right after I wake up means I won’t be able to crawl back under the covers and sleep for another three hours.
  3. Brush my teeth. The minty toothpaste and bright bathroom lights really wake me up. If I need a little extra help, I’ll read my news app or a book (yes, a book) to get my brain going.
  4. Change as soon as I get back to my room. My pajamas are so cosy. My apartment is so cold. If I let myself think about it for even a second, I’ll procrastinate getting changed and lose precious time. Instead, I start changing before I can question it. Once the running clothes are on, we’re in the clear; I’m not taking that sports bra off again until it’s drenched in post-run sweat.
  5. Do an ab workout to warm up. A quick ab circuit gets my body warm and activates my core, which is essential before any kind of workout. This challenging plank workout for runners is my current fave; it’s only three minutes long, so it fits perfectly in my tight schedule.
  6. Stretch while watching pump-up videos. Stretching is so boring to me, and in the morning that means I literally start falling back asleep on my mat. So while I’m rolling out my muscles (I use a foam roller and the Stick), I go on YouTube and watch one or two music videos. (Full disclosure, they are usually K-pop.) This takes me from barely-awake to pumped-up and ready to crush my run.

Note: I don’t eat before my early-morning runs, but if you need a snack to get you going, I recommend a piece of toast or a banana with peanut butter You can find more pre-workout snack ideas right here.

Image Source: Getty / AJ_Watt



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