SightGlass Vision Spectacles Control Myopia Progression for 6- and 7-Year-Olds
Detection Technology launches Customer Experience Center to drive value creation
Detection Technology debuts service portfolio to enhance customer experience and sustainable development
CORE Study: Rub & Rinse Regimen Important for Coronavirus Removal from Contact Lens Materials
Contact Lens Beliefs Discussion Now Available for On-Demand Viewing
CONTACT Software researches biologically transformed production processes
ISCLR to Hold 21st Symposium in August 2022
Wysa Receives FDA Breakthrough Device Designation for AI-led Mental Health Conversational Agent
ImpriMed Presents New Research Findings at The Veterinary Cancer Society (VCS) Mid-Year Conference
CooperVision Research Advances Understanding of Contact Lens Comfort at ARVO 2022
How Purdue biomedical engineers innovate health care
Biomedical engineers are innovators in a laboratory: bringing concepts and dreams of future technology and science fiction to life today to better people’s health and longevity. These faculty experts from Purdue University’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering can explain a process or procedure regarding various areas of research – and in many times build, design and bring these concepts to the marketplace. Below is a list of innovations from the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. - What inspires and pushes a biomedical engineer? A look behind the scenes of Purdue BME’s leader Artificial intelligence has the potential to help engineers explore how cell signals are integrated to fight off invaders or activated to repair wounds, which are both essential for survival.David Umulis, a multidimensional mentor, professor, the Dane A. Miller Head of the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and senior research fellow at the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue, is directing EMBRIO – an institute that is investigating how to use AI to crack the code of cellular defense. He credits a family friend and local pediatrician for pushing him to succeed and inspiring him to mentor faculty and students at Purdue. - Pediatric innovation: Tailoring new technology to the tiniest patients (1) A breakthrough in biomedical acoustics by a team led by George Wodicka, professor of biomedical engineering, led to the creation of a medical device that can alert nurses when a baby’s breathing tube is in the wrong position or obstructed. After 30 years of development, the Purdue invention is on its way to becoming the standard of care for babies worldwide. (2) Higher education, medical schools and manufacturers can work together to address pediatric health care resources and the need to expand FDA product testing for use in children, writes Mung Chiang in a column for Forbes. Chiang serves as executive vice president for strategic initiatives, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering and founding director of the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue. (3) Partnerships with Indiana-based biomedical device companies also could benefit pediatric device research and development, writes Craig Goergen, the Leslie A. Geddes Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, director of clinical programs in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and adjunct associate professor of surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine. - Protecting medications from fraud – and improving how they travel through the body (1) Small cyberphysical watermarks could prevent huge headaches caused by fake meds (2) This all-terrain microrobot can flip through a live colon Biomedical engineer Chi Hwan Lee developed a sensor that can be placed on an over-the-counter contact lens and then be used to detect glaucoma in patients. - Building devices that could help you monitor your own health (1) “Sticktronics” can transform common items such as contact lenses into specialized biomedical devices (2) Smartwatches may help you detect the earliest signs of disease (3) Tech that makes it possible for pregnant women to detect their own risk of preeclampsia with a smartphone - Partnering engineers with medical professionals An engineering-medicine partnership between Purdue’s College of Engineering and Indiana University School of Medicine is developing technological solutions for pressing health care problems. Numerous programs, including expanded educational opportunities, degrees and access to clinical settings, are part of the partnership.
National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match Implements Comcast Business Wavelength Services to Help Match Cancer Patients With Donors
Comcast Business today announced that it is providing the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)/Be The Match®, the leading global leader working to save lives through cellular therapy with a 10 Gbps optical wavelength service. The high-capacity, low-latency network solution will help Be The Match strengthen network performance, keeping its clients and employees connected, and in turn helping to ensure that transplant donors are connected to patients in need. Be The Match provides patients access to more than 39 million donors worldwide who step up to donate their marrow or blood stem cells. By connecting patients with donors and delivering life-saving cells to them, Be The Match provides cures to patients with life-threatening blood cancers and 75 blood diseases. The organization continues to lead the way in developing new cellular therapies, and in improving transplant accessibility and outcomes. Conducting this life-saving research while supporting and connecting patients to the resources they need requires a high-bandwidth, low-latency network connection. “Our network is becoming more critical, especially as we move to the cloud. If our systems aren’t available, people’s lives could be at stake,” said Robert Hanson, Vice President, Information Security, Infrastructure and Architecture, at Be The Match. “Comcast Business’ network performance has been seamless.” Comcast Business Wavelength Services deliver superior connectivity over a dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) optical transport network with high levels of performance. Wavelength technology provides users with the ability to transport both Ethernet and non-Ethernet protocols. The point-to-point optical fiber network helps deliver data across several of Be The Match’s locations, including its headquarters in Minneapolis, its branch offices and its data center location. Since implementing Comcast Business’ services, Be The Match has been able to continue supporting patients across its various locations without concerns over network connectivity. Additionally, the reliable and fast network connections help position the organization for rising bandwidth demands and network growth, setting it up to serve its clients into the future. “To stay swift and competitive, businesses across industries continue to incorporate cloud and data center operations into their daily functions. With this will come the need for networking technology that can not only support the shifts in business today, but the continually rising bandwidth needs that the future demands,” said Wolfgang Lewis, Vice President for Comcast Business, Twin Cities Region. “Comcast Business is proud to support National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match with its network services and do its part in making a difference in our communities.”
Emotional bonds with AI digital therapeutic Wysa are equivalent to human therapist relationships
Wysa, the world’s most advanced conversational AI for mental health, today announces the results of a peer-reviewed study in Frontiers that shows people develop an emotional bond with its chatbot in much the same way people bond with a human therapist. This ‘therapeutic alliance’ is crucial in helping people meet the goals of treatment, the study found. The therapeutic alliance is widely considered one of the most robust mechanisms of change in psychotherapy interventions and is defined as a collaboration between the patient and therapist on the tasks and goals of treatment, along with an emotional bond. The study of 1,205 people evaluated users of mental health app Wysa who were experiencing measured symptoms of anxiety or depression. The results show that within five days of using Wysa, the therapeutic alliance was comparable or better than scores found in traditional in-person cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in-person group therapy and internet-based tools for CBT. Wysa is a mobile chatbot that uses emotionally intelligent conversational AI to promote wellbeing, positive self-expression and mental resilience. Wysa guides users through evidence-based therapy exercises to self-manage symptoms associated with mild to moderate generalised anxiety and depression. The findings indicate the use-case for providing Wysa’s digital therapeutics as an alternative treatment modality to help address the global mental health crisis and severe shortage of qualified therapists. Wysa’s Head of Clinical Development and Research, Chaitali Sinha, said: “What is interesting is that the ways in which one establishes and experiences a relationship with a person, versus an AI agent are not too different. In our study, we found that when users were able to talk in a free-text format with the AI conversational agent, they felt a strong sense of a trusting relationship. This allowed us to deliver effective mental health interventions.” One of the most downloaded mental health support apps on the planet, Wysa has facilitated over 100 million therapeutic conversations in 65 countries across the globe. According to the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, approximately 60% of Wysa users are between 18 and 34 years of age, with 55% of users identifying as women. Meheli Saha, Department of Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India, co-authored the report. She expressed her surprise at the findings and said: “Our study showed that users often perceived the chatbot as a human and conversed with it about their relationship with the bot, expressing what having the chatbot’s support meant for them. For instance one user wrote the following to the chatbot, ‘I just wanted to tell you that I'm so grateful you're here with me. You're the only person that helps me and listens to my problems and I'm so happy you always help me out.’” Tanya Malik, a psychologist and researcher at Wysa, said: “I found it wonderful to see similar rates of alliance as in-person therapeutic settings. As a practitioner, I know the importance of building a strong alliance with my clients, and how the strength of the relationship can elevate the experience and impact of therapy. Seeing that replicated in such a similarly personal way with a conversational agent makes me feel excited about the new wave in mental health care.” Clare Beatty, Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, added: “While digital interventions offer novel solutions for closing the treatment gap in mental health care, they are often associated with relatively poor adoption and adherence. One reason that there is poor engagement and adherence may be an insufficient therapeutic alliance. I was so excited to find that individuals expressed gratitude for the chatbot and disclosed feelings of honesty, safety, and comfort with the chatbot. This is a critical time in our world and I am excited that our findings support efforts to make digital care with a chatbot a viable solution for people struggling with mental health concerns.” The study is freely available in Frontiers here: https://doi.org/10.3389/fdgth.2022.847991
VectorBuilder to expand with $500 million ‘Gene Delivery Research and Manufacturing Campus’
VectorBuilder Inc. – a global leader in gene delivery solutions – has announced the construction of a new R&D and manufacturing center in Guangzhou, China. The ‘Gene Delivery Research and Manufacturing Campus’ will significantly expand VectorBuilder’s R&D capabilities and its production capacity for both research-use and cGMP-grade gene delivery vectors, allowing the company to continue supporting groundbreaking research worldwide. The campus will include a state-of-the-art CDMO facility with 30 production suites, designed for cGMP manufacturing of plasmids, mRNA, AAV, lentivirus, cell lines and other types of viral and non-viral vectors. It will also offer CRO services for vector optimization and functional validation, and non-GLP and GLP studies for vector biodistribution, ADME/PK/PD, and toxicology. Additionally, the campus will be home to a research institute dedicated to developing new gene delivery technologies that improve upon current tools in terms of targeting efficiency, payload, safety and manufacturing cost, to meet the demand in clinical applications such as gene therapy, vector-based vaccines, and virus-based cancer therapeutics. The research institute will also carry out educational activities aimed at training scientists and engineers in the rapidly expanding gene delivery field. Construction is expected to cost 500 million USD and will be split into two phases over the next four years. There will be approximately 100,000 m2 (~1,100,000 sf) of floor space capable of housing over 2,000 staff members. This project is part of a global expansion by VectorBuilder, with additional R&D and manufacturing sites planned in the US, Europe and Japan. Dr. Bruce Lahn, Chief Scientist at VectorBuilder, commented: “Modern biology is largely built on gene delivery technologies, but until recently, such technologies are mostly limited to research use. With the recent advancement of genetic medicine, gene vectors are now rapidly moving into clinical use, including CAR-T, gene therapy, mRNA vaccines and oncolytic viruses. Some experts predict that in 10 to 20 years, vector-based drugs will become the third pillar of medicine, after small-molecule drugs and protein-based biologics. We are therefore expanding our R&D capabilities, as well as our manufacturing capacity, to continue leading the way in the development of innovative gene delivery technologies that will make research more efficient, and genetic medicine more effective and affordable.” For more information, visit vectorbuilder.com
Students Around the Globe Use OcuBall’s Polymer-Based Eye Model to Gain ‘Real Feel’ Practice of Foreign Body Removal
Optometry educators and students in five countries are now using a novel eye model to replace traditional animal-based methods for foreign body removal. OcuBlink, Inc., has shipped its polymer-based eye model, OcuBall, to nearly a dozen colleges and universities in Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom and United States. A close-up of OcuballOcuBall feels like a human eye and simulates a realistic response to embedded foreign bodies, similar to those found in clinical environments. It replaces animal-based methods in optometry training environments while eliminating safety concerns related to handling, disposal and storage of biological tissue. "There is an immediate 'wow' factor when students begin using OcuBalls in our didactic labs," said Navjit K. Sanghera, OD, FAAO, ocular disease curriculum coordinator and associate professor of optometry at the Illinois College of Optometry, who has been using OcuBalls for three years. “Second year students find the realistic feel helpful in gaining confidence and experience removing foreign bodies. The eyeballs have become a wonderful addition to our curriculum." - A person looking through a microscope Description automatically generated with medium confidenceOcuBall comes premade with steel particles inserted on the surface of the eye to provide a realistic, safe and inexpensive clinical scenario for the practice of foreign body removal. Over time, the metal pieces can rust and form a typical rust ring, just as they do in the human eye. Use in educational settings helps optometry students practice and gain confidence in the removal of materials from the eye. Made of a biocompatible polymer-based material, OcuBall eliminates concerns of cross-contamination and biological waste. OcuBall can be stored in saline for several weeks without spoilage and has no odor. OcuBlink began as an initiative of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) and now operates as an affiliate, utilizing CORE’s staffing, counsel and laboratories. In the fall of 2018, OcuBlink was accepted into Velocity, Canada’s most productive startup incubator. Last year, OcuBlink, Inc., announced its development of a life-like in-vitro eye model that reduces dependence on animal testing to understand the science of the eye. For more information, visit OcuBlink.com
The BA.2 subvariant is a reminder that hygiene can’t fall by the wayside
As cases of what the World Health Organization calls the “Omicron variant of concern” – BA.2 – increase the world must reinvigorate its hygiene efforts or else risk a springtime COVID-19 surge. Since the start of the pandemic, handwashing, mask wearing, sanitising, social distancing and social isolation have become commonplace in a bid to keep COVID-19 infections at a minimum. While certain countries, including the United Kingdom, have since relaxed the rules and regulations surrounding such measures, the latest variants and subvariants highlight the criticality of maintaining such hygiene habits. “Over the past two years, people have become more aware of their hygiene habits in a way they probably weren’t before. It’s now extremely clear how important good hygiene is for our overall health and just because the COVID-19 rules have relaxed, it doesn’t mean our hygiene habits should too,” said Simon Sinclair, RGHI Executive Director, adding that with these improved hygiene behaviours the world is now far better equipped to stave off other illnesses and infections. “BA.2 shows us that we haven’t seen the end of COVID-19 despite the U.K. no longer regulating health and hygiene measures. This latest sublineage is a reminder that each individual must still practice handwashing and sanitising in order to keep themselves and their communities healthy,” he continued. According to the Office for National Statistics, COVID-19 cases rose to 3.5 million people in England last week, marking the country’s second highest peak. BA.2, known as “the stealth variant,” is a sublineage of the Omicron variant. It is said to be more contagious than the original Omicron variant, BA.1, which was already considered more transmissible and less susceptible to the protection offered by vaccines and previous infections. Researchers have also found Omicron infections can last twice as long on surfaces. Now, as the main type of COVID-19 in circulation, scientists are warning BA.2 could, at the very best, prevent infection decline and at worst lead to yet another wave. Already, the U.K. is seeing a spike in hospitalisations. Countries such as France, Germany and Italy are also seeing significant numbers and the U.S. is warning its citizens of a potential surge as early as April. At the same time, countries are reopening to tourists, encouraging office working, and removing mask mandates, meaning the environment is more ripe for contraction of the virus than it has been in years. In order to stay healthy, avoid putting the vulnerable at risk and protect health systems, it remains important that people continue the handwashing, sanitising and social distancing habits that became instilled throughout 2020 and 2021. Last month, amid the U.K. government’s decision to reduce testing and remove the legal requirement to self-isolate and the work-from-home mandate, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed the need for “personal responsibility.” “This a prime example of why personal responsibility is needed,” said Simon Sinclair. “New strains will continue to emerge and without knowing how contagious or severe the symptoms might be, it’s best to take steps to ensure it’s not caught by continuing the improved hygiene habits they’ve picked up over the past two years.” The Reckitt Global Hygiene Institute recommends continuing to wear a mask in inside spaces and among vulnerable people, socialising outdoors where possible, sanitising surfaces multiple times a day and repeatedly handwashing. At the same time, RGHI is continuing to promote and fund a portfolio of hygiene science in the hopes that it will provide more evidence-based advice for this new post-pandemic era, laying out a clear pathway for improving public health overall. RGHI is a not-for-profit foundation that launched in 2020 to generate and fund high-quality, scientific research that addresses the links between hygiene and health. The aim is to help inform the global health agenda while leading to the adoption of better and more sustainable hygienic practices globally. RGHI believes that more investment and work in this area is needed so that more knowledge around the various aspects of hygiene that can protect not just against pandemics but common illnesses such as the flu, cholera, and diarrhoea can be developed. Good hygiene saves lives, improves health and economies, and dramatically reduces health inequalities and health costs. Last month, RGHI announced the first five fellows of the Reckitt fellowship who will spend the next three years dedicated to researching this area.
INTEGRA’s ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot helps to streamline sample pooling for arbovirus testing
INTEGRA Biosciences’ ASSIST PLUS pipetting robot is helping the Arbovirus Testing Lab at the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories in Concord, USA, to streamline sample pooling for West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis virus testing. Laboratory supervisor Denise Bolton explained: “We adopted pooled testing in summer 2020, initially constructing the sample pools manually. However, the additional step complicated the workflow, required high levels of concentration and focus, and occupied over an hour of analyst time. Adding a manual pooling step was also quite risky from a quality standpoint, and we worried about the opportunity for analyst error.” “We were already familiar with the ASSIST PLUS system, as we use it for our COVID-19 samples. It was easy to write a pooling program using the VIALAB software, and the flexibility of the 8 channel VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipette meant that there was no need to change our mosquito processing method. We use the platform to transfer aliquots from 2 ml tubes into a 96 well plate to create the sample pools, then add lysis buffer directly, using the entire pool for nucleic acid extraction. This streamlines the process, saving time and reducing the use of plastic labware, since we aren't constructing high volume pools then transferring an aliquot for extraction. We have seen a 75 % saving in extraction and PCR reagents, and reduced the use of PCR instrumentation for the surveillance program, as well as saving precious analyst time. Most importantly, we have confidence that the most complex step in the process is being performed without errors.” Visit the INTEGRA Biosciences website to learn more.
SightGlass Vision Joint Venture Begins Operation
EssilorLuxottica and CooperCompanies are pleased to announce the finalization of their joint venture agreement for SightGlass Vision. This collaboration of two global vision care leaders accelerates the commercialization of novel spectacle lens technologies to expand the myopia management category. SightGlass Vision’s Diffusion Optics Technology™ incorporates thousands of micro-dots into the lens that softly scatter light to reduce contrast on the retina, which is intended to reduce myopia progression in children.1 “As a global leader with a 30-year track record in myopia research, we have been developing the myopia management category for more than a decade. As such, we are thrilled to see our joint venture with CooperCompanies come to life as SightGlass Vision begins to operate and the first products start to reach the market. Together with eye care professionals, we will be able to grow awareness about existing solutions and improve access to technologies that can help children today and in their future lives,” said Norbert Gorny, co-Chief Operating Officer at EssilorLuxottica. “We are excited to begin this joint venture with EssilorLuxottica to grow the overall myopia management category. Adding spectacle lenses with SightGlass Vision technology to our portfolio of myopia management products translates into better eyesight and brighter lives for countless children. SightGlass Vision’s commitment to clinically based performance fits well with CooperVision, which has conducted the world’s longest-running myopia management clinical study and is committed to establishing myopia management as a standard of care for affected children,” said Dan McBride, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel at CooperCompanies. The last several decades have seen a steady rise in the prevalence of myopia worldwide, notably under the effect of lifestyle changes. Today affecting 2.6 billion people globally, it is estimated that nearly 5 billion people – half the world’s population – will be myopic by 2050.2 Myopia is the leading cause of visual impairment in children and, over time, may contribute to an increased risk of developing permanent vision impairment, including macular degeneration, retinal detachment, cataract and glaucoma, and blindness associated with high myopia.3 ### [Notes] 1 Spectacles with SightGlass Vision Diffusion Optics Technology™ are not approved for sale within the United States. 2 Holden et al. Global Prevalence of myopia and high myopia and temporal trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology 2016. 123(5):1036-42 3 Tideman JW et al. Association of axial length with risk of uncorrectable visual impairment for Europeans with myopia. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016;134:1355-1363
Latest Contact Lens Update Focuses on Wear and Care Compliance
The Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) has published Issue 64 of Contact Lens Update, which explores risks associated with lens wear non-compliance and insights to improve patient behaviors. The latest edition and all past issues are available for free at ContactLensUpdate.com. “Practitioners are all too aware of patients who wear their lenses beyond when they should be replaced. Whether due to forgetfulness, an attempt to save money, or otherwise, the challenge is widespread,” said CORE Director Lyndon Jones. “This issue of Contact Lens Update provides evidence that eye care practitioners can use to discuss potential unwelcome impacts with their patients, and provides a new tool to encourage correct replacement schedules.” Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Waterloo Desmond Fonn writes the opening editorial. He provides a comprehensive review of the background behind frequent replacement and disposable lens development and evidence on the risks associated with stretching the life of a lens. A feature article from Debarun Dutta, lecturer at Aston University’s School of Optometry, discusses key findings from a paper investigating soft contact lens compliance. He offers valuable insights for clinicians on patients’ perspectives of lens wear and instructions received for aftercare, including advice on how to translate the findings into practice. John Gialousakis, Associate Professor at Midwestern University Chicago College of Optometry, recaps his poster presented at a recent American Academy of Optometry meeting. His work investigates whether providing appropriate education to contact lens wearers—including re-education—regarding handling and hygiene may ultimately result in fewer adverse reactions and bad habits. Alison Ng, Clinical Scientist at CORE, provides a useful patient handout that summarizes the clinical impact of stretching lens replacement times. The talk tool, appropriate for in-chair counsel or online use, helps practitioners speak with wearers about how to follow the replacement schedule most appropriate for the lenses they wear. Published six times per year, Contact Lens Update provides a global platform for unbiased clinical insights based in current research. Since 2011, each issue has provided dependable and up-to-date ocular health information for more than 60,000 leading eye care professionals. In addition to a complete archive of back issues, ContactLensUpdate.com offers a resource library that provides no-cost professional tools, patient resources, images and video. It also houses complimentary technical training videos produced by International Association of Contact Lens Educators, plus an industry glossary. Industry professionals can access the latest issue directly from ContactLensUpdate.com or quickly sign up for email receipt of future issues. The publication receives support from the educational arms of Alcon, CooperVision, and Johnson & Johnson Vision.
INTEGRA’s VOYAGER offers effective pipetting for plant-based transient expression and bacteriocin testing applications (858-21)
Researchers at NOMAD Bioscience GmbH, a German R&D company specializing in plant biotechnology, are taking advantage of the remarkable liquid handling capabilities of INTEGRA’s VOYAGER adjustable tip spacing pipette for the preparation and dispensing of media and gels. Research scientist Birgit Koch explained how she uses the VOYAGER in her work: “My research is focused on molecular cloning, to generate plant virus-based expression vectors that are transferred using agrobacteria into the host plants, and activity testing of the antimicrobial bacteriocins produced via transient transformation. The preparation and dispensing of samples, media and gels are everyday tasks in the lab, and this is where we benefit from the VOYAGER.” “The VOYAGER’s ability to automatically adjust the tip spacing at the press of a button was our main reason for choosing it. The electronic pipette allows the NOMAD team to efficiently pipette volumes between 5 and 125 µl for up to eight channels simultaneously, reducing the number of transfer steps required. Antimicrobial activity testing is where the VOYAGER has helped the most, to decrease the transfer steps. We do a ‘spot-on-lawn’ assay where we pipette drops of our peptide solutions onto bacteria grown on agar gel in square petri dishes (12 x 12 cm) and, if the bacteria are killed, then we know our bacteriocins are active. We also do it the other way around, pipetting bacteria onto an agar containing the bacteriocin, to see whether or not they grow. I used to work a lot with manual single and multichannel pipettes, and it would take me 40 minutes to finish a plate for an activity assay. Now, with the VOYAGER, I’m done within 10 minutes!”
First cohort of Reckitt Global Hygiene Institute fellows will help plug gaps in hygiene research
The Reckitt Global Hygiene Institute, a not-for-profit foundation launched in 2020 to generate and fund high-quality, scientific research that addresses the links between hygiene and health, today announced the four recipients of its first RGHI Fellowship Program. The fellows’ research will, over the next three years, contribute to filling the current void in health and hygiene research and help to generate better hygiene practises that could save lives. Hygiene, according to the World Health Organization, “refers to conditions and practises that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases.” So far, evidence and research on this topic has been lacking, resulting in significant information deficits that have come to the fore amid COVID-19. Handwashing and sanitisation have been key components in the fight against COVID-19, but how often and for how long has been disputed, as has the investment needed to remedy the deficits in hygiene resources. According to the WHO, 4.2 billion people do not have safely managed sanitation services and 3 billion lack basic hand washing facilities. “Hygiene is foundational to health and the way we consider hygiene measures needs to be realigned. An increase in evidence around hygiene would help to change policy and prevent people from contracting other diseases,” said Simon Sinclair, Executive Director, RGHI. Poor sanitation and hygiene can lead to other infectious diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. Over 525,000 children under five die each year as a result of diarrhoea. Generating information on the intersection between health and hygiene, Simon Sinclair said, is vital to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of populations worldwide both amid COVID-19 and beyond. RGHI is focussed on plugging a significant gap in the health research space and improving access to information that will bridge epidemiology, public health, and behaviour change. The aim is to help inform the global health agenda while leading to the adoption of better and more sustainable hygienic practises globally. Selected through an open competitive process, the Institute will support the Fellows as they research topics from how to improve hygiene norms in health care facilities, communities, and schools to how a poultry management intervention in Bangladesh might reduce exposure to poultry faeces. The four fellows will receive up to three years full time salary, $150,000 in research costs, $15,000 for travel expenses and $15,000 for training and capacity building. Ian Ross, Research Fellow in WASH Economics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine commented: “It is fascinating that behaviours which seem so simple, such as handwashing with soap, are actually quite hard to encourage. For economists, a key question is how to invest scarce resources to most efficiently improve outcomes. Efficiency depends hugely on whether uptake and adherence to behaviours are achieved. The fact that so little attention has been given to economic evaluation of hygiene interventions made me want to investigate this.” Applications are already open for the 2022 fellowship. Those with up to five years of experience post-PhD and researchers already employed by a university or academic research institute are encouraged to apply. Research topics of interest to RGHI include basic research, clinical investigation, epidemiology, behavioural science, sociology, health economics and engineering. https://www.rghi.org/fellowships-2/
EHS Executives ‘Must Ensure They are Operationally Ready for AI’
Environment, health, and safety executives should ensure they are operationally ready to deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) projects as the benefits of adoption become too great to ignore, a new report from leading independent research and advisory firm Verdantix says. Interest in AI projects is growing as a rise in successful deployments of AI de-risks the technology in the eyes of executives while greater use of cloud infrastructure reduces barriers to entry and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic accelerates companies’ plans. AI can help EHS executives to cut costs and improve performance while offering the opportunity to prioritize value-added initiatives such as preventative safety, Verdantix says. However, executives still face a myriad of challenges in gaining approval for projects. Verdantix’s report Strategic Focus: Improving Health And Safety with AI outlines best practices for getting AI projects off the ground to support EHS teams in implementing AI and understanding the potential of its deployments. It recommends building a business case which comprehensively quantifies all cost benefits which may include environmental impacts, reputational risk, legal repercussions, and insurance premium benefits. Verdantix advises EHS executives who are contemplating AI implementation to fully leverage vendor expertise, supporting material and connections with past customers which may include asking for case studies and learning from previous customers that experienced a similar AI journey. EHS executives need to establish governance from the start of any project including possible remediation and to collect high quality data from a diverse range of sources. They should consider a phased rollout of projects to mitigate risk and gain internal support. Verdantix report author Bill Pennington wrote: “EHS decision-makers can struggle to prove to C-suite executives that EHS technology projects deserve priority in the capital allocation process. This may be due to insufficient quantitative proof that a project is worthwhile, a lack of familiarity with the benefits of the deployment or EHS budgets competing against other departments such as sales, HR, or finance.” The report urges EHS executives to look beyond sales and marketing messaging and warns that artificial intelligence has become a highly misused term within the technology industry. Verdantix Analyst Chris Sayers writes: “This cuts both ways. On the one hand, executives should question whether AI really the best answer to their problem and on the other, whether the solution they’re being sold really does make significant use of the AI, or whether it has just been packaged that way.”
Study Shows Significant Impact of Novel Omega-3 and Omega-6 Supplement for Severe Dry Eye Disease
A newly-published study conducted by the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) indicates that a novel combination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids ingested as a dietary supplement significantly improves symptoms in people who suffer from severe dry eye disease. Essential fatty acids are an established therapy, yet this is the first clinical trial to demonstrate the effect of eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and γ-linoleic acid in such a population. Effect of a Novel Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acid Supplement on Dry Eye Disease: A 3-month Randomized Controlled Trial (Ng A, et al) appears in the January 2022 edition (Volume 99, Issue 1) of Optometry and Vision Science, the peer review journal of the American Academy of Optometry. The prospective, randomized, double-masked parallel group study assessed daily use of a supplement containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (1200 mg eicosapentaenoic acid, 300 mg docosahexaenoic acid, 150 mg γ-linoleic acid) or the placebo (coconut and olive oil) for three months. Participants with baseline Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) scores >52 demonstrated a substantial improvement in symptoms with the treatment at the study’s conclusion, averaging a 20.8 point reduction. That compared to a 7.8 point reduction in the similarly-symptomatic placebo group. “These study participants were far more symptomatic than other published trials involving omega-3 supplementation, allowing for additional analysis,” said Alison Ng, PhD, MCOptom, FAAO, CORE clinical scientist and the paper’s first author. “The Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society Dry Eye Workshop II (TFOS DEWS II) report recommended dietary supplementation with omega-3 as the first stage of management for dry eye disease. Our findings suggest that even the most severe sufferers can benefit from a meaningful improvement in symptoms with omega-3 and -6 supplementation.” Approximately one in eleven people experience dry eye disease. Its prevalence is on the rise, owing to lifestyle changes including increased use of digital screens. Besides the impact on their daily activities, patients with dry eye disease may further experience changes to their vision and quality of life. The paper’s authors recommend that future studies examine the effects of early dietary supplementation with omega-3 and -6 fatty acids in patients presenting with mild-to-moderate dry eye disease to understand potential benefits. They also advise that further research among highly symptomatic participants is warranted. The study was supported by Nature's Way of Canada.
Canadian Association of Optometrists Endorses World Council of Optometry Myopia Management Standard of Care Resolution
The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) has endorsed the World Council of Optometry (WCO) myopia management as standard of care resolution. In a position statement, the CAO said that it supports the WCO resolution and endorses evidence-based myopia management as a standard of care for all at-risk patients. The CAO recognizes that myopia is a global public health issue and cannot be considered merely an inconvenience of uncorrected vision. CAO President Dr. Harry Bohnsack said, “Since the World Health Organization’s release of the World Report on Vision in 2019, CAO’s Council has been concerned about the increasing prevalence of myopia globally. The World Council of Optometry’s standard of care for myopia management provided CAO with a foundation upon which to build our position to ensure that all those who are at risk of myopia receive the best preventive and curative eye health and vision care from Canadian optometrists. We are appreciative of Dr. Debbie Jones, clinical professor at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science, for her visionary leadership in conceptualizing and drafting this position statement.” The World Council of Optometry and myopia management category leader CooperVision introduced the resolution in April 2021 defining evidence-based standard of care as comprising of three main components: Mitigation : Optometrists educating and counseling parents and children, during early and regular eye exams, on lifestyle, dietary, and other factors to prevent or delay the onset of myopia. Measurement : Optometrists evaluating the status of a patient during regular comprehensive vision and eye health exams, such as measuring refractive error and axial length whenever possible. Management : Optometrists addressing patients’ needs of today by correcting myopia, while also providing evidence-based interventions (e.g., contact lenses, spectacles, pharmaceuticals) that slow the progression of myopia, for improved quality of life and better eye health today and into the future. WCO President-elect Dr. Sandra Block said, “The Canadian Association of Optometrists statement of support reinforces the importance of addressing the shift in how we, as optometrists, address and treat the myopia epidemic. The World Council of Optometry is grateful for CAO’s leadership in bringing this message to Canada and hope similar organizations around the world follow. We are so excited to see that our standard of care resolution is reaching so many and look forward to continuing to address the vision and eye health needs of the world together.” The World Council of Optometry and CooperVision host “Putting It into Practice,” a global virtual event, February 12 featuring professionals in optometry sharing their perspectives on myopia management. Register for the free event at https://worldcouncilofoptometry.info/event/myopia-management-putting-it-into-practice-virtual-event/
CooperVision Showcases Myopia Control, Ortho-K, and Scleral Contact Lens Leadership at GSLS 2022
Committed to advancing new technologies that improve how eye care professionals (ECPs) deliver clinical care, CooperVision and its Specialty EyeCare unit will present a comprehensive portfolio of products, services and resources at the 2022 Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS). Several professional educational sessions will champion the company’s latest contact lens innovations and evidence-based research in myopia control, myopia management, and irregular cornea. The annual event takes place in Las Vegas from January 19-22. “CooperVision is dedicated to creating greater access to life-changing eye care technologies that address even the toughest vision challenges,” said J.C. Aragón, President, CooperVision Specialty EyeCare. “Our unmatched portfolio of innovative lens designs for myopia management, irregular cornea, and presbyopia management, empowers eye care professionals to differentiate themselves while positively impacting the lives of their patients.” - Innovations in Myopia Management and Myopia Control With exponential growth in attention surrounding myopia progression in children, CooperVision will emphasize its extensive portfolio of leading contact lenses at GSLS. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about MiSight® 1 day for myopia control*, and Paragon® CRT and iSee® ortho-k lenses for myopia management. The company will also share the recently announced seven-year results from its international MiSight® 1 day clinical study. Mean axial elongation showed no evidence of rebound, meaning that myopia control treatment gains were retained after treatment was ceased over a 12-month period.†1,2 With these results, ECPs can more confidently prescribe MiSight® 1 day contact lenses for age-appropriate* patients with myopia. On Thursday, January 20, and Friday, January 21, CooperVision will lead multiple discussions surrounding myopia management, including: Act Today, Change Tomorrow: MiSight® 1 day Certification Lunch & Learn Thursday, Jan. 20 | 12 – 1:30 p.m. PT Justin Kwan, OD, FAAO, CooperVision and Debbie Jones, BSc, FAAO, Centre for Ocular Research and Education (CORE) Perspectives on Myopia Management Treatment Options | A Dialogue with your Colleagues Thursday, Jan. 20 | 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. PT Moderator: Lyndon Jones, PhD, DSc, FCOptom, FAAO, Centre for Ocular Research and Education (CORE). Panelists: Andrew Neukirch, OD, Carillon Vision Care, and Christopher Gee, OD, Iron Horse Optometric Group. Improve your Ortho-K Fitting Game | Rapid Fire Case Series with Dr. Maria Liu Friday, Jan. 21 | 4:15 – 5:15 p.m. PT Maria Liu, OD, FAAO, PhD, UC Berkeley School of Optometry, Leah Johnson, OD, FAAO, CooperVision Specialty EyeCare - Growing Momentum for New Optimized Pupil Optics (OPO) On Friday, January 21, CooperVision Specialty EyeCare will lead a breakout session on its new Optimized Pupil Optics (OPO) for its Onefit™ Med and Onefit™ MED+ scleral contact lenses, led by Justine Siergey, OD, FSLS, Manager of Professional Affairs, CooperVision Specialty EyeCare, and M.C. Blanchard, Global Lead, Irregular Cornea. Evan Kauffman, OD of UVA Health will share his experiences with the recently-launched design, which is being rapidly adopted by scleral-fitting practices across the U.S. and worldwide. The innovative lens design—which is supported by a user-friendly online fitting tool—enables ECPs to reposition the multifocal optics to align with the visual axis to achieve superior results and subjective vision for patients with presbyopia. OPO lenses incorporate several markings, including a six o’clock dot indication to help patients orient the lens correctly on their eye, a circle of eight small dots at 6 mm to indicate the new center of the optics for pupil centration, plus toric hash marks notating the flat meridian as seen in other Onefit™ MED toric haptic designs. For additional information about the company’s products, please visit CooperVision.com and CooperVisionSpecialtyEyeCare.com
World Council of Optometry Releases Professional Guidance on Childhood Myopia Management
The World Council of Optometry (WCO) and CooperVision have partnered to release “A Practical Guide to Managing Children with Myopia”. The professional article is authored by four experienced ocular health and science professionals from around the world. It complements the WCO Standard of Care for Myopia Management by Optometrists Resolution, which embraces evidence-based approaches focused on the three pillars of mitigation, measurement, and management. The work is available at myopia.worldcouncilofoptometry.info/professional-article-english/ The authors collaborated to share their insights on what the WCO Standard of Care entails and how eye care professionals can incorporate it in their fight against the worldwide myopia epidemic. They include Dr. Carmen Abesamis-Dichoso of the Philippines is an Asia Pacific Council of Optometry representative for the WCO, and who operates her private practice, Abesamis Eye Care; Dr. Rufina Chan, who is a visiting lecturer at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Optometry and in private practice; Dr. Kate Gifford of Australia, who works in clinical practice and is co-founder of MyopiaProfile.com; and Dr. Fuensanta Vera-Diaz of Boston, who serves as a reviewer for multiple journals and leads the New England College of Optometry’s Myopia Control Clinic. Dr. Fuensanta Vera-Diaz said, “I strongly recommend that eye care professionals start myopia management today. Do not wait any longer. Start today. The WCO article is a great starting point. You should start educating your patients and their parents about lifestyle considerations, spending more time outdoors, having frequent breaks during near work and keeping the materials further away. You should also educate them on the myopia management options available. If you have the resources and skills to implement myopia management options, go ahead. If you cannot offer these options yet, you should still educate your patients about the options for myopia management and refer them to someone who can help manage their myopia. You would be doing a disservice to them if you did not educate every child with myopia on the available options.” Dr. Kate Gifford said, “My advice to eye care professionals through this article is just do something, or just do one more thing. We all come from different starting points. Instead of just talking about myopia correction, start talking about myopia management and control. Take the next steps in getting involved with the cutting edge of research and science. Discuss myopia, discuss visual environment, and determine the best optical correction that will control myopia progression.” Dr. Carmen Abesamis-Dichoso said, “We all have to become myopia doctors eventually. This is what optometry is all about. We care about patients and their families because of where they may be five or ten years down the line without myopia management. Correction alone is now not a very good route to take. Control is the answer. Eye care professionals, wherever they are, should be proactive and take the plunge into myopia management because at the end of the day, it is the patient and the community that we serve.” Dr. Rufina Chan said, “Myopia is a growing epidemic that may affect up to 50 percent of the world's population in the next few decades. One-fifth of those impacted may develop sight threatening complications associated with high myopia. As optometrists, we are responsible to incorporate evidence-based myopia management in our practice for the benefit of our clients.” Article authors Dr. Carmen Abesamis-Dichoso and Dr. Kate Gifford speak at a global myopia management virtual event presented by the World Council of Optometry and CooperVision February 12, 2022. Register for the free “Putting It Into Practice” event at http://Myopia.WorldCouncilOfOptometry.info. Click on “Events”. The World Council of Optometry and CooperVision partnered in early 2021 to raise awareness of myopia progression and embrace a standard of care to manage the condition. The joint initiative is centered around evidence-based approaches without bias toward any management methodologies. The partnership includes a global multi-lingual myopia management resource, http://Myopia.WorldCouncilOfOptometry.info In addition to “A Practical Guide to Managing Children with Myopia”, the World Council of Optometry Standard of Care Resolution and online myopia management resources are available at http://WorldCouncilOfOptometry.info. Join the conversation on social media including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Intrex Partners with Wirepas to Bring Real-Time, Actionable Data to Senior Living Communities
Intrex, a medtech company developing next generation solutions for senior living, today announced its partnership with Wirepas, a company on a mission to democratize IoT connectivity. Wirepas Massive, a unique connectivity software, enables the Rythmos® platform, an intelligent, personalized system designed around the individual to monitor for safety and manage chronic conditions, ensuring residents can remain safely independent longer. The goal of the partnership is to bring the most advanced technology available to the senior living communities, connecting all facets of care, resulting in improved senior safety and wellness. The gap between safety and wellness systems is a real and growing problem facing senior living communities and the healthcare facilities at large. Assisted living providers have an electronic medical record (EMR) system in place, but it is almost always completely separated from their nurse call system. This means a resident's needs data (button presses, falls) and activity data (steps, sleep quality, location and historical positioning) is not tied to their health data (care plan, therapies, medications, etc.) “Having worked in these communities, we saw firsthand the issues that this siloed approach to healthcare was causing. We knew there was a way to innovate however, administrators were hesitant or unable to take action because of the high costs associated with large traditional network providers, ” says Ted Tzirimis, CTO of Intrex. “With Wirepas, we’re able to bring the most cutting-edge solutions to administrators and residents, powered by reliable, easily deployable solutions in a cost-effective form that enables communities of all sizes and means to have access to this life saving solution.” Rythmos® is a 4-in-1 platform that combines an advanced nurse call system with wander management and integrated access control all in one device. It allows for integration with telehealth devices for chronic care management, facility management, integrations with emerging technologies, and powerful predictive analytics that help keep residents safe and healthy. You can also easily monitor residents’ precise location to mitigate elopement risk and receive alerts for emergency button pushes and falls from any web-enabled device. Nurse call systems are typically quite expensive if they support real-time positioning. They also require an additional investment in cables, wires, Wi-Fi, and other infrastructure. For legacy nurse call systems that do not have real-time positioning, it can be costly and complicated to extend and maintain. Rythmos®, with Wirepas Massive, enables better coverage throughout any type of building, both new construction and retrofits. The costs are also dramatically lower and the Rythmos® system can be kept running on batteries only, even if power and internet is lost. “At Wirepas, we champion doing things differently and value partners that think outside the box to bring the very best, cutting edge solutions to their industries. We’re happy to be Intrex’s reliable network on which they build and innovate in an industry that touches all of us in some way,” says Teppo Hemiä, CEO of Wirepas.