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New test enhances ability to predict risk of developing cervical cancer in HPV-positive women

Two-fold test is capable of detecting and determining the type of human papillomavirus infection as well as the likelihood of progressing to cancer, reports The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.

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Ninety-nine percent of cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). More than 200 HPVs, some of which are associated with varying degrees of cancer risk, complicate diagnosis and treatment.

report in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, published by Elsevier, describes a new “two-for-one” diagnostic approach that not only detects the type of HPV infection, but also indicates precancerous markers. This test may improve the ability to diagnose the riskiest forms of HPV infection, provide rapid results at low cost, and help avoid unnecessary diagnostic procedures.

“We have developed HPV RNA-Seq, a novel in vitro molecular diagnostics procedure for the detection of high-risk HPV infection and the identification of patients with high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL), which is a precancerous stage of the cervix. HPV RNA-Seq is a unique test that combines the advantages of molecular assays (HPV typing) and cervical cytology (cell phenotyping),” explained lead investigator Marc Eloit, DVM, PhD, of the Pathogen Discovery Laboratory, Biology of Infection Unit, Institut Pasteur, Paris, and the National Veterinary School of Alfort, Paris-Est University, Maisons-Alfort, France.

Cervical cancer screening allows detection and treatment of precancerous lesions before cancer develops. Currently, screening either focuses on testing for HPV or identifying abnormal cervical cells with cytology. However, molecular diagnostic tests that detect the DNA or RNA of viruses are poor at identifying cancer or precancerous lesions. Analysis of cervical cells with the Pap test, even when combined with molecular detection of high-risk HPV, results in a significant number of unnecessary colposcopies, an invasive test by which the physician visually checks for cervical lesions.

In this proof-of-concept study, HPV RNA-Seq was used to analyze samples from 55 patients, 28 with low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL) and 27 patients with precancerous HSIL.

HPV RNA-Seq was able to detect and determine the type of HPV infection among a panel of 16 high-risk HPVs with results comparable to a widely used and officially approved HPV DNA molecular diagnostic kit. In fact, HPV RNA-Seq detected two more HPV-positive patients than the DNA test and also identified more patients with multiple HPV infections.

The test was found to have a sensitivity (ability to detect the presence of an HPV) of 97.3 percent and negative predictive value (NPV, likelihood of not having HPV) of 93.8 percent. “Effective cervical cancer screening requires high sensitivity and NPV for high-risk HPV infection, since women with a negative HPV test are usually tested again only after several years,” noted Prof. Eloit.

Cytology is used as a rapid method to triage patients with HPV whereas histology is considered the gold standard for cervical cancer diagnosis. Histological analysis, however, is more invasive and requires more time to yield results. To determine if the new test has a place in cervical cancer triage, the investigators also compared cytology to HPV RNA-Seq and found markers of high-grade cytology, with encouraging diagnostic performances of HPV-RNA-Seq as a triage test. They also found the positive predictive value (PPV, likelihood of having HPV infection) of HPV RNA-Seq vs. histology was always greater than the PPV of cytology vs. histology. “This observation constitutes a solid argument in favor of a potential added medical value of HPV RNA-Seq compared with cytology,” commented Prof. Eloit.

Prof. Eloit suggests that the use of HPV RNA-Seq in certain patients can help eliminate unnecessary colposcopies. He also foresees a time when technology will allow many samples to be run simultaneously, lowering the cost to perhaps $10 to $20 per test. The test may also be applicable for other HPV-associated cancers such as anal cancer and head and neck cancer.

HPV RNA-Seq is based on the dual combination of multiplexed reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) and next-generation sequencing (NGS). RT-PCR is a sensitive way to measure small amounts of RNA, the genetic material that reflects the activity of the HPV genes, and NGS makes it possible to finely characterize the diversity of the amplified viral sequences. This enables detection of up to 16 high-risk or putative high-risk HPV in a sample as well as the presence of precancerous markers.

“Our approach follows the current trend of developing NGS amplicon panels for molecular diagnostics, while remaining adaptable to traditional molecular assays formats. This flexibility can make HPV RNA-Seq a convenient, robust, and affordable solution for many laboratories,” added lead author Philippe Pérot, PhD, Pathogen Discovery Laboratory, Biology of Infection Unit, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.

Health

Tips for walking 20,000 steps a day

To walk 20,000 steps a day you’ll need to cover a total of 10 miles. This may seem like a lot, but it’s actually not as difficult as it sounds.

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Photo by Sincerely Media from Unsplash.com

To walk 20,000 steps a day you’ll need to cover a total of 10 miles. This may seem like a lot, but it’s actually not as difficult as it sounds. Here are a few tips to help you reach your goal:

Invest in a Good Pair of Shoes

The first step to walking 20,000 steps a day is to make sure you have the right equipment. Investing in a good pair of walking shoes will help to prevent blisters and injuries, and make the walk more comfortable overall.

Make Walking Part of Your Daily Routine

To reach your 10-mile goal every day, make walking a part of your daily routine. This might mean taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator, or parking farther away from where you’re going so that you have to walk more. You can also try waking up a few minutes earlier each morning to fit in a walk before you start your day.

Join a Walking Group

If you’re having trouble finding time to fit in 10 miles each day, consider joining a walking group or taking part in a local 5k race. This will help keep you motivated and provide social support along the way.

Start Small

Don’t try to walk 20,000 steps all at once. Start with a smaller goal, such as 5,000 steps per day, and gradually increase your mileage as you become more fit. This will help you avoid injury and burnout.

Stay Hydrated

Make sure to stay hydrated while walking by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This will help you feel more energized and prevent dehydration-related issues, such as muscle cramps or fatigue.

The Bottom Line – BetterMe Can Help You Walk More, Every Day

If you’re looking to improve your overall health, walking 20,000 steps a day can help. This simple form of exercise offers a host of health benefits, from improved sleep and digestion to reduced stress and anxiety. To reach your goal, use the BetterMe Blog as a guide and stay committed every day. With enough dedication, you can achieve your fitness goals and transform your body for the better.

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Health

How can the self-employed tackle burnout? Expert shares top tips

Self-employed people such as business owners or freelancers may be more susceptible to burnout due to long working hours and the weight of responsibility that they carry.

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Photo by Nubelson Fernandes from Unsplash.com

With workers returning to the office in their greatest numbers since the pandemic, the number of people suffering from burnout or stress-related illnesses is also on the rise.

Self-employed people such as business owners or freelancers may be more susceptible to burnout due to long working hours and the weight of responsibility that they carry. 

For many work and life have become intertwined, fortunately, Private Rehab Clinic Delamere has shared tips on how you can tackle burnout when self-employed and the common signs.  

How you can tackle burnout

1. Set Goals and Priorities

Having a mountain of work, with no plan in place to move forward can sometimes feel overwhelming. It can help to take a step back to assess which of your tasks need prioritising, and which ones will help you to achieve your goals.  

2. Speak to Your Colleagues or Clients

Being honest with the people that you are working with or for, about your mental health can often make things a lot a lot easier. You may be surprised at how understanding other people are of your situation.

By being open with others, you will have a better understanding of what to expect from each other, meaning that you will have a stronger professional relationship going forward.

3. Ask for Help

Never be afraid to ask for help if you feel that your stress is becoming too much to handle and you start to show signs of burnout. Getting external advice through counselling or therapy can give you a new perspective on a situation to guide you through any problems.

If you do not feel comfortable with counselling, then simply reaching out to friends and family can be enough to help you talk through your problems.

4. Schedule Time-Off

Sometimes when work life is becoming too stressful, all you need to do is take a short break from it all. Returning to work after a much-needed break can give a person a more positive mindset.

Those who are self-employed are often in charge of their own schedule and can over look the need to take holidays. In fact, some surveys have shown that nearly one in ten business owners go up to five years without taking a holiday.

5. Consider Changing Things

If your line of work is causing you constant stress and it feels that there truly is no way out, then it may be worth considering if you are genuinely following the right career path for you.

It may be the case that you do not need to change your career path altogether, but that your daily work routine simply needs to be altered. Consider making small changes such as your place of work. If you are stuck in an office or at home all day, you may benefit from finding a co-working space or coffee shop to work in.

Sometimes changes can be as simple as investing in new equipment or simply taking more regular breaks from your working day. By implementing these small changes you are less likely to burnout from stress.

6. Put Self-Care First

Work-life can be demanding, especially for any self-employed people who are under pressure to meet deadlines for various clients. However, when we demand too much of ourselves, it can be damaging to our physical and mental health.

Remind yourself that you come first. Maintaining a healthy sleeping and eating pattern, while keeping up a rewarding social life and strong relationships is more important to your mental well-being than anything you do while on the clock. 

Spotting the signs of burnout

1. Feeling Tired All The Time

If you are waking up feeling exhausted and find that you are still feeling drained even after you have been awake for a few hours and a cup of coffee in your system, then this may be a sign that you have burnout.

2. Lack of Motivation

During burnout, a person may find themselves completely withdrawn from their workplace or work tasks. Simply going through the motions while at work without any kind of motivation – or taking no joy whatsoever from your accomplishments at work – could indicate that you are experiencing burnout.

3. Recurring Health Problems

A person suffering from burnout may experience frequent and recurring headaches and muscle pains, as well as feelings of indigestion and stomach aches.

4. Feeling Irritable

Finding yourself easily irritated or frustrated, even by small things, and then snapping out at others is a possible sign that you are carrying too much stress from work.

6. Self-Deprecating Feelings

When someone is suffering from burnout it can have serious effects on their mental health. A person can have a heightened sense of self-doubt, feel like a failure and even experience impostor syndrome.

A person with burnout may also experience increased feelings of isolation and detachment from their colleagues, friends and family.

7. Increased Procrastination

When burnout occurs a person may find themselves avoiding their responsibilities, regardless of how small those responsibilities may be. Instead, a person will fill their time with procrastination and indulging in comforting distractions.

8. Coping Mechanisms

During burnout, a person may be more likely to turn to other comforts and coping mechanisms such as comfort eating junk food or even consuming alcohol and/or drugs. Engaging in any habit excessively to cope with stress may be a sign of burnout.

9. Change in Sleeping and Eating Habits

Stress can mess with our natural cycle and someone who is experiencing unnaturally high levels of stress may find that their sleeping habits are altered as they end up staying up late and sleeping in.

A person may also find themselves skipping or avoiding regular meal times, having a loss of appetite at some points in the day, or craving comforting junk food at others.

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Fitness

6 Exercise safety tips

Now, as social restrictions ease, you may find yourself stepping up your workouts, whether you’re training for an event or working to improve your game in a recreational league.

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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are more aware of their health and wellness. Now, as social restrictions ease, you may find yourself stepping up your workouts, whether you’re training for an event or working to improve your game in a recreational league.

Sprains, strains and injuries can happen to even the most seasoned athletes. When you’re testing your limits, even a minor injury can alter your performance. Consider products and supports like these from the CURAD Performance Series product line, available at Walmart and Amazon, to help you get back in the game quickly and safely.

Find more resources to support your fitness journey at CURAD.com.

Keep Dirt and Germs Away

The more active you are, the harder it can be to find a bandage that stays with you all day or all game long.

Spray Away Sore Spots

Controlling mild pain can help keep you at the top of your game, and a topical analgesic works fast to heal common pain brought on by fitness and exercise, such as pain in knees, feet, shoulders and backs.

Put Pain in the Past

When recovery becomes the name of the game and pain relief is needed after daily workouts or bodily injuries. Cold packs work to heal bruises, reduce swelling and relieve headaches and general pain points while microwavable heat packs provide satisfying heat therapy to address sore and stiff joints, muscle cramps and tension.

Reduce Impact of Knee Strain

Weak, injured or arthritic knees can come from many sources, including tendonitis and a wide range of conditions that result in strain or overuse. An adjustable band can provide support for on-field sports and during workouts or everyday activities.

Manage Pain and Relieve Pressure

If you participate in endurance and strength exercises or certain sports, you may ask a lot of your joints. Kinesiology tape can be configured a multitude of ways to help reduce pain and improve blood circulation, as well as relieve tension and pressure.

Control Back Strain

When your back is strained, your body and performance can suffer. A mild or moderate sprain can benefit from strong support and compression.

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