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4 Ways Johnson & Johnson Is Cultivating Outside-the-Box Innovations for COVID-19 –

Published 10-22-20

Submitted by Johnson & Johnson

In addition to its own cadre of scientists hard at work fighting the pandemic, Johnson & Johnson also supports external researchers and entrepreneurs equally dedicated to finding solutions for the current health crisis. We take a look at some of this groundbreaking work happening across the globefrom San Francisco to Seoul.

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"I love curiosity-driven research," saysWilliam N. Hait, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head, Johnson & Johnson External Innovation. To generate the kind of knowledge we need about diseases, people have to be curious. They have to follow their ideas using rigorous scientific methods to generate the breakthroughs we so fervently desire.

It's a philosophy that guides how Dr. Hait approaches his work overseeing the company's sourcing of early-stage external innovationacross the globe.

And as Dr. Hait notes,COVID-19has only made this search for new knowledge all the more urgent. The current pandemic has thrown into stark relief how important it is to address such situations effectively and rapidlyand ultimately prevent new outbreaks from occurring, he says.

We sat down with Dr. Hait to learn just how he and his teams atJohnson & Johnson Innovationhave been hard at work tackling the current global health crisis by investing in and helping advance innovative solutions from "curiosity-driven" scientists and entrepreneurs alike to some of the biggest challenges presented by the pandemic.

1.Tapping Into the Global Innovation Grid

Cities around the world have become ecosystems for innovationplaces where a community of academic institutions, start-ups, incubators and investors come together to take on some of the worlds toughest problems in healthcare.

At Johnson & Johnson Innovation, our job is to plug ourselves into this innovation grid by building the infrastructure to support and invest in healthcare innovation, says Dr. Hait.

The company does this through its fourInnovation Centers(ICs), located in some of the worlds top hubs for innovation in life sciencesBoston, London, San Francisco and Shanghaias well asJohnson & Johnson InnovationJLABS, its global network of incubators. The ICs are designed to promote collaborations between Johnson & Johnson and entrepreneurs developing next-generation pharmaceuticals, medical devices and consumer healthcare products.

A few years ago, the San Francisco IC teamtogether with Johnson & Johnson Innovations corporate venture arm,JJDC, and the company's Global Public Health teaminvested in a startup diagnostic company calledCue Health. The team worked with Cue Health to develop programs for tracking HIV viral loads andrespiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common illness that can be life-threatening for infants, adults withchronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)and the elderly.

Cue Health was in the final stage of clinical validation for their molecular test for influenza detection at home when the pandemic hitand the company quickly created a rapid diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In June, the companyreceived Emergency Use Authorization from the Food & Drug Administrationfor its point-of-care test (meaning it can be used under the supervision of healthcare workers), which can deliver results in about 20 minutes.

Thanks to the insights of our team, we were one of the earliest investors in Cue Health, which has now developed a leading rapid test for COVID-19, says Dr. Hait.

2.Addressing Worldwide Health Threats Todayand Tomorrow

The COVID-19 pandemic has offered critical lessons for healthcare providers, scientists and policymakers around the world, including the importance of preparing for the next big health threatwhether its another infectious disease pandemic, a biological hazard like antibiotic-resistant bacteria or an environmental threat like climate change.

Through a partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a component of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Johnson & Johnson InnovationJLABS is working to help improve health security and our nations response to medical threats and emerging infectious diseases.

The program, calledBLUE KNIGHT, supports startup companies that are working on potentially groundbreaking innovations aimed at preventing and addressing 21st century health threats by providing, among other benefits, lab space, funding and mentorship from BARDA and the Johnson & Johnson family of companies.

In August, the first seven companies were selected for their promising work on urgently needed diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and other technologies for COVID-19. One of these companies,Gabi SmartCare, is developing a remote monitoring device for at-home use that combines advanced medical wearable technologies and predictive digital analytics to help physicians better monitor patients with respiratory illnesses like COVID-19.

Our preparedness and response to emerging public health threats, as well as existing debilitating diseases, requires new, transformational approaches, Dr. Hait says. Through Blue Knight, we aim to identify and nurture the best ideas of early-stage companies from across our global innovation network to accelerate the development of potentially life-changing new solutions aimed at preventing, intercepting, treating and curing serious diseases.

3.Tackling Chronic Health Conditions That Can Make People More Vulnerable to Severe Illness

As a physician, Dr. Haits ultimate vision is to create a world without disease in which people don't just have increased lifespans, but longer healthspans, or the number of years spent free of disease.

As part of that mission, Johnson & Johnson Innovation became the principal corporate sponsor of the Healthy Longevity Catalyst Awards in the United States, which is one component of a multi-year, multimillion-dollar international initiative launched by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine (NAM) last year. In January, the initiative debuted theHealthy Longevity Global Competition, which set out to find scientists working on promising ideas that closely align with Dr. Haits vision of immorbidity, or a life free of disease.

Most chronic health conditions, likeheart disease,type 2 diabetesorcancerbegin in middle age," Dr. Hait says. "When humans lived to just 55, that was not as big of a deal. But if you live well into your 90s, like many people do today, that can mean 50 years spent dealing with diseases that can significantly impact your enjoyment of life.

The pandemic has also exposed how these chronic conditions can make some older adults more vulnerable to COVID-19. Experts have learned that havingcertain medical conditionssuch as COPD, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney diseasecan potentially increase your risk of severe illness.

As people age, the risk for many of these diseases increases, and as a result, this viral illness can be devastating to older people, Dr. Hait says. Because as we get older, our once finely tuned immune system can often be detrimentally affected.

When a person becomes infected with a pathogen like COVID-19, the body mounts an immune response against the virus. This is accompanied by an inflammatory reaction that can manifest through such symptoms as a fever, chills, muscle aches and headaches.

In most healthy, young people, as the infection is brought under control and ultimately eliminated, the inflammatory response subsides, Dr. Hait explains. But in some older people, or those whose immune system is already out of balance, the inflammatory component can continue or even accelerate, potentially creating serious or even permanent damage to important tissues.

Dr. Hait hopes to find solutions to such age-related challenges with NAM's Healthy Longevity Global Competition, in which up to 450 Catalyst Awards of $50,000 each will be awarded to scientists around the world with promising ideas over three years, and one or more award winners will receive up to $5 million.

The goal is to create a global movement that gets the worlds great minds thinking about how we can live free of disease, Dr. Hait says. We are looking for ideas that will make people sit up and take notice.

One country that is eager to see what great innovations come from the challenge is Japan, which has the worldslargest populationof adults over age 65.

In arecent webinar hosted by the U.S.-Japan Councilto talk about the competition, Dr. Hait said, I'm on the lookout for people who are generating new scientific knowledge. Because its the massive amount of knowledge that allows us to translate science into meaningful benefits for people.

4.Finding Innovative Ways to Embrace Our New Normal

COVID-19 has upended healthcare around the world, leading to a stark decline in in-person doctor visits, and hastening the rise of telemedicine.

The pandemic hit and catapulted us into the future, Dr. Hait says. Pre-pandemic, data shows that about 0.1% of Medicare primary care visits were by telemedicine; today thatscloser to 50%. Were not going back, so the question is: How does a company like Johnson & Johnson position itself to be effective in this new world of healthcare?

One way is through Johnson & Johnson Innovation'sQuickFire Challenge program, which is designed to harness the worlds collective problem-solving power by issuing calls for innovation that anyone can answer.

This summer, theSeoul Innovation QuickFire Challengelaunched to seek ideas related to healthcare in the new normal, including e-health platforms that can lead to better patient experiences and outcomes; technologies that can improve the implementation and security of telemedicine and remote patient monitoring; and smart systems for vaccine distribution and adherence. Up to two innovators with the best ideas will receive up to $125,000 in grant funding, a one-year residency at the Seoul Bio Hub and mentorship from Johnson & Johnson experts.

Johnson & Johnson Innovation is also backing leading digital healthcare companies likeThirty Madison, which aims to allow patients to access affordable, virtual care for chronic conditions like migraines and acid reflux. Its one of many such investments that Johnson & Johnson InnovationJJDC has made in startups focused on tele-medicine, home diagnosis or direct-to-consumer healthcare.

This pandemic is having an enormous impact on people around the worldand the innovators who will lead us to solutions. We are determined to be a support system for them, he says. We were built for times like these.

Caring for the world, one person at a time... inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson. This year, we celebrate 126 years of embracing research and science bringing innovative ideas, products and services to advance the health and well-being of people. Employees of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies work in more than 250 operating companies in 60 countries throughout the world. The passion and commitment of our people yield innovations that further minimize our impact on the planet, drive new alliances to address major health challenges in developing and developed countries, and help to create economic opportunity for people. Improving human health and well-being is our crucial mission and the ultimate measure of upholding our responsibility now and for generations to come.

At Johnson & Johnson, our top priority is health-health of people and the planet. That's why we set aggressive corporate wide goals to reduce our environmental impact, outlined in our Healthy Future 2015 goals. To this end, we established the proprietary Earthwards process for developing and marketing greener products through lifecycle analysis. Every Earthwards recognized product must achieve a greater than 10 percent improvement in at least three of the seven goal areas:

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Hearts and Minds or Shock and Awe? Ansar al-Sunnas Conflicting Strategy Towards Civilians – The Defense Post

How terrorist groups and other violent non-state actors treat civilians can significantly affect how long such groups will last. As the militant group Ansar al-Sunna (ASWJ) actively expands its area of operations outside the occupied port town of Mocmboa da Praia in northern Mozambique, the insurgencys treatment of civilians warrants attention.

To date, ASWJs strategy has been notably inconsistent, fluctuating between hearts and minds and shock and awe. Understanding ASWJs approach towards civilians is critical to providing them with adequate protection, as well as to crafting effective counterinsurgency measures against the group.

Civilians continue to shoulder the brunt of the insurgencys success. More than 309,000 Mozambicans are internally displaced, largely due to the conflict in the north. As insurgent control over roads increases, many fleeing civilians consider maritime routes to be the safest option, resulting in capsized ships and deaths at sea.

Hundreds of thousands are also food insecure. The UNs Famine Early Warning Systems Network has declared crisis-level food insecurity in the north, exacerbating pre-existing chronic hunger. Cabo Delgado province, the insurgencys epicenter, has the countrys second-highest rate of chronic malnutrition.

On top of this, ASWJ has blocked access to basic services, including electricity, education, and medical care.

At times, ASWJ appears to employ a hearts and minds strategy in an attempt to gain the populations support for tactical purposes (such as human intelligence), recruitment, and overall sustainability of the insurgency.

This strategy involves de-legitimizing the national government and its monopolization of the use of force to justify ASWJs actions and create a common enemy in the state.

Two important components of this strategy are the provision of services and the targeting of the state, such as infrastructure and personnel. For example, on April 7, ASWJ raided a World Food Programme-affiliated food warehouse and distributed its contents to the local population.

In another incident, insurgents distributed stolen medicine and fuel to residents perceived to be loyal. ASWJ has frequently targeted state assets, including administrative buildings, military posts, police stations, and state workers.

Additionally, on several occasions, the group has warned civilians of impending attacks and instructed them to leave the area. This was the case in March 2020 when ASWJ attackers warned residents of Quissanga about an upcoming attack on Mocmboa da Praia. Seven months later, the group gave poorer older civilians in the coastal areas of Macomia District $125 to flee impending attacks.

At other times, ASWJ appears to employ a shock and awe strategy. The group exercises control and seeks to build legitimacy and notoriety by creating fear, utilizing violence, and projecting power. This primarily manifests as violent attacks against civilians, mass casualty attacks, and the deprivation of basic services.

ASWJ has prevented basic services and necessary medications from reaching some areas in northern Mozambique. In Cabo Delgado province, one of the countrys pandemic hotspots, this has complicated the governments response to COVID-19.

Additionally, the group has carried out mass attacks and executed a campaign of violence against civilians, irrespective of age. Most notably, it executed over 50 individuals in Xitaxi in Muidumbe District after some locals refused to join the group.

Other recent attacks, although smaller in scale, include the beheadings of seven civilians on September 24 and a six-person family, including two children, on September 26. In each of these incidents, along with numerous other attacks, property was destroyed or stolen.

ASWJs strategy towards civilians has been strikingly inconsistent, making it difficult to assess its broader strategic aims.

Are they intentionally combining these strategies in the hopes of gaining recruits through popular support while simultaneously inducing concessions from the state through violence? Are they trying to command civilian respect through fear or coerce it through the distribution of minor services? If the group becomes more intimately tied to the Islamic States Central Africa Province, will they take a staunch hearts and minds or shock and awe stance?

These questions are yet to be answered, but with regard to the Islamic State, its treatment of civilians is not uniform across its factions. Thus, a stronger affiliation with Islamic State Central Africa Province will not inherently necessitate a shock and awe strategy. The Islamic State West Africa Province provides a good example: the group largely pursues a hearts and mind strategy on Lake Chad, which has contributed to its longevity.

Overall, tracking and better understanding of ASWJs approach to civilians will allow for more effective counterinsurgency and the protection of local populations.

Kelly Moss is an African Maritime Security Researcher at Stable Seas, a program of One Earth Future. Her research and publication background focuses on terrorism and substate violence in sub-Saharan Africa. Kelly graduated from Georgetown Universitys School of Foreign Service, where she received her masters degree in Security Studies, and has worked at three U.S. federal government agencies, including the Bureau of African Affairs at the Department of State.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Defense Post.

The Defense Post aims to publish a wide range of high-quality opinion and analysis from a diverse array of people do you want to send us yours?Click hereto submit an op-ed.

Hearts and Minds or Shock and Awe? Ansar al-Sunnas Conflicting Strategy Towards Civilians - The Defense Post

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President Trumps doctor is a D.O, not an M.D. Whats the difference? – Tampa Bay Times

Dr. Katherine Pannel was initially thrilled to see President Donald Trumps physician is a doctor of osteopathic medicine. A practicing D.O. herself, she loved seeing another glass ceiling broken for the type of doctor representing11% of practicing physiciansin the U.S. and now1 in 4 medical studentsin the country.

But then, as Dr. Sean Conley issued public updates on his treatment of Trumps COVID-19, the questions and the insults about his qualifications rolled in.

How many times will Trumps doctor, who is actually not an MD, have to change his statements? MSNBCs Lawrence ODonnelltweeted.

It all came falling down when we had people questioning why the president was being seen by someone that wasnt even a doctor, Pannel said.

The osteopathic medical field has had high-profile doctors before, good and bad. Dr. Murray Goldstein was the first D.O. to serve as a director of an institute at the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Ronald R. Blanck was the surgeon general ofthe U.S. Army. Former Vice President Joe Biden, challenging Trump for the presidency, alsosees a doctor who is a D.O.But another now former D.O., Larry Nassar, who was the doctor for USA Gymnastics, was convicted of serial sexual assault.

Still, with this latest example, Dr. Kevin Klauer, CEO of the American Osteopathic Association, said hes heard from many fellow osteopathic physicians outraged that Conley and by extension, they, too are not considered real doctors.

You may or may not like that physician, but you dont have the right to completely disqualify an entire profession, Klauer said.

For years, doctors of osteopathic medicine have been growing in number alongside the better-known doctors of medicine, who are sometimes called allopathic doctors and use the M.D. after their names.

According to theAmerican Osteopathic Association, the number of osteopathic doctors grew 63 percent in the past decade and nearly 300 percent over the past three decades. Still, many Americans dont know much about osteopathic doctors, if they know the term at all.

There are probably a lot of people who have D.O.s as their primary (care doctor) and never realized it, said Brian Castrucci, president and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation, a philanthropic group focused on community health.

Both types of physicians can prescribe medicine and treat patients in similar ways.

Although osteopathic doctors take adifferent licensing exam, the curriculum for their medical training four years of osteopathic medical school is converging with M.D. training as holistic and preventive medicine becomes more mainstream. And starting this year, both M.D.s and D.O.s were placed into one accreditation pool to compete for the same residency training slots.

But two major principles guiding osteopathic medical curriculum distinguish it from the more well-known medical school route: the 200-plus hours of training on the musculoskeletal system and the holistic look at medicine as a discipline that serves the mind, body and spirit.

The roots of the profession date to the 19th century and musculoskeletal manipulation. Pannel was quick to point out the common misconception that their manipulation of the musculoskeletal system makes them chiropractors. Its much more involved than that, she said.

Dr. Ryan Seals, who has a D.O. degree and serves as a senior associate dean at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, said that osteopathic physicians have a deeper understanding than allopathic doctors of the range of motion and what a muscle and bone feel like through touch.

That said, many osteopathic doctors dont use that part of their training at all: A 2003 Ohio study said approximately75%of them did not or rarely practiced osteopathic manipulative treatments.

The osteopathic focus on preventive medicine also means such physicians were considering a patients whole life and how social factors affect health outcomes long before the pandemic began, Klauer said. This may explain why 57 percent of osteopathic doctorspursue primary carefields, as opposed to nearly a third of those with doctorates of medicine, according to theAmerican Medical Association.

Pannel pointed out that shes proud that42 percentof actively practicing osteopathic doctors are women, as opposed to36 percentof doctors overall. She chose the profession as she felt it better embraced the whole person, and emphasized the importance of care for the underserved, includingrural areas. She and her husband, also a doctor of osteopathic medicine, treat rural Mississippi patients in general and child psychiatry.

Given osteopathic doctors' likelihood of practicing in rural communities and of pursuing careers in primary care,Health Affairsreported in 2017, they are on track to play an increasingly important role in ensuring access to care nationwide, including for the most vulnerable populations.

To be sure, even though the physicians end up with similar training and compete for the same residencies, some residency programs have often preferred M.D.s, Seals said.

Traditional medical schools have held more esteem than schools of osteopathic medicine because of their longevity and name recognition. Most D.O. schools have been around for only decades and often are in Midwestern and rural areas.

While admission to the nations37 osteopathic medical schoolsis competitive amid a surge of applicants, thegrade-point average and Medical College Admission Test scoresareslightly higherfor the155 U.S. allopathic medical schools: Theaverage MCATwas 506.1 out of 528 for allopathic medical school applicants over a three-year period, compared with 503.8 for osteopathic applicants for 2018.

Seals said prospective medical students ask the most questions about which path is better, worrying they may be at a disadvantage if they choose the D.O. route.

Ive never felt that my career has been hindered in any way by the degree, Seals said, noting that he had the opportunity to attend either type of medical school, and osteopathic medicine aligned better with the philosophy, beliefs and type of doctor he wanted to be.

Many medical doctors came to the defense of Conley and their osteopathic colleagues, including Dr. John Morrison, an M.D. practicing primary care outside of Seattle. He was disturbed by the elitism on display on social media, citing the skills of the many doctors of osteopathic medicine hed worked with over the years.

There are plenty of things you can criticize him for, but being a D.O. isnt one of them, Morrison said.

Lauren Weber is Midwest correspondent for Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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Stellar Speakers to Make Targeting Metabesity 2020 One of the Most Important Healthy Longevity Conferences of the Year – PRNewswire

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Building on ground-breaking conferences in London (2017) and Washington (2019), Metabesity 2020 will be held online, with an all-access free pass option, on Oct. 12-15.

Keynoters include Dr. Victor Dzau, (President of the National Academy of Medicine), Dr. Kenneth Dychtwald (Founder of Age Wave and one of America's leading gerontologist), and Lord Geoffrey Filkin (Chair of the Strategic Advisory Group of the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity). Congresswoman Shalala, the longest-serving Secretary of Health and Human Services in history and now representing Miami-Dade County, Florida, one of the oldest demographics in the U.S., will join for a fireside chat in a session on making healthy longevity a national priority. Other speakers include Peter Stein(Director of FDA's Office of New Drugs), Luigi Ferrucci (Scientific Director of the National Institute on Aging of NIH), top researchers in geroscience, diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases, and their peers in industry, capital markets and other stakeholders.

This unique, silo-busting conference gathers more than 70 speakers in 20 sessions and will focus on preventing chronic disease and the extension of "healthspan," the portion of life spent free of significant disease.Targeting Metabesity 2020 will also offer a full day for Longevity Sector Investors at the Shark Tank-inspired Emerging Company Showcase on Oct. 15.

Founder and Co-Chair of Metabesity 2020, Dr. Alexander Fleming commented, "We are a part of a global moonshot project to advance healthy longevity for all within the next decade. We aim to make healthy longevity a national policy and part of everyday clinical practice. In addition to presenting the amazing scientific advances, in this Pandemic year, we are spotlighting the importance of equal access to solutions and the related disparities across ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic groups."

Conference Co-chair, Stanford ProfessorDr. Lawrence Steinman, a co-discoverer of the multiple sclerosis drug, Tysabri and a number of other therapeutic approaches, added, "After several decades of stupendous progress in treating immediately life-threatening conditions, orphan and genetic disorders, and incapacitating degenerative diseases, we must turn our attention to slowing the aging process and reducing the risks of the major chronic diseases. Collectively, these diseases account for the great majority of morbidity and mortality and healthcare spending across the globe."

Conference organizer and Kinexum CEO Thomas Seoh noted, "This year's edition of Metabesity is a major milestone for the conference. A large and diverse online global audience has registered, and many more will be able to view the recorded proceedings.We are thrilled that the not-for-profit Kitalys Institute is taking the conference forward, along with related initiatives. Kitalys and the Metabesity Conference are partnering with a powerful network of academic, business, and governmental organizations to help reap the longevity dividend, a triple health, well-being and economic win for our young, our growing elderly, taxpayers, and our economy."

Conference organizer and Kitalys Institute Executive Director Adriane Berg added, "The Kitalys Institute mission is to accelerate the translation of emerging science into equitable gains in public health.We are thrilled and honored to work with the prominent speakers and motivated attendees of the Metabesity conferences to prevent or delay chronic diseases and extend healthy longevity."

To simulate the ambience and networking of previous conferences, Metabesity 2020 will include social gatherings after each day's program and a gala event on Wednesday evening. Acclaimed artists Voces8 and composer Eric Whitacre and his 17,000+ singers virtual choir will provide musical interludes. Amazing improv rapper and comedian Chris Turner will emcee the gala event.

For further information, please contact:

Adriane Berg, Executive Director, Kitalys Institute, at [emailprotected], +1 (201) 303-6517.

AlisonCockrell, Custom Management Group, at[emailprotected].

Targeting Metabesity 2020 website at

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Institute website

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Stellar Speakers to Make Targeting Metabesity 2020 One of the Most Important Healthy Longevity Conferences of the Year - PRNewswire

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CBD Users Think Its Real Medicine That Cures Acne, AFib, Anxiety Where’s the Evidence? – SciTechDaily

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical found in hemp or marijuana plants that does not make users high. Despite CBD only beingapprovedby the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy, CBD has been widelymarketed as a cure-allunder the auspices of wellness. These claims have coincided with anexplosion in CBDs popularityraising the troubling question: Are patients using CBD to treat medical conditions that could otherwise be improved or cured by established treatments with verifiable efficacy?

A new study lead by theQualcomm Institutes Center for Data Driven Health at the University of California San Diego, published inJAMA Network Open, reviewed CBD user testimonials to discover why they take CBD, finding the vast majority used CBD to treat diagnosable medical conditions, including for psychiatric, orthopedic, and sleep conditions while fewer took CBD for wellness.

The reasons consumers take CBD had not been previously studied because experts lacked access data where large groups of users discussed in detail why they take CBD, said Dr. Eric Leas, Co-Founder of the Center for Data Driven Health, Assistant Professor in the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Longevity Science at UC San Diego, and lead author.

To fill this gap the team turned to Reddit, a social media website with 330 million active users. Reddit is organized into communities focused on specific topics, many of which deal exclusively with health. The team monitored all r/CBD posts, where users can find anything and everything CBD related, from its inception in January 2014 through February 2019.

A random sample of posts was drawn and analyzed by the team who labeled them according to if the poster testified to using CBD to treat a diagnosable medical condition or using CBD for non-specific wellness benefits. On r/CBD users tell us in their own words why they take CBD, addedDr. John W. Ayers, also with the Center for Data Driven Health and Vice Chief of Innovation in the Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health who co-authored the study.

90 percent of testimonials on r/CBD cited using CBD to treat diagnosable medical conditions. For example, many testimonials recounted experiences such as, after using CBD for 2 months, my autism symptoms have improved. My family has noticed great improvements and I have finally been able to attend important social events.

Through a process of labeling the posts, the team grouped this subset of testimonials into 11 categories corresponding to medical subspecialties. Psychiatric conditions (e.g., autism or depression) were the most frequently cited sub-category, mentioned in 64 percent of testimonials, followed by orthopedic (26 percent), sleep (15 percent), and neurological (7 percent) conditions. There were also testimonials that claimed CBD treated addiction, cardiological, dermatological, gastroenterological, ophthalmological, oral health, and sexual health conditions, ranging from 1 to 4 percent of all posts [as detailed in the accompanying study materials].

The public appears to believe CBD is medicine, added Dr. Davey Smith, Chief of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health and study coauthor. Who would have predicted that the public might ever think CBD is a cardiology medication?

By contrast, just 30 percent of testimonies cited using CBD for wellness benefits, the vast majority citing mental wellness, e.g., quieting my mind, and about 1 percent citing any physical wellness benefit, e.g., exercise performance.

CBD retailers attempt to evade FDA regulation by framing their product as a wellness aid, rather than a therapeutic, said Dr. Alicia Nobles, with the Center for Data Driven Health and Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health. But when users explain why they take CBD in absence of any prompts they will commonly cite they are using it for medicinal purposes like to treat acne.

At this time there are no known medical uses for over-the-counter CBD, said Dr. Leas. CBD is this generations snake oil as millions believing to have discovered a new medical breakthrough are actually taking a product without evidence of a benefit.

The obvious harm is that some patients might forgo seeing a physician or taking medications with known, tested and approved therapeutic benefits in favor of CBD and thereby become sicker or succumb to their illness, added Mr. Rory Todd, study co-author and research associate in the Center for Data Driven Health.

While many think that using CBD poses few risks to consumers trying CBD out, the team notes that taking CBD can harm patients in other ways that warrant cautious use. There are several documented cases of CBD products leading to mass poisons, because unlike FDA-approved medications there are no uniform safety standards governing the manufacture or distribution of CBD, said Mr. Erik Hendrickson, study co-author and research associate with the Center for Data Driven Health. CBD can also interact with patients prescribed medications, including resulting in rare but dangerous side effects such as liver damage and male reproductive toxicity, added Dr. Smith who is also a practicing physician.

The lack of regulation governing the CBD marketplace may drive misperceptions of CBD the team notes. The public isnt spontaneously coming to the conclusion that CBD is medicine. Instead, this is a natural response to the largely unchecked marketing claims of CBD retailers, added Dr. Ayers. A lack of regulation puts the onus on physicians who must raise concerns about CBD with patients one-on-one instead of focussing on evidence-based treatments. For instance, since the COVID-19 outbreak claims that CBD prevents or treats COVID-19 are now commonplace.

Now is the time to act, concluded Dr. Leas. Government regulators must step up to the plate and give CBD the same level of scrutiny as other proven medications. Moreover, anyone considering taking CBD should instead consult a physician to identify a proven medication.

Reference: Self-reported Cannabidiol (CBD) Use for Conditions With Proven Therapies by Eric C. Leas, PhD, MPH; Erik M. Hendrickson, MPH, MA; Alicia L. Nobles, PhD, MS; Rory Todd, BA; Davey M. Smith, MD, MAS; Mark Dredze, PhD and John W. Ayers, PhD, MA, October 2020, JAMA Network Open.DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.20977

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Watermark Aims To Be ‘Tesla of Senior Housing’ With Precision Wellness Model – Senior Housing News

Wellness has always been at the foundation of Watermark Retirement Communities business model. Now, the Tucson-based operator aims to take wellness to the next level with a precision approach.

That is, Watermark is harnessing technology, partnerships, new in-house talent, building design and novel operational approaches to support tailored wellness for each resident.

In this regard, Watermark Chairman David Freshwater compares Watermark to Tesla. He calls the automaker a technology company that just happens to make cars, and considers Watermark to be a wellness company that provides housing and services for seniors.

Were going to try to be the Tesla of senior housing, he said Wednesday during a fireside chat at Senior Housing News BUILD conference, being held virtually this week.

In recent years, senior living has increasingly shifted from a focus on taking care of peoples needs to promoting their wellness. Often, these new operational models are organized around various facets of wellness, such as physical, intellectual and spiritual.

While Watermark also believes in a multi-faceted approach to wellness, a pitfall is viewing wellness as a discrete component of how a senior living community is built and operates, Freshwater said. For instance, some senior living communities have wellness centers, which is where wellness-oriented programming occurs.

But the pursuit of wellness must be ongoing and supported across a residents entire experience, Freshwater argued.

It comes back to the idea of the whole community being a wellness center, he said.

Freshwater came to this conclusion in part through work that Watermark has done over the years with wellness pioneers based in Tucson, including Canyon Ranch and the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.


This work began with the very first community that Watermark opened, in 1987. The University of Arizona Center for Aging approached the operator about a wellness concept it wanted to embed in a retirement community. This concept, Project AgeWell, set Watermark on a path of incorporating wellness throughout its building designs and operations.

As Watermark grew and evolved, its commitment to wellness did not waver, but wellness was not necessarily a core component of every project as it had been at the first community. Another turning point came in 2005, when Watermark held a forum with some leading minds in wellness and added a new dimension of wellness to those typically considered. This additional dimension was focused on the built environment.

Today, Watermarks portfolio encompasses 60 communities with 12 under development, and is creating communities to support wellness through all aspects of design. This not only includes major efforts such as having wellness-oriented restaurants but must extend to some less obvious areas such as landscaping. One example Freshwater gave was the decision to eliminate the use of chemical weedkillers. Because its more difficult to keep weeds in check through other methods, there are occasionally weeds in the landscaping, so sales staff had to be educated that this is a feature to sell residents on, not a source of embarrassment.

Likewise, the landscaping is designed to blend with the existing environment; if a community is located in a desert, designs often let the desert extend all the way to the back doors of apartments.

So the operator spends time educating its residents about the possible natural dangers they may encounter in such an environment. Freshwater noted that it is not uncommon for residents in Watermarks desert communities to find rattlesnakes on their back decks. Rather than compromising wellness-oriented design for the sake of preventing such incursions, the providers philosophy calls for education and common sense.

That rattlesnake isnt going to bite you just call maintenance and well move it, Freshwater said, referring to the message conveyed to residents.

Watermark is taking a measured approach to rethinking building design in the Covid-19 era. Freshwater is cognizant that certain aspects of a buildings plant will have to change, such as HVAC systems. But the operator is looking at ways to retrofit designs that accommodate permanent changes stemming from the coronavirus, without acting rashly.

Were not going to be knee jerk and saying, lets put up plexiglass, Freshwater said.

He envisions the permanent changes Covid-19 will bring to the built environment will be similar to the safety measures enacted by the airline industry after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks such as tighter safety checkpoints and procedures at airports and reinforced metal doors on airplanes preventing access to cockpits.

Watermark views the pandemic as an opportunity to get granular and study what can be implemented in communities that strikes a balance between the services residents pay for with enhanced safety in the event of another mass outbreak.

And many of the approaches are simple. Watermark is looking at spacing dining rooms to encourage social interaction while compartmentalizing residents into smaller groups. The company is reviewing outdoor space in warm-weather communities to determine methods to seamlessly move from indoors to outdoors, such as indoor-outdoor exercise classes.

Community restrictions that Watermark enacted during the pandemics early weeks laid bare the need for resident engagement a core pillar of the operators E4 wellness strategy. (The other pillars are essence, enhance and embody.) The framework is being developed with leadership from Aras Erekul, who worked for Canyon Ranch before joining Watermark.

To Freshwater, a key principle of the approach is that keeping residents safe is not the same as keeping them well.

We could tell in our own communities that we really needed to somehow find a way to get people engaged again, he said.

As the pandemic persists, Watermark is looking at ways to tailor and scale its wellness programs to a larger resident population, and technology will play a role. The operator is adapting its Watermark University program in which residents, staff and families host classes rooted in their passions so that classes will be available to residents either on demand or in real-time, virtual settings.

Watermark has precedent in doing this. The operator once launched the Fountains Club, a wellness program at its CCRCs which opened its slate of amenities to seniors living outside the campus. The program was well received, with up to 200 people from the outside community participating.

It was a win-win for the community because it allowed us to have more vibrant programming and a broader offering for our residents, Freshwater said.

Moving forward, partnerships will play a pivotal role in achieving Watermarks wellness goals and this is an area where he noted the industry as a whole needs to improve. Watermark entered a partnership with the longevity center at UCLA, where the operator is opening a community on campus, and is exploring other partnerships with research centers, hospital groups and wellness specialists.

In Freshwaters view, wellness must not be simply medical. It can also involve arts, culture, music anything that can enhance the services it provides to residents, it will consider.

There are literally thousands of affiliations that we could have been cultivating, he said. If you have more minds approaching a topic, youre going to do better at it than if you just stay myopic.

Precision wellness is a demanding operational model that at its most robust requires dedicated staff members. Communities that are part of Watermarks high-end Elan brand, which includes a high-profile New York City project that is soon to welcome its first residents, do staff at this higher level.

But, advancements in technology and the embrace of tech driven by Covid-19 also open up new possibilities for bringing wellness to more affordable communities, Freshwater believes. For instance, being able to share wellness programming across various communities through virtual platforms creates cost efficiencies.

Covid-19 gives me hope that wellness isnt a luxury, Freshwater said.

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Watermark Aims To Be 'Tesla of Senior Housing' With Precision Wellness Model - Senior Housing News

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