Invest in the future of arthritis medicine with Cytonics.
It can often be difficult for investors to predict the next industry that will boom within the next decade.
What's not difficult to predict is how current health crises will look within ten years—and how new treatments are certain to have a critical place in the healthcare landscape. That's why the cutting-edge osteoarthritis treatment by Cytonics is worth investing in today: this global $180B industry is expected to affect 25 percent of American adults by 2030.
Osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis, is the degradation of the cartilage in joints and underlying bone. Joint cartilage wears down with age, causing severe discomfort when moving knees, elbows, fingers and various joints throughout the body. This condition currently plagues 27 million American adults, making it a significant healthcare issue in the years to come. That's what makes Cytonics critical in the healthcare industry: its mission to develop first-in-class therapies for treating osteoarthritis will be a life-changing force for millions of American adults.
Proteases are the enzymes at play with osteoarthritis, breaking down the cartilage and causing pain and inflammation with joint movement. Cytonics utilizes the proprietary CYT-108 molecule, an A2M variant that is based on a naturally occurring molecule within the human body. Cytonic's preliminary preclinical research suggests that CYT-108 has the potential to reverse the progression of cartilage damage in arthritic joints and could restore damage caused by osteoarthritis by 60 percent. That's because CYT-108 bonds with the protease enzymes, triggering encapsulation by the body's immune cells. Because CYT-108 bonds with the proteases, this incredible molecule is able to rescue the cartilage from these destructive enzymes.
Over 6,000 patients have been treated using Cytonics' revolutionary osteoarthritis treatment: it's only the beginning for this patented arthritic treatment. Unlike previous arthritic treatments, Cytonics doesn't treat the symptoms: its novel treatment attacks arthritis at the molecular level, reversing cartilage degradation before it can occur.
Cytonics is proven to work, and it solves an issue that harms millions of Americans, making this the perfect time to invest in this opportunity. When it comes to investing, predicting the future is never easy—but arthritis is here to stay, and Cytonics is now here to fight it. Now is the time to jump on this innovative new technology–invest in Cytonics while you still can.
Cytonics is offering securities through the use of an Offering Statement that has been qualified by the Securities and Exchange Commission under Tier II of Regulation A. A copy of the Final Offering Circular that forms a part of the Offering Statement may be obtained from: https://www.seedinvest.com/cytonics/series.c
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There's no such thing as a miracle drug.
Chances are high that you or someone you know will experience a period when depression gets in the way of work, social life or family life. Nearly two in three people with depression will experience severe effects.
There have been some exciting developments in treating depression recently, particularly new rapid-acting antidepressants. But it's important to understand that these medications aren't cure-alls.
The new treatments for depression promise to relieve distressing symptoms, including suicidal thinking, faster than any previous treatment. They include ketamine, an anesthetic that is also abused as a street drug, and a derivative of ketamine called esketamine. These drugs have been shown to help relieve symptoms of depression within hours, but each dose only works for a few days. They also carry risks, including the potential for drug abuse.
With the coronavirus pandemic taking a toll on mental health, patients are looking for fast relief. Medication can help, but to effectively treat depression long term, with its mix of biological, psychological, social and cultural components, requires more than just drugs.
Depression medications have evolved
The early history of depression treatments focused on the psychological components of illness. The goal in the early 20th century was for a patient to understand unconscious urges established during childhood.
Biological treatments at the time seem frightening today. They included insulin coma therapy and primitive, frequently misused versions of a modern lifesaving procedure – electroconvulsive therapy.
In the middle of the 20th century, medicines that affected behavior were discovered. The first medicines were sedatives and antipsychotic medicines. Chlorpromazine, marketed as "Thorazine," led the way in the 1950s. In 1951, imipramine was discovered and would become one of the first antidepressants. The "blockbuster" antidepressant Prozac, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, was approved in 1987.
It's been over 30 years since we've seen a novel class of antidepressant medicine. That's one reason rapid-acting antidepressants are exciting.
What depression looks like inside the brain
Medical treatments for depression affect certain processing cells in the brain area above your eyes and under your forehead. This area, called the prefrontal cortex, processes complex information including emotional expressions and social behavior.
Brain cells called neurons are chemically controlled by two opposing messenger molecules, glutamate and gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA). Glutamate works like a gas pedal and GABA is the brake. They tell the neurons to speed up or slow down.
Rapid-acting medicines for depression decrease the action of glutamate, the gas pedal.
Other treatments have been developed to rebalance GABA. A neurosteroid called allopregnanolone affects GABA and applies the brake. Both allopregnanolone and esketamine have federal approval for treatment of depression, allopregnanolone for postpartum depression and esketamine for major depressive disorder and suicidal thinking.
Not so fast
Around 2016-2017, young psychiatrists like myself were rushing to implement these novel antidepressant treatments. Our training supervisors said, "not so fast." They explained why we should wait to see how studies of the new drugs turn out.
Several years before, the medical community experienced similar excitement over Vivitrol to treat opioid addiction. Vivitrol is a monthly injected form of naltrexone, an opioid-blocking medicine.
Clinical trials are executed in a highly controlled and clean environment, while the real world can be highly uncontrolled and very messy. Without risk reduction, education and psychosocial treatment, the potential risks of medications like Vivitrol can be magnified. Vivitrol can help reduce relapses, but isn't a panacea on its own. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends integrated treatment for addiction.
Treating depression may be similar. Medication and psychological support together work better than either on its own.
In depression, the more treatments a person tries that don't work, the less likely that person is to have success with the next treatment option. This was a main message of the largest clinical trial studying depression medications, the National Institutes of Health-directed STAR-D study, completed in 2006.
Providing a more effective option for patients who don't respond to a first or second antidepressant may turn that STAR-D message on its head. However, when dealing with an illness that is affected by external stress like trauma and loss, treatment is more likely to succeed with both medication and psychological support.
A real-world treatment approach called the biopsychosocial paradigm accounts for the wide range of relevant biological, psychological and social components of mental illnesses. The patient and physician work together to process the patient's problematic experiences, thoughts and feelings.
A hyperfocus on novel drugs may overlook the importance of addressing and monitoring all those components, which could mean problems surface in the future. Medications like opiates or other substances that provide rapid relief of physical or psychological pain can also be physically and psychologically addictive, and novel rapid-acting antidepressants can have the same risks.
Rapid-acting antidepressants can be powerful tools for treating major depression when used with other forms of therapy, but are they the answer? Not so fast.
Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling has an important favor to ask of the American people.
- Michael Dowling is president and CEO of Northwell Health, the largest health care system in New York state. In this PSA, speaking as someone whose company has seen more COVID-19 patients than any other in the country, Dowling implores Americans to wear masks—not only for their own health, but for the health of those around them.
- The CDC reports that there have been close to 7.9 million cases of coronavirus reported in the United States since January. Around 216,000 people have died from the virus so far with hundreds more added to the tally every day. Several labs around the world are working on solutions, but there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.
- The most basic thing that everyone can do to help slow the spread is to practice social distancing, wash your hands, and to wear a mask. The CDC recommends that everyone ages two and up wear a mask that is two or more layers of material and that covers the nose, mouth, and chin. Gaiters and face shields have been shown to be less effective at blocking droplets. Homemade face coverings are acceptable, but wearers should make sure they are constructed out of the proper materials and that they are washed between uses. Wearing a mask is the most important thing you can do to save lives in your community.
Prior to COVID-19, 45% of people with intellectual disabilities reported feeling lonely.
My brother was supposed to move into his first "independent" home in mid-March. In his late 20s, and a person with an intellectual disability, he had finally gathered up the courage and the will to move out of our family home and live in a group home.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, my brother's move is now delayed indefinitely, and his world remains mostly his bedroom. He can't go to his part-time job, the library, or to church.
My brother and many others with intellectual disabilities face the additional burden of increased loneliness during COVID-19. While many people are experiencing isolation, anxiety and loneliness during this challenging time, we know that prior to COVID-19, 45% of people with intellectual disabilities reported feeling lonely (that's compared to only 10.5% of the general population). The increased pressures living in quarantine can result in challenges to mental health, sleep disruptions and mood swings.
We know that loneliness is correlated with serious health risks such as heart disease, weakened immune systems and stroke. For people with intellectual disabilities who had already long experienced loneliness and social ostracization, what significant impacts might this have on their mental and physical health? Many COVID-19 patients die alone. For people with intellectual disabilities already experiencing severe loneliness, this fact seems particularly cruel.
People with intellectual disabilities often utilize resources such as home health aides, day programmes, drop-in centres, family respite services and group homes. For health and safety reasons, many of these services are now unavailable or closed, increasing the responsibility of family members, affecting the routine of people with intellectual disabilities and significantly impacting their independence. My brother is not able to go to his state-funded part-time job, removing his interaction with others outside of our immediate family and taking away the sense of purpose he felt by doing work.
These COVID-19-related service changes also reveal the complex interdependencies with families, caregivers and staff that most people with intellectual disabilities depend on in their day-to-day lives. In China, a family made headlines when a teenager with cerebral palsy died in Wuhan after his father and brother, diagnosed with coronavirus, were quarantined in a treatment facility and unable to care for him.
Some people with intellectual disabilities are not able to quarantine alone or stay with their families due to their enhanced medical or behavioural needs. Remaining in group homes or similar long-term care facilities can allow people with intellectual disabilities access to the care they need, but may put them at a much greater risk of infection. For people with intellectual disabilities who live independently or semi-independently but rely on home health aides, they and their families weigh the risk of exposing themselves to infection or not receiving the daily life supports they need.
In addition to all of the health and safety guidelines we all must decipher and follow, people with intellectual disabilities face increased challenges when it comes to staying safe during COVID-19. My brother and many like him have had their daily routine disrupted completely, a challenge for many people with intellectual disabilities. Understanding the rapidly changing information about COVID-19 or updates to public health guidance can be puzzling, and people with intellectual disabilities may struggle to communicate without non-verbal cues.
In Saskatoon, Canada, some people with intellectual disabilities were so confused about the public health guidance to social distance that they went without groceries or other necessities. It is unlikely that my brother really understands the importance of washing his hands or remembers how to do so correctly, even after seeing a video or reading a detailed pamphlet.
Organizations that support and advocate on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities are working hard to continue to provide services and resources, even amid reduced revenue and logistical challenges. Inclusion Europe has produced an easy-to-read instructional guide about coronavirus, designed for people with intellectual disabilities, available in several languages. The UN has produced resources about how to include marginalized and vulnerable people, including those with intellectual disabilities, in risk communication and community engagement. The International Disability Alliance has issued specific recommendations for a disability-inclusive COVID-19 response.
People with intellectual disabilities face the prospect of navigating a healthcare system that is rationing care. During a time of resource scarcity, like the one many countries are experiencing during COVID-19, there simply aren't enough resources for every patient that needs them. When this occurs, medical professionals need to decide which patients receive these resources, thus rationing out the care that is available.
In Italy, there are many stories of hospitals too overwhelmed with patients to ventilate every person who needs it – medical professionals are forced to make heartbreaking choices about who receives care.
In the United States, the disability community, including the American Association of People With Disabilities, has advocated strongly against guidance in disaster preparedness plans such as those released by states like Washington, Kansas, Tennessee and Alabama that recommend end-of-life decisions that could disadvantage people with disabilities, including some that do not recommend providing ventilators to those with "severe mental retardation". Disability advocates assert that these policies directly impact civil rights. In response, the director of the federal health department's civil rights office has begun investigations, and some of these states, including Washington and Kansas, are in the process of updating their guidelines to ensure they do not implicitly or explicitly condone discrimination.
Still, the fear and uncertainty associated with rationing of care is deeply disturbing to people with intellectual disabilities, who are worried that medical professionals, forced to make quick decisions and without a full understanding of their capacity and medical history, might prevent them from receiving medical resources.
People with disabilities and their advocates rightly point out that doctors may make assumptions about people with disabilities based on bias. These fears are supported by research that ableism in medicine does exist. People with intellectual disabilities and their family members remember unethical medical research done on people with intellectual disabilities in the name of science, like those experiments done on unwilling participants at Willowbrook State School in New York. People with intellectual disabilities are still subject to forced sterilization around the world.
For now, I am grateful that my brother doesn't seem to understand all the fuss around COVID-19 and I'm relieved that he's stuck at home. I hope that he doesn't feel too lonely. When I think of the inevitable time when we are allowed to return to our community, I wonder if my brother will follow hygiene guidelines. Will he stay away from people who are coughing? Will he tell us if he has a fever? For now, if he has to go to the hospital, I have to hope that his life is considered as valuable as someone without a disability.
Answer: You don't want to get either.
- Many are suggesting coronavirus is just flu-season business as usual. It's not.
- No sensible comparison can be made anyway, for a few reasons.
- The one that's less bad — whichever that is — can still kill you.
A lot of people are trying to get a sense of whether COVID-19 is any more dangerous than normal seasonal flu strains. Unfortunately, making meaningful comparisons between them is just not possible yet. From a "what should I do/worry about?" point of view, though, it's pretty pointless to compare the two.
Whichever one you select as the ultimate Big Bad, they're both out there: You have a decent chance of contracting either illness, and they both can be fatal for certain demographic segments. Trying to choose which one is worse is like trying to choose whether you'd rather be hit by a bus or a truck.
At this point, the best advice remains the same for both: Start washing those hands well and frequently, and follow the CDC's recommendations for avoiding infection.
Here’s why we can’t know which is worse
There are some fundamental differences between the statistics available on seasonal flu and COVID-19, and they make a direct comparison impossible.
- Seasonal flu is an annual phenomenon (even though strains change). There's lots of multi-year data on rates of infection and mortality in the hands of numerous national health authorities. COVID-19, on the other hand, has been around for only about two months, and most of the available data comes from just one country, China, where it first emerged.
- Related to this is that it's impossible to calculate the spread of COVID-19 from such a limited amount of data, both in terms of time and geography. The disease is now apparently racing around the globe outside China, but how fast will it circulate and what will be its final infection rate? It's impossible to know.
- There are remedies and vaccines for seasonal flu strains — neither exist for COVID-19. While existing therapies are being tested for their efficacy against coronavirus, no silver bullet has yet been found and there's no way to know when/if one will. Hilary Marston, a medical officer and policy advisor at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says of a coronavirus vaccine, "If everything moves as quickly as possible, the soonest that it could possibly be is about one-and-a-half to two years. That still might be very optimistic." This makes a comparison of the death rates between seasonal flu and COVID-19 unfair.
Image source: Brynjar Gunnarsson/Shutterstock
Things people are saying, and what's real
You're more likely to get the seasonal flu.
Um, maybe, at the moment. Be aware that COVID-19 is being found in new areas pretty much every day. Harvard epidemiologist Mark Lipstich says, "I think the likely outcome is that it will ultimately not be containable."
On top of that, we don't know how fast it will spread in the wild. If it continues to travel at the rate it has in the last two months, hoo boy. However, contagion doesn't usually remain linear. So it could get better. Or worse. Will seasons affect it? Proper sanitation? Other factors? With only two months of data, we can't possibly know, but Lipstich predicts 40% to 70% of us will get it.
COVID-19 is 20 times more deadly than seasonal flu.
Sorry. It's likely a lot worse than that. Last week, COVID-19's mortality rate was thought to be 2.3%. Now it's considered to be 3.4%, or .034 of the total number of infections. The CDC estimates the seasonal flu mortality rate this year is .001% — the number of deaths divided by the number of total infections. So, as of March 4, the latest figure for COVID-19's mortality rate is 34 times greater than seasonal flu, nearly double what you've been hearing.
Of course, the lack of effective treatment is a key factor in COVID-19's mortality rate. When/if one is identified, that rate will go down.
Most people get through COVID-19 just fine.
This is true, However, while in one sense it's great that the vast majority of people who contract COVID-19 get over it easily, it also means that a lot of people have the coronavirus without realizing it and are continuing to spread the infection. In stark — and tragic — contrast, one of the reasons Ebola eventually stopped infecting people was that most of its victims typically died before they could spread the disease. COVID-19, on the other hand, can travel quite invisibly far and wide before being recognized.
Epidemiologist Jennifer Nuzzo tells The Washington Post that the recent U.S. diagnoses confirm "what we have long suspected — that there is a good chance there already are people infected in this country and that the virus is circulating undetected. It points to the need for expanded surveillance so we know how many more are out there and how to respond. It's also likely that person-to-person spread will continue to occur, including in the United States."
BONUS: You should stop drinking Corona beer to avoid/protest COVID-19.
Image source: DenisMArt/Shutterstock
So stop comparing and just be safe
Regardless of which disease is worse, they're both potentially dangerous, so be safe and follow safety guidelines. Take hand-washing seriously: Rub your hands together with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. (Sing the alphabet at a moderate speed and you'll be about right.)
As for the question "How worried should I be about Coronavirus?" We'll let Oliver have the last word: "A bit."
Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated a cure exists for the flu. There is no cure for the flu.