Scientists are reaccessing the role of “zombie” cells in the body that were once seen as nothing more than a hindrance to healthy aging. These senescent cells, which no longer divide or support the tissue around them, were long thought to be a major cause of age-related inflammation and degeneration. But new research is beginning to show that these cells may perform some important functions in the body and that eliminating them may not be the best way to achieve long and healthy life.
A recent study conducted by UC San Francisco reported that not all Senescent cells are harmful and need to be eliminated. Some of them are located in young, healthy tissues and help with the repair process. Scientists have discovered that these cells are not only active in lung tissue but also in other organs in the body that serve as barriers, such as the colon, small intestine, and skin. When senolytic drugs were used to kill these cells, it led to slower healing times for injuries to lung tissues.
According to Tien Peng, MD, associate professor of pulmonary, critical care, allergy, and sleep medicine, and senior author of the study, senescent cells can help with the repair process by acting as ‘sentinels’ that detect tissue damage and stimulate nearby stem cells to begin growing and repairing the area.
Cells Responsible For Aging Can Cause Both Damages And Heal
Peng continued by stating that, at first, it makes sense that scientists would view senescent cells as purely harmful. As people age, their bodies accumulate more and more senescent cells – these are old cells that no longer have the ability to make new ones. Unlike normal cells that die when they age, senescent cells don’t. They keep living and releasing a mixture of inflammatory substances called the SASP. Hence these cells are names zombie cells. These aging-related conditions include Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cancer, and more.
Researchers discovered that by using senolytics to target and kill “zombie cells,” they could prevent or diminish age-related diseases and extend the lifespan of animals. After this finding, many research labs and pharmaceutical companies have been focused on discovering more powerful versions of these drugs. However, Peng warns that killing senescent cells has dangers; on the basis of the current study, these same cells have the ability to spur normal healing by activating stem cell repair. In addition, Peng said that their most recent study found senolytics could negatively impact healthy cell repair. However, they also noted that senolytic therapies have the potential to target diseases where faulty stem cells cause cellular problems.
Activating Senescent Cells
A significant challenge to studying senescent cells is that there are few biomarkers of senescence (such as the gene p16), making it tricky to identify the cells.
To begin their research, scientists took cells known as fibroblasts and extracted them into culture dishes where they could grow and reproduce. Next, the team stressed the cells with chemicals that caused them to age. However, in a live organism, cells constantly interact with the tissues around them, which greatly impacts gene activity. This implies that cells growing unassisted in a dish often have wildly different characteristics than cells in their natural habitat.
In order to make their research more powerful, Nabora Reyes de Barboza, Ph.D. and her colleagues advanced a common technique of joining a significant gene—the p16 gene that’s excessively active in senescent cells—with a green fluorescent protein (GFP), so the location of the cells can be seen under ultraviolet light. By increasing the amount of green fluorescent protein in these senescent cells, Reyes was able to amplify the fluorescent signal. This gave researchers the ability to see senescent cells in living tissues.
Senescent Cells Help To Stimulate Stem Cells Just After Birth.
The researchers discovered that senescent cells exist more in young and healthy tissues than they previously thought. They also found that these cells begin appearing shortly after birth. Furthermore, they discovered that particular growth factors stimulate stem cells to expand and heal tissues. The fact that cells of the immune system, like monocytes and macrophages, can activate senescent cells is relevant to aging and tissue injury. This means that inflammation plays a big role in how these things affect cell activation and regeneration.
While studying the lung tissue, Peng’s team found evidence of senescent cells next to stem cells. These glowing green cells are usually located at the basement membrane. The purpose of this membrane is twofold: it keeps harmful chemicals and outside entities from entering our bodies and allows oxygen to diffuse throughout underlying tissues. Damage can occur at this dynamic interface.
The researchers saw senescent cells occupying similar positions in other barrier organs, including the colon, small intestine, and skin. When they killed these senescent cells with Senolytics, the lung stem cells were not able to properly repair the surface of the organ’s barrier. Dr. Leanne Jones, director of the UCSF Bakar Aging Research Institute, and Stuart Lindsay, Endowed Professor in Experimental Pathology said that Peng’s study is extremely important for aging research where researchers aim to help people live healthier and longer lives.
Senolytics studies should focus on targeting harmful senescent cells while leaving helpful ones alone. And these findings should emphasize more on creating drugs that target specific senescent cells implicated in disease instead of those associated with regeneration. By doing so, we can develop more effective treatments.
Employees at Spotify Receive a Paid Week off to Rest and Recover
This week, if you’re one of over 6,000 employees of Spotify, you likely hit the snooze button a few more times than the thousands of other workers that got up around the world.
The online streaming company declared their “wellness week,” where they will close all offices and let their employees receive a paid week off of work.
As a blog post by Spotify CHRO Katarina Berg mentioned, “We strive to offer freedom and we feel it’s not only important but crucial to establish a safe environmental culture for our employees.” “All Spotify offices will be shut so that all of our staff members may unwind, center themselves, and do something they enjoy. With this additional week of paid time off, we intend that our employees all around the world will be able to take the time out for themselves and come back to work energized, revitalized, and refreshed.”
The company’s global head of learning and development, talent development, and community experience, Johanna Bolin Tingvall, disclosed in a post on Monday that she got up at 6 a.m. only to realize that the company had shut down.
Her post reads, “I am so grateful.! Can you imagine a firm practically closing down for a whole week to allow its employees to take care of their mental health? And they do not see it as a cost but an investment in their employees.”
Another employee posted on Linked In: “If you are looking for me next week, I’m unavailable because we all have the week off at Spotify to take care of ourselves!”
JUST LAST MONTH, Vivek H. Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, provided official advice on how “toxic workplaces,” frequently fueled by a culture of stress and burnout, impact workers’ physical and mental health. In his report, Murthy points out that long-term stress can interfere with sleep, which can cause a variety of physical and mental health issues. Letting employees feel important and addressing these issues head-on is essential for workplaces.
The report reads that “We have the potential to make workplaces engines for mental health and well-being.” “For doing so, organizations will require to reconsider how they safeguard employees from harm, cultivate a sense of connection among employees, show them that they are valued, make room for their lives outside work, and support them in their long-term professional development.”
Employees feel that a focus on mental health and wellness has been too frequently left off the list as a result of the problems presented by the pandemic. In a recent survey, more than half of Gen Z respondents said that having access to mental health benefits was their top priority, being second only to having a 401(k). Research has also shown that although employees want mental health benefits at work, they rarely feel like they actually get them. Even those with unlimited paid time off (PTO) don’t feel motivated or whether they “deserve” to take time off.
The global concerns that impacted employees’ personal and professional lives led Spotify to launch its wellness week in 2021. While some choose to slow down, others choose to travel during the week.
“The primary criteria we had in place was that everyone unplugs. It didn’t matter anything our employees did with their week. We all took a break from the daily barrage of emails, texts, and video conferences,” Berg says in the post. Naturally, we received feedback that at first, it seemed unusual to spend a week not checking email, but that the experience of quiet calmness that eventually took over was unlike any other experience.
Breaks have the power to improve focus, foster long-term productivity, and boost employee retention, according to experts, and hence, Spotify is advising staff to take this week away from work.
The Wellness Center Offers a Wealth of Resources to Help You Live Your Healthiest Life
The University of Wyoming understands the importance of a holistic approach to education and offers many programs geared toward mental and physical well-being. The University of Wyoming offers many free wellness programs for students and faculty. The Wellness Center is just one example of how students and faculty can take advantage of these opportunities.
The Wellness Center is situated in the Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center building and operates during school days.
The center offers many services, from health promotion to stress relief, and they are available whenever the center is open! Among the most readily available services are electronic full-body massage chairs. The massage chairs come with various programs to choose from, including Thai, Swedish, Sports, and Shiatsu massages. There are seven types of massages: recovery, performance-based, energizing, awakening, lower back, and upper back massage, as well as a demonstration.
University of Wyoming students can use these chairs for free by making an appointment online or in person. They will need to show their WyoOne ID when they arrive.
Free Fruit Friday is a weekly event at the WC where any University of Wyoming student can take home a piece of fruit. In addition to free fruit, there are also informational brochures on health supplies and materials.
The Wellness Center is an excellent place for those passionate about helping others reach their wellness goals. The Wellness Center’s staff is always available to help you with anything you need, including tips on athletics or personal training, and they also offer health screenings. In addition, the center offers weekly classes on a variety of topics, ranging from fitness and exercise to personal development. Some of the most popular classes include Zumba, yoga, and swimming.
The Wellness Center is a fantastic resource for all students, and taking advantage of the services available can be extremely beneficial. Not only do they provide a great environment for learning, but they also provide an athletic trainer who can help the students out. If students are feeling stressed after taking an exam, they can sit in a massage chair to help relieve the tension. If they need assistance with mental health awareness or other issues, consultants are available to speak with them or direct them to classes that will relax their minds and help them get fit.
The Wellness Center provides an array of services from Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., including outreach programs and more.
Facilitator Model for Public Health Reporting is Launched by NCPDP
The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) shall put standards into place that provide access to real-time data to help public health reporting in times of crisis.
Nov 1st, 2022 – The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP), a CMS Designated Standards Maintenance Organization, has declared the beginning of the implementation of its National Facilitator Model, which intends to facilitate public health reporting to boost pandemic and epidemic interventions.
Public health data systems’ poor emergency reaction to COVID-19 (link – https://ehrintelligence.com/features/how-health-information-exchange-can-support-public-health-equity )was caused by interoperability issues and other flaws. Before the pandemic, there were problems with patient data sharing and public health reporting, but when the COVID-19 pandemic casued a significant effect on the healthcare sector, these two health IT problems grew in importance.
The underdeveloped public healthcare system and lack of disaster preparedness highlighted a need for enhanced real-time patient health data interchange and access.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid crisis revealed, among other things, care gaps that were addressed by pharmacists and issues with the existing public health infrastructure, according to Lee Ann Stember, president and CEO of NCPDP.
“And while there has been significant support for updating our public health infrastructure and removing data silos, pharmacists as well as other providers continue to lack access to comprehensive, real-time data from the entire healthcare ecosystem at the point-of-care to support clinical decision-making.”
The NCPDP Real-Time Prescription Benefits data standards and technologies, which have eased access to real-time pharmacy data, will be used with the National Facilitator Model. Under this use case, these industry standards will enable access to real-time data about prescriptions, tests, immunizations, and other pharmacy data by pharmacies, prescribers, and governmental organizations.
“The National Facilitator Model pilot program has my personal and professional support. It has been operational for nine years to assist stem the opioid epidemic and alert prescribers and pharmacists to possible abuse or misuse before an opioid is even administered, according to Stember.
Well beyond the opioid epidemic, all public health concerns have been addressed using the model as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Stember. “Congressional leaders, business organizations, and others in the healthcare sector have strongly supported the idea. In order for it to be widely adopted and used for epidemic and pandemic responses and public health surveillance, the private sector must advance it and make it operational.
A number of phases will be included in the project to enhance public health infrastructure(link – https://ehrintelligence.com/news/star-hie-program-supports-public-health-agencies-throughout-covid-19 ) between states.
According to NCPDP, pharmacists will access, observe, and report information about the COVID-19 vaccine series in Phase 1 to promote workflow-enabled efficiency, data integration, and real-time data availability.
According to Stember, “The NCPDP National Facilitator Model intends to make that feasible by employing the similar interoperable industry standards that facilitate prescribers’ instant transmission, change, and discontinuation of prescriptions today, as well as prescribers’ quick access to eligibility, pharmacy claim billing, and prior authorization for pharmacists.” “This pilot is essential; we must act now before the next epidemic strikes,”
It took a team effort to make the National Facilitator Model practicable. As the primary researcher and National Facilitator Registry, health IT provider STChealth will take part in the project.
Additionally, the Lee Ann Stember Endowment, Founders Gift Donors FDB (First Databank), GoodRx, and its general fund contributed to the NCPDP Foundation grant.
“FDB is happy to join NCPDP and support the expansion of the National Facilitator Model. “Clinicians and responding agencies must have ready access to and the capacity to share comprehensive, adaptable, and intuitive medication data in order to manage the well-being of individuals and populations pro-actively, particularly during a public health emergency,” said FDB President Bob Katter, who also serves as the patient safety chair for the NCPDP Foundation’s new National Advisory Council.
In addition, patient-specific health as well as medication data “assist identify at-risk individuals and suggest proactive next measures,” Katter continued. “The National Facilitator Model is a natural continuation of our decades-long cooperation with NCPDP through which we supply reliable drug expertise and interoperability capabilities to enable healthcare professionals in executing their crucial workflows,” the company claims.