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Johnson & Johnson

You know what's never fun? Having to take bad-tasting medication — especially if you're a kid.

When I was little, I had to eat these tiny bitter pellets for my asthma because I wasn't old enough to use an inhaler. My parents called them sprinkles and put them on ice cream to try and trick me into thinking they weren't disgusting, but that only seemed to enhance their nasty taste. To this day, I have trouble even looking at vanilla ice cream without feeling nauseated.

That said, while it definitely wasn't a pleasant experience, these pellets kept my asthma under control throughout my early childhood.


Now imagine you're a child in a developing country with life-threatening pneumonia, and you're not old enough to take an antibiotic like amoxicillin in pill form, which is all your local medical facility has available. Suddenly, ingestible meds — no matter how bad they taste — sound pretty good, right?

Unfortunately such child-friendly treatments are not always accessible, especially in low-income countries. It's a big part of why pneumonia is the leading cause of child death by infection worldwide even though it's totally preventable.

Photo via iStock.

Enter researcher Sangwei Lu and her brilliant idea.

She created a peanut butter-based amoxicillin that not only treats pneumonia in children but also gives them a much needed boost of nutrition.

Lu is an adjunct professor at the University of California at Berkeley in its School of Public Health. Since her areas of expertise are vaccinology and infectious diseases, when a Gates Foundation Global Challenge for a child-friendly formulation of amoxicillin came around, she was primed to participate.

Amoxicillin for kids often comes in the form of a powder that has to be mixed with clean water and, once reconstituted, has to stay refrigerated until used — two difficult things to come by in developing countries. Meanwhile her peanut butter-based amoxicillin (appropriately named NutMox) is "ready to use, stable at room temperature, and can be given to children who cannot swallow [a pill] or [have trouble] chewing," Lu writes in an email.

But it's not just a treatment for kids with pneumonia. Because NutMox has a protein-rich base, it can be combined with other ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to treat severe malnutrition, which also happens to be one of the main risk factors for pediatric pneumonia.

[rebelmouse-image 19477360 dam="1" original_size="800x533" caption="A child receives a peanut-butter based nutrition packet to help fight malnutrition. Photo via USAID Africa Bureau/Wikimedia Commons." expand=1]A child receives a peanut-butter based nutrition packet to help fight malnutrition. Photo via USAID Africa Bureau/Wikimedia Commons.

So it's a life-saving medicine and a viable preventative measure all in one.

Peanut butter also masks the taste of medicine, which means no kid suffering from pneumonia will have to endure the bitter grossness I had to.

It's no surprise that when PATH — a nonprofit that's leading the way in global health innovation — got wind of NutMox, they approached Lu to collaborate.

"I think it is a great opportunity given PATH's commitment to global health and their experiences working to develop medicines for people in need," Lu explains.

The partnership will no doubt help push NutMox's progress forward. And now, thanks to the grant they've received as a Gen H finalist, distribution of a final product to countries in need is a much clearer reality.

So far, pre-clinical testings of NutMox have been completed. The next step involves performing a trial using human volunteers to demonstrate that the amoxicillin formula is equivalent to a current formula that's been approved by the FDA. If the trial is successful, they'll work with pharmaceutical partners to obtain regulatory approval for NutMox as a new formulation of amoxicillin.

Photo via iStock.

A lot still needs to be done before it's ready for public use, but NutMox is in a great position to have a huge effect on children's health in the near future.

And such a useful treatment can't come soon enough.

As of right now, pneumonia accounts for 16% of all child deaths under age 5. Malnutrition is an underlying contributing factor, not just for pneumonia but all the other infectious diseases that are most life-threatening to children. So an antibiotic that both treats these diseases and curtails malnutrition could save countless lives.

We're living in an age where truly revolutionary medical advancements and innovations are being realized. It's about time we get them in the hands of the people who desperately need them.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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