Category: Brad Schaeffer

New Genetic Research on COVID Severity

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Scientists have been working to uncover the genetic mechanisms guiding responses to COVID-19 almost as early as the pandemic began. Why do some people not display symptoms while others are impacted far more severely?

Brad Schaeffer of Medcomp Sciences says now, we’re starting to get answers.

The largest study in the world of its kind has identified about 16 genetic variants that influence the severe form of COVID-19, including inflammation intensity, immune response, and blood clotting.

The study looked at DNA from over 57,000 people, including nearly 7,500 hospitalized in United Kingdom intensive care units, compared to 1,630 people with a mild form of COVID and 48,000 who had not contracted COVID-19.  Notable differences were detected in 16 genes from those in ICU compared to the other groups.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh led the study in partnership with GenOMICC, a worldwide research collaborative studying critical illness genetics, and Genomics England.

The study, published in Nature, also suggests that interferon-based treatment shows promise in treating the disease in early stages. Interferon are proteins sent by immune cells to fight viruses.

Critical COVID-19 illness is also associated with gene variations that guide the levels of blood clotting’s central component, according to the study, which may explain abnormalities in clotting observed in severe COVID-19. 

The research not only sheds light on the complex mechanisms of the COVID-19 but may lead to more targeted, life-saving treatments. 

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More Genetic Signatures Uncovered 

Numerous projects around the globe have investigated genetic links to COVID-19 severity. Stanford Medicine recently released an international analysis of research from more than 20 countries, identified 13 genetic indicators that may increase the risk for severe COVID-19.

The study, a research partnership with the University of Helsinki, mined COVID-19 data dating back to spring 2020 when the disease emerged. Illness severity variation was observed early, and researchers have been looking for anything resembling a pattern of DNA mutations or genetic variants in those hospitalized. 

Among the 13 genes that stood out: one in the ACE2 protein, the central protein that the virus that causes COVID-19 targets to infect cells. Another genetic variant is known to play a large role in susceptibility to lung disease or immunity.

Each of the 13 variants identified in the study increased one’s risk of contracting the severe form of COVID-19, but some of the genes put certain people at risk more than others. One gene increased the risk by 50% while others increased risk by just 10%.

Another Variant that Protects Against COVID-19 Identified

Meanwhile, another international study has pinpointed a unique protective genetic variant that blocks the severe form of COVID-19. 

The variant, rs10774671-G, plays a big role in the length of the protein unleashed by the OAS1 gene. The longer the protein variant, the more effective it is at dismantling the virus that causes COVID-19.

The study, led by researchers from the VA Boston Healthcare System, looked at people carrying parts of a DNA segment that has been linked to a 20% reduction in the risk of developing the life-threatening form of COVID-19 infection. The variant may be targeted in the future to fight severe infection.

Most Common Genetic Diseases Tested

brad schaeffer medcomp

When we look in a mirror, we can see our genes in action. Perhaps you got your hair texture from your mom or eye color from your dad. Just about everything you see is a visual representation of your genes in action. 

But Brad Schaeffer of Medcomp Sciences explains that genes also determine much of what happens that goes much deeper than skin. Learn more about how genetic testing could benefit you or your child’s health and why you should ask your doctor about testing your genes and possible mutations you’ve inherited. 

Prenatal Testing

Suppose you plan to become a parent, or you or your partner are currently pregnant. In that case, prenatal testing is an excellent way to help you make the best decisions about conceiving and what additional care might be required after a child’s born. 

Parents’ Screening Test

Rather than testing the child directly, parents can be screened for genetic traits that might contribute to a risk for the child. Here are disease markers that doctors look for in future parents:

  • Cystic Fibrosis. If both parents have this gene, the inheritance rate is 25% and means a much lower life expectancy for children.
  • Tay-Sachs. Children who inherit the disease from their parents often don’t live past five years old. If a screening shows a higher likelihood of producing a child with Tay-Sachs, intervention can be done so a couple can reproduce without passing on the gene.
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Presymptomatic Testing

Genetic testing may be done to determine what treatment is recommended if you’re beginning to show unexplained symptoms. However, you don’t always need to wait for symptoms to appear to learn more about your genes. 

With Presymptomatic testing, you can see if you’re predisposed to disease and see what actions you can take to prevent symptoms or prepare for when they appear. Testing is particularly imperative if your family has a history of a specific disease, especially a close family member. 

Here is a list of some genetic diseases you should test for preemptively: 

  • Breast and Ovarian Cancers. If a woman has a harmful variant of BRCA genes, they are five times more likely to develop one of these cancers.
  • Parkinson’s Disease. You may be able to enroll early in clinical trials and lower the severity of symptoms later on or get early, life-improving treatment if you test positive for this gene mutation.
  • Hereditary Hemochromatosis. If a close relative has ever suffered from high iron levels or hemochromatosis, you should be tested as well. The disease can lead to severe organ failure, but early testing can help prevent serious cases.

Stay Informed About Your Health

We don’t want to leave our health up to chance. If you’re in a position to run genetic tests to better understand your body or the potential risks for your child, use it as an opportunity to get ahead of potential problems. 

However, don’t let results get in the way of you enjoying life. Use the information you gain to simply make better decisions or feel more prepared for the future. Your genetic makeup could provide valuable insights, so follow your doctor’s recommendations and get tested for common genetic diseases. 

How is Serology Used?

Serology is easily one of the most critical aspects of healthcare practices today, and its use is integral for a plethora of different everyday medical applications. But what is it, and why is it so important? 

Here, Brad Schaeffer the President of Medcomp Sciences takes a closer look at how serology came to be and the three most common ways it’s used today. 

History of Serology

Many great strides were made in science and medicine during the twentieth century. Thanks to the many technological advances that occurred during this period, new and innovative fields started cropping up left and right, changing how these industries operated. One of these new fields was serology, the study of blood serum.

Serology was initially developed by Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian-American scientist specializing in immunology, in the year 1901. Serology’s initial goal was to study red blood cells up close and investigate the theory of blood types. Since then, it has been used for a wide variety of different medical applications.

How We Use Serology Now

While serology had humble beginnings, it’s now critical to keeping patients alive and even managing the spread of diseases. Here are some examples of how today’s medical professionals rely on serology. 

Discover and Identify Antibodies

One practical use of a serology test is to determine if specific antibodies are present in a patient’s bloodstream. Antibodies are substances responsible for defending your immune system from harmful pathogens. They typically develop on their own after exposure to a toxic substance, or they can be administered artificially using a vaccine.  

An antibody test can help determine things like whether a patient has had a certain kind of infection or whether the patient has been vaccinated against a specific pathogen. It can also be used to assess the efficacy of a vaccine. 

Determine Compatibility for Organ Transplants

One of the most impressive, life-saving applications of serology is conducting blood tests for transplants. This helps determine compatibility for organ donations and other kinds of person-to-person transplants like bone marrow and blood transfusions.  

For an organ from a donor to be safely transplanted into a patient, blood tests need to be conducted to ensure that both parties’ blood and tissue types are a match. Otherwise, the patient’s body could reject the transplanted organ. Thanks to serology tests, doctors and scientists can carefully examine each person’s blood to ensure that the transplant will succeed. 

Diagnose Immune System Disorders

Studying the blood serum of a patient is also integral in diagnosing problems with the immune system. By closely examining a blood sample, doctors can identify whether the patient’s antibodies are actively working against them — a sign of an autoimmune disease. 

Doctors can also tell if the antibodies aren’t doing their job as efficiently as they should, which could indicate that the patient has an immunodeficiency disorder. 

The Power of Serology

Thanks to the invention of microscopes, developments in medical testing, and many other innovations in the healthcare field, serology is now used to improve the quality and efficiency of medical care. This field now saves lives, and the world of medicine is stronger because of it. 

How Can Senior Citizens Benefit from Yoga?

When we think about yoga, the first image that comes to mind is a young woman posing effortlessly on a mountain top. This can intimidate a lot of people from trying it out, as they think they won’t be flexible enough to reach each pose.

However, this form of exercise can be practiced by anyone and everyone, be it a person suffering from joint pain, osteoporosis, or even limited mobility. Due to its low impact nature, yoga asanas (positions) can also be readily adapted to meet your comfort level and physical capabilities, making it an excellent exercise for older people. 

Brad Schaeffer of MedComp Sciences lists several benefits an older person can expect by starting yoga and why this practice isn’t limited to younger folks.

Improved Mental Health

Yoga has been found to have a positive impact on the overall wellness of senior citizens. Many studies show that seniors who practice yoga are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. This is because the combination of movement, breathing, and meditation in yoga can enhance one’s mood and bring clarity. 

A Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep disturbances are common among seniors, especially those who have experienced the recent loss of a friend or family member.

However, by focusing on the present and practicing mindful breathing, yoga encourages people to find peace within themselves and their surroundings. Following this practice helps to reduce stress hormones, cortisol levels and takes care of anxiety symptoms, which lead to racing thoughts at night.

Enhanced Bone Strength

Old age can be harsh on our bodies, particularly the bones; they tend to become more brittle over time. This is why many older adults suffer from fractures or bad breaks, even over small falls. 

However, yoga can improve bone density, particularly in women, and reduce the chances of osteoporosis. Following a routine with weight-bearing postures is a good way to strengthen the bones and build resistance to hazardous falls.

Healthy Alternative to Intense Exercise

Staying active is critical for seniors to fight off diseases and debilitating conditions. But some seniors can’t run, jog, or lift weights because the activity is too intense for them.

Yoga is the best alternative. With flexible poses, exercise is completely customizable and tailored to a senior’s body and conditions.

But what if you hate breaking a sweat? 

We get it. Everybody struggles to find the motivation to work out. However, those that particularly despise working out can turn to yoga for a non-demanding exercise. 

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Increased Connectivity to Self and Others

The older we get, the more likely we are to fall out of contact with lifeline friends. As a result, many seniors find themselves struggling socially, particularly if they’re living in assisted living facilities.

Through weekly classes, yoga offers everyone the opportunity to expand their social network and be part of a group. The studio becomes a communal space where people can come to relax and learn from each other’s techniques. It helps some seniors forget their concerns and feel connected to something outside their struggles.

However, yoga also places emphasis on connectivity with the self and increasing awareness. By bringing attention to your thoughts, feelings, and behavior in your practice, you’re encouraged to reflect and see adversity in a new way. 

After a session, a senior who’s struggling with socializing might realize they’re not so lonely after all. 

Hobby Enjoyed with Loved Ones

Yoga provides an excellent opportunity for a senior and loved ones to bond and enjoy a new hobby together. Rather than sitting inside, yoga encourages families to shake things up and experience something new. One session has the potential to change an entire family’s perception of yoga – it could become a weekly activity that everyone looks forward to.

In addition, family yoga can make older members feel like included and valued as an important member of your family.

Highly Accessible 

If enrolling in a group class at a studio isn’t possible, you don’t have to miss out – you can find a tutorial on YouTube. A senior can enjoy a 5-10 minute practice or even an hour-long session in their own living room. All they need is the right attire, a mat, and water to enjoy yoga from their home – no other expenses required. 

Virtual tutorials can’t provide in-person feedback and coaching, but it does give seniors full control over which poses they practice that day and how long they exercise. 

Try Yoga Today

The image of a young yoga teacher might linger in a senior’s mind and discourage them from enrolling in a class. However, this fulfilling, energetic, and stimulating activity brings rewards to older people who take a chance and decide to try it out. 

Yoga has not only physical and mental health benefits but is also flexible and affordable for all seniors. Why not begin with a 5-10 minute session and see if the benefits are worth it?

Brad Schaeffer of Medcomp Sciences Answers the Most Common Questions Associated with Urine Drug Tests

In the American workplace, the vast majority of workers will have to undertake a urine drug test at one point in their careers. These tests will often dictate whether a person will be hired by an employer, which can cause a great deal of stress regardless of whether that individual has recently used drugs. Since becoming President of Medcomp Sciences in 2012, Brad Schaeffer has become aware of the degree of misinformation surrounding urine toxicology and its impact on the American public. For this reason, Brad Schaeffer of Medcomp Sciences hopes to set the record straight by discussing some of the most common questions associated with urine drug tests.

Number 1: If I Eat a Poppy-Seed Muffin, Will I Receive A False Positive?

This is perhaps the most common question asked regarding urine drug tests. In 1996, the popular sitcom Seinfeld featured an episode where one of its main characters failed a drug test at work after habitually eating poppy seed muffins. While poppy seeds along with morphine, oxycodone, and heroin are all derived from the opium plant, the poppy seeds themselves do not contain morphine and thus cannot produce a “high.” However, it is important to note that some seeds can absorb some of the morphine during the harvesting process and give the consumer a false positive. The chances of this taking place are highly unlikely, but many drug testing facilities still ask that patients not eat any foods that contain poppy seeds for three days before their testing.

Number 2: Can I Fail a Drug Test By Standing Near Someone Smoking Marijuana?

When submitting a urine sample for drug testing, sometimes patients will be concerned that they will fail the drug test because they have recently been around others who were smoking marijuana. This concern is understandable, as many doctors warn the general public of the dangers of secondhand cigarette smoke. However, it is highly improbable that being close to people smoking marijuana would be enough to trigger a positive drug test unless the individual is directly inhaling the marijuana or is in a tightly enclosed area with the smokers, such as a “hotbox.”

Number 3: Can Certain Medicines Create A False Positive on My Drug Test?

In the US, nearly 65% of all adults are currently taking prescription drugs. Unfortunately, some of the prescriptions on the market today can negatively affect a drug test’s results. However, while drug tests can pick up certain over-the-counter medicines and prescriptions, individuals can provide a list of medications to their doctor and lab technician to reverse the drug test’s false positive. Brad Schaeffer of Medcomp Sciences recommends disclosing any over-the-counter medicines that may affect your results before the test to reduce the chances of wrongfully failing the test.

How is Genetic Testing Used to Improve Patients’ Overall Health?

Brad Schaeffer of Medcomp Sciences

Brad Schaeffer of Medcomp Sciences knows that pharmacogenetics testing plays an important role in helping patients gain insights into how their bodies will react to medicine. This knowledge ensures that patients secure higher quality care as they continue on the path to treatment with insights that will help them improve their overall health standing. Here, Brad Schaeffer discusses a couple ways how pharmacogenetic testing can benefit patients as they work with healthcare providers to develop a plan for their continued health.

Improves Efficacy of Medications

In the past few years, there has been a revolution in prioritizing mental health, with experts citing the correlations that it has with physical wellbeing. One of the difficulties of patients making a concerted effort to manage their mental health through medication is that it can often be a drawn-out process to find the right match. Patients may need to test out a variety of medications and adjust treatment doses to determine what will work best for their physiology and needs. After this point, patients still will need to wait several weeks or months for the medication to fully take effect, and patients may experience treatment-resistant depression along the way. Pharmacogenetics testing can be a valuable resource for patients that have taken antidepressant medications but are not seeing positive changes. Genetic variability can play a role in how a patient responds- and by using pharmacogenetic tests, healthcare professionals can help patients on the road to finding the medication that will suit them best.

Helps Ensure Patients Adhere to Prescribed Medication Dosage

Certain medications can have side-effects that differ in terms of severity depending on factors such as our genetics and physiology. Of course, medications with significant adverse side effects have high rates of non-adherence by patients, who may decide that the side-effects are worse than their original issue. One of the benefits of pharmacogenetic testing is that it can help healthcare professionals lead patients to medications that are less likely to cause side effects while producing the desired results. This is made possible by the test’s ability to help patients learn what drugs to avoid based off their specific genetic variations and determine appropriate dosage from one’s metabolism. Patients that are prescribed medications that make them feel truly better are much more likely to continue to take their dosages, keeping them on the path to success much better than medications that cause adverse symptoms.

Brad Schaeffer of Medcomp Sciences Shares Common Misconceptions of Genetic Testing

Brad Schaeffer of Medcomp Sciences

Since its creation in the 1950s, genetic testing has transitioned from a scientific theory to one of the pillars of American healthcare and a popular consumer product. Major biotechnology companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com have helped to grow public knowledge regarding genetic testing, and today, more than 30 million people around the world have undergone genetic testing. However, while the test has become commonplace, many Americans still hold several misconceptions regarding genetic testing. Brad Schaeffer, the founder of Medcomp Sciences, is a major proponent of genetic testing sciences and believes in the future of genetic testing within the healthcare field. Below, Brad Schaeffer of Medcomp Sciences hopes to dispel some of the most common misconceptions regarding genetic testing and highlight the many benefits of this incredible science.

Siblings Have the Same DNA Makeup

After receiving genetic testing results, siblings will often be surprised to see that they have a different ethnic makeup than their siblings. This stems from a common misconception regarding biology. When first learning about DNA, biology teachers will often tell their students that they receive 50 percent of their DNA from each parent. Although siblings will receive the same percentage of DNA from each of their parents, they will each receive their own unique combination of the mother and father’s DNA.

DNA Tests Only Show Health Risks and Ancestry

Within the past five years, personal genomics and biotechnology companies Ancestry.com and 23andMe have become the two most used companies for direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Both ancestry.com and 23andMe offer similar services, predominantly ancestry and health genetic tests. Due to the growing popularity of these two companies, many Americans today associate DNA tests solely with detecting health risks and obtaining ancestry reports. However, DNA testing can also be used to learn more about patient’s metabolism and discover what dosage is appropriate for them, what medicines are most effective for treatment, and what drugs patients should avoid based on their specific genetic variations.

You Cannot Use Results for Making Healthcare Decisions

Since first being introduced to the market, genetic tests have changed significantly. While some genetic tests may not have been reliable enough to help determine healthcare decisions, this is no longer true. Today, genetic tests can fall into two general categories, direct-to-consumer, and consumer-driven testing. Direct-to-consumer testing, otherwise known as DTC tests, have been tested by the FDA and are now labeled as vitro diagnostic tolls and are regulated similar to any other medical device. Additionally, “clinical grade” consumer-driven tests are ordered by physicians and medical personal for medical diagnosis and only performed at diagnostic laboratories.

Brad Schaffer Discusses Urine Toxicology Drug Tests

Brad Schaffer Discusses Urine Toxicology Drug Tests

Each year, more urine toxicology drug tests are added to the pre-hiring screening process. Depending on the state, many companies are required by law to administer a urine toxicology drug test. Additionally, many employers working in transportation, safety, transit, defense, and aviation are required to test applicants for drug and alcohol use. Brad Schaffer of Medcomp Sciences has built his business around more effective and efficient urine toxicology drug testing to better help employers during their hiring process. Below, Mr. Schaffer will discuss the urine toxicology process in detail and how it helps protect employers from potential workplace accidents.

Urine toxicology drug tests most often screen for amphetamines, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, marijuana, cocaine, PCP, methadone, and opioids. Additionally, employers can also screen for alcohol abuse, but this is usually detected through a breath test rather than a urine screening. There are two major types of urine toxicology drug tests, immunoassay and gas chromatography/ mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Immunoassay is a cost-effective urine toxicology test and frequently gives employers test results in a timely manner. However, the test can sometimes give false positives and doesn’t pick up on all opioids. A GC/MS test is administered when an immunoassay test comes back positive. The GC/MS test is more expensive for employers and can take weeks to conclude, but are more accurate than immunoassay tests and rarely give false positives. It is important to recognize both tests can give a false negative result and often fail to identify same-day drug use.

The most common test, immunoassay, does not measure the amount of drugs in the body but detects how the drugs interact with a person’s immune system and its effect on the ability to form antigen-antibodies. Test results are documented as nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). The results are measured against a cutoff number; any number higher than the cutoff number will be recognized as a positive test result and any number below a negative test result.

If a person has tested positive for both the immunoassay and GC/MS test, the medical review officer, the physician in charge of interpreting and reporting the results of any test done in their facility, will contact the potential employer will the results of the test. Urine toxicology drug tests help employers avoid any future workplace accidents or lawsuits resulting from drug-related activity. For this reason, many employers at this junction choose to rescind their job offers and not pursue the candidate for any further employment opportunities.

Brad Schaeffer of MedComp Sciences Discusses How People Can Achieve Wellness

Brad Schaeffer of MedComp Sciences Discusses How People Can Achieve Wellness

Brad Schaeffer of MedComp Sciences is an entrepreneur who has dedicated his career to helping as many people as possible. MedComp Sciences is Brad Schaeffer’s first company and it after it grew successful for accurate toxicology tests, it began to expand rapidly. Today, in addition to providing toxicology tests medical professionals from coast to coast rely on every day, MedComp Sciences is also looking to help individuals achieve their wellness goals. Always relying on science, Brad Schaeffer and the MedComp Sciences team look at the DNA of an individual in order to create the ideal personalized wellness plan.

Brad Schaeffer of MedComp Sciences says one of the biggest misconceptions that people have about their health is that wellness only has to do with diet and exercise. However, a person’s health is very much reliant on their genetic responses to foods, sleep patterns, medications, and more. MedComp Sciences produces a pharmacogenetic test to help create a personalized wellness program for their customers. These personalized programs can chart a course for people to unlock the healthiest version of themselves.

One of the interesting parts of a personalized wellness plan based on an individual’s DNA is that it clearly shows the best foods for their bodies to consume. The term nutraceutical, which describes foods that have both medicinal and nutritional benefits, is one that comes up often in these personalized plans. All who sign up for a MedComp Science pharmacogenetic will be able to clearly understand the impact a food and/or a medication will have on their body and their wellbeing.

The best part of the results of a pharmacogenetic test is that it makes it easier for an individual to understand why they crave certain foods and why their body reacts to different foods in different ways. As it becomes easier to understand what it takes for a person to unlock their healthy lifestyle, achieving those goals become easier as well. Beyond food, the test will help unlock the best nutritional supplements as well as the exercises that will prove most effective based on a person’s body type. No one can change their genes, but everyone has the power to understand their genes and chart their course to the healthiest personal lifestyle.

Anyone interested in learning more about how their DNA makeup correlates to their optimum wellness plan is encouraged to visit the MedComp Sciences website.

Brad Schaeffer of MedComp Sciences Launched Roz to Help

Brad Schaeffer of MedComp Sciences Launched Roz to Help

Brad Schaeffer of MedComp Sciences is an entrepreneur who enjoys developing medical products and services that truly help people. MedComp Sciences was Brad Schaeffer’s first company and it quickly earned a reputation worldwide for providing the most reliable urine toxicology tests in the industry. Schaeffer was able to parlay that success into the launch of Roz. Brad Schaeffer of MedComp Sciences had the idea for Roz after noticing that the healthcare industry lacked an online provider of transparent health services.

Brad Schaeffer of MedComp Sciences describes Roz as an online medical assistant. Those looking to give Roz a try just need to take a few minutes to signup for an online account, which will require answering some basic medical related questions, so the service can get a better understanding of their newest client’s medical history. One of the most exciting things about having a Roz account is it provides a person with a personal health coach. With a new health assistant, a person will no longer need to worry about scheduling medical appointments or not knowing who to turn to with a medical related question. The longer a coach and a person are together, the more suggestions a coach will make to customize a healthcare routine for the client’s greatest health benefit.

Much like with other online services, there’s no need to meet a coach face-to-face. Instead, Roz is setup for people to enjoy eVisits with their coaches. These visits are not lectures but rather back-and-forth conversations about what a person’s healthiest self looks like. Everyone has different goals. For some, they want to have a health coach in place who will provide them with a strategy that evolves around the gym and lifting weights. Others will simply want a plan that keeps them active and healthy.

Roz is a service that’s available 24/7 on any smartphone or tablet. Every person who signs up for Roz will not only establish health goals, they will be able to track progress and set different target milestones on their personal health dashboard. Brad Schaeffer of MedComp Sciences believes one of the best parts of Roz for consumers is its ability to hold a person accountable. Because the stats are clear as day, there’s an extra motivation not to sway from the healthy path that the personal coach has placed a person on. As time goes on, the personalized health coach provided by Roz will provide new recommendations regarding supplements, vitamins, doctor visits and much more. Brad Schaeffer of MedComp Sciences encourages anyone looking to be the best version of themselves to consider Roz.