WisBusiness, WisPolitics Health Care Report for October 14

WisBusiness, WisPolitics Health Care Report for October 14

Researchers at UW-Madison have developed a multi-layered coating technique for probiotics that could improve how diseases are treated with these medications. 

Probiotics consist of helpful bacteria that can be used to treat intestinal problems such as inflammatory bowel disease. They have been shown to improve the health of the “gut microbiome,” which includes all of the essential bacteria and other microorganisms living in the human digestive system.

Quanyin Hu, an assistant professor with the university’s School of Pharmacy, is a senior author on a report recently published in the scientific journal Nano Today describing the new dual-coating technique.

“When you transfer these bacteria through the oral route, most of them are getting killed by the acidic environment of the stomach. Or they’re getting cleared out of the intestine because they aren’t adhering,” Hu said in a release. “Our double protection technique addresses these limitations.”

Scientists involved with the study coated a probiotic bacteria strain in a food additive called tannic acid, which helps the bacteria stick to the lining of the intestines longer. They also applied a polymer used in extended-release drugs called L100, which protects the probiotic bacteria in the acidic environment of the stomach, but then dissolves in the intestine.

The coating technique was tested in mice with colitis, a condition causing inflammation of the lower intestine. Mice that received the coated bacteria “lost less weight and had healthier intestines” than other mice that were given untreated bacteria or none at all, the release shows.

Researchers plan to continue testing in other animal models, working their way toward clinical trials in humans.

See the study here, and see more in a release below.

Health system leaders in Wisconsin say the COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on the very best and worst in human nature.

During a virtual WisPolitics.com luncheon yesterday, Medical College of Wisconsin President and CEO Dr. John Raymond said he’s seen ingenuity and resilience among frontline health care workers as well as other essential workers in response to the crisis. He also highlighted an “unprecedented level of cooperation” among competing health systems that has helped Wisconsin “fare better” than many other states.

But at the same time, he said the pandemic has resulted in politicization of public healthmeasures, creating an environment “in which we feel like other people are the enemy … rather than the virus being our common foe.”

Bellin Health President and CEO Chris Woleske added the pandemic has increased visibility “to real talent” within health care organizations that may have gone unrecognized beforehand.

“When we faced something like this, they really rose to the challenge,” she said yesterday. “At Bellin in particular, we’ve identified people who are the next leaders in the organization. The shining stars, the people who are great at problem solving, the people who are great at communicating.”

Marshfield Clinic Health System CEO Dr. Susan Turney pointed to the rapid development of live-saving vaccines as evidence of the ingenuity brought forth by the pandemic.

“But there’s a downside as well. We did see many of our frailties,” she said. “We saw peoples’ instinct towards tribalism. We saw a loss in faith in science and expertise. And certainly we’re isolated from each other. And we also saw and are witnessing mental healthissues skyrocket.”

Through the “inconveniences and true perils” presented by COVID-19, Turney said challenges have disproportionately affected the poor, the elderly, more isolated rural residents and underserved urban communities.

“It created many fault lines, I think, that are now very obvious in our society. And it really revealed the inequities that we have been aware of but have been magnified, as we might have been complacent about many of these things in the past,” she said.

Watch the video on WisPolitics.com’s YouTube page, and see more from the luncheon here.

The Assembly Substance Abuse and Prevention Committee has approved a bill that would raise the age to purchase or possess tobacco and nicotine products from 18 to 21.

The bill passed in a 7-1 vote with Rep. Jon Plumer, R-Lodi, voting against. Rep. Gae Magnifici, R-Dresser, did not vote on the measure because she was excused from yesterday’s hearing.

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety passed the bill last month.

See more on the bill here.

Top Stories

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– FDA to take up Moderna, J&J Covid-19 booster questions, including mix-and-match shots

– Nursing schools see applications rise, despite COVID burnout

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Press Releases

– UW-Madison: New technique, effective in mice, could help advance the use of probiotics

– UW Health: Recognizes nurse practitioner caring for breast cancer patients as HealthcareHero