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One in seven Australian women aged 44–49 have endometriosis, report finds

The number of endometriosis-related hospitalisations in Australia has almost doubled in the last 10 years, figures show

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Around 14 per cent of Australian women aged 44–49 are estimated to have endometriosis, a new report has shown.

The report, conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, includes the most recent prevalence estimates on the historically under-recognised condition.

The disease, which the World Health Organization estimates affects one in 10 women and girls globally, can have enormous implications, affecting anything from women’s mental health and quality of life to their education, productivity and relationships.

Researchers at the University of Queensland used data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, along with health service data, to estimate the prevalence of endometriosis in two groups of women – those born between 1973 and 1978 and those born between 1989 and 1995.

The estimates show that women are being diagnosed with endometriosis at earlier ages.

By age 31, 9.2 per cent of women born between 1989 and 1995 were diagnosed with endometriosis, compared with 6.9 per cent of women born between 1973 and 1978 at the same age.

Katherine Faulks, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare spokesperson, said: “Endometriosis is a long-term condition that causes inflammation and scarring, which can lead to painful adhesions joining together pelvic organs that are normally separate.

“Women may experience pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, bleeding between periods, abdominal bloating, fatigue, anxiety, depression and reduced fertility, among other symptoms.

“The rise in diagnoses may reflect increased awareness of endometriosis among the general public and health professionals, leading to increased diagnosis and/or reporting of diagnosis among women born more recently.”

Diagnosis and management of endometriosis is complex, with an average of between six and eight years between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis, according to Endometriosis Australia.

There were 40,500 endometriosis-related hospitalisations in 2021–22 and endometriosis was the 20th most common reason for hospitalisation among those aged 1544.

The rate of hospitalisation has almost doubled in the last 10 years from 160 hospitalisations per 100,000 females in 2011–12 to 310 hospitalisations per 100,000 females.

While hospitalisations in Australia are generally increasing over time, official figures suggest that the growth of endometriosis-related hospitalisations was greater than that seen for all female hospitalisations between 2011–12 and 2021–22.

The greatest increase, the report has found, was seen among ages 20–24, with the rate doubling between 2011–12 and 2021–22. Endometriosis was among the leading causes of hospital admissions in this age group.

Endometriosis-related hospitalisations were more likely to be partly or fully funded by private health insurance than all hospitalisations for females, and around twice as likely to be self-funded as all hospitalisations for females.

The report has also shown a lower rate of endometriosis-related hospitalisations among First Nations people and people living in lower socioeconomic areas and remote areas of Australia, but further work is needed to understand the impact of endometriosis on priority populations, researchers have concluded.

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Researchers to investigate role gut bacteria plays in breast cancer

The project aims to provide insights into the function of gut bacteria in breast cancer

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Researchers in the UK are to investigate the function of gut bacteria in breast cancer and how it could be used to fight against the disease.

Bacteria living in our gut can affect our immune system and previous research in other cancers has shown a connection between healthier gut bacteria and better overall outcomes for patients.

Cancerous cells can spread in many different ways, including by manipulating the immune system to prevent being killed. When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it becomes incurable.

Breast Cancer Now has awarded £249,065 to Dr Stephen Robinson at the Quadram Institute, in Norwich Research Park, to study the composition and function of the gut bacteria in oestrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancer.

Up to 80 per cent of women with the disease are diagnosed with ER-positive breast cancer, making it the most common type of breast cancer.

Stool samples will be taken from women who have recently been diagnosed with ER-positive breast cancer and are yet to begin treatment.

Further samples will then be taken from the same women at various stages during and after treatment to see how gut bacteria changes during the course of the disease.

The team will compare samples from people who respond well to treatment to people who do not, to analyse any differences in their gut bacteria and see if it’s possible to predict the outcome of treatment based on this information.

Using mice, the researchers will also investigate how gut bacteria influence the immune system. The team will test specific bacteria species that have been linked with better treatment outcomes alongside bacteria linked with poorer outcomes, to see how the bacteria affect the progression of breast cancer.

“Evidence shows that certain bacteria living in our gut can help slow the growth and spread of cancers, including breast cancer,” said Dr Stephen Robinson from the Quadram Institute.

“These findings are particularly important given that breast cancer treatment may disturb normal gut bacteria.

“We are looking into how exactly the bacteria help our bodies prevent cancer from progressing, and whether standard treatments are affecting this.”

Dr Simon Vincent, Breast Cancer Now’s director of research, support and influencing, said: “This project will provide crucial insights into the role gut bacteria play in breast cancer.

“It could help us develop new approaches to treatment that use gut bacteria to activate the immune system and reduce the chance of breast cancer spreading and becoming incurable.”

He added: “With around 11,500 women tragically dying from breast cancer each year in the UK, we urgently need to find new ways to prevent the disease spreading, and treat it effectively when it does.”

Kerry’s story

Kerry Blake, 34, from Hertfordshire found a small lump in her left breast a month before her wedding.

“A few days before the wedding I felt a pain in my breast so booked a doctor’s appointment to get it checked out,” Kerry said.

“During the examination, the doctor confirmed I had a small pea-sized lump and referred me to the breast clinic.”

After an ultrasound, mammogram and needle biopsy, Kerry was told she had grade 2, ER-positive breast cancer.

“The doctor sat down next to me to give me the results. I burst into tears and was trying hard to listen and make sense of what he was saying but all I could think was I’m 28, how can I have breast cancer?”

In the following months, Kerry had CT scans, MRI scans, fertility appointments, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, followed by a single mastectomy. She also had a tumour in her left breast removed.

It’s now been five years since Kerry’s diagnosis, and she believes it’s due to advances in research that’s she’s living a full and active life today.

“Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis is terrifying, but thanks to research, I’m here today,” she said.

“For me and countless others, breast cancer research isn’t just about finding a cure; it’s about finding kinder, more effective treatments and inspiring hope. With every research breakthrough, we’re closer to a world where no more lives are lost to this terrible disease.”

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London tech start-up TaraCares launches revolutionary AI co-pilot MIMI for personalised hormone health

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Jyoti Sharma at HR Technologies UK Conference in London, April 2024 / MIMOSA was Top 4 Most Innovative HR Tech StartUps
In a groundbreaking move set to transform personal health management, the London-based tech start-up TaraCares has unveiled MIMI (Menopause Information and Management Interface), an advanced AI co-pilot designed to personalise science for users of its B2B2C hormone health and employee wellbeing platform MIMOSA. 

Leveraging cutting-edge responsible AI and a deep understanding of human health, MIMI aims to become an indispensable tool for women and female individuals of all ages seeking to optimise their hormonal wellbeing and health span, from puberty  to post-menopause.

In Beta since 2023, the development of MIMI was funded by an NIHR R&D grant awarded to TaraCares and strategic angel investors from Big Tech and Big 4 Consulting firms. 

MIMI has been successfully tested by individuals and clinicians in the UK, US and India including British Menopause Society (BMS) certified menopause specialists.

“MIMI gives you the freedom, safety and scientific evidence at your fingertips,” said Lisa Watson, advanced specialist nurse and BMS Menopause Specialist at Watson Health Menopause Clinic.

Dr Vikram Talaulikar, reproductive specialist at UCLH, trainer and BMS certified menopause specialist added: “Out of the comparable apps I have seen, MIMOSA stands out as comprehensive, inclusive and easy to use. 

“I am astonished at the accuracy of MIMI. It is first-class and better than some of the clinicians I know!”

MIMI stands out by its ability to meticulously study and monitor user behaviour and symptoms across 29 key determinants of female hormonal health transition. This sophisticated level of monitoring allows MIMI to deliver tailored recommendations and up-to-date research, empowering users with insights that are specifically relevant to their unique health profiles.

MIMI was inspired by founder Jyoti Sharma’s conversations with female C-suite leaders at UNLEASH World in Paris where she discovered that women running some of the largest and successful businesses in the world were being ill-informed by sponsored social media posts, antiquated diagnostic tools as they resort to dwarfed medical expertise and over the counter menopause test kits against RCOG recommendations.

“We are thrilled to introduce MIMI to our corporate customers,” said Sharma, founder and CEO of TaraCares. 

“Our mission is to bridge the gap between complex scientific knowledge and everyday health management. MIMI does just that by providing personalised, actionable insights that can make a real difference in people’s lives.”

The development of MIMI is a significant leap forward in the field of responsible AI. 

Unlike generic health apps, MIMI’s algorithms are designed to prioritise user privacy and data security while delivering highly specific health recommendations. The system continuously learns from the data it collects, improving its accuracy and relevance over time. 

Users interact with MIMI through an intuitive interface on MIMOSA that makes complex scientific information easily understandable. The AI tracks various health indicators, such as sleep patterns, stress levels, physical activity, diet, and more. 

By analysing these factors, MIMI identifies trends and potential issues before they become serious problems, allowing users to take proactive steps toward better health.

MIMI’s personalised approach is particularly valuable for managing hormonal health, a crucial aspect often overlooked by traditional health monitoring systems. 

The 29 determinants that MIMI monitors include hormone levels, menstrual cycles, mood fluctuations, and other critical markers. This comprehensive approach ensures that users receive a holistic view of their health, backed by the latest scientific research.

Early adopters of MIMI have already reported significant benefits, praising the AI for its precision and user-friendly design. Testimonials highlight how MIMI’s insights have led to improved lifestyle choices, better management of hormonal imbalances, and a deeper understanding of personal health.

The launch of MIMI marks a significant milestone in the journey towards personalised healthcare. 

As the tech start-up continues to refine and expand its capabilities, MIMI is set to become an essential tool for anyone looking to take control of their health with the help of advanced, responsible AI technology.

For more information about MIMI and how it can help you personalise your health journey, visit TaraCares’ official website here.

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US health platform raises US$10m to advance ‘patient-centred’ care

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The US health platform Amino Health has raised US$10m in funding to build “personalised” care journeys.

More and more employers in the US are faced with rising healthcare costs, complex benefit plans and low utilisation of specialised solution providers. Meanwhile employees struggle to know what is covered by their health insurance, and how to access programmes available to them.

Amino aims to connect people with cost-effective providers and benefits programmes across the healthcare ecosystem.

The company’s care navigation platform seeks to “simplify” healthcare by recommending healthcare providers based on objective clinical data.

The funding round, led by Transformation Capital, is hoped to accelerate Amino’s AI product roadmap to build “personalised” patient care journeys.

“This investment underscores the confidence placed in our vision to harness the power of AI to revolutionise healthcare,” said John Asalone, Amino’s CEO.

“With this infusion of capital, we are poised to strengthen our AI capabilities, expand our team, and drive innovation that will shape the future of patient-centred care.”

Amino’s AI investments, Asalone said, will further improve the user experience by offering care recommendations based on a user’s unique care journey.

Amino’s product and clinical teams have already seen the benefits of using AI to generate thousands of new care topics, including expanded primary care, women’s health and LGBTQ+ health, he added.

Mike Dixon, managing partner at Transformation Capital, said: “We believe Amino Health is poised to make a transformative impact in the healthcare landscape through its innovative AI-driven approach to care navigation.

“We are excited to further invest in Amino Health, and accelerate their journey to revolutionise healthcare delivery and drive meaningful improvements in cost savings and member engagement.”

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