Author Archives: Zuzanna Walter

What Clinicians Need to Know About Mounting Healthcare Cyberattacks

Alongside the increase in telemedicine use there has been a corresponding rise in ransomware attacks and other cybercriminal activity directly targeting healthcare organizations. In October 2020, the FBI and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued an alert regarding hackers which are increasingly using “RYUK” ransomware to target hospital systems during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The costs of such attacks can be very high; the agencies estimate that ransomware attacks have been responsible for loses of at least $61 million in the United States between 2018 and 2019.

With the increase in cybercrime there has been an increase in ransomware attacks specifically, with over 20 medical facilities recently affected. Since 2016, ransomware attacks have cost the U.S. healthcare system a minimum of $160 million, according to research by Comparitech. In September of this year, University Health Services which encompass over 400 facilities across the United States and United Kingdom experienced a “RYUK” attack which forced them to take 250 facilities offline. No patients were harmed; however, employee communications were severely hampered.

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Emerging Alzheimer’s Disease Therapeutic Slows Decline 

Accounting for up to 80% of all dementia cases, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) currently affects over 50 million people across the globe. With 10 million new cases of dementia diagnosed each year, this number is expected to increase with a steadily rising aging population leading experts to forecast there will be nearly 152 million dementia patients by the year 2050. The significant caregiving and economic burden of this condition necessitate innovations in therapeutics that will enable clinicians to implement effective prevention and treatment methods. Today, the socio-economical cost of dementia is estimated at $1 trillion – and this is expected to double by the end of the decade if rates do not slow down.

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Women’s History Month: The Role of Hormones in Brain Health Differences

Over the past few decades, the scientific community has shed some light on the vast differences between male and female patient health with an increasing focus on female cardiovascular disease pathology. The reason underlying varying reactions to the same diseases between men and women has been related to the brain, and in particular, sex hormones. Testosterone and estrogen are not only vital to fertility and reproductive functions, but they also play a critical role in brain health, and in particular sex-based risk factors associated with neurodegenerative disease. Emerging research reveals that the brains of males and females are much less different in structure than in how they age as well as the effects aging has on their brain health.

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