Noom competitor OurPath rebrands as Second nature, creates $10 M Series A

Back in 2018, OurPath emerged as a startup in the U.K. tackling the problem of diabetes. The company helped clients fight the disease, and raised a$ 3 million round of funding by combining advice from health experts with tracking technology via a smartphone app to help people build healthy habits and lose weight.

Now rebranded as Second Nature, it has raised a fresh $10 million in Series A funding.

New investors include Uniqa Ventures, the venture capital fund of Uniqa, a European insurance group, and the founders of mySugr, the digital diabetes management platform, which was acquired by health giant Roche.

The round also procured the backing of existing investors including Connect and Speedinvest, two European seed funds, and Bethnal Green Ventures, the early-stage Impact investor, as well as angels including Taavet Hinrikus, founder of TransferWise.

This new injection takes the total investment in the company to $ 13 million.

Competitors to the company include Weight Watchers and Noom, which provides a similar program and has raised $ 114.7 million.

Second Nature claims to have a different, more intensive and personalized approach to create habit change. The startup claims 10,000 of its participants exposed an average weight loss of 5.9 kg at the 12 -week mark. Separate peer-reviewed scientific data published by the company showed that much of this weight-loss is sustained at the six-month and 12 -month mark.

Under its former guise as OurPath, the startup was the first” lifestyle change program” to be commissioned by the NHS for diabetes management.

Second Nature was founded in 2015 by Chris Edson and Mike Gibbs, former healthcare strategy consultants, who designed the program to provide people with personalized support in order to construct lifestyle changes.

Participants receive a situate of “smart” scales and an activity tracker that links with the app, allowing them to track their weight loss progress and daily step count. They are placed in a peer supporting group of 15 people starting simultaneously. Each group is coached by a qualified dietitian or nutritionist, who offer participants with daily 1:1 advice, subsistence and motive via the app. Throughout the 12 -week program, people have access to healthy recipes and daily articles encompassing topics like dinner planning, how to sleep better and overcoming emotional eating.

Gibbs said: “Our goal at Second Nature is to solve obesity. We need to rise above the confusing health misinformation to provide clarity about what’s really important: altering habits. Our new brand and investment will help us realize that.”

Philip Edmondson-Jones, investment administrator at Beringea, who led the investment and joins the board of directors of Second Nature, said: “Healthcare systems are struggling to cope with spiraling rates of obesity and associated maladies, which are projected to cost the global economy $ 1.2 trillion annually by 2025. Second Nature’s pioneering approach to lifestyle alter empowers people to address these conditions.”

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Far Out! Worms May Dose Mice With Cannabinoids to Kill the Pain

The next time you’ve got something to complain about, consider the plight of the intestinal worm. It not only has to figure out how to eat and breed in the confines of another creature, it has to prevent that creature’s body from dissolving the parasite into a mist of cells. That means dodging the immune system and rednes, the body’s natural responses to invasion. Meaning, your late car payment ain’t got nothing on spending your entire life in an intestine.

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have found that one nematode worm, Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, appears to boost its odds of survival by dosing its rodent hosts with endocannabinoids, molecules that are known to reduce inflammation.( The cannabis plant, of course, creates cannabinoids as well .) All the while, the host is releasing its own endocannabinoids, seemingly to dull the ache of the worm’s infiltration, creating a doubled dose of painkillers in the mouse’s body.

It’s a hell of a finding for parasitology, and even more promising for the treatment of parasitic worms in humen. Because it turns out that the same genes regulate endocannabinoids in our invaders as in the worms that infect rodents–meaning they could be dosing us as well.

The endocannabinoid system is highly “conserved, ” meaning it evolved long, long ago before the ancestors of these worms and mouse ran their separate routes on the tree of the life. Science is just beginning to explore the system, but it appears to have many functions: It regulates appetite, mood, and memory and serves as the landing strip of kinds for molecules from the cannabis plant.

Now, a mouse loaded with Nippostrongylus brasiliensis is an unfortunate mouse indeed. The parasite gets in by burrowing through the skin, then riding in the bloodstream to the heart. From there it’s pumped to the lungs( the first stop for blood, since the body needs to oxygenate it ), where the worm grows and burrows into tissue, leading to inflammation and damage. The mouse will then cough up the worm and swallow it. The parasite travelings to the intestines, where it gnaws on tissue, breeds and releases its eggs to be pooped out and hatch into newborn worms and infect still more mice.

This is all, of course , not great for the mouse’s body. But the mouse is far from defenseless. “Endocannabinoids affect the immune system, they down-regulate inflammation, they improve feeding, and they can reduce pain, ” says UC Riverside immunologist Meera Nair. “That’s why cannabis is used to treat cancer.” By adding its own endocannabinoids to the mix, the worm may be further relieving pain and rednes. Both parties are doing what’s best for their survival, and just so happen to be using the same weapon. “I call it a local high, ” says Nair.

By using drugs to block the endocannabinoid pathways in mouse, the researchers were able to hobble the rodents’ defenses. Conversely, mouse with functioning endocannabinoid systems were healthier. “We insured that the mouse with higher endocannabinoids, we could predict that they would be better off in terms of having lower worm burdens and lower weight loss, ” says Nair. Endocannabinoids, after all, are also useful in that they promote feeding. Meaning, the rodents are both hampering the success of the worms and keeping themselves from wasting away as the worms feed. At the moment, though, the researchers can’t say if the worm’s own endocannabinoids are having an effect on feeding, or if that’s only a function of the mouse’s own response to infection.

Another unanswered question is what the endocannabinoids might be doing to the worm’s behavior. Scientists have shown that the same cannabinoids at play between Nippostrongylus brasiliensis and the mouse severely affect the behavior of C. elegans, a nonparasitic worm. Oddly, though, “when we treat them with cannabinoids, they stop feeding, ” says biologist Rick Komuniecki of the University of Toledo. “It’s not really paralysis, it’s what we bellow locomotory confusion. They exhibit this really Dazed and Confused phenotype. It’s Matthew McConaughey revisited.”( Ideally, for this research Komuniecki could use his “worm bong, ” a custom-made hookah that would made the worms with cooled cannabis smoke, but the drug is still illegal in Ohio. So he applies purified cannabinoids directly instead .)

The cannabinoids may make the worms stop feeding, but only temporarily. “We get thinking about the munchies, ” says Komuniecki. “When we take them off the cannabinoids, they start eating like crazy, which is essentially what happens when somebody smokes marijuana. They don’t necessarily get the munchies while they’re smoking, they get the munchies after they smoke.”

How this kind of behavioral modification might work between Nippostrongylus brasiliensis and the mouse, however, isn’t as clear. Again, C. elegans is nonparasitic, so it’s got a much different lifestyle. But the work on C. elegans shows that cannabinoids can have significant behavioral impacts on worms.

The same various kinds of chemical warfare between worm and host may be playing out in our bellies as well. It turns out that the parasitic hookworms and roundworms that infect us share the genes that govern endocannabinoids in Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. So there’s a solid opportunity that worms that land in our intestine are also dosing us with endocannabinoids, a finding that could be big for medication. “If we figure out what it’s doing in the worm, we can try to see whether we could target those pathways in the worms, and it could make a new generation of therapeutics to treat worm infections, ” says Nair.

Researchers are already studying something called helminthic therapy–using parasitic worms to potentially treat ailments like celiac disease–though the mechanism of action remains mysterious. But maybe the endocannabinoid system is playing a part? “This might be the missing link of how worms can reduce inflammation, ” says Nair. “It’s not the only pathway, but it might be one mechanism, and we could actually target that for therapeutics against inflammatory diseases.”

Cannabis itself may also be a useful therapy. The Aka people of the Congo Basin, for instance, seem to use cannabis to self-medicate against worms. “The people who smoked more pot had fewer worm onus, ” says Nair. The cannabis, then, may be boosting the protective immune response against the worms.

Oddly enough, University of New Mexico biologist Ben Hanelt also found this correlation among people living in the Lake Victoria Basin, but never published his findings. He was collecting stool samples in search of the eggs of parasitic worms. “There were some individuals that, when we got eggs from them, they absolutely never hatched, ” Hanelt says. He observed that the people with worm eggs that never hatched had something in common: They all smoked pot.

So it may well be that cannabis could supercharge the body’s own defenses against parasitic worms. “If you’re ever pulled over, ” Hanelt says, “you can just tell the cops:’ I’m self-medicating! ’” I’m sure that would stand up in court.”


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Study: Seasons have little effect on dieting app reporting but the day of week does

If you’ve gotten three apps and a Fitbit so you can get skinnier this year, don’t fret so much about summer beach season or holiday weight gain. Instead, worry about Thursday.

Researchers at University of South Carolina found that self-reporting of food was integral to weight loss but that self-reporters often fell off, seemingly around the holidays. “A key question we wanted to answer is what impact the holiday season has on individuals’ efforts to monitor their calorie intake, ” said lead author Christine A. Pellegrini, PhD.

They gave a dieting app to a group of 32 obese adults and asked them to self-report over various seasons. The app could tell when they reported intake, letting the researchers to see when folks stopped reporting.

From the release 😛 TAGEND

After analysis of the data, a reduction in the number of foods reported by each person was watched with each successive day in the study. There was also a weekend effect such that participants reported significantly fewer foods between Thursday and Sunday relative to Monday. The study, however, determined that although more food was reported in January, an overall seasonality impact was not observed.

“Adults generally gain weight during the holidays and self-monitoring can help to manage weight during this period, ” reported Pellegrini. “Weight loss is a common New Year’s resolution and may explain the increased number of foods reported in January; however, the typical pattern of self-monitoring during the holidays is not well established.”

The researchers considered food self-reporting fall off on a weekly basis between Thursday and Sunday which suggests that we are good at reporting what we eat at the beginning of the week but, as opportunities to defraud enter our weekend radar, we slow down considerably.

The bottom line? “Based on this study’s findings, providing these promptings on weekends may improve adherence to self-monitoring recommendations, ” wrote the researchers. Basically someone has to remind us not to pig out on our days of rest.

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If You’re Stressed Often, Here’s What You Require To Know About This Common Condition

Everyone gets stressed out now and then, but chronic stress causes much more wear and tear on the body than most people realize.

Chronic stress is a hard thing to describe to family, friends, and sometimes even physicians. They can’t see it like they would a broken arm or a flesh wound, which may cause some to doubt its very existence.

However, nervousnes is a very real ailment that consequences 18 percent of the American population. When it rears its ugly head, so do many other physical side effects. Here are 10 of the most common.

1. Heart disease

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You know that saying, “You’re going to give me a heart attack? ” Well, anxiety and panic attacks might actually do that. High blood pressure and weakened heart muscles are both side effects of stress that create your chances of having a heart attack and/ or developing cardiovascular disease.

2. Loss of libido

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With all these negative things happening in your body, it’s not a big amaze that your libido can suffer. Part of this is because your hormones aren’t functioning properly, and another is that your mind and body are confused. It’s important to communicate with your partner and remember that you don’t “owe” anyone sex.

3. Brain damage

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Years of extreme stress and nervousnes can lead to brain damage, especially early-onset Alzheimer’s. It’s been found that the cortisol that’s released during stressful periods actually kills the hippocampus, leading to loss of memory and premature brain aging.

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11 Health Benefits You Could Be Getting From That Glass Of Whiskey

I know we talk a lot about wine around here, but I love to drink whiskey.

It’s my airport go-to. A honey whiskey on the rocks while I wait during a layover is one of my favorite things in the world. Little did I know that my guilty pleasure is actually healthy! Here are 11 health benefits to drinking whiskey, but remember to drink responsibly. Without moderation, you won’t get these benefits.

1. Improved memory.

Inside whiskey are antioxidants that can help improve brain function. Alcohol also improves blood circulation, which is related to how our brains work.

Read More: Can’t Stand The Heat? Get Out Of The Kitchen And Lower Your Risk Of Heart Disease

2. Stress relief.

It’s important to note that stress relief is only achieved in moderation.

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YouTube makeup artist opens up about her diagnosis with type-1 diabetes

Alexys Lex Fleming, 22, usually devotes her YouTube page to creatinghorrorandmacabre special effects makeup and body artusing her own line of paint and brushes.

But this November she’s marking national Diabetes Awareness Month by opening up about her diagnosis with type-1 diabetes at age 13.

In her video, she talks about her conflicts balancing school with managing her disease, and the toll it took on her personal life in the form of bullying by her classmates. But she detected body paint as a route to take her intellect off the stress of school, bullies, and diabetes. She soon determined her calling, seeking cosmetology and esthetics and became a licensed esthetician by the time she was 19.

What is diabetes ?

Like cancer, diabetes isnt merely one cancer. It can be congenital, originate during pregnancy, or originate later in life through a multitude of genetic and environmental factors. But the end result is the same: The body contains too much sugar in the blood or makes too much glucose.

Humans require glucose for energy, and they derive it by breaking down sugars from food. In a healthy person glucose is transported throughout the body by the hormone insulin.

Diabetes suffers a lot of fallacies, like that everyone who has it is overweight and that its always brought on by lifestyle choices like feeing too much sugar or not exert. While weight and diet are both risk factors, they dont tell virtually the whole story.

Type-1 diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, type-1 diabetes originates because the body is completely unable to produce insulin. Without the hormone to deliver glucose to needy cells, glucose simply hangs out in the blood, causing blood sugar to spike. Merely 5 percent of all diabetics have type-1 diabetes.

Symptoms of type-1 diabetes include increased urination, feeling very hungry or thirsty( even if you are eating well ), and extreme weight loss. But when treated through insulin injections, people can lead very healthy lives.

Type-2 diabetes

The more common form of diabetes, type-2 diabetes, occurs when the body stops responding to insulin normally. It occurs in people for a variety of reasons that are still not fully understood. In some examples, people can manage type-2 diabetes through careful diet and exert alone. However, managing it well is not the same as curing it, and drug combined with a healthy diet and exert is necessary for most folks with diabetes.

A lot of people think that theres a specific diabetes diet, but according to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics can eat anything, even candy. It just has to be balanced with plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meat. Fleming added that there is no diet-based( or any) cure for diabetes.

Vegan, healthy, and vegetarian diets will not remedy us. Cinnamon will not remedy us. Okra will not cure us. There is no cure at this time, but thanks to modern day medicine, we are able to live long, healthy lives, she told the Daily Dot in an email.

Living with diabetes

Fleming said that managing her disease is a constant roller coaster as she wears her many hats. But she stressed that managing diabetes is always difficult , no matter what path people take in life.

There is NO exact formula to manage blood sugars perfectly. Even with medications, we will still have highs, and still have lows. my hectic days, I have learned to work through the highs, and to drink glucose through the lows. There are days in which I feel like I is able to flop over, or can’t process what people are saying very well, but still find the strength to get through tough Diabetes situations. Diabetes will NOT bring me down if I don’t let it .

She added that she feels its important to accept the disease as a part of what builds you who you are. There are many diabetics out there that say they hate living with the illness, but you can’t hate it, she said. The moment you give in to your sugars, is the moment they will continue to control you. At the same time, also know that it’s okay to be stressed out, it’s OK to cry, and know when appropriate for you to relax and listen to your body.

Screengrab via Madeyewlook/ YouTube

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