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App that warns children about dangerous stress levels wins Randox Invent 2016 award

A gaming app that helps children learn how to deal with stress and prevent serious mental health problems has scooped one of Northern Ireland’s most prestigious prizes for innovation during the annual INVENT Awards. Entrepreneur Fintan Connolly, a pharmacist, won the Randox-sponsored Life and Health category for his app which is based on providing real-time biofeedback to players – educating young people and helping them consciously control their emotions.

Following the ceremony last night an emotional Fintan said,

“This is a validation of all I’ve done – it is recognition that you’re on the right path, that what you’re doing is meaningful. I’ve always been fascinated by stress particularly in young children, and I wanted to upskill kids to help them deal with everyday situations. Young people face greater mental health problems today than ever before – the figures are startling and frightening. If they don’t understand the concept of self-regulation – they can’t understand the sense of empowerment. However by showing them in a visual way what is happening inside them, they get it. You use technology to help them because that is their domain.”

As well as sharing the £33,000 prize fund, the Take Ten team now travels to California as part of the NI Tech Mission. TakeTen are due to launch an advanced version of the app next month, which is designed to specifically support children diagnosed with cancer. Early in the New Year, they’ll also begin trials of the app in schools in California.

Randox Chief Scientist John Lamont who was part of the judging panel said,

“We were very proud to sponsor the Life and Health award at Invent 2016. This competition, run by Catalyst Inc, plays a crucial role in supporting the many inspiring innovators across Northern Ireland. We recognise that desire as it was of course the very reason Dr Peter FitzGerald established Randox and why we established our own student and graduate programmes, which had a record intake this year. The judges were blown away by the quality of the ideas we were presented with during Invent 2016, and every one that made it through to the finals of this prestigious competition deserved their place. Fintan’s passion to improve the health of young people was clear from the start and his app has great potential. We look forward to following his journey and wish him the very best in the future.”

For further information contact Nicola McHugh nicola.mchugh@randox.com


Keeping your heart healthy

Today is World Heart Day. We all know someone close to us who has been affected by heart related disease despite extensive research being carried out to try and prevent it

According to the British Heart Foundation, today in the UK alone:

  • 435 people will lose their lives to Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
  • More than 110 people will be younger than 75
  • 515 people will go to hospital due to a heart attack
  • 190 people will die from a heart attack

From 2011 to 2013 a study of men and women under the age of 75 recorded an annual loss of 41,786 people noted by British Heart Federation. In the United States of America around 1.5 million people suffer from heart attacks and strokes each year. CVD is currently the leading cause of death in United States.

However, the British Heart Foundation have revealed that the annual number of deaths from CVD in the UK has fallen by more than half, since their establishment. This is a great achievement, but more can be done in the race to beat heart disease.

Take control of your heart health today

Keeping a healthy heart is key to your well-being. Our healthy tips below give some examples of how you can start working towards a healthier heart today.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is still a major cause of CVD. Smoking causes your blood vessels to thicken and become narrower making your heart beat faster and increases blood pressure. This puts significant pressure on your heart and can result in a number of heart related diseases.

Smoking can cause blood clots to form, blocking your arteries which makes it extremely difficult for your heart to pump blood around your body. This is one of the leading cause of CVD and Strokes. According to the NHS, after one year of giving up smoking your risk of a heart attack falls by about half that of a smoker.

Even if you are not a smoker, you should try and avoid inhaling second hand smoke where possible.

Limit your alcohol intake

Drinking excess alcohol can result in considerable health implications.

According to the NHS guidelines, both men and women shouldn’t drink any more than 14 units per week. If you do drink 14 units per week this should be spread out over 3 days or more.

The British heart Foundation stated in their October 2010 statistical report ‘While moderate consumption (one or two drinks a day) does not increase the risk of CVD, it is estimated in men that 2% of CVD and 5% of strokes are due to excessive drinking.

Get Active

Exercise not only releases endorphins which can have an extremely positive effect on our mental wellbeing, but it will also improve our physical health.

A study carried out by the World Heart Federation revealed that walking at least two hours a week reduced the incidence of premature death from cardiovascular disease by about 50%.

You should aim to do at least 30 minutes exercise 5 days a week to keep a healthy heart. Simple exercises such as walking to work instead of taking your car a few days a week, cycling for 30 minutes after work, or going swimming at the weekend can help to reduce your risk of CVD.

Cut down on saturated fat

Eating foods high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. Saturated fats include foods such as processed meats, fatty meats, whole milk and cream, butter and lard.  Replacing these with healthier options such a coconut oil, lean cut meats, and skimmed milks can help improve your health and reduce your risk of heart disease greatly.

 

Randox is a leading provider of diagnostic reagents for the assessment of cardiovascular disease risk. Assessment of cardiac health and regular cardiac screening is vital so that risk factors can be detected in the earliest stages. Our dedicated test menu includes an extensive cardiac panel, including; CK-MB, Lipoprotein (a), TxB cardio, Myoglobin and H-FABP.

These tests can be run on our range of clinical chemistry analysers, the RX series, which will provide you with accurate and reliable results. The RX series combines robust hardware and intuitive software with the RX series dedicated test menu boasting innovation, ease-of-use, and superior technology for your laboratory.

You can view our complete test menu here http://dev.randox.com/complete-rx-test-menu/.

Support World Heart Day 2016 by taking a healthy heart selfie and post it via twitter using the hashtag

#WorldHeartDay #HealthyHeartSelfie


Randox Health to sponsor the two feature contests at The Showcase

Randox is pleased to announce that Randox Health will sponsor two £50,000 handicap chases at The Showcase on Saturday, October 22 – the Randox Health Handicap Steeple Chase (3.30pm) over two miles and the Randox Handicap Steeple Chase (1.50pm) over three miles and a furlong.

Earlier this year, Randox Health signed a five-year agreement to become title sponsors of the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree from 2017 and was also unveiled as the official healthcare partner of The Jockey Club, joining an esteemed and growing list of Group Partners.  By embarking on this Group-wide partnership the Jockey Club is striving to raise Randox Health’s message of preventive health and wellbeing amongst its members, and to the wider racing audience of all Jockey Club Racecourses.

The Randox Health Handicap Steeple Chase and the Randox Handicap Steeple Chase are the richest races over the two days of The Showcase, which gets Cheltenham’s new season underway on Friday and Saturday, October 21 and 22.

Popular chaser Balthazar King captured the Randox Handicap Steeple Chase three years on the bounce (2011, 2012, 2013) and was runner-up to Pineau De Re in the 2014 Grand National.

The Randox Health Handicap Steeple Chase, run at two and a half miles up to and including 2014, has provided some valuable pointers to the BetVictor Gold Cup at The Open in November. Johns Spirit captured both races in 2013, as did Shooting Light (2001) and The Outback Way (1999).

Dr. Peter FitzGerald, Founder and Managing Director of Randox Health, is looking forward to The Showcase which marks the beginning of the roll out of Randox Health branding across Jockey Club courses;

“We are thrilled to be able to bring the name of Randox Health to the participants and viewers of the Randox Handicap Steeple Chase and the Randox Health Handicap Steeple Chase.  The races mark the beginning of our partnership with the Jockey Club, whose courses are the perfect platform to highlight the benefits of our Randox Health Preventive Health Programmes to the public, and also to bring the other diagnostic capabilities of our healthcare company, including Equine Health and Food Testing, amongst others, to the attention of equestrian enthusiasts.  Our health is our most valuable commodity and so we want to keep the horse racing fraternity healthy so they are able to enjoy such fantastic events as The Showcase.”

Carey Buckler, Regional Head of Partnerships, South West Region, Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “I am delighted that Randox Health are to sponsor at Cheltenham during The Showcase.

“Their involvement with The Jockey Club is really exciting and it is great that we are able to work with them across the group ahead of next year’s Randox Health Grand National.”

For further information please contact our Randox Comms Team on 028 9445 1016 or email amy.mcilwaine@randox.com


What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a method of process improvement which focuses on minimizing variability in process outputs. The Six Sigma model was developed by Motorola in 1986, and Motorola have reportedly saved over $17 Billion due to its successful implementation.

The model looks at the number of standard deviations (SD) or ‘sigmas’ that fit within the quality specifications of the process. In the laboratory, the quality specifications relate to the Total Allowable Error (TEa).  The higher the number of standard deviations that fit between these limits, the higher the sigma score and the more robust the process or method is. As sources of error or variation are removed from a process, the SD becomes smaller and therefore the number of deviations that can fit between the allowable limits is greater; ultimately resulting in a higher sigma score.

A process with a sigma score of six is considered to be a high quality process, making six the target for many industries including the clinical laboratory.

In order to achieve Six Sigma, a process must not produce more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. In a Laboratory context, this would equate to 3.4 failed QC results per million QC runs.

Sigma is calculated using the following equation:

Sigma = (TEa – %Bias) / %CV

TEa – Total Allowable Error

%Bias – Deviation from the target or peer group mean

%CV – Imprecision of the data

Acusera 24.7 now featuring

Why is Six Sigma useful in the laboratory?

Six Sigma can be used to help answer one of the most commonly asked questions in laboratory quality control. How often should I run QC?

The Six Sigma model allows laboratories to evaluate the effectiveness of their current QC processes. Its most common use is to help implement a risk-based approach to QC, where an optimum QC frequency and multi-rule procedure can be based on the sigma score of the test in question. The performance of tests or methods with a high sigma score of six or more may be evaluated with one QC run (of each level) and a single 1:3s warning rule. On the other hand, tests or methods with a lower sigma score should be evaluated more frequently with multiple levels of QC and a multi-rule strategy designed to increase identification of errors and reduce false rejections.

The below table shows how multi-rules and QC frequency can be applied according to Sigma Metrics:

Sigma Score QC Frequency Number of QC Samples QC Rules
6 or more Once per day Each level of QC 1:3s
5 Once per day Each level of QC Multi-rule strategy
4 At least twice per day Each level of QC Multi-rule strategy
< 4 At least four times per day Each level of QC Multi-rule strategy

 

It is important to note that this is just an example and it may be necessary to run QC samples more often than three times per day.  Some high throughput laboratories prefer to run QC samples before and after a set number of patient samples, while others opt to run QC samples after a set period of time.  Whatever frequency you choose it is vital that the frequency is appropriate for the test in use.  Download our guide ‘How often is right for QC’ to find out more.

What can Randox offer?

Randox’s Acusera 24.7 Live Online is a peer group reporting software application designed to complement the Acusera QC range. The intuitive and user-friendly software boasts some of the most advanced features on the market, and Version 1.6 provides automatic calculation of sigma scores for individual assays, giving the user an at-a-glance overview of assay performance.

Peer group reporting software is an integral part of any modern laboratory seeking to streamline their QC processes and reduce costs. With Acusera 24.7 Live Online, there has never been a better time to implement, save and succeed.

Contact us today to find out how Randox can help your laboratory achieve its goals.


Maintaining optimal brain health

Do you want to have optimal brain function later in life? We do. The majority of people focus on keeping their bodies in optimal condition but often forget about the most important organ, the brain. With more of us living until we’re much older, reduced brain function and Alzheimer’s are becoming increasingly more common; it is one of the most feared consequences of aging. We expect our bodies to age due to wear and tear; however there are easy ways to slow it, you will be glad to hear. Here are some top tips to keep your brain health at its peak.

  1. Get physical exercise

It is becoming an increasingly well-known fact by scientists that regular exercise may be the single most important thing you can do to ensure optimum brain health. The reason for this is that exercise increases the blood supply to your brain so therefore increases your brain capacity. Experts advise 30 minutes of exercise every other day to ensure good mental health. Exercise also helps with cholesterol levels, mental stress and diabetes.

  1. Eat, eat, eat

Good nutrition is also essential for good brain health. Your brain is no different to any other organ: the better the fuel it receives; the better it works, simple. As with everything it is important to keep your calories in check as it has been proven to reduce mental illness. We aim to reduce the consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol as these can decrease brain function. No matter who you are, vitamins are also very important to ensure not only a healthy brain, but a healthy body.  Vitamins of particular importance are folic acid, B6 and B12 which it is well-known can help lower your homocysteine levels. There is an ever-growing body of research which suggests that homocysteine levels have a strong correlation with Alzheimer’s and dementia. If you would like to read more about the link between homocysteine and Alzheimer’s, check out our previous blog post ‘How important is homocysteine research for Alzheimer’s disease?’

  1. Get enough sleep

Recent studies have suggested that a poor sleeping pattern is linked with cognitive decline in old age. A good night’s rest can actually double the chances of finding creative solutions to problems faced in everyday life! It has been proven that when we don’t sleep, proteins build up on the brain. These proteins build on the synapses, making it hard to think and learn new information; which is not conducive to good brain health.

  1. De-stress

Relaxation is key in a healthy lifestyle. Stress has a negative impact on the brain. It creates harmful chemicals to flow over areas of the brain that are in control of memory. Too much of these chemicals can lead to dementia and other memory loss related diseases, so maybe it’s not such a bad idea that you take that trip to the Bahamas you were thinking about!

  1. Improve you cholesterol

Cholesterol is commonly split up into good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). There are loads of ways to improve your cholesterol levels such as exercise, weight control, dieting and avoiding tobacco. It is very important to keep you levels of LDL down as high levels can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia and cardiac problems in old age. At Randox we are constantly coming up with new and exciting ways of monitoring your cholesterol and the launch of our new HDL3 test is coming soon. For more information on HDL3, check it out here!

  1. Brain exercises

Challenging your mind from time to time is important for good brain health; it keeps your brain active and uses cognitive thought to try and learn or solve a problem. It is thought that a lack of education is a strong influence in cognitive decline. Challenging your brain improves memory, develops critical thinking and stimulates the whole brain ensuring brain health is kept to a maximum. It can often be done in fun ways like brain teasers, puzzles and jigsaws. Check out our recent brain teaser here!

 

These are only some of the ways in which to keep your brain in peak condition. Aging will take a toll on everyone and it is impossible to avoid; however these 6 techniques can help maintain optimal brain function!  We have been keeping up to date with Alzheimer’s in celebration of World Alzheimer’s Month. Remember a healthy brain is the key to success!

 


For health professionals

Randox Laboratories manufacture a wide range of routine and niche biochemistry reagents suitable for both research and clinical use.  These include an automated homocysteine test and our new HDL3 cholesterol assay.  Please contact reagents@randox.com for further information.


Randox and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative share common goal

You may have read in the news this week that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to invest $3 billion over the next decade to help further and advance medical research.  Investments will go towards a research facility, named the Biohub, which will focus on developing new tools to research, understand and treat diseases, and of particular interest to us here at Randox, on creating a chip to diagnose disease.

Here at Randox we fully support this drive to further research that is devoted to revolutionising healthcare. We commit up to 16% of turnover to research and development each year and currently over 20% of the world’s major laboratories are using Randox products.

In particular, we invested £220 million into the development of our Biochip Array Technology (BAT). The Randox biochip has revolutionised the diagnostics industry by facilitating the detection of a wide range of markers of disease from a single undivided sample. This not only enhances patient diagnosis but reduces the amount of time spent on individual tests and associated laboratory costs.

Our expertise, highly specialised scientists and world-class ISO accredited manufacturing facilities enables early, accurate, informed clinical decisions in the areas of veterinary testing, molecular research and diagnostics, drug development, food safety and forensic and clinical toxicology.

Our Randox Health clinics use our Biochip to allow people to avail of the complete portfolio of Randox routine and novel tests to empower their health decisions. This new and exciting service provides personalised and preventive health profiling for each individual.

Speaking about the biochip Dr. Peter FitzGerald, Founder and Managing Director of Randox said,

“Many years of development and the expertise of our highly qualified scientists have gone into the creation of Randox Biochip Array Technology. This scientific development will facilitate the simultaneous quantitative or qualitative detection of a wide range of analytes from a single undivided sample. This approach both proteomic and genomic enables an enhanced patient diagnosis, optimum efficiency and consolidation of cost.  Our arrays are suitable for use in a wide range of settings including clinical and research laboratories, biopharmaceutical organisations, forensic and clinical toxicology, hospital laboratories, food testing and veterinary laboratories.”

We are delighted that Chan Zuckerberg’s interest in this area brings to the forefront the importance of improving healthcare through innovative diagnostics. It is clear that Randox and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative share a common goal to revolutionise healthcare worldwide and we believe that the Randox Biochip can play an important role in realising this vision.

For further information please contact our Randox Comms Team on 028 9445 1016 or email amy.mcilwaine@randox.com


Liquid Controls vs Lyophilised Controls

Results of our Liquid vs Lyophilised Poll

Having conducted a recent poll on our Social Media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter) asking our customers what format they preferred their quality control material in – liquid or lyophilised – we saw a large preference for liquid controls.

What does this poll result really tell us?

That most people prefer Liquid controls? Yes.

Lyophilised controls are not as popular amongst our social following? Yes.

However, it also tells us that even though most people chose a liquid format there was still almost a quarter of people who prefer to use lyophilised controls. Liquid and lyophilised controls both have their advantages and disadvantages, this blog is designed to help you decide which is the best fit for your lab.

Liquid Controls

Firstly, it is important to note that there are two distinct types of liquid control available on the market;Liquid ready-to-use and Liquid for ease-of-use, better known as Liquid Frozen. Both types of liquid controls reduce the potential for reconstitution errors and prevent contamination from poor quality water.

Liquid frozen controls must be thawed in a refrigerator before use, making them a little less convenient than the liquid ready-to-use alternative. They require no reconstitution so associated errors are removed. Due to the frozen nature of these controls, they are often shipped on dry ice to prevent thawing in transit, as such transportation costs can be significant.

Liquid ready-to-use controls are arguably the most favoured of the three formats and it is easy to understand why. The controls are simple to use, they require no preparation and there is no need to thaw before use.– With zero preparation required, these controls can be removed from the packaging and used right away! What’s more, they can be conveniently stored at 2-8oC minimising expensive shipping costs.

Another major benefit of using a liquid ready-to-use control is the fact that they are ideal for POCT (Point of Care Testing). The ability to use these controls on the spot is extremely beneficial to POC providers.

Lyophilised Controls

Lastly, the choice of 22% of respondents – lyophilised. This is freeze dried material which requires the laboratory professional to reconstitute the sample using sterilised water and mixing before use. Although this format is not as easy to use as either liquid control it does come with benefits. The enhanced stability of this control sees a shelf life of almost double the two years that is normal with a liquid control, however, the potential for reconstitution errors and the fact it is not as simple to use lead to the majority of people opting for a more convenient liquid control.

Randox Quality Control Range

With Randox QC there are a vast array of controls available in liquid ready-to-use and liquid frozen formats. Areas we have liquid frozen formats available in, include; Clinical Chemistry and Immunoassay.

Liquid ready-to-use controls can be found in the following; Liquid Cardiac, Blood Gas, Liquid Urine, Urinalysis, Specific Protein, Ammonia Ethanol, Haematology, Liquid HbA1c and Liquid Tumour Markers.

Lyophilised controls available with Randox QC can be found within; Chemistry, Immunoassay, Cardiac, Coagulation, HbA1c, Lipids and Therapeutic Drug Monitoring.

To register an interest in any of our controls simply contact us at acusera@Randox.com and let us know how we can help and support you or alternatively click here – where you will be redirected to our contact page.


Grand National sponsor Randox hosts Polo event in Bushmills, Northern Ireland

New Grand National sponsor, Randox hosted a unique event in Bushmills this weekend – an International Polo tournament with teams taking part from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland, and South Africa.

Guests from around the world who made the journey to Northern Ireland for the Polo event were given a warm welcome – they were treated to an intimate performance from world renowned concert pianist Barry Douglas on the evening of Friday 16th September, in the recently acquired Dundarave Estate.

The Randox NI Polo was the first of its kind and over 500 guests made their way to the North Coast town to attend the inaugural event. The day kicked off with the Police Service Northern Ireland pipe band who entertained the crowds before the tournament began. Guests included Pamela Ballantine and the Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mrs. Joan Christie OBE who delivered the match ball of the opening game.

It was a victory for Scotland during the first nail-biting game of the tournament, as they went head to head with the team from Northern Ireland. But it was South Africa who emerged the winners of the 2016 tournament, after beating the team from the Republic of Ireland and scoring more goals than any other team.  The weekend’s events ended with a Gala Ball and dinner, followed by a breath-taking firework display which was also enjoyed by members of the Bushmills community.

Randox Founder and Managing Director, Dr. Peter FitzGerald, a keen horseman and horse sports enthusiast, said he is looking forward to the highly anticipated Polo event;

“We’ve been engaged on the Point-to-Point scene in Northern Ireland for many years, close to our Randox headquarters in County Antrim, but up until now have never had the opportunity to also host a Polo tournament in Northern Ireland.  We’re delighted to be able to now hold the event in the beautiful scenery of the North Coast and to bring the Randox Health message to our Polo guests.  By taking care of your wellbeing you can ensure that you enjoy days out in Northern Ireland – such as the Randox Polo event – to the fullest.”

Earlier this year, it was announced that Randox Health will sponsor the Grand National, in a five year deal which starts in 2017.

At the time of the sponsorship announcement earlier this year, FitzGerald commented;

“We see this partnership as a natural fit, as both organisations invest heavily in the future and we aim to use our partnership to promote a positive lifestyle and to bring enjoyment to millions of people. We care about people’s health and this is the people’s race.”

As the company expands and develops – more than 370 million people across 145 countries now receive medical diagnosis via Randox products – it seems fitting that Randox would move from the local horse sports scene to the world’s greatest race.

But the global healthcare company is remaining true to its roots, continuing to host the Point-to-Point events that have been synonymous with the company for so long.  And by bringing the Polo event to Bushmills, and opening its doors to the public, Randox is saying ‘we haven’t forgotten where we come from.’


Randox unveils Future of Diagnostics Technology at Annual Global Distributors’ Conference

The future of diagnostic healthcare has been unveiled at the Randox Science Park in Antrim, as the company’s annual global distributors’ conference gets underway. Delegates from more than 90 countries are taking part in the world-leading healthcare firm’s three-day event at the Hilton Hotel in Templepatrick.

 

As well as discussions about developments in reagents and quality control products, participants enjoyed demonstrations of Randox’s patented Biochip Array Technology and its extensive range of analysers from the RX Series.

Melansha Fernando from Alpha and Omega Diagnostics in Sri Lanka said,

“Randox has released so many new products recently that laboratories in my country are increasingly interested in what it can offer. As a result I felt it important to come here to learn more about the new technologies. The truly global nature of the company has been impressed upon me after meeting colleagues from so many different countries – I’m delighted to have been able to take part.”

Speaking at the conference, Dr. Peter Fitzgerald said,

 “All exporters are aware of the considerable challenges we must overcome in order to do business in the global market but year on year our teams across the world have helped to drive our success. One of the biggest challenges Randox faces is the one we put to ourselves, to deliver truly transformative technologies and improve health worldwide. We recently celebrated our £1 billionth sale and we now look to build on that achievement and accelerate our rate of growth.   All of our profits go straight to either R&D, or the development of our infrastructure, so strong growth is key to our goal of revolutionising diagnostics and saving lives across the world.”

Susan Hammond, Global Reagents Sales Manager said,

“It is a pleasure to see the diversity of our distributors gathered together in one room, and recognize how far we have come as an international company. We dedicated Thursday to focusing on building relationships with our worldwide distributors to ensure that they attain the best product knowledge available. Over 100,000 end users employ Randox products and every second of every day 80 Randox tests are used across the world, and it is vital our distributors are kept up to date with every new development.”

For more information on the Distributors’ Conference contact Amy in our PR Team by calling 028 9445 1016 or email amy.mcilwaine@randox.com


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