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Latest News


February 2017

Epoch Health Founder Mike Whitfield speaks the AAHU about men's health

By: Epoch




Epoch Men's Health Founder Mike Whitfield served on a panel of healthcare professionals in Anchorage, Alaska to talk about being innovative in the Next Frontier, innovative in the marketplace, innovative in leadership, innovative in business and being innovative personally. The event consisted of more than 100 insurance 

brokers that represented nearly every insured business in Alaska along with all of the major national carriers. 






November 2016

Prostate Cancer rates fall after screening advice

By: Epoch

Source: NBC News

Fewer U.S. men got prostate biopsies and surgery after new recommendations steered most men away from routine prostate cancer screening, researchers reported Wednesday.

Their findings add to a growing body of research that's adding to the debate about prostate cancer screening and often leaving men and their doctors more confused than informed. At issue is whether screening the general population of men for their second leading cause of cancer death does more harm than good.

The latest report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association's JAMA Surgery, shows the new guidelines have indeed cut back on the number of procedures that men are undergoing.

"Practice has followed the guidelines," said Dr. Jim Hu, a urologic oncologist at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine who helped lead the research team.

But Hu and his colleagues say they are worried that some men with dangerous cancers may be slipping through the cracks and argue that the highly controversial recommendations may have gone too far.

Hu's team was following up on 2012 guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) that recommended against using a blood test called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to check most healthy men for prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is very common, showing up in 240,000 U.S. men every year. It kills about 27,000 a year.

So the PSA test used to be a rite of passage for many men as they entered middle age. But the USPSTF said the test found very few men with prostate cancer who needed treatment, and caused men to be needlessly treated for slow-growing prostate tumors that never would have harmed them. Sometimes that treatment meant side effects, from impotence to incontinence.

It was an extremely controversial recommendation. USPSTF advisories guide health insurance reimbursement and often guide practice.

The American Cancer Society supports the USPSTF's approach to screening. But the American Urological Association doesn't.

The AUA doesn't recommend that men up to age 54 get routine PSA screening, but it says men aged 55 to 69 should consider it. Studies show that routine PSA testing saves about one life for every 1,000 men screened.

"This is a controversial issue. I think it's also politically charged," Hu told NBC News.

"I think the answer is education, and let patients decide what's best for them."

The battle is being fought out in the medical journals, with high-profile urologists and oncologists performing studies aimed at proving their points. For instance, in July, Dr. Edward Schaeffer, chair of urology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, raised a ruckus with a study showing cases of aggressive prostate cancer were on the rise.

Hu said it is too soon to say whether some men with dangerous cancer may have missed out on treatment.

"Given that lead time associated with PSA screening is estimated at 5 to 7 years and the indolent nature of prostate cancer, a resultant increase in prostate cancer-specific mortality would likely remain undetectable for another decade," they wrote.

And it's possible some of the drop in biopsies could be due to better methods, such as the use of MRI scans, to see if the prostate looks like it has tumors on it.

The decrease in radical surgery could have come because of non-surgical methods to treat prostate cancer, such as radiation, as well as an approach called active surveillance, which delays treatment until the cancer shows signs of worsening.

"The greatest benefit of screening appears to be in men ages 55 to 69 years," the AUA says. "The AUA continues to support a man's right to be tested for prostate cancer -- and to have his insurance pay for it, if medically necessary."

Hu and colleagues looked at records from about 10 percent of practicing urologists for their study.

They found a nearly 29 percent drop in the number of biopsies done for prostate cancer since 2012. A biopsy is a small sample of tissue taken to be examined for evidence of cancer. They're usually done for prostate cancer if a man has some evidence of risk, such as an enlarged prostate, a lump or an irregular blood test called a PSA test.

And the number of radical prostatectomies dropped by 16 percent.

That suggests the USPSTF has achieved its goal of reducing the number of men treated for prostate cancer, Hu said. But he doesn't believe that is necessarily a good thing.

But Hu thinks the USPSTF recommendations went too far.

"I am not trying to paint them as the evil empire. I think they were well-intentioned," he said.

Hu also thinks a report that came out earlier this year suggesting that the recommendations have led to more men developing advanced cancers goes too far the other way.

Dr. Raj Pruthi, a urologist at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who was not involved in the study, agreed.

"The trends of a reduction in screening, a decrease in diagnoses, and an increase in advanced disease create a natural concern that we may indeed have turned back the clock in the care of patients with prostate cancer," Pruthi wrote in a commentary on the study.

The USPSTF is reconsidering its guidelines on prostate cancer screening now, but has not said when revised guidelines will come out.

"My hope is they will reconsider the scope of the evidence," Hu said.




November 2016

The truth about 'dad bods' and whether they make men live longer

By: Epoch

Source: Independent

The “dad bod”, it seems, is in vogue. And now a new book claims that gaining weight after fatherhood makes men healthier, more attractive and more likely to live longer than their “skinny” counterparts

The author, Richard Bribiescas, professor of anthropology and deputy provost at Yale University, claims that this is likely due in part to the decreasing testosterone levels seen in older men. He writes:

[One] effect of lower testosterone levels is loss of muscle mass and increases in fat mass. This change in body composition not only causes men to shop for more comfortable trousers but also facilitates increased survivorship and, hypothetically, a hormonal milieu that would more effectively promote and support paternal investment.

But is there actually any solid science behind the idea that lower levels of testosterone – and a bit of a tummy – can make men healthier?

There exists a complex relationship between our bodycomposition, the relative amounts of fat and muscle that we have, and how we age. While accurately measuring biological ageing is actually quite difficult, studies have nevertheless shown that having too much body fat can prematurely age us and that maintaining our levels of muscle mass could have the opposite effect. It is certainly true that frailty, a syndrome in which older adults carry an increased risk of poor health outcomes is increased in people who carry too much body fat.

Testosterone and ageing

But what about testosterone? Testosterone is a steroid hormone that in men is produced by the testes. Alongside governing male sexual characteristics, it also controls body composition, with lower levels – which naturally occur as we age –being associated with less muscle and more fat. It is this very change in body composition that these new claims of vitality are based upon.

Beyond this, there is actually some evidence that testosterone is involved in the ageing process. The most profound evidence that testosterone can affect how we age comes from studies of people who have none: eunuchs or castrati. These men, who have had their testicles removed, outlive their non-castrated counterparts by as much as 20 years, suggesting that the levels of this hormone may have a profound effect on the ageing process.

The precise reasons for this impressive effect are not very clear, but suggested mechanisms have included an increased ability to fight off infection and a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer, although the latter is a controversial link. It is unlikely the effect is related to cardiovascular health as low testosterone levels are also associated with cardiovascular risk factors and testosterone replacement therapy (TrT) has been shown to improve angina pectoris.

How low can you go?

While having low testosterone levels might aid eunuchs in living longer, in the rest of the male population low testosterone is associated with a range of symptoms including poor cognitive function, decreased mobility, reduced sexual function, and lower energy levels, not a list of qualities that many potential partners would find attractive.

But can replacing testosterone levels that have diminished with age improve these issues? Certainly, TrT has been shown to have beneficial effects on bone health, body composition and memory and testosterone has even been called “the best anti-ageing drug”. Taken collectively, this evidence suggests that although an absence of testosterone over the lifespan may be beneficial, the reduced levels seen in middle-aged and older men might not be such a great thing.

Body mass index (BMI) and longevity

One area of interest that this new book has highlighted is the observation that being overweight might be good for you, at least in terms of how long you live. Traditional opinion is that those of us who are overweight – that is, have a BMI of 25 - 29.9 – are unhealthy. But recent evidence suggests that people in this category might actually live longer than people who have a healthy, underweight or obese BMI, although conflicting evidence does exist.

This controversial finding suggests that there may be a benefit in being slightly overweight. So while this might not support the book’s claim that middle-aged men with “dad bods” are more attractive, it is possible that pudgy dads might live a little bit longer than their more slender counterparts. Just don’t give up on that healthy lifestyle.

James Brown, Lecturer in Biology and Biomedical Science, Aston University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.



October 2016

Anthem-Epoch, Inc. Secures a $5 Million Investment to Develop Epoch Men’s Health Clinics Nationwide

By: Epoch



Financing Strengthens Current Operations and Accelerates Company’s Growth


DALLAS, TX, October 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Anthem-Epoch, Inc., parent company of Epoch Health (www.epochmenshealth.com), a primary-care clinic focused specifically on comprehensive men’s health, has secured $5 million in new financing from Kayne NewRoad Ventures Fund II, L.P., a growth fund co-managed by Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P. and NewRoad Capital Partners, LLC.

Epoch Health currently has seven clinics staffed with physicians and mid-level providers located across Arkansas, Missouri, Arizona and Alaska delivering a convenient, male-friendly clinical environment with a ‘no-appointment necessary’ / walk-in dynamic. Nearly 70% of Epoch Health patients either do not have or rarely see a primary care physician. Moreover, studies show that unless a male seeks a physician for a chronic health issue before the age of 25, most men will not see a doctor again until over the age of 50. Epoch Health, however, has attracted the male patient population, who typically avoids proper medical and/or preventative care, with a highly accessible culture and ‘patient-first’ focus on men’s health. Thus far, the Epoch Health model has been a success its’ male patient population as well as the medical professional community, especially urology group practices. Kayne NewRoad Ventures is partnering with Epoch Health to expand their clinical model and impact more cities nationwide.

“We’re changing lives,” says Mike Whitfield, Founder and President of Epoch Health. “We have hundreds of stories of men walking in our door and our physician diagnosing an illness or a life-threatening disease that could have lead to serious harm, potentially death. We are passionate about not only saving men’s lives through proper diagnosis but also giving them the tools they need to engage in an active, healthy lifestyle. The Epoch Health business model centers on preventive care by educating men and their families about general wellness while matching their symptoms with appropriate medical treatments, education and lifestyle modifications that lead to a healthier, happier, improved quality of life. “This funding gives us the opportunity to take our brand of awareness, testing and treatment to more communities nationwide.”

Steve Brooks, Partner at Kayne NewRoad Ventures Fund II adds, “We are excited to partner with the Epoch Health management team and to have the opportunity to invest in a company that is making a positive impact on lives. We are confident that this partnership will create a real movement that introduces more men into the preventative healthcare system.”

About Epoch Health

Beginning in 2012, Epoch Health partnered with urologists to pioneer its’ comprehensive healthcare facilities within a convenient retail environment specifically designed and marketed toward men. Today, Epoch Health has grown to seven locations in Arkansas, Missouri, Arizona and Alaska while earning a national reputation as an industry leader in cutting edge, concierge, and comprehensive men’s primary healthcare. The Epoch Health business model centers on preventive care by educating men and their families about general wellness while matching their symptoms with appropriate medical treatments, regular screenings and lifestyle modifications that most often leads to a healthier, happier, improved quality of life.

About Kayne NewRoad Ventures Fund II, L.P.

Kayne NewRoad Ventures Fund II, L.P. is a joint venture between NewRoad Capital Partners, LLC and Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P. The Fund was formed to create and target demand-driven businesses with strong management teams in targeted market niches with operational expertise and capital to achieve outsized growth. The fund focuses on markets including retail, consumer packaged goods, supply chain and logistics, consumer healthcare, environmental and U.S. manufacturing. The fund is co-managed by Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P., and NewRoad Capital Partners, LLC.

Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P., founded in 1984, is a leading independent alternative investment management firm focused on niche investing in upstream oil and gas companies, energy infrastructure, specialized real estate, middle market credit, and growth private equity. Kayne Anderson manages over $23 billion in assets for institutional investors, family offices, high net worth and retail clients and employs over 300 professionals in eight offices across the United States.

NewRoad Capital Partners, LLC is a venture and growth equity firm focused on investing in technology-enabled businesses with an emphasis on retail, consumer packaged goods, supply chain, data, health and wellness, and U.S. manufacturing. NewRoad is based in Bentonville, Arkansas, the epicenter of retail, supply-chain, and logistics and is currently investing out of its second fund.

SOURCE: Epoch Health


Steve House, CEO

Anthem-Epoch, Inc.










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