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The Cost of Diagnostics Versus the Cost of a Young Athlete’s Life

The title may have grabbed a reader’s attention and that was its purpose. All too often press releases that come from developmental companies are simply overlooked in the investment community as it doesn’t have a direct impact on today’s share price for the given company. Being an investor does not disassociate a person and their lives as a parent, relative, friend or even just an acquaintance to others; in short, a person. With that comes a freedom, and perhaps even an obligation, to speak out and share information with others that stem from the investment community and are important on a more global level that may have been casually overlooked in the news section of a financial publication by most. 
A recent press release by Vicor Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB:VCRT) is the exactly this sort of literature that carries with it a plethora of thought-provoking sentences for all to ponder and absorb. Based on the accomplishments of Steve Watts, Director of Sports Medicine at Vicor, he could certainly be labeled an “industry expert” as his list of accolades and positions is long and distinguished, including Visiting Professor in Sports Medicine in the Division of Surgical & Interventional Science at University College London, a tenured Associate Professor in the UMMC Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation and the Department of Family Medicine, and a man who has made more than 95 presentations on a variety of sports medicine and athlete care topics. Mr. Watts spoke today via the Vicor release on the debate over cardiac screening for young athletes and how it pertains to identifying the potential of a cardiac incident in young athletes.
What was particularly compelling was Mr. Watts’ comment,
“The continuing debate about whether to provide cardiac screening using ECG and echocardiograms to young athletes is primarily based on a simple cost/benefit equation. The naysayers contend that the cost does not justify the end. In other words it is too expensive to save such a relatively small population of young athletes from sudden cardiac death. They reference the relatively small size of the population to receive testing, the rarity of sudden cardiac death in that population, and that there is a higher incidence of sudden cardiac death in the general population that does not receive such testing. In addition, the number of pediatric cardiologists nationwide is not sufficient to adequately address the task. Chief among their concerns is the high cost related to 12-lead ECG testing, and the higher cost of follow-on testing associated with the large number of false-positives it produces.”
Mr. Watts was quick to note that there is conflicting data about the benefit of screening with current methods used (12-lead ECG testing and echocardiogram) and that these diagnostics, while effective to an extent aren’t able to identify all of the causes of sudden cardiac death, but referenced research that proves it is still more proficient in saving young lives than making no effort at all. Some research shows that it is extremely proficient.
Vicor’s PD2i Analyzer, a new technology which has been referred to as “the new vital sign” on some occasions, has demonstrated accuracy in risk stratifying diabetics for the presence of diabetic autonomic neuropathy (NYSE:DAN), cardiovascular disease patients for death resulting from arrhythmia or congestive heart failure, and trauma victims for imminent death absent immediate lifesaving intervention. In a study performed by the University of Rochester, researchers found that the PD2i Analyzer™ is predictive of total mortality, cardiac death, and heart failure in patients with left ventricular ejection fraction of less than or equal to 35 percent. With a hazard ratio of 2.34 and a P value of 0.023 for congestive heart failure mortality, a hazard ratio of 1.89 and a P value of 0.13 for cardiac mortality, and a hazard ratio of 1.95 and a P value of 0.004 for total mortality, the study results are highly statistically significant and demonstrate the ability of the PD2i Analyzer™ to identify those patients at an elevated risk of total mortality, cardiac mortality, and congestive heart failure death.
Rather than standing there beating his chest about the aspects of the Company’s revolutionary technology that can save lives, the press release was written in a very low-key way and more in the manner of educating the public and investment community as to that state of the industry. It provided information on a subject that is, unfortunately, not in the limelight as it only seems to carry any significance in the eyes of reporters when a star athlete drops over dead. The important thing to note is that not only could that athlete’s life have possibly been spared, but each one of the kids, young adults and college athletes who have suffered the same fatal end. 
While, admittedly, not the most common of investment-oriented articles, some things need to be reiterated as to an overall importance on our quality of life. It is really not much different than a biotech seeking a new cancer therapy or a car manufacturer publicizing new safety devices; saving lives is saving lives. The argument over whether it “makes wise financial sense” is certainly worth a much closer look and evaluation before anyone makes an argument that it isn’t.
The complete press release can be read on Yahoo Finance at More information on Vicor Technologies and its PD2i® algorithm-based products can be found on the Company’s website at