Archive for the ‘Health’ Category
Egg allergies and fear of needles are no longer arguments to avoid getting the flu vaccine, thanks to improvements available this year, a U.S. expert says.
Dr. Jorge Parada, the medical director of the Infection Prevention and Control Program at Loyola University Health System near Chicago, said new this year, those who have egg allergies have access to a completely egg-free vaccine…
In addition, those who have a fear of needles can now benefit from the intradermal flu vaccine which uses a very fine needle that is 90 percent smaller than the needles used for regular flu shots, Parada said.
“The intradermal flu vaccine is injected into the superficial skin instead of the deeper muscle and is preferred by some patients,” Parada said.
A needle-less vaccine administered via a nasal flu mist is also available on a limited basis to those ages 2 through 49 who are healthy, Parada added.
All you have left for an excuse is religion or an irrational belief in some superstition. Oh.
“…Of course, everyone should get a flu vaccine — early in the season is preferred — to protect themselves, their family and friends, and to prevent the spread of the flu virus overall,” said Parada…
“Herd immunity is a medical term that refers to the prevention of infectious disease due to mass public vaccination and herd immunity has helped to eradicate smallpox and control measles, whooping cough, polio and many other deadly illnesses, including the flu.”
Yup. Got my flu shot 6 or 8 weeks ago. Freebie under Medicare Advantage.
Well, freebie means no copay in Medicare-speak.
A Siberian centenarian became the oldest person to ever carry the Olympic torch Saturday when he breezed through his leg of the relay across Russia.
Alexander Kaptarenko, 101, had no trouble carrying the flame 200 meters closer to Sochi where the Winter Olympics begin Feb. 7.
Kaptarenko had practiced for the relay in the streets of Novosibirsk in recent weeks by holding a frozen fish aloft as a stand-in for the torch…
RIA Novosti said Kaptarenko was a world-class table tennis player back in the day. He participated in several international tournaments, including the 2012 European veterans’ championships in Sweden.
Read a few articles about Mr. Kaptarenko. I’m always impressed by age group athletes who are ten times more functional than I am. Here’s a man who survived a couple of World Wars, the Siege of Leningrad, still competing in age group table tennis last year at 100 – and he didn’t care for the puny dumbbells suggested for training for the Olympic Torch relay. He hauled out a big old frozen salmon from his fridge and held it aloft by the tail while he jogged for training purposes.
Good for you, Alexander.
Right-wing governors who refused Medicaid expansion force their state taxpayers to pick up the tab for states that did expand Medicaid
Georgia’s Grady Memorial Hospital loses $45 million
The 20 states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act help pay for the expanded Medicaid program in other states…
A Commonwealth Fund Study found Texas, Florida, Georgia,and Virginia were the biggest losers among states not expanding Medicaid because they are forgoing billions of dollars in federal funds, while residents in their states are contributing to the cost of the expansions in other states…
…Researchers explained federal funds that pay for state Medicaid programs are raised through federal general revenue collection — taxes paid by residents in all states — whether or not they participate in the program.
Therefore, taxpayers in states not participating in the Medicaid expansion will bear a share of the overall cost for Medicaid, without benefiting from the expanded program in the 20 states. Glied and Ma estimated the net loss of federal funds to states that do not expand Medicaid by using projected federal Medicaid spending in each state and calculating the federal Medicaid-related taxes paid by each state…
After taking into account federal taxes paid by state residents, states with the highest net losses include Texas, which will see a net loss of $9.2 billion in 2022; Florida, which will lose $5 billion; Georgia, which will lose $2.9 billion and Virginia will lose $2.8 billion, the study said.
Meanwhile, in states that chose not to expand Medicaid, hospitals are planning budget cuts because of the loss of patients that expanded Medicaid would have provided…
Nothing puts the lie to Republican blather about fiscal responsibility than decisions like this. Allegiance to ideology opposing benefits for the poor and working poor, rooted in petty fury over losing yet another election to someone who doesn’t fit the populist mold of White and Right…guaranteed these fools would decide to block an opportunity to aid the poorest of their state populations. Making it certain in the process that state taxpayers would not only pay for the loss; but, pick up the tab for states where elected officials decided in favor of expanding healthcare.
They will continue to campaign on the lie that they saved people money – when all they guaranteed was increasing poverty, ill-health and a harder life for many of their fellow Americans. They are liars and criminals.
A new study has found that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with an increased risk for endometrial cancer in postmenopausal women.
Previous research has found an association between sugary drinks and Type 2 diabetes, but this is the first to find the same association with a specific type of endometrial cancer…
The study, published online in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, found that all sugars increased the risk for Type 1 endometrial cancer, but sugar-sweetened drinks had the greatest effect. After controlling for other factors, those in the highest one-fifth for sweet drink consumption had a 74 percent higher risk than those in the lowest one-fifth.
“I don’t want anyone to change their behavior based on these findings,” said the lead author, Maki Inoue-Choi, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health. “We need to do more study to confirm this association. But I would advise people to follow dietary guidelines and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages.”
The researchers go on to speculate about the mechanism which may be causing the relationship with cancer. The predictable scientist’s conservative voice offers the opinion that they aren’t certain enough about cause-and-effect relationships to aggressively suggest you knock off the sugary drinks.
I ain’t that conservative. Do it.
The worst that can happen is that ongoing studies don’t confirm a link and, in fact, researchers may then reverse their findings. In the meantime, you lost a couple pounds and reduced all the other negatives that can result from excess consumption of sugar.
Spiky surface, destructive to bacteria
Originally discovered by accident in the 1980s, black silicon is silicon with a surface that has been modified to feature nanoscale spike structures which give the material very low reflectivity. Researchers have now found that these spikes can also destroy a wide range of bacteria, potentially paving the way for a new generation of antibacterial surfaces…
Surface structures similar to black silicon can be found in nature. Earlier this year, researchers at the Swinburne Institute of Technology in Australia led by Professor Elena Ivanova and Professor Russell Crawford found that the wings of the cicada Psaltoda claripennis could shred certain types of rod-shaped bacteria.
This prompted them to seek out other insects with similar spike-like surface architectures. They found that the wings of the Diplacodes bipunctata or Wandering Percher dragonfly were even more deadly, killing both rod-shaped and spherical bacteria.
“This structure generates a mechanical bacteria killing effect which is unrelated to the chemical composition of the surface,” says Professor Russell Crawford, who is Dean of the Faculty of Life and Social Sciences at Swinburne.
The team then set out to mimic the surface structure of the Wandering Percher dragonfly wing in an effort to create a surface with similar bacteria-killing properties. They then compared the bacteria-killing capacity of their black silicon creation to the dragonfly wing.
“Both surfaces were found to be highly effective against a range of bacteria, as well as endospores,” says Professor Crawford. “They exhibited estimated average bacteria killing rates of up to 450,000 cells per minute of exposure, for every square centimeter of available surface.”
Among the variety of bacteria the surfaces were able to kill were the deadly strains of the Staphylococcus aureus or golden staph bacterium.
“This represents an exciting prospect for the development of a new generation of antibacterial nanomaterials that could be applied to the surfaces of medical implants, making them far safer,” he adds.
Some of the results flowing from nanomaterials research is incredible in the range of unpredictable findings. Especially in a case like this one where the effect is directly caused by physical structure alone. Wow.
The 2009 H1N1 “swine flu” epidemic killed up to 203,000 people across the globe — a death toll 10 times greater than initially estimated by the World Health Organization…
In a study published Tuesday in the journal Plos Medicine, epidemiologists used data on respiratory deaths in 20 nations to calculate a global mortality rate for the pandemic…
“This study confirms that the H1N1 virus killed many more people globally than originally believed,” read a statement from Lone Simonsen, a research professor in the Department of Global Health at George Washington University.
“We also found that the mortality burden of this pandemic fell most heavily on younger people and those living in certain parts of the Americas,” Simonsen said…
The relatively modest number of deaths estimated by the WHO prompted some to question whether the overall response to the 2009 outbreak was excessive. However, Simonsen and her colleagues argued that lab-confirmed influenza deaths would underestimate the broad reach of the illness.
“Many influenza-related deaths result from secondary bacterial infections or from exacerbation of preexisting chronic conditions, and are not recorded as related to influenza infection,” authors wrote…
The sampled nations represented 35% of the world’s population, and researchers then used statistical methods to calculate mortality rates for all nations.
The authors noted that their conclusions were limited by a lack of data from poor nations, and other factors.
“The true total mortality burden is likely to be even higher because deaths that occurred late in the winter of 2009-2010 and in later pandemic waves were missed in this analysis, and only pandemic influenza deaths that were recorded as respiratory deaths were included,” authors wrote.
Researchers said that if deaths due to cardiovascular disease and other causes were included, the death toll might be as high as 400,000.
There’s a shamefully large number of bureaucrats who would like to keep infection and death statistics from pandemics as low as possible. Their reasoning stretches from keeping public health budgets as low as possible to fears of discouraging tourism.
At the other end of the spectrum is the collective folly of libertarians who resent any suggestion of “public” health concerns and their cousins in the God-will-save-my-butt crowd. Same result.
In the past five years, the Food and Drug Administration has received reports implicating the smoking cessation drug Chantix in 544 suicides and 1,869 attempted suicides, according to documents obtained by Al Jazeera America.
Since its introduction to the U.S. market in 2006, Chantix has been linked to an array of adverse psychiatric events, including suicidal behavior, depression, psychosis, and aggression. In 2008, senior researcher Thomas J. Moore of the Institute for Safe Medical Practice concluded that the drug was associated with more adverse effects than any other medication on the market. A concomitant health advisory released in May 2008 eventually prompted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to ban the drug among pilots and air traffic controllers…
That said, FDA has so far been reluctant to indicate a distinct causal relationship between adverse psychiatric events and Chantix, which is distributed in the U.S. by Pfizer Inc. In a safety review released last year, the agency noted that while reports of alarming side-effects have been filed regularly, it is exceedingly difficult to determine whether these actually resulted from Chantix use…
Study limitations notwithstanding, the FDA concluded that the benefit-risk profile of Chantix was unchanged, and recommended that the drug remain on the market under its current “black-box warning” – the most serious health warning the agency issues. Some would argue that the health warning, which lists as side-effects most adverse events reported to the agency, is an adequate precautionary measure that informs patients and physicians about the drug’s psychiatric influence…
“The use of a black box warning is to help physicians identify early symptoms that so that you can prevent the adverse event from occurring,” Michael Siegel, a professor at Boston University’ School of Public Health, told reporters. “In the case of Chantix, the black box warning is basically telling physicians, ‘Be careful because your patients might die taking this.’ What use is it to monitor patients for suicide? Once they commit suicide, it’s over.”
How many doctors, how many smoking cessation specialists – how many members of Congress – does Pfizer own? Is it a sufficient number to keep medication with this kind of track record on the streets?
The FDA admits studies used to justify approval may be flawed. Then, pull the stuff off the market until legitimate studies reexamine the safety of this product.
Canada has given the go-ahead to commercial production of genetically modified salmon eggs, bringing the world’s first GM food animal closer to supermarkets and dinner tables.
…Environment Canada said it had granted a US biotechnology firm, AquaBounty Technologies permission to export up to 100,000 GM fish eggs a year from a hatchery in Prince Edward Island to a site high in the Panamanian rainforest.
The decision marked the first time any government had given the go-ahead to commercial scale production involving a GM food animal.
The move clears the way for AquaBounty to scale up production of the salmon at its sites in PEI and Panama in anticipation of eventual approval by American authorities…
AquaBounty has been raising GM salmon for several years on an experimental basis, growing fish eggs at a lab in PEI and then flying them to a ramshackle test site at a secretive inland location in the Panamanian rainforest, where they were grown to full size, and then ultimately destroyed.
The GM fish splices growth genes from a Chinook salmon and a seal eel onto an Atlantic salmon – which AquaBounty claims enables the altered animal to grow twice as fast as a regular fish…
The company has also fought to win over the public to the idea of GM fish. Within the last year, supermarket chains such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes, have said they will not stock GM salmon…
But Stotish said in the statement the company planned to go into commercial production once those other approvals are in place.
About as overdue as any science-based product facing irrational fear and superstition might be. Aside from folks never having been able to distinguish any difference between like-prepared samples of these salmon and other quality spec farm-raised varieties, there hasn’t been any peer-reviewed science that demonstrated differences – dangerous or otherwise – about these salmon.
Cripes, the Luddites probably wouldn’t eat any kind of eel on their own either.