Hundreds in New York state may be infected with polio virus

New York state health officials have found indications of additional cases of polio virus in wastewater samples from two different counties, leading them to warn that hundreds of people may be infected with the potentially serious virus…

“Based on earlier polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every one case of paralytic polio observed, there may be hundreds of other people infected,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “Coupled with the latest wastewater findings, the Department is treating the single case of polio as just the tip of the iceberg of much greater potential spread. As we learn more, what we do know is clear: the danger of polio is present in New York today…”

Polio is “a serious and life-threatening disease,” the state health department said. It is highly contagious and can be spread by people who aren’t yet symptomatic. Symptoms usually appear within 30 days of infection, and can be mild or flu-like. Some people who are infected may become paralyzed or die.

Before the polio vaccine was introduced in the 1950s, thousands of Americans died in polio outbreaks and tens of thousands, many of them children, were left with paralysis. After a successful vaccination campaign, polio was officially declared eradicated in the U.S. in 1979.

The scariest words I’ve read in decades. I was a schoolkid in a New England factory town during the years of peak polio waves, every summer. I had peers who were infected. Some who died. Some who were paralyzed for life. Commonplace before Dr. Salk’s vaccine.

Brain stimulation helping partially paralysed stroke patients

Stroke patients who were left partially paralysed found that their condition improved after they received a simple and non-invasive method of brain stimulation, according to research in the September issue of the European Journal of Neurology.

Researchers from the Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, studied 60 patients with ischaemic stroke — where the blood supply is reduced to the brain — who had been left with mild to moderate muscle weakness down one side of their body.

Twenty of the randomly assigned treatment group received repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) applied at 5-Hz over the brain hemisphere affected by the stroke and the other 20 received 1-Hz stimulation of the unaffected hemisphere. The remaining 20 formed the control group, receiving inactive placebo doses of the treatment. All patients received the same physical therapy.

“When we compared the results between the three groups, we found that both of the treatment groups showed significant motor function recovery” says co-author Anwar El Etribi, Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University. “No improvements were seen in the control group who had received the placebo treatment and the same physical therapy protocol.”

The majority of the patients (95 per cent) had suffered their stroke in the last three years, having been enrolled in the study at least one month after their stroke. However, there was no difference between the level of clinical improvement and the interval since the patients’ strokes.

“Our treatment worked on the theory that increasing the activity of the hemisphere affected by the stroke and reducing the activity of the unaffected hemisphere can reduce muscle weakness and improve overall motor function.”

Bravo!

Looking forward to continued and wider study of the potential of this treatment.There are some old geezers in my family – even older than me – who could benefit from this treatment. Now, I’m bound to search out their physicians and see if something comparable can be tried.

E. coli + useless regulations = maximum profit

Cargill

Meat companies and grocers have been barred from selling ground beef tainted by the virulent strain of E. coli known as O157:H7 since 1994, after an outbreak at Jack in the Box restaurants left four children dead. Yet tens of thousands of people are still sickened annually by this pathogen, federal health officials estimate, with hamburger being the biggest culprit. Ground beef has been blamed for 16 outbreaks in the last three years alone, including the one that left Ms. Smith paralyzed from the waist down. This summer, contamination led to the recall of beef from nearly 3,000 grocers in 41 states.

Ms. Smith’s reaction to the virulent strain of E. coli was extreme, but tracing the story of her burger, through interviews and government and corporate records obtained by The New York Times, shows why eating ground beef is still a gamble. Neither the system meant to make the meat safe, nor the meat itself, is what consumers have been led to believe.

Ground beef is usually not simply a chunk of meat run through a grinder. Instead, records and interviews show, a single portion of hamburger meat is often an amalgam of various grades of meat from different parts of cows and even from different slaughterhouses. These cuts of meat are particularly vulnerable to E. coli contamination, food experts and officials say. Despite this, there is no federal requirement for grinders to test their ingredients for the pathogen.

The frozen hamburgers that the Smiths ate, which were made by the food giant Cargill, were labeled “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties.” Yet confidential grinding logs and other Cargill records show that the hamburgers were made from a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant in Wisconsin. The ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria.

There are six pages of this in the article. Please read it. Quote it to the manager of the store where you buy your food.

Unless you shop where you have absolute confidence in the links of the chain that brought your next meal to that retailer and eventually your dinner table, that meal could be your last.