Why A Clean House May Not Lower Asthma, Allergy Risk

March 26, 2015

Despite the widely accepted assumption that the rise in allergic disorders may be due to improved hygiene, a new study has found no connection between development of allergies and asthma and personal hygiene or home cleanliness. This research appears in the March issues of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Personal cleanliness was found to be inversely related to bacterial compounds on floors and mattresses, but home cleanliness did not reduce microbial markers (only dust amount). Muramic acid exposure was associated with a lower rate of school-age asthma, and mattress endotoxin in the first year of life was inversely linked to atopic sensitization and asthma at school age. However, the development of allergies was not related to home and personal cleanliness despite the associations of dust with cleanliness and allergic health conditions. Bacterial exposure in house dust was a factor in the development of childhood allergic disorders and asthma, but neither personal nor home cleanliness was associated with an increased risk for these disorders.

24-year-old 49ers linebacker Chris Borland retires citing concerns over rampant concussion injuries in football.

March 19, 2015

BostonHerald.com, Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The shocking decision made by 24-year-old San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland to retire this week for health reasons that have nothing to do with any apparent injury and everything to do with the concussive nature of his sport might not become a tidal wave of change for football, but this is not an isolated incident.

Borland is the fifth player 31 years old or younger in the past week to walk away from America’s most popular sport, joining former teammate Patrick Willis, Pittsburgh’s Jason Worilds, Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker and former Pro Bowl cornerback Cortland Finnegan.

Each had their reasons for leaving, and only Borland attributed the decision to the concussion epidemic that has rocked pro football, but Finnegan and Willis left because of ceaseless pain and the consequences they see in playing too long a sport NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith once said guarantees only one thing: injury.

Powered Alcohol Gets Washington OK

March 13, 2015

“No votes from me,” Atlanta legal nurse consultant says.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has approved Palcohol for sale. However, spokesman Tom Hogue said despite approval at the federal level, the product is still subject to state regulations.

Lipsmark, the company which makes Palcohol said it aims to get it on the market by the summer.
But clearing state hurdles could be tough. Alaska has already prohibited it, and six other states have taken regulatory action against it, including Louisiana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.

And Senator Charles Schumer from New York on Thursday introduced a bill against powdered alcohol. “I am in total disbelief that our federal government has approved such an obviously dangerous product,” said Schumer, in a statement. “Congress must take matters into its own hands and make powered alcohol illegal.”

Schumer detailed some of the “brazen” statements on Lipsmark’s original website, which have since been removed, where “the company suggested illegally bringing Palcohol to stadium events to avoid overpriced drinks” and “even explained that Palcohol could be snorted to get drunk ‘almost instantly.'”

The company said in a statement that it will “write to legislators to explain why a ban is the wrong action to take.”

Creator Mark Phillips explained in a web video that some “edgy wording” on the company site had given the false impression that the product might be used illegally “and everything went nuts.”
The company had a false start in April of 2014 when it was initially approved. But regulators switched the green light back to red, albeit temporarily, over concerns that it might get abused by kids. But this week, the product was okayed again.

Phillips said that, contrary to popular opinion, it’s not easy for kids to get a hold of it. It will be sold to customers over 21 years of age. He also said that it’s not easy to surreptitiously spike drinks with it, because it takes too long to dissolve to be able to do something like that secretly.

Phillips also said that people should not try to snort it.

“Because of the amount of alcohol in powdered alcohol, snorting it is very painful,” he said Phillips in his video, as he holds a glass of white powder. “It burns a lot. It hurts. Why would someone spend an hour of pain and misery snorting all of this powder to get one shot into their system?”
He insisted that the powder is “perfect for hiking and backpacking.”

“You can drink right out of the bag,” Phillips said, pouring water into a bag of powdered vodka and then shaking it before taking a sip. “Ah! It’s wonderful.”

Jury Awards Woman $30 Million After Throat Catches Fire

February 3, 2015

A 55-year-old woman who can no longer speak or breathe on her own after her endotracheal tube caught fire during surgery to remove polyps from her vocal cords has been awarded $30 million in her malpractice lawsuit, a jury in Seattle ruled last week after a 6-week trial.

The patient, Becky Anderson, who was hospitalized for 3 months after the fire, suedear, nose & throat specialist Donald R. Paugh, MD, FACS, anesthesiologist Linda K. Schatz, MD, and their employers, Wenatchee (Wash.) Valley Medical Center and Wenatchee Anesthesia Associates, as well as Central Washington Hospital, also in Wenatchee, and Medtronic, the manufacturer of the endotracheal tube, saying that the company’s design of the tube was faulty and should have included a “double cuff” that, Ms. Anderson alleged, would have prevented the oxygen in the tube from igniting when exposed to the laser beam.

Ms. Anderson settled for $12 million with the hospital, and a jury awarder her another $17.1 million, comprised of $9.45 million from Dr. Schatz and her employer and $7.65 million from Dr. Paugh and his employer. The jury found that Medtronic wasn’t responsible for the fire and didn’t make the company pay anything.

In the lawsuit, Ms. Anderson blamed her doctors for giving her pure oxygen rather than room air or a lower oxygen concentration.

Jim Burger

Why Texting Could Be Ruining Your Spine

November 23, 2014


Tilting the head forward to use smart devices for reading and texting may be putting as much as 60lbs of excess stress on the cervical spine and leading to early wear, tear, and degeneration. In the journal Surgical Technology International, Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj outlines his model for assessing the weight seen by the spine when the head flexes forward at varying degrees. In a neutral standing position, the force to the cervical spine is 10–12lbs; this increases to 27lbs with a 15 degree head tilt. 40lbs at 30 degrees, 49lbs at 45 degrees, and 60lbs at 60 degrees. Poor posture often occurs when the head is tilted in a forward position with the shoulders in a rounded position; over time, this can contribute to incrementally increased stresses on the cervical spine and a possible need for surgery. Since it is unlikely that people will stop using these devices, Dr. Hansraj recommends greater awareness of proper posture with a neutral spine position while using hand-held technology.

Vitamin B may not reduce the risk of memory loss

November 13, 2014

Published 12 November 2014

Vitamin B may not reduce the risk of memory loss according to a new study (Wednesday 12 November) in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

For the current study, 2,919 people with an average age of 74 took either a tablet folic acid and of vitamin B12, or a placebo, every day for two years. Tests of memory and thinking skills were performed at the beginning and end of the study. All of the participants had high blood levels of homocysteine – an amino acid – high levels of which are linked to the risk of developing dementia.

Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Society said:

‘There is conflicting evidence for whether vitamin B improves memory and thinking so it’s good to see further clinical trials are being conducted in this area. We know levels of homocysteine, a protein linked to an increased risk of dementia, tend to increase with age. This might be because we are less able to absorb B vitamins from our diet as we get older. However, it is not a quick fix to take supplements.

‘This trial adds to a growing weight of evidence that vitamin B levels do not improve memory and thinking. More trials are needed to determine if there is a benefit of these vitamins for people already with dementia, or for people without high levels of homocysteine, as no one in this trail had dementia or was known to develop it. The best way to reduce the risk of dementia is to take plenty of exercise, eat healthily, properly regulate other health conditions, stop smoking and don’t drink over recommended limits.’

Research reference: Dhonukshe-Rutten, Rosalie A.M. et al, Results of two year vitamin B treatment on, cognitive performance. Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology Wednesday 12 November 2014.

Atlanta Attorney Deborah Gonzalez Talks Online Privacy, Security And Safety

November 4, 2014

Jennifer Law hacked. Online Child Molestation. Identity Theft. Cyper Bullying. Social Media. Passwords. Apps. Digital After Life. Digital Identity. Privacy.

These are the types of topics that Deborah Gonzalez discussed at the Athens Regional Library on October 28, 2014 regarding online privacy, security and safety.

Gonzalez recently published two new books “Managing Online Risk: Apps, Mobile & Social Media Security and “Online Security for the Business Traveler.”

Gonzalez defined privacy as “A person’s right to control access to his or her personal information.” She said “If you put it out there on social media, consider it public.” Information collected is as much as you give them and she discussed security of smart phones, tablets, cloud computing and passwords.

Gonzalez discussed identity theft, what to do if you are a victim of identity theft and gave resources including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website with consumer information. She also went into how to protect your online identity and cyber bullying.

Interesting tidbits she shared:

  • 90% of cell phone apps send personal information back to the developer – you gave permission.
  • Techies cannot keep up with the hackers.
  • Some hotels have “evil twin” networks, meaning there is a twin internet connection. She said you should ask the hotel if they have a secure line with a password to be sure you are getting on the right connection.
  • The concept of the “Internet of Things” – there are more devices connected to the internet than there are people.
  • Posting false credentials is equal to false advertising.
  • She mentioned a book called “The Digital Afterlife” which deals with what happens or should happen with your digital identity after death.
  • Gonzalez shared printed materials on online security from the FTC which are available and free for the asking.

About Deborah Gonzalez:

Gonzalez, attorney at law, is an intellectual property lawyer from Atlanta and New York, who practices social media, art, music, entertainment and digital law. She is particularly interested currently in speaking with kids and teens as they build their online identity and can be at risk for online victimization, both from people they know and people they don’t, as well as speaking with adults.

For more information, go to http://www.dgonzalezesq.com, www:law2sm.com, http://www.managingonlinerisk.com, Twitter: @law2sm, Facebook: Law2sm.

A depressing sign of America’s obesity problem: fatter crash test dummies

October 29, 2014

October 28 at 5:21 PM/The Washington Post

Crash test dummies have long helped auto manufacturers keep cars as safe as possible, but the slim plastic mannequins are increasingly poor mirrors of the modern American man and woman.

So the world’s leading producer is making a fatter version.

See The Washington Post for the full article.

Patient early warning detection system reduces mortality rates by 35 percent

October 23, 2014

October 21, 2014 | By Katie Sullivan/Fierce Healthcare

Patient early warning detection system alerts staff to minor changes in a patient’s conditions and can help prevent more serious events down the line and reduce mortality rates.

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland hospital in Michigan implemented a detection system with the overall goal of reducing mortality rates, David Bobryk, clinical informatics project, said in a video interview with Suzanna Hoppszallern, senior editor of Hospitals & Health Networks.

Patients wear a monitor on their wrists that continually tracks their vital signs–blood pressure, respiratory rate, pulse rate, pulse oximetry and body temperature–and sends the information to an electronic health record. The stats then travel to monitors that calculate a wellness index measured from a 0 to 5 scale. If patients’ vitals rank from 0 to 2.9, they’re in the clear “green” zone, but if they jump to 3.0 or above, a dangerous “red” zone, nurses on the unit are alerted to check on the patients.

“This tool helps combine that into a single value and makes it really easy for the clinician–green 0 to 2.9 the patient is doing well–red, 3.0 to 5.0 you need some action on the patient,” Bobryk said during the interview.

While using the tool over the course of a four-year study, Bobryk said the hospital reduced mortality rates by 35 percent, while code blues were cut in half and the average length of stay were cut by 5.3 percent.

Clinicians and staff are sometimes skeptical of new technologies, but Bobryk said the hospital broke down those barriers and resistance by allowing nurses to take the tool home with them and monitor themselves at home. They also included staff and hospital leadership in the design meetings from the very beginning.

Ebola: CDC Tightens Protection Rules

October 22, 2014

Published: Oct 21, 2014/By Michael Smith, North American Correspondent, MedPage Today/Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Faced with dismay over the Ebola infection of two nurses, the CDC has tightened its guidance for personal protective equipment.

The major change in the new guidance is an insistence that no skin be exposed during the care of an Ebola patient.

But the CDC is also insisting that people likely to treat Ebola patients need to practice putting on and taking off the equipment safely, and that hospitals have a trained monitor to observe both procedures.

“There’s no alternative to hands-on training,” Frieden said, adding that “it’s an important message for healthcare workers that these are three comprehensive aspects.”

The CDC now says personal protective equipment should consist of:

  • Double gloves
  • Boot covers that are waterproof and go to at least mid-calf or leg covers
  • Single-use, fluid-resistant or impermeable gowns that extend to at least mid-calf or a coverall without integrated hood
  • Either N95 respirators or powered air purifying respirators
  • Disposable single-use full-face shield
  • Surgical hoods to ensure complete coverage of the head and neck
  • A waterproof apron that covers the torso to the level of the mid-calf in the event Ebola patients have vomiting or diarrhea

The guidance no longer recommends goggles, arguing they might leave skin exposed, are not disposable, and might fog up, tempting healthcare workers to manipulate them with gloved — and possibly contaminated — hands.

Screening and Triage

While a great deal of attention has been paid to protective equipment, it’s “just one aspect of infection control,” Frieden said, and such things as screening and triage are also “critically important.”

“Every healthcare worker needs to learn how to screen a patient who may have Ebola,” he said, including making sure to ask about a travel history.

For Full Article, see Medpage Today.


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