Tag: Health

This Week in Health and Fitness

Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness. This is an Open Thread.

Africa making “dramatic” headway against malaria

Photobucket


Sulay Momoh Jongo, 7, is seen inside a mosquito net in a mud hut in Mallay village, southern Sierra Leone, on April 8, 2008. Credit: Reuters/Katrina Manson

(Reuters) – Africa is making dramatic progress in tackling malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that has killed a million people a year on the continent and stunted economic growth, a top expert said on Thursday.

Infection rates in Zambia, for instance, more than halved from 2001 to 2008 due to widespread distribution of mosquito nets, targeted spraying of insecticides and better and cheaper diagnosis and treatment, said Rob Newman, director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Malaria Program.

Zambia’s success augurs well for similar programs in their relative infancy in much larger countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and the one with the heaviest malaria case-load, he said.

“Where we are in Africa today compared to even a few years ago is dramatic,” Newman told Reuters from WHO headquarters in Geneva. “The steepness of the decline surprises even me, and I’ve been doing this for a very long time.

WHO approves diagnostic tests to aid malaria fight

(Reuters) – The World Health Organization said on Friday it had added 16 more malaria diagnostic tests to its approved list to help health workers quickly identify which patients have the disease and need immediate treatment.

U.S. effort to fight malaria focuses on women

(Reuters) – The U.S. government announced on Thursday it would focus part of its $63 billion, six-year Global Health Initiative plan to accelerate efforts to fight malaria, mostly in Africa and aimed at women and children.

New book urges reversal of DDT ban to fight malaria

Reuters) – Six years after the insect killer DDT was globally outlawed on grounds of environmental damage, two researchers say there are new reasons for doubting the chemical is harmful and are urging its use against malaria.

Colin Powell and Bill Gates join malaria campaign

(Reuters) – Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, billionaire Bill Gates and Queen Rania of Jordan will put their fame to work this week as they join a Twitter campaign to end malaria deaths.

As is now custom, I’ll try to include the more interesting and pertinent articles that will help the community awareness of their health and bodies. This essay will not be posted anywhere else due to constraints on my time. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvement and ask questions, I’ll answer as best I can.  

This Week in Health and Fitness

Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness. This is an Open Thread.

Eruption may hurt people with breathing problems: WHO

Iceland Volcano


Smoke billows from a volcano in Eyjafjallajokull April 16, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Ingolfur Juliusson

(Reuters) – The eruption of an Icelandic volcanic that has paralyzed air traffic in much of Europe could also harm people with breathing problems, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

The U.N. health agency said the fine particles in the ash cloud were not harmful so long as they remained in the upper atmosphere, but could be more problematic if they fell to earth.

About a quarter of the ash particles were believed to be less than 10 microns in size, the most dangerous because they could penetrate deeper in the lungs, the WHO said in a statement.

Health Officials and the WHO are advising that patients with chronic lung diseases and cardiovascular disease listen to local news reports about air pollution level and take appropriate precautions such as staying indoors. Even though there are no warnings here in the US, large volcanic eruptions have in the past affected the air quality around the world.

As is now custom, I’ll try to include the more interesting and pertinent articles that will help the community awareness of their health and bodies. This essay will not be posted anywhere else due to constraints on my time. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvement and ask questions, I’ll answer as best I can.  

This Week in Health and Fitness

Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness. This is an Open Thread.

FDA says studies on triclosan, used in sanitizers and soaps, raise concerns

trilocan scrub

The Food and Drug Administration said recent research raises “valid concerns” about the possible health effects of triclosan, an antibacterial chemical found in a growing number of liquid soaps, hand sanitizers, dishwashing liquids, shaving gels and even socks, workout clothes and toys.

snip

In a letter to a congressman that was obtained by The Washington Post, the FDA said that recent scientific studies raise questions about whether triclosan disrupts the body’s endocrine system and whether it helps to create bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. An advisory panel to the FDA said in 2005 that there was no evidence the antibacterial soaps work better than regular soap and water.

snip

Triclosan was developed as a surgical scrub for medical professionals. It is also used in pesticides. In recent years, it has been added to a host of consumer products to kill bacteria and fungus and prevent odors. It can be found in everything from kitchen cutting boards to shoes, often packaged with labels that tout “antibacterial” properties.

Most hand sanitizers, such as Purell, use alcohol and do not contain triclosan.  

FAQ: Triclosan and Your Health

April 9, 2010 — With the FDA reviewing the antibacterial chemical triclosan, widely found in everyday products such as hand soaps, body washes, toothpastes, cosmetics, toys, clothing, and furniture, should you or shouldn’t you ditch products with this ingredient?

Here are the most frequently asked questions about triclosan, with answers from experts on both sides of the debate, to help you decide.

As is now custom, I’ll try to include the more interesting and pertinent articles that will help the community awareness of their health and bodies. This essay will not be posted anywhere else due to constraints on my time. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvement and ask questions, I’ll answer as best I can.

Editor’s Note: Starting with this essay, due to concerns about fair use, I will only publish the links to the Healthy Recipes.

This Week in Health and Fitness

Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness. This is an Open Thread.

Small, dark Easter eggs may be good for your heart

dark chocolate eggs

(Reuters) – Easter eggs may be good for you, but only if you eat small ones made from cocoa-rich dark chocolate, according to the latest in a string of scientific studies to show potential health benefits of chocolate.

German researchers studied more than 19,300 people over a decade and found those who ate the most chocolate — an average of 7.5 grams a day — had lower blood pressure and a 39 percent lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke than those who ate the least amount of chocolate — an average of 1.7 grams a day.

But, the difference between the two groups was just under six grams (6g) of chocolate a day, less than one small square of an average 100g bar, they wrote in a study in the European Heart Journal to be published on Wednesday.

Chocolate contains flavanols, anti-oxidant flavanoids, that are found in coco, wine and vegetables. Flavanols aid the release of nitrous oxide from the cells that line the blood vessels, Nitrous oxide is a smooth muscle relaxant that once in the blood stream, causes the blood vessels to relax and widen thus reducing blood pressure. Dark chocolate containing 70% coco has also been linked to  reducing stress. Along with a healthy diet, exercise and changes in lifestyle, 100 gm of Dark chocolate a day keeps the doctor away. One word of caution, there are 500 calories in 100 gm of chocolate. Happy Easter

As is now custom, I’ll try to include the more interesting and pertinent articles that will help the community awareness of their health and bodies. This essay will not be posted anywhere else due to constraints on my time. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvement and ask questions, I’ll answer as best I can.  

This Week in Health and Fitness

Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness. This is an Open Thread.

Tuberculosis: Drug-Resistant Strains Still Spreading at Deadly Rates, W.H.O. Report Says

Drug-resistant tuberculosis killed about 150,000 people in 2008, and half of all the world’s cases are thought in be in China and India, the World Health Organization said in a report last week.

No one knows the exact number of cases of the two types of drug-resistant TB, called MDR and XDR for multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant.

A few places, like Peru and Hong Kong, have fought the disease effectively, as New York City did in the early 1990s. Progress has been made in parts of Siberia, but in another region of Russia, more than a quarter of all cases are drug-resistant. And in Africa, a vast majority of cases have probably not even been diagnosed, the report said.

Even standard tuberculosis takes six months to cure with a four antibiotic cocktail. But the drugs cost only $20 and are relatively easy to take. Drug-resistant forms can take two years and require dangerously toxic drugs that cost $5,000 or more per person; they usually emerge when public health officials fail to ensure that patients with regular TB take their drugs daily.

As is now custom, I’ll try to include the more interesting and pertinent articles that will help the community awareness of their health and bodies. This essay will not be posted anywhere else due to constraints on my time. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvement and ask questions, I’ll answer as best I can.  

The Redemptive Power of Healing

The stress of the past few weeks has reminded me of both the benefits and the drawbacks of being an adult.  Perhaps you yourself can relate.  Throughout the course of my daily existence, I expend a huge amount of energy attempting to navigate the world of interpersonal communication.  Often I have to take account for the frailties, neuroses, personality defects, and defense mechanisms of those with whom I regularly encounter.  It can at times be overwhelming and frustrating trying to not step on toes or to minimize conflict by means of damage control mode when I inadvertently do so.  And as cobble together an apology and take stock of the situation, I find myself resenting the cruelty and sadism of humanity, which gives many people ample reason to build walls around themselves by means of protection.  These attitudes only complicate crucial communication and trust and keep us separate from each other.

The anger of the Tea Party devotees upsets me, but what upsets me more is the degree of hostility and bitterness that has come to typify this entire process.  I recognize that expecting otherwise is probably foolish, but I mourn when our nation’s fabric is rent asunder for any reason.  Though this sentiment has long sense passed into platitude, we are all Americans, and moreover we are all human beings who share the same land.  I do not enjoy, nor particularly thrive in an atmosphere where a ceaseless war of words rages.  To be sure, I do not shirk away from these situations when they arise, but after a time the constant back and forth proves to be toxic and noxious, not just to me, but to everyone.  

I didn’t have an especially happy childhood.  Even when I was a child, I wished to be an adult.  Adulthood to me represented a time where I would be taken seriously and where everyone else around me would be more or less on the same page.  Now I find that this is true only up to a point.  Among some I am taken seriously and among other I never will be.  And as for my being on the same page with all, well, that’s a matter for debate.  What I have discovered that with age often comes a rapidly growing history of psychological damage, increasingly guarded personal conduct, and all of these manifestations a form of the many lingering effects of internalized pain.  Anger is really only a form of hurt, after all.

Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

I understand why many people enjoy working with children.  They are unguarded, honest, vulnerable, and often endearingly sweet.  Their basic nature stands in great contrast to the games we play as adults.  When I still lived in Birmingham I would periodically take my turn to watch the children while the adults worshiped.  When I did, I often found solace in the company of little ones who were largely nonjudgmental and lived only in the present moment.  This isn’t to say that children can’t be just as cruel and vicious to each other as adults can, but that in conversing with them, one has less minefields to gingerly walk through and less need to plan for exit strategies.      

Forgive me this question, but, friends, why must it be this complicated?  What if we didn’t have to read the latest New York Times bestseller just to understand how to properly interact with each other?  What if it didn’t take hours of therapy and thousands of dollars just to be able to be honest with our own pain and ourselves, to say nothing of the pain of others?  What if we could bear to leave the armor down long enough to separate friend from foe?  While some find it fascinating to observe and note the ways in which we are twisted and wizened, noting the unique nature of our scars, I find the combined impact deeply unfortunate and tragic.  People to me are not a scientific experiment gone awry, they are individuals seeking love.  And by love I don’t necessarily mean romantic love, but agape—charitable, selfless, altruistic, and unconditional love for ourselves and for others.  If we are ever going to begin the slow, but necessary process of healing, we must commit ourselves to it, all the time recognizing that the best offense isn’t necessarily a good defense.

Let us resolve to be honest with that which is broken in all of us.  Throw open the doors wide.  Don’t automatically reach for cynicism and skepticism in all situations, nor expect the worst for fear of not attaining the best.  Don’t recoil and draw back at someone else’s immaturity or hurt directed in inappropriate ways towards inappropriate targets.  Consider being like little children in all the best ways.  Perhaps peace of mind isn’t so elusive after all.  What do we have to lose?  

What about an added sweetener tax instead?

Once again the debate over a “soda tax” is going strong here in New York and throughout the entire nation. The pros and cons of this tax are complicated but something needs to be done. Except what is being floated around here and by many governments in a nation of drinkable disasters is really both a natural sweetener tax and a promotion of artificial sweeteners.

The embattled Governor David Paterson proposed it last year as an “Obesity Tax” before public outcry temporally crushed it. The outcry was over this tax being a regressive tax that poor people would be forced to pay with little thought about parents telling their children “No you cannot have 87¢ for a Coke but you can have 75¢ for a Diet Coke.” When diet sodas are exempt, since budget conscious shoppers will find drinks with artificial sweeteners and other chemicals to be money saving choices, it translates to government preaching better living through chemicals.

This tax seemed dead until Michael Bloomberg began presenting it as what it really is, an income generator. Now with Bloomberg’s endorsement this tax is getting the “full court press” again and Paterson is holding multiple meeting on taxing sugary drinks. Meanwhile there are dueling TV ads here now but little thought about what is being taxed to curtail empty calories through a straw. In this battle of interest groups  is anyone actually thinking?

Heather Graham Stars in MoveOn Ad: the Public Option Is Not Dead!

From MoveOn:

Big Insurance has been feeling pretty smug, thinking they’d killed the public option. But it’s hard to keep down something that a majority of Americans want. The public option IS BACK!  

The new spot, a Web video that recasts the footage from the earlier spot with permission from Graham herself, shows reps from the insurance industry feeling smug about having killed the public option, only to be startled when she reappears.

snip

“When a majority of Americans supports something, it’s hard to keep a good idea down,” the spot says. “The public option is making a comeback. Over 20 Senators and over 100 House members have endorsed putting the public option back on the table.”

http://theplumline.whorunsgov….

This Week In Health and Fitness

Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness.

I’m still here in Haiti winding up my stay and turning over my responsibilities to my replacement who will be here for 3 months. I still have lots to do. There are still the patients and the never ending reports that need to be done to keep the flow of supplies coming. I’m leaving Feb 13 with mixed feelings becasue there is still so much to be done.

This Week In Health and Fitness

Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness.

A spoon, a spoon, what’s the difference? It’s a spoon. Well, in medicine, as in baking, it’s a big difference. The teaspoon and tablespoon that came with that dinner set aren’t accurate measures. When a prescription says a teaspoon, it means 5 ml, a tablespoon is 15 ml, not more not less. The reason is that too much or too little is bad for you and can be dangerous. Most over the counter cough and cold remedies come with a measured cap as a cup. If you get prescribe liquid medication, ask the pharmacist for a measured cup or spoon so you get the correct amount of medication. This especially important with children, as the article from the NYT notes, most over doses are medication errors. So just as in baking where you use a measuring spoon so the cake rises as it bakes, use a measured spoon or cup to take liquid medication.

Spooning Up the Wrong Dose

Many people still use kitchen spoons to measure a dose of liquid medication. Now new research shows that the size of the spoon influences our ability to estimate the right dose – and most of the time, we get it wrong.

A 1992 study of dosing errors reported to poison control centers found that failing to distinguish between teaspoons and tablespoons was a major cause for overdosing of cough and cold medicines and liquid acetaminophen. Although too much cough medicine is typically not a major health worry, many liquid medications contain acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. Acetaminophen overdose is a major health concern and can lead to serious illness, liver failure and even death. And while small dosing errors may not seem like a major concern, excessive doses can add up and make it relatively easy to exceed the recommended daily limit, now four grams.

Researchers at the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab have conducted several studies showing how large plate size, oversize ice-cream bowls and wide-rimmed drinking glasses can lead to overindulgence of foods and beverages. Given that so many parents use kitchen spoons to dispense liquid medication, the researchers decided to study how the size of a spoon influenced the amount of medication poured.

As is now custom, I’ll try to include the more interesting and pertinent articles that will help the community awareness of their health and bodies. This essay will not be posted anywhere else due to constraints on my time. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvement and ask questions, I’ll answer as best I can.

This an Open Thread

This Week In Health and Fitness

Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness.

‘Tis the season for colds and the flu. Everyone needs to take caution in how they treat themselves with over the counter medications (OTC). Some of them are expensive and it is not well studied whether any of them really work all that well. Remember there is no cure for the common cold or even the flu, just medications to reduce the symptoms of fever, cough and congestion. If you have any existing medical problems, such as Asthma, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, any kind of Heart problems or are taking prescription medication, consult your doctor or ask the Pharmacist before taking any OTC medication.

Catching a cold or the flu may be unavoidable. You can reduce your chances by washing your hands more frequently and using a hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of great than 60%. If you do get sick, stay home if you have a fever (hopefully, you can) and cover you coughs and sneezes.

This weeks NYT has a good article on Money Tips for When the Sniffles Start that also has tips about staying well during the flu season.

As is now custom, I’ll try to include the more interesting and pertinent articles that will help the community awareness of their health and bodies. This essay will not be posted anywhere else due to constraints on my time. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvement and ask questions, I’ll answer as best I can.

This Week In Health and Fitness

Welcome to this weeks Health and Fitness.

First cancer genome sequences reveal how mutations lead to disease

The pattern of mutations in cancer could eventually be used to tailor treatments to particular patients

Scientists have reconstructed the biological history of two types of cancer in a genetic tour de force that promises to transform medical treatment of the disease.

The feat, a world first, lays bare every genetic mutation the patients have acquired over their lifetimes that eventually caused healthy cells in their bodies to turn into tumours.

The procedure gives doctors a profound insight into the biological causes of a patient’s cancer and marks a major milestone in progress towards personalised anticancer therapies and strategies to prevent the disease.

“This is a really fundamental moment in the history of cancer research. We have never seen cancer revealed in this way before,” said Mike Stratton, a co-leader of the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute near Cambridge.

This is a stunning breakthrough in understanding how cancer mutates, treating it and, perhaps one day, cure it.

Turkana, in his essay at the Left Coaster, provides more information and further discussion in understanding the importance of this monumental break through.

Huge Medical Breakthrough: Cancer Genome Sequenced

As is now custom, I’ll try to include the more interesting and pertinent articles that will help the community awareness of their health and bodies. This essay will not be posted anywhere else due to constraints on my time and in January it will be coming to you from Paris, Fr. for awhile. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvement and ask questions, I’ll answer as best I can.

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