Recently in Medicine and Health Category

The crazy that is the liberal

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A clickable headline but you do not need more than just that:

Transgender Woman, 26, Who Was Jailed After Dousing Her Ex-Boyfriend In Bleach Then Trying To Set Him On Fire Is Spared Prison Over Lashing Out At Police Who ‘Didn’t Use The Proper Pronouns’ To Address Her

Surprised that there are not several chapters in DSM-V about liberalism. 100% fruit loops.

Not at all "into" social media. I still keep meaning to delete my faceb**k account (have not yet) but I have not logged into it for many many months. I think it is really sad when parents use tablets as baby sitters for their kids - an easy fix now but serious problems in a couple of years.

Anyway, from the Journal of the American Medical Association:

Association of Screen Time and Depression in Adolescence
Key Points
Question What is the association of various types of screen time and depression in adolescence?

Findings In this cohort study of 3826 adolescents, a within-person association, based on repeated measures, was found between social media and television use with symptoms of depression in adolescence.

Meaning Use of social media and television in adolescents may enhance symptoms of depression and should therefore be taken into account when developing preventive methods.

Abstract
Importance Increases in screen time have been found to be associated with increases in depressive symptoms. However, longitudinal studies are lacking.

Objective To repeatedly measure the association between screen time and depression to test 3 explanatory hypotheses: displacement, upward social comparison, and reinforcing spirals.

Design, Setting, and Participants This secondary analysis used data from a randomized clinical trial assessing the 4-year efficacy of a personality-targeted drug and alcohol prevention intervention. This study assessed screen time and depression throughout 4 years, using an annual survey in a sample of adolescents who entered the seventh grade in 31 schools in the Greater Montreal area. Data were collected from September 2012 to September 2018. Analysis began and ended in December 2018.

Main Outcomes and Measures Independent variables were social media, television, video gaming, and computer use. Symptoms of depression was the outcome, measured using the Brief Symptoms Inventory. Exercise and self-esteem were assessed to test displacement and upward social comparison hypothesis.

More at the site - 3,800 samples over four years is good statistics. I know several people who are glued to their screens and it is not just adolescents that have this problem.

I am a poster child for computers - dropped out of college when the first ones became available - but I have never been "owned" by them. I turn them on. I use them. I shut them off and do something else - read a book, talk with people either in a tavern or on the radio.

Ebola on the move

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Not good - from the London Daily Mail:

Ebola outbreak in the Congo spreads to a new city where one MILLION people live in the epidemic that has killed 1,600
Ebola has spread to the Congolese city of Goma, which has a population of more than a million people, as the virus continues to devastate the region.

The victim is a pastor who had arrived in the city by bus after visiting Butembo, a town around 200miles (320km) north in the centre of the outbreak.

He had been preaching at a church where he would have touched worshippers 'including the sick', the country's health ministry said on Sunday.

Authorities have urged people to remain calm after the government said the chances of the virus spreading were 'low'.

Yikes - the pastor had come from Goma which means that not only the pastor but there is the Goma parishioner. Depending on how long the pastor was there, he could have been contagious which means that the other passengers on that bus may well be infected.

This is a very nasty plague and it is spreading.

ZDoggMD is the online name of Dr. Zubin Damania whose YouTube videos are fun and informative. In this one, he talks about the Dunning-Kruger effect. We see this a lot with our elected officials and in other bureaucratic life.

Be sure to check out his other videos - great stuff and well presented.

From Nature Biotechnology:

Engineered toxin–intein antimicrobials can selectively target and kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria in mixed populations
Targeted killing of pathogenic bacteria without harming beneficial members of host microbiota holds promise as a strategy to cure disease and limit both antimicrobial-related dysbiosis and development of antimicrobial resistance. We engineer toxins that are split by inteins and deliver them by conjugation into a mixed population of bacteria. Our toxin–intein antimicrobial is only activated in bacteria that harbor specific transcription factors. We apply our antimicrobial to specifically target and kill antibiotic-resistant Vibrio cholerae present in mixed populations. We find that 100% of antibiotic-resistant V. cholerae receiving the plasmid are killed. Escape mutants were extremely rare. We show that conjugation and specific killing of targeted bacteria occurs in the microbiota of zebrafish and crustacean larvae, which are natural hosts for Vibrio spp. Toxins split with inteins could form the basis of precision antimicrobials to target pathogens that are antibiotic resistant.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria is getting to be a real problem. Our arsenal is shrinking. Had MRSA a number of years ago - not fun.

Just wonderful - ebola

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And it starts. From Reuters:

WHO likely to declare Ebola an international emergency: experts
The World Health Organization (WHO) should and is likely to declare an international emergency over the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo that has now spread to Uganda, experts said as a WHO advisory panel met on Friday.

Nasty disease.

About time - measles

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From Buzzfeed:

New York Ended Its Religious Exemption For Vaccines After The Worst Measles Outbreaks In Decades
New York will no longer allow parents to refuse vaccinations for their children because of religious reasons after the state became the center of the worst measles outbreak in decades.

The state legislature approved a bill Thursday that will require all children attending school or daycare to receive vaccinations, unless they could not be safely vaccinated because of a medical issue. Gov. Andrew Cuomo immediately signed it into law.

“I understand freedom of religion. We all do. We respect it. I’ve heard the anti-vaxxers’ theory, but I believe both are overwhelmed by the public health risk,” Cuomo told reporters Wednesday.

The state has recorded 854 cases of measles since September in outbreaks centered in Orthodox Jewish communities in New York City and Rockland County. Health officials in both areas have called the outbreaks a crisis that risks the safety of the public — particularly infants, pregnant women, elderly people, and those with compromised immune systems, such as patients with cancer.

Great news. You can sustain a small population of unvaxinated people when the majority of people are protected - this is called herd immunity When it tips beyond the 5% to 7% threshold for measles, the disease will spread. It was eliminated in 2000 but the influx of illegal immigrants are bringing a host of old-world pests into our civil population. Waiting for Ebola to surface.

Just wonderful - Ebola

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It has made its way from the Congo to Uganda - from the World Health Organization:

Confirmation of case of ebola virus disease in Uganda
The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) have confirmed a case of Ebola Virus Disease in Uganda. Although there have been numerous previous alerts, this is the first confirmed case in Uganda during the Ebola outbreak on-going in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The confirmed case is a 5-year-old child from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who travelled with his family on 9th June 2019. The child and his family entered the country through Bwera Border post and sought medical care at Kagando hospital where health workers identified Ebola as a possible cause of illness. The child was transferred to Bwera Ebola Treatment Unit for management. The confirmation was made today by the Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI). The child is under care and receiving supportive treatment at Bwera ETU, and contacts are being monitored.

This was published yesterday - segue to today. From NBC News:

New Ebola cases in Uganda raise fears of further spread
Uganda announced two more cases of Ebola on Wednesday - a grandmother and a three-year-old boy, confirming that a deadly outbreak has spread for the first time beyond the Democratic Republic of Congo.

And more:

A five-year-old boy who had crossed into Uganda from Congo died late on Tuesday, said Uganda's health minister, Jane Ruth Aceng, and his family were now being monitored in isolation.

So that means that he was in the late stages of infection, highly contageous while not displaying any symptoms.

The two new victims were the boy's brother and grandmother, the Ugandan health ministry said. His grandfather had recently died of Ebola.

"This epidemic is in a truly frightening phase and shows no sign of stopping," said Jeremy Farrar, an infectious disease specialist and director of the Wellcome Trust global health charity, which is involved in fighting Ebola.

All it takes is for one person to fly to Mexico, get hauled across the border and bussed into a sanctuary city. Two weeks later, it explodes.

From San Antonio, Texas station KENS5:

'Parle vous français?' City searches for French speakers as hundreds of Congolese asylum-seekers head to SA
Roughly 350 migrants from the Congo are expected to arrive in San Antonio in the coming days leaving the city scrambling for French-speaking volunteers.

"We didn't get a heads up," Interim Assistant City Manager Dr. Collen Bridger told KEN 5 on Thursday.

Bridger said the Congolese migrants began to arrive in town on Tuesday. They told Migrant Resource Center workers, they traveled with a group of about 350 migrants through Ecuador to the southern border.

I still want to know who is funding this? We are talking at least $10K per person to get them from the Congo over to Ecuador and then over land, through Mexico and to our border. A bit more:

The city opened up the Frank Garrett Center to house the Congolese migrants for the weekend, but after that, they're not sure where they'll house them especially since they don't know how long some of them will be here.

"The plan was 350 of them would travel from San Antonio to Portland. When we reached out to Portland Maine they said, 'Please don't send us any more. We're already stretched way beyond our capacity," Bridger said.

"So we're working with them [the migrants] now to identify other cities throughout the United States where they can go and begin their asylum seeking process."

Yikes - Portland is close to Seattle and the rest of the Pacific Northwest - two very dense population centers with large rapid transit systems. You can be without symptoms for as long as two weeks but still be highly contagious. This is a serious health problem and nothing is being done. Every person who comes into unprotected contact with these illegals stands a chance of contracting ebola. 50% fatal even with the best of care and there are only 35 hospitals able to do this.

From the Wall Street Journal:

U.S. Measles Outbreaks Hit Highest Level in More Than 25 Years
The number of measles cases in the U.S. this year has hit the highest level in more than 25 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday, warning that the virus may no longer be considered to have been eliminated in this country if the large outbreaks continue through the fall.

The CDC said 971 cases have been reported so far in 2019, including 91 cases in the past week and a half. The tally means in just five months the outbreaks have surpassed the previous high of 963 cases set 25 years ago, in 1994.

We had it licked and then stupid parents started believing the narrative and not vaccinating their children:

“The measles elimination goal, first announced in 1963 and accomplished in 2000, was a monumental task,” the CDC said. Before use of the vaccine became widespread, an estimated 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the U.S., the agency said. Of them, 400 to 500 people died, and 48,000 were hospitalized.

Not vaccinating your kid is child abuse plain and simple.

It is not an opioid problem

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It is a general drug abuse/mental health problem and needs to be treated as such. From United Press International:

Opioid overdose victims die with other substances in their system
A large number of people who overdose from opioid use have other substances in their systems when they die, new findings show.

About 82 percent of deaths that involved opioids included other substances like cocaine, methamphetamine and other stimulants, according to findings published in the July issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

"As a provider, these findings indicate a pressing need to address and treat not just opioid use disorder, but other substances that patients are misusing," lead author Joshua Barocas, an infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center and study lead author, said in a news release.

Synthetic opioids like Fentanyl are cheap and easy to make so they are the product of choice for the cartels. Heroin is expensive to grow and process so the move to the synthetics was a no-brainer. Another thing to do would be to police the border and build the wall - that is where 90% of the bad shit is coming from.

I was wondering - Energy Drinks

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Could very well be bad for you - from The American Heart Association:

Energy drinks may increase risk of heart function abnormalities and blood pressure changes
Study Highlights:

    • Three to four hours after drinking 32 ounces of energy drinks, the heart’s electrical activity was abnormal compared to drinking a placebo drink.
    • Two different commercially available energy drinks produced the same results, suggesting that energy drinks as a class should be consumed with caution.

Drinking 32 ounces of an energy drink in a short timespan may increase blood pressure and the risk of electrical disturbances in the heart, which affect heart rhythm, according to a small study published in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

The study enrolled 34 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 40 years. Participants were randomly assigned to drink 32 ounces of one of two commercially available caffeinated energy drinks or a placebo drink on three separate days. The drinks were consumed within a 60-minute period but no faster than one 16-ounce bottle in 30 minutes.

Researchers measured the electrical activity of the volunteers’ hearts by electrocardiogram, which records the way a heart is beating. They also recorded participant’s blood pressure. All measurements were taken at the study’s start and every 30 minutes for 4 hours after drink consumption.

Very small sample size but the results were overwhelming:

In participants who consumed either type of energy drink, researchers found that the QT interval was 6 milliseconds or 7.7 milliseconds higher at 4 hours compared to placebo drinkers. The QT interval is a measurement of the time it takes ventricles in the heart (the lower chambers) to prepare to generate a beat again. If this time interval is either too short or too long, it can cause the heart to beat abnormally. The resulting arrhythmia can be life-threatening.

The results of the study confirm previous findings and suggest that the QT interval changes are generally sustained over the four-hour monitoring period rather than being a short-lasting effect after consuming 32-ounces of an energy drink.

Researchers also found a statistically significant 4 to 5 mm Hg increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in participants who consumed the energy drinks.

Everyone showed the QT change and it persisted for at least four hours. I tried Red Bull a couple of times when it first came out but I did not like the way I felt. Do not use them - a Latte in the morning works much better for me...

Ebola in the news

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A collection of links from MetaFilter:

"Violent attacks are winning, and infections are unchecked."
Ebola is out of control in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the second-worst outbreak in history. The WHO says the national and regional risk levels are very high, and with the number of new cases increasing in recent weeks, the UN is strengthening its response. Neighbouring countries are considering using an experimental vaccine which has shown impressive results in the DRC itself, but the challenge there is dispensing it: health workers are met with mistrust, and work in constant fear of armed attack, with some having to lie about being doctors in order to treat people.

This really worries me - again, very glad to not be living in a city. You can be highly contagious for weeks before showing symptoms. All it takes is one traveler on a crowded airplane.

They are getting even stupider - from the Sacramento, CA CBS affiliate:

Anti-Vax Movement Spreads To Pet Population
The growing anti-vax movement has spread to the pet population. Fewer dog and cat owners are opting to get their furry friends vaccinated.

The stupid! It burns!

20190522-stupid.jpg

Child abuse in the news - Measles

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The news just keeps getting better - from Reuters:

Measles outbreak spreads to Oklahoma as U.S. reports 41 new cases
The worst measles outbreak in the United States in 25 years has spread to Oklahoma, federal health officials said on Monday as they reported 41 new cases nationwide, raising the total number sickened this year to 880 people.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 4.9% increase in the number of measles cases from May 10 to May 17 in an outbreak that has now reached 24 states. The agency has been providing weekly updates every Monday.

Parents who do not vaccinate their children need to really have their heads examined.

Good news from Belgium

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Looks like some clear heads are passing laws there - from MSN:

Making your kids go vegan can mean jail time in Belgium
On May 16, the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium issued an opinion that will make it possible to imprison parents who enforce a vegan diet on their children.

The academy determined that veganism for kids is “unethical” because it can lead to health problems for growing children, the Belgian publication Le Soir reports (link in French). The animal-product-free diet isn’t technically prohibited, and the ruling doesn’t necessarily equate veganism with child neglect. However, it will make it easier to prosecute parents who impose the strict diet and whose children have health problems.

Children can follow a vegan diet if it’s accompanied by medical supervision, regular blood tests, and vitamin supplements, Belgian pediatricians concluded. However, parents who don’t follow through on the additional requirements risk two years in prison, fines, and the possibility that their children will be removed from their homes if the kids do have associated health issues.

Good - you can maintain a fairly healthy life eating vegetarian but going vegan tips you over the edge. I can always tell when someone is vegan - they look really unhealthy.

Thinking of getting a tattoo?

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From the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

FDA Advises Consumers, Tattoo Artists, and Retailers to Avoid Using or Selling Certain Tattoo Inks Contaminated with Microorganisms

Product
The following tattoo inks have been recalled because they are contaminated with microorganisms:

    • Scalpaink SCScalpaink PA, and Scalpaink AL basic black tattoo inks manufactured by Scalp Aesthetics (all lots)
    • Dynamic Color - Black tattoo ink manufactured by Dynamic Color Inc  (lots 12024090 and 12026090)
    • Solid Ink-Diablo (red) tattoo ink manufactured by Color Art Inc. (dba Solid Ink) (dba Antone's Ink) (lot 10.19.18)

Purpose
The FDA is alerting consumers, tattoo artists, and retailers of the potential for serious injury from use of tattoo inks that are contaminated with bacteria. Tattoo inks contaminated with microorganisms can cause infections and lead to serious health injuries when injected into the skin during a tattooing procedure, since there is an increased risk of infection any time the skin barrier is broken.

Yikes... Thought about getting a dragon on my forearm from time to time but never have and probably never will.

Measles in Seattle

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From Seattle station KIRO:

King and Pierce County Health Departments warn of possible measles exposure
Health departments in Pierce and King counties are warning of a possible measles exposure in over a dozen locations spanning both counties.

A Pierce County man in his 40s spent time at a number of public locations while contagious.

So far, this single case has not been linked to any others. It is not known where the man contracted measles.

Sigh... Anti-vax is child abuse plain and simple.

Public Health - three headlines

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Public health in the news - Hep. A

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From Seattle station KOMO

Homeless man sick with hepatitis A, public health launches outreach efforts
New concerns are emerging in Seattle's homeless crisis. A man living on the streets is sick with hepatitis A and now public health workers are scrambling to keep the virus from spreading.

On Thursday, teams from Public Health – Seattle & King County began outreach at various shelters and encampments where the man might have gone to offer free vaccinations and help with thorough cleaning.

A bit more:

Public health workers are moving quickly because the man who got sick marks the first time in years that King County has seen hepatitis A in the homeless community.

And the consequences:

Left unchecked, the virus can cause severe liver damage. King County saw 14 hepatitis A cases in 2018. There have been eight cases so far this year but the latest one is the first to affect the homeless community.

More here - a nasty disease and highly contagious through feces and contaminated food: Hepatitis A

Some good news - measles

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From The Bellingham Herald:

Washington state bill limits measles vaccine exemptions
Washington state lawmakers voted Tuesday to remove parents’ ability to claim a personal or philosophical exemption from vaccinating their children for measles, although medical and religious exemptions will remain.

The vote comes as the number of measles cases nationwide this year has passed 600.

The measure now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has expressed support for limiting exemptions. The state has seen 74 cases of measles this year. Most of those cases were centered in one county and involved children 10 or younger who were not immunized.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that as of the end of last week, 626 cases of measles have been confirmed in the U.S. so far this year, up from 555 as of a week ago. While 22 states have reported cases, most of the nation’s cases are centered in New York City and in nearby Rockland County north of the city.

Great news - there is no rational excuse for denying your child protection against these potentially fatal diseases.

An interesting medical event

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From Nebraska's Omaha World-Herald:

Pothole jolts man's heart rate back to normal on way to Omaha hospital. Here's how that's possible
Most drivers get a sinking feeling when their cars clunk into crater-like potholes.

But one pothole did a passenger a favor when the ambulance he was in struck it, according to first responders.

Members of the Gretna Volunteer Fire Department on Monday were taking a 59-year-old man suffering chest pain to the hospital, a Sarpy County 911 dispatcher said.

The patient also had an abnormally high heart rate. While en route to Lakeside Hospital, the ambulance hit a pothole. The jolt returned the patient’s heart rate to normal, said Gretna Fire Chief Rod Buethe.

Entirely plausible - an electrical shock is the preferred way to defibrilate a heartbeat but a mechanical shock will work almost as well.

Yikes - knocking at the door - Ebola

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I wrote this three days ago about people from the continent of Africa showing up along with all the other illegal immigrants from South America - who is funding this? Now we have this from Hal Turner:

20 Illegal Aliens from Congo Being "Monitored for EBOLA" at U.S. Border
A public health official in Laredo, Texas, said 20 Congolese migrants are being monitored for Ebola in shelters in his city and across the Mexican border in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.

Shortly after his announcement during a Laredo City Council meeting, the World Health Organization (WHO) considered declaring a “global emergency” in response to a massive outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“We have 8 Congolese right now in one of our shelters and a dozen in Nuevo Laredo,” Laredo Health Director Dr. Hector Gonzalez told the Laredo City Councilman George Altget during a council meeting on April 4. “For them, my concern was Ebola.” He said that due to the time element, the Congolese migrants were not developing symptoms of Ebola. “But, we’re on alert to check that,” he said.

This really scares me - you can be infectious for up to two weeks before displaying any symptoms, the disease is highly contagious and the fatality rate is about 80% even with excellent care. All it takes is one person walking through a crowded airplane terminal on a busy day.

Measles in the news

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It is not going away anytime soon. This could have been prevented if people realized that the supposed link between the MMR vaccination and autism was promoted by someone with financial reasons to do so. Andy Wakefield did this specious "paper" and was drummed out of the medical profession (his right to practice medicine was stripped) and was funded by an insurance company which stood to profit.

Here are three clickable headlines:

Not vaccinating your kid is child abuse.

Why I never take the stuff - Tylenol

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From The American Council on Science and Health:

Is Tylenol 'By Far The Most Dangerous Drug Ever Made?'
Why would Dr. Hausknecht, a New York neurologist and pain management specialist, say this? Taken out of context, such a sweeping statement may seem to be hyperbolic. The most dangerous drug ever made? I asked him to elaborate. He did:

"Each year a substantial number of Americans experience intentional and unintentional Tylenol (acetaminophen) associated overdoses that can result in serious morbidity and mortality. Analysis of national databases show that acetaminophen-associated overdoses account for about 50,000 emergency room visits and 25,000 hospitalizations yearly. Acetaminophen is the nation's leading cause of acute liver failure, according to data from an ongoing study funded by the National Institutes for Health. Analysis of national mortality files shows about 450 deaths occur each year from acetaminophen-associated overdoses; 100 of these are unintentional."

Much more at the article - key problem is that the difference between a therapeutic dose and a lethal dose is very very tiny. As for the 50,000 emergency room visits and 25,000 hospitalizations, yet only 450 deaths per year?

Dr. Hausknecht's statistics may seem puzzling. How can there be 50,000 emergency room visits and 25,000 hospitalizations, yet only 450 deaths per year?  This is because, when treated in time, irreversible liver damage from an acute overdose of acetaminophen can be prevented. There is an antidote called N-acetylcysteine. But the danger of the drug is not only from acute doses. Both acute and chronic use of acetaminophen can lead to permanent liver damage, not because acetaminophen itself is toxic, but because the liver converts it into something that is, sealing its own fate in the process.

Still, something to be aware of. I always go for Aspirin. It is safe and reasonably effective. If you take too much, it will thin your blood but this is extremely good for people suffering either a heart attack or a stroke so gobble down a dozen if you ever find yourself in this category. Be sure to tell the Emergency Responders first so they don't give you even more blood thinner. No bueno if that happens.

Disgustingly stupid - measles

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Turns my stomach - from England's The Sun:

Anti-vaxxer parents hold ‘measles parties’ to give their kids the deadly virus so they become immune and don’t need MMR jab
City health officials blasted parents after they were found encouraging their un-vaccinated kids to get the virus from each other in Brooklyn, New York.

The movement against the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, is largely thought to stem from the work of Andrew Wakefield.

The now discredited UK doctor penned a damning research paper claiming a link between the MMR vaccine, autism and bowel disease.

The study was retracted in 2010 but the paper has had a lasting influence with the "anti-vaxxer" movement particularly taking off in America.

Yeah - sample size of 12, horrible P-Value and the dear Doctor is now just Andy - his license to practice medicine was stripped. He is no longer an Md.

Talk about child abuse.

From Kaiser Health News:

‘Medieval’ Diseases Flare As Unsanitary Living Conditions Proliferate
Jennifer Millar keeps trash bags and hand sanitizer near her tent, and she regularly pours water mixed with hydrogen peroxide on the sidewalk nearby. Keeping herself and the patch of concrete she calls home clean is a top priority.

But this homeless encampment off a Hollywood freeway ramp is often littered with needles and trash, and soaked in urine. Rats occasionally scamper through, and Millar fears the consequences.

And more:

Infectious diseases — some that ravaged populations in the Middle Ages — are resurging in California and around the country, and are hitting homeless populations especially hard.

Los Angeles recently experienced an outbreak of typhus — a disease spread by infected fleas on rats and other animals — in downtown streets. Officials briefly closed part of City Hall after reporting that rodents had invaded the building.

People in Washington state have been infected with Shigella bacteria, which is spread through feces and causes the diarrheal disease shigellosis, as well as Bartonella quintana, which spreads through body lice and causes trench fever.

Hepatitis A, also spread primarily through feces, infected more than 1,000 people in Southern California in the past two years. The disease also has erupted in New Mexico, Ohio and Kentucky, primarily among people who are homeless or use drugs.

Just wonderful - and how long before Yersinia pestis rears its pretty little head?

People advocating socialist health care need to look to England. From Singapore's The Straits Times:

Thousands in Britain left to go blind due to eye surgery rationing: Report
Thousands of elderly people in Britain are left to go blind because of rationing of eye surgery in the National Health Service (NHS), a report revealed on Saturday (April 6).

The Times newspaper said a survey by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO) found tens of thousands of elderly people are left struggling to see because of an NHS cost-cutting drive that relies on them dying before they can qualify for cataract surgery.

The survey has found that the NHS has ignored instructions to end cataract treatment rationing in defiance of official guidance two years ago.

Well I am sure that Mick Jagger had no problems getting his heart valve replacement surgery performed. Oh. Wait. He flew to New York City for the procedure...

Public health - two stories

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Cheer you up - first, from Associated Press:

US health officials alarmed by paralyzing illness in kids
One morning last fall, 4-year-old Joey Wilcox woke up with the left side of his face drooping.

It was the first sign of an unfolding nightmare.

Three days later, Joey was in a hospital intensive care unit, unable to move his arms or legs or sit up. Spinal taps and other tests failed to find a cause. Doctors worried he was about to lose the ability to breathe.

“It’s devastating,” said his father, Jeremy Wilcox, of Herndon, Virginia. “Your healthy child can catch a cold — and then become paralyzed.”

Joey, who survived but still suffers some of the effects, was one of 228 confirmed victims in the U.S. last year of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, a rare, mysterious and sometimes deadly paralyzing illness that seems to ebb and flow on an every-other-year cycle and is beginning to alarm public health officials because it is striking more and more children.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it may bear similarities to polio, which smoldered among humans for centuries before it exploded into fearsome epidemics in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Like the article says - it will simmer until it hits critical mass and then whammo! No bueno.

Second - Ebola - from Reuters:

Congo Ebola outbreak spreading faster than ever: WHO
Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ebola outbreak is spreading at its fastest rate yet, eight months after it was first detected, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

Each of the past two weeks has registered a record number of new cases, marking a sharp setback for efforts to respond to the second biggest outbreak ever, as militia violence and community resistance have impeded access to affected areas.

This scares me - you can be contagious for several days before you start to manifest any symptoms. Get on an airplane, cough a few times and we now have 300 carriers.

I will never ever live in a large city again. This is for many reasons.

A two-fer - first from US News and World Report:

Health Officials Warn of Measles Exposure
HEALTH OFFICIALS IN Los Angeles County are warning about possible exposure to measles amid a spike in cases elsewhere in the country in recent months.

In late December, one person who was sick with the highly contagious viral infection visited several stores and restaurants in Malibu, Pasadena and Santa Monica while contagious, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Officials said there is no remaining risk in those areas, but people who may have been near the infected person should watch for any symptoms of the illness, which is spread through cough or sneeze and causes fever, red eyes and a rash. Most people who haven't been immunized will get measles if they are exposed to the virus, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said.

And this blast of truth from Scientific American:

Opting Out of Vaccines Should Opt You Out of American Society
The ongoing measles outbreaks across the United States and Europe prove definitively that our personal choices affect everybody around us. Although you have a right to your own body, your choice to willfully be sick ends where another’s right to be healthy begins. For that reason, people who “opt out” of vaccines should be opted out of American society.

This is America, the Land of the Free. That freedom, however, doesn’t mean “I can do whatever I want, whenever I want.” When we choose to live in a society, there are certain obligations—both moral and legal—to which we are bound. You cannot inflict harm or infringe on the rights and liberties of those around you.

So true - some little snowflakes out there need to be hit with the cluebat. And this great comparison:

Finally, your moral and legal obligations to the safety of others can even curtail combinations of your rights. Even though consuming alcohol and driving are both legal activities, they are not legal when performed together. Nearly 11,000 people die every year because people choose to exercise their “rights” inappropriately.

The exact same reasoning applies to vaccination. There is no moral difference between a drunk driver and a willfully unvaccinated person. Both are selfishly, recklessly and knowingly putting the lives of everyone they encounter at risk. Their behavior endangers the health, safety and livelihood of the innocent bystanders who happen to have the misfortune of being in their path.

And your argument is?

Nice people - anti-vaxxers

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I guess that seals the deal - anti-vaccination equals mental illness. From CNN:

Her son died. And then anti-vaxers attacked her
Not long ago, a 4-year-old boy died of the flu. His mother, under doctor's orders, watched his two little brothers like a hawk, terrified they might get sick and die, too.

Grieving and frightened, just days after her son's death she checked her Facebook page hoping to read messages of comfort from family and friends.

Instead, she found dozens of hateful comments: You're a terrible mother. You killed your child. You deserved what happened to your son. This is all fake - your child doesn't exist.

And the people behind this outpouring of goodwill:

Interviews with mothers who've lost children and with those who spy on anti-vaccination groups, reveal a tactic employed by anti-vaxers: When a child dies, members of the group sometimes encourage each other to go on that parent's Facebook page. The anti-vaxers then post messages telling the parents they're lying and their child never existed, or that the parent murdered them, or that vaccines killed the child, or some combination of all of those.

Nothing is considered too cruel. Just days after their children died, mothers say anti-vaxers on social media called them whores, the c-word and baby killers.

The mother in the Midwest, who wants to remain anonymous, isn't alone.

Jill Promoli, who lives outside Toronto, lost her son to flu. She believes the anti-vaxers are trying to silence the very people who can make the strongest argument for vaccinations: those whose children died of vaccine-preventable illnesses.

Mentally ill. Nothing else explains the pathology of character.

Report from Harvard University - from Yahoo / The Telegraph:

Harvard University uncovers DNA switch that controls genes for whole-body regeneration
Humans may one day have the ability to regrow limbs after scientists at Harvard University uncovered the DNA switch that controls genes for whole-body regeneration.

Some animals can achieve extraordinary feats of repair, such as salamanders which grow back legs, or geckos which can shed their tails to escape predators and then form new ones in just two months.

Planarian worms, jellyfish, and sea anemones go even further, actually regenerating their entire bodies after being cut in half.

Now scientists have discovered that that in worms, a section of non-coding or ‘junk’ DNA controls the activation of a ‘master control gene’ called early growth response (EGR) which acts like a power switch, turning regeneration on or off.

Here is the link to the original paper from Science:

Hofstenia miamia, commonly called the three-banded panther worm, is a small flatworm that can be found along the shores of the Caribbean and other warm waters. It is known for its impressive regenerative capabilities, including the ability to regenerate any body part within a few days of amputation. Previous reports identified some of the molecular signals used to coordinate regeneration (1), although the specific genes and gene networks that regulate this response were unknown. On page 1191 of this issue, Gehrke et al. (2) developed an impressive collection of genomic resources for the species, including extensive DNA, RNA, and chromatin accessibility data to promote H. miamia as a new model system for studying regeneration. Using these data, they identify early growth response (Egr), which encodes a candidate pioneer transcription factor responsible for regulating the molecular regenerating response to wounding.

Really big if it turns out to work in people.

A great choice - head of the FDA

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From Next Big Future:

Aging Expert Heading FDA Could be Good for Antiaging Projects
In April, aging research expert Norman E. (Ned) Sharpless, MD will become the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Sharpless is a 2003 Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging scholar. Ned served on AFAR’s National Scientific Advisory Council from 2005-2011 and chaired the Selection Committee of the Glenn/AFAR Postdoctoral Program for Transnational Research on Aging program in 2015 and 2016. For over 30 years, AFAR has supported the science of healthier aging.

Great call (from my perspective of 68 orbits around our sun).

And this is my surprised face - NOT!

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Two articles that caught my eye. First, from The New York Times:

Your Environment Is Cleaner. Your Immune System Has Never Been So Unprepared
Should your children pick their noses? Should your children eat dirt? Maybe: Your body needs to know what immune challenges lurk in the immediate environment.

Should you use antibacterial soap or hand sanitizers? No. Are we taking too many antibiotics? Yes.

“I tell people, when they drop food on the floor, please pick it up and eat it,” said Dr. Meg Lemon, a dermatologist in Denver who treats people with allergies and autoimmune disorders.

A bit more:

She’s referring, with a facetious touch, to the fact our immune system can become disrupted if it doesn’t have regular interactions with the natural world.

“Our immune system needs a job,” Dr. Lemon said. “We evolved over millions of years to have our immune systems under constant assault. Now they don’t have anything to do.”

She isn’t alone. Leading physicians and immunologists are reconsidering the antiseptic, at times hysterical, ways in which we interact with our environment.

I keep clean and follow Health Department standards when preparing and storing food but I know so many people who are germ-phobic to the point of irrationality.

Next up is this from United Press International:

Exercise may cut long-term mortality in older adults, study says
Working out more can help the body and mind, which can ultimately help to extend a person's life, a new study says.

About 65 percent of people with an average age of 72 showed cognitive frailty, according to findings published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Cognitive frailty, the condition of being both mentally impaired and physically frail but without dementia symptoms, puts people at a greater risk of death than having either of the symptoms separately.

The good news is that physical activity reduces the risk of cognitive frailty by 35 percent, the research says.

Very happy I joined the YMCA - it is a major shift in my habits to go there and work out for 90 minutes but I feel so much better after I do.

Measles in the news - a three-fer

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First - glad to see someone with a pair of brass ones. From the New York City CBS affiliate:

NY Judge Rules Against Anti-Vax Parents, Says Students Can’t Return To School During Measles Outbreak
A federal judge has ruled against a group of local parents who are refusing to vaccinate their children.

More than 40 students have been banned from a private school during the Rockland County measles outbreak. On Tuesday, the judge said he would not lift that ban.

Those students and their families were in a courtroom instead of a classroom, fighting an order to stay away from fellow students due to the high risk they could contract and spread the measles.

Good - I still think that we should bring back the Pillory - perfect punishment for these willfully ignorant parents.

Second, the outbreak is growing - from The Hill:

CDC reports 228 measles cases in 12 states
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 228 cases of measles in 12 states so far this year.

The CDC has identified six outbreaks, which it defines as three or mores cases, in New York, Washington, Texas, Illinois and California.

The cases are linked to unvaccinated American travelers bringing measles back into the U.S. from other countries where large measles outbreaks are occurring, such as Israel and Ukraine, the CDC says.

Surprised that Israel is having problems - they are too intellegent for crap like anti-vaxxing. Ahhh - the ultra-orthodox

Finally, from the Los Angeles Times:

Officials warn of measles exposure at LAX
Travelers at Los Angeles International Airport may have been exposed to measles late last month, health officials said Tuesday.

A passenger who had a layover at LAX on Feb. 21 was diagnosed with measles, a highly contagious illness that spreads through coughing or sneezing. People who were in Terminal B and Delta Terminal 3 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. that day may have been exposed, health officials said.

Another reason to avoid air travel like the... plague...

From The Centers for Disease Control:

2018-2019 Influenza Season Week 9 ending March 2, 2019
Influenza activity remains elevated in the United States. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, influenza A(H3N2), and influenza B viruses continue to co-circulate. 

Much more at the site. We may be heading into Spring but the flu is still with us.

Great news - Italy

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From The Beeb:

Italy bans unvaccinated children from school
Italian children have been told not to turn up to school unless they can prove they have been properly vaccinated.

The deadline follows months of national debate over compulsory vaccination.

Parents risk being fined up to €500 (£425; $560) if they send their unvaccinated children to school. Children under six can be turned away.

I wish the school administrators in Oregon and Washington had balls like this. No need to infect your classmates just because you have willfully stupid parents.

Mumps in the news - Arizona

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More anti-vax stupidity - from AZ Central:

Mumps reports in Chandler draw attention to the other 'M' in childhood vaccine
After two confirmed cases of mumps were found in Chandler, Maricopa County health officials issued a statement reminding people of symptoms to look for from the contagious disease.

"As of right now, we only know of the two confirmed cases at Hamilton High," said Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director of disease control at the Maricopa Department of Public Health.

Sunenshine added that mumps cases in Arizona are relatively uncommon, but there are reports of other outbreaks in other parts of the country.

A nasty disease - if you get it after puberty, there is a good chance that you will become sterile. It hits the glands.

Not just measles - tetanus

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From the Centers for Disease Control:

Notes from the Field: Tetanus in an Unvaccinated Child — Oregon, 2017
Tetanus is an acute neuromuscular disease caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. Bacterial spores found in soil can enter the body through skin disruption, with subsequent onset of clinical illness ranging from 3 to 21 days (usually within 8 days). In 2017, a boy aged 6 years who had received no immunizations sustained a forehead laceration while playing outdoors on a farm; the wound was cleaned and sutured at home. Six days later, he had episodes of crying, jaw clenching, and involuntary upper extremity muscle spasms, followed by arching of the neck and back (opisthotonus) and generalized spasticity. Later that day, at the onset of breathing difficulty, the parents contacted emergency medical services, who air-transported him directly to a tertiary pediatric medical center. The boy subsequently received a diagnosis of tetanus and required approximately 8 weeks of inpatient care, followed by rehabilitation care, before he was able to resume normal activities.

And what happened?

The boy required 57 days of inpatient acute care, including 47 days in the intensive care unit. The inpatient charges totaled $811,929 (excluding air transportation, inpatient rehabilitation, and ambulatory follow-up costs). One month after inpatient rehabilitation, he returned to all normal activities, including running and bicycling. Despite extensive review of the risks and benefits of tetanus vaccination by physicians, the family declined the second dose of DTaP and any other recommended immunizations.

Emphasis mine - the $811K is being paid out of taxpayer dollars. The family declined any other recommended immunizations. What morons.

The almost lost their child and they still think that vaccines are wrong.

From The New York Times:

Measles Outbreak: 1 Student Got 21 Others Sick
Public officials and health experts had given several warnings: Do not allow a student in school if they had not been vaccinated against measles.

Still, during New York City’s largest measles outbreak in a decade, a school in Brooklyn ignored that advice, resulting in one student infecting at least 21 other people with the virus.

The outbreak, at Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov in Williamsburg, is reigniting concerns that too many people in New York’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities are unvaccinated, as well as worries that measles would continue to spread after travelers arrived last fall from parts of Israel and Europe, where the virus was spreading.

City officials said they have struggled to increase vaccination rates in certain communities because of popularity of the widely debunked anti-vaccination movement, with parents declining vaccines for their children in fear that they increase the risk of autism.

And the outbreak has been going on since last fall:

The outbreak in New York began in the fall. Within months, the state had recorded nearly 200 cases. Dr. Barbot said that in New York City 133 cases have been recorded for people ages 6 months to 59 years, and that several people, including children, have been hospitalized. There have been no known fatalities.

Child abuse plain and simple.

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