Recently in Medicine and Health Category

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

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)

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.

Measles - a two-fer

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First - the Washington State outbreak. From NBC News:

Clark County keeps 800 students out of school due to measles outbreak
In the Washington county that is home to one of the nation’s largest measles outbreaks, the effects go far beyond the 71 confirmed cases.

The Seattle Times reports over 800 students considered exposed to the highly contagious disease in Clark County have been ordered to stay away from classrooms for up to three weeks, disrupting their education.

Since January, field trips, after-school activities and an assembly honoring Martin Luther King Jr. have been canceled or postponed. Some students are doing homework off prepared handouts; others are using school-issued laptops to keep up.

All because some ninny responded to lies on the internet. It fit the narrative. Anti-Vax is child abuse.

Second - Costa Rica. From the UK Independent:

Measles returned to Costa Rica after five years by French family who had not had vaccinations
An unvaccinated French boy is suspected of having reintroduced measles to Costa Rica after the Central American country had been free of the disease for five years.

It is unclear why the five-year-old French tourist had never received a measles jab, but the arrival of the highly contagious, potentially deadly disease in a country that has been measles-free since 2014 is likely to increase anxiety about the effects of the worldwide anti-vaccine movement.

The reintroduction of measles to Costa Rica comes a month after the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that “vaccine hesitancy” is in the top 10 of the worst health threats facing humanity in 2019.

We need to bring back the Pillory - very effective. Didn't vaccinate your kid? Spend a week in the pillory (taken out to eat and sleep of course - we are not barbarians after all) being laughed at by your smarter townsfolk.

From Politico:

State lawmakers pushing for laxer vaccine rules despite measles outbreaks
Measles is spreading from New York to Texas to Washington state in the worst outbreak in years, but some state lawmakers want to take the vaccination debate in the opposite direction: Loosening rules covering whether kids get inoculated.

In Oregon, state lawmakers will consider a so-called transparency bill favored by the "vaccine hesitant." New York is simultaneously considering eliminating and expanding exemptions that allow parents to opt out. One bill in Texas would prohibit the state from even tracking exemptions.

"vaccine hesitant" - Christ on a Corn Dog. Let us make that "willfully stupid"

The push to loosen the rules is occurring even as the U.S. has experienced more than 160 measles cases in 10 states since Jan. 1, including 74 in Washington state and Oregon linked to the outbreak in the Pacific Northwest, according to the states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Child abuse plain and simple.

Just wonderful - measles

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From the Chicago, IL FOX affiliate:

Unvaccinated traveler may have exposed thousands of people to measles at Chicago airport
Travelers passing through Chicago’s Midway International Airport last week may have been exposed to measles.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says an unvaccinated Illinois resident passed through Midway on Feb. 22. Department officials announced Thursday people in the airport between 9 p.m. and midnight may have been exposed.

The infected person sought treatment at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva. Those in the emergency department Feb. 24 and Feb 25 also may have been exposed.

Public health officials say measles is spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes and can also spread through contact with mucus or saliva from an infected person.

Those infected by measles may not develop symptoms for weeks.

Emphasis mine - we need to make the vaccination mandatory. There is no scientific reason not to.

No surprise there - urban mental health

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No brainer article at The London Times:

Growing up near green spaces is linked to better mental health
Children who grow up in greener surroundings have a greatly reduced risk of developing mental illnesses later in life, research suggests.

A study that tracked almost a million people found that those who were raised among the lowest levels of green space were as much as 55 per cent more likely to develop disorders such as substance abuse, stress-related illnesses and schizophrenia.

Also interesting:

The link to good mental health was just as strong for those who lived in green areas of cities as for those who grew up deep in the countryside.

I grew up in a very urban part of Pittsburgh, PA but spent a lot of time in nearby parks and we vacationed in Colorado every other year. For me, being in the country (or farmland) is very grounding and peaceful. I was up in Mt. Vernon earlier today and instead of taking the freeway back home, I took a country road that I like - it was gorgeous and not that much slower as the limit is 55 and most people were driving at 60MPH.

Interesting too that the homeless flock to cities. In Maple Falls, we may get one or two "crispy" people trying to put down roots each year but they never last more than a month or so.

Ho Li Crap - measles

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Major outbreak in Madagascar - from USA Today:

900 people died of measles in Madagascar outbreak. Could that happen in the U.S.?
As public health officials monitor a measles outbreak in Washington state, the World Health Organization says a separate measles epidemic in Madagascar has killed more than 900 people.

Since the outbreak began in September, the country in East Africa has seen more than 68,000 cases of the highly infectious disease, according to WHO. The organization says 553 people have died and an additional 373 are suspected to have died because of the measles. Babies are most at risk.

Could something like that happen in the U.S.? WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said the high death toll and number of infections has been blamed on a low immunization rate, less than 60 percent, for measles across the island. In the U.S., more than 90 percent of Americans do get recommended immunizations, according to CDC data. So, an outbreak of that size in America would be rare, but health officials are concerned that measles cases could increase with a growing anti-vaccination trend.

Not vaccinating your children is the worst kind of child abuse possible.

Just wonderful - measles

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The idiot parents who fall for the anti-vax propaganda. From the Independent:

Measles returned to Costa Rica after five years by French family who had not had vaccinations
An unvaccinated French boy is suspected of having reintroduced measles to Costa Rica after the Central American country had been free of the disease for five years.

It is unclear why the five-year-old French tourist had never received a measles jab, but the arrival of the highly contagious, potentially deadly disease in a country that has been measles-free since 2014 is likely to increase anxiety about the effects of the worldwide anti-vaccine movement.

The reintroduction of measles to Costa Rica comes a month after the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that “vaccine hesitancy” is in the top 10 of the worst health threats facing humanity in 2019.

Costa Rica’s health ministry said the French five-year-old had arrived in the country with his parents on 18 February.

The Costa Rica Star reported that the boy and his mother had not been vaccinated. The parents were said to have consulted a private doctor in Costa Rica about their son’s “rash”, and confirmed that other children who had attended the boy’s school in France had come down with measles.

And some numbers:

The WHO has said that despite the availability of a safe and cost-effective vaccine, there were 110,000 measles deaths globally in 2017, mostly among children under the age of five.

Every single one of those deaths was unnecessary. The pitiful ignorance of some people and the craven sociopathy of those people who promote antivaxxing is beyond belief.

And it is back in favor again - Vitamin D

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About a month ago, research offered that Vitamin D was not a substitute for getting sunlight. Now, a study is showing that it has other benefits. From Baltimore, MD station WBAL:

Vitamin D may have even more benefits than previously known
Vitamin D, often called "the sunshine vitamin," is considered essential to good health.

Researchers focusing on the consequences of vitamin D deficiency have found it is connected with an alarming number of health issues, such as osteoporosis, certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases and inflammatory bowel diseases.


"A new study, just came out this year, showed vitamin D, adequate levels of vitamin D, can reduce your risk of diabetes. They found that vitamin D supplementation basically made insulin work better, and if insulin works better, blood sugar goes down and your risk of diabetes goes (down)," Doyle said.

Interesting to see what comes of this.

Faster please - medicine

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From Yahoo / Agence France Presse:

'Killer' cells raise hope of universal flu vaccine
Scientists said Monday they had discovered immune cells that can fight all known flu viruses in what was hailed as an "extraordinary breakthrough" that could lead to a universal, one-shot vaccine against the killer disease.

Influenza epidemics, largely seasonal, kill hundreds of thousands of people each year, according to the World Health Organization.

Due to its mutating strains, vaccine formulas must be regularly updated and only offer limited protection currently.

Researchers in Australia said that "killer T cells" -- found in over half the world's population -- had shown in testing to be effective in fighting all common flu varieties.

This means the cells could potentially be used to develop an all-encompassing flu shot that did not need to be changed annually, and even be effective in people who don't naturally possess them.

Here is the home page for the organization in question: The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

Here is their own press release: ‘Killer’ immune cells provide solution to elusive universal flu vaccine

And here is the paper at Nature: Human CD8+ T cell cross-reactivity across influenza A, B and C viruses

Flu is a killer - lost a good friend to it last winter..

Pot - a two-fer

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Everyone seems to think that marijuana is the best thing since sliced bread - here are two alternate views.

First - from Malcom Gladwell writing at The New Yorker:

Is Marijuana as Safe as We Think?
A few years ago, the National Academy of Medicine convened a panel of sixteen leading medical experts to analyze the scientific literature on cannabis. The report they prepared, which came out in January of 2017, runs to four hundred and sixty-eight pages. It contains no bombshells or surprises, which perhaps explains why it went largely unnoticed. It simply stated, over and over again, that a drug North Americans have become enthusiastic about remains a mystery.

For example, smoking pot is widely supposed to diminish the nausea associated with chemotherapy. But, the panel pointed out, “there are no good-quality randomized trials investigating this option.” We have evidence for marijuana as a treatment for pain, but “very little is known about the efficacy, dose, routes of administration, or side effects of commonly used and commercially available cannabis products in the United States.” The caveats continue. Is it good for epilepsy? “Insufficient evidence.” Tourette’s syndrome? Limited evidence. A.L.S., Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s? Insufficient evidence. Irritable-bowel syndrome? Insufficient evidence. Dementia and glaucoma? Probably not. Anxiety? Maybe. Depression? Probably not.

Then come Chapters 5 through 13, the heart of the report, which concern marijuana’s potential risks. The haze of uncertainty continues. Does the use of cannabis increase the likelihood of fatal car accidents? Yes. By how much? Unclear. Does it affect motivation and cognition? Hard to say, but probably. Does it affect employment prospects? Probably. Will it impair academic achievement? Limited evidence. This goes on for pages.

Second - from Alex Berenson writing at Imprimis:

Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
Seventy miles northwest of New York City is a hospital that looks like a prison, its drab brick buildings wrapped in layers of fencing and barbed wire. This grim facility is called the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Institute. It’s one of three places the state of New York sends the criminally mentally ill—defendants judged not guilty by reason of insanity.

Until recently, my wife Jackie ­— Dr. Jacqueline Berenson — was a senior psychiatrist there. Many of Mid-Hudson’s 300 patients are killers and arsonists. At least one is a cannibal. Most have been diagnosed with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia that provoked them to violence against family members or strangers.

A couple of years ago, Jackie was telling me about a patient. In passing, she said something like, Of course he’d been smoking pot his whole life.

Of course? I said.

Yes, they all smoke.

So marijuana causes schizophrenia?

I was surprised, to say the least. I tended to be a libertarian on drugs. Years before, I’d covered the pharmaceutical industry for The New York Times. I was aware of the claims about marijuana as medicine, and I’d watched the slow spread of legalized cannabis without much interest.

Jackie would have been within her rights to say, I know what I’m talking about, unlike you. Instead she offered something neutral like, I think that’s what the big studies say. You should read them.

Much more at both sites - usedd to smoke a bit when I was in my 20's but stopped as it was not "enhancing" anything - it was an energy drain and I did not like the psychological effects. Marijuana seems to have been re-incarnated as some kind of "magic medicine" good for all that ails a person. Not true and more research needs to be done.

Los Angeles and Typhus

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Getting worse - from the Los Angeles Times:

Long before City Hall rats, L.A. has struggled with the rise of typhus
Los Angeles officials this month called for an investigation into a vermin infestation at City Hall, after at least one city employee was diagnosed with typhus, a disease spread by rodents.

The rat problem has focused attention on typhus over the last several weeks. But cases of the disease have actually been increasing in California for more than a decade.

Thirteen people in the state were diagnosed with typhus in 2008, compared with 167 last year. More than 95% of the people falling sick in California are in Los Angeles and Orange counties, according to state health data.

Wonder how long it will be before Yersinia pestis rears its ugly head. It can be treated with common antibiotics but a very prompt diagnosis is required to get mortality down below 40%. Highly contageous too - wonderful stuff. Symptoms are very flu-like at the beginning and since the flu is a virus, antibiotics do not have any effect - people will not be inclined to take them for flu symptoms. By the time the buboes show up, it is too late. Not good at all.

Not a big fan of dense populations - just one reason.

Now this could be interesting

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From New Atlas:

New experimental drug rapidly repairs age-related memory loss and improves mood
A team of Canadian scientists has developed a fascinating new experimental drug that is purported to result in rapid improvements to both mood and memory following extensive animal testing. It's hoped the drug will move to human trials within the next two years.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a key neurotransmitter, and when altered it can play a role in the development of everything from psychiatric conditions to cognitive degeneration. Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax or Valium, are a class of drugs well known to function by modulating the brain's GABA systems.

This new research describes the development of several new molecules that are structurally based on benzodiazepines, but with small tweaks to enhance their ability to specifically target certain brain areas. The goal was to create a new therapeutic agent that can effectively combat age-related mood and memory alterations caused by disruptions in the GABA systems.

"Currently there are no medications to treat cognitive symptoms such as memory loss that occur in depression, other mental illnesses and aging," says Etienne Sibille, from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and lead scientist on the new research.

If this pans out, they should just put it in the water systems like we do with Chlorine and Fluorine. Overall improvement to society.

Yikes - Ebola

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From Miami, FL station WPLG:

Nearly 100 children dead from Ebola in Congo as crisis worsens
Nearly 100 children have died since the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo started last year -- and the crisis is gathering pace, with the number of new cases doubling last month, according to charity Save the Children.

A total of 97 children have died from the viral illness since the outbreak began in August, 65 of whom were younger than 5 years old, the group said.

And the number of new cases spiked in January, from around 20 a week to more than 40, according to the charity. In the last three weeks of January alone, there were 120 new cases overall.

Faster on that vaccine please. This disease really scares me.

The Measles outbreak - WA State

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A bunch of headlines that are links to the original article:

Measles update: 51 cases of measles confirmed, 13 suspected in Clark County

Clark County, WA Dept. of Public Health

Measles Cases Mount In Pacific Northwest Outbreak

Washington lawmakers weigh vaccine bill amid outbreak
The bill, HB 1638, would remove parents' ability to claim a personal or philosophical exemption to opt their school-age children out of the MMR vaccines.

And finally (some of the article excerpted) from The Washington Post:

Washington measles outbreak draws crowd to hearing on vaccine law
Anti-vaccine activists packed a public hearing Friday to oppose a bill that would make it harder for families to opt out of vaccination requirements for measles, mumps and rubella amid the state’s worst measles outbreak in more than two decades.

An estimated 700 people, most of them opposed to stricter requirements, lined up before dawn in the cold, toting strollers and hand-lettered signs, to sit in the hearing, which was so crowded that staff opened up additional rooms to accommodate the crowd. Many gathered outside afterward for a rally.

Anti-vaccine activists, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a prominent vaccine conspiracy theorist, claimed that health officials are covering up vaccine dangers. Some said their children had been injured or sickened by immunizations. One falsely said the majority of people diagnosed with measles have been vaccinated.

When the Washington state health secretary, John Wiesman, debunked those claims, some members of the audience murmured in disapproval.

Those 700 people should be convicted of child abuse. They are delusional in their willful stupidity.

This is not good - Ebola

From The Lancet:

Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: time to sound a global alert?
The epidemic of Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the second largest in history after the 2014 west African epidemic. A storm of detrimental factors complicates this event: armed conflict, political instability, and mass displacement. WHO, the DRC Government, and non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners have shown remarkable leadership but are badly stretched. The outbreak remains far from controlled, risking a long-term epidemic with regional, perhaps global, impacts.

The Lancet is paywalled but England's The Daily Star has more:

The current outbreak – first declared just six months ago – is already the world’s second-biggest having killed nearly 1,000 since it began.

And now there are fresh fears the epidemic is set to intensify amid warnings the spread is taking the disease closer to Goma city and has already arrived in the city of Butemba, which is home to millions of people.

The United Nations has scrambled emergency medical teams in Goma to deal with a possibly devastating outbreak in the city, with 2,000 emergency workers stationed there ready to deal with patients.

This disease really scares me - a person can be highly contagious without showing symptoms. Once this hits a large city with a crowded transit system, game over.

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