Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Healthcare Headlines, Part 2

By Rick Fromme

Photo Credit: naturalnews.com
Welcome back to our second edition of “Healthcare Headlines.” In a popular blog that was posted in late August (“Viruses, Bacteria and Headlines, Oh My!”), I had cited several international Ebola experts on Ebola who claimed that in their estimation, Ebola wouldn’t become a major issue in the U.S.:
“However, the CDC and other leading experts are virtually unanimous in emphasizing the likelihood of Ebola spreading like wildfire across the U.S. is very low. And if a developed country such as the U.S. should experience some isolated cases, our healthcare system has the wherewithal to deal with and contain the infection (in its current state).” 

While to date, less than a handful of people in the U.S. have tested positive for Ebola, it remains to be seen if these experts’ prognostications will come to fruition (let’s hope so!)  But Ebola is one of the key health issues making headlines right now, so I thought I would post some of the most recent news items concerning the disease. 

New Ebola Study Finds it’s Best to Screen Outbound Flights 


Photo Credit: marketwatch.com
Given the current rates of infection of the Ebola virus infection found in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, a team of Canadian infectious disease specialists estimates that as many as three passengers each month are likely to travel on international flights departing from one of the above African countries where the disease continues to proliferate.

As was published in the “The Lancet,” just this past Monday, the research concludes that screening airline travelers in order to block the virus' export would be far more effective if screening tests were conducted at airports inside the three stricken countries, rather than screening done in arrival countries such as the U.S.  

The analysis suggests that on average, every 10.5 days, a single person infected with Ebola is likely to carry the virus by air from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea to another country.

For public health officials considering the best protocol to stop passengers who could be exporting the Ebola virus, that pattern of international travel tilts the screening calculation vastly in favor of doing so at airports in those above-mentioned countries. 

Photo Credit: wibwnewsnow.com
Every international airline passenger screened at one of those three countries’ airports could be a carrier of the
deadly virus, the authors of the “Lancet” analysis assumed. Airports throughout the U.S. and other countries that aren’t permitting any direct flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea. However, thermometer-wielding personnel would have to screen 2,512 passengers in order to find one who may have been exposed to Ebola.

In more disheartening news, the study suggests that countries that are presently the least able to manage the arrival of passengers are also most likely to receive infected passengers. Of those expected to travel internationally from the three West African countries affected by Ebola in 2014, more than 60% are likely to have final destinations in low- or lower-middle-income countries such as Ghana and Senegal.

Moreover, says study coauthor, Dr. Isaac I. Bogoch, screening passengers for Ebola symptoms such as fever will likely miss about 90% of those infected, since the virus' incubation is widely thought to be about 10 days, with the maximum incubation period of 21 days.  For as many as nine days (in some cases, longer), an infected person would likely show no signs of fever, limiting the value of thermal screening.

GOP Leaders Say New Ebola Restrictions Don’t Go Far Enough


Photo Credit: redflagnews.com
In a related Ebola-oriented news item, last week, several GOP leaders said the Obama administration’s new Ebola restrictions don’t go far enough and are pressing for a full travel ban. The leaders of three House committees renewed calls for President Obama to suspend U.S. visas for anyone traveling from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, where more than 4,500 people have died from Ebola.

CDC Tightens Rules on Caring for Ebola Patients


As of today, four people have been officially diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. (The young  boy in NYC who was thought to possibly infected tested negative for Ebola.) As stated on the Center for Disease Control's website, Cases of Ebola Diagnosed in the United States:

"CDC confirmed on September 30, 2014, the first laboratory-confirmed case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States in a man who had traveled to Dallas, Texas from Liberia. He did not have symptoms when leaving Liberia, but developed symptoms approximately four days after arriving in the United States.

Photo Credit: premiumgist.com
"The man sought medical care at Texas Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas after developing symptoms consistent with Ebola. The index patient passed away on October 8.

"On October 10, a healthcare worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the index patient tested positive for Ebola. The patient has since recovered and was discharged on October 24.

"On October 15, a second healthcare worker who provided care for the index patient at Texas Presbyterian Hospital tested positive for Ebola. The second healthcare worker had traveled by air October 13, the day before reporting symptoms. All passengers and crew on the two flights (Dallas to Cleveland on October 10, and Cleveland to Dallas on October 13) have since been contacted by public health professionals and are being monitored.

"On October 23, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported a case of Ebola in a medical aid worker who had returned to New York City from Guinea, where the medical aid worker had served with Doctors Without Borders."

Photo Credit: latimes.com
Given the mishandling of the first patient in Texas, now, full body suits and respirators are being recommended, along with a monitor to observe workers when removing their gear.

Last Monday, U.S. health officials officially tightened guidelines for health workers treating Ebola patients, now requiring full body suits with no skin exposure and use of a full-time respirator. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided to issue the tougher rules after two Dallas nurses contracted Ebola while caring for the first patient diagnosed in the U.S., a Liberian national who was visiting in Texas. The first patient and procedures were in September. The two nurses were following Ebola guidelines that the CDC first issued in 2008 and had updated during the summer. However they ended up contracting the disease but have since recovered. The CDC now recommends a very specific set of gear to be worn by healthcare workers treating Ebola patients:

  • Double gloves
  • Waterproof boot covers that go to at least mid-calf
  • Single-use waterproof or water-resistant gowns that extend to mid-calf
  • Disposable, single-use, full-face shields
  • Surgical hoods to ensure complete coverage of the head and neck
  • Waterproof apron that covers the torso down to the mid-calf if the patient is vomiting or experiencing diarrhea
  • Use of a respirator at all times ― either an N95 respirator or a powered air purifying respirator
  • Healthcare workers must undergo rigorous and repeated training in donning and doffing all this gear, until it becomes "ritualized," the CDC emphasized.

A Breathalyzer to Detect Hospital-Acquired Infections


Photo Credit: gizmag.com
The startup firm Isomark, in Wisconsin has developed a breath-based test that can detect infection within two hours of its onset. The patented concept has wide-reaching applications ― for instance, developing a smart neonatal incubator that’s constantly checking a preemie’s breath for signs of sepsis.

The company received $2.2 million in NIH-backed SBIR grants; the device is in the midst of a 110-patient trial at the University of Wisconsin. 

The general idea, however, is that  by using the non-invasive measurement of breath-based biomarkers, patients could be diagnosed and treated much quicker than if they wait for a lab results of, say, a blood test. The uses for Isomark’s test include initial disease detection in a clinic and other outpatient medical services, and importantly, post-op monitoring of patients who are at risk of contracting hospital-acquired infections such as sepsis and MRSA. Sepsis is a major problem in ICUs; the NIH estimates that 28-50% of the 750,000 Americans who develop it each year die.


Paralyzed Man Walks Again After Nose Cells Repair His Spinal Cord

Photo Credit: techtimes.com
A 40-year-old paralyzed man from Poland can now walk again (with the aid of a frame) after breakthroughsurgery transplanted cells from his nose into his spinal cord, which had been severed in a knife attack.

The innovative procedure effectively provided a "bridge" over the injury site so nerve cells ― encouraged by the special nose cells ― could regrow across the scar tissue in his spinal cord.

The patient was left paralyzed from the chest down after suffering stab wounds to his back in 2010.  After 19 months of treatment at a Polish hospital, his doctors say he’s recovered some voluntary movement patterns and has now regained some sensation in his legs.

The patient is continuing to improve further than predicted; he’s now able to drive and live more independently.

Vaccinations “Not Linked to Increased Risk of MS, CNS Disorders”


Photo Credit: mysuncoast.com
Contracting some findings suggest in previous research studies, a new study published in “JAMA Neurology”
didn’t correlate the association.

In this latest study, researchers set out to assess the link between vaccinations and MS and other Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders in more detail.

The researchers said they found no link between any vaccines ― including HPV vaccines and hepatitis B vaccines ― and an increased risk of MS or any other central nervous system disorder up to three years following vaccination.

However, they did find a link between vaccines and increased risk of CNS disorders among younger patients within the first 30 days after vaccination, but the association disappeared after 30 days. The researchers say this indicates that "at most, vaccines are redundant enhancers of pre-existing autoimmunity."

Health Tip: Dish Up Healthier Halloween Goodies


Young trick-or-treaters typically are overloaded with sugar-loaded candy, but that doesn’t mean you have to contribute to their soaring sugar levels. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests these healthier Halloween options:

Photo Credit: lindawagner.net
  • Vitamin C-packed, 100%-fruit chews
  • Trans fat-free animal crackers or some sugar-free gum
  • Small juice boxes with 100% fruit juice
  • Small cups of low-fat pudding
  • Halloween stickers, temporary tattoos, pencils or other non-food goodies.

In this second edition of “Healthcare Headlines,” I focused on some of the most current breaking news stories concerning Ebola. The first article cited a recently published study that suggests airport screening should be done in the countries that are experiencing the Ebola epidemic. I mentioned that GOP leaders want to see stronger restrictions set forth by the current administration. The third Ebola-oriented segment focused on the CDC’s new guidelines for healthcare workers treating Ebola patients pertaining to protective clothing. I also featured summaries of other recent medical news articles such as the development of a new breathalyzer that can sense the early onset of various infections, new advances in spinal cord surgery and repair, a new study that found no causal effect of vaccinations and CNS disorders and MS, and lastly, some healthy alternatives to sugar-laden candy for Halloween.

If you found this article useful, please feel free to click “Like” as well as share and repost it. If you have any questions or comments, as always, I’m eager to read them.

Rick Fromme combines entrepreneurial enthusiasm with an insider's knowledge of the medical industry to co-found MedMasters.com. Both his drive and perspective helps provide health care professionals with a superior mechanism with which to communicate, network and market their strengths. Prior to founding MedMasters.com, Rick operated a highly successful medical device distributorship. Other milestones in his 12-year career in the medical industry include a key position at a medical device start-up company that was later sold to the Ethicon Endo division of Johnson & Johnson. You may also reach Rick by connecting with him on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn and YouTube

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Humerus Я Us, Part 7

Mirth Makes for Merry Medicine

By Rick Fromme

Photo Credit: themetapicture.com
By now, most of you who are familiar with this series know that humor and laughter are good for us physically and psychologically. Laughter has also been found to:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood
  • Stimulate the diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles
  • Reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline
  • Increase the response of tumor- and disease-killing cells such as Gamma-interferon and T-cells
  • Defend against respiratory infections — even reducing the frequency of colds — by immunoglobulon in saliva
  • Increase memory and learning
  • Improve alertness, creativity, and memory

If you want to learn more about the various ways humor can positively affect us physiologically, check out the first blog in this series, “Humerus Я Us, Part 1.”  Without further ado …          

To “ER” is Human … and Sometimes Funny

Photo Credit: pinterest.com
A woman arrives at the ER and her toxicology screen comes back positive for benzos, opiates and pot.When offered a nicotine patch (since she can’t go out to smoke), she refused, stating: “I don’t want nothin’ on my skin that gonna’ harm me!”

EMS was called to a crash where driver lost control of vehicle and crashed into cellular store. The ironic thing was, the driver was on his cell phone when he crashed into the store.

A doctor received a call for a behavioral patient.  Upon arriving on the scene, the doctor was told, in fearful tones, by the father that his son was becoming a terrorist. How did he know this? Because his son had become a vegan and grown a beard. Yes, apparently these are signs of a terrorist-in-training.

Patient: “I need help getting this spoon out of my butt.”
Nurse: “Why do you have a spoon up your rectum?”
Patient: “I was trying to get the golf ball out.”

A patient arrived at the ER at 4 a.m. with no complaints, when he then says, “I’ve been having chest pain for intermittently for about four months, but I’m not having chest pain right now.  The reason I’m here now is because I heard that 4 a.m. is the best time to come ’cause there aren't that many people.”

Photo Credit: wall321.com
A PA had a 24 y/o male patient come to the ER via EMS during an ice storm complaining of pain in his eye. The only problem is this pain had been going on for the past five years! The doctor asked him what was different today that he had to come by ambulance in an ice storm he said, “Nothing. It’s just that a friend said I’d better get it checked out.”

A woman brings in her grandchild and is very upset as the child’s “belly button is falling off.” For a moment, the triage PA thought this could be some sort of emergency, but in fact the child had a squished baked bean in his belly button.

A Funny Prank at Doctor's Office


Magically Delicious:  The Lucky Charms o’ Limericks, Part 2

A man who lived in Alberquerque,
Was allergic to eating cold turkey;
One slice on his plate,
Caused his hips to gyrate;
And his movement became terribly jerky.

As the professor prepared a full syringe,
His entourage didn’t mutter of cringe;
They were rather afraid,
An error could be made;
As the prof. had been out on a binge.
Photo Credit: funny-pictures.picphotos.net

The student doctor was doing her rounds,
and was just thinking “How many pounds?”
He was losing in weight,
With his nice, steady gait;
As his heartbeats were in leaps and bounds. 

Taking a walk in the rain,
A doctor was asked, “Please explain.”
She said, “Surgery
Is so stressful to me;
I’m just here to cool off my brain.”

The patient let out a yell,
This hospital’s cheap, I can tell!
The nurses are plain,
The doc has no brain
And his scalpels are dull as well.

There was a young fellow named Guy,
Who could not look his friends in the eye;
As he faced their direction,
Because of deflection,
His eyes faced the floor and the sky.
Photo Credit: themetapicture.com

The ID response was chaotic,
Giving random antibiotic;
With learned conjectures,
And Grand Rounds lectures;
They made diagnoses exotic.
—PD Singer

The nurse who changed out the Foley
Screamed, “For love of all that is holy –
You don’t need ciprofloxacin,
To kill off the toxin;
That bag contains guacamole!”
—PD Singer

 The Medical City's Gangam Sytle of Handwashing

Damsel’s Diagnosis
A young, good-looking woman has sharp pains in lower right side, so she goes to the hospital. The doctor examines her and says, "You have acute appendicitis."
The woman says, "That's sweet, Doc, but I came here to get medical help."

One for Jethro Tull
Q: How do we know that carrots are good for our eyesight?
A: Have you ever seen a rabbit with glasses? 

Photo Credit: themetapicture.com
Fluid on the Brain
A mechanic noticed his co-worker drinking brake fluid at lunch.
"What are you doing, man? You can't drink that stuff!"
"Relax," replied his co-worker, "this stuff tastes pretty good, and I don't drink it all the time."
"Seriously," the mechanic exclaimed, "that brake fluid is poison!"
"Hey man," yelled the co-worker, "Back off! I can stop any time I want."

Careful Where You Practice
A lawyer is standing in a long line at the box office. Suddenly, he feels a pair of hands kneading his shoulders, back, and neck. The lawyer turns around.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"I'm a chiropractor, and I'm just keeping in practice while I'm waiting in line."
"Well, I'm a lawyer, but you don't see me screwing the guy in front of me, do you?"

 Dental Pain in ER

Latest Growth & Development Milestone Chart

4 Years: Can hit “Like” button
5 Years: Can write no-meaning words in Comment box
Photo Credit: funny-pictures.picphotos.net
6 Years: Can post simple comments
7 Years: Can post status
8 Years:  Can tag friends
9 Years: Can upload pictures
10 Years: Can start using foul words in comments
11 Years: Can achieve 5,000 friends
12 Years: Can “Share” this post

In this seventh installment of "Humerus Я Us," I again briefly described some of the physiological benefits researchers have found that can be attributed to regular doses of laughter, via the study of Gelotology.  I shared humorous medical stories, limericks, funny ER situations, pictures, videos, memes, and more. 

If you liked this article, please pass it around and share it with others. If you'd like to share your thoughts, a link, a joke, etc., please do so in the Comments section below.  

Photo Credit: polyvore.com

Rick Fromme combines entrepreneurial enthusiasm with an insider's knowledge of the medical industry to co-found MedMasters.com. Both his drive and perspective helps provide health care professionals with a superior mechanism with which to communicate, network and market their strengths. Prior to founding MedMasters.com, Rick operated a highly successful medical device distributorship. Other milestones in his 12-year career in the medical industry include a key position at a medical device start-up company that was later sold to the Ethicon Endo division of Johnson & Johnson. You may also reach Rick by connecting with him on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn and YouTube