February is Heart Month

Date: February 9, 2016

Make Blood Pressure Control Your Goal

This American Heart Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Million Hearts®–a national effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017–are encouraging Americans to know their blood pressure, and if it’s high, tomake control their goal.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure[469 KB] is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure.1 People with high blood pressure are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure.2

High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why having your blood pressure checked regularly is important. It’s easy to get your blood pressure checked. You can get screened at your doctor’s office and drugstores or even check it yourself at home, using a home blood pressure monitor.

Work with your health care team to make sure you meet your blood pressure goal.

Make Control Your Goal

If you know you have high blood pressure, take these steps to help get it under control[1.16 MB]:

  • Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and talk about how you can reach your goal. Work with your health care team to make sure you meet that goal. Track your blood pressure over time. One way to do that is with this free wallet card[920 KB] from Million Hearts®.
  • Take your blood pressure medicine as directed. Set a timer on your phone to remember to take your medicine at the same time each day. If you are having trouble taking your medicines on time or paying for your medicines, or if you are having side effects, ask your doctor for help.
  • Quit smoking—and if you don’t smoke, don’t start. You can find tips and resources at CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco website.
  • Reduce sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much sodium, which can raise blood pressure. Read about ways to reduce your sodium and visit the Million Hearts® Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center for heart-healthy, lower-sodium recipes, meal plans, and helpful articles.

African American Men: Take Note

While heart disease doesn’t discriminate, your gender, race, ethnicity, and where you live can increase your risk. African American men are at the highest risk for heart disease. About 2 in 5 African Americans have high blood pressure, but only half have it under control.3 A recent article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine also showed that Americans aged 30 to 74 who live the Southeast—specifically, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia—are at higher risk of developing heart disease over the next 10 years than people who live in other parts of the country.4 Many of these states have a large African American population.

 

Roosevelt, age 51, from Virginia suffered a heart attack at age 45.

Man to Man: Heart to Heart

Roosevelt, a long-time smoker, had a heart attack at age 45. He endured six surgeries, including heart bypass surgery to fix the damage to his heart caused by smoking. Now smoke-free, Roosevelt encourages others to quit smoking as a way to reduce their risk of heart disease.

“A heart attack feels like a hand inside squeezing your heart,” he said. “It’s like the worst Charley horse you can imagine—in your heart.”

About 1 in 5 African American adults smokes cigarettes.5 CDC’s Tips from Former Smokers campaign recently shined a spotlight on this statistic and the links between smoking and heart disease among African American men.

“If you have loved ones who care about you, they will support you. Take it one day at a time,” Roosevelt said.

This approach can work not only for people who want to quit smoking, but for those who are trying to eat better, exercise, and control their high blood pressure—all ways to help reduce the chances of heart attack and stroke. A strong support system[649 KB] also helps.

Resources to Help You and Your Loved Ones Make Control the Goal

More information about high blood pressure is available at CDC’s High Blood Pressure website. In addition, the following resources are available to help you and your loved ones make control your goal:

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital signs: awareness and treatment of uncontrolled hypertension among adults—United States, 2003–2010.MMWR. 2012;61(35):703-9.
  2. Stamler J, Stamler R, Neaton JD. Blood pressure, systolic and diastolic, and cardiovascular risks. US population data. Arch Intern Med. 1993;153:598-615. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital signs: awareness and treatment of uncontrolled hypertension among adults—United States, 2003–2010.MMWR. 2012;61(35):703-9.
    2 Stamler J, Stamler R, Neaton JD. Blood pressure, systolic and diastolic, and cardiovascular risks. US population data. Arch Intern Med. 1993;153:598-615.
  3. CDC, Prevalence of hypertension and controlled hypertension — United States, 2007-2010MMWR. 2013;62(03);144-148,.
  4. Yang Q, Zhong Y, Ritchey M, et al. Predicted 10-year risk of developing cardiovascular disease at the state level in the U.S.” Am J Prev Med. 2014;48(1):58-69. PubMed abstract.
  5. CDC, Current cigarette smoking among adults—United States, 2005-2012MMWR. 2014;63(2).
  6. Wall, H., Hannah, J., & Wright, J. (2014). Patients with undiagnosed hypertension: Hiding in plain sight. Journal of the American Medical Association, 312(19), 1973–1974.Source: http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/

November is National Family Caregivers Month

Date: November 8, 2015

 

Autism Speaks encourages Congress to support family caregivers

 

November 05, 2015

Autism Speaks is joining the celebration of the nation’s 90 million family caregivers this November for National Family Caregivers Month. National Family Caregivers Month recognizes and celebrates the individuals who provide care to their loved ones every day- helping them maintain their independence and quality of life.

“For centuries, we have been driven by the belief that we all have certain obligations to one another. Every day, caregivers across our country answer this call and lift up the lives of loved ones who need additional support” said President Obama in this year’s Presidential Proclamation on National Family Caregivers Month.

Family caregivers are an extremely important source of support for individuals with autism.  Many people do not think of themselves as a “caregiver,” but assisting in routine activities or arranging services are tasks that family caregivers assist with on a daily basis. Through the support of family caregivers, individuals with autism are enabled to live at home and participate in their community.

In Autism Speaks’ National Housing and Residential Supports Survey, caregivers indicated widely that supporting a person with autism is primarily a full-time job. The overwhelming majority of caregivers reported that the individual with autism experiences medical conditions other than autism. Although caring for loved ones is a rewarding task, family caregivers face physical, emotional and financial challenges. Long-term care can be expensive over a lifespan. Caregivers help keep healthcare costs down while providing the personal care that many facilities and services cannot.

In March 2015, a group congressmen and women launched the Bipartisan Congressional Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Caucus. The ACT Caucus aims to bring greater visibility to the value of, and need to support, family caregivers and the need for solutions. The caucus aims to inform members of Congress about these issues and raise its importance. Today, Congress is considering legislation that would help support family caregivers across the nation.

Autism Speaks urges Congress to enact the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregiver ActH.R. 3099 in the House and S. 1719 in the Senate. This bill would require Congress to develop a national strategy to support family caregivers. The strategy would identify specific actions that government, communities, providers, employers, and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers.

To build support for the RAISE Act and family caregivers during National Family Caregivers Month, share your caregiving story with us on social media using the hashtag #iheartcaregivers. To thank the members of the ACT Caucus for raising their voices for family caregivers use the hashtag #ACTCaucus.

Autism Speaks focuses on the lifelong needs of people with autism, including support for caregivers. Family caregivers, especially parents and siblings, require support and resources toassist in caring for their loved ones with autism. Many family caregivers do not receive training and other assistance to help provide care and have difficulty locating and coordinating the fragmented services.

Autism Speaks and the Autistic Global Initiative have also partnered with the Houlton Institute to make a first-of-its-kind online course titled Building Independence for Life Training (BILTTM). The course provides best and evidence-based practices for those who support the daily-living needs of transition-aged students, young adults, and adults with autism and related disabilities. Because it is online, the course is flexible and can meet many needs.

Click here to participate in the Self-Paced Online Course for Parents & Direct-Support Providers.

To get involved with Autism Speaks advocacy efforts sign up for Autism Votes HERE and follow us on at @AutismVotes.

 

September is Atrial Fibrillation Month

Date: September 1, 2015

Atrial Fibrillation — also known as AFib or AF — is the most common arrhythmia. It affects more than 2.5 million American adults and 4.5 million people living in the European Union, and accounts for approximately one-third of hospitalizations for cardiac rhythm disturbances.

It is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat caused when the top chambers of the heart (the atria) quiver (fibrillate) erratically, sometimes faster than 200 times per minute. The condition can have a significant negative impact on an individual’s quality of life, causing heart palpitations, chronic fatigue, debilitating pain and can increase the risk of stroke fivefold.

The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) and National Stroke Association, in collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), fielded an Atrial Fibrillation – Impact of Stroke Survey in May of 2014 to physicians, atrial fibrillation (AFib) patients and caregivers. The purpose of the survey was to measure awareness about AFib and stroke, determine baseline understanding of risk factors, and identify barriers to communication between patients/caregivers and providers. Learn more about the results and next steps.

AFib Can Cause A Stroke – 60 Second PSA

 

 

 

 

AFib Awareness Promotional Items

“A-Fib Feels Like” Tabletop Posters — Reproduce these 8½” x 11″ sheets for use as flyers to be distributed at health fairs or other community events, or request high-resolution files for placement in your institution’s newsletters or other communications. Available for download.

CHADS2 Scorecard — CHADS2 is a simple, yet clinically valid, prediction rule for estimating the risk of stroke in patients with AFib. This conveniently sized reference card summarizes the CHADS2 scoring methodology. Available for download.

Guide to Atrial Fibrillation  — This 20 page brochure includes simple, straightforward descriptions and color illustrations that explain the disease state and treatment options.  The brochure underscores the risk of stroke associated with AFib and elaborates on stroke symptoms and risk reduction strategies. Available for download.

AFibRisk.org

The AFib Risk Assessment is an interactive tool designed to help individuals estimate their risk of atrial fibrillation (AFib). Many individuals living with AFib have no symptoms and are unaware of their condition until they are suffering from complications, which may require emergency treatment.

Learn your risk by using this online tool! It’s fast and easy — simply answer a few questions regarding your health and get your results. After you have finished using the AFib Risk Assessment, please consult with your physician regarding your results.

Are You At Risk?

The Atrial Fibrillation Disease State Initiative is supported in part by Boehringer Ingelheim, Janssen, and Daiichi-Sankyo.

Read more: http://www.hrsonline.org/News/Atrial-Fibrillation-AFib-Awareness#ixzz3kVziZBUU
Follow us: @hrsonline on Twitter | HeartRhythmSociety on Facebook

 

Source: http://www.hrsonline.org/News/Atrial-Fibrillation-AFib-Awareness#axzz3kVcuumcq

Alzheimer’s-Linked Proteins Tied to Poor Sleep

Date: June 2, 2015

By Randy Dotinga

HealthDay Reporter

 

MONDAY, June 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Poor sleep in old age may be linked to the brain-clogging plaques thought to contribute toAlzheimer’s disease, new research suggests.

Sleep appears to be a missing piece in the Alzheimer’s puzzle, and enhancing sleep may lessen the cognitive burden that Alzheimer’s disease imparts,” said study author Bryce Mander, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.

It’s not clear how sleep and memory affect — or are affected by — the accumulation of beta amyloid plaques, believed to interfere with mental functioning. Still, the study findings hint at a major message regarding Alzheimer’s, said Mander, who works at the university’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory.

For the new study, Mander and colleagues recruited 26 mentally healthy adults ages 70 to 79. They underwent brain imaging to assess plaque buildup, and were asked to remember pairs of words before and after a night’s sleep. Overnight, researchers measured their brain waves, and the next day they conducted MRI scans during the memory testing.

Those patients with the highest levels of amyloid plaques in one part of the brain — the medial prefrontal cortex — had lighter sleep and higher levels of memory problems, the researchers found.

“It is not so much that memory after sleep is important, but that sleep after initial learning is important to help us retain memory for a longer period of time,” Mander said.

The study suggests — but does not prove — that insufficient deep sleep contributes to “a reduced ability to cement memories in the brain over the long-term, resulting in greater memory loss,” he noted.

However, he added, it’s not known for sure “whether this link between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease can explain memory loss in older adults” with higher levels of the plaques.

In particular, disrupted sleep can lead to impairment of “episodic memory,” which helps people remember events, Mander said.

“For example, what we had for breakfast last Tuesday and who we were with, and what that person’s name is. This is a critical form of memory that helps us navigate our daily lives. Without it, we quickly become lost, and our interaction with our world disjointed,” Mander explained.

Sleep disorders are frequently reported in Alzheimer’s patients, noted one expert.

Dr. Ricardo Osorio, research assistant professor of psychiatry with the Center for Brain Health at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said sleep disorders “have a significant impact on caregivers and are a common cause for early institutionalization.”

In recent years, Osorio said, research has suggested a connection between sleep problems in early life and Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.

But which comes first, poor sleep or accumulation of the brain plaques? Mander thinks they contribute to each other, creating a “vicious cycle” that leads toward Alzheimer’s disease.

Osorio said the study does point to this possibility.

Is it possible that elderly people don’t sleep as well as younger people, boosting their risk of Alzheimer’s? Maybe not. Osorio said that “in healthy elderly individuals, the rate of normal sleep is quite high.”

But poorer sleep throughout life appears to boost the risk of Alzheimer’s, he said, and better sleep lowers the risk.

Insomnia has been shown to promote cognitive decline in the elderly, and sleep apnea both increases the risk for developing Alzheimer’s and reduces the age of onset of Alzheimer’s,” Orsio said. (Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated breathing disruptions.)

In the big picture, both experts agreed, sleep matters, and better sleep can likely help on the Alzheimer’s front.

The study was published in the June 1 issue of Nature Neuroscience.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20150601/alzheimers-linked-brain-proteins-tied-to-poor-sleep-in-study

Autism: Facts and Statistics

Date: April 2, 2015

Autism: Facts and Statistics

March 12, 2015

Although autism only affects around 1% of the world population at the moment, it’s one of the fastest-growing developmental disabilities in the world. Most of you will have heard the words “autism” or “autistic” at some point in your lives, and a lot of people often ask the question, what is autism?

Autism is a lifelong disability which mainly affects how a person communicates, relates to other people and how they perceive the world around them. People who are autistic often deal with difficulties in social imagination, communication and interaction, and these three main areas are often referred to as the “triad of impairments”.

Did you know, 1% of the adult population in the United Kingdom has autism spectrum disorder? Although that doesn’t seem like a huge figure, that’s around 5.5 million adults. Find out more within the visual below…

 

Family and social life is often much harder for those who are autistic, as it can be a struggle to relate to other people, and therefore it becomes more difficult to form relationships.

 

In order to give you a better idea of the worldwide scale of autism and how it affects peoples everyday life, we’ve created an infographic to outline the key facts surrounding autism along with some interesting statistics regarding the costs of services that treat those with autism.

 

Source: http://www.uksmobility.co.uk/blog/2015/03/autism-facts-statistics-infographic/

Eat Your Heart Out With These 11 Healthy Tips

Date: February 20, 2015

February is American Heart month sponsored by The American Heart Association. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.

For some good news, however, heart disease can often be prevented by making healthy food and lifestyle choices. As a nutritionist, I often work with clients to help them develop a healthy diet and lifestyle to prevent heart disease.

Below are 11 simple — and healthy — tips for heart health.

1. Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal.

Oatmeal not only tastes yummy but it is also good for the heart as it is rich in soluble fiber, shown to reduce cholesterol levels. Beta glucans, the kind fiber in oatmeal, may be particularly beneficial for heart health and for weight control. Oatmeal also contains magnesium and potassium, minerals which contribute to a healthy heartbeat.

2. Watch your portion by using a smaller bowl and spoon.

A simple way to practice portion control is to use smaller plates; we tend to eat less when we use smaller plates and bowls. And… use a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon — you will probably eat even less.

3. Top your oatmeal with sliced banana.

Bananas are rich in vitamins and minerals, in particular potassium, which help promote heart health. They are also relatively low in calories and high in fiber to help keep your weight at bay.

4. Include a bean soup for lunch.

Beans contain soluble fiber which help lower cholesterol. Lentil and split pea soup are great choices. They are also filling and help keep you satisfied.

5. Snack on a handful of mixed nuts.

Nuts contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats and have been shown to reduce heart deaths in the elderly. Nuts also help to control weight. The key is to snack on nuts instead of chips, and practice portion control. Aim for approximately ¼ cup or one layer of your palm.

6. Start your dinner with a colorful salad.

Starting your meal with a colorful salad is a great way to boost heart healthy nutrients in your diet. Vegetable salads are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and low in calories. The different colors provide different nutrients so throw in dark greens which are high in folate, tomatoes high in lycopene and yellow peppers which are full of vitamin C.

7. Dress it with olive oil.

Olive oil contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Best to use an olive oil based dressing over creamy varieties such as blue cheese. However, it’s important not to over pour; aim for 1-2 tablespoons, or a shot glass worth.

8. Cook dinner at home.

People who cook dinner at home tend to eat healthier and take in fewer calories. No surprise. Restaurant portions are huge and full of all sorts of hidden ingredients which are loaded with calories.

9. Enjoy grilled salmon or arctic char as your main course.

Fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids which are known to be good for the heart. Grill your fish with your favorite spices and a drizzle of olive oil.

10. Have cauliflower as a side dish.

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, a cousin to broccoli and Brussels sprouts, high in fiber and low in calories. It is an excellent, low-calorie source of potassium. One cup of chopped raw cauliflower contains 320 mg in only 27 calories

11. Enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate for dessert.

Saving the best for last, research found that people who eat dark chocolate have lower rates of heart disease than people who do not. Chocolate contains flavonols, phytochemicals which may reduce heart disease risk. However, remember that amounts count and aim for one small square.

And, finally, because no one got heart disease from a deficiency of chocolate, if you are not a chocolate lover, no need to start indulging. Finishing off your meal with fresh fruit will do just fine.

We would love to hear your favorite heart-healthy foods.

 

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-lisa-young/healthy-eating-tips_b_6633216.html

December Is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Date: December 2, 2014

National Impaired Driving Prevention Month focuses on both drunk driving and the growing problem of drugged driving.  Drugged driving has been overlooked for a number of years, but research shows it may be responsible for more than 20 percent of car crashes.  Below are some resources for your chapter to plan activities as part of this month.

Read more here: http://stopdruggeddriving.org/

 

Source: http://sadd.org/

Walking, Biking to Work May Benefit Mental Health

Date: September 16, 2014

Active commuters less stressed, better able to concentrate than those who drive, research shows.

 

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

HealthDay Reporter

 

MONDAY, Sept. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Trading the gas pedal for foot power or bike power to get to your job can also improve yourmental health, British researchers report.

Daily commuters who stopping driving to work and started walking or riding a bike were under less stress and were able to concentrate better, the study showed.

And the authors noted that using public transportation also resulted in an improvement in commuters’ psychological well-being.

“One surprising finding was that commuters reported feeling better when traveling by public transport, compared to driving,” lead researcher Adam Martin, from the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, said in a university news release.

“You might think that things like disruption to services or crowds of commuters might have been a cause of considerable stress,” Martin added. “But as buses or trains also give people time to relax, read, socialize, and there is usually an associated walk to the bus stop or railway station, it appears to cheer people up.”

For the study, the researchers analyzed 18 years of data compiled on almost 18,000 commuters in Britain who were between the ages of 18 and 65.

Specifically, they considered the commuters’ feelings of worthlessness and unhappiness, their sleep quality and whether they had trouble dealing with their problems.

The researchers also weighed other factors known to cause strain or affect people’s well-being, such as income, relationships, children, moving and changing jobs.

The amount of time spent commuting also affects their mental health, the research published Sept. 15 in Preventive Medicine found. Although a long car commute has a negative effect on well-being, a physically active commute has the opposite effect.

“Our study shows that the longer people spend commuting in cars, the worse their psychological well-being. And correspondingly, people feel better when they have a longer walk to work,” Martin said.

 

Source: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20140915/walking-biking-to-work-seems-to-have-mental-health-benefits

What You Need to Know About Ebola

Date: August 7, 2014

Atlanta (CNN) — Nancy Writebol’s family says it was making funeral plans for her last week as she lay stricken with Ebola in Liberia amid the disease’s deadliest recorded outbreak.

After an experimental serum and a plane flight, she’s now the second human Ebola patient on U.S. soil, and her relatives think she has a fighting chance.

A medical plane on Tuesday flew Writebol from Liberia to Atlanta, where she was rushed to the same hospital where an American missionary colleague arrived days earlier. Like her, he was sickened by the deadly hemorrhagic disease while on a team caring for Ebola patients in Monrovia.

Writebol was wheeled into Emory University Hospital early Tuesday afternoon on a gurney, wearing a white, full-body protective suit and escorted by two people wearing similar gear.

There, she joins her fellow missionary Dr. Kent Brantly, who became the first Ebola patient ever in the United States on Saturday, for treatment in a special isolation unit. It is one of four of its kind in the United States designed to optimize care for those with highly infectious diseases.

“Nancy is still very weak” but has shown signs of improvement, said Bruce Johnson, president of Christian mission group SIM USA, with which Writebol is affiliated.

Writebol’s arrival contrasted with that of Brantly, who wore a similar suit but walked into the hospital Saturday with someone’s assistance.

Writebol, of North Carolina, and Brantly, of Texas and Indiana, were on a joint Samaritan’s Purse-SIM team caring for Ebola patients last month when they became sick in Liberia. That is one of four West African nations hit by an outbreak that the World Health Organizationbelieves has sickened 1,603 people and killed 887 of them.

Writebol’s two sons expect to communicate with her soon, Johnson said. The family was considering funeral arrangements for her just last week, days after she became sick, David Writebol said through Johnson.

“Yet we kept our faith, (and) now we have real reason to be hopeful,” David Writebol said in a statement read by Johnson.

Though there is no proven treatment or vaccine for Ebola, Brantlyand Writebol were recently given an experimental, U.S.-manufactured drug in Liberia while they were awaiting evacuation to the United States. Both have since shown significant improvement, sources said on condition of anonymity.

What the inside of the evacuation plane looks like

The gruesome disease that can torment victims with profuse vomiting, uncontrollable bleeding and organ failure is ravaging West Africa. The outbreak started this year in Guinea but also has affected Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

The flight and the experimental serum

Though Writebol was weak, she had yogurt before her flight early Saturday from Liberia to the United States, Johnson said. She was taken to the plane by stretcher, but she stood up and entered the plane with assistance, he said.

The experimental drug ZMapp, which Brantly and Writebol received despite the medication never being subjected to clinical trials, is getting a lot of attention.

Just last Thursday, Brantly’s condition in Liberia had deteriorated so badly that he called his wife to say goodbye.

But three vials of ZMapp stored at subzero temperatures were flown into Liberia. Brantly and Writebol took the drug, and their conditions improved before they evacuated to the United States.

The medicine is thought to work by preventing the virus from entering and infecting new cells. It’s a three-mouse monoclonal antibody — meaning mice were exposed to fragments of the Ebola virus, and the antibodies generated within the mice’s blood were harvested to create the medicine.

While Brantly and Writebol’s conditions improved after taking the drug, the serum shouldn’t be viewed as a miracle cure, internist and gastroenterologist Dr. Jorge Rodriguez said.

“Let’s be cautious. We don’t even know really if this serum is working,” Rodriguez said. “I’m glad now that these patients were brought to a hospital where so many tests can be done, where they can see the response of their body to this serum. We don’t know if these patients are naturally getting better, or whether the serum is really doing something.”

Many have asked why the two Americans received the experimental drug when so many in West Africa also have the virus.

The World Health Organization says it was not involved in the decision to treat Brantly and Writebol. Both patients had to give consent to receive the drug knowing it had never been tested in humans before.

The process by which the medication was made available to the American patients may have fallen under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “compassionate use” regulation, which allows access to investigational drugs outside clinical trials.

American Ebola patient ‘seems to be improving,’ CDC chief says

How Ebola spreads

Ebola doesn’t spread through the air or water. The disease spreads through contact with infected organs and bodily fluids such as blood, saliva and urine.

Historically, the odds have not been good. Previous Ebola outbreaks have had a fatality rate of 90%, but the current outbreak in West Africa has a rate of about 60%, perhaps because of early treatment.

There is no FDA-approved treatment for Ebola. Emory will use “supportive care” for its two Ebola patients, unit supervisor Dr. Bruce Ribner said.

That means carefully tracking a patient’s symptoms, vital signs and organ function and using blood transfusions and dialysis to keep patients stable.

The National Institutes of Health plans to begin testing an experimental Ebola vaccine in people as early as September. Tests on primates have been successful.

In the 1990s, an Ebola strain tied to monkeys — Ebola-Reston — was found in the United States, but no humans got sick from it, according to the CDC.

What is the risk of catching Ebola on a plane?

Concerns, testing spread outside Africa

A man hospitalized in New York City was in strict isolation Monday and Tuesday, waiting to learn whether he has the disease.

The patient became ill after recently traveling to West Africa, New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital said.

Doctors were trying to confirm the cause of the man’s high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms. A specimen from the patient was delivered to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta; testing typically is completed within 48 hours, the hospital said Tuesday.

But “odds are this is not Ebola,” said Dr. Jeremy Boal, chief medical officer of the Mount Sinai Health System. “It’s much more likely that it’s a much more common condition.”

The patient was stable Monday night into Tuesday and was in “good spirits,” the hospital said in a news release Tuesday.

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta agrees. About half a dozen people have recently returned from West Africa and gotten tested because of symptoms, but none of those cases has been confirmed as Ebola, Gupta said.

Doctors in Saudi Arabia are also taking precautions as they treat a 40-year-old man who recently returned from Sierra Leone.

The man was in critical condition Tuesday with symptoms of a viral hemorrhagic fever, the Saudi Health Ministry said.

The source of his infection remains unknown, but Ebola cannot be ruled out, the ministry said.

 

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/05/health/ebola-us-patients/index.html?hpt=he_c1

What We Need to Know About Mosquitos This Summer

Date: July 9, 2014

What makes me so tasty? 5 myths about mosquito bites

By Sara Cheshire, Special to CNN
updated 12:32 PM EDT, Fri July 4, 2014

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Diet, blood type or color of clothing have little effect on mosquitoes
  • Mosquitoes are primarily attracted to carbon dioxide and heat
  • Citronella plants and candles aren’t good repellents, experts say

(CNN) — Just about everyone can agree that mosquitoes are more than a little annoying. They bite, the bites itch and the repellent stinks. Even more disturbing are the incurable viruses these tiny predators can carry, including West Nile, malaria, yellow fever,dengue fever and chikungunya.

But just about everything else you thought you knew about mosquitoes and mosquito bites may be wrong.

Here are the facts behind five mosquito myths to help prevent the itch and maintain your health:

Myth No. 1: All mosquitoes bite humans

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 3,500 species of mosquitoes. Some feed on plant nectar, some on reptiles, some on birds and others on mammals. Of the species that do bite humans, it is only the females that go for blood — the protein aids in egg products.

West Nile outbreak in U.S.

The Aedes vexans species, which is found in every U.S. state, does feed on humans, making it seem that all mosquitoes are out to get you.

For this species, “if you’re a mammal, you’re on the menu,” said Joseph M. Conlon, a retired U.S. Navy entomologist and a technical adviser to the American Mosquito Control Association.

Random fact: The mosquito featured in “Jurassic Park” wouldn’t have bitten humans or dinosaurs, Conlon said; it is the only species that doesn’t feed on blood.

Myth No. 2: Mosquitoes are attracted to certain foods, colors and blood types

You may have heard that eating certain foods — such as bananas, beer and garlic — can attract or repel mosquitoes. But Conlon said, “Nothing that you eat affects mosquitoes all that much.”

You can rest assured that wearing dark clothes probably won’t draw mosquitoes to you either. And Conlon said a study on mosquitoes’ attraction to Type O blood was later refuted due to bad statistics.

Harry Savage, chief research entomologist at the CDC, said carbon dioxide and heat are the biggest draws for mosquitoes. Scent can also play a role. Ingredients in your sweat and other skin secretions, which are often genetically determined, can make one person more attractive to a mosquito than another.

Both experts agree that size matters when it comes to being bitten.

Evidence suggests mosquitoes tend to prefer men over women, adults over children and larger people over smaller ones. Conlon said the larger figures likely produce more heat, more carbon dioxide and have more body mass to bite.

Myth No. 3: Pregnancy puts you at risk

If you think that being pregnant makes you a mosquito magnet, you aren’t alone. A study published in 2000 supported the belief that mosquitoes prefer pregnant women.

But the study included only 36 pregnant women and 36 nonpregnant women, and used mosquitoes native to Gambia, a small country in Africa.

Conlon and Savage said the study might be valid, but not for the obvious reason.

Pregnant women give off more heat and carbon dioxide, which our experts said are attractive to mosquitoes. Getting hot and sweaty, and breathing heavily after a workout could potentially make you just as much of a target as a mom-to-be.

Myth No. 4: Citronella plants and candles will protect you

“Citronella is a weak repellent — the oil. You have to crush the leaves,” Conlon said. So that citronella plant on sale at the store? It’s not your best bet for preventing bites.

Citronella candles aren’t going to help much either. A breeze or change of wind direction can blow away any protection.

“To me, citronella only protects the candle,” Savage said.

Conlon said there is no known effective area repellent. The best option is an Environmental Protection Agency-registered repellent for use on the body, such as products that contain the ingredient DEET. The EPA has an online tool for finding products that meet its standards.

Conlon also cautions against natural products claiming to repel mosquitoes. “There really isn’t any evolutionary pressure to produce a (natural) repellent for humans. We are just another protein source on this planet.”

Myth No. 5: The United States is free of mosquito-borne diseases

“No matter where you go in the U.S., there are good vectors (mosquitoes that transmit disease),” Savage said.

The Asian tiger mosquito, common in the Eastern and Central states, is a particular species to watch. It arrived in the United States from Asia in the 1980s, and the species is a documented carrier of dengue fever, yellow fever, chikungunya, dog heartworm and West Nile. Savage said this mosquito can be found in Ohio and Missouri, for example, and along the East Coast.

Malaria is no stranger here either. Malaria can flourish in moderate climates, Conlon said, not just in the tropics. As recent as the late 19th century, half the United States was endemic with the disease, according to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

Of more recent concern to public health experts is the introduction of atypical or non-native viruses, such as West Nile and chikungunya.

“More challenges are meeting our shores every day from tourism and travel. If we let our guard down, chikungunya could take hold here,” Conlon said. “The world’s becoming a smaller place, and some of nastiest diseases on Earth are only a six-hour plane flight away.”

 

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/04/health/mosquito-bites-myths/index.html?hpt=he_c2