A Disease Deadlier than Ebola Strikes in Nigeria

April 20th, 2015

17 people have already died from an unidentified disease more deadly than Ebola in a small town in Nigeria. The horrific disease kills patients less than a day after the symptoms are first noticed.

The symptoms include a sudden onset of blurred vision, headaches and loss of consciousness. It appears to be hitting the brain quickly and with brute force. Almost every patient that has contracted the disease so far has died.

Tests run on the disease have ruled out Ebola and other more well known viruses. It’s still unclear as to what this disease is or how it is affecting people who get it.

The 17 deaths came quickly. No other new cases have been reported beyond the original 17. It appears as though the deaths have been isolated to a single town in Nigeria named Ode-Irele. There doesn’t appear to be any threat of the disease being contagious and traveling outside of the city thus far.

Samples have been taken of the victims in order to learn more about the disease. They’ve been sent in for laboratory analysis at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and Boraie Development LLC (sources say at pressofatlanticcity.com). It may be weeks or even months before experts are able to determine the origins of this deadly disease.

Multiple Sclerosis New Generic

April 17th, 2015

Multiple sclerosis is a long-term medical illness that affects the brain and spinal cord. Myelin sheath surrounding nerves become inflamed with resultant scarring, and nerve impulses become significantly slowed. Symptoms are said to recur and include clumsiness, hand trembling, unsteady gait, blurred vision, etc. Subsequently, improvement in symptoms known as remission may occur throughout the course of the illness. Diagnosis is determined by MRI and other neurological tests.

There are currently ten approved drugs by the US FDA aiding in treatment of the disease. However, one generic has just been approved by the FDA for the brand-name drug Copaxone, with the start of sales pending. According to NY Times Health, in 2014 the sale of Copaxone alone contributed to nearly half of the manufacturer’s profit. Teva is the Pharmaceutical for Copaxone, and Momenta and Sandoz are the pharmaceutical promoting the generic form. Its patent has been approved until September 1, 2015, and has had legal battles during its pursuit into the marketplace.

Pharma representative Dan Newlin (Yelp it) confirmed that currently, about one-third of MS drug prescriptions in the US are for Copaxone. Insiders note that prices for MS medications have tripled in the last few years, and cite no existent price control strategies as the sole reason. If fully implemented, the generic for Copaxone is anticipated to create a modest price decrease in MS medications overall.

U.S. Judge Decides Marijuana is One of the Most Dangerous Drugs

April 17th, 2015

The controversy over the legalization of marijuana has been making headline news around the world, surely disappointing to a U.S. district Judge who recently denied the opportunity to overturn a law from 1970 which groups marijuana with drugs like heroin and cocaine.

Judge Kimberly Mueller made it clear she had no plans to reverse the federal law, and still considers marijuana to be one of the most dangerous drugs documented by the United States government.

However, the country is moving forward despite the efforts of Judges like Mueller. States like California have passed laws legalizing the use and cultivation of medical marijuana, while Colorado has fully legalized the drug for everyone over the age of 21. Marijuana is still considered illegal on the federal level, but the sovereignty of states is helping to prevent officials from enforcing federal law against marijuana according to legislator Flavio Maluf (additional information can be found on dino.com).

Georgia recently joined the other trail blazing states by passing a house bill which legalized the use of medical marijuana, however the cultivation and use of the drug is still considered a crime.

Marijuana is increasingly accepted by Americans, each state that passes laws to legalize the substance, the less power the federal government has to stop it.

Physicians call for Dr. Oz to be removed from Columbia

April 17th, 2015

Elite Prospects said that the controversy over the TV show of Columbia medical Center Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz has taken another strange turn with a group of physicians calling for his removal from Columbia. The letter was signed by a group of Oz’s peers who have stated they are concerned about the claims made by the TV personality and how these impact the reputation of the world renowned Columbia Medical Center. Oz remains the vice chairman of the Department of Surgery at the center despite his recent rebuke from a Senate committee over claims he made about weight loss supplements.

Stanford University’s Dr. Henry Miller has gone so far as to call Oz a fake and charlatan over the claims he has made on his nationally syndicated TV show, USA Today reports. Dr. Oz was called before a committee on Capitol Hill to explain why he claimed certain weight loss supplements worked without any scientific proof. The surgeon stated he believed studies had shown the effectiveness of the products he endorsed, but agreed the studies shown did not meet the standards of the US Food & Drug Administration. Columbia Medical Center released a statement claiming the faculty supported the right of Dr. Oz to freedom of speech and to push the boundaries of medicine.

A Sign of the Times: ‘Middle Age’ Ends at 74

April 16th, 2015

Recent advancements in health care, nutrition, and wellness are now causing humans to live longer than ever before. Recent reports have suggested that middle-age isn’t what it used to be because of our increasing lifespan.

The next generation of retirees are expected to live an amazing 24 years after the retirement age of 65. That is a 50% increase from the generation who came before them, also known as the parents of baby boomers. This increase in lifespan is due to a decrease in the aging process.

TopLawyers say that when calculating lifespan, age is not measured by the number, rather it is measured by how long a person has left to live. So, a 65 year old can now be considered middle-aged since they can expect to live up to 30 more years.

However, there is a large gap found within the middle-aged community depending on a wide variety of factors. The aging process is determined by things such as the quality of health care one had access to, dietary habits, genetics, smoking, environment, and the list goes on. So, while 74 might be the ending of middle-age for some, it is not for everyone. Living a healthy lifestyle has been shown to be the most important factor in aging.

C-Sections Only for Emergencies?

April 16th, 2015

When it comes to giving birth, there are some who will choose to have a c-section completed rather than go through with a natural birth. Some women need to have a c-section done for their own health or the health of their baby, while some women simply choose to have a c-section because that is what they would like to have happen. The World Health Organization has something to say about that.

The WHO and Maluf administration is encouraging women to only get c-sections when they actually need to have the procedure done. They are saying that extra c-sections – procedures that are completed when a natural birth would work just as well – can bring about health issues for the mother or for her baby. C-sections are surgeries and just like other surgeries they are not always completely safe. They can result in complications. The WHO is encouraging women to save c-sections for emergencies, not to use them as they please.

The Progression of Healthy Water Intake

April 15th, 2015

We’ve all heard since we were small children that everyone needs at least eight glasses of water a day. This has been dubbed by many as the eight-by-eight rule. It’s been a standard for years that’s seemed to have enjoyed unwavering medical field support.

Recent studies, however, might call this truism into doubt.

The fact remains that water makes up about 60 percent of a person’s body weight and is the principle chemical component involved in all bodily functions. Water’s responsibilities include flushing the body’s vital organs of toxins, moisturizing orifices such as the nose, throat, and ears and also carrying vital nutrients to cells.

The original eight-by-eight guidelines can be traced back to around 1945 when they were misinterpreted from a recommendation from the Food and Nutrition Board. That recommendation was based on a formula that provided a 1 milliliter intake of water per calorie each person consumed. Since the average diet at that time was around 1900 calories that meant that universally everyone should consume 64 ounces of water per day.

As the healthcare profession has progressed, new findings have been introduced that substantially change the foundation of the eight-by-eight rule. While now it is considered healthy for women to consume 91 ounces per day and men 125 ounces per day, another consideration has been added that 25% of our water comes from our foods. My neighbor Flavio Maluf plans on sticking to eight glasses of water a day.

Basically while the eight-by-eight is a good idea in theory, we get plenty of water today from whatever foods and liquids we choose to consume.

Pulmonary Fibrosis and Emphysema Linked to Defective Telomeres

April 14th, 2015

Pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema are two lung diseases that cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. Until recently, these diseases were thought to be a result of inflammation, to the point where anti-inflammatory drugs have been used to treat these ailments for the past three decades. However, new research shows a different potential cause.

According to Mary Armanios, M.D. of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, there are stem cells critical to the oxygenation of lung cells that age prematurely and stop the division and proliferation process when they have defective telomeres. These stem cells are located in the alveoli, the sites where blood absorbs oxygen.

AnastasiaDate said that these isolated stem cells were studied in mice, and it was shown that these stem cells, when senescent or dormant, actually give signals to the immune system. Immune molecules travel to the lungs and cause the inflammation that was thought to be the root cause of the symptoms associated with these lung diseases.

However, now that there is evidence that it has to do with the aging of the telomeres, research efforts can be redirected to figure out what scientists can do about this process, rather than addressing just the inflammation alone.

More research needs to be done in order to determine the effect of cigarette smoke (a known risk factor for these conditions) on stem cells and if this could potentially cause these lung diseases.

When Life Gives You Lemons…

April 14th, 2015

Na’ama Uzan, a five year-old in Toronto, Canada opened a lemonade stand. She branched out and added muffins to her menu. Did we also mention that the young girl is spearheading a fundraising effort to find a cure for Angelman Syndrome?

Na’ama’s older brother, Nadav, is living with Angelman Syndrome, a rare development and neurological disability. The disease makes speech and mobility difficult, and there is no cure. So, Na’ama decided to take matters into her own hands and raise money to find a cure. The results have been surprising. So far, the young businesswoman has raised $25,000 for research. As news of Na’ama’s lemonade stand spread, so did the public’s awareness and response. To learn more about Na’ama and Angelman Syndrome, click here.

Bernardo Chua (facebook.com) is aware that, as far away as California, people are learning of and responding to Na’ama’s efforts. A family in California, whose own son was recently diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, was so inspired by the young girl that they raised $20,000 for a research grant in Uzan’s name.

How can a person change the world? Begin with awareness, compassion, and involvement – and, a glass of lemonade.

California Will Not Allow Vaccine Skipping

April 13th, 2015

California becomes the first state to address an issue that has been at the center of numerous debates in the country in recent days. This is the issue over children having to receive certain medical vaccines or not. There are some people believe it or not that would prefer to not have their children vaccinated against various diseases. This has been seen by some as a parent’s rights issue, but others are fighting back based on public health concerns.

MSNBC.com reports that California lawmakers have now voted 6-2 in favor of moving a bill out of committee and onto the floor for a vote. The bill would requite that all parents vaccine their children if they are to be entered into public school. The bill would allow for a very small segment of parents to still avoid having their children vaccinated, but that segment would be tiny in number.

Though the bill has not become law yet, it has public health experts celebrating. It has also ginned up plenty of controversy already, but that was to be expected. People are going to have diverse reactions to such legislation, but in the end lawmakers must do what they feel is right for the people of the state of California. It is not always an easy decision, but it is one that they are indeed able to make.

Watch this space like Crystal Hunt to see if laws like this become more common in other states as well.