Medical News Round Up — September 2013

International:

WHO provides assistance to 3.7 million people in Syria.  60% percent of public hospitals have limited capacity, shortages of medicine and increased risk of infectious diseases.  Read More

Currently there are 1 billion migrants in the world today:  214 are internal migrants, 760 + are international migrants.   Read More

National:

CDC is investigating an outbreak of cyclosporiasis in Iowa.  Read More

CDC Hepatitis A virus infections linked to pomegranate seeds reported in several US states. Read More

September 9th is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) awareness day.  Read More

NIH explores why redheads are more suspectable to melanoma.  Read More

Local (NJ):

Two West Nile Virus deaths reported in New Jersey.   Read More

NJ Gov. Christie administration distributed portable radios to 21 County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) coordinators.  Read More

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Medical News Round Up — August 2013

International:  According to a new WHO report, only 37 countries have laws reflecting all the recommendations of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (read more).

International: WHO (World Health Organization) is calling for action against 5 hepatitis viruses that can cause severe liver infections and lead to 1.4 million deaths every year (read more). 

National:  Experts recently suggested that cancer be redefined and the word “cancer” be eliminated in some cases (read more).

National:  CDC (Centers For Disease Control) warns of potential dangers to home canning (read more).

National:  Frank Collins, MD, NIH Director, blogs that gastric bypass surgery may cure diabetes (read more) and that big data presents big challenges (read more).

State (NJ): Blood drive coordinated by New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd, the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee and the New Jersey Workplace Blood Donor Coalition.   Commissioner O’Dowd calls on New Jersey residents to donate (read more).

State (NJ):  “Operation Swill” catches numerous restaurants and bars across the state engaged in swapping rubbing alcohol and dirty water for liquor.  Several establishments face heavy fines (read more).

State (NJ): The best hospitals in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia announced (read more).

Local (Middlesex County, NJ):  The “Tad Pools” softball team won the Pancreatic Softball Tournament Saturday, July 27, 2013.  The Middlesex County Office Of Health Services and Middlesex County Office Of Parks sent congratulations (read more)

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Medical News Round Up — June 2013

World:

The WHO (World Health Organization) began a financing dialogue with Member States to determine WHO priorities for the coming years.  Read More

The WHO and the Pan American Health Organization plan to reduce dietary salt consumption in the Americas by half by the year 2020. Read More

The WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean reports on overstretched health services in Jordan due to the influx of Syrian refugees.  Read More

The United States:

The CDC (Centers For Disease Control) informs diabetes patients about the risks of hot summer weather.  For example, insulin should not be stored in direct sunlight or directly on ice in a cooler. Likewise, heat is hazardous to insulin pumps. Read More

The CDC also explains the summertime dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. During heat stroke, the body temperature can spike to 106F within minutes and cause death.  Read More

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) has awarded $12.7 million dollars to fund a crowd-sourcing initiative to research alternate uses of existing compounds in eight disease areas, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and schizophrenia. Read More

The NIH also applauds the recent US Supreme Court decision on gene patents.  The Director of the Institute, Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., sees the decision as crucial to the development of personalized medicine. Read More

New Jersey:

The Christie Administration (New Jersey) announced $4.5 million in grants to support autism research, treatment and services.  Read More

The New Jersey Department of Health released the NJ 2012 Hospital Performance Report. Read More

The NJ Senate and Assembly passed a bipartisan measure to provide youth easier access to medical marijuana.  The bill, which NJ Governor Christie is expected to sign, reduces to one the number of physician approvals needed to use the drug.  The current number is three.  Read More

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Medical News Round Up — May 2013

The CDC (Centers For Disease Control) has posted information and links in anticipation of World No Tobacco Day (May 31st) which focuses this year on global tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.  In the United States, tobacco companies spend $900,000 per hour on advertising tobacco products.  9 out of 10 smokers started smoking by age 18.  Young people are more likely to smoke if they are exposed to cigarette advertising and promotional activities.   Get the full information here.

The WHO (World Health Organization) is also looking at World No Tobacco Day (May 31st).  They report that 6 million people are killed by tobacco each year; 600,000 people die each year from exposure to second-hand smoke.  Read about these facts and more here:

The NIDCD (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders) is observing Better Hearing and Speech Month.  This year’s theme is Helping People Communicate.  Learn more about cochlear implants and autism here.

The New Jersey Department of Health has posted FAQs about a suspected meningitis outbreak at Princeton University.   To date, 4 students have been affected.  The Department has also issued mold guidelines to New Jersey residents.  Read more here.

The Star Ledger (NJ.com) reports on robots in operating rooms in New Jersey hospitals.   The new technology has benefits, but recent complaints and an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) investigation into the da Vinci system point to risks.   Read more here.

The Washington Post looks at running as an aide to turning around the lives of homeless and others. The health benefits of running are discussed. Running clubs that are designed to help people establish goals and reach their potential are highlighted.   Read more here.

The New York Times asks whether canned vegetables have more nutrients than fresh ones.  The short answer is yes.   Fresh vegetable start out with more nutrients, but they degrade over time.  Oxygen appears to be the main culprit.  Apparently, canning keeps the O2 out and the nutrients in.  Read more here.

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Exercise and Brain Power

The human brain is fast becoming the hot, new frontier of scientific research.   To encourage further research, President Barack Obama has asked the US Congress to fund the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative — a multi-year, multi-billion dollar initiative to map human brain activity.   Recently, Stanford University unveiled images of transparent brains (mouse and human) that show neural networks in action all in stunning color (Brains as Clear as Jell-O for Scientists to Explore).

Recent news articles have focused on studies that link brain improvement and physical activity.    The research suggests that exercise may boost brain power (How Exercise May Boost The Brain), especially memory (Exercising body and brain boosts memory and thinking in older people, study shows).  A simple walk in the park may reduce mental fatigue (Easing Brain Fatigue With A Walk In the Park).   The number of years spent exercising can also have an impact.  Exercise started as young as 11 can lead to increased brain function (Lifelong exercise can improve brain function in later life, study finds ).    

Scientists are also looking at the impact running (Endurance running and the evolution of Homo) may have had on human brain evolution (Linking brains and brawn: exercise and the evolution of human neurobiology).   

The recent news articles on exercise and brain power probably have broad appeal.   Everyone wants to be smarter.   Everyone needs to exercise.   The formula to success appears simple:  move your body, build your brain.
 
 

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ADHD Medication Abuse

The Problem:

Non-medical use ADHD medication.

The Details:

Medications such as Ritalin and Adderall are often prescribed for faked illnesses are then traded among students who seek an edge at test time.   Parents are cited as complicit in developing a culture of hyper competition.   Addiction and suicide have been documented.     

The Media:

The Biggest Unanswered Question About ADHD Drug Abuse
Forbes Magazine

Teens Abuse Precription Drugs, Too.
Philly.com

Drowned in a Stream of Prescriptions
New York Times

Parents Created This Problem, and Must Address It
New York Times

Parents Have Fueled the Abuse of A.D.H.D. Medications
New York Times

More Resources:

DrugFacts: Stimulant ADHD Medications – Methylphenidate and Amphetamines
National Institutes of Health

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Inattentional Blindness

Definition:

missing things in plain sight

Media:

But Did You See The Gorilla?
Smithsonian Magazine

What Clown on a Unicycle? Studying Cell Phone Distraction
New York Times

Famous study of The Invisible Gorilla Study (Chabris and Simon)
video

Related Terms:

  • Change Blindness
  • Motion-Induced Blindness
  • Repetition Blindness

Scholar’s Corner:

Fire drill: Inattentional blindness and amnesia for the location of fire extinguishers
Castel, Alan D; Vendetti, Michael; Holyoak, Keith J
Attention, Perception and Psychophysics74. 7 (Oct 2012): 1391-1396.
article

When you fail to see what you were told to look for: Inattentional blindness and task instructions.
Aimola Davies AM, Waterman S, White RC, Davies M,
Consciousness and cognition
2013 Mar;22(1):221-30 PMID:23337442
article

Attentional differences in driving judgments for country and city scenes: Semantic congruency in inattentional blindness.
Pammer K, Blink C,
Accident; analysis and prevention
2013 Jan;50:955-63 PMID:22975367
article

Yale’s reference guide to Inattentional Blindness articles.
article

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