Health
Health

RACE AGAINST TIME

 

 

 

Health officials call an unregulated… unlicensed… unnamed vaccine a “milestone” in strategy to prevent Ebola outbreak in Africa & you’re helping pay for it.

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‘rVSV-ZEBOV’

  • Experimental Ebola Vaccine
  • Donated by drugmaker Merck.
  • You can’t get it – under review by FDA (not legal to prescribe).
  • One trial in 2015. Good results.
  • “Ring vaccination” strategy – target the sick & vaccinate EVERYONE around them. Same strategy eradicated Small Pox.
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Challenges of The Congo

  • Currently: Most Ebola cases in a very remote area with “major logistical challenges.” Vaccine needs transport at perfect temperature – and some of the travel “has limited road access.”
  • The Concern: Several Ebola cases in a major city of 1M+. Limited # of vaccine doses avail.
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Why Ebola Is Dangerous

  • Quick Killer: Very infectious – Not very contagious. A small amount can make you fatally sick. But it’s actually difficult to spread. It’s not airborne, but it is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, exposure to contaminated objects from an infected person, and by handling infected meat.
  • Ebola killed 11,000+ in Africa in 2014-2016; 11 cases in U.S.
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The Health and Human Services Secretary announced this Tuesday that the U.S. has contributed $8M to the efforts to contain the spread of Ebola in Congo - more than any other country. We'll watch for more $$ & updates.

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HOPE & HEALTH

 

 

 

 

New study explores whether or not optimistic people live longer.

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“We find, indeed, that to be the case.”

Researchers Kelsey J. O’Connor & Carol Graham, Brookings Institution in their conclusion that hope impacts longevity.
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Study: Highlights

Women: “on average happier and more optimistic” (researchers looking at recent readings of “optimism” vs. what women felt in comparison data from 1968-75).

Those with less than a high school education (especially white Americans) suffered from greater declines in optimism over the years (and higher mortality rates).

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Why?

  • Does optimism lead one to pursue better quality of life? i.e. pursuing better health, jobs, education = longer lives.
  • TBD. Researchers found optimism fluctuated and longevity seemed impacted as well by $$ or education.
  • Past Study: Some researchers believe our physiology is healthier when we are more hopeful.
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Education may not *just* impact optimism, but also employment. The U.S. unemployment rate for those without a high school diploma is nearly 6%. With a college degree? 1.9% (U.S. unemployment rate: 3.9%).

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LIFE-CHANGING?

1 in 7 people get migraines.

The FDA just approved a NEW drug many believe will help (not cure) those who suffer.

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Who Suffers?

37M Americans get migraines.

More women than men.

2.8M Americans get migraines more than once a month. This new drug is geared towards them.

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What’s The Treatment?

  • Monthly *preventative* injection is called “Aimovig.”
  • Created by major drugmakers, Amgen and Novartis.
  • Costs $6,900 a year/ $575 a month.
  • No side effects detected; studies continuing.
  • Available starting next week.
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What’s The Breakthrough?

  • For decades, researchers believed a protein (CGRP) was connected to migraines.
  • By blocking *some* of these proteins on a cellular level, migraines lessen.
  • Other big drug companies are working on similar treatments – Could this change the course of migraine treatment forever?
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Did you know...migraines are often distinguished from headaches because they impact one side of the head more than another? Read More:

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OH, BABY.

American women are having children at the LOWEST rate on record.

  The number of babies born last year hit a 30-year low despite a strong economy & a larger female population of child-bearing age – dumfounding researchers.

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Why It’s Surprising

Last year, the birthrate even declined for women in their 30s, a shocker after rates had been rising as more women delayed pregnancy.

The only group to see a higher birthrate was women in their 40s.

Baby booms typically follow economic booms, but the fertility rate hasn’t recovered since 2010.

 

 

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“Every year I look at data & expect it will be the year that birthrates start to tick up, and every year we hit another all-time low. It’s one of the big demographic mysteries of recent times.”

Kenneth Johnson, University of New Hampshire Demographer
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Why It Matters

Fewer babies means less young workers to pay into Social Security & Medicare for an aging population.

It may also affect the workplace with too few workers for jobs that need to be filled.

In the U.S., declines in rates haven’t led to drops in population, mainly due to immigration.

 

 

 

 

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More than 3.8M babies were born in the U.S. last year, but last year's drop in the nation's birth rate (about 2%) is the largest drop since 2010. And while there's no need to be alarmed yet, researchers point to Japan's "demographic time bomb" on why this matters. Read more here.

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READY FOR ROMAINE

CDC says E. Coli Linked Lettuce is Now Safe to Eat

Federal health officials: the tainted lettuce that sickened 172 people across 32 states, & killed 1, is no longer available for sale.

But are we any closer to answers?

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Safe, But Still Questions…

  • Harvest season for romaine lettuce, linked to the multi-state E. coli outbreak, is over.
  • FDA says it’s unlikely contaminated lettuce still for sale, due to 21-day shelf life.
  • Source of E. Coli still unknown.

“The easy answers don’t explain this. We have to look at something potentially different.”
Dr. Stephen Ostroff, FDA

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Maybe hold off on the caesar salads for now... romaine may be safe, but have you heard about the salmonella outbreak traced to eggs? Click to learn more.

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CDC: 1 Dead Due to E. Coli Linked to Romaine Lettuce

The death in California is the first in an outbreak now affecting HALF the U.S.

CDC tells SmartHER News 63% of those ill are female.

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E. Coli Outbreak Spreads

Why is this still happening? Outbreak has not been pinned to a specific grower or distributor.

What is CDC doing? Inspectors are looking at 2 dozen farms & the entire supply chain.

Until then? CDC: don’t eat or buy any romaine lettuce from Yuma, AZ.

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But I Still See It In Stores
& Restaurants… Is It Safe?

Some grocery chains (Kroger, Meijer) & restaurants (Panera) have announced they are no longer selling or serving romaine from the Yuma area. But without that explicit assurance, Consumer Reports says it’s best to stay clear.

CLICK: FOR OUR REFRESHER FROM APRIL
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The romaine outbreak started March 13th and now 121 people have become sick. Did you know? This current outbreak is the largest in the U.S. since 2006, when 199 people became ill and 3 died from E. coli infections traced to spinach.

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CDC Sounds Alarm

“U.S. is not fully prepared”

Disease cases from ticks, mosquito & flea bites TRIPLED between 2004-2016.

But if you do the math…*only* .2% of the entire nation is impacted.

How worried should we REALLY be?

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Important Context:

  • It’s not just the total # of cases the CDC is concerned about…it’s the TYPE of diseases.
  • 9 NEW germs from mosquitoes, fleas and ticks discovered.
  • Disease cases from ticks = doubled. 7 new “tick” germs.
  • DRAMATIC increase in 2016 (due to Zika).
  • Chikungunya and Zika outbreaks in U.S. for first time.
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Takeaway?

CDC: “Mosquito and tick bites are threatening our health. Better control of ticks and mosquitoes is needed to protect people from these diseases.”

CDC: More than 8 out of 10 local agencies are unprepared to help.

Watch Now
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What can you do? EPA has a tool to help you choosing the right repellant. See it here:

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MARIJUANA HITS MAINSTREAM?

First-Of-Its-Kind Drug

Derivative of marijuana may treat EPILEPSY….
AND
ATHLETES?

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CBD = cannabidiol

  • Marijuana has 100 chemicals, including a component “CBD
  • CBD WON’T make you high.
  • CBD = oil used topically or ingested that acts an anti-inflammatory (like a muscle smoother).
  • Experimental British CBD-based drug shows it reduces severe epilepsy for children, though no one knows exactly WHY it works.
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Life-Changer?

“I just went to South Africa for two weeks without my parents on a school trip. I would not have been able to do that if I had not tried this medication.”

Sam Vogelstein, 16, who suffers from epilepsy and participated in the study. He had 100 seizures a day before taking the CPD-based drug.
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FDA Controls Fate

  • If FDA follows recommendation of FDA advisory panel, experimental CBD drug *could* be the first mainstream “marijuana” drug with federal approval come June – when final decision to approve or deny is expected.
  • Right now, CBD oil used by those with epilepsy AND those with muscle pain in states that allows its sale.
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Today, medical marijuana is legal in 29 states & DC. Did you know marijuana use by athletes is NOT illegal by World Doping Agency? Some athletes say marijuana use helps them focus, but some doctors say beware.

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Feel like your friends can read your mind?

They just might.

New study may prove how deeply we connect with our friends.

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Do You Share Brainwaves?
Study Says “Yes”

“The current results suggest that friends are exceptionally similar to one another in terms of how they perceive, interpret, and react to the world around them…data also demonstrate(s) that it is possible to predict whether or not two individuals are friends.”

"Similar Neural Responses Predict Friendship"
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Small Study But Significant

  • An entire class of grad students (279) answered questions on friendships within group.
  • 42 agreed to brain scans & watched unique videos to produce range of emotions.
  • Researchers charted brain activity and could predict who were friends based on results; “friendly” brains reacted similarly to images.
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“I think it’s an incredibly ingenious paper. It suggests that friends resemble each other not just superficially, but in the very structures of their brains.”

Nicholas Christakis, biosociologist, Yale University, who studies social connections, speaking to 'New York Times'
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Perhaps THIS is why we are all "SmartHER" together? “...shared processing could make people click more easily and have the sort of seamless social interaction that can feel so rewarding."

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Watch What You Eat

1 out of 5 Americans will eat an egg today…which is why you should know about the 206+ million recalled eggs due to a potential salmonella contamination.

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The Facts: Egg Recall

23 people ill due to a “multi-state outbreak” of salmonella linked to eggs from Rose Acre Farms (CDC).

Salmonella can cause serious illnesses & death.

Rose Acre Farms sold in stores & used in restaurants in 9 states (CO, FL, NJ, NY, NC, PA, SC, VA, WV).

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How To Protect Yourself:

What to do if your home has recalled eggs? Throw them away OR return them. Wash & sanitize your fridge where you kept the eggs.

Rose Acre Farms eggs sold under a VARIETY of different brands names all listed on FDA website.

Click Here: Specific List
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U.S.A: Egg Capital of the World in Both Production & Consumption

106 billion: Eggs produced in 2017 (about a tenth of the world’s supply)

280 million: Birds laying eggs for consumption (aka “table eggs”)

325: Avg number of eggs produced by one hen in 2009 (a 50% increase from 50 years earlier)

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EGGScellent News: In recent years, eggs have gotten a bad reputation due to the high levels of LDL cholesterol and saturated fat found in the yolks, but dieticians say the protein levels found in egg whites can balance out the bad. Read more here:

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Cancer Warning For Cafe?

California judge ruled coffee sold in CA must come with a cancer warning label

All due to a chemical (acrylamide) produced in the roasting process

Scientists say jury still out on whether coffee causes cancer.

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All About Acrylamide:

  • Studies on mice show acrylamide exposure increases risk for some types of cancer; findings from human studies are inconsistent.
  • EPA watches & regulates this chemical in drinking water.
  • Found in plastics, grouts, cosmetics, & cigarette smoke.
  • Found in foods like fries, potato chips, crackers, cookies, cereals, canned black olives, & coffee.
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Does Coffee Cause Cancer?

World Health Organization (WHO) studies indicate coffee is unlikely to cause certain cancers and lower the risk of others.

In 2016, the WHO’s cancer unit  moved coffee off the “possible carcinogen” list, but says evidence is insufficient to rule out any possible role.

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Why Is CA Different?

Cali’s Proposition 65

  • Passed via ballot initiative in 1986.
  • Requires every product sold in state that contains a material on a list over 1,000 chemicals known to cancer and/or birth defects to include a warning label.
  • All potato chips sold in CA have a warning on their packaging because of Prop 65.
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Starbucks and other coffee purveyors says the level of the acrylamide (which has been on California's Prop 65 list of chemicals since 1990) in coffee isn't harmful and that any risks are outweighed by coffee's benefits. Read More:

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“Nightmare Bacteria”

CDC: 200+ Cases

Did you know one in 10 people have NO symptoms, but are walking around with a hard-to-treat germ?

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What’s the “Nightmare”?

  • Often incurable.
  • Each year, 2M Americans become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria & 23,000 die.
  • 221 cases nationwide in 2017.
  • Discovered in 27 states.
  • More challenging “version” of antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in every state.
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Why Does This Matter?

“Antibiotic germs can spread like wildfire.”

CDC, "Containing Unusual Resistance", April 3, 2018 explaining why it could quickly becomes a public health emergency *if* the government is unable to contain the germs.
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Whats YOUR real risk?

  • Can be spread person-to-person (without anyone even getting sick).
  • Spreads via health care equipment (IV, etc).
  • Higher risk if you receive health care in another country (many with “nightmare bacteria” in 2017 had received medical care in another country).
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This is the first time the CDC tracked "nightmare bacteria." CDC Dir. on the 200+ cases: "I was surprised by the numbers that we found. This was more than I was expecting." More of her answer:

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