DiversityNursing Blog

Elmo Says 'Get Vaccinated' in New Video

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Apr 20, 2015 @ 11:23 AM

By GILLIAN MOHNEY

http://abcnews.go.com 

HT elmo psa jef 150417 16x9 992 resized 600Turns out even Muppets aren't immune to the need for vaccinations.

In a new video released by the U.S. Health and Human Services, Elmo of “Sesame Street” joined forces with the U.S. Surgeon General to encourage all children to be up to date on their vaccinations.

"I explained to him that, as Surgeon General, it is my job to help everyone stay healthy," U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy said in a statement. "Specifically, Elmo and I talked about the importance of vaccines and making sure that all children are protected from easily preventable diseases."

While a shot may not be fun for a Muppet, even Elmo says he's ready. "Come on everybody get vaccinated with Elmo!" he said in the video.

The video was released the same day that the California State Department of Health declared the end of a recent measles outbreak that infected 147 people in the United States, with 131 people sickened in California alone.

A bill is pending in the California state legislature that would stop parents from seeking personal or religious belief exemptions that would allow their children to attend school without being vaccinated.

While nationwide the rate of vaccination remains high, pockets of unvaccinated people have led to recent outbreaks of diseases formerly thought of as eliminated or extremely rare.

Vaccines helped stop 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths of children in the United States from 1994 to 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Topics: surgeon general, health, healthcare, children, diseases, vaccinations, muppets, sesame street

Gates Foundation Uses Art to Encourage Vaccination

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jan 07, 2015 @ 01:33 PM

By MELENA RYZIK

JPGATES1 articleLarge resized 600

Artists, it’s fair to say, usually don’t know much about bacteria. Vik Muniz is an exception. Mr. Muniz, the Brazilian-born photographer known for his unorthodox materials, has been working with the M.I.T. bioengineer and designer Tal Danino on a series of trompe l’oeil images of microscopic organisms: cancer cells, healthy cells and bacteria.

At first glance, they look like ornate and colorful patterns. In reality, they represent teeming, living things. Among his latest: a pink print that could pass for floral wallpaper. But it’s made up of liver cells infected with the Vaccinia virus, which is used to make the smallpox vaccine.

“Normally, patterns are soothing structures,” Mr. Muniz said, “and all of a sudden, there’s a lot of drama.”

The work now has another meaning. It will be used in a new online campaign, The Art of Saving a Life, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The intent is to promote vaccination just in time for an international effort to raise funds to inoculate millions, especially in poor nations.

The campaign, to be released online on Wednesday, is the first time that the foundation has commissioned artists in the service of a cause. The global roster includes photographers (Annie Leibovitz, Sebastião Salgado, Mary Ellen Mark); writers (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie); filmmakers (Luc Jacquet, director of the documentary “March of the Penguins”); and bands (Playing for Change).

The intent is that their work will spread virally — in the digital sense — and be shared on social media with the hashtag #VaccinesWork to inspire a dialogue and donations.

“We want to get the buzz and the conversation going, because it’s easy to take these important lifesaving tools for granted,” said Dr. Christopher Elias, president of the global development program at the Gates Foundation. Art, the foundation hopes, will serve as a reminder to people “who aren’t going to read the editorial in Science,” Dr. Elias said. If the program is successful, he said, it could serve as a model for other Gates Foundation projects.

The idea came from Christine McNab, a consultant to the foundation. In brainstorming new ways to promote vaccines, she considered “what makes me cry, what makes me think,” she said. “It’s films, it’s books, it’s galleries.”

Ms. McNab and her team invited the artists in and suggested which diseases or issues to address. But they had no control over what was created. Some artists were paid a small fee to cover expenses; some retained their copyright, and others donated their work.

Ms. Leibovitz snapped a black-and-white portrait of people involved in vaccine development. Fatoumata Diabaté, a photographer from Mali, captured the last phase of trials for an Ebola vaccine. The German painter Thomas Ganter paid tribute to the little-sung medical aides who administer the shots, with his oil on canvas of “The Unknown Health Worker.”

The project is timed to lead up to a Jan. 27 meeting of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, an international public-private partnership in Berlin. Some images will be displayed at the conference, which aims to raise $ 7.5 billion from donors for Gavi’s next phase of development. Separately, the Gates Foundation has funded many immunization-related grants, at a cost of millions — far greater, a spokeswoman said, than the budget for the art initiative, which she would not disclose.

As the project developed in the last year, the anti-vaccination movement, in the United States and other Western countries, only gained steam. Though the programs that the Art of Saving a Life supports are targeted elsewhere, “in some ways what we’re hoping for is not just a broader debate about vaccination and immunization, but a more informed debate,” Dr. Elias said.

Countering the anti-vaccination rhetoric was part of the reason that Alexia Sinclair, a photographer from Australia, participated, she said. “I have a young daughter, and it’s quite a hot topic here,” she said, adding that she thought that producing a work of art “allows the conversation to happen in a clearer way.”

After learning that the Chinese characters for smallpox mean “heavenly flowers” — because the pustules bloom on the body, and the sufferers eventually die — Ms. Sinclair, who makes historically-inspired tableaus, created a scene of an 18th-century doctor administering a vaccination, surrounded by grass and blossoms. It brings a fashion-y aesthetic to an ugly disease. “I wanted to create something that looked at smallpox, but did it in a way that didn’t repulse people,” she said.

In an era when viewers are image-saturated, the campaign’s success, and how to measure it, are an open question. “We’ll look at the metrics,” Dr. Elias said. But, he added, the project has already proved valuable inside the Gates Foundation, as a new perspective on old problems.

“The phenomenal response” from artists, he said, “suggests that we have tapped a set of interests and voices that we perhaps should’ve been paying attention to sooner.”

Source: www.nytimes.com

Topics: health, healthcare, nurses, population, children, medical, medicine, diseases, physicians, art, vaccinations, vaccines, shots, prevent

Global life expectancy has 'increased by 6 years since 1990'

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Dec 22, 2014 @ 01:15 PM

By David McNamee

globe resized 600

Between 1990 and 2013, global life expectancy increased by nearly 5.8 years in men and 6.6 years in women, according to a new analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 published in The Lancet.

"The progress we are seeing against a variety of illnesses and injuries is good, even remarkable, but we can and must do even better," says lead author Dr. Christopher Murray, professor of Global Health at the University of Washington. 

"The huge increase in collective action and funding given to the major infectious diseases such as diarrhea, measles, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria has had a real impact," he says. 

"However, this study shows that some major chronic diseases have been largely neglected but are rising in importance, particularly drug disorders, liver cirrhosis, diabetes and chronic kidney disease."

The analysis suggests that life expectancies in high-income regions have been increased due to falling death rates from most cancers - which are down by 15% - and cardiovascular diseases - which are down by 22%.

In low-income countries, rapidly declining death rates for diarrhea, lower respiratory tract infections and neonatal disorders have boosted life expectancy.

Despite the increases in global life expectancy by nearly 5.8 years in men and 6.6 years in women, some causes of death have seen increased rates of death since 1990.

These increased causes of death include:

  • Liver cancer caused by hepatitis C (up by 125%)
  • Atrial fibrillation and flutter (serious disorders of heart rhythm; up by 100%)
  • Drug use disorders (up by 63%)
  • Chronic kidney disease (up by 37%)
  • Sickle cell disorders (up by 29%)
  • Diabetes (up by 9%)
  • Pancreatic cancer (up by 7%).

HIV/AIDS has 'erased years of life expectancy' in sub-Saharan Africa

The report also points to one notable global region where life expectancy is not increasing. Deaths from HIV/AIDS have erased more than 5 years of life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa, say the authors. HIV/AIDS remains the greatest cause of premature death in 20 of the 48 sub-Saharan countries.

Since 1990, years of life worldwide lost due to HIV/AIDS is reported as having increased by 334%.

In Syria, war is the leading cause of premature death - the conflict caused an estimated 29,947 deaths in 2013, and up to 54,903 and 21,422 deaths in each of the preceding 2 years.

Countries that the authors consider to have made "exceptional gains in life expectancy" over the past 23 years include Nepal, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Niger, Maldives, Timor-Leste and Iran - where, for both sexes, life expectancy has increased by more than 12 years.

Life expectancy at birth in India increased from 57.3 years for men and 58.2 years for women in 1990 to 64.2 years and 68.5 years, respectively, in 2013. The authors say that India has made "remarkable progress" in reducing deaths, with the death rates for children dropping 1.3% per year for adults and 3.7% per year for children.

The report also welcomes dramatic drops in child deaths worldwide over the study period. In 1990, 7.6 million children aged 1-59 months died, but this death rate was down to 3.7 million by 2013.

Igor Rudan and Kit Yee Chan, from the Centre for Population Health Sciences and Global Health Academy at the University of Edinburgh Medical School in the UK, write in a linked comment:

"Estimates of the causes of the global burden of disease, disability, and death are important because they guide investment decisions that, in turn, save lives across the world.

Although WHO's team of experts have been doing fine technical work for many years, its monopoly in this field had removed incentives to invest more time and resources in continuous improvement [...] the competition between WHO and the GBD [Global Burden of Disease Study] has benefited the entire global health community, leading to converging estimates of the global causes of death that everyone can trust."

 

Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com

Topics: global, survival rates, life expectancy, lives, research, nurses, doctors, medical, cancer, medicine, diseases, death, treatment, hospitals, community

Why more adults are getting "kids' diseases"

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Dec 17, 2014 @ 11:50 AM

By DENNIS THOMPSON

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Chickenpox befell Angelina Jolie this week, preventing the actress-turned-director from attending the premiere of her new film.

Meanwhile, an outbreak of mumps has hit the National Hockey League, sidelining more than a dozen players and two referees.

These are considered kids' diseases. Most adults have vivid, fretful childhood memories of standing in line to get vaccinations that they expected to provide lifetime protection.

Why, then, are these prominent adults -- and scores of others -- coming down with these infections?

Mainly, it comes down to two factors, experts say.

Vaccination rates have declined among children in some parts of the United States, increasing everyone's risk of exposure to virulent diseases like chickenpox, measles, mumps and whooping cough, said Dr. Aaron Glatt, a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

"These vaccines are not perfect," said Glatt, who's also executive vice president of Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, N.Y. "If you don't have a perfect vaccine and you couple that with a less-than-ideal number of people getting it, then if one person gets it then it's more likely to spread to others."

On top of that, even adults who got their shots as kids are at risk of contracting these diseases once exposed to them, because the protection provided by childhood vaccinations can fade over time.

"You can be vaccinated for something and have antibodies that wane over time or disappear entirely," said Dr. Len Horovitz, an internist and lung specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "You can have intermittent immunity, or no immunity."

America's public health defense against infectious diseases is built on a concept called "herd immunity," Glatt explained. If enough people are vaccinated against diseases like chickenpox, influenza, mumps and whooping cough, then even those who aren't vaccinated benefit because those who are immune can't spread the disease.

Skepticism over the effectiveness and safety of vaccines has caused vaccine rates to decline in some parts of the country, Horovitz and Glatt said. In those locations, adults with waning or imperfect immunity could fall prey to childhood infectious diseases, particularly if there's an outbreak.

"There is less vaccination going on than there was previously," Glatt said. "These childhood diseases have not gone away, and there is a strong anti-vaccine lobby that plays a role in people's decision to have their children vaccinated."

Since the early 1980s, there has been an overall increasing trend of whooping cough in the United States, said Angela Jiles, a spokeswoman for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 16 of this year, the CDC received reports of 17,325 cases of whooping cough, a 30 percent increase from the same time period in 2013 and the most cases seen in six decades, Jiles said.

California is experiencing its worst outbreak of whooping cough in seven decades.

There also have been more reported mumps cases in the United States this year, due to some larger outbreaks, according to the CDC. A reported 1,078 people have contracted mumps in 2014, compared with 438 the year before. In 2006 -- the worst year in recent history -- there were 6,584 cases of mumps, largely due to outbreaks on college campuses, according to the CDC.

No one has said how Jolie might have contracted chickenpox, but many of the NHL players appear to have gotten mumps from each other, despite efforts by the hockey league to get players vaccinated.

A single dose of mumps vaccine is about 80 percent effective, and two doses is about 90 percent effective, Amy Parker Fiebelkorn, an epidemiologist with the CDC's measles, mumps, rubella and polio team, told The New York Times.

"There is no vaccine that's 100 percent effective," Fiebelkorn said. "There is some margin for fully vaccinated individuals to still be infected with mumps if they're exposed to the virus."

Unfortunately, adults who contract these diseases are in for a rougher ride than children. They are more likely to develop serious complications, and are at higher risk of death, Glatt and Horovitz said.

These viruses also can increase a person's risk of future illness. For example, chickenpox patients like Jolie have a lifetime risk of shingles, a disease that can cause terrible rashes and intense nerve pain. The chickenpox virus hides in deep reservoirs inside the human body, and then emerges later in life to cause shingles.

Concerned adults can ask their doctor for a blood test that will check their antibodies and see if they remain immune to these infectious diseases, Horovitz said.

"It's something that could be done in the course of your annual exam. It takes no more than an extra tube or two of blood," the same as regular checks for blood sugar and cholesterol, he said. "It would be particularly important for people with chronic medical conditions or who do a lot of foreign travel where these diseases are running rampant."

People also can talk with their doctor about vaccinations that are recommended for adults. For example, the CDC recommends that adults get a booster shot every 10 years for tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, as well as an annual flu shot.

Source: www.cbsnews.com

Topics: measles, adults, mumps, shingles, chickenpox, whooping cough, infections, immunity, nurses, CDC, children, medical, vaccine, diseases, treatment, physicians, vaccinations, hospitals

Predicting The Top Medical Innovations For 2015

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Nov 03, 2014 @ 11:05 AM

By Sara Cheshire

medical future resized 600

Can we predict the future of medicine? Although designer babies and a disease-free world may or may not come to pass, you can get a glimpse of the most promising and upcoming medical innovations each year, via the Cleveland Clinic.

The clinic's Top 10 Medical Innovations list, which has been an annual undertaking since 2007, contains treatments and technologies that are expected to significantly change patient care and save lives.

To be considered, each innovation must have a good chance of being available to the public in the upcoming year, says Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic and chairman of the committee that decides the list. The committee must also expect it to have a significant impact on a large part of the population.

The process starts with a panel of Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists who submit their ideas. These suggestions, which Roizen said totaled about 700 for the 2015 list, are then narrowed down and voted on by 40 physicians in a variety of health fields.

Here's what they selected for 2015:

1. Mobile stroke unit

Videoconferencing has made its way into ambulances, specifically for treating stroke victims on the go. Hospital stroke neurologists can interpret symptoms via a broadband video link and instruct an onboard paramedic, critical care nurse and CT technologist on treatment. This new technology should improve the speed of medical care, which is important as strokes quickly damage and kill brain cells.

2. Dengue fever vaccine

The World Health Organization reports that about half of the world's population is now at risk for dengue fever, which up until now was preventable only by avoiding mosquito bites. The disease is a leading cause of death and illness in children in some countries. A new vaccine has been developed and tested, and is expected to be available in 2015.

3. Painless blood testing

For those who hate large needles, a nearly painless way to sample blood will be a welcome relief. Plus, it will be cheaper and provide faster results than today's blood test. The new technology takes blood from your fingertip, and the Cleveland Clinic reports that over 100 tests can be performed on just one drop of blood.

4. New way to lower cholesterol

New self-injectable drugs called PCSK9 inhibitors have shown to be very effective in lowering cholesterol. These drugs may prove to be helpful for people with high LDL cholesterol who don't have good results with statins. The FDA is expected to approve the first PCSK9 in 2015.

5 ways to lower cholesterol

5. Cancer drug that doesn't harm healthy tissue

Although chemotherapy can save lives, it can be hard on the body and attack healthy cells as well as cancerous ones. A welcome breakthrough in the world of cancer treatment, antibody-drug conjugates can deliver targeted treatment without damaging healthy tissue.

6. Immune booster for cancer patients

Immune checkpoint inhibitors have been shown to prevent cancer cells from "hiding" from the immune system, allowing the body to more effectively fight these abnormal cells. Combined with chemotherapy and radiation treatment, the drugs have shown significant, long-term cancer remissions for patients with metastatic melanoma, one of the most deadly forms of cancer.

7. Wireless cardiac pacemaker

Until this point, wires have been a necessary component in pacemakers. A new wireless pacemaker about the size of a vitamin can now be implanted in the heart without surgery. Its lithium-ion battery is estimated to last about seven years.

8. New medications for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a life-threatening disease that causes scarring in the lungs, leading to breathing difficulties and a shortage of oxygen in the brain and other organs. Life expectancy is only three to five years after diagnosis, but those numbers may change now that the FDA has approved two experimental drugs that slow the disease: pirfenidone and nintedanib.

9. Single-dose radiation therapy for breast cancer

The National Cancer Institute estimates that 40,000 women in the United States will die from breast cancer in 2014. The Cleveland Clinic cites multiple chemotherapy appointments, sometimes requiring the patient to travel long distances, as a hindrance to successful treatment. Intraoperative radiation therapy is a new solution. It treats a breast cancer tumor during surgery in a single dose, reducing time and cost spent on treatment.

10. New drug for heart failure

About 5.1 million people in the United States suffer from heart failure, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. It is managed with a combination of drugs, but a new drug, angiotensin-receptor neprilysin inhibitor, has been granted fast-track status by the FDA because of its ability to cut the risk of dying from heart failure more effectively than current treatments.

For more information on the annual medical innovations list, including descriptions and videos, download the "Innovations" app or visit the website. A "where is it now" feature also includes updates on innovations that made the top 10 list in prior years.

"We look in past to see what we voted on to improve the process," Roizen said. "With one exception, we've been pretty good."

Source: www.cnn.com

Topics: technology, healthcare, health care, future, medical, cancer, vaccine, patient care, medicine, testing, treatments, innovations, diseases

How a coral farm in the desert could help 'grow bones'

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Sep 29, 2014 @ 01:17 PM

By Ian Lee

140926172630 coral lab israel entertain feature

 Far from the sea, a man-made coral reef is taking shape -- and it could change medical operations forever.

Step inside the OkCoral lab in Israel's Negev Desert and you'll find row after row of quietly bubbling fish tanks, each containing a precious substance.

It is hoped the coral grown in this surreal "farm," could one day be used in bone operations -- encompassing everything from dental implants to spinal procedures.

Unlike animal and human bones, coral can't be rejected by the body, say medical experts at the company CoreBone, which manufactures bone replacements from coral.

Grown in the lab, this coral is also free from the diseases you might find in the oceanic variety.

Start-up science

Assaf Shaham founded the unusual laboratory six years ago at a cost of $2.5 million, with an ambitious vision of tapping into the billion dollar worldwide bone grafting industry.

But first he'll need the approval of authorities in the European Union and U.S., with a decision expected next year.

The father-of-two's dedication to the business is astounding -- if not a little disconcerting.

"In six years of growing corals, I haven't left these four walls for more than 12 hours -- not even once," he said.

"For me, it's 100% learning as I go. I take the mother colony, and I cut off a branch of the coral with a diamond saw. Then I glue it to another base made out of cement."

The delicate ecosystem needs constant care to ensure the water's salinity, temperature, and chemical make-up is perfect -- any variations and the coral could die.

The fish swimming around each tank are essentially the "worker bees" of the artificial reef. They eat the algae growing on the coral, their feces helps feed the coral, and finally, their movements in the water keep the coral strong.

And much like the traditional canary in the coalmine, if the fish die, you know something's not quite right in the water.

Clever company?

Happily for Shaham, his ambitious experiment appears to be thriving, with coral in the lab growing at ten times the normal rate.

Just a small container of the coral costs roughly $5 to $10 to produce, and sells for around $250.

One of the biggest benefits of the business is its environmental sustainability.

"We have a constant supply," says Ohad Schwartz of company CoreBone.

"We don't have to worry that in several years, harvesting from the sea could be forbidden."

It's a concern they'll never have to think about, when harvesting these remarkable fruits of the desert.

Source: http://www.cnn.com

Topics: innovation, science, bones, coral, labs, man-made, coral reef, bone grafting, nursing, nurses, health care, medical, diseases, operations

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