DiversityNursing Blog

Pets Find Pain Relief Using Ancient Method Of Acupuncture

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jan 28, 2015 @ 10:24 AM

By MICHELLE CASTILLO

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Pets are getting some pain relief thanks to a centuries-old method that has helped some of their owners: acupuncture.

A dachshund named Samson benefitted from the treatment. Samson was pawed aggressively by another dog at the park and needed surgery immediately. After his first procedure, it was clear he was still in some pain. Doctors recommended a second surgery, but owner Ellie Sutton wasn't so keen to make Samson go under the knife again.

"I wouldn't want to risk something like paralysis," Sutton told CBS News. She decided "to try every other kind of step first."

To her surprise, the veterinarian suggested acupuncture, the traditional Chinese medicine method of inserting needles into the skin to stimulate parts of the body.

Veterinary acupuncturists can use .2 to .3 mm needles that range in length from .5 inches to 1.5 inches on pooches.

"A lot of people come for acupuncture because they've exhausted a lot of the traditional Western medicine roots, whether it's medication or surgery," Dr. Marc Seibert, Samson's vet, told CBS News. Siebert is the owner and medical director of Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital and Lower East Side Animal Hospital in New York City.

Seibert explained there are two main theories behind how acupuncture works. Eastern medicine teaches that energy flows through channels in the body called meridians. When the meridians are blocked, the person -- or the animal -- experiences physical pain. The acupuncture needles help direct the energy to the correct path.

Western medicine, on the other hand, suggests that acupuncture may help by bringing oxygen to the area that the doctor is trying to treat. Hormones called endorphins, which promote feelings of well-being, are released, and the anti-inflammatory parts of the immune system kick in.

"Most people think of acupuncture as a pain reliever, but it's more than that," says Dr. Ihor Basko, a holistic veterinarian in private practice in Honolulu, certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in Ft. Collins, Colo., told Paw Nation. "Acupuncture can boost the immune system and improve organ functions, and it has other benefits. It can complement conventional medicines and procedures without dangerous side effects."

Not everyone is convinced the method works. Veterinarian Craig Smith, the complementary-care expert for the American Veterinary Medical Association, told U.S. and World News Report that it's hard to know for sure if canines and felines are feeling relief from their pain.

"While many people treating pets with acupuncture report success, there isn't any data that proves it works," he said.

Ellie Sutton admitted that a lot of the "energy flow" talk is hard for her to believe. But she says Samson has definitely benefited from the treatment.

"The fact is he walks better afterwards," she said.

Source: www.cbsnews.com

Topics: needles, body, animals, pain, acupuncture, pets, pain relief, nurse, medical, medicine, treatment, doctor

Goodbye, needles: measles vaccine could be delivered with a puff of air

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Nov 26, 2014 @ 11:45 AM

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The current measles vaccine - administered by an injection - is effective and safe, but experts say coverage could be made better by a vaccine that is easier to administer and transport. Now, a measles vaccine consisting of dry powder that is delivered with a puff of air has proven safe in early human trials and effective in previous animal trials.

Though many people living in the US consider measlesto be a thing of the past - thanks, in large part, to widespread vaccination efforts - the disease has made a comeback in recent years. 

In fact, 2014 has so far seen a record number of measles cases in the US, with 603 confirmed cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) between January 1st and October 31st.

The organization says this is the highest number of cases since measles elimination was confirmed in the US in 2000.

Measles is spread by droplets or direct contact with the nose or throat secretions of people who are infected, but it can also be spread through the air or by objects containing nose and throat secretions.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), measles is "one of the most readily transmitted communicable diseases and probably the best known and most deadly of all childhood rash/fever illnesses."

In 2013, the disease killed 145,700 people worldwide - most of whom were children - despite an already existing effective injectable vaccine.

"Delivering vaccines in the conventional way, with needle injections, poses some serious challenges, especially in resource-poor parts of the world," says Prof. Robert Sievers, author of the latest study from the University of Colorado Boulder's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

New vaccine safe, with evidence of positive immune response

To improve the delivery of the vaccine, Prof. Sievers and his colleagues created a dry delivery technique - that involves an inhalable, dry powder - in order to circumvent the need for injections and liquid storage, and to avoid risk of vaccine contamination.

In previous work, he and his team showed that their vaccine protected rhesus macaques and cotton rats from measles infection, and they also demonstrated that their dry vaccines can be safely stored for 6 months to 4 years at room temperature or in refrigerators kept at 36-46° F (2-8°C).

But their latest study heralds the success of the first phase 1 clinical trial for their vaccine in humans. "Out of an abundance of caution," says Prof. Sievers, "we test first in people who have already had the disease, or been injected earlier by needles with liquid vaccines."

As such, they enrolled 60 adult males aged 18-45 years who were already seropositive for the measles antibody. In the clinical trial, the researchers tested delivery of the powder using two devices and compared those two groups with a group that received the typical injection.

Results showed that the men from all three groups responded similarly and displayed no clinically relevant side effects. What is more, there was also evidence of a positive immune response to vaccination from the powder.

Any adverse events were recorded with diary cards for 28 days after the vaccination, and researchers followed the participants for 180 days post-vaccination to watch for any long-term adverse events. Additionally, the team measured measles antibodies 7 days before vaccination and 21 and 77 days after vaccination.

Commenting on their new dry vaccine, Prof. Sievers says:

"You don't need to worry about needles; you don't need to worry about reconstituting vaccines with clean water; you don't need to worry about disposal of sharps waste or other vaccine wastage issues; and dry delivery is cheaper."

Vaccine trials in humans are ongoing

Though their trial demonstrated that their powder vaccine is safe, because the men were already immune to measles, it could not compare effectiveness of the vaccines.

"It is very good news that we encountered no problems," says Prof. Sievers, "and now we can move on."

He and his team plan to continue their research through phase 2 and 3 trials in people who are not yet immune to measles, including women and children.

The research was funded by a $20 million grant from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It should be noted that the authors of the paper include researchers from the Serum Institute of India, Ltd. - the largest manufacturer of childhood vaccines used in developing countries.

Additionally, Prof. Sievers is president and CEO of Aktiv-Dry, LLC, a Colorado-based company that provides dry powder solutions for the vaccine, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Topics: needles, measles, technology, health, healthcare, medical, patients, vaccine, medicine

Microneedles For Easy Delivery Of Drugs Into Eye

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Nov 17, 2014 @ 11:52 AM

microneedles

A number of eye conditions can be treated by administering drugs directly into the eye. Yet, conventional needles have a bunch of drawbacks, including the patients’ fear of needles entering such fragile parts of the body and the difficulty of accurately administering medication into a targeted region of the eye. For glaucoma, for example, eye drops are prescribed which have a shorter active lifetime and are often skipped by the patients. An easy injection that works for months at a time would help control the disease considerably better.

Researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University have been working on microneedles and formulations to safely and effectively deliver drugs into the eye. The microneedles are designed to only penetrate to the correct depth and the formulations need to be viscous enough to stay in place and release their therapeutic compounds in a controlled fashion. The researchers have already tested the microneedles on laboratory animals and showed that they can place drugs within the targeted sections of the eye.

More from Georgia Tech:

The microneedle therapy would inject drugs into space between two layers of the eye near the ciliary body, which produces the aqueous humor. The drug is retained near the injection side because it is formulated for increased viscosity. In studies with an animal model, the researchers were able to reduce intraocular pressure through the injections, showing that their drug got to the proper location in the eye.

Because the injection narrowly targets delivery of the drug, researchers were able to bring about a pressure reduction by using just one percent of the amount of drug required to produce a similar decline with eye drops.

To treat corneal neovascularization, the researchers took a different approach, coating solid microneedles with an antibody-based drug that prevents the growth of blood vessels. They inserted the coated needles near the point of an injury, keeping them in place for approximately one minute until the drug dissolved into the cornea.

In an animal model, placement of the drug halted the growth of unwanted blood vessels for about two weeks after a single application.

Source: www.medgadget.com

Topics: needles, drugs, microneedles, eyes, technology, health, healthcare, medical, patients, medicine

Simple Steps Make Shots Less Scary for Kids, Nurse Says

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Aug 25, 2014 @ 01:25 PM

By Robert Preidt

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Many children get anxious or afraid when they have to get a vaccination, but there are a number of ways that parents can make these shots easier for their kids, an expert suggests.

The first step is to explain to children in an age-appropriate way that the vaccinations help protect their health, said Rita John, director of the pediatric primary care nurse practitioner program at Columbia University School of Nursing in New York City.

"Children need to know that vaccines aren't a punishment or something negative, vaccines are something that keeps them from getting sick," John said in a Columbia news release. "When parents are anxious, they pass that fear on to their kids. The best way to talk about vaccines is to keep the conversation positive and focused on the benefits of vaccination."

Before a vaccination, you can reduce toddlers' and preschoolers' anxiety if you give them a toy medical kit so that they can give pretend shots to you or a favorite doll or other toy.

When you arrive for the shot, ask the clinician to use a numbing cream or spray to limit the pain caused by the needle. Blowing on a bubble maker or a pinwheel can help distract younger children during vaccinations, while listening to music, playing games or texting may benefit older children and teens.

"If the kids think something is going to reduce their pain, there can be a placebo effect where the technique works because they expect it to work," John explained.

"It doesn't matter so much what you use to make your child more comfortable so long as you do something that acknowledges that they may experience some pain and that they can do something to make it hurt less," she added.

Be sure to reward and/or praise children after a vaccination. For example, give stickers to younger children. "You want the final part of the experience to make kids feel like even if they suffered some momentary pain, it was worth it," John said.

"Good play preparation, a positive attitude about immunization, and bringing something to distract kids during the shots can all help make the experience better," she concluded.

Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov

Topics: needles, anxiety, health, nurses, children, vaccination

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