Wednesday, May 20, 2015

An insidious disease with no prevention and no cure escapes the radar; Again!

The Death Causes map of the States compares and highlights the ‘leading single’ cause of death for local areas that exceeds national averages. Thus if 1% deaths due to cause X were recorded in a State and 0.2% nationally that disease will pop on this infographic being 5 times the country average. On the other hand 3% people die of cause Y locally but 2.9% in the entire country being only slightly higher (1.03 times) the national average, the cause or disease will not show on the map since it would be surpassed by cause X.
Source CDC.
The Most Distinctive Causes of Death by State, 2001-2010
Francis P. Boscoe, PhD; Eva Pradhan, MPH

One such disease is Cancer, the second leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease.  The State of Maine, for instance, has the highest rate of cancer deaths in the country but the Death Causes map shows Influenza as the leading cause of death.

As Mr. Boscoe, author of the report and the infographic explains:
“The map shows the causes of death that are the highest relative to the national average. For most states, this is a cause of death that is between 2 and 5 times higher than the national average. Cancer does not show up because cancer rates tend to be very similar in every state – there are no states where cancer is anywhere close to 2 to 5 times higher than the national average.”

The map does bring out some intriguing information: Above average firearm related deaths in Tennessee, New Mexico, and Arizona. HIV in Florida, and heart disease in Michigan. Kidney related diseases in Montana and Syphilis in Louisiana.

Bottom line: One must understand what numbers are being conveyed and how they have been arrived at.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Mobile App: Don't be intimated by Vital information displayed on Patient Monitors

Quickly learn how to  make sense of vital health data with this app.

Sitting by the bedside of a loved one, relatives and friends are frequently confused and intimidated with all the numbers, charts, and beeping sounds coming from equipment the patient is connected to. What does it all mean? Is it some cryptic language only doctors and nurses understand? Not at all.

The Vital Signs Mobile App helps family, friends and patients learn how to interpret information presented on display monitors in hospital rooms.

Vital Signs is a valuable guide to understanding Pulse, Blood Pressure, Oxygen Saturation, and Carbon Dioxide readings.

It explains why blood pressure is shown as a set of two numbers? At what point your loved one’s oxygen level needs attention? What do the EKG charts tell you? Are you exhaling too much or too little carbon dioxide? How does a paper bag help with hyperventilation?

Find out how to read and understand critically important information displayed on patient monitors.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hot Yoga May not be so Cool.

Yoga is good for the body and mind. It promotes relaxation, health and calmness. Unless a person is suffering from large joint osteoarthritis or spinal injury it is helpful in maintaining good body conditioning. But hot yoga is not the same.
The human body and most living things have a fine tuned system that works with checks and balances to keep us alive and healthy for the most part. Confusing the body’s feedback and homeostasis systems can causes serious problems.

Hot yoga has that potential.

Source: Bikram Yoga Instructor Training Advertisement

Exercise and the body’s response

Conventional vigorous exercise accelerates our respiration rate which is a good thing. It helps carry wastes and toxins such as carbon dioxide out of the body through the lungs. At the same time it helps increase

Thursday, January 9, 2014

An Endoscopy related antibiotic resistant Super Bug.

You don’t have to be a medical tourist to acquire the New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase (NDM), an enzyme that breaks down carbapenems which are considered a “ last resort” remedy for infections like Escherichia coli.

Image Courtesy of Yuya Tamai
The NDM enzyme gives immunity to antibiotic resistant bacteria and has been traced to a hospital in Illinois. That is what patients who had endoscopies to examine their bile and pancreatic ducts, Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography ( ERCP), at the hospital found when they were called back for re-examination. Fifty of the 91 patients tested positive for the bacteria even though routine cleaning procedure of manual cleaning and high-level disinfection in automated endoscope reprocessors were followed for disinfection.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Out of sight, Out of mind!

Alzheimer's, blindness, sleep apnea, and jugular veins.

Alan Light contributed the following caption for his photograph: "This was one of the last public appearances, maybe the last, of Rita Hayworth. She lived ten more years in declining mental and physical health, dying of alzheimer's disease in 1987."
Rita Hayworth (October 17, 1918 – May 14, 1987) was an American actress, a pin up girl , a dancer and overall beautiful lady. She appeared in "a total of 61 films over 37 years. She is one of six women who have the distinction of having danced on screen with both Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. She is listed by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 Greatest Stars of All Time." Wikipedia.

Slowly destroying memory, cognitive thinking, reasoning and behavioral skills Alzheimer's is considered to be an irreversible disease. Ranging from its mildest form to the most severe stage where patients are completely dependent on others for daily function. Symptoms usually first appear after age 60.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

One Weird Tip for Not getting sick during Thanksgiving.

The first tip:
+ Don't overeat. Of course that is easier said than done.

Okay may be try some more weird tips:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lung Cancer; Why do non-smokers get it?

Indian Style Fried Okra. Courtesy of Jen R.
If you have had the displeasure of finding out that a close friend or relative was suddenly diagnosed with lung cancer even though they never smoked you would know how unbelievably confounding and puzzling it would be. Yet it happens!

Lung cancer is responsible for the highest death rate of all cancers, more than that of colon, breast and prostate combined

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Let us hope Chinese alternative medicine does not find out about this!

Researchers have identified two defects in expression of unfolded protein response mediators in mice and humans with Type 1 diabetes.
They administered tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) to the mice in the pre-diabetic stage.
What is TUDCA?
It is a "chemical chaperone" found in bear bile. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine that has also been used to alleviate stress and symptoms in atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes.

And the result! There was "a marked reduction of diabetes incidence in the T1D mouse models," the authors Source:Science Translational Medicine.

After this scientific validation the bear population around the world might be at great risk for poaching harvesting of body parts.

Image Courtesy of Doug Brown Flickr Photostream.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Take 'extra water' drinking advice with a pinch of salt. Literally!

In a recent Daily Mail article claiming to have taken 10 years off her looks Sarah Smith suggests she achieved this miracle by drinking 3 liters of water everyday. Ms. Smith who is 42 but according to herself looked 52, was able to accomplish this feat in 28 days.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Turmeric! The Hot New Old Spice.

You have heard Dr. Oz sing its praises, you have tried Dr. Sanjay Gupta's turmeric tea recipe he shared on Dr. Oz' show, you have seen Michael Caine gush about it, and now you are being bombarded with endless turmeric supplement

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Stroke incidence rising dramatically among younger people

Over the last 20 years there has been a 25% increase in stroke cases among 20 to 64 year old's. In studies funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and published in The Lancet, the burden of stroke between the years 1990 to 2010 was found to cause over 61% of disability, and more than of 51% of deaths. The cause; hemorrhagic strokes.

Traditionally, as reported by the CDC, hemorrhagic strokes account for only 15% of this condition in the U.S.

Stroke Types:
Types of Stroke
Source: CDC
Ischemic Stroke is when blood flow to the brain is blocked by blood clots or fatty deposits also known as plaque in blood vessel linings. Blockages lead to tissue death quite quickly. A Transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a "wake up call" or "mini-stroke" that does not result in lasting damage. Recognizing and treating TIAs immediately can reduce the risk of a major stroke.

Hemorrhagic strokes are caused when a blood vessel bursts in the brain. There are two types; An Intracerebral hemorrhage floods the surrounding tissue with blood and is the more common type. The other type is Subarachnoid hemorrhage which results in bleeding in the area between the brain and the thin tissues that cover it.

Sources: "Global and regional burden of stroke during 1990–2010: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 : The Lancet." Accessed October 24, 2013.
-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "CDC - DHDSP - Types of Stroke." Accessed October 24, 2013.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How dangerous are dental cavities?

A fungus and a bacteria team up to cause oral diseases, knock out human teeth and much more.

Dental disease is a global problem affecting up to 90% of all adults. In the U.S. 42% of children by the age of 11 have had cavities. Oral crevices and empty spaces along with different tissue types such as the tongue and mucous surfaces, a steady supply of saliva and any snacks and foods that go into the mouth support a complex microbial flora that may comprise of over 700 different bacterial species, according to a a new study published on the online journal PLOSPathogens.

Almost 300 of these microbes contribute to the periodontic pocket biofilm. Of these the predominant bacterium is Streptococcus Mutans that resides on the enameled surfaces and is responsible for most of the cavity formation and periodontal disease.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The missing weapon from Doomsday Preppers' arsenal; Cabbage.

Who will survive a nuclear war? Rodents, cockroaches, and doomsday preppers of course! Certainly those that devour turnips, cabbage and cauliflower.

Cabbage; Courtesy of Jeremy Noble Flickr Photostream
The National Geographic Channel's highest rated show, if one can believe that, takes reality TV to unrealistic and absurd heights with preppers getting ready for Armageddon brought on by the government, nuclear war, a meteor strike, famine, geomagnetic reversal, pandemics, and perhaps immigrants and gays. During each 60 minute segment loyal adherents get and share advice on food storage, weapons, self defense and survival tactics. Understandably, the show remains wildly popular with men (66% of audience) with an average age of 44 of unknown educational background, but given the theme, that would be an irrelevant statistic, if not a moot point.

But if they were to take post nuclear apocalyptic survival seriously the preppers should head over to GUMC, the Georgetown University Medical Center where they would see that lab mice injected daily for two weeks with DIM ( 3,3′-diindolylmethane) even ten minutes after exposure to lethal doses of gamma rays remained alive for an extra 30 days, compared to the control group that was not fortunate enough to be selected for DIM which perished in short order after irradiation.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The real threat to the 2013 Hajj

Saudi Special Forces in Parade
Courtesy of Omar Chatriwala. Flickr Photostream
According to the interior ministry, Saudi Arabia is deploying 95,000 personnel from the defense ministry, national guard and intelligence agencies with an additional 40,000 members of the special forces mobilized to secure the Hajj pilgrimage during October 13 to 18 of this year.

Despite these well meaning attempts by Saudi authorities to guard against terrorism, the real threat remains elusive and no amount of fire power and explosives can protect against it. That threat comes from a little understood but deadly virus known as the MERS-CoV.



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