On Wednesday, actor Seth Rogen visited Capitol Hill to share his family’s personal struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. His six-minute plea for increased government funding and awareness initiatives was emotional and often funny with Rogen telling senators, “Thank you for the opportunity to be called an expert at something, ’cause that’s cool.” Rogen’s brief trip to Washington was inspired by his mother-in-law who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 55.
As a spokesperson for the National Alzheimer’s Association, Rogen is committed to calling attention to a devastating progressive disease that affects millions, and is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, and the health care costs associated with it are staggering. Seth, along with his wife Lauren, started the fundraising effort, “Hilarity for Charity,” to raise money for families directly impacted by Alzheimer’s, and to help fund cutting edge research.
During his speech, Seth talked about the charity saying, “The situation is so dire it caused me, a lazy, self-involved, generally self-medicated man-child to start an entire charity organization.”
Heroin is cheap, highly accessible and it’s fast-becoming the go-to drug for teens and adults in every income bracket across the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2011, over 4.2 million Americans reported using heroin at least once in their life. Heroin overdose is at an all-time high despite the existence of a drug that can quickly reverse the effects – naloxone.
Heroin is an illegal, addictive form of morphine, and cheaper than its opioid cousins including Demerol, oxycodone, fentanyl and Percocet. Using the drug produces a feeling of euphoria, often within seconds if the drug is injected. It can also be snorted and smoked. Heroin can be cut (mixed) with a variety of different substances to reduce or increase the potency including natural ingredients like baking powder, starch, and sugar, but also with other drugs and even poison. Users are never completely sure about the strength, leading to thousands of overdose cases every year.
Last year, states like Kentucky, Wisconsin and Chicago reported a significant increase in deaths from heroin abuse and overdose, furthering the request by family members, friends, social workers and EMT personnel, for more states to make naloxone available to the public. Naloxone (Narcan) can be given via nasal spray or as an injection. If administered in time, the medication works within minutes to counteract heroin’s depression of the central nervous and respiratory symptoms by running blocker and adhering to brain receptors. It also creates immediate and sometimes painful withdrawal symptoms.
On Valentine’s Day, millions of women will give candy hearts to their sweeties and doodle hearts in cards, but won’t pay attention to their own tender tickers. Heart disease is the number one killer of adults in America. President Obama has already dubbed February – American Heart Month. In an effort to raise awareness, Clear Channel Communications is releasing a series of public service announcements (PSA) to educate the public about the risk factors of cardiovascular disease , and how to spot the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke.
Clear Channel, in collaboration with The American Heart Association, has committed one million dollars worth of on-air media to spread awareness. For the next two weeks, a portion of Clear Channel’s 840 radio stations across the country will air a humorous PSA voiced by actress, Elizabeth Banks that highlights the signs of a heart attack in women. Other stations will hear a PSA created by the Ad Council listing the warning signs of a stroke.
This isn’t the first time Banks has lent her talent for heart disease education. In 2011, she directed and starred in the short film, “Just a Little Heart Attack,” for the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women campaign. The video (below) quickly went viral because it spoke to busy women and mothers across the country who insist, “I just don’t have time for a heart attack.”
What if accessing, sharing and linking medical records between multiple physicians and patients could be made as easy as posting your status on social media? Melissa McCormack, a writer who reviews electronic health records for Software Advice, says she thinks patient information should be shared in a Facebook-like fashion, and she makes a pretty convincing case for it.
This week, Facebook celebrated a milestone birthday. For 10 years, users have been logging in to the uber-popular social media site to connect, discuss current events and post pictures of puppies, babies and what they had for breakfast. Facebook’s international reach has allowed adopted children find their birth parents and a multitude of other examples regarding the site’s vast connectivity options. If Grandma from London can view and “like” a video of her grandson winning the school spelling bee in Iowa, why can’t I look at an x-ray from my outpatient surgery in 2008 without having to make a phone call, sit on hold, sign a waiver and wait for a nurse to send an email or worse, require me to drive to the office?
McCormack suggests her Facebook model is a great way to, “unify single patient records.” Here’s a quick tutorial of how this, “cross-culture” record system would work:
On Sunday, millions of fans will huddle around televisions with fists full of hoagies, hot wings and beer to watch the Denver Broncos take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. The battle of ego and might will take place in East Rutherford, New Jersey and is predicted to be one of the coldest Super Bowl games in recent history. When the players hit the field, both teams will feature hulking athletes in prime condition, but each time they charge and tackle, many of them will sustain concussions that put their future physical and mental health in jeopardy.
Head injuries are also common in boxing and hockey but lately, former players and their families are shining a white hot spotlight on the sport of football and the serious damage all those hard hits are causing. Suits filed by a number of former NFL stars including Jahvid Best of the Detroit Lions, Hall of Fame inductee Tony Dorsett, and quarterback Jim McMahon claim they were cleared to play too quickly after receiving concussions, and that the danger of head injuries has been widely downplayed by the NFL.
Each day millions of diabetes patients have to undergo painful pin pricks to check their blood glucose levels. While most long-time sufferers say they’ve simply gotten used to the routine, certainly they would appreciate a less invasive way to measure their blood sugar, and Google says they have the answer. Although it’s still in the prototype stage, designers in the super secret Google X lab have developed a contact lens that monitors the glucose level in tears.
At first glance, the device looks like a standard contact lens but upon closer inspection, the lens appears to have “glitter” or “specks” around the rim. These specks are actually miniscule transistors and an antenna located just outside the field of vision. The contact lens is the smallest wireless glucose sensor ever created.
The fall and winter months are a time for holidays and celebration but for some, the season brings on a serious bout of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This particular subtype of depression has only been officially labeled since the 1980s. Though no one really knows what causes SAD, doctors have deduced that the combination of falling temperatures, shorter days and more time spent in darkness can spark a chemical reaction in the brain that triggers depression.
Many people get the blues during the winter months which is why a true SAD diagnosis is so hard to pin down. Medicine.Net suggests, “This disorder occurs in about 5% of adults, with up to 20% of people having some symptoms of the condition but not sufficient enough to meet diagnostic criteria.”
Symptoms of SAD
- A feeling of hopelessness
- Lack of energy
- Social withdrawal
- Difficulty concentrating
- Cravings for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
A not-so-new menstrual product is seeing a resurgence in popularity. Retail stores and pharmacies are now making shelf space for Softcup and The Diva Cup, reusable plastic devices that “catch” monthly flow instead of absorbing it. Why are consumers attracted to this technology, and is it safe?
From the moment a young woman experiences her first period to the time she sees it fade away during menopause, she asks the same question each month, “Isn’t there a better way?” Thankfully, the increased absorbency of pads and tampons have improved the monthly, “situation,” but now, Softcup and The Diva Cup have arrived with the promise of increased period protection.
The idea of a menstrual “cup” is not new, they’re just not as heavily marketed as pads and tampons. Made from a silicone material, the cup is inserted into the vagina past the cervix. Body heat allows the cup to soften and mold to a woman’s vaginal canal, creating a barrier. Menstrual flow is collected in the cup and rinsed away after removal. Softcup offers both a reusable and disposable option while The Diva Cup is completely reusable, allowing it to be used for years with proper care.
This video from Softcup shows a diagram detailing proper insertion.
- Can be worn longer than tampons or pads
- Eliminates menstrual odor
- Can be worn during sexual intercourse
- The Diva Cup is reusable
As 2013 winds down, Hollywood elite are gearing up for the 2014 award season, beginning with the Golden Globes on January 14. While some stars will spend the next few weeks crunching with personal trainers and drinking power smoothies in order to fit into their clingy designer gowns and slim-fitting suits, actors, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto will be visiting the buffet line. Last year, they each lost nearly 50 pounds to play HIV patients in the critically acclaimed, Dallas Buyers Club.
If you caught the 2012 hit, Magic Mike, you know how svelte Matthew McConaughey was to begin with. Leather chaps don’t leave much to the imagination. So, why would he take on a project that left him looking pale, emaciated and weighing a mere 135 pounds? McConaughey says it was a role he simply had to play. He was so committed to the movie, he signed on before the film even had a director.
In the movie, McConaughey plays fellow Texan, Ron Woodroof, a homophobic electrician who contracted the AIDS virus in the 1980s when it was considered a “gay disease.” Refusing to accept his 6-months-to-live diagnosis, Woodroof aligns with an unlikely partner, a transsexual named Rayon, played by Jared Leto. Together, they seek out and distribute experimental HIV drugs that, at the time, had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
By Elizabeth Simmons
Companies have been using the label “antibacterial” in much the same way they use the label “natural.” It’s a way to encourage customers to buy their products because they are perceived as better. However, that’s about to change, as the Food and Drug Administration cracks down on yet another health concern.
On Monday the FDA stated that it is requiring soap manufacturers to prove that the chemicals used to make antibacterial soap are safe. If the companies can’t meet that requirement, the chemicals must be removed from the products.
The chemicals in question, triclosan and triclocarbon, are added to liquid soaps and bar soaps respectively. Formerly only found in soaps used by doctors when scrubbing in, the chemicals found their way into everyday products like soap, toothpaste, mouthwash and laundry detergent.
Many public health experts support the FDA’s requirement to prove safety of the chemicals. They have raised concerns over the possibilities that triclosan and triclocarbon may scramble hormones in children and promote drug-resistant infections. Studies with animals have shown triclosan to be associated with lower levels of thyroid hormone and testosterone. Similar tests with triclocarbon indicated it might artificially amplify the effects of estrogen and testosterone. continue reading