Archives for category: medical

Good article here at The Breakthroughhttp://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/issues/nuclear/five-surprising-public-health-facts-about-fukushima.

My summary is that the scare over the nuclear incident harmed many immediately and long-term, the data and facts show little danger ever existed from the nuclear plant problems and long-term danger is too little to detect. The reaction was the problem, not the nuclear fallout. Fukushima was tragic for several reasons. The nuclear problems were minimal, and our engineering was sound. It was simply overwhelmed by the forces of nature, forces which we are now accounting for better. The net result is this nearly inconsequential contribution to the horrific disaster will be even less in the future.

Journalist Will Boisvert said of the forced evacuations and initial restrictions imposed by officials, “another instance of alarmism that causes more harm than the risk it’s trying to avert.”

That statement is particularly important. The ancient truism, “First, do no harm.” Don’t make matters worse when there is no real and quantifiable likelihood of making matters better in the long run.

Not only were people directly and immediately harmed by the forced evacuations, substantial resources were diverted from obvious use in alleviating immediate suffering of thousands. We really need better education in these matters. The information is available. We don’t need research and grants. The information is already accumulated. It is a matter of personal initiative. And I’ll state frankly that LNT is false and its use and imposition causes harm, harm that cannot be justified.

We live in a radiation filled environment. Millions of years, and we are going strong. There is a threshold for all types of radiation, and most of what we encounter with all sorts of radiation exposure are simply not dangerous. We will live longer and die happier if we just don’t worry about it.

Of course, yes, that can be taken too far, but we have a long way to go from where we are before we need to start worrying about not worrying enough.

I spotted this article on Facebook:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140720204633.htm

It indicates that most of the factors that contribute to autism can be attributed to our common genetic factors. Some seem to kind of stack up, and then one or two of other key factors can add up to something significant and result in being on the autism scale. There is significant information there, but the article is at Nature, here:

http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ng.3039.html

As usual, Nature is very proud of their articles. You’ll have to fork over some big bucks if you want to read it. (Well, you can rent it on Read Cube for less, but I haven’t spent any time figuring out what that means.)

HOWEVER, note that there is a list of references and lots of supplemental information for those interested in digging in and figuring out exactly what these researchers are on to.

I’m not digging in, so I cannot suggest how many of the references are also behind paywalls versus freely available. Keep in mind that many libraries, particularly university libraries, will have subscriptions, and these articles and resources will be available for taking the time to visit the library and determining their requirements for checkout and research.

Anyway, it shows progress, even if it doesn’t show hope of a quick fix.

On a personal note, today, with the winter storm that came through Oklahoma, the blood supplies are low. The Oklahoma Blood Institute is going out of its way to get the word out that they need more blood. Go. Donate. Do it today, and make it a habit.

I donate platelets regularly (not as often as they like), and I typically donate red cells with it, which keeps me on the schedule I prefer, every other month.

Platelets are worth a lot to me. It was only a day, but it was a very good day, a day I will hold dear and close for the rest of my life.

My dad whipped cancer once. When it came back years later, he was fighting and winning again, but he had a setback. I don’t recall what it was called, but a rare cancer had developed too, and it was known to be fatal in six weeks. Right near the end of that six weeks, Pop was still going strong and positive, but it was clear there was no longer any hope other than a supernatural intervention and miraculous healing. (I believe in those, btw.) His doctor was a practical, thoughtful, and considerate lady, fully competent, as well, and she was clear that Pop only had a day or two remaining. He was so weak he couldn’t eat, or get up, or even comb his hair. For Pop, that was a big deal, even with so little left.

The doctor went ahead and ordered a full round of medications, fluids, and most importantly, platelets. Pop perked up, got up, combed his hair, and shared a meal with me. It was probably the best day I had with my dad. We’d had a typical relationship. Mostly close, but fought some too. His love was so true and certain there at the end. His confidence was so palpable.

Pop died the next day. I still donate platelets. It is worth a lot to me. You can be sure that donating blood will be worth just as much to a few people. They will truly appreciate it.

Schedule an appointment at one of our donor centers or a mobile drive or call 1-877-340-8777 today!
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My title is intended to have more than one meaning, but I’m simply recording the latest advise from the heart health experts.

Gina Kolata wrote this piece for the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/13/health/new-guidelines-redefine-use-of-statins.html?pagewanted=all

The article is informative with good links.

“The architects of the guidelines say their recommendations are based on the best available evidence. Large clinical trials have consistently shown that statins reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, but the committee concluded that there is no evidence that hitting specific cholesterol targets makes a difference. No one has ever asked in a rigorous study if a person’s risk is lower with an LDL of 70 than 90 or 100, for example.”

What I understand so far is that cholesterol isn’t proving to be all it was cracked up to be. I’ve always said cholesterol is a symptom, not a cause. Still, I’m no doctor, nor heart health researcher, so I surely don’t know, and my opinion is held loosely.

Heart disease is significant and personal to me. With five young children, the youngest merely 10 weeks old, my wife had a blockage (twice) of the left anterior descending artery. It was a rough three weeks.

I learned a lot during that period. What I would most hope everyone will learn before such a dire circumstance, is take your own health seriously and personally, and be sure you have a close friend or loved one with you who feels just as passionately. No one cares but you and your companion. Really. Own that fact. It is the fundamental fact of life. We walk alone, with very few exceptions.

Study your drugs. Discuss with your doctors, nurses, druggists, and loved ones. Look everything up, mostly on the medical and science sites. Take everything else with a grain of salt.

Don’t get me wrong, without exception, the medicine-related personnel I’ve dealt with all care and show honest compassion. But when I spent the first few days by my wife’s side, and nearly the entire three weeks constantly with her, the nurses were all amazed, more than one pointing out that she would not be sharing her pay for my assistance. They knew they could simply not show such devotion. Grandparents and friends made it possible, and having built up some vacation time helped as well, but the fact is we can seldom count on anyone to show such devotion in such critical times of need.

So, educate yourself. Study up. Talk with your doctors. It is all the more critical in these tumultuous times in health insurance and rule and regulation uncertainty. Mind the paperwork and the permissions. Take the time to get to know the key medical personnel who will be able to show flexibility in crunch time. They only have so much wiggle room. Make sure they won’t need much. Get the paperwork completed. The personal touch also goes a long way in keeping tensions low when you are having to press for what you think is right, even when you are making your own decisions for yourself.

A couple of things I keep in mind: most of us will die of cardiovascular disease or failure of one variety or another, mostly MI, like what almost got my wife. Thank God she is quite well still. The other thing I keep in mind is that we all die young. It is most certainly a tragedy when the young die, but it really is only easier to take, and no less tragic, when someone dies honorably after a long and fruitful life. Long is so relative, and we will live longer than anything else we do, whether it be measured in minutes, years, decades, or even centuries.

The references:

http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1770218

The full report:  http://content.onlinejacc.org/data/Journals/JAC/0/11003.pdf

2013 AHA/ACC Guideline on Lifestyle Management to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk
A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines

Robert H. Eckel, MD, FAHA; John M. Jakicic, PhD; Jamy D. Ard, MD; Nancy Houston Miller, RN, BSN, FAHA; Van S. Hubbard, MD, PhD; Cathy A. Nonas, MS, RD; Janet M. de Jesus, MS, RD; Frank M. Sacks, MD, FAHA; I-Min Lee, MD, ScD; Sidney C. Smith, MD, FACC, FAHA; Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, FAHA; Laura P. Svetkey, MD, MHS; Catherine M. Loria, PhD, FAHA; Thomas W. Wadden, PhD; Barbara E. Millen, DrPH, RD, FADA; Susan Z. Yanovski, MD

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013;():. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2013.11.003

http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1770220

The full report:  http://content.onlinejacc.org/data/Journals/JAC/0/11005.pdf

2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk
A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines

David C. Goff, MD, PhD, FACP, FAHA; Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, FACC, FAHA; Glen Bennett, MPH; Christopher J. O’Donnell, MD, MPH; Sean Coady, MS; Jennifer Robinson, MD, MPH, FAHA; Ralph B. D’Agostino, PhD, FAHA; J. Sanford Schwartz, MD; Raymond Gibbons, MD, FACC, FAHA; Susan T. Shero, MS, RN; Philip Greenland, MD, FACC, FAHA; Sidney C. Smith, MD, FACC, FAHA; Daniel T. Lackland, DrPH, FAHA; Paul Sorlie, PhD; Daniel Levy, MD; Neil J. Stone, MD, FACC, FAHA; Peter W.F. Wilson, MD, FAHA

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013;():. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2013.11.005

From the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, here is the referenced risk assessment tool:

http://my.americanheart.org/professional/StatementsGuidelines/PreventionGuidelines/Prevention-Guidelines_UCM_457698_SubHomePage.jsp

http://static.heart.org/ahamah/risk/Omnibus_Risk_Estimator.xls

From the page: Further details regarding the derivation and validation, and strategies for implementation, of the risk assessment algorithm are available in the 2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk and the Full Report of the Risk Assessment Work Group.

There are other links on the page, including this:  http://static.heart.org/ahamah/risk/Prevention_Guidelines_Clinical_Vignettes.pdf

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