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Tag Archives: wellness

Shawne Merriman will go through with season ending surgery after trying to play through a knee injury. What did he expect? Doctors repeatedly told him that not only was his season at risk, but his career was put at risk by attempting to play with such an injury. Then he comes out, plays, and says he didn’t feel right. Did he expect to be Super Man? Not playing is certain to make him unhappy, but dealing with the injury is the best option he has. The San Diego Chargers will survive without him in a conference that is becoming less and less of a powerhouse. The teams should remain competitive for the division with the Denver Broncos, and at least achieve a wild card spot. And in the playoffs anything can happen…

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This is overdue. I thought I posted a blog about this, but it seems I left it on draft. After I made an entry on WordPress about overdoses, I decided to make another sonic sez health video about using medications. I think my voice acting as improved a little bit, but I’m still hoping for more people to watch or comment on the videos. This one has a lot of meaning with the fairly recent release of The Dark Knight. A report came out shortly before I wrote the script about the increase in accidental overdoses and deaths caused by improper use of medications. The coincidence is eerie that research over 20 years in the making was released the same that Heath Ledger’s death brought the issue to the forefront. This video is dedicated to Heath Ledger, and to the promise of better knowledge about medications.

I recently made a Sonic Sez health tip video about seizures and epilepsy. I put good amount of effort into the construction of this video, and I had a fair amount of previous knowledge about the subject which I used. I wanted to project that seizures are not only convulsions, and that many of the causes are unknown.  I had a number of special reasons to learn about seizures, and having read a few books about them I probably know more about seizures than any of the other topics I tackled. The effort I put into this was well worth it from an educational and amusement standpoint (I hand made the set for this video). And of course the video isn’t too serious. I think the intro is enticing for anyone who likes sonic, and I still used a silly saying at the end.

What happened to Heath Ledger was not a fluke. Research done over ten years showed that fatal medication errors have increased almost 4 fold since the early 1980s. The release of this information is merely coincidental, but if the death of a celebrity can’t get people to educate themselves about medications, then this research certainly won’t. Ledger did not die of some strange circumstance, and people need to be aware of the reactions they might have to their medications, changing their medications, or consuming street drugs or alcohol in addition to medicine. Just as importantly, doctors, nurses, other hospital staff, and pharmacists need to help inform patients about how to properly deal with using medication and the seriousness of the possible consequence from deviation (citation: medline plus).

The United Nations has reported that the number of people killed by AIDS has gone down for the second striaght year. This is, itself, incorrect since AIDS is an “immune deficiency” and other health issues actually cause death. Nonetheless, it shows that the lives of people living with AIDS has been extended, or rather their deaths have been postponed. While this is happening, the total number of infections is still rising. It is good that we are improving medications and treatments, but we are losing the battle that is most important; prevention (citation: reuters). Even in the United States, there are some areas that have been reported to be as bad as some places in Africa. With all the money going towards the AIDS fight, it seems our approach is not working.

This is the transcript from a presentation I gave about the connection between Homeland Security and the field:

            Good Afternoon, I’m speaking about a connection between Homeland Security and the field of medicine that is generally ignored. The two fields are often thought of as completely separate, although cooperative. My presentation is a basic overview on the subject.

 

The field of Homeland Security conjures thoughts about counter-terrorism, infrastructure protection, and intelligence analysis. The field of medicine brings about images of treating patients; surgery, diagnostics, cardiology, neurology and so on. But, the two are linked by a large number of factors that need to be acknowledged.

 

            The National Strategy for Homeland Security lists six critical mission areas, in this order. Health Care mostly fits under the Emergency Preparedness and Response category. However, it can be shown that, pending the circumstances, it can fit under the other categories as well.

 

            Emergency Preparedness & Response is most often associated with first responders. By the nature of their title, they are usually the first to arrive at an emergency situation. EMTs, and if the circumstances warrant it, hazmat units, are the first to provide medical care. Planning is a basic foundation of preparedness. In 2005, the Homeland Security Council published the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza. The plan sets aside the department of health and Human Services as one of the lead agencies to implement the strategy. Also, in 2007, President Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 to establish a national strategy for Public Health and Medical Preparedness. A few weeks ago, it was discovered that the water supply of Alamosa, Colorado was contaminated with Salmonella. The cause remains unknown. It is unlikely that it is an act of terrorism, but in an area with a population of about 10,000 almost 400 people have been treated for Salmonella. Jim Martin, director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Hans Kallam director of the Colorado Division of Emergency Management worked together closely to solve the problem. The water system has been thoroughly cleaned, water bottles have been brought in with the aid of helpful companies, and an investigation as to the cause of the situation has begun.

 

The Medical field holds high stakes in the planning for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear incidents. After an incident of this kind, health care would be a high priority and capability would be stretched to its limit. Bioterrorism does have a small history in the United States including an incident of salmonella poisoning intended to affect an election and the Anthrax attacks. In the case of an attack today, the Department of Health and Human Services is charged with deploying medical personnel and equipment to aid other agencies. The Department of Homeland Security works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the Department of Veterans Affairs to detect biological and chemical attacks.

 

The relationship between Homeland Security and Health Care is a two-way street. Healthcare serves the purpose of Homeland Security and Homeland Security also serves the purpose of Healthcare. As a critical infrastructure sector, public health is important to the daily functions of the U.S. Public health services need security and an insurance of continuity of operations.

 

The area of intelligence and warning is important for taking preemptive, preventive, and protective measures. The field of medicine can be involved here through medical surveillance. David Siegrist from the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies describes medical surveillance as the prospective statistical analysis of health-related data for rapid detection of anomalies that indicate the outbreak of disease in a population. This information can be used to detect a natural epidemic or act of terrorism. It can be useful for medical response and for the capture of a perpetrator. The shooting last year at Virginia Tech has highlighted a need to work more closely with the mental health system and to improve mental illness interventions. It is always helpful to know who is a threat to the security of the nation or the safety of citizens. Any actions in this area must maintain patient confidentiality. This is not necessarily an important term in Homeland Security but it is very important to the area of health care. Trust between a health care provider and a patient has become one of the bases of the U.S. health system, and patient confidentiality should be respected by Homeland Security and other fields that begin to work with mental health organizations.

 

May 24, 2007 a potential threat to the health and safety of United States citizens crossed the border from Canada to the U.S. Andrew Speaker, diagnosed with multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis was allowed freely into the U.S. despite an alert that he should be restrained and health officials should be notified. In this situation, border security had direct involvement with public health; failing in their responsibility to contact health officials could have put numerous people in danger of contracting TB. Fortunately no one is known to have contracted TB from Speaker and his diagnosis has been downgraded to a less resistant form.

 

            Domestic Counterterrorism is essentially a law enforcement field. However healthcare professionals can provide helpful skills and resources. The Department of Health and Human Services, for example, offers training to protect workers from infection or contamination. Psychologists and Psychiatrists can be called on to help with interrogation. A new, controversial tool for interrogation and lie detection involves Neuroimaging. A medical technique that, in this case, uses Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Extensive research and testing has been, and continues to be done on effective countermeasures to biological, chemical, and radiological agents. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a sub Health and Human Services agency, has computer simulation models for response planning and training modules on bioterrorism.

            The connection between Homeland Security and the field of Medicine is expansive and essential. For the field of Homeland Security, securing the nation requires a partnership with the medical community; and for the field of medicine maintaining the health of citizens requires a partnership with Homeland Security.

 

          

While I attended the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program at UVA I wanted to do something to give the program more publicity. It is an excellent program for anyone hoping to enter med or dental school, but very few people know about it. Many of the applicants, including myself, only found out about it by searching the net. The program has more than high enough quality to be recommended by advisors and publicized through schools. I tried to get the local news channel to do a short piece about the program, but that fell through. I should have also tried the newspaper, but I didn’t get around to it. However, I recently realized that a blog entry might possibly reach as many people as any other method I had considered:

There is a committment to the medical field and a service to the health of people, in the present and in the future that constitutes duty beyond expectation. The Directors of the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at the University of Virginia have devoted many years, in some cases 2 decades, to the education of future doctors.  The attending undergraduate students have sacrificed six-weeks of the summer to gain knowledge for the benefit of others. They come from all around the country and all over the world to join for a shared cause. Every weekday a minimum of nine hours, and often more, are devoted for learning different subjects, preparing for medical school, experiencing different career opportunities, and focusing on serving people. But the story does not end there. Even though the students originate from aound the world, they were prepared to dedicate their time and energy to Charlottesville and the surrounding community. The feat performed by the students, the directors, the speakers, and other particpants deserve recognition.

Research is a slow moving process. Dr. Robert B. Herberman has taken the initiative to voice concerns based on early research. His actions in making a warning about the use of cell phones is plausible and respectable considering their wide use and the true nature of their uncertain effects. The Electromagnetic fields created around cell phones have recently become a big concern, especially for children who tend to use cells more and more every year. What kind of long-term effects do electromagnetic fields actually have? Are their any other items or technologies, such as laptops, that could be of concern as well? There are many questions that fit within the issue, and almost no answers. If cell phones do cause problems, the problems may not be small issues. The brain uses electrical charges on a regular basis, and electromagnetic fields could alter the function of the brain resulting in tumors. Headaches will not be the concern here (citation: AP).

I made another sonic the hedgehog health tip video. This one has more information, and I took up my effort to the next level. I continue to try to maintain some humor and some lightheartedness, but the purpose of the video is clear; to educate. I tried to keep the main body, with the explanation, clear and concise. The transcript is as follows:

“Learning to deal with stress is one the best ways to stay healthy. The inability to resolve stress can result in chronic pain or sickness. The body system that controls reactions to stress, the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis is linked to the immune system and a number of other areas that can affect day-to-day well being. The Hypothalamus is located just above the brain stem…The Pituitary Gland is under the Hypothalamus…And the Adrenal Glands are on top of the kidneys. The processes of each organ rely on the others in a cycle. If one portion of the cycle has a problem, the entire cycle may have a problem. Insomnia, Anxiety Disorder, Depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or other health problems can be the result. Stress management tactics can help avoid such issues.

I recommend expressing healthy anger. Battling Dr. Robotnik is certainly stressful so I often taunt him to make myself feel better. Experts list other ways to deal with stress as well:

 

1) Seeking out others with Similar Issues – My buddy Knux has had a few run-ins with eggman

2) Find a Hobby – Tails likes to work on his airplane, the tornado

3) Use a Mantra – I am the fastest thing alive…I am the fastest thing alive

4) Take a deep breath and count to ten – This works at the worst of times

5) Read a Book – I think a comic would do

6) Space out or use your imagination – (Hum)

7) Make Plans – One day I will defeat Eggman for good

 

Stress doesn’t have to last, Let it stay in the past.”

 

 

 

It has been discovered that some granite kitchen countertops contain a dangerous amount of uranium. There is enough of the radioactive substance to exceed the yearly standard for visitors to nuclear facilities. It has been suggested that 85% of granite countertops are safe, but that is unacceptable. Granite countertops are fairly common, and many people have been unknowingly and unwillingly subjected to something that could possibly drastically increase the possibility of cancer. Any company making countertops should now check their materials thoroughly, recall unsafe counters, and allow testing and replacement for concerned consumers. How much of a concern is the situation really? It is unlikely cancer would be caused in a short amount of time for exposure, but ten years or more down the road a consumer who gets cancer may not know what the cause was. It is better to be safe than sorry; companies should respect that and consumers should project that in their actions.