Posted in Health, news

Drug Using Marijuana Chemical Found to Reduce Seizures in Epileptic Children

For centuries, multiple civilizations have used cannabis to treat various medical conditions, including seizures.  This week researchers from NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center found a chemical in marijuana to do just that.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that a liquid medication containing cannabidiol, one of the many chemicals in marijuana, reduced convulsive seizures in children by half.

Created by GW Pharmaceuticals, Epidiolex, brand name, was the drug used in this study and has not yet received FDA approval.

As opposed to THC, tetrahydracannibinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, cannabidiol does not cause euphoria and has been the subject of many studies for its medicinal applications.

In this study, researchers tested 120 children with Dravet’s syndrome and found those given Epidiolex not only suffered less seizures, but 5% of the children were seizure-free during the 14 week trial.

Side effects, however, were reported such as fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia (loss of appetite).

 

What is a seizure?

A seizure occurs when there is abnormal electrical activity in the brain.  If the electricity doesn’t conduct properly, brain function gets disrupted. This could lead to convulsions  (involuntary jerking movements), loss of muscle tone, changes in senses such as vision, hearing and smell, loss of bladder control, loss of consciousness and sometimes stroke, brain damage and death.

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What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which a person has recurrent, unprovoked seizures.

What is Dravet Syndrome?

Dravet Syndrome is a rare genetic condition that starts in infancy.  Children can suffer a variety of seizures and may eventually suffer from developmental delay and learning disorders.  What makes Dravet Syndrome so severe is the fact that the seizures are refractory to many anti-seizure medications.

 

More research needs to be done in this area, but these preliminary findings give parents and the medical community hope that a pharmaceutical option could exist in the near future for these devastating and potential fatal seizures.

                                                                                                       LearnHealthSpanish.com                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

 

 

Posted in Health, news, Politics

CBO Score on American Health Care Act is in

The CBO, Congressional Budget Office, gave their analysis of the recently House-passed bill aiming to repeal and replace Obamacare, the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

The most recent report found that the AHCA would

  • reduce the deficit by $119 million
  • cost 23 million Americans to lose their coverage by 2026
  • lowers premiums from current Obamacare/ACA prices

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The bill needs to be approved by the Senate.  In order for it to pass it needs to  comply with the following:

– Not increase the federal deficit beyond a 10 year window

– Save at least $2 billion dollars as overseen by the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.  If so, this allows Republicans to use budget reconciliation, a budgetary rule that enables them to avoid a Senate Democratic filibuster and pass their bill with only 51 votes rather than a 60 vote majority.

– not cause “millions” of Americans to “lose” their healthcare.

The last CBO analysis of the AHCA found it to potentially cause 24 million Americans to lose coverage, a point debated as Medicaid expansion and federal funds were to slowly regress as the economy improved.

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The CBO also estimated that insurance premiums would RISE 750% with the previous GOP version to repeal and replace Obamacare. This plan appears to LOWER insurance premiums.

Before amendments needed to be made to ensure passage, the original AHCA wanted to implement the following :

  1. Eliminate the tax penalties, “individual mandate” and “employer mandate” imposed on those who don’t purchase health insurance for themselves or employees.
  2. Tax credits will be based on age rather than income ranging from $2000/year for those younger than 30 to $4,000 a year to those who are older than 60. A family would receive up to $14,000 in tax credits a year. These tax credits would start phasing out when income becomes  $75K individually or $150K as a family. For every $1,000 in earnings above those thresholds, the value of the credit phases down by $100.
  3. Allow insurance companies to charge a 30% surcharge to those who have gaps in insurance longer than 63 days.
  4. Maintain coverage, preventing denial, to those with pre-existing conditions
  5. Maintain coverage for children under age 26 who wish to stay on their parent’s plans.
  6. Maintaing the bans on caps on annual or lifetime coverage
  7. By 2020, ACA promised federal funds for Medicaid expansion will stop.  Funds will continue for current Medicaid recipients
  8. Create a Patient and State Stability Fund, which provides states $100 billion to use as they wish for their underserved populations, hospitals, providers or programs that would provide direct care.
  9. States will receive money for Medicaid in a lump sum per person rather than an open-ended promise of funds.
  10. Taxes on medical device industry will expire as will those on pharmaceutical companies and indoor tanning services.
  11. Planned Parenthood is “defunded” as AHCA funds cannot be used to pay for services at their clinics.
  12. HRA increase – starting in 2018 individuals could contribute pretax dollars to their Health Savings Account up to $6550 individually and families up to $13,100.

For more on the CBO analysis, read here:  https://www.cbo.gov/publication/52752

                                                                                                       LearnHealthSpanish.com                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news, Sports

NFL celebrations are coming back…well almost

The NFL is set to relax some of the touchdown celebration rules but will hold off allowing the ever-so-popular twerk.

Commissioner Roger Goodell announced using the ball as a prop (as Antonio Brown perfectly executes in the above picture) and snow angels will be allowed.

 

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Twerking however will be prohibited.  Goodell stated, “Offensive demonstrations, celebrations that are prolonged and delay the game, and those directed at an opponent, will still be penalized.”

 

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Antonio Brown’s celebration above after scoring a touchdown against the Redskins cost him a $24,309 fine and the team a 15 yard penalty.

The NFL frowns upon “unsportsmanlike behavior” and “taunting”.  Hence, the bans were originally put in place to promote good sportsmanship and prevent fights in the end zone.  However, players many times use their celebration to reinforce their identity and please their fans.

 

nfl namaste bow

 

Some, such as Dallas Cowboy’s Ezekiel Elliot, have used their celebration to help promote charity.

 

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The NFL, coined the “No Fun League”, will be praised for this move as the sport is viewed by an average 16.5 million people each year who love watching their team make a touchdown.

 

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                                                                                                       LearnHealthSpanish.com                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news

Money is Contaminated and Colonized with Multiple Pathogens

For years we’ve been warned that the cash we pass to each other could spread germs.  Bacteria, viruses, fungi and even toxic chemicals, such as BPA, can be found on our money.

This week, scientists from the University of Hong Kong, wanted to see how bacteria colonizing money compared to bacteria in the air, drinking water, and people’s hands.

They collected fifteen $20 bills from 12 hospitals and 3 subways stations and swabbed the money for bacteria. What grew in culture was the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes, which is seen in acne and some eye infections.  They also found Acinebacter which can cause infection in those with weakened immune systems.

Additionally they found E.coli and Clostridium difficile, responsible for a many serious infections.

And the money carried more bacteria than the subway air, drinking water and hands of workers.

What was also surprising was that the money from hospitals seemed to carry just as many pathogens as that from the subway, implying outside germs can easily enter a “clean building” Trojan horsing through money.

The researchers cited many of these bacteria carried antibiotic resistant genes.

In 2014 a study performed by researchers at the New York University’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology found over 3000 bacteria to be colonizing american money including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Paper money is not made of paper, but rather a fabric of cotton and linen that has crypts and nooks that allow bacteria to set up shop and colonize.  Coins offer a surface that can stay moist from people’s sweat, thereby allowing an opportunity for pathogens to easily transfer from one’s fingers to a non living object.

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Now the risk of becoming ill from someone handing you money is still rare, but the potential that exists is what’s worrisome as bugs become stronger and more resistant to medications.

                                                                                                       LearnHealthSpanish.com                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

 

 

 

Posted in Health, news, Entertainment

Internet Addiction and Blaying – Why Do We Do It?

Blaying is when one continues to play a level of a game despite being bored and disliking it.

Researchers estimate over 420 million people are addicted to the internet.  Smartphone addiction is rising exponentially as well.  These addictions many times involve gaming.  Hours are spent playing online games and levels within these games many times require multiple attempts.  If the level is not mastered, one is “stuck” on the level, but continues to play it in hopes the next level will be “better”.  This is all too time consuming.

Those of you who play Candy Crush know exactly what “blaying is”.  For example, you get stuck on level 2124 and can’t advance until you master that level.  But you hate it.  You keep losing and are really bored with the level.  But everyday you return to blay in the hopes that your luck will change and you can advance to a new level.  Eventually that level gets tiresome and you must blay your way through that one.

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Another example:  Advancing to a new World of Warcraft level can be so tempting that one blays for weeks until they finally complete all the quests necessary to advance.

Remember “Around the World” in basketball.  One shoots from  different markers on the court and can’t advance until they make a basket.  But some of us get stuck forever on level 3, and cringe everytime we miss.  But we continue to blay until someone wins or has the chutzpah to say “This is boring!”.

But the psychology behind it is fascinating in that rather than having a quitting mentality, the gamer drudges on.  But why go through such boredom and anguish?  If we can get to the psychological root of blaying, maybe we could be a step closer to fighting internet addiction.

So what about you?  Do you blay??

Please take the survey below:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WQ95LJN

Thank you!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news

C. auris “Superfungus” Cases Rising

Last updated 5/20/17

The CDC is now reporting 77 confirmed clinical cases of the fungal infection, Candida auris (C. auris), that unfortunately is resistant to multiple types of antifungal drugs.  By the end of last month 66 cases had been reported since 2013.  Moreover another 45 cases are being monitored who were in contact with those infected.  This spike is very worrisome.

States reporting cases include:

New York

New Jersey

Indiana

Illinois

Massachusetts

Maryland

Oklahoma

The majority of the cases are in New York and New Jersey.  60% of those infected have died but they did have other comorbid conditions, which could have also contributed to their becoming infected with C. auris to begin with.

Please note that this fungus is different from  the species, Candida albicans, which causes common yeast infections.

When investigators analyzed the facilities, they found C. auris had colonized mattresses, beds, chairs, counter surfaces, infusion pumps, and window sills.  By this, the superbug demonstrates its resilience outside a human host.

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Image from wikipedia

The superfungus still has some vulnerability to antifungal medication but its resistance is increasing.

C. auris can cause a variety of infections involving the skin and ear, but most concerning, is sepsis (infection of the bloodstream).  C.  auris was first identified in Japan back in 2009, but upon retrospective review, the CDC states the earliest known strain dates back to 1996. Since then it has been reported in multiple countries including the UK, Israel, South Africa, South Korea, Columbia, Pakistan, Kuwait and Venezuela.

Most hospital disinfectants are currently designed to be antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral.  The CDC has urged healthcare facilities to be diligent in their cleaning practices and to be aware of this “superfungus.”.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news

Poop in the Pool causing Cryptosporidum Outbreaks

Image from NationalPost

The CDC reports there is a increase in diarrhea illness caused by the parasite, Cyrptosporidium.  Both the parasite and the illness is known as “Crypto”. The CDC reports over 32 outbreaks in 24 states in 2016. This us up from 16 in 2014.  Final numbers from 2015 will come soon.

What is Crypto?

Crytosporidium is a parasite protected by an outer shell.

This shell allows it to live outside the body on surfaces.  The shell also allows it to be chlorine resistant which explains why it can live in swimming pools.

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How common is Crypto?

According to the CDC, Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of waterborne disease among humans in the United States.   Its found in every region of the US and the world.

The CDC reports close to 750,000 cases of cryptosporidiosis occur every year in the US.

How is it spread?

Its spread in drinking water and recreational water, such as swimming pools.  Since it lives in the intestines of humans and animals it becomes spread after one passes stool, or poops.  People coming into contact with an infected individual’s poop could become infected with Crypto.

It is not passed through respiratory transmission or blood.  However if feces comes into contact with one’s mouth, or wound, it can transmit Crypto.

Coming into contact with feces contaminated soil, surfaces, water, food therefore put one at risk.

What are the symptoms?

The parasite can cause any of the following:

Diarrhea

Abdominal Pain and Cramping

Fatigue

Nausea

Vomiting

Dehydration

Lack of appetite

Weight Loss

and sometimes  no symptoms at all.

When do symptoms show and how long do they last?

After one becomes exposed to Cryptosporidium, symptoms could show within 48 hours to 10 days.  Symptoms can last 1-2 weeks.

 

What is the treatment for Crypto?

The infection many times is self limiting.  Hydration is imperative and initial treatment is making sure one does not become dehyrated.  Young children, pregnant women, elderly, those with weakened immune systems, AIDS, cancer and immunosuppressed transplant patients are at higher risk  of serious infection.

Some medical providers may use Nitazoxanide. According to the National Foundation for Infections Diseases:

Nitazoxanide (Alinia ®) may be used to treat Crypto in both adults and children 12 months of age and over. Nitazoxanide is available as a tablet for adults and as a liquid suspension. A three-day treatment regimen is recommended.

How do we prevent Crypto?

Always wash your hands with soap and water

Avoid eating off of non clean surfaces

Avoid swimming pools that may have just been soiled

Avoid ingesting  water while swimming

Avoid feces of those individuals infected

Avoid sexual contact where oral – anal contact can occur

Change baby’s diapers away from the pool in case it blows into the water

Do not allow any family members with diarrhea to enter the pool

Inform your medical provider if you have any of the above symptoms so he/she can test the stool.

Don’t pee or poop in the pool

One study in 2012 found 1 in 5 people ADMIT to urinating in the pool, which can affect chlorine strength.

Many choose not to wait in line at public bathrooms or use the wet toilets at public water parks and find it easier to relieve themselves in the pool.  For women worried about sitting on wet toilet seats I recommend using a  large soda cup and in the stall standing and urinating into it. Pour it out into the toilet and flush.  Clean, easy and environmentally sensitive.  Men, there’s no excuse. Towel off and head to the potty.

 

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                                                                                                       LearnHealthSpanish.com                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician