Posted in Health, news, Politics

Rev. Jesse Jackson Reveals He is Battling Parkinson’s Disease

Civil right’s activist, Jesse Jackson, revealed Friday that he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

The 76-year-old two-time Democratic presidential candidate stated he and his family noticed changes three years ago and, “after a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson’s disease, a disease that bested my father.”

His father, Noah L. Robinson, died in 1997 at the age of 88 of a heart attack and complications of Parkinson’s.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, next to Alzheimer’s, and the most common movement disorder that affects 1% of the world’s population over 60 years old. In the US, 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.  It affects several areas of the brain, primarily the substantia nigra, altering balance and movement by affecting dopamine producing cells.

substantia nigra

Image from the Science of Parkinson’s Disease

It was first described in 1817 by James Parkinson as a “shaking palsy.”

What are the Symptoms of Parkinson’s?

Common symptoms of Parkinson’s include:

  • Stiffness and rigidity
  • Poor balance
  • Tremor at rest, especially a pill-rolling tremor
  • Slow movement
  • Inability to move
  • Shuffling steps, gait

and patients may later develop…

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Constipation
  • Decrease ability to smell
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pneumonia
  • Fractures from falling
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Dementia

Who is at Risk for Parkinson’s?

Most cases are idiopathic, meaning the disease arises with no specific cause.  However some cases are genetic and multiple genes have been identified that are associated with the disease.

The average age of onset is 60, but some cases may occur as “early onset”, before the age of 50, and if before the age of 20, it is known as juvenile-onset Parkinson’s.

Men appear to be more affected than women at twice the rate.

Risk may be enhanced with a history of head trauma.

Exposure to herbicides and pesticides has been linked to an increase risk of Parkinson’s as well.

 

How Quickly do Parkinson’s Symptoms Progress?

Average progression rates can last years to decades, however, earlier onset disease may manifest much quicker.

The stages of Parkinson’s are illustrated below:

What-Are-the-Stages-of-Parkinson_s-Disease

How is Parkinson’s treated?

Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s, symptoms can be treated by a variety of measures.

  • Levadopa – converts to dopamine in the brain, helping replace the deficient hormone.
  • Carbidopa (Sinemet) – if given with levadopa prevents the latter from being broken down before it reaches the brain.
  • Dopamine agonists – mimic dopamine
  • MAO-B inhibitors – helps block the enzyme MAO-B, which breaks down natural dopamine
  • Other medications including COMT inhibitors, amantadine and anticholinergics
  • Medications to treat anxiety and depression
  • Deep brain stimulation – a surgeon implants electrodes into the brain, allowing stimulation of parts that help regulate movement.
  • Stem cell therapy – being investigated as a means to create dopamine-producing cells
  • Physical and occupational therapy

 

Famous People Diagnosed with Parkinson’s

  • Michael J. Fox
  • Janet Reno
  • Robin Williams
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Casey Kasem
  • Johnny Cash
  • Linda Ronstadt
  • Pope John Paul II
  • Peanut’s creator Charles Schulz

It’s been postulated Adolf Hitler suffered from Parkinson’s as well.

 

 

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

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Posted in Health, news, Politics

Las Vegas Shooting, How YOU Can Help

Sunday night’s shooting of concert goers at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival has left 58 dead and wounded hundreds others in the deadliest mass shooting to affect the United States.  Here’s how you can help:

Las Vegas Victim’s Fund

Established by Steve Sisolak, Clark County Commission Chair, this fund is helping to raise funds for victims and their families.  Go Fund Me Page is here.

Blood Donation

Thousands of units of blood are needed and can come from local and out of state donors.

United Blood Services have locations throughout the country that can accept your blood Donation. Contact UBS here.

The American Red Cross is accepting donations. On their website, they ask to visit redcross.org.

Moreover Red Cross is taking donations. Call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Petition

We are asking President Trump to help declare a National Blood Donation Week.  Please sign and SHARE the petition below:

Petition

Secret Garden Radio For Las Vegas Fund

R&B icon Al B. Sure, Host of Secret Garden @SlowJams Morning show via iHeart Radio & Host of Secret Garden Radio @ our historic KCEP Power 88.1 FM is raising money for victims and their familes here.

National Compassion Fund

Funds will help the immediate and long term needs of victims and their families.  Donate here.

 

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

Was the Repeal and Replace Obamacare Fail a Strategy?

As the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, struggled to stay afloat, Trump and the GOP called for its repeal and replacement.

Premiums, deductibles, Medicaid spending skyrocketed and insurance companies were leaving the exchanges in droves.

A repeal and replacement of Obamacare seemed inevitable, almost necessary, to revamp the healthcare system.

However, once in office, President Trump discovered that a repeal and replacement of a 2300 page bill with thousands of more pages in regulations was much more difficult than it seemed.

When Congressional leaders attempted multiple times to pass various bills to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Democrats held firm in their opposition and the GOP couldn’t seem to unite.  Some felt an all-out repeal was necessary while others thought a repeal could collapse the healthcare system.

And it could.  The ACA was designed like a timebomb, where any molestation of the wires could trigger its detonation.  How do you repeal Medicaid spending?  How do you maintain the highly popular preexisting condition protection while trying to reduce premiums?

President Trump, in response to the lack of progress, called for letting “Obamacare fail”.  If Obamacare was sinking anyway, he thought, Democratic leaders would come to the table to work with the GOP eventually.

There was one problem. The GOP as well as the President were elected to do what they promised, repeal and replace Obamacare.  They couldn’t stand around twiddling their thumbs waiting for Obamacare to fail. Doing “nothing” wasn’t an option.  And if the GOP lost seats in the midterm election, a Democratic majority could infuse more dollars into Obamacare’s life support.

So, try your hardest, or appear to try your hardest, to repeal and replace, and if you can’t, well you did all you could and let the cards fall where they may….the GOP strategy?  It might work.  They can then tell voters during the midterm elections that they tried their hardest.  Meanwhile bipartisan struggles with premiums, deductibles, provider access, lack of insurance choices, and individual/employer mandates might bring everyone to their senses to work together to come up with a replacement.

A divided GOP….maybe not.  Maybe a fail on repeal and replace was the most stratetic move they could make.

 

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

Hepatitis A Outbreak Now Delcared in LA County

The Hepatitis A Outbreak which has killed at least 16 people in San Diego and sickened hundreds more has now surfaced in LA County.

Doug McIntyre of Los Angeles’ KABC McIntyre in the Morning reported 10 people confirmed thus far infected in LA county, primarily affecting the homeless population.  This number is expected to rise.

The Hepatitis A virus is spread by contaminated feces, and many homeless persons lack access to public restrooms and showers.

San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten suggested the recent plastic bag ban might have contributed to the outbreak as homeless individuals would use the plastic bag to excrete their waste into and then toss.  Wooten states, “We know people don’t have bathrooms and they can put bags in cans and buckets and maintain good hygiene. That’s why we put plastic bags in the hygiene kits we’re handing out. That’s what we expect people will use them for.”

Hygiene kits have been dispensed containing plastic bags, sanitizer, bottled water, wet wipes and feminine sanitary products.

Without the plastics bags, they are forced to poop without an easy means of clean up, leaving contaminated feces on the sidewalks, streets and encampments.

dog-poop-bags.jpg

City officials in both San Diego and Los Angeles have been spraying the streets with bleach-spiked water.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a disease that affects the liver.  Its caused by a virus (Hepatitis A virus) that is most commonly ingested. Poor hand washing and/or contaminated food are likely culprits.  Its transmitted by the fecal-oral route, where food or drink contaminated by fecal matter enters another person’s GI tract.  Sexual transmission of Hepatitis A has been reported during activities involving oral-anal sex.

Hepatitis A can live outside the body for months, so unclean dining areas can be contaminated and transfer to food.

Those who are immunosuppressed run the risk of dying from the infection.

 

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?

Symptoms of Hepatitis A include:

Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes

Fever

Abdominal Pain

Fatigue

Dark Urine

Joint Pain

Clay – looking stools

Diarrhea

Nausea

Vomiting

Loss of appetite

Hepatitis-A.jpg

 

What is the treatment for Hepatitis A?

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A.  Most hepatitis A infections resolve on their own.

We usually recommend rest, fluids, and offer medications to help with nausea and vomiting.

For liver injury we avoid medications and alcohol that can worsen liver damage. The liver will usually recover within months after hepatitis A infection.

There are vaccines for Hepatitis A included in the childhood vaccination schedule.  Those older who weren’t vaccinated as a child can get the vaccine from their local provider or health department.  Many states require all health care and food workers to be vaccinated.

The best form of prevention however is good hand washing, dining area hygiene, and cooking food thoroughly.

 

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

Posted in Health, Politics, Sports

Using the NFL Injury Report to Pick this Week’s Winners

The NFL Injury Report tells us all we need to know to make our picks.

For years I’ve been dissecting the NFL Injury Report and predicting who would win during the playoffs and Superbowl. When you’re a doctor who loves football, it’s not that difficult.

So my success has prompted me to make the risky move of posting my strategy and results.  There are varying levels of theory, just like layers of the epidermis.  And each deeper layer of prediction should confirm the simpler ones.  But if I can’t scientifically deduce the winner, I wing it.

Method 1 – Number game

Let’s take for example Thursday night’s game between the Chiefs and the Patriots.  According the NFL injury report, there were 3 injuries reported for the Chiefs and 5 for the Patriots.  A novice may just say 3 is less than 5 so the Chiefs will win.  But as a physician, this is not good enough.   We need to also look at the types of injuries.

Method 2 – Anatomy counts

According to the NFL Injury report, the Chiefs sustained injuries to the knee, another knee and ankle.  The Patriot’s sustained injuries to the  knee, shoulder, ankle, another knee but also hamstring.  Yes, Matthew Slater’s hamstring injury is very telling. Why?

Think about when you were playing football.  If you hurt a finger you still played.  If you sprained your knee, you toughed it out. But what happened when you sustained a groin injury.  You were leveled.  Probably couldn’t even get up.  So any injury involving the groin is physically devastating for a player, and from a psychological standpoint, the whole team.

If a groin injury specifically is not incurred and reported by the NFL injury report, then you look at the injuries closest to the groin.  A head injury is also very concerning so that will come after groin.  Hence the scale from most devastating to least in terms of injured body parts listed is:

Groin < head/concussion < hip< < glute < quad < hamstring  < eye < abdomen < chest < knee < shoulder < calf < arm < ankle < foot < wrist < hand < finger < toe.  

The Patriot’s hamstring injury is closer to the groin than any other injury hence the team wasn’t looking very good for Thursday night’s game.

If specific injuries are not listed, we can sometimes count how many did not participate in practice.

 

Method 3 – Colors 

In case of a tie….meaning both teams sustained equal numbers of groin injuries or subsequent proximal body parts, we look to the main colors of the Jersey.  Black, Blue, Green and Yellow will fare worse than White and Red, Brown. In medicine, Black may happen with necrosis, Blue is associated with hypoxia, Green- mucous, Yellow – gonorrhea.  White and Red are fairly routine and healthy colors in medicine (bones and blood).  Silver and Purple are colors that are fairly neutral as we usually don’t see those colors on a routine basis in medicine unless with hair.

Therefore, the color scale from most problematic to least is:

Black < Blue < Yellow < Green < Orange < Purple < Silver < White < Red.

Again this is only used if predictions cannot be made due to an anatomical tie.  Again I must stress we do not use the color method unless we are unable to predict using the NFL injury report.

With Thursday night’s game, the Chiefs wore white and the Patriots wore blue.   But despite this method, the Patriots were at a disadvantage with the hamstring injury all along.

So what will happen this Sunday?  Let’s use what we learned to predict the winners!!

Jets vs. Bills  

1 Eye injury vs. 1 Concussion

Prediction:  Jets

********************************

Falcons vs. Bears

A Falcon chest injury vs Bears’ two ankles, a knee and finger injury

Prediction:  Falcons

********************************

Jaguars vs. Texans

1 ankle, 1 hamstring injury vs. 1 ankle and 1 shoulder

Prediction:  Texans

********************************

Raiders vs. Titans

foot, quad, knee and back vs Titan’s groin injury – very close but…

Prediction:  Raiders

********************************

Eagles vs. Redskins

0 injuries vs. hip and knee

Prediction:  Eagles

********************************

Colts vs. Rams

Groin, foot, shoulder, hamstring, lumbar plague the colts – zero injuries reported for the Rams

Prediction:  Rams

********************************

Seahawks vs Packers

Calf, shoulder, thigh, wrist, knee ankle vs. ankle

Prediction: Packers

********************************

Panthers vs. 49ers

knee, groin, ankle shoulder vs. hamstring and back injury

Prediction:  49ers

********************************

Giants vs. Cowboys

Concussion and ankle vs. ankle

Prediction: Cowboys

********************************

Ravens vs. Bengals

The Raven’s concussion is up against the Bengal’s ankle and elbow.  Tough call…..

Prediction:  Bengals

********************************

Steelers vs. Browns

A knee and shoulder injury vs. a knee injury

Prediction:  Browns

********************************

Cardinals vs. Lions

Ankle, tricep and calf injury vs. knee and foot

Prediction:  Lions

********************************

We pray that no one gets hurt and those who do recover quickly.  Here’s to a safe season of one of the best sports ever!!  FOOTBALL!!

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

Posted in Health, news, Politics

San Diego Declares Public Health Emergency as Hundreds Sickened by Hepatitis A

San Diego County has declared a public health emergency in light of 15 dead after a Hepatitis A outbreak that has sickened hundreds.

350 – 400 people have reportedly fallen ill and 15 have died since the outbreak of the virus began in November of 2016.

70% of the cases were homeless individuals, lacking good sanitation and immunocompromised due to their lack of nutrition and possible drug/alcohol use.  10 people have died within the last 8 weeks.

The declaration allows the Health and Human Services Agency to obtain funding and assistance to implement new sanitizing  measures that are modelled after other Southern California cities such as Los Angeles.

40 portable hand washing stations will be provided in areas of high homeless populations. Crews will use bleach-spiked water in high pressure hoses to clean feces and bodily fluids from contaminated areas including streets.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a disease that affects the liver.  Its caused by a virus (Hepatitis A virus) that is most commonly ingested. Poor hand washing and/or contaminated food are likely culprits.  Its transmitted by the fecal-oral route, where food or drink contaminated by fecal matter enters another person’s GI tract.  Sexual transmission of Hepatitis A has been reported during activities involving oral-anal sex.

Hepatitis A can live outside the body for months, so unclean dining areas can be contaminated and transfer to food.

Those who are immunosuppressed run the risk of dying from the infection.

 

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?

Symptoms of Hepatitis A include:

Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes

Fever

Abdominal Pain

Fatigue

Dark Urine

Joint Pain

Clay – looking stools

Diarrhea

Nausea

Vomiting

Loss of appetite

Hepatitis-A.jpg

 

What is the treatment for Hepatitis A?

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A.  Most hepatitis A infections resolve on their own.

We usually recommend rest, fluids, and offer medications to help with nausea and vomiting.

For liver injury we avoid medications and alcohol that can worsen liver damage. The liver will usually recover within months after hepatitis A infection.

 

There are vaccines for Hepatitis A included in the childhood vaccination schedule.  Those older who weren’t vaccinated as a child can get the vaccine from their local provider or health department.  Many states require all health care and food workers to be vaccinated.

The best form of prevention however is good hand washing, dining area hygiene, and cooking food thoroughly.

 

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

National Blood Donation Week: Governor’s Unite to Fight Blood Shortages

National Blood Donation Week (NBDW) is September 4-10th and the majority of US  governors are proclaiming State Blood Donation Days September 8th, National Blood Donation Day.

Blood supplies have been critical in many parts of the country and natural disasters such as Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey tax blood banks even more.

What makes NBDW so unique is that both Republican and Democratic governors are uniting and coming together for a common cause.

One pint of blood has the potential to save three lives.  Imagine what the whole country can do!

Last year 33 Governors declared state blood donation days to unite during National Blood Donation Week.  These included, Oklahoma, Mississippi, New Mexico, Connecticut, North Dakota, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Indiana, Arkansas, Vermont, Utah, Montana, Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Oregon, Iowa, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, South Dakota, Washington, Georgia, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Nebraska.

This year more are uniting to help bring in even more blood supply.  Some of the states proclaiming September 8 their State Blood Donation Day include: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.  Arizona declared Arizona Blood Donation Week September 4-10th.  Maryland declared their blood donation day September 7.

According to the American Red Cross, 36,000 units of blood are needed in the U.S. every day.

Emergency rooms treating trauma victims, hospitals treating anemic patients, and medical clinics replenishing low blood levels in cancer patients require a steady supply of blood products.

38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood but less than 10% actually do.

Donating blood is easy and takes less than one hour.  Many places of work can hold blood drives so employees don’t have to take off work (plus you get yummy cookies).

blood-drive

Inconsistent donation patterns during the year result in unpredictable and reliable blood supply numbers, hence donation is requested year round.

United Blood Services suggests donating three times a year.

The summer and holiday season appear to be the “dryest” in terms of donations.  States and regions frequently need to ship blood to areas who are in need.

The American Red Cross is holding hundreds of blood drives this week and to find one near you please go to:  American Red Cross Blood Drive Locator.

United Blood Services serves hospitals and centers throughout the United States and their blood drives can be located at: United Blood Services/BloodHero.com.

Blood Bank of Hawaii is holding the following blood drives in Hawaii found here.

Rhode Island Blood Center is holding the following drives here.

Blood Bank of Delmarva drives can be found here.

For more on National Blood Donation Day/Week click here.

For a list of State Proclamations click here.

 

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