Tag Archives: atlanta

Pneumococcal vaccine reduces antibiotic-resistant infections in children by 62 percent

The 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13), first available in 2010 (replacing 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PCV7), reduced the incidence of antibiotic-resistant invasive pneumococcal disease by 62 percent from 2009 to 2013 among children under five years old. The study is the first report of the effectiveness of PCV13 to combat antibiotic-resistant infections, a vaccination recommended for children under five years old. …

Barriers to HPF vaccination among teens

HPV vaccine coverage among teenagers has increased since the vaccine was licensed in 2006 but it still remains low compared with other recommended vaccinations. Most HPV infections will clear on their own, but persistent infections can progress to precancers or cancers, including cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile and anal cancer, as well as cancers of the mouth and throat. Vaccination is recommended for both girls and boys, based on age requirements for the specific vaccines, according to the study background. Dawn M. …

Higher cancer incidences found in regions near refineries and plants that release benzene

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma has been on the rise over the past few decades as industrial production in the United States has expanded. Benzene is one chemical carcinogen linked to blood cancers. Working with Dr. Christopher Flowers and colleagues in the Lymphoma Program at Emory University in Atlanta, Catherine Bulka, MPH, used publicly available data from the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Census Bureau to analyse the geographic patterns of non-Hodgkin lymphoma cases in the state of Georgia between 1999 and 2008…

Depression treatments: Brain scans may suggest best course

For people with depression, brain activity can predict whether talk therapy or medication will better relieve their symptoms, a new study suggests. In the study, published June 12 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, people whose brain scans showed an overactive insula, a brain region involved in emotional processing, tended to improve with medication, but not talk therapy, whereas the reverse was true for those with an underactive insula. The study was small and the findings are preliminary. But if the results are confirmed in a larger trial, the technique could be used to help guide treatment decisions for people with depression, the researchers said. An evaluation of a depression patient, in a doctor's office, “doesn't really help us to know very well whether they should receive talk therapy or a medication,” said study co-author Dr. Boadie Dunlop, a psychiatrist at Emory University in Atlanta. But the new findings, “based on the activity of the brain, that could help us pick the best treatment for an individual,” he said. Poor success Depression treatments such as talk therapy or medication have a poor success rate, with only 40 percent of people typically seeing their symptoms resolve with the first treatment, Dunlop said. Spending two to three months on ineffective treatments can lead to lost productivity, higher risk of suicide, and continued suffering for patients and their families. [Where is the Suicide Belt?] To see whether there was a way to identify the best treatment for patients, Dunlop and his colleagues measured the brain activity of 82 patients with major depression using positron emission tomography (PET) scans. Afterward, they randomly assigned the participants to receive 12 weeks of a common antidepressant escitalopram (brand name Lexapro), or 12 weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy, a talk therapy that has been shown to improve depression. Of the original cohort, 67 people completed the study. Afterward, the researchers assessed the roughly 40 percent of people who were completely free of depression, as well as the approximately 25 percent who had hardly improved at all. (About 35 percent of people improved somewhat, but not enough to be considered symptom-free.) They found that people with an overactive brain region called the insula improved dramatically on medication, but not at all with talk therapy. People with an underactive insula improved with cognitive behavioral therapy, but not with medication, according to the study. Dunlop said that the people who improved somewhat showed the same trends, but to a lesser extent. Future applications It's not clear exactly why the insula, which processes bodily experiences of emotion, predicted people's response to treatment, but past studies had shown it was tied to depression, Dunlop said. The new research is based on a small number of people and must be confirmed in a larger trial, Richard Shelton, a psychiatrist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, wrote in an email to LiveScience. In addition, Shelton noted that PET scans are expensive, costing about $1,500. They also involve low doses of radiation. “In an age of cost-containment, it seems unlikely that every person with depression entering treatment would undergo a brain scan first to guide treatment selection,” said Shelton, who was not involved in the study. But if the findings are confirmed, it would raise the possibility that PET scans could be used in some circumstances, to determine treatments for the patients with certain needs, Dunlop said. Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/13/depression-treatments-brain-scans-may-suggest-best-course/

SurvivorLink: Online tool helps child cancer survivors maintain healthy lives

Ansley Riedel was just 10 months old when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) – a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. She immediately began radiation and chemotherapy, undergoing treatment up until she was a little older than 3-and-a-half years old.  Then, after receiving a second bone marrow transplant from her 4-month-old baby brother in July of 1991, Riedel reached the goal that every cancer patient hopes to achieve: Remission. “We celebrate what we call my second birthday,” Riedel told FoxNews.com, regarding the special occasion. Nearly 21 years later, Riedel is doing better than ever – but she hasn’t forgotten her time spent in the hospital so many years ago.  Though she was only a toddler at the time, her bout with cancer ultimately inspired her to become a nurse in order to help others like herself. “I remember a lot of the clinic visits – the routine of going to the clinic, getting labs, some of my hospital stays,” Riedel said. “I remember my nurses a lot, which is why I chose to become a nurse.  They were really like my first group of friends that I got to know really well.” While Riedel was ultimately able to turn her cancer into a source of inspiration, post-cancer life has still had its fair share of difficulties. The radiation treatment Riedel underwent at such a young age has had a lasting impact on her health. Between the ages of 10 and 14, Riedel had to receive daily shots of growth hormone because her development had been stunted by treatment.  She also takes a daily medication for low thyroid function – something her doctors speculate may have been affected by radiation. “There’s a lot of unknown because I was so young,” Riedel said. “I have to be pretty careful with my teeth.  The radiation kind of damaged my permanent teeth, so I’m more susceptible to cavities.  I see more of a specialist for my regular cleanings. My roots were damaged and I couldn’t have braces because of that.” The health setbacks Riedel has had to face are not uncommon for cancer survivors.  While radiation and chemotherapy are meant to kill fast-growing cancer cells, they can also damage healthy cells in the heart, kidneys, lungs and more in the process. “Obvious problems cancer survivors have are endocrine (issues), growth hormone deficiency, low thyroid, problems beginning puberty and fertility,” Dr. Lillian Meacham, a pediatric endocrinologist and director of the Cancer Survivor Program at the Aflac Cancer Center in Atlanta, told FoxNews.com.  “They can have…problems related to scarring of the lungs or damage to the heart muscle.  We have to be vigilant about almost every organ to be sure that we are looking out for these problems, mainly because we want to preserve quality of life and decrease health care costs.” For children diagnosed in the 1960s with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is the most common form of childhood cancer, the chance of survival was only 10 percent. Fortunately, chances of survival have increased to 80 percent today. Therefore, finding ways to help cancer survivors maintain a healthy lifestyle post-cancer is an ever increasing necessity. To address this need, Meachem and others at the Aflac Cancer Center have created SurvivorLink, an online tool that aims to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.  According to its website, SurvivorLink hopes to increase awareness about the long-term health needs of child cancer survivors, as well as create a patient portal, which will provide patients with easy access to all their relevant health information. “When kids come to the survivor clinic, we give them a Survivor Health Care Plan – which details what they need throughout their lives to stay healthy,” Meachem said. “They can upload that into this website, so let’s say they move to North Carolina or Montana, they can share their documents to new health care providers.  It’s like having an electronic chart they carry with them at all times.” Riedel is currently in the process of filling out her patient profile on SurvivorLink, and she said she likes how it is specifically tailored to her own personal needs. “One of the good things about SurvivorLink is it’s based on your diagnosis and based on your protocol.  Depending on how much chemo you had, it will tell you specifically that for this one chemo, these are the big side effects and long term things that can result.” As someone who is still actively involved in health care, Riedel is very passionate about increasing knowledge and communication among cancer survivors and their health care providers.  For her, easy access to information is essential for a long and healthy life. “The main message is just to get informed and get help if you need to – but really be an advocate for yourself,” Riedel said. “If you take care of yourself, then other people are going to be more willing to work with you.” Click for more on SurvivorLink.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/05/survivorlink-online-tool-helps-child-cancer-survivors-maintain-healthy-life/

Komen breast cancer charity cancels walks in 7 US cities

Breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which suffered a publicity backlash last year after it sought to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, said on Tuesday it was canceling fundraising walks next year in seven cities where money goals have not been met. The organization, which says it is the largest non-government funder of breast cancer research, said it was cutting three-day walks for 2014 in Phoenix, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Washington. The event will continue in seven other places. “The difficult decision to exit these markets was not made lightly, as we know this bold and empowering event has touched the lives of thousands of participants like you,” the Dallas-based group said in a message on its Facebook page. A Komen spokeswoman said in an email that participation in the three-day walks declined by 37 percent in the past four years, without specifying whether that was the number of participants or dollars raised. The group decided to remove the cities from next year's schedule that have not been meeting fundraising goals, the spokeswoman said. It was unclear what the group's fundraising targets were for the walks. Each participant is required to raise a minimum of $2,300 and walks about 60 miles over the three days. The charity sparked an outcry last year when it said it would cut funding to Planned Parenthood, a provider of birth control, abortion and other women's health services. Komen, which supports Planned Parenthood's efforts to provide access to breast-cancer screening, reversed that decision within days and said it would restore the funding. After the controversy, several of the group's leaders stepped down, and the group's founder, Nancy Brinker, stepped down as CEO, though she continued to hold a management role. Brinker founded the organization in 1982, two years after her sister, Susan G. Komen, died of breast cancer. Komen's signature event is the Race for the Cure, which includes 5 kilometers and marathon races as well as the walks. The group says the events involve more than 1.7 million participants each year. Komen will continue to hold walks in Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Michigan, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and Minneapolis-St. Paul.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/05/komen-breast-cancer-charity-cancels-walks-in-7-us-cities/

Most travelers survive in-flight medical emergencies, study shows

Is there a doctor on board? Surprisingly often, there is - in half of in-flight medical emergencies - and sick airline passengers almost always survive, a new study finds. The research is the largest look yet at what happens to people who develop a medical problem on a commercial flight - about 44,000 of the 2.75 billion passengers worldwide each year, researchers estimate. Most cases don't require diverting a plane as the study's leader, Dr. Christian Martin-Gill, advised a pilot to do two years. He works for MD-STAT, a service at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center that advises about 20 major airlines on how to handle in-flight emergencies. Another large service is based in Phoenix. Martin-Gill handled a call when a passenger seemed to be having a heart attack on a flight from Europe to the U.S. The man's implanted defibrillator had shocked his heart five times to try to restore normal rhythm. “The aircraft was in the middle of its destination, flying over the Atlantic,” so he recommended landing at Newfoundland off the Canadian coast to get the man to the nearest hospital, Martin-Gill said. The federally funded study reviewed about 12,000 cases handled by the Pittsburgh center over nearly three years. Results are in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers found: -The odds of a medical emergency are 1 per 604 flights, or 16 per 1 million passengers. -Planes had to be diverted for emergency help in only 7 percent of cases. -Doctors were on board and volunteered to help in 48 percent of cases; nurses and other health workers were available in another 28 percent. Only one-third of cases had to be handled by flight attendants alone. -The most common problems: Dizziness or passing out (37 percent of cases); trouble breathing (12 percent) and nausea or vomiting (10 percent). -About one-fourth of passengers were evaluated at a hospital after landing and 9 percent were admitted, usually with stroke, respiratory or cardiac symptoms. -Out of nearly 12,000 cases, a defibrillator was applied 137 times, including in 24 cases of cardiac arrest, where the heart had stopped. (Sometimes defibrillators are used to analyze an irregular heart rhythm to help doctors figure out what to do, not necessarily to deliver a shock.) -Of the cases in this study, only 36 deaths occurred, 30 of them during the flight and the others after landing. -Pregnancy-related problems were generally rare - 61 cases, in this study - and two-thirds of them involved women less than 24 weeks along with possible miscarriages. Air travel is considered safe up to the 36th week, or the last month, of pregnancy. Only three cases of women in labor beyond 24 weeks of pregnancy led to a plane being diverted. Dr. Lisa Rosenbaum, a University of Pennsylvania cardiologist, helped in a case like that in 2007, on a flight from Boston to Portland, Ore. The passenger was three months from her due date but was having contractions every minute - something that can often be stopped with drugs and treatment at a hospital but not in midair. “It was clear to me that labor was imminent and that we needed to land the plane,” so, on her advice, the pilot diverted to upstate New York, Rosenbaum said. “It was one of the scariest experiences of my life. It's not like taking care of a patient in the hospital.” Dr. David Rogers, a pediatric surgeon at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, felt that fear five years ago when an elderly woman had trouble breathing during a flight to Atlanta from Toledo, Ohio. Being a specialist at treating children rather than adults, “my first reaction was to look around and hope there would be somebody else” more qualified to help, he said. Luckily, a flight attendant had already given the woman an oxygen mask and she seemed to be improving, so he felt the plane could continue to Atlanta, the woman's home. Trying to determine whether to divert a plane was a tough call, he said. “I'm making a decision that's going to affect a plane full of people,” not just the patient, Rogers said. Some passengers may fear liability if they help in such situations, but a Good Samaritan law protects those who do so, the study notes. And although health workers are not legally obliged to help, they have a moral obligation to do so, the authors write. And you never know what kind of help will be requested. Martin-Gill said a partner once was consulted when a dog suffered a cardiac arrest during a flight. He didn't know how things turned out.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/30/most-travelers-survive-in-flight-medical-emergencies-study-shows/

American Cancer Society turns 100 as cancer rates fall

The American Cancer Society - one of the nation's best known and influential health advocacy groups - is 100 years old this week. Back in 1913 when it was formed, cancer was a lesser threat for most Americans. The biggest killers then were flu, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and stomach bugs. At a time when average life expectancy was 47, few lived long enough to get cancer. But 15 doctors and businessmen in New York City thought cancer deserved serious attention, so they founded the American Society for the Control of Cancer. The modern name would come 31 years later. The cancer society's rise coincided with the taming of infectious diseases and lengthening life spans. “Cancer is a disease of aging, so as people live longer there will be more cancer,” explained Dr. Michael Kastan, executive director of Duke University's Cancer Institute. Cancer became the nation's No. 2 killer in 1938, a ranking it has held ever since. It also became perhaps the most feared disease - the patient's own cells growing out of control, responding only to brutal treatments: surgery, radiation and poisonous chemicals. The cancer society is credited with being the largest and most visible proponent of research funding, prevention and programs to help house and educate cancer patients. Last year, the organization had revenues of about $925 million. It employs 6,000 and has 3 million volunteers, calling itself the largest voluntary health organization in the nation. “The American Cancer Society really is in a league of its own,” Kastan said. The rate of new cancer cases has been trending downward ever so slightly. Some historical highlights: 1913 - The American Society for the Control of Cancer is founded in New York City. 1944 - The organization is renamed the American Cancer Society. The change is spurred by Mary Lasker, the wife of advertising mogul Albert Lasker. 1946 - A research program is launched, built on $1 million raised by Mary Lasker. A year later, Dr. Sidney Farber of Boston announces the first successful chemotherapy treatment. 1948 - The cancer society pushes the Pap test, which has been credited with driving a 70 percent decline in uterine and cervical cancer. 1964 - Prodded by the cancer society and other groups, U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry issues a report irrefutably linking smoking to cancer. 1971 - The cancer society helps lead passage of the National Cancer Act to ramp up research money. President Nixon declares a national “war on cancer,” which becomes an extended effort derided by some as a “medical Vietnam.” 1976 - The cancer society suggests women 40 and older consider a mammogram if their mother or sisters had breast cancer. 1976 - The cancer society hosts a California event to encourage smokers to quit for the day. A year later, the annual Great American Smokeout is launched nationally. 1988 - Atlanta becomes headquarters for the society. 1997 - The cancer society recommends yearly mammograms for women over 40. 2000 - Dr. Brian Druker of Oregon reports the first success with “targeted” cancer therapy. 2003 - The cancer society stops recommending monthly breast self-exams. But it continues to urge annual mammograms for most women over 40, even after a government task force says most don't need screening until 50. 2012 - The cancer society reports the rate of new cancer cases has been inching down by about half a percent each year since 1999.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/22/american-cancer-society-turns-100-as-us-cancer-rates-fall/