Tag Archives: philadelphia

Girl dying of cystic fibrosis receives lung transplant

Sarah Murnaghan, the 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl dying of cystic fibrosis, is receiving her long-awaited lung transplant. According to a Facebook post from Sarah’s mother, Janet, the family received word this morning of new lungs that had been made available, and Sarah is currently in surgery.  The operation will take many hours. A spokeswoman from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where Sarah has been hospitalized, said they do not have any information to release. In the Facebook post, Janet said the family is overwhelmed with emotions, and she thanked everyone for their unending support.  She also asked her followers to pray for Sarah's donor. “Please pray for Sarah's donor, her HERO, who has given her the gift of life,” Janet Murnaghan wrote. “Today their family has experienced a tremendous loss, may God grant them a peace that surpasses understanding.” United States Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) released the following statement after being informed by the family of Sarah’s good news: “I am deeply grateful to the organ donor and his or her family for the potentially life-saving gift to Sarah. Now that a suitable donor has been found, a prayer would help, too - a prayer Sarah's body accepts the new organ the way doctors believe it can. The judge gave Sarah a chance to receive a new lung.  Now the surgical team at CHOP is giving her a chance at life.”   Sarah has been in desperate need of a lung transplant for the past 18 months.  She has been hospitalized at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for the past three months, where she has been on a ventilator. Under the current guidelines for organ donation, children under the age of 12 must wait for pediatric lungs to become available.  Adult lungs cannot be offered to children under 12, until they are offered to adults and adolescents first.   The Murnaghans have been in the midst of a legal battle over the established rules for organ donation after they filed a lawsuit last week to have the guidelines changed, arguing the rule keeping Sarah off the list was “discriminatory.” A federal court judge granted a temporary order on June 5 that allowed Sarah to join an adult organ transplant list. It is not yet clear whether Sarah’s donor is an adult or a child. Judge Michael Baylson made his ruling after hearing oral arguments on the case and had scheduled a preliminary injunction hearing for June 14. Baylson's order told Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to direct the group that manages the organ transplant list to cease application of it in Sarah's case. Secretary Sebelius declined to intervene in the case early last week, despite urgent pleas from several members of Congress from Pennsylvania. Sebelius said that such decisions should be made by medical experts and noted that there were three other children at Children's Hospital alone in the same condition. Over the weekend, Sarah's condition worsened, and she was intubated on Saturday after she experienced additional trouble breathing. The Associated Press contributed to this report.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/12/girl-dying-cystic-fibrosis-to-receive-lung-transplant-today/

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/

Diet soda just as harmful to teeth as meth and crack cocaine, study claims

Diet soda may be a popular drink alternative for those looking to cut back on calories, but heavy consumption of these beverages could wreak havoc on a person’s teeth. According to a new study published in the journal General Dentistry, constant exposure to the citric and phosphoric acid in soda – without proper dental hygiene – can be just as damaging to teeth as methamphetamine or crack cocaine, Health Day news reported. “You look at it side-to-side with 'meth mouth' or 'coke mouth,' it is startling to see the intensity and extent of damage more or less the same,” Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny, a professor of restorative dentistry at the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia, told Health Day News. According to Bassiouny, methamphetamine and crack cocaine are highly acidic, just like diet soda. The study referenced a woman in her 30s who drank 2 liters of diet soda every day for three to five years.   When her teeth were compared to a 29-year-old methamphetamine addict and a 51-year-old crack cocaine user, the levels of tooth rot and decay were very similar.  The woman also admitted she had not seen a dentist in many years. Bassiouny said her teeth had been destroyed by erosion, becoming soft and discolored.  She ultimately had to have all of her teeth removed and replaced with dentures. “None of the teeth affected by erosion were salvageable,” Bassiouny said. Both the meth addict and crack cocaine users had to have all of their teeth removed as well.  According to Health Day News, these drugs also reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth, making it difficult for the acids to wash away. While the results may seem staggering, representatives for the American Beverage Association argue that it’s unlikely soda was the single culprit for the woman’s tooth decay. “The woman referenced in this article did not receive dental health services for more than 20 years -- two-thirds of her life,” the American Beverage Association said in a statement. “To single out diet soda consumption as the unique factor in her tooth decay and erosion -- and to compare it to that from illicit drug use -- is irresponsible.” Click for more from Health Day News.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/29/diet-soda-just-as-harmful-to-teeth-as-meth-and-crack-cocaine-study-claims/

Young stroke victim recovers with help from new electrical stimulation technology

When Wes Schlauch, of Breinigsville, PA, was 16 years old, he suffered a stroke that paralyzed the entire right side of his body. Miraculously, three years later, Wes is not only walking and talking – he’s even sending text messages, attending college and going on fishing trips with friends. Wes’ positive attitude, devotion to rehabilitation and strong support system has had much to do with his success. But Wes has also benefitted tremendously from a cutting-edge technology that is revolutionizing therapies for patients suffering from brain injuries and neurodegenerative diseases: a new treatment known as functional electrical stimulation (FES). FES has been pioneered by companies like Bioness Inc., based in Valencia, CA., which created the devices that Wes uses. The devices – which Wes wears on both his right hand and leg – use electricity to stimulate the damaged portions of his brain and the neural connections between the brain and muscles. “The idea is that by using the electrical stimulation to make the muscle fire, his brain will retrain and relearn, and his muscles will fire more automatically without it in the long term,” Jolene Hammer, a physical therapist at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Bethlehem, PA., who works with Wes, told FoxNews.com. FOUR IN 100,000 Strokes are incredibly rare among children and teenagers like Wes. “From after the newborn period through age 18, the incidence (of stroke) that we estimate is about four in 100,000 children per year,” Dr. Rebecca Ichord, director of the pediatric stroke program at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who treated Wes, told FoxNews.com. According to Ichord, Wes’ stroke was likely triggered after he experienced whiplash while playing hockey. Doctors believe that one of the arteries in Wes’ neck twisted and dissected, causing the walls of the artery to separate. This caused a blockage in Wes’ blood flow that led to the formation of a clot – resulting in a stroke. Wes’ stroke was particularly devastating because it occurred in his baseline artery, which facilitates blood flow to critical parts of the brain. “(His) was one of the most severe types of strokes; when you block the baseline artery, you block critical parts of brain systems that control all elements of function,” Ichord said. “The mortality is relatively higher than in other types of stroke and long term handicap can be devastating.” Luckily, Wes was able to receive a clot-dissolving therapy within eight hours of his stroke, which restored blood flow to the injured part of his brain. However, Wes still had a long journey ahead of him. The right side of Wes’ body was paralyzed – a condition called hemiparesis. “I remember lying in the hospital bed and looking up at the ceiling, because that’s all I could do,” Wes told FoxNews.com. “My respiratory therapist told me to visualize myself getting better so I just visualized myself getting out of that situation.” Eventually, Wes stabilized and was moved to a rehabilitation facility where he had to relearn basic daily tasks, like dressing himself and eating – all the while confined to a wheelchair. THE RECOVERY PROCESS Fortunately, Wes didn’t stay in his wheelchair for long.  He soon progressed to a walker and then to a cane. As Wes regained his strength, he was able to begin FES treatments, with the help of his rehabilitation team.   To regain the use of his right hand, Wes eventually began using the Bioness NESS H200® Hand Rehabilitation System – an external device that Wes wears on his hand and arm. “That’s helped me be able to be more dexterous with my movements and has overall helped my hand big time,” Wes said. “It used to be that my hand was in a fist, and I wasn’t able to use it at all. I got the H200 device and I was able to use my hand nicely.” “I’ve even been known to text with my right hand,” Wes added. Later, Wes progressed to the NESS L300™ Foot Drop System, which allowed his foot to move more freely. “As he’s been using it, I see that he’s now able to start to actively move those muscles without it that he wasn’t before…Now, he can lift his foot and be aware of it and pull it up on his own,” Hammer said. “He has gotten to be able to lift his toe up and to be able to activate his hamstring.  Just last week, Wes took home a new device – the L300 Plus – which he will wear on his thigh to stimulate his hamstring. Wes will use this in conjunction with the L300 in order to gain further control over his leg, bolstering his ability to walk and even maneuver stairs. Though Wes gets fatigued easily (especially when using the devices), he is building up his tolerance and strength, and he eventually hopes to be able to wear both the L300 and L300 Plus for full days. “It’s helped my walking a ton and being able to walk around the community is a lot better for me as opposed to just being in a wheelchair like I was before. Now I’m on a cane. It’s helped me a lot,” Wes said. Wes’ doctors hope that technology like the Bioness devices will eventually help repair the damaged parts of Wes’ brain to some extent. “I think it’s a cutting edge way to start to work on retraining the muscle and hopefully to play into neuroplasticity, to activate the brain to make new connections and to activate these muscles,” Hammer said. ‘AN EXTRAORDINARY YOUNG MAN’ Wes continues to make extraordinary advances in his treatment and personal life – even making the dean’s list at college. “His speech is also a little affected, but he can still communicate,” Ichord said. “And his cognitive learning abilities, personality and sense of humor (were) all preserved; the thinking part is doing well and was never directly affected.” Wes credits his experience as a hockey player for giving him his strong work ethic.   “I work hard, I always did – back from when I was 16 on. I worked as hard as I could and…I really want to get back on the ice. That’s my main motivating factor,” Wes said. Wes continues to impress his physical therapists and doctors every day, and Hammer said she has high hopes for Wes’ future progress.   “I’ve been a therapist for a long time and he’s an extraordinary young man – one of the most motivated people I’ve met. If every patient worked as hard as him, I’d be out of a job,” Hammer said.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/20/electric-stimulation-treatments-help-young-stroke-victim/

Combined supplements no better for cholesterol

The cholesterol-lowering agent red yeast rice, an alternative treatment method for patients that can't tolerate statin drugs, doesn't work any better when a plant-derived compound called sterol is added to it, according to a new study.  “I expected to see a synergistic effect with red yeast rice, and I was shocked to see no effects whatsoever,” the study's lead author Dr. David Becker said. Statin drugs like Lipitor are the first-line option for lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, or “bad cholesterol,” for patients at risk for heart disease, said Becker, a cardiologist with Temple Health Systems in Philadelphia. But while 15 million Americans take statin drugs, according to IMS Health, “10 to 20 percent of people can't tolerate statins and stop them,” said Becker, because of bothersome side effects, like muscle pain. Some of those people turn to red yeast rice, which is made by culturing yeast on the grain, and contains a statin-like compound that slows the body from making its own cholesterol. Red yeast rice supplements usually cost about $20 for a bottle of between 100 and 200 600-milligram tablets. Previous studies found that phytosterols, plant-derived steroids found in vegetable oil, lower LDL levels when used alone. Outside of dietary sources like margarine, phytosterol supplements are available in drug stores for about $20 for 200 900-milligram tablets. The study included 220 people with high LDL, averaging around 150 milligrams per deciliter, who had discontinued or declined statins prescribed by their doctor. (For people without heart disease risk factors, national U.S. guidelines recommend levels below 130.) They all took 1,800 milligrams of red yeast rice twice per day. Half of the group also took two 450-milligram tablets of phytosterols twice daily, while others took a placebo, for one year. Half of the participants attended meetings with doctors, dietitians and exercise physiologists for three months and was told to exercise and eat a Mediterranean diet for the rest of the year. The other half did not have special diet or exercise instructions. There was no difference in LDL cholesterol between the phytosterol or placebo groups at three months, six months or one year, according to the study published in the American Heart Journal. “There was absolutely no effect of phytosterols in any manner across the board,” Becker said. Though the diet and exercise group members seemed to have a head start at lowering their LDL, at the end of the study both groups had arrived at the same average of about 110 milligrams per deciliter. SEVERAL LIMITATIONS The trial had several limitations, according to Dr. Jeffrey Shanes, a cardiologist at Loyola-Gottlieb Memorial and Elmhurst Memorial Hospitals in Melrose Park, Illinois. About 30 percent of study participants dropped out of the trial after being screened and put in a treatment group, Shanes, who was not involved in the study, said. The statin-like compound in red yeast rice can cause the same muscle pain as synthetic statins for some patients, he said. Red yeast rice contains some sterols of its own, so it's possible that adding more sterols didn't appear to lower LDL any further because they were already in play, Shanes said. Becker would recommend diet and exercise before red yeast rice, he said. Batches subject to poor quality control may contain a potentially fatal liver-damaging byproduct of yeast fermentation, for example. And it may also increase the risk of muscle injury when combined with other cholesterol drugs. “Under no circumstances should people be going to Walgreens and getting red yeast rice because of the potential drug interactions, because every batch is different,” Shanes said.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/17/combined-supplements-no-better-for-cholesterol/

Teen who text and drive also likelier to take other risks in car

Teenagers who text while driving are also more likely to engage in other risky activities, such as riding with an intoxicated driver or not wearing a seatbelt, a new study suggests. Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found four in every nine high school students had sent or received texts while driving in the past month. “Considering it's against the law for teens to be texting while driving in 45 states, it's a little concerning,” said Emily Olsen, a health statistician in the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health and the report's lead author. Past studies conducted in single states have found anywhere from one quarter to almost three quarters of teenagers text while driving, the study team wrote Monday in Pediatrics. To get a more nationally representative picture, Olsen and her colleagues analyzed responses to the CDC's annual youth risk survey. On the 2011 survey, conducted in public and private schools across the country, 8,505 high school students ages 16 and older were asked about potentially dangerous driving behaviors they had engaged in over the past month. Just under 45 percent had texted while driving at least once during that span, and close to 12 percent of teens said they texted behind the wheel every day. Although the study team didn't measure how cell phone use may have affected safety in the car, past research shows that texting while driving can slow reaction times and impair a driver's ability to stay in one lane. The more frequently students reported texting and driving, the more likely they were to also answer “yes” to other risky behaviors, the researchers found. For example, 3 percent of teens who didn't text at the wheel had recently driven after drinking alcohol. That compared to 19 percent who reported texting and driving at least once in the past month and 34 percent who said they texted in the car daily. Likewise, 19 percent of non-texters had ridden in a car with another driver who had been drinking, versus 33 percent of high school students who reported texting and driving themselves. “It's concerning that kids are participating in these multiple behaviors, either while they're driving or while they're a passenger,” Olsen said. “Each one of these things is quite dangerous (on its own).” Jessica Mirman, who has studied teen motor vehicle cell phone use at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Center for Injury Research and Prevention, agreed. “That just really highlighted that as far as prevention goes, we really need something comprehensive,” Mirman, who wasn't involved in the new research, said. “It's not just about texting. It's not just about drinking.” Olsen said parents have the best chance of being able to curb unsafe activities in the car by continuing to talk with their children about safe driving even after they have their license. Teens, she pointed out, are already more likely to get into - and have trouble getting out of - dangerous situations on the road, due to their inexperience. “Anything that takes their attention away from the task of driving, it can wait,” she said. Parents who are worried about their teens' driving behavior should reach out to their pediatrician or a school counselor, Mirman advised, as that risk-taking might reflect other underlying problems.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/13/teen-texting-at-wheel-tied-to-more-driving-risks/