31 Jan

Medical News Today: E-cigarettes 'poison the airways and weaken the immune system'

Electronic cigarettes expose the lungs to toxicity, reduce the effectiveness of the immune system and encourage bacterial activity, potentially making superbugs more deadly, according to research published in the Journal of Molecular Medicine.
[woman smoking e-cigarette]
E-cigarettes are shown to promote bacterial virulence and inflammation in the latest study.

In the US, the use of e-cigarettes tripled from 4.5% in 2013 to 13.4% in 2014 among high school students, and from 1.1% in 2013 to 3.9% in 2014 among middle school students, surpassing rates of youth cigarette smoking. In the 25-44-year age group, 20% of Americans smoke e-cigarettes.

While teens smoke them because they are trendy, older smokers are turning to them in an attempt to give up smoking. Interestingly, many teens who smoke e-cigarettes then move on to conventional cigarettes just 1 year later, as reported recently by Medical News Today.

In using the device, smokers are risking their airways and immune systems. They are also enhancing the conditions for colonizing bacteria, including some deadly strains.

Researchers at the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) carried out mouse studies to examine the effects of e-liquids from seven different manufacturers.

Superbug MRSA more deadly after smoking e-cigarettes

The scientists exposed mice to e-cigarette vapors for 1 hour a day, 5 days a week over 4 weeks.

Results showed that inflammatory markers in the airways and blood of mice after inhaling e-vapors were 10% higher than those in unexposed mice. Bacteria that had been exposed to e-cigarette vapor were more virulent in mice infected with pneumonia.

When mice were infected with normal methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an antibiotic-resistant “superbug,” they survived; but 25% of mice that were infected with MRSA after being exposed to e-cigarette vapor died. In other words, S. aureus becomes more virulent when exposed to e-cigarette vapor.

The researchers observed that exposing bacterial pathogens to e-cigarette vapor caused them to thrive. The vapor helped S. aureus bacteria to form biofilms, to adhere to and invade airway cells and to resist the defenses of the human immune system.

Some of the changes observed in mice are common to those seen in the airways and blood of conventional cigarette smokers. Others are characteristic of human cancers or inflammatory lung disease.

The results were the same regardless of the brand of vapor used.

Dr. Laura E. Crotty Alexander, of the UCSD School of Medicine, says:

“This study shows that e-cigarette vapor is not benign; at high doses, it can directly kill lung cells, which is frightening. We already knew that inhaling heated chemicals, including the e-liquid ingredients nicotine and propylene glycol, couldn’t possibly be good for you. This work confirms that inhalation of e-cigarette vapor daily leads to changes in the inflammatory milieu inside the airways.”

Dr. Crotty Alexander says it is not yet clear which lung and systemic diseases will be caused by inhaling e-cigarette vapor, but data suggest that acute toxicities will result from the inflammatory changes involved.

The team recently reported that MRSA bacteria exposed to conventional cigarette smoke are less likely to be killed by the immune system than unexposed bacteria.

Meanwhile, a news outlet recently revealed that a 20-year-old German man’s teeth were blown out when an e-cigarette that he was trying in a store exploded in his mouth. He suffered severe facial injuries.

Findings reported in MNT also associate e-cigarettes with the development of cancer cells.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.


Source: medicalnewstoday

31 Jan

Medical News Today: Miniature microscope will ID cancer cells in real-time

Identifying cancer cells is not a quick or simple process. It can take days for a sample to be treated, examined and returned from a pathology lab. Until now, that is.
[Handheld pen-sized microscope]
A new pen-sized microscope could revolutionize diagnostics.
Image credit: Dennis Wise/University of Washington

A surgeon operating on a brain tumor does not want to remove any more tissue than is completely necessary. The consequences of removing too much brain matter can be severe.

By the same token, the surgeon is eager to remove the entirety of the cancerous growth; the consequences of leaving a cancerous residue are equally severe.

As things stand, this balancing act can only be managed using the surgeon’s senses. He must palpate the area and inspect it visually for remaining cells.

To fully and definitively ascertain whether a cell is cancerous, a sample must be sent to a pathology lab. There, the sample will be frozen, sliced, stained and mounted. Only then will it be inspected by a microscopist before the results are sent back.

The whole process can take days. A surgeon cannot leave a patient’s skull open to the air for that amount of time, however.

The birth of the mini-microscope

A groundbreaking invention that has the potential to rid us of this waiting game is currently being perfected by the University of Washington. The device, not much bigger than a pen, will allow surgeons to observe their patient on a cellular level, there and then.

This incredible mini-microscope is being developed in collaboration with Stanford University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Barrow Neurological Institute. The ongoing work was recently published in Biomedical Optics Express.

Lead author Jonathan Liu explains the obvious benefits to the surgeon:

“Being able to zoom and see at the cellular level during the surgery would really help them to accurately differentiate between tumor and normal tissues and improve patient outcomes.”

It is not just in the neurosurgeon’s domain that this technological advance might come in useful. Dentists routinely come across a suspicious or unexpected lesion in a patient’s mouth. In these situations, it is important to err on the side of caution, excise the tissue and send it for analysis.

These patients are subjected to procedures that, more often than not, turn out to be unnecessary; this also puts additional pressure on pathology labs.

A miniature microscope could remove the need for many superfluous procedures; in dermatological clinics, for instance, it could be used to quickly define which moles require further investigation.

The technology behind the new microscope

The smallest currently available microscopes are roughly the size of a hairdryer. Previous efforts at miniaturization have been to the detriment of some aspects of image quality, whether field of view, contrast or processing speed.

When it comes to balancing these tradeoffs, Liu feels “like this device does one of the best jobs ever.” Below are some examples of the new microscope in action:

[Miniature microscope compared to standard microscope]
The slides on the left show samples of the miniature microscope’s real-time images, compared with the results of a multi-day, clinical pathology lab on the right.
Image credit: University of Washington

The microscope carries out its magic using dual-axis confocal microscopy. This technology allows the operator to see through opaque tissue up to 0.5 mm deep. Liu explains the challenges of seeing at this depth:

“Trying to see beneath the surface of tissue is like trying to drive in a thick fog with your high beams on – you really can’t see much in front of you. But there are tricks we can play to see more deeply into the fog, like a fog light that illuminates from a different angle and reduces the glare.”

In standard microscopy, a physical slice of a tissue needs to be taken. Confocal microscopy, first developed in 1955, allows scientists to create a virtual slice many micrometers deep, giving extra detail. It has the added benefit of giving increased depth to the resultant image.

A technology called “line scanning” is also utilized to help speed up the image processing. Using micro-electrical-mechanical (MEMS) mirrors, the beam scans the tissue line by line and builds an image. Speed is of the essence with a handheld device, with a less than stationary operator, blurring is an obvious concern.

Initially, the microscope will be trialed as a cancer-screening tool; the team hopes that within 2-4 years it will be released to other clinical settings. If rolled out on a wide scale, this miniaturized microscope will see a reduction in unnecessary medical procedures and a higher success rate in tumor removal surgery.

In other optical news, Medical News Today recently covered the development of a smartphone microscope able to detect blood parasites quickly.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.


Source: medicalnewstoday

30 Jan

Medical News Today: Negative food messages make sugary snacks more enticing

If you tell a child not to do something, what will happen? They will do it. Research published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research suggests that messages telling dieters that all sugary snacks are bad just make those snacks all the more compelling.
[chocolate chip cookies]
It is bad for you…but it looks so tempting.

Obesity now affects 34.9% of American adults, or 78.6 million people. The authorities are concerned about steering the nation toward healthier choices.

The US government and various agencies use public service announcements (PSAs) to advise consumers about the dangers of unhealthy eating. They deliver a strong message that sugary snacks are to be avoided.

Researchers at Arizona State University in Tempe carried out three studies to show that negative, one-sided messages about unhealthy food can actually encourage people to choose it, rather than putting them off.

In the first study, 380 participants read a positive, negative or neutral message about a dessert.

Dieters who saw the negative message had more positive thoughts about unhealthy foods, although the message did not change their thoughts about healthy foods. Non-dieters were unaffected.

Co-author Pham explains that instead of leading dieters to choose healthier options, negative messages increase the attraction of unhealthy foods.

More unhealthy choices follow negative messages

In the second study, 397 participants saw a one-sided positive or negative message about sugary snacks, followed by a short video and a supply of chocolate-chip cookies.

After seeing the negative message, dieters consumed 39% more cookies than dieters who saw the positive message. Again, non-dieters remained unaffected.

In the third study, 324 participants were given positive, negative or two-sided messages, containing both positive and negative information about food. They were then asked to choose a snack. The researchers wanted to see if the balanced message might be more effective in discouraging poor choices.

The negative message was associated with a 30% higher unhealthy snack choice than the positive message; 47% fewer unhealthy snacks were chosen by dieters who saw the balanced message than those who saw the negative message.

The findings suggest that using messages that convey only negative information about food may not have the desired effect.

Co-author Mandel warns:

“Our work shows that negative messages about unhealthy food will backfire among dieters. If you want to change what they eat, a more even-handed message that contains both positive and negative information is the way to go.”

The research is published in an edition of the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research called, “The Behavioral Science of Eating.” The collected papers are dedicated to encouraging healthy eating.

An accompanying infographic that summarizes the findings advises people to read food labels carefully, prepare smaller amounts of food to avoid waste and to use smaller plates. It also suggests installing a mirror in the kitchen; it apparently encourages healthier food choices.

Medical News Today recently reported that in exchange for an alternative reward, many people are happy to choose smaller portions of food.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.


Source: medicalnewstoday

30 Jan

Medical News Today: How we label people with mental illness influences tolerance toward them

Would you call an individual with depression “mentally ill” or a “person with a mental illness”? According to a new study, the label one gives a person with such an illness can influence how they are tolerated by society.
[Sad woman looking out of a window
Using “mentally ill” to describe a person with mental illness reduces tolerance toward them, a new study found.

Published in The Journal of Counseling & Development, the study found that people were less tolerant toward individuals who were described as being “mentally ill” as opposed to “people with mental illness.”

According to study coauthor Darcy Haag Granello, professor of educational studies at the Ohio State University, the findings suggest that language choice when referring to a person with a mental illness is not simply a matter of “political correctness.”

“This isn’t just about saying the right thing for appearances,” she says. “The language we use has real effects on our levels of tolerance for people with mental illness.”

To reach their findings, Granello and her colleague Todd Gibbs, a graduate student in educational studies at Ohio State, enrolled three groups of participants: 221 undergraduate students, 211 non-student adults from a community sample and 269 professional counselors and counselors-in-training.

‘Mentally ill’ vs. ‘people with a mental illness’

All participants completed a questionnaire called Community Attitudes Toward the Mentally Ill (CAMI).

Participants were presented with a set of statements that measured their attitudes toward people with a mental illness in four areas: authoritarianism, benevolence, social restrictiveness and community mental health ideology.

While the subject of each statement was the same for each participant, half of the participants in each group were presented with statements that referred to “the mentally ill,” while the remaining half were presented with statements that referred to “people with mental illness.”

For example, one statement assessing participants’ attitudes toward social restrictiveness among people with a mental illness said: “The mentally ill (or ‘people with mental illness’) should be isolated from the rest of the community.”

Participants were asked to rate each statement on a five-point scale, with one representing “strongly agree” and five representing “strongly disagree.”

Lower tolerance for ‘the mentally ill’ in all three groups

The researchers found that all three groups demonstrated lower tolerance when their surveys referred to “the mentally ill” rather than “people with mental illness,” but that they were less tolerant in different ways.

Fast facts about mental illness

  • Around 1 in 5 adults in the US experience mental illness in a given year
  • Approximately 16 million adults in the US have experienced at least one episode of depression in the past year
  • Serious mental illness costs the US around $193.2 billion in lost earnings every year.

Learn more about mental health

College students, counselors and counselors-in-training were less tolerant in relation to authoritarianism and social restrictiveness when the surveys referenced “the mentally ill,” while non-student adults were less tolerant in areas of benevolence and community mental health ideology.

The researchers believe their findings highlight the importance of “person-first” language when addressing people with mental illness.

“Person-first language is a way to honor the personhood of an individual by separating their identity from any disability or diagnosis he or she might have,” explains Gibbs.

“When you say ‘people with a mental illness,’ you are emphasizing that they aren’t defined solely by their disability. But when you talk about ‘the mentally ill’ the disability is the entire definition of the person.”

The team says they were surprised to find that even counselors’ tolerance toward people with a mental illness was swayed by language choice.

“Even counselors who work every day with people who have mental illness can be affected by language,” says Granello. “They need to be aware of how language might influence their decision-making when they work with clients.”

Overall, the researchers believe their findings should prompt a change in how society addresses individuals with a mental illness. Granello says:

“I understand why people use the term ‘the mentally ill.’ It is shorter and less cumbersome than saying ‘people with mental illness.’

But I think people with mental illness deserve to have us change our language. Even if it is more awkward for us, it helps change our perception, which ultimately may lead us to treat all people with the respect and understanding they deserve.”

In April 2015, Medical News Today reported on a study that found 9 in 10 people with a mental illness report high levels of discrimination.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.


Source: medicalnewstoday

30 Jan

Immunity Genes for E.Coli Found

Immunity Genes for E.Coli Found

News Picture: Immunity Genes for E.Coli Found

Latest Digestion News

THURSDAY, Jan. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Researchers say they’ve identified immune-related genes that might protect people against E. coli illness.

E. coli is a leading cause of bacteria-triggered diarrhea, and it comes from food, the environment or the intestines of people and animals. But while the bug makes some people extremely ill, it has little to no effect on others, the researchers said.

In this study, researchers exposed 30 healthy adults to E. coli and took blood samples to analyze the volunteers’ gene expression — the extent to which some genes are turned on or off.

When the investigators compared participants who became sick and those who remained well, they found significant differences in the activity of 29 immune-related genes.

“Within each group, there were changes in the patients’ gene expression patterns happening throughout the experiment,” study senior author Dr. Ephraim Tsalik, an assistant professor of medicine at Duke University in Durham, N.C., said in a university news release.

“We found there were differences with the subjects that seemed to predict who would become sick. We interpreted those as signals that show an innate resistance to infection. There may be certain genetic traits that can increase or decrease your chances of being infected after exposure to a pathogen,” he explained.

The study was published recently in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The next step is to look at other types of infections, including viral and respiratory illnesses such as the flu.

“We have found a set of immune-related genes to focus on,” Tsalik said. “Now if we can understand how the expression of these genes imparts this resistance and susceptibility, we might be able to offer new ways to boost your immune system to protect against prevalent infections such as E. coli or better predict who is at greatest risk of getting an infection.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, E. coli illness usually appears within an average of three or four days after swallowing the germ. Illness can be severe and include diarrhea, often bloody, and abdominal cramps.

Most people will recover within a week, but in some the illness can progress to kidney failure. Children under the age of 5, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are at highest risk from E. coli illness, the CDC says.

— Robert Preidt

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: Duke University, news release, Jan. 19, 2016

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.


Source: MediciNet

30 Jan

Too Few Older Adults Tell Doctors About Memory Loss: Study

Too Few Older Adults Tell Doctors About Memory Loss: Study

News Picture: Too Few Older Adults Tell Doctors About Memory Loss: Study

Latest Alzheimers News

THURSDAY, Jan. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Do you worry that forgetting names, or where you put your keys, might be a sign of impending dementia? If you’re like most older Americans, you don’t bring this up with your doctor, a new study shows.

Researchers who looked at federal government data on more than 10,000 people found that in 2011, only 1 in 4 adults aged 45 or older discussed memory problems with a health care professional during a routine checkup.

In fact, the likelihood that a person would admit to a memory problem in a doctor’s office visit actually declined with advancing age, says a team led by Mary Adams, of On Target Health Data in West Suffield, Conn.

The findings were published Jan. 28 in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

“Routine checkups are a missed opportunity for assessing and discussing memory problems for the majority of older adults,” Adams said in a journal news release.

Experts agreed that the stigma around memory loss and dementia may hold people back from discussing these issues with their physicians.

“Because dementia is unfortunately an all too common illness, older adults are quite familiar with its heralding signs and symptoms, which they have painfully observed in a long time neighbor or a family member,” said Dr. Gisele Wolf-Klein, director of geriatric education at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

“This reality leads to denial and avoidance, both on the part of the patient and the physician,” she said. “‘As long as we don’t mention it, maybe it’s just normal aging.'”

But mentioning memory troubles is important, because it doesn’t necessarily have to herald dementia, Wolf-Klein said. “Memory loss may well not be due to dementia, but another highly treatable condition, such as depression,” she noted.

And if it is linked to dementia, recognizing that fact early is crucial, she said.

“Patients can promptly meet with family members and elder law advisers, who can best help them in making individualized decisions for their care, rather than rely on last-minute decisions completed by family members at a time when patients now lack capacity,” Wolf-Klein said.

Dr. Bruce Polsky is chair of the department of medicine at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. He acknowledged that talking about “memory loss and the possibility of the early development of dementia is a difficult discussion for both the physician and patient, mostly because of the long-term implications.”

But early diagnosis of dementia can be important, he said.

“Even mild memory loss associated with early Alzheimer’s disease may be improved with some of the medicines now available, although these medications do not stop the progression of the disease,” he said. “Lifestyle modifications, such as smoking cessation, may also be of value in some cases.”

“Although it is difficult for individuals to assess whether their own subtle memory loss is ‘normal’ or not, open discussion with their physician and, in some cases, testing may result in answers that could potentially lead to treatment and improved functioning,” according to Polsky.

— E. J. Mundell

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Gisele Wolf-Klein, M.D., director, geriatric education, Northwell Health, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Bruce Polsky, M.D., chairman, department of medicine, Winthrop-University Hospital, Mineola, N.Y.; Jan. 28, 2016, Preventing Chronic Disease

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.


Source: MediciNet

30 Jan

Hepatitis C Reported at 19 Dialysis Clinics: CDC

Hepatitis C Reported at 19 Dialysis Clinics: CDC

News Picture: Hepatitis C Reported at 19 Dialysis Clinics: CDC

Latest Digestion News

THURSDAY, Jan. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Reports of hepatitis C infections among dialysis patients in the United States are rising, largely because of poor infection control practices, health officials say.

Between 2014 and 2015, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received reports of about 36 cases of hepatitis C infection at 19 kidney dialysis clinics in eight states.

So far, investigators have determined that patient-to-patient transmission of hepatitis C occurred at nine of those clinics.

Lapses in infection control procedures — such as injection safety, cleaning and disinfection, and hand hygiene — were common at these clinics, the CDC reported Wednesday. The exact means of hepatitis C transmission could not be pinpointed, but all of these deficiencies could contribute to transmission of the virus.

Hepatitis C, which can cause lifelong liver disease, is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person, according to the CDC.

Improved screening and awareness of the risk of hepatitis C infection in dialysis facilities could partly explain the rise in the number of reported infections, the agency said in a news release.

Whatever the causes, the report “underscores the widespread potential for patients to acquire serious infections during dialysis care,” the CDC said.

Hepatitis C “transmission can be prevented when proper infection prevention and environmental disinfection practices are consistently followed,” the CDC added.

Dialysis is a life-saving treatment for people with advanced kidney disease. In the United States, about 400,000 such patients undergo dialysis each year, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

The CDC pointed out that all dialysis facilities need to continually assess and improve their infection control, hepatitis C screening practices, and cleaning and disinfection methods, whether or not infections have occurred among their patients.

Any new case of hepatitis C infection in a dialysis patient is likely to be a health facility-associated infection and should be promptly reported to public health authorities, the CDC said.

Noting that one hepatitis C outbreak at a dialysis facility lasted five years before being detected, the agency said screening is essential to identify infections early and prevent further transmission.

The CDC urges dialysis facilities to follow their recommendations to help prevent and detect hepatitis C infections. The agency also offered the following advice to dialysis patients:

  • If you do not know if you have or might have hepatitis C, ask your health care provider.
  • Ask your dialysis provider if it follows CDC recommendations, whether you need to be tested for hepatitis C, and what can be done to protect you from hepatitis C infection during dialysis treatment.
  • Read educational material for patients on dialysis safety and hepatitis C.

— Robert Preidt

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Jan. 27, 2016

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.


Source: MediciNet

30 Jan

Immunity Genes for E.Coli Found

Immunity Genes for E.Coli Found

News Picture: Immunity Genes for E.Coli Found

Latest Digestion News

THURSDAY, Jan. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Researchers say they’ve identified immune-related genes that might protect people against E. coli illness.

E. coli is a leading cause of bacteria-triggered diarrhea, and it comes from food, the environment or the intestines of people and animals. But while the bug makes some people extremely ill, it has little to no effect on others, the researchers said.

In this study, researchers exposed 30 healthy adults to E. coli and took blood samples to analyze the volunteers’ gene expression — the extent to which some genes are turned on or off.

When the investigators compared participants who became sick and those who remained well, they found significant differences in the activity of 29 immune-related genes.

“Within each group, there were changes in the patients’ gene expression patterns happening throughout the experiment,” study senior author Dr. Ephraim Tsalik, an assistant professor of medicine at Duke University in Durham, N.C., said in a university news release.

“We found there were differences with the subjects that seemed to predict who would become sick. We interpreted those as signals that show an innate resistance to infection. There may be certain genetic traits that can increase or decrease your chances of being infected after exposure to a pathogen,” he explained.

The study was published recently in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The next step is to look at other types of infections, including viral and respiratory illnesses such as the flu.

“We have found a set of immune-related genes to focus on,” Tsalik said. “Now if we can understand how the expression of these genes imparts this resistance and susceptibility, we might be able to offer new ways to boost your immune system to protect against prevalent infections such as E. coli or better predict who is at greatest risk of getting an infection.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, E. coli illness usually appears within an average of three or four days after swallowing the germ. Illness can be severe and include diarrhea, often bloody, and abdominal cramps.

Most people will recover within a week, but in some the illness can progress to kidney failure. Children under the age of 5, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are at highest risk from E. coli illness, the CDC says.

— Robert Preidt

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: Duke University, news release, Jan. 19, 2016

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.


Source: MediciNet

30 Jan

Too Few Older Adults Tell Doctors About Memory Loss: Study

Too Few Older Adults Tell Doctors About Memory Loss: Study

News Picture: Too Few Older Adults Tell Doctors About Memory Loss: Study

Latest Alzheimers News

THURSDAY, Jan. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Do you worry that forgetting names, or where you put your keys, might be a sign of impending dementia? If you’re like most older Americans, you don’t bring this up with your doctor, a new study shows.

Researchers who looked at federal government data on more than 10,000 people found that in 2011, only 1 in 4 adults aged 45 or older discussed memory problems with a health care professional during a routine checkup.

In fact, the likelihood that a person would admit to a memory problem in a doctor’s office visit actually declined with advancing age, says a team led by Mary Adams, of On Target Health Data in West Suffield, Conn.

The findings were published Jan. 28 in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

“Routine checkups are a missed opportunity for assessing and discussing memory problems for the majority of older adults,” Adams said in a journal news release.

Experts agreed that the stigma around memory loss and dementia may hold people back from discussing these issues with their physicians.

“Because dementia is unfortunately an all too common illness, older adults are quite familiar with its heralding signs and symptoms, which they have painfully observed in a long time neighbor or a family member,” said Dr. Gisele Wolf-Klein, director of geriatric education at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

“This reality leads to denial and avoidance, both on the part of the patient and the physician,” she said. “‘As long as we don’t mention it, maybe it’s just normal aging.'”

But mentioning memory troubles is important, because it doesn’t necessarily have to herald dementia, Wolf-Klein said. “Memory loss may well not be due to dementia, but another highly treatable condition, such as depression,” she noted.

And if it is linked to dementia, recognizing that fact early is crucial, she said.

“Patients can promptly meet with family members and elder law advisers, who can best help them in making individualized decisions for their care, rather than rely on last-minute decisions completed by family members at a time when patients now lack capacity,” Wolf-Klein said.

Dr. Bruce Polsky is chair of the department of medicine at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. He acknowledged that talking about “memory loss and the possibility of the early development of dementia is a difficult discussion for both the physician and patient, mostly because of the long-term implications.”

But early diagnosis of dementia can be important, he said.

“Even mild memory loss associated with early Alzheimer’s disease may be improved with some of the medicines now available, although these medications do not stop the progression of the disease,” he said. “Lifestyle modifications, such as smoking cessation, may also be of value in some cases.”

“Although it is difficult for individuals to assess whether their own subtle memory loss is ‘normal’ or not, open discussion with their physician and, in some cases, testing may result in answers that could potentially lead to treatment and improved functioning,” according to Polsky.

— E. J. Mundell

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Gisele Wolf-Klein, M.D., director, geriatric education, Northwell Health, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Bruce Polsky, M.D., chairman, department of medicine, Winthrop-University Hospital, Mineola, N.Y.; Jan. 28, 2016, Preventing Chronic Disease

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.


Source: MediciNet

30 Jan

Hepatitis C Reported at 19 Dialysis Clinics: CDC

Hepatitis C Reported at 19 Dialysis Clinics: CDC

News Picture: Hepatitis C Reported at 19 Dialysis Clinics: CDC

Latest Digestion News

THURSDAY, Jan. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Reports of hepatitis C infections among dialysis patients in the United States are rising, largely because of poor infection control practices, health officials say.

Between 2014 and 2015, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received reports of about 36 cases of hepatitis C infection at 19 kidney dialysis clinics in eight states.

So far, investigators have determined that patient-to-patient transmission of hepatitis C occurred at nine of those clinics.

Lapses in infection control procedures — such as injection safety, cleaning and disinfection, and hand hygiene — were common at these clinics, the CDC reported Wednesday. The exact means of hepatitis C transmission could not be pinpointed, but all of these deficiencies could contribute to transmission of the virus.

Hepatitis C, which can cause lifelong liver disease, is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person, according to the CDC.

Improved screening and awareness of the risk of hepatitis C infection in dialysis facilities could partly explain the rise in the number of reported infections, the agency said in a news release.

Whatever the causes, the report “underscores the widespread potential for patients to acquire serious infections during dialysis care,” the CDC said.

Hepatitis C “transmission can be prevented when proper infection prevention and environmental disinfection practices are consistently followed,” the CDC added.

Dialysis is a life-saving treatment for people with advanced kidney disease. In the United States, about 400,000 such patients undergo dialysis each year, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

The CDC pointed out that all dialysis facilities need to continually assess and improve their infection control, hepatitis C screening practices, and cleaning and disinfection methods, whether or not infections have occurred among their patients.

Any new case of hepatitis C infection in a dialysis patient is likely to be a health facility-associated infection and should be promptly reported to public health authorities, the CDC said.

Noting that one hepatitis C outbreak at a dialysis facility lasted five years before being detected, the agency said screening is essential to identify infections early and prevent further transmission.

The CDC urges dialysis facilities to follow their recommendations to help prevent and detect hepatitis C infections. The agency also offered the following advice to dialysis patients:

  • If you do not know if you have or might have hepatitis C, ask your health care provider.
  • Ask your dialysis provider if it follows CDC recommendations, whether you need to be tested for hepatitis C, and what can be done to protect you from hepatitis C infection during dialysis treatment.
  • Read educational material for patients on dialysis safety and hepatitis C.

— Robert Preidt

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Jan. 27, 2016

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.


Source: MediciNet