Blog archives



Officials on Alert for Measles During Super Bowl

NFL Media(PHOENIX) — Ari­zona health offi­cials are attempt­ing to con­tain a measles out­break that has already spread through mul­ti­ple states as thou­sands of fans arrive in Phoenix ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Offi­cials are already mon­i­tor­ing 1,000 peo­ple in Ari­zona who were exposed to the con­ta­gious virus after seven peo­ple were found to be infected in the state.

This is a crit­i­cal point in this out­break,” said Ari­zona Depart­ment of Health Ser­vices’ Direc­tor Will Hum­ble. “If the pub­lic health sys­tem and med­ical com­mu­nity are able to iden­tify every sin­gle sus­cep­ti­ble case and get them into iso­la­tion, we have a chance of stop­ping this out­break here.”

Measles is one of the most con­ta­gious viruses in exis­tence and will infect an esti­mated 90 per­cent of unvac­ci­nated peo­ple who are exposed to the virus. The incu­ba­tion period is on aver­age 14 days, but an infected per­son can be con­ta­gious up to four days before they start to show symptoms.

With scores of fans expected to head to Phoenix this week­end to watch the game between the New Eng­land Patri­ots and Seat­tle Sea­hawks, health offi­cials have deliv­ered stern warn­ings to try and keep the dis­ease from spread­ing in the state.

Any­one not vac­ci­nated for measles is asked to stay out of pub­lic areas for 21 days. In Phoenix’s Mari­copa County, the health depart­ment is ask­ing unvac­ci­nated chil­dren to stay home from school or day care for another three weeks in order to pro­tect them from poten­tial infection.

If we miss any poten­tial cases and some of them go to a con­gre­gate set­ting with numer­ous sus­cep­ti­ble con­tacts, we could be in for a long and pro­tracted out­break,” said Hum­ble on the health depart­ment website.

The cur­rent measles out­break has infected at least 84 peo­ple in 14 states after orig­i­nat­ing in the Dis­ney­land theme park, accord­ing to the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Prevention.

While immune glob­u­lin can be given to help mit­i­gate symp­toms, there is no way for health offi­cials to stop those exposed from devel­op­ing the dis­ease. Symp­toms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose and the tell-tale red rash, accord­ing to the CDC. In severe cases it can cause pneu­mo­nia, encephali­tis or swelling of the brain, and death.

This week, the health depart­ment detailed their health and pub­lic safety plans for the Super Bowl.

In addi­tion to mon­i­tor­ing for dan­ger­ous pathogens and sus­pi­cious sub­stances, the depart­ment will con­duct “ill­ness mon­i­tor­ing at urgent care cen­ters, and mon­i­tor­ing poi­son con­trol cen­ter calls related to Super Bowl events.”

The depart­ment said the enhanced sur­veil­lance will allow them to more quickly “iden­tify health threats” and respond immediately.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Preemies Experience Social Development Problems as They Age

iStock/Thinkstock(HELSINKI, Fin­land) — In addi­tion to phys­i­cal prob­lems that chil­dren who were born pre­ma­turely might suf­fer, sci­en­tists say they may encounter cer­tain psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems dur­ing their teen and young adult years.

In a study of peo­ple born pre­ma­turely dur­ing the 1980s, sci­en­tists at the National Insti­tute for Health and Wel­fare in Helsinki, Fin­land, says that many of these grown pre­emies tend to see them­selves as less attrac­tive than other individuals.

Another road­block to their social devel­op­ment, accord­ing to Dr. Tuija Man­nisto, is that they also have a harder time being sex­u­ally inti­mate with a part­ner or else, delay hav­ing sex­ual relationships.

While these prob­lems are not insignif­i­cant, Dr. Edward McCabe of the March of Dimes says they should also not be too alarming.

McCabe, who was not involved in the study, con­tends that pre­emies typ­i­cally have more cau­tious per­son­al­i­ties than peo­ple who were born full-term and that putting off sex isn’t nec­es­sar­ily bad.

He also main­tains that there have been advance­ments in the treat­ment of pre­emies at inten­sive care units so that those born in more recent times may not have the same issues as the older generation.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Beer Ingredient Could Stave Off Alzheimer's Disease

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Move over wine. Beer might have impor­tant health ben­e­fits as well.

In a study con­ducted by the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal Soci­ety, Jian­guo Fang and his fel­low researchers say that xan­tho­hu­mol or Xn, an ingre­di­ent in hops, can pre­vent or slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

These con­di­tions are brought on by oxida­tive dam­age to neu­ronal cells in the brain.

Xn works as an antiox­i­dant that also offers pro­tec­tion to the heart and fights cancer.

But don’t start guz­zling down beer after beer just yet. The researchers first have to learn what con­cen­tra­tion of Xn is ben­e­fi­cial and how to deliver this com­pound to patients.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Time to Get Hooked on Phonics Again

iStock/Thinkstock(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — Remem­ber Hooked on Phon­ics? Ads for this com­mer­cial sys­tem of read­ing edu­ca­tion through pho­net­ics were every­where dur­ing the early 1990s until the com­pany ran into trou­ble with the FTC, lead­ing it to file for bankruptcy.

How­ever, the basic con­cept of phon­ics to help kids read though sound­ing out words is mak­ing a comeback.

A Uni­ver­sity of Buf­falo study says that phon­ics is more effec­tive in teach­ing young­sters to read faster than the com­monly taught tech­nique of visu­ally mem­o­riz­ing word patterns.

UB assis­tant pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­ogy Chris McNor­gan con­tends that phono­log­i­cal infor­ma­tion enables chil­dren to bet­ter iden­tify indi­vid­ual words.

Fur­ther­more, teach­ing them to be more sen­si­tive to audi­tory infor­ma­tion is key to improv­ing read­ing per­for­mance, accord­ing to McNorgan.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Possible Cure for Peanut Allergies Developed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Have Aus­tralian researchers come up with a cure for peanut allergies?

It’s pos­si­ble that they may have, based on the results of an exper­i­ment in which 60 young­sters with these aller­gies were either given a placebo or the pro­bi­otic lac­to­bacil­lus rham­no­sus com­bined with peanut protein.

The trial con­ducted by the Mur­doch Children’s Research Insti­tute lasted 18 months and by the end, eighty per­cent of chil­dren who took the pro­bi­otic became tol­er­ant to peanuts. In con­trast, only four per­cent in the con­trol group could con­sume peanuts with­out an aller­gic reaction.

Lead researcher Mimi Tang remarked, “These find­ings pro­vide the first vital step towards devel­op­ing a cure for peanut allergy and pos­si­bly other food allergies.”

Tang, how­ever, cau­tioned that more research needs to be done to deter­mine if the treat­ment with the pro­bi­otic could pro­duce long-term relief for those with peanut allergies.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


CDC: Already More Measles Cases in 2015 than Median Number from 2001 to 2010

Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol said Thurs­day that the num­ber of measles cases in the U.S. since Jan­u­ary 1 is already higher than the annual total case counts for sev­eral recent full years.

In total, the CDC said there have been 84 cases of measles in 2015, with 67 of those linked to the out­break at California’s Dis­ney­land. The Cal­i­for­nia out­break includes six other states as well.

Between 2001 and 2010, the median num­ber of measles cases per year in the U.S. was just 60.

Dr. Anne Schuchat from the CDC’s National Cen­ter for Immu­niza­tion and Res­pi­ra­tory Dis­eases said on Thurs­day that for every 1,000 U.S. chil­dren who get measles, one to three will die from it — “regard­less of best treatment.”

Inter­est­ingly, the CDC also notes that the U.S. expe­ri­enced the high­est num­ber of measles cases in 20 years in 2014, with 644 cases linked to 20 outbreaks.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Study: Expensive Placebos More Effective than Cheap Ones

Jef­frey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study shows that place­bos are more effec­tive when they cost more.

Researchers looked at data from 12 patients with mod­er­ate to severe Parkinson’s dis­ease who were told they were being given one injec­tion that was a more expen­sive ver­sion of a new drug and one injec­tion that was a cheap ver­sion. In fact, patients were given saline — a placebo — both times. Accord­ing to the study, pub­lished in the jour­nal Neu­rol­ogy, patients had their brain activ­ity and motor func­tion mea­sured to deter­mine effectiveness.

While nei­ther placebo was as effec­tive as the Parkinson’s drug lev­odopa, the expen­sive ver­sion of the placebo prompted bet­ter per­for­mance on motor skills tests. “Per­cep­tions of cost,” the researchers deter­mined, “are capa­ble of alter­ing the placebo response in clin­i­cal studies.”

Dr. Alberto Espay, an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of Cincin­nati Depart­ment of Neu­rol­ogy and Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Med­i­cine, said in a press release that “if we can find strate­gies to har­ness the placebo response to enhance the ben­e­fits of treat­ments, we could poten­tially max­i­mize the ben­e­fit of treat­ment while reduc­ing the dosage of drugs needed and pos­si­bly reduc­ing side effects.”

Because the study involved such a small sam­ple of par­tic­i­pants, fur­ther research may be needed to prove the findings.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


WHO: New Ebola Cases in West Africa Drop Below 100 Last Week

Pawel Gaul/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The World Health Orga­ni­za­tion on Thurs­day released a new report on the Ebola out­break in West Africa, show­ing that the num­ber of new cases iden­ti­fied in the last week had fallen below 100.

Accord­ing to the WHO’s Ebola Sit­u­a­tion Report, 99 new cases were detailed in the three coun­tries most heav­ily affected by the out­break — 65 in Sierra Leone, 30 in Guinea and four in Liberia. The total num­ber of Ebola cases since the begin­ning of the out­break is now at 22,092. At least 8,810 of those cases has resulted in death.

Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have been the site of the vast major­ity of Ebola cases, with 22,057 cases in those three nations. A small num­ber of cases have been detected in Mali, Nige­ria, Sene­gal, Spain, the United King­dom and the U.S.

The WHO says that the response to the Ebola sit­u­a­tion “has now moved to a sec­ond phase, as the focus shifts from slow­ing the trans­mis­sion to end­ing the epi­demic.” Specif­i­cally, efforts are being shifted to ensure capac­ity for case find­ing and man­age­ment, safe buri­als and com­mu­nity engagement.

Liberia and Sierra Leone each reported decreased inci­dents of new Ebola cases com­pared to last week, while the 30 cases in Guinea was up from 20 the week before.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.