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This Inexpensive Action Lowers Hospital Infections And Protects Against Flu Season

Harvard Medical School graduate and lecturer, Stephanie Taylor, is something of an Indiana Jones of medicine. She’s a determined scientist who can’t seem to sit still. Along with a resume full of accolades and publications, she’s a skydiver with 1,200 jumps. She solves haunting medical mysteries. “Anything that seems scary, I say I need to learn more about that,” she explained in a recent interview

While practicing pediatric oncology at a major teaching hospital, Taylor wondered why so many of her young patients came down with infections and the flu, despite the hospital’s herculean efforts at prevention. Her hunch: the design and infrastructure of the building contributed somehow.

Dr. Taylor embarked on a quest to find out if she was right. First, the skydiving doctor made a career jump: She went back to school for a master’s in architecture, and then began research on the impact of the built environment on human health and infection. Ultimately, she found a lost ark.

She and colleagues studied 370 patients in one unit of a hospital to try to isolate the factors associated with patient infections. They tested and retested 8 million data points controlling for every variable they could think of to explain the likelihood of infection. Was it hand hygiene, fragility of the patients, or room cleaning procedures? Taylor thought it might have something to do with the number of visitors to the patient’s room.

While all those factors had modest influence, one factor stood out above them all, and it shocked the research team. The one factor most associated with infection was (drum roll): dry air. At low relative humidity, indoor air was strongly associated with higher infection rates. “When we dry the air out, droplets and skin flakes carrying viruses and bacteria are launched into the air, traveling far and over long periods of time. The microbes that survive this launching tend to be the ones that cause healthcare-associated infections,” said Taylor. “Even worse, in addition to this increased exposure to infectious particles, the dry air also harms our natural immune barriers which protect us from infections.”

Since that study was published, there is now more research in peer-reviewed literature observing a link between dry air and viral infections, such as the flu, colds and measles, as well as many bacterial infections, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding more research. Taylor finds one of the most interesting studies from a team at the Mayo Clinic, which humidified half of the classrooms in a preschool and left the other half alone over three months during the winter. Influenza-related absenteeism in the humidified classrooms was two-thirds lower than in the standard classrooms—a dramatic difference. Taylor says this study is important because its design included a control group: the half of classrooms without humidity-related intervention.

Scientists attribute the influence of dry air to a new understanding about the behavior of airborne particles, or “infectious aerosol transmissions.” They used to assume the microbes in desiccated droplets were dead, but advances in the past several years changed that thinking. “With new genetic analysis tools, we are finding out that most of the microbes are not dead at all. They are simply dormant while waiting for a source of rehydration,” Taylor explained. “Humans are an ideal source of hydration, since we are basically 60% water. When a tiny infectious particle lands on or in a patient, the pathogen rehydrates and begins the infectious cycle all over again.”

These findings are especially important for hospitals and other health settings, because dry air is also associated with antibiotic resistance, which can devastate whole patient populations. Scientists now believe resistant organisms do not develop only along the Darwinian trajectory, where mutated bacteria produce a new generation of similarly mutated offspring that can survive existing antibiotics. Resistant pathogens in infectious aerosols do not need to wait for the next generation, they can instantly share their resistant genes directly through a process called horizontal gene transfer.

According to her research, and subsequent studies in the medical literature, the “sweet spot” for indoor air is between 40% and 60% relative humidity. An instrument called a hygrometer, available for about $10, will measure it. Every hospital, school, and home should have them, according to Taylor, along with a humidifier to adjust room hydration to the sweet spot.

Operating rooms, Taylor notes, are often kept cooler than other rooms to keep gown-wearing surgical staff comfortable. Cool air holds less water vapor than warm air, so condensation can more easily occur on cold, uninsulated surfaces. Consequently, building managers often turn humidifiers off instead of insulating cold surfaces. This quick fix can result in dry air, and Taylor urges hospitals to bring the operating room’s relative humidity up, even when it is necessary, to maintain a lower temperature. Taylor’s research suggests this reduces surgical site infections.

Taylor travels the country speaking with health care and business groups to urge adoption of the 40%–60% relative humidity standard. And she practices what she preaches. “My husband has ongoing respiratory problems and had at least one serious illness each winter. Ever since we started monitoring our indoor relative humidity and keeping it around 40%, even when using our wood stove, he has not been sick. Our dogs also love it because they do not get static electricity shocks when being petted in the wintertime!”

The bad news is that it takes on average of 17 years for scientific evidence to be put into medical practice, according to a classic study. The good news is that Taylor is on the case, and she’s on a crusade against the destruction of bacteria and viruses. She’s not waiting 17 years. Jock, start the engine.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I run an organization called The Leapfrog Group with a membership of highly impatient business leaders fed up with problems with injuries, accidents, and errors in hospitals. I can’t stand the sight of blood but I’ve worked in healthcare over 20 years, including a rural hospital system, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s health policy office, and the National League for Nursing. Follow me on twitter: @leahbinder.

Source: This Inexpensive Action Lowers Hospital Infections And Protects Against Flu Season

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The flu season in the U.S. has already claimed a number of lives in what the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) has called one of most severe flu seasons in nearly a decade. “People often forget that tens of thousands of Americans will die each year from influenza infection; the vast majority of those who die are those who have underlying medical comorbidities,” says Dr. Pritish Tosh, an infectious diseases specialist at Mayo Clinic. “They have heart disease or lung disease, and influenza tips them over and they end up dying from their underlying medical comorbidity, or chronic illness.” More health and medical news on the Mayo Clinic News Network http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/

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4 Wellness Trends You Have To Try

Wellness is seeping into every aspect of our lives, from exercise and diet to sleep and work. According to the Global Wellness Summit, complete health also has become a big business, raking in $4.2 trillion a year worldwide.

As GWS prepares for its annual conference of industry professionals at Grand Hyatt Singapore October 15 to 17, we asked organizers to share their insights on the latest trends in approaches to wellness.

Nature Immersion Getaways

GWS reports that there’s a wave of global urbanization, with 55 percent of the world population living in cities. That number is projected to jump to 68 percent by 2050. A consequence of this surge in urban living is that people are seeking ways to immerse themselves deeper into nature. Hotels are accommodating by moving workouts and spa treatments into the great outdoors. But nothing captures this trend more than the rise in forest bathing.

Today In: Lifestyle

Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, began in Japan in the 1980s. Despite the translation, the practice doesn’t literally mean to take a bath among the trees. Instead, it focuses on soaking up the essence of the forest. The practice is supposed to aid immune systems, reduce blood pressure, ease stress, boost energy and improve sleep.

Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star L’Apothecary Spa at L’Auberge de Sedona in Arizona steeps you in its pristine Oak Creek surroundings with its Connecting with Nature offerings. Led by a certified forest bathing facilitator, the personalized sensory sessions encourage you to absorb the gushing waters, towering trees, red rocks, blue skies and local wildlife. You’ll receive a journal to record your experience. Another option is a nighttime forest immersion. Star bathing helps you find peace under the serene starlit sky amid the wooded backdrop. When the darkness of night envelops your sight, your other senses are heightened.

Tough and Transformative Wellness

Travelers want to visit wellness destinations that push them harder to conquer challenges, engage in extreme experiences and, ultimately, transform them, GWS reports.

Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire in England has devised The Escape, an antidote to boring old fitness routines. Amid the property’s 500 countryside acres, the two-day bootcamp includes an outdoor meditation session, two “extreme” exercise classes, a nutrition masterclass, tailored treatments in the spa, yoga, tai chi and a highwire adventure.

Chatham Bars Inn hosts an ongoing Wellness Weekend series that features interactive itineraries hosted by wellness experts in stunning Cape Cod. The activities consist of mindfulness workshops, motivational lectures, personal coaching and plenty of exercise at the Four-Star hotel.

In Mexico, Four-Star Grand Velas Los Cabos targets women with its five-night Alpha Female Adventure Getaway. The rigorous schedule includes a power hike through the Sierra de la Laguna biosphere reserve, swimming in a hot spring, snorkeling and paddleboarding. The getaway also comes with a four-handed tequila massage, an 80-minute treatment that releases muscle tension. A therapist rubs the liquor into the skin to reduce inflammation.

Sleep Performance

Alongside exercise and diet, sleep is essential for optimal health. And the focus on rest across the travel industry has been one of the biggest wellness trends.

Hotels are rethinking the sleep experience. Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner is attacking stress-induced insomnia with a holistic approach. Partnering with sleep experts at Longeva, the D.C. hotel created a spa treatment that fosters a good night’s rest, a special snooze-inducing room service menu with dishes like almond butter banana dark chocolate toast (the treat’s high magnesium relaxes muscles, and bananas have tryptophan, the same amino acid in turkey that makes you drowsy after Thanksgiving dinner), a TV station that serves as a sleep machine and a take-home kit so that you can continue deep slumbers in your own bed.

The newly opened Equinox Hotel Hudson Yards in New York City was built with sleep in mind. The wellness hotel’s rooms have total soundproofing, blackout blinds and mattresses made with temperature-regulating natural fibers to prevent night sweats. If that’s not enough send you to dream land, you can employ the assistance of an Equinox sleep coach.

Digital Detox

For all the good they provide, smartphones also have sparked a slew of problems: they cause an “always on” work mentality, the overconsumption of negative news and a social media addiction that has led to an anxiety and depression crisis, GWS says.

More travelers want to go to a place to unplug, clear their minds and recover. Mandarin Oriental launched a digital wellness initiative at all of its spas in 2018. In collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, the program teaches ways to manage your relationship with technology and the stress that can accompany a constantly connected digital lifestyle. Experience it at Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou’s luxurious Five-Star spa. The 100-minute Digital Wellness Escape homes in on the head, eyes, neck, shoulders, hands and feet.

Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing, Beijing turned its offerings into a two-night package that includes a 90-minute treatment, a class pass to nearby Pure Yoga in WF Central as well as breakfast and a healthy lunch at Café Zi.

 

 

Source: 4 Wellness Trends You Have To Try

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Last year some of the big wellness trends were collagen, intermittent fasting and CBD oil. But 2019 brings a new set of ways to be our best selves.

A Low-Fat Diet May Lower the Risk of Dying from Breast Cancer

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Breast cancer treatments have come a long way in recent decades, but understanding how to prevent tumors from forming in the first place has been a major challenge.

In a new study being presented at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago next month, researchers report intriguing evidence that a low-fat diet, similar to the kind doctors recommend for heart health, is also linked to a lower risk of dying from breast cancer.

The study analyzed data from the Women’s Health Initiative, a large trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health that studies the health effects of hormone therapy, diet and certain supplements on the health of more than 160,000 postmenopausal women. In this trial, researchers led by Dr. Rowan Chlebowski, an investigator at LA Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, focused on a group of nearly 49,000 women who were randomly assigned to follow either a low-fat diet or a control diet for 8.5 years. The low-fat diet group aimed to reduce their fat intake to 20% of their total daily calories and to increase the consumption of fruit, vegetables and grains. None of the women had breast cancer at the start of the study.

After the study ended, the rates of new breast cancers were about the same in the two groups, but women who were diagnosed with breast cancer in the interim had a 35% lower risk of dying from any cause compared to those on the control diet. Even 20 years after the study ended, the women who ate the low-fat diet continued to have a 15% lower mortality risk. And in the longer follow-up data, their risk of dying specifically from breast cancer was 21% lower than that of the women who didn’t change their diet.

“This is a very exciting result for us,” says Chlebowski. “Now we have randomized clinical trial evidence that dietary moderation, which is achievable by many, can have health benefits including reducing risk of death from breast cancer. That’s pretty good; it’s hard not to be happy about that.”

The study is the first to rigorously test a potential factor that could influence deaths from breast cancer. Earlier observational studies did not assign volunteers to specific diets but looked at cancer outcomes depending on what people, on their own, chose to eat. In this study, volunteers were provided with dietary guidelines to follow about what to eat. “Until this study, we lacked any data from a prospective randomized control trial, which is the gold standard, for showing that a dietary approach really does reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer,” says Dr. Neil Iyengar, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, who was not involved in the study. “Many of us who are proponents of considering diet and exercise in the cancer treatment plan are excited by this trial data because it is the first to show in a very robust way that we can improve outcomes and prevent cancer-related deaths just by changing the diet.”

In a separate sub-study, the research team also showed that the longer women were on the modified diet, the lower their risk of death during the study period. The results should give doctors more confidence in considering diet when discussing treatment options with women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. While the study did not find a significant connection between dietary changes and the incidence of new breast cancer, the results do suggest that modifying the diet can lower a woman’s risk of dying from any cause, or from breast cancer, if she is diagnosed with the disease.

The reason for that, says Iyengar, may have to do with the diet’s “dose.” It’s possible, for example, that the effect of the dietary change is greater on tiny tumors in the breast tissue that are already established, although they aren’t robust enough yet to lead to a diagnosis of breast cancer. “The effect of this diet may be stronger in preventing the growth of already established tumors rather than preventing the development of tumors,” he says. “What this trial does is position us to take a deeper dive, now that we know we can effectively change the tumor or cancer behavior with diet.”

Chlebowski plans to dig deeper into the data to find out more about how diet is working to lower deaths from breast cancer. During the trial, women provided blood samples both at the start of the study and one year later, so he and his team may find factors that changed among the women on the diet compared to those on the control plan.

In the meantime, he hopes cancer doctors will talk about diet with their patients who might be at higher risk of developing breast cancer. Though not all women in the study were able to lower their fat intake to 20% of their daily calories,“these dietary changes are achievable by many,” he says. Even though not all of the women on the low-fat diet met the target, the study showed that the modifications still reduced risk of dying from any cause and from breast cancer. “It’s about taking smaller pieces of meat, and adding vegetables to the plate to balance things out,” he says.

By Alice Park

Source: https://time.com/

 

What Happens When You Drink a Gallon of Water a Day?

I am that person who hates drinking water. Where others enjoy a satisfying thirst quencher, I suffer through a barrage of sulfur, algae, swimming pool, and old metal pipes. Most days I avoid the issue entirely, subsisting on coffee, herbal tea, and the occasional LaCroix. But a few months ago, I began to suspect that chronic dehydration was the reason I continually felt tired and achy. So, in an effort to overcompensate my way to better life habits, I decided to slosh through a feat known across the internet as the Water Gallon Challenge…..

Source: What Happens When You Drink a Gallon of Water a Day?

Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) part 102 — MEDICINE FOR ALL

The discovery that foetal cells are devoid of the highly polymorphic HLA class Ia molecules, except for a low expression of HLA-C, is believed to play a dominant role for the induction of tolerance to the semi-allogenic foetus. Interestingly, the foetal-derived tissue in placenta does express the loss polymorphic HLA class Ib molecules, HLA-E, […]

via Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) part 102 — MEDICINE FOR ALL

Top Surgeon : How To Proporly Wash Out Your Bowels – Gundry MD

Millions of Americans suffer from low energy, digestive discomfort, and trouble losing weight. Many also experience achy muscles and joints, skin problems, headaches, and even frequent colds. “If you’re experiencing any of these health issues, the real problem may be Leaky Gut,” says Dr. Steven Gundry. According to Dr. Gundry — who has studied leaky gut for over 20 years — certain foods can cause tears in our gut lining. This, in turn, allows toxins to enter our body that lead to digestive discomfort, food cravings, fatigue, weight gain, and even more health issues…..

Source: https://thenewgutfix.com/leaky-gut-fix_181102A.php?n=rev

Bodybyboyle Online Strength And Conditioning Service

If you are at all interested in fitness or strength and conditioning, you know who Mike Boyle is. For three decades Strength Coach Mike Boyle has been at the forefront of the profession, working with a wide range of athletes and clients. From middle school, to the pros, to busy adults who want to be in the best shape of their lives, Mike has delivered results over the years that have made him one of the top presenters at seminars around the world, the author of several published books and DVDs that have shaped the industry, and owner of the Number 1 Gym in America by Men’s Health Magazine. The fitness world changes continuously so you need to always be learning the latest strategies and techniques to produce the best results. Now you can have access to everything that has made Mike Boyle so successful, on demand, right in front of you. And by everything……..Read more

Therapy for Pregnant Women With Anxiety Offers Alternative to Medication – Andrea Petersen

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“It was something to look forward to,” Ms. Bakker said, while her youngest child, five-month-old Winston, sat on her lap and clutched a fuzzy toy chick. The group is part of Dr. Green and her colleagues’ treatment program for perinatal anxiety at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. It is one of a small but growing number of psychological therapy programs that are specifically designed for pregnant and postpartum women who struggle with anxiety and depression. They address a critical need. While scientific studies have generally found that antidepressant medications are safe to use during pregnancy and breast-feeding, there are still some concerns about their impact on babies……………

Read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/therapy-for-pregnant-women-with-anxiety-offers-alternative-to-medication-1541257200

 

 

 

 

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New Guidelines for Treating High Cholesterol Take a Personal Approach – Betsy McKay

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CHICAGO—A patient’s family history of cardiovascular disease and in some cases a heart scan are among the factors that physicians should consider before prescribing drugs to lower cholesterol, according to new clinical guidelines released Saturday. The guidelines for cholesterol treatment also recommend prescribing two new types of drugs for high-risk patients when statins, the traditional cholesterol-lowering medication, don’t work. However, due to their cost, one type, known as PCSK9 inhibitors, should be prescribed only when the other, a generic medication, doesn’t work, the guidelines said……..

Read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-guidelines-for-treating-high-cholesterol-take-a-personal-approach-1541893977

 

 

 

 

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The Highs & Lows of Testosterone – Randi Hutter Epstein

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Getting a high testosterone reading offers bragging rights for some men of a certain age and may explain in part the lure of testosterone supplements. But once you are within a normal range, does your level of testosterone, the male hormone touted to build energy, libido and confidence, really tell you that much? Probably not, experts say. Normal testosterone levels in men range from about 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter of blood. Going from one number within the normal zone to another one may not pack much of a punch.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/27/well/live/testosterone-supplements-low-t-treatment-libido.html

 

 

 

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