US flu season still worsening


Starting to rival 2009 swine flu

By Mike Stobbe - AP Medical Writer



February is AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month From Prevent Blindness

Columbus – Today, more than 2 million Americans ages 50 and over have age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to the Prevent Blindness report, “Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems.” AMD affects central vision, where sharpest vision occurs, causing difficulty conducting daily tasks such as driving, reading, and recognizing faces.

Prevent Blindness has declared February as Age-related Macular Degeneration/Low Vision Awareness Month to help educate the public on AMD types, treatment options and more.

Factors that increase risk of AMD are:

· Family history of AMD

· Aging – those over 60 years old

· Race – Caucasians have a higher rate of AMD

· Sex – females have a higher rate of AMD may be because they live longer

· Light colored eyes

· Smoking

· Heart disease

· High blood pressure (hypertension)

· High cholesterol

· Obesity

· High sun exposure

· Poor diet – with low intake of anti-oxidants

Prevent Blindness offers educational materials at no cost through its dedicated web pages and its toll-free number. Resources include:

Prevent Blindness AMD Learning Center- The AMD Learning Center, found at preventblindness.org/amd, provides a variety of educational tools including an Adult Vision Risk Assessment tool, fact sheets and more.

Living Well with Low Vision- This growing online resource, lowvision.preventblindness.org, offers information ranging from an extensive list of searchable, local low vision resource directories, to an informative blog with news for people living with age-related eye disease and significant visual impairment and their caregivers, authored by patient advocate and low vision educator Dan Roberts, M.M.E.

“People may have AMD and not know it, as the decrease in clear vision may occur slowly,” said Sherry Williams, President & CEO of Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate . “Although there is no cure for AMD, vision loss may be lessened if detected and treated early.”

For more information on AMD, low vision and other eye disease, please contact Prevent Blindness at (800) 301-2020 or visit www.pbohio.org.

About Prevent Blindness

Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness is Ohio’s leading volunteer nonprofit public health organization dedicated to preventing blindness and preserving sight. We serve all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to more than 800,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight. For more information or to make a contribution, call 800-301-2020. Or, visit us on the web at www.pbohio.org or facebook.com/pbohio.

Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate

1500 W. Third Ave., Suite 200

Columbus, OH 43212

Flu update

NEW YORK — The flu has further tightened its grip on the U.S. This season is now as bad as the swine flu epidemic nine years ago.

A government report out Friday shows 1 of every 13 visits to the doctor last week was for fever, cough and other symptoms of the flu. That ties the highest level seen in the U.S. during swine flu in 2009.

And it surpasses every winter flu season since 2003, when the government changed the way it measures flu.

This season started early and has been driven by a nasty type of flu that tends to put more people in the hospital and cause more deaths than other more common flu bugs.

But its long-lasting intensity has surprised experts, who are still sorting out why it’s been so bad. Flu usually peaks in February.

Some doctors say this is the worst flu season they’ve seen in decades. Some people are saying that, too.

Veda Albertson, a 70-year-old retiree in Tampa, was sick for three weeks with high fever and fluid in her lungs. She said she hadn’t been this sick from the flu since the 1960s, when she was a young mother who couldn’t get out of bed to go to the crib of her crying baby.

“It was like ‘Wham!’ It was bad. It was awful,” she said of the illness that hit her on Christmas Day.

Heather Jossi, a 40-year-old Denver police officer and avid runner, said her illness last month was the worst flu she’s experienced.

“I don’t remember aches this bad. Not for four days,” said Jossi. “It took me out.”

Last week, 43 states had high patient traffic for the flu, up from 42, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Flu remained widespread in every state except Hawaii and Oregon and hospitalizations continued to climb.

So far, however, deaths this season from the flu and flu-related pneumonia have lagged a little behind some recent bad seasons. There are as many as 56,000 deaths connected to the flu during a bad year.

The CDC said the amount of suspected flu cases at doctor office and hospitals last week matched that seen in 2009, when a new swine flu epidemic swept the country and panicked many people. Swine flu, also called pandemic H1N1, was a new strain that hadn’t been seen before. It first hit that spring, at the tail end of the winter season, but doctor visits hit their height in late October.

This flu season, hospitalization rates have surpassed the nasty season of the winter of 2014-2015, when the vaccine was a poor match to the main bug.

Health officials have said this year’s vaccine targets the flu viruses that are currently making people sick. However, preliminary studies out of Australia and Canada have found the shot was only 10 to 20 percent effective in those countries. How well it is working the U.S. won’t be known until next week.

This year, illnesses are commonly being reported in people who got a flu shot. Albertson said she did in late October. Jossi didn’t.

NEW ECPR PROTOCOL HELPS SOME CARDIAC ARREST PATIENTS SURVIVE ‘CERTAIN DEATH’

COLUMBUS – More people are walking away from a type of cardiac arrest that is nearly always fatal, thanks to a new protocol being tested at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. It’s called an ECPR alert.

Ohio State cardiologists work in conjunction with Columbus Division of Fire to implement this novel pre-hospital life support protocol that has limited availability in the U.S.

Currently, only about 10 percent of people survive a sudden cardiac arrest that happens in the field – even fewer survive with normal neurologic function. The ECPR alert is designed to change those numbers.

“This protocol is for people who are in ventricular fibrillation or refractory ventricular tachycardia, which are irregular heart rhythms that aren’t compatible with life and resist being shocked back to normal,” said Dr. Ernest Mazzaferri Jr., medical director of The Ohio State University Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital.

“Typically, if they don’t respond to getting shocked, these patients would die in the field because we didn’t have any options to save them. Now, in certain situations, we have had patients survive and walk out of the hospital.”

Columbus EMS personnel follow their protocol for ventricular fibrillation. If the patient remains in this rhythm after three defibrillation attempts, they call an ECPR alert to Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. Medics put a mechanical CPR device on the patient for transport straight to the cardiac catheterization lab where a team is assembled and waiting.

“Between the field and the cath lab it’s critical to have good CPR to keep blood and oxygen moving to the brain and essential organs,” said Dr. Konstantinos Dean Boudoulas, an interventional cardiologist and one of the physicians leading the protocol.

Once in the cath lab, the patient is put on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) which takes over the functions of the heart and lungs.

“This allows the heart and lungs to rest while we find the problem and get the heart restarted and beating well, said Dr. Bryan Whitson, a cardiothoracic surgeon who leads the ECMO program at Ohio State.

The new system worked for 68-year-old Mark Bradford of Columbus. He collapsed while on his morning walk and woke up days later after treatment in the hospital.

“Without that protocol, I wouldn’t be alive. I’m very fortunate that they were trained in it and used it, and that I was out in the park where someone saw me,” Bradford said.

“It’s exciting and very few programs are doing this. Patients have a chance to walk out of a hospital with neurological recovery and have a meaningful life when, essentially, they very likely would have died,” Boudoulas said.

Experts say this is one more tool they have against cardiac arrest.

“Sudden cardiac arrest is a public health emergency because so few people survive, but there are so many things we can do: learn CPR, use AEDs and CPR machines, and now ECMO while doctors fix the cause. All of this can improve the numbers so sudden cardiac arrest doesn’t have to mean certain death,” said Dr. David Keseg, medical director at Columbus Division of Fire.

The ECPR protocol has only been tested in a few small studies recently, and so far the limited data shows an increase to about 40 percent chance of survival.

“We certainly need more trials and more data, but we’re hopeful this will be like the STEMI program for treating heart attacks faster,” Mazzaferri said. “Ten years ago that was under investigation just like ECPR is now. Perhaps some years from now, ECPR will be more routine and saving more lives across the U.S.”

One More Benefit of Nature: It Makes You Like Your Body Better

By Tom Jacobs

YES! Magazine

Not happy with what you see when you look in a mirror? Well, you can take a hike.

Seriously. New research from the United Kingdom finds strolling in nature—or even looking at photographs of the natural world—leaves people feeling better about their bodies.

In recent years, a series of studies have found that time spent in nature offers a range of benefits, from easing depression to increasing altruism. This latest work suggests it can also mute internal criticism of one’s less-than-perfect figure.

In the journal Body Image, a research team led by psychologist Viren Swami of Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge describes five studies that demonstrate this dynamic. The first featured a group of university undergraduates who looked at and evaluated a series of photographs.

Half saw images of the natural world, such as lakes, mountains and forests, while the others were exposed to urban scenes such as city streets and industrial buildings.

Before and after the viewing, all participants filled out a body image survey. They reported how satisfied or dissatisfied they felt about their weights, the size and shape of their bodies, and their physical appearances in general.

Those who viewed images of the natural world were significantly more satisfied with their bodies at the end of the experiment than they were when it started. This positive shift in attitude did not occur among those who saw cityscapes.

After replicating these results in two additional studies, the researchers tried a different approach: examining the effect of actually spending time in nature. The participants, 84 women and 79 men, all took a one-and-a-half-mile-long walk.

Half strolled “through a natural environment in Hampstead Heath, a 790-acre green space in north London encompassing ponds, woodlands, hills and landscapes,” the researchers write. The others “began at the same starting point, but when through a medium-density built environment encompassing high-rise housing blocks, offices and garages (and) small shops.”

Before and after their journey, all participants filled out a “body appreciation” questionnaire, in which they noted their level of agreement with statements such as “I feel good about my body” and “I am comfortable in my body.”

The results: Those who took the nature walk scored significantly higher on the second test, indicating a higher degree of acceptance of their bodies. In contrast, scores actually dropped for those who took the walk in the city.

“There are several reasons why exposure to nature could be having this effect,” Swami said in announcing the findings. “It might be that it distances people, physically and mentally, from appearance-focused situations that are one of the causes of negative body image.”

In addition, spending time in a natural setting “may provide people with cognitive quiet, which in turn may foster self-compassion,” the researchers write.

Or perhaps it simply reminds us of the insignificance of our own problems, and inspires a decrease in self-consciousness. Nature can do that. After all, no bear ever felt bad about her body.

‘Dangerous Drift-Prone Pesticide’ Threatens Millions of Acres, Hundreds of Endangered Species: Farmers and Conservationists Sue EPA, Monsanto

Public interest organizations representing farmers and conservationists made their legal case in a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Monsanto Company, challenging EPA’s approval of Monsanto’s new “XtendiMax” pesticide. XtendiMax is Monsanto’s version of dicamba, an old and highly drift-prone weed-killer. EPA’s approval permitted XtendiMax to be sprayed for the first time on growing soybeans and cotton that Monsanto has genetically engineered (GE) to be resistant to dicamba.

https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/02/web1_Ohio-State-Buckeyes-Logo.jpg
Starting to rival 2009 swine flu

By Mike Stobbe

AP Medical Writer