Professor Maurice Mars of South Africa joins US Tele-Medicine Board of Advisors

Professor Maurice Mars, MD, Chief of the Department of Telehealth at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa, has joined the Board of Advisors of US Tele-Medicine.

“Professor Mars is a true pioneer and explorer of telehealth initiatives in Africa,” Continue reading

Area Hospitals Devising Ways to Keep Patients Out

It sounds counterintuitive: Improve your business by keeping customers out. But that’s exactly what some hospitals are doing.

The Seton Healthcare Family, the largest hospital operator in Central Texas, has a five-year goal of reducing hospitalizations that includes programs that steer patients toward care that is less expensive than at a hospital, said Seton executive Greg Hartman. Seton operates several programs that help hospital staffers communicate with chronically ill people to see that they follow up with primary care doctors and take other steps to prevent another hospital admission.

“So many admissions in the hospital are an admission the system failed that person,” said Hartman, president of University Medical Center Brackenridge and Seton Medical Center Austin.

Other hospital systems, including Scott & White and St. David’s HealthCare, said they also have strategies to keep people from filling their emergency departments and hospital rooms, although Seton is publicly touting the idea. Continue reading

Doctors and Nurses Hospital Uniforms Contain Dangerous Bacteria Majority of the Time

More than 60 percent of hospital nurses’ and doctors’ uniforms tested positive for potentially dangerous bacteria, according to a study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of APIC – the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

A team of researchers led by Yonit Wiener-Well, MD, from the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel, collected swab samples from three parts of the uniforms of 75 registered nurses (RNs) and 60 medical doctors (MDs) by pressing standard blood agar plates at the abdominal zone, sleeves’ ends and pockets.

The researchers at this 550-bed, university-affiliated hospital found that exactly half of all the cultures taken, Continue reading

Which Eggs Are Better for You ?

The evidence increasingly shows that the best health advice for a morning meal is to include a few eggs. They are rich in nutrients, lower in cholesterol than previously thought, and help keep you satiated longer into the day. A new study addressed an interesting question: are eggs laid by free- range hens nutritionally superior to those laid by eggs in cages?

Free-range eggs are generally perceived to be better for you. There is no doubt they are ethically the better option, and perhaps that is all that needs to be addressed. A study was conducted to see if this natural food is actually clinically superior in nutrient base. To that end, the new study found basically no difference in quality of eggs produced by hens in both environments.

What’s more is that cholesterol levels in all eggs Continue reading

A Supplement for Your Blood Vessels

Lipoic acid, also known as alpha-lipoic acid or thioctic acid, was originally identified as a vitamin more than 50 years ago. It is a naturally occurring chemical made in small amounts by plants, animals and humans. It is also a natural solution for improving the health of your blood vessels. This is the first of two articles explaining how it works.

Though the information is limited, foods rich in lipoic acid include kidney, heart, liver, spinach, tomatoes, peas, and Brussels sprouts. Lipoic acid in dietary supplements varies from 100 to 600 milligrams. In Germany, lipoic acid is available by prescription for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. Low blood levels of lipoic acid are found in patients with diabetes, atherosclerosis, and liver cirrhosis.

Lipoic acid has many functions in your body: Continue reading

Five Maine In-Store Wal-Mart Clinics to Close

EMHS, a seven-hospital system based in Brewer, Maine, announced that it will close five of the six convenient-care clinics it has operated inside Wal-Mart Supercenter stores since 2009.

Called the Clinic at Wal-Mart, the in-store facilities were operated as subsidiaries of the Aroostook Medical Center, a 60-bed facility in Presque Isle; Eastern Maine Medical Center, a 349-bed facility in Bangor; 46-bed Inland Hospital, Waterville; and 25-bed Sebasticook Valley Hospital, Pittsfield. The clinic inside a Waterville Wal-Mart will remain open, EMHS spokeswoman Suzanne Spruce said.

“They were not profitable; we were not seeing the patient volume we had hoped to see at them,” Spruce said. “To break even, we have to see 25 patients a day. Some clinics were seeing less than 10.” Continue reading

Cherries Are an Inexpensive Natural Remedy for Pain

Pain is a huge problem for individuals, families, businesses and our economy. According to the American Pain Society, at any given time, as many as a third of us are in pain and every year pain drives half of us to a doctor`s office seeking relief. Combined costs of medical care and lost productivity due to chronic pain amount to $150 billion annually. While pain medications are expensive and have serious side effects, a number of natural and herbal remedies for pain relief are available which are good alternatives. One of these is cherries, which are loaded with antioxidants called anthocyanins that give them their red color along with significant pain relief.

General Pain Relief

In research published  Continue reading

Localizing Language in the Brain

New study pinpoints areas of the brain used exclusively for language, providing a partial answer to a longstanding debate in cognitive science

The new research from MIT suggests that there are parts of our brain dedicated to language and only language, a finding that marks a major advance in the search for brain regions specialized for sophisticated mental functions.

Functional specificity, as it’s known to cognitive scientists, refers to the idea that discrete parts of the brain handle distinct tasks. Scientists have long known that functional specificity exists in certain domains: In the motor system, for example, there is one patch of neurons that controls the fingers of your left hand, and another that controls your tongue. But what about more complex functions such as recognizing faces, using language or doing math? Are there special brain regions for those activities, or do they use general-purpose areas that serve whatever task is at hand? Continue reading

Prevent and Treat Osteoarthritis

Painful osteoarthritis is a major health threat for millions of Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 46 million American adults have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia. In fact, 50 percent of adults aged 65 and older report they’ve been given a diagnosis of arthritis by a doctor.

Repeated trauma and joint stress, both of which can trigger joint inflammation, are the leading causes. Those people who have widespread joint involvement probably have a strong predetermination to develop the disease which may be triggered by a bad diet, environmental toxins, or infections.

Here are eight tips to both prevent and treat osteoarthritis:

Avoid obesity According to a Centers for Disease Control report on arthritis, 66 percent of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis are overweight or obese. The more weight you have on a joint,  Continue reading

Your Immune System Can Kill

Sometimes the disease itself doesn’t kill; the killer is the victim’s own immune system.

A growing amount of research shows that this can happen with certain infections, such as those that cause Lyme disease, syphilis, mycoplasmal pneumonia, and especially viral infections of the nervous system. Death and severe neurological damage come from an attack by our own body’s immune system and not from the damage done by the invading microorganism.

Activation of the body’s immune system triggers the release of glutamate which slowly kills brain cells by a process called excitotoxicity.

A recent study examined a viral infection of the central nervous system of mice which produced severe damage to the hippocampus area of the brain and to the spinal cord, and resulted in death in all of the mice in a little over a week. In some of the mice, researchers used an AMPA type glutamate receptor blocker, which prevented death in most of the animals and also prevented spinal cord damage.

Ironically, at the time the animals were protected from the damage by the glutamate receptor blocker, Continue reading

Ease Back Pain Naturally through Inversion Therapy

These days, a large portion of the population suffers with some form of back pain. While conventional doctors are quick to recommend operations to repair damage and relieve pain that has been sustained by the discs between the vertebrae, it is good to know that there are actually natural and less invasive ways of dealing with back pain. The most common remedies involve either exercise or inversion therapy or a combination of the two.

Inversion therapy places a person upside down so that pressure can be relieved on the spinal nerves, ligaments and discs. By reducing the pressure on these parts, pain in them is also significantly reduced. A study carried out as far back as 1978 showed that patients who engaged in inversion therapy experienced a 35% decrease in pain levels almost immediately. Another study revealed that over 80% of patients who had undergone just eight inversion table treatments were able to return to work and normal everyday activities. Continue reading

Foods Rich in Protein, Dairy Products Help Dieters Preserve Muscle and Loose Belly Fat

New research suggests a higher-protein, lower-carbohydrate energy-restricted diet has a major positive impact on body composition, trimming belly fat and increasing lean muscle, particularly when the proteins come from dairy products.

The study, published in the September issue of the Journal of Nutrition, compared three groups of overweight and obese, but otherwise healthy, premenopausal women. Each consumed either low, medium or high amounts of dairy foods coupled with higher or lower amounts of protein and carbohydrates.

The women exercised seven days per week for four months, a routine that included five days  Continue reading

Prunes May Help Prevent Osteoporosis

Most people know that they should get adequate levels of calcium every day in order to maintain strong bones, but researchers at Florida State University have conducted a study which suggests that prunes may also contribute to higher bone density.

In a year-long trial, the scientists instructed 55 of the participants to eat 100 grams of dried plums each day and 45 volunteers to consume the same amount of dried apples. All volunteers were female and took 500-milligram calcium supplements and 400 international units of vitamin D.

At the end of the study, researchers said that the women who ate prunes daily had significantly higher bone mineral density than their counterparts who ate apples. The scientists noted that this may be due to the fruit’s ability to prevent resorption, or bone loss.

Authors of the study Continue reading

How Potassium Affects Your Health

Potassium is an essential dietary mineral that plays an important role in muscle contraction. This includes the heart, nerves, acid-base balance, kidney function, and your digestion of carbohydrates.

If you don’t get enough potassium, you can develop high blood pressure, stroke, and other heart diseases. A dietary survey showed that daily intake in adult women was 2,300 milligrams (mg) and 2,100 mg for men.

In 2004, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine published the daily adequate intake levels for potassium. It went like so:

Infants and Children Continue reading

How to Protect Yourself from Hip Fractures

In a single year, as many as 350,000 Americans may find themselves suffering from a broken hip. It is estimated that, 90% of the time, these fractures are due to a fall. Residents in nursing homes seem particularly vulnerable. Up to 50% of residents fall each year(!).

In the past decade, companies have developed pads that can be worn on the hip. It was thought that these pads would offer enough cushioning to the hip to prevent a fracture. But, according to a new study performed at the Rehabilitation Studies Unit, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, the latest health news is that hip protectors don’t necessarily work.

The research team conducted a randomized, controlled trial with 234 participants.  Continue reading