What Is Frostbite?

Please call 911 immediately if you are having chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding, sudden weakness or numbness, or if you think you have a medical emergency.

Frostbite refers to the freezing of body tissue (usually skin) that results the blood vessels contract and cause loss of oxygen to the affected body parts. Feeling is lost and the color changes in these tissues as well. It most commonly affects areas that are further away from the body core and have less blood flow. These include your feet, hands, nose, and ears.

There are three degrees of cold injury: frostnip, superficial frostbite, and deep frostbite. Although children, older people, and those with circulatory problems are at greater risk for frostbite, most cases occur in adults between 30 and 49.

If you have frostbite, you may not realize at first that anything is wrong because the affected area will be numb. With prompt medical attention, most people recover fully from frostbite. However, if severe frostbite occurs, permanent damage is possible depending on how long and how deeply the tissue is frozen.  In severe cases, blood flow to the area may stop and blood vessels, muscles, nerves, tendons, and bones may be permanently affected. If the frozen tissue dies, the affected area may need to be amputated.

What Causes Frostbite?

Frostbite is caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, particularly when accompanied by a low wind-chill factor or by more brief exposure to very cold temperatures.

Shot for Preventing Genital Warts Works in Men

WASHINGTON – A vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be transmitted by sexual contract, prevents 90 percent of genital warts in men.

A four-year clinical trial and double-blind study that included 4,065 healthy men aged 16-26 years, spanning 71 sites in 18 countries, provides the first reported results of using the HPV vaccine as a preventive measure in men.

HPV causes common warts of the hands and feet, as well as lesions of the mucous membranes of the oral, anal, and genital areas. The virus can also be found in cancer of the cervix.

Of those patients, 85 percent reported having exclusively female sexual partners, with the remainder self-identified as having sex with men, the New England Journal of Medicine reports.

While the HPV vaccine was approved in 2006 for girls to prevent cervical cancer, the vaccine’s benefit for young men was not initially addressed, according to a University of California statement.

Yet, infection and diseases caused by HPV are common in men, the researchers said, including genital warts, which are one of the leading sexually transmitted diseases (STD) for which treatment is sought nationwide.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that half of all sexually active Americans will get HPV at some point in their lives.

“This is an exciting development in the STD world,” said Joel Palefsky, University of California professor of medicine who led the research along with epidemiologist Anna R. Giuliano from the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Centre and Research Institute.

“It shows that if we vaccinate males early enough, we should be able to prevent most cases of external genital warts in this population,” he added.

Experts Map the Body’s Bacteria


 

BOULDER – Scientists have developed an atlas of the bacteria that live in different regions of the human body.

Some of the microbes help keep us healthy by playing a key role in physiological functions.

The University of Colorado at Boulder team found unexpectedly wide variations in bacterial communities from person to person.

The researchers hope their work, published in Science Express, will eventually aid clinical research.

They say that it might one day be possible to identify sites on the human body where transplants of specific microbes could benefit health.

The study was based on an intensive analysis of the bacteria found at 27 separate sites on the bodies of nine healthy volunteers.

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BODY SITES ANALYZED

Forehead

Armpits

Head hair

Ear canal

Forearm

Palm

Index finger

Navel

Back of the knee

Soles of the feet

Nostrils

Mouth

Gut

Not only did the bacterial communities vary from person to person, they also varied considerably from one site on the body to another, and from test to test – but some patterns did emerge.

What is healthy?

Lead researcher Dr Rob Knight said: “This is the most complete view we have yet of the microbial side of ourselves, one that our group and others will be adding to over the coming years.

“The goal is to find out what is normal for a healthy person, which will provide a baseline for further studies to look at people with diseased states.”

There are an estimated 100 trillion microbes living on or inside the human body.

They are thought to play a key role in many physiological functions, including the development of the immune system, digestion of key foods and helping to deter potentially disease-causing pathogens.

The researchers took four samples from each volunteer over a three-month period – usually one to two hours after they had showered.

They used the latest gene sequencing and computer techniques to draw up a profile of the microbes found at each specific site.

Most sites showed big variations in the bacteria they harboured from test to test even within the same individual.

However, there was less variation in the bacteria found in the armpits and soles of the feet – possibly because they provide a dark, moist environment.

The least variation of all was found in the mouth cavity.

Skin sites in the head area, including the forehead, nose, ear and hair, were dominated by one specific type of bacteria.

Sites on the trunk and legs were dominated by a different group.

Researcher Dr Noah Fierer said: “We have an immense number of questions to answer.

“Why do healthy people have such different microbial communities?

“Do we each have distinct microbial signatures at birth, or do they evolve as we age? And how much do they matter?”

Transplant test

The researchers disinfected the forearms and foreheads of some volunteers, and “inoculated” both sides with bacterial communities from the tongue.

The tongue bacteria lasted longer on the forearms than foreheads.

Dr Elizabeth Costello, who also worked on the study, said: “It may be that drier areas of the skin like forearms make generally more hospitable landing pads for bacteria.”

A previous study by the same examined the bacteria on 102 human hands.

In total, they identified more than 4,200 species of bacteria, but only about five were shared by all 51 participants.

Dr Knight said understanding the variation in human microbial communities held promise for future clinical research.

“If we can better understand this variation, we may be able to begin searching for genetic biomarkers for disease,” he said.

“Because our human genomes vary so little but our repertoire of microbial genes vary so much, it makes sense to look for variations that correlate with disease at specific locations.”