Friday, January 20, 2017
The partnership, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, will initially develop and stockpile vaccines against three known viral threats, and also push the development of technology to brew large amounts of vaccine quickly when new threats, like the Zika virus, arise.
With enough money and scientific progress, the strategy could bring a drastic change in the way the world tackles pandemics.
Now the global response often resembles a fire department racing from blaze to blaze. The coalition wants something more like a military campaign, with stores of ammunition and different weapons systems ready to be deployed as soon as a threat emerges.
In theory, health officials could even act pre-emptively — inoculating a population against a dangerous new flu or coronavirus circulating in animals before it infects many people, for example.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
The causes of insomnia are many, and they increase in number and severity as people age. Yet the problem is often overlooked during routine checkups, which not only diminishes the quality of an older person's life but may also cause or aggravate physical and emotional disorders, including symptoms of cognitive loss.
Most everyone experiences episodic insomnia, a night during which the body seems to have forgotten how to sleep a requisite number of hours, if at all. As distressing as that may seem at the time, it pales in comparison to the effects on people for whom insomnia — difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or awakening much too early — is a nightly affair.
A survey done in 1995 by researchers at the National Institute on Aging among more than 9,000 people aged 65 and older living in three communities revealed that 42 percent reported difficulty with both falling asleep and staying asleep. The numbers affected are likely to be much larger now that millions spend their pre-sleep hours looking at electronic screens that can disrupt the body's biological rhythms.
Insomnia, Dr. Alon Y. Avidan says, "is a symptom, not a diagnosis" that can be a clue to an underlying and often treatable health problem and, when it persists, should be taken seriously. Dr. Avidan is director of the sleep clinic at the University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine.
Here's Johnson's answer: "Come on people. We're off the cliff. It's already happening. People are dying. It's right here, right now. Sure, it's going to get worse. But we're already there."
His declaration came in response to a report of a woman in Nevada who died of an incurable infection, resistant to all 26 antibiotics available in the U.S. to treat infection. Her death was reported in the Jan. 13 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That kind of bacterium is known as a "superbug," which belongs to a family of bacteria resistant to antibiotics. In cases like the Nevada woman, who was infected with Klebsiella pneumoniae, the term "nightmare superbug" has been coined because this particular specimen was even resistant to antibiotics developed as a last resort against bacterial infection.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Cutting into a digital cadaver can be more educational than the real thing for certain medical students, a new study found.
The study, "Use of Computer-Aided Holographic Models Improves Performance in a Cadaver Dissection-Based Course in Gross Anatomy," compared the ability of 265 first-year med students to identify anatomical structures when looking at cadavers, preserved body parts and digital models. It found that especially students who are struggling in med school appear to benefit from being taught anatomy in several different ways.
Across three practical exams, the top one-fifth of students in the study scored around 90 percent no matter the methodology. The bottom one-fifth of students, however, performed significantly better when reviewing digital models. Across the three exams, those students' test scores increased; on one test, average scores jumped from an F to a low C when students were asked to identify anatomical structures on a digital model versus a cadaver.
Monday, January 16, 2017
We devote vast resources to intensive, one-off procedures, while starving the kind of steady, intimate care that often helps people more.http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/23/the-heroism-of-incremental-care
Judith Katherine Dunning had been waiting anxiously for California to adopt legislation that would make it legal for her to end her life.
The cancer in her brain was progressing despite several rounds of treatment. At 68, she spent most of her day asleep and needed an aide to help with basic tasks.
More centrally, Ms. Dunning — who, poignantly, had worked as an oral historian in Berkeley, Calif. — was losing her ability to speak. Even before the End of Life Option Actbecame law, in October 2015, she had recorded a video expressing her desire to hasten her death.
The video, she hoped, would make her wishes clear, in case there were any doubts later on.