Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mental Health and the Leadership

Shaw Trust reported in 2010 that only 2 out of 10 employers reactive or proactive policies on mental health to support employees with mental ill health. What role does the leadership in addressing this complex problem?
Employee psychological well-being should be an integral part of the agenda conference room, on a par with physical health. Managers should insist on regular monitoring of progress or issues are reported to the board. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that 70% of employees with mental health problems, either directly caused by work or a combination of work and home. In light of this, there's just no excuse for this not to be a major problem for the leaders of the address. By proactively managing mental wellbeing in the workplace, leaders are not only concerned with their legal and ethical responsibilities, they also care for their bottom line. Absenteeism and presenteeism are responsible for the loss of billions of pounds of British institutions, as this will be ignored.
All employers should include the provision of mental well-being in their standard operations, in particular, where employees and / or organizations begin to change the processes that may be a very difficult time for everyone. Education from leadership down to proactively manage the mental well-being, including providing additional support staff or just a personal example, is essential. Safety net support, such as health coaching and professional needs to be included in the health and welfare policy.
Leaders should be to ensure that management have a major positive impact on mental health. Good managers lines are important in spotting early signs of distress and the beginning of early intervention, while the poor line managers can make the situation worse, or even be the cause of mental health problems in their approach, style, behavior management.
Managers should insist that a comprehensive and, more importantly, mandatory training in mental health for middle managers is introduced and embedded into the culture and development plans for their employees. This training and culture change will ensure that the organization develops employee stability, buy diazepam no prescription and emotional well-being.
Unfortunately, it's too easy for people to retire for medical reasons, not seeing people more than a cog in the machine. Failure to recognize the need for support and the need for policies and procedures that help is costly in the long run, as human beings need support at times in his life, even the leaders.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fecal Bacteria, E.Coli Found On Most Shopping Carts

Child in Shopping CartShopping Carts Are Teeming with Bacteria

You better bring your sanitizing wipes (or gloves) next time you head to the grocery store. Because if you don't, it is likely you will be picking up fecal bacteria, E.coli and other dangerous microbes along with your cart full of food.
MSNBC reported that researchers at the University of Arizona tested 85 shopping carts in several states for the presence of bacteria. An astonishing 72 percent of the tested carts were positive for fecal bacteria. Then out of 36 tested carts, half of them were contaminated with E. Coli.
“That’s more than you find in a supermarket’s restroom,” Charles Gerba, the lead researcher on the study and a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, told MSNBC.
This finding is not all too surprising, but just unpleasant to ponder. The potential sources of bacteria are endless on the shopping cart handles. Sneezing, coughing, failure to hand wash after restroom use, meat drippings, dirty diapers, sweat, and baby drool are just to name a few.
The problem is that sterilization of grocery carts by the grocery stores themselves is almost non-existent. In fact, the only time they are probably ever even wiped down is when shoppers take it upon themselves to clean the handles.
Many grocery stores do, however, offer complimentary sanitizing wipes for use on the carts. Perhaps not so coincidentally Clorox, the largest supplier of sanitizing wipes, happens to be providing the funding for this research being done by the University of Arizona.
Nonetheless, it is a good to be reminded about how filthy our environments really is and how conscientious we should be about where we place our toddlers, fresh produce and purses. The knowledge that carts are a health hazard shouldn't prevent you from using one in the event that you don't have something to sterilize it with. Just a good proper hand washing or anti-bacterial hand gel should be in order after you complete your shopping.
On a similar note, any reusable grocery bags should be washed as well. The same researchers who brought the bad news about the shopping carts have also found in a similar study that these bags can be just as nasty as any other contaminated surface.

Looking Ahead

There are several states who have pushed for legislation requiring supermarkets to offer sanitizing options for their customers, such as Clorox wipes. There is also a new company called PureCart which has developed a full-cycle disinfecting wash for shopping carts that is similar to the idea of a car wash.
In the meantime, if your grocery store doesn't already offer a bucket of sanitizing wipes for you to use, then I highly recommend that you invest in your health and pick up your own supply...today.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hospitals Can be Dangerous to Your Health

As America becomes more modernized, we would like to think hospitals are a place for healing and safety however, researchers from Harvard Medical School performed a six year study only to find that hospital errors continue.
A majority of the harm and damage was not life threatening, however the study found that a projected 15,000 Medicare patients die monthly as a result of hospital care.
Lead author Dr. Christopher Landrigan who studied the data of more than 2,300 patient admissions records from 10 North Carolina hospitals between 2002 to 2007 said the results likely reflect what's happening nationwide.
"What has been done right is that regulatory agencies have begun prioritizing patient safety," said Landrigan, an assistant professor of pediatrics and medicine at Harvard Medical School. "But these efforts have largely been a patchwork of unconnected efforts and so far have not been as strong as they can be."
Slightly more than half of the errors were avoidable, Landrigan said. "These harms are still very common, and there's no evidence that they're improving," he said. "The problem is that the methods that have been best proven to improve care have not been implemented across the nation."
The problem is it can be very difficult to change "long-established" work practices. "In order to change the way we do things, we have to work effectively as teams, and to become a good team is difficult in healthcare because that's not how it's set up, that's not how we train our doctors," said Lucian Leape, a health policy analyst at Harvard University and adviser for the recent study.
Authors believe the taking steps like limiting the hours for which medical residents are allowed to work in a single shift as well as computerizing patient records and drug prescription orders could help along with implementation of surgical checklists in order to prevent infections.
The authors concluded, "In a study of 10 North Carolina hospitals, we found that harms remain common, with little evidence of widespread improvement. Further efforts are needed to translate effective safety interventions into routine practice and to monitor health care safety over time."

Monday, January 31, 2011

First-Ever Recording Of Blood Vessel Development During Organ Formation

A new microscope system that can take 3-D pictures of an embryonic mouse organ over 24 to 48 hours has shown Duke Medical Center researchers the first glimpse of the formation of blood vessels during development.
Among other things, a team lead by cell biologist Blanche Capel, Ph.D., has found a previously unknown mechanism in the formation of blood vessels that may help scientists better understand how a tumor rallies a blood supply to its aid.
Using mice that have blood vessel cells marked by green fluorescence, the Duke University cell biologists studied vessels that supply mouse gonads. These are the embryonic organs that give rise to ovaries or testes later in development.
The team studied gonads because they could remove and culture the gonad along with the nearby tissue that initially houses the major blood vessels. This way they could watch how the blood vessel system (vasculature) develops as the gonad changes into a testis or ovary.
The scientists’ novel system for studying development using time-lapse microscopy and tiny samples of tissue shed new light on the dynamic process of organ formation. This system answered key questions about how the vasculature gets fitted into the organ as it forms, Capel said. Before this, scientists could only image one point in development at a time.
The striking new images became the cover story of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and were assembled into a time-lapse movie.
The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the Lalor Foundation.
The Duke team was surprised by the vigorous cell movements involved in the development of male gonads. "In the male gonad, the major blood vessel in the adjacent tissue comes apart and the individual blood vessel cells move to a new location, and reassemble into new vessels inside the testis," Capel said. "This breakdown process represents a possible way for growing tumors to access a blood supply, by commandeering a mechanism similar to the ones organs use to recruit vessels into the tumor."
She pointed out that a blood supply is critical to a growing tumor, and this may be an important mechanism in the formation of blood vessels in tumors that scientists have not appreciated before. "That is an exciting finding," Capel said.
This imaging in 3-D over time was possible because Capel’s laboratory already had developed a culture system for studying the organ in the lab. "We were positioned to convert that to a live imaging system when advances in microscopy became available at Duke University Medical Center," Capel explained. "The Duke Department of Cell Biology has an imaging facility that is really outstanding, and our chair, Brigid Hogan, has put a lot of energy into making sure it is state of the art. One of the authors on this paper, Tim Oliver, who manages this facility, helped us to get the imaging set up."
The organs were placed in small wells in an agar block designed to hold them still. The entire system was enclosed in a humidified and temperature-controlled chamber around the microscope. Scientists captured an image every 20 minutes for 24-48 hours, then later assembled the images in sequence to make movies.
It wasn’t easy, Capel said. "We had to work a lot of kinks out of the system. For example, we were exposing the organ to a laser to detect the fluorescent vascular cells throughout the duration of the culture. But too much laser light damages cells. You need to create a bright enough fluorescence in the cells so that you don’t have to turn the laser on such a high setting that it kills cells during the culture period."
This success with recording the growth of blood vessels has spurred the Capel lab team on to new projects. "Our goal now is to have different colored fluorescent markers for other types of cells in the organ. I hope we can simultaneously image the vessels and other cells as the vessels move into the organ, so we can see how they interact together as a functional organ is forming."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pomegranate Fights MRSA and Other Superbugs

The rind of pomegranate appears to deliver a powerful punch against the highly resistant staph infection called MRSA, along with other superbugs that haunt hospital and nursing home patients. Researchers from Kingston University in Surrey report that pomegranate can be used in a topical medication to fight such serious and deadly infections.
MRSA, which stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a strain of staph that is resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics used to treat it. MRSA infections can be acquired in the community or in a healthcare facility and is transmitted primarily through skin-to-skin contact or contact with shared surfaces that have been contaminated with the organism. A report in the AAOS Now notes that the number of hospital admissions for MRSA in 2005 were triple those in 2000 and ten times higher than in 1995. An October 2007 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association noted that of the 94,360 US patients who developed MRSA in 2005, nearly 20 percent (18,650) died.
Currently, 85 percent of MRSA infections are healthcare related. The death rate, length of hospital stay, and the cost of treating patients who have MRSA are more than twice that of other hospital admissions. While older adults and people who have a compromised immune system are most at risk of hospital-acquired MRSA, otherwise healthy, younger people can acquire community associated MRSA, which is responsible for serious skin infections and pneumonia.
The researchers from Kingston University conducted a series of tests over three years and found that when they mixed pomegranate rind with two other natural substances—metal salts and vitamin C—the ability of the rind to fight infections greatly increased. They hope their discovery can lead to the development of a topical medication to treat drug-resistant infections and perhaps even lead to a new antibiotic. A new effective antibiotic would be a significant breakthrough given the rise of infections that are resistant to the antibiotics currently on the market.
While the pharmaceutical industry typically focuses on one specific active molecule when developing a drug, the Kingston University researchers found that when they combined three natural ingredients, they achieved a much more potent product that could kill or inhibit drug-resistant microbes from growing. Declan Naughton, professor of biomolecular sciences at Kingston, noted that “there was synergy, where the combined effects were much greater than those exhibited by individual components.”
The research team found that while pomegranate rind mixed with metal salts was most effective against MRSA, the addition of vitamin C helped fight other common hospital infections. Unlike antibiotics and other medications, which are associated with significant side effects, Naughton said that using foods as the basis for treatment meant that patients would be much more likely to tolerate its use.
Pomegranate is being investigated for a wide variety of health-related uses, ranging from fighting prostate cancer to obesity, heart disease, and impotence. Preliminary studies in humans suggest that tannins found in pomegranate can reduce oxidative stress, while metabolites called ellagitannins may be helpful in combating prostate cancer.
The fact that a combination of pomegranate, metal salts, and vitamin C has been effective against MRSA and other superbug infections is “potentially significant,” says Anthony Coates, professor of medical microbiology at St. George’s in London. “The need for new antibiotics is acute,” he said. Although more research is needed, Coates noted that “Most antibiotics come from nature, so it is very valid to look at natural sources.”

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Republicans In Stem Cell Showdown in Missouri

While researchers repor a new breakthrough of brain stem correcting a congenital brain disorder in mice Republicans are in a stem cell showdown in Missouri over the issue of protecting human embryonic stem cell. This publication eMaxHealth is against using embryonic stem cell for research because we are not to decide at what point life begins.
Amie Newman reports from Rhrealitycheck blog.
In an election season in which old habits seems to be dying relatively easily, a group of wealthy and highly influential Republicans from Missouri are embracing the trend wholeheartedly.
From today’s Daily Women’s Health Policy Report:
"Nineteen "prominent" Missouri Republicans, including former U.S. Sen. John Danforth, recently launched a campaign committee aimed at protecting human embryonic stem cell research in the state, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports."
This rebel group of Republicans took a stand to counter a new platform being adopted by the Missouri Republican Party that calls for a ban on any human embryonic stem cell research in the state.
The state’s two Republican gubernatorial candidates – U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshop and Treasurer Sarah Steelman – both oppose embryonic stem cell research.
Despite what seems to be a majority Republican opinion on embryonic stem cell research in the state, this group of nineteen Republicans – noted for the millions of dollars they have contributed over the years to Republican campaigns and the state party – are unyielding in their commitment to this issue.
U.S. Senator John Danforth says, "What we want to make clear is that there are Republicans who are credible, and with impeccable credentials, who are very strongly on the other side."
According to the St. Louis Dispatch, the group, Republicans To Protect Medical Advances, reads like a who’s who list of high-end political donors. It includes William H.T. "Bucky" Bush (President George W. Bush’s uncle), Jack Taylor (retired founder of Enterprise Rent-A-Car), and Marilyn Fox, the wife of Sam Fox, U.S Ambassador to Belgium.
Danforth supports Senator John McCain, as McCain is in favor of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Now, if we can get a group of prominent Republicans to take a stand on behalf of common sense reproductive health prevention strategies — including ensuring Title X (contraception for low-income women and men) remains intact, increased funding for comprehensive sexuality education and repealing the Hyde Amendment — we’d really be getting somewhere.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Doctors Ignore FDA Warning to Screen Users for Antipsychotic drugs

A study which was done by health researchers from Oregon, Colorado, Georgia and Missouri, and just published in the Archives of General Psychiatry released January 2010, concluded that many doctors have largely ignored a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning to screen users of new antipsychotic drugs for high blood sugar and cholesterol. Both of these medical conditions can be a very high risk to health. In addition it begins to raise questions about the efficacy of warnings.
The research analyzed about 109,000 Medicaid patients taking "second generation" antipsychotic drugs, which can cause increases in blood sugar, cholesterol and significant weight gain, as well as other symptoms – significantly raising the risk of diabetes.
Researchers found that most doctors never changed their level of baseline screening for blood sugar and cholesterol, despite a strong warning in 2003 from the FDA and two other organizations that antipsychotic drugs could raise the risk of diabetes in a patient population that already was at higher risk for this disease.
The existing baseline screening and ongoing monitoring of glucose and lipid levels in these patients was already pretty low, and the FDA warning really had no impact in changing that," said Daniel Hartung, an assistant professor of pharmacy instruction in the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University.
"The side effects that can be caused by these new types of antipsychotic medications, some of which were first approved in the 1990s, are not trivial," Hartung said. "Increases in blood sugar, cholesterol and body weight can lead to diabetes in some cases, and this patient group already has a problem with diabetes that's almost twice that of the general population."
These second-generation antipsychotic drugs known as olanzapine, aripiprazole and others, are extremely powerful medications and were originally developed for treatment of schizophrenia, Hartung said. They were originally prescribed only by psychiatrists, however their use has now expanded widely into treatment for problems such as bipolar disorder and less serious mental health problems such as depression and dementia. These powerful drugs are often administered by general practitioners.
"Part of the problem may be that simply sending doctors a letter about these issues, which come up every now and then with medications, is just not getting the job done," Hartung said. "With this group of medications, at least, it clearly wasn't effective, and it does raise questions about whether new approaches are needed. Part of the problem may also be people moving from one doctor to another, and inaccurate assumptions about testing being made."
Anyone taking these medications, Hartung said, may wish to discuss with their physicians what type of metabolic screening they’ve had, and consider glucose and lipid testing if it has not already been done if they are on these second-generation antipsychotic drugs since many doctors are ignoring the FDA warning.