Antibiotics Prove Powerless as Super-Germs Spread

Resistant Bacteria

Antibiotics Prove Powerless as Super-Germs Spread

Photo Gallery: Growing Worries about Killer Bugs
CDC / Matthew J. Arduino / DRPH

Antibiotics were once the wonder drug. Now, however, an increasing number of highly resistant -- and deadly -- bacteria are spreading around the world. The killer bugs often originate in factory farms, where animals are treated whether they are sick or not. By SPIEGEL Staff

The pathogens thrive in warm, moist environments. They feel comfortable in people's armpits, in the genital area and in the nasal mucous membranes. Their hunting grounds are in the locker rooms of schools and universities, as well as in the communal showers of prisons and health clubs.

The bacteria are transmitted via the skin, through towels, clothing or direct body contact. All it takes is a small abrasion to provide them with access to a victim's bloodstream. Festering pustules develop at the infection site, at which point the pathogens are also capable of corroding the lungs. If doctors wait too long, patients can die very quickly.

This is precisely what happened to Ashton Bonds, a 17-year-old student at Staunton River High School in Bedford County, in the US state of Virginia. Ashton spent a week fighting for his life -- and lost. This is probably what also happened to Omar Rivera, a 12-year-old in New York, who doctors sent home because they thought he was exhibiting allergy symptoms. He died that same night.

The same thing almost happened at a high school in the town of Belen, New Mexico. Less than two weeks ago, a cheerleader at the school was hospitalized after complaining about an abscess. Twelve other female students had been afflicted with suspicious rashes. All the students tested positive for a bacterium that the US media has dubbed the "superbug."

The school administration in Belen believes that the bacterium was spread on mats in the school's fitness and wrestling rooms. The facility was thoroughly disinfected 40 times, and yet the fear remains.

Fears of a Pandemic

Pill that makes you fit without even having to leave the sofa

It is a couch potato’s dream, a pill that will make you fit without having to move a muscle.

Scientists say they have created a drug that provides all the benefits of exercise without actually having to do any.

They have discovered that the hormone irisin, found naturally in the body, is responsible for some of the health benefits of sweating it out at the gym.

Benefits: The Irisin pills could help build levels of 'good fat' in those who take them

Benefits: The Irisin pills could help build levels of 'good fat' in those who take them

When given to mice, the researchers found that irisin was key in the development of ‘good fat’, which burns off calories.

Top Health Benefits Found in the Bedroom

The road to good health may not always lead to the health food store, doctors office or pharmacy. It may go straight to the bedroom, say experts.
The fountain of youth can be found between the sheets, says Dr. Walter Gaman, co-author of Stay Young: 10 Proven Steps to Ultimate Health.
Frequent sex causes the brain to release human growth hormone, which helps maintain youth.
Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor at Yale University and a renowned gynecologist, adds that menopausal women have fewer symptoms when they have a good sex life.
Frequent sex increases blood flow to the pelvic area so women need less medication for vaginal dryness, Dr. Minkin reveals. And of course most relationships benefit from a healthy sex life. Maybe this is not a strict gynecological fact, but its true!

ere are more ways that being active in the bedroom benefits your health:

Improves Memory.

Increases Immunity.

Improves Heart Health. Reduces Pain.

Helps You Live Longer. Makes You Happier. Makes You Stronger.

Read more: Top Health Benefits Found in the Bedroom
Important: At Risk For A Heart Attack? Find Out Now.

Your Office Can Make You Sick

A new study suggests that your indoor office air particularly in newly renovated offices could be making you sick by exposing you to harmful PFCs, or polyfluorinated compounds.

''Workers who spend their day in a typical office environment are likely to have exposure to PFCs through the air, and that seems to lead to PFC levels in their blood," said researcher Michael McClean, associate professor of environmental health at the Boston University School of Public Health in the U.S.

PFCs are often released by furniture, carpet stain repellents, paint, and food packaging, and are linked to a host of health problems including thyroid hormone imbalance, certain cancers, and infertility.

Read more: Your Office Can Make You Sick
Important: At Risk For A Heart Attack? Find Out Now.

High Levels Of MRSA Bacteria Found In Meat Products

MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that sometimes infects hospital patients, can also be found in our food. And a new study says MRSA is a lot more common in retail pork products than previously believed.

The new study was conducted by researchers at the University of Iowa College of Public Health and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

MRSA can occur in the environment and in raw meat products, and is estimated to cause around 185,000 cases of food poisoning each year. The bacteria can also cause serious, life-threatening infections of the bloodstream, skin, lungs, and other organs. MRSA is resistant to a number of antibiotics.

Eating chocolate can stave off bowel cancer, say scientists

Eating chocolate could stave off bowel cancer, say scientists.

A study found having daily doses of cocoa reduced the risk of developing the disease.

It is the latest piece of research to highlight the health benefits of the cocoa bean, most of which is harvested in West Africa.

According to a study eating chocolate may help stave off bowel cancer

According to a study eating chocolate may help stave off bowel cancer

Previous studies have found the seed is rich in particularly powerful natural antioxidants that destroy harmful molecules known as free radicals.

And it has been suggested that eating chocolate with a high cocoa content could help to control diabetes, blood pressure and heart disease.

Blast of gas that could replace dentist's drill and make fillings stronger

A new ‘gas-firing’ device may offer a pain-free alternative to the dentist’s drill — and could make fillings even more hard-wearing.

The device, which resembles an electric toothbrush, cleans out cavities in rotten teeth in only 30 seconds, according to new research.

It works by generating high-energy gas and liquid particles to kill bacteria and blast out the decayed pulp of the tooth.

Estimates suggest that around one-in-four of us fear going to the dentist, leading to many people not visiting at all

Estimates suggest that around one-in-four of us fear going to the dentist, leading to many people not visiting at all

The researchers at the University of Missouri who developed the device say it means less discomfort for patients, as it does not affect the highly sensitive nerves in the teeth.

Conventional drills cause pain because the vibrations from the drill trigger signals in these nerves.

Tooth decay is the second most common health problem after the common cold.

It is caused by bacteria in the mouth — one of the bacteria’s main food sources is sugar, which is why sweet treats accelerate tooth damage.

Most cavities are discovered by dentists in the early stages during routine check-ups.

The surface of the tooth may be soft when probed with a sharp instrument, but there is often no pain until the advanced stages of tooth decay.

Dentists fill teeth by drilling out the decayed material and replacing it with white or amalgam fillings made from a variety of different metals including tin, silver, copper and mercury.

An estimated eight million cavities are filled each year in the UK.

Estimates suggest that around one-in-four of us fear going to the dentist, leading to many people not visiting at all.

Doctors' Drug Company Perks Becoming Public

Drug companies will be required to reveal the payments they make to doctors for research, consulting, speaking, travel, and entertainment as part of the Obama administration's new health-care law.

The New York Times reported that about a quarter of doctors take cash payments from pharmaceutical and device companies, while nearly two-thirds accept gifts of food, including dinners.

The Times has found that doctors who take money from drug makers often practice medicine differently from those who do not and that they are more willing to prescribe drugs in risky and unapproved ways, such as prescribing powerful antipsychotic medicines for children.

Any payment over $10 must be reported, even if the company delivers a batch of bagels for a morning staff meeting worth $25, according to the paper.

Read more: Doctors' Drug Company Perks Becoming Public
Important: At Risk For A Heart Attack? Find Out Now.

Flavonoids Prevents Heart Attacks

Older adults who get a moderate amount of certain plant compounds in their diets are less likely to die of heart disease or stroke, a large study finds.

The research, on nearly 100,000 older U.S. adults, found that those getting the most flavonoids in their diets were less likely to die of heart disease or stroke over the next seven years than those who ate the least flavonoids.

The compounds are found in a range of plant foods, including many fruits (like berries, citrus and apples) and vegetables (like kale, spinach and broccoli), nuts, soy, dark chocolate, tea and wine.

Research shows that flavonoids have a number of benefits, including fighting inflammation and acting as antioxidants -- which means they help protect body cells from damage that may lead to chronic diseases and cancer.

In the current study, the researchers divided participants into five groups according to the amount of flavonoids in their diets.

The one-fifth with the highest flavonoid intake were 18 percent less likely to die of heart problems or stroke than the fifth with the lowest intake.

Read more: Flavonoids Prevents Heart Attacks
Important: At Risk For A Heart Attack? Find Out Now.

Gold coils are the latest weapon in prostate cancer war

Doctors are arming themselves with a precious new weapon in the fight against prostate cancer – gold.

Gold coils are being used to target radiotherapy more accurately, intensifying the effect of the treatment on the prostate and preventing damage to nearby organs such as the bowel or bladder.

Around six of the coils, which are 1cm to 2cm long and cost £80 to £100 each, are inserted in the prostate prior to treatment.

Gold is used because it shows up on scans and few people are allergic to it. Once fitted, the coils stay in the prostate for life.

Tiny miracle: World's third smallest surviving baby finally goes home

One of the world's smallest surviving babies, Melinda Star Guido was so tiny when she was born at 24 weeks that she could fit in the palm of her mother's hand.

Weighing less just 9 ½ ounces at birth - less then a can of soda - she has spent the first four months of her life in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Now weighing 4½ pounds, doctors have given her 22-year-old mother Haydee Ibarra the all clear to take her 'miracle baby' home for the first time.

Scroll down for video

Homeward bound: Melinda Star Guido is discharged from Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center after spending months in the ICU, now weighing four and a half pounds

Homeward bound: Melinda Star Guido is discharged from Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center after spending months in the ICU, now weighing four and a half pounds

Tiny miracle: Haydee Ibarra, 22, pictured here holding record0breaking Melinda Star Guido at 14 weeks, can take her baby home for the first time after giving birth in August

Tiny miracle: Haydee Ibarra, 22, pictured here holding record-breaking Melinda Star Guido at 14 weeks, can take her baby home for the first time after giving birth in August

Little fighter: Melinda, pictured here holding her mother's finger at three and a half months, has beaten all the odds by making steady progress since she was born at 24 weeks

Little fighter: Melinda, pictured here holding her mother's finger at three and a half months, has beaten all the odds by making steady progress since she was born at 24 weeks

Melinda has been growing steadily and gaining weight since she was born in August, almost four months before she was due, at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

She is the world's third smallest baby and the second smallest in the U.S.

It's too early to know how she will fare developmentally and physically, but doctors planned to monitor her for the next six years.

Soon after birth, Melinda was treated for an eye disorder that's common in premature babies and underwent surgery to close an artery. Melinda's mother held her for the first time after the operation in November.

Speaking to the AP, Miss Ibarra said: 'She's been through a lot and she's made it. A lot of people doubted her. They thought that she wasn't going to make it.

'She's a little miracle to me.'

Home-coming: Overjoyed Haydee Ibarra, 22, is preparing to take her tiny baby home today for the time since she gave birth in August

Home-coming: Overjoyed Haydee Ibarra, 22, is preparing to take her tiny baby home today for the time since she gave birth in August

Survivor: Melinda, pictured here at 14 weeks holding her mother's little finger while lying in an incubator, is being released from USC Medical Center in Los Angeles today

Survivor: Melinda, pictured here at 14 weeks holding her mother's little finger while lying in an incubator, is being released from USC Medical Center in Los Angeles today

Time to go home: Despite the hurdles, doctors said Melinda was fortunate she did not suffer serious complications such as bleeding in the brain

Time to go home: Despite the hurdles, doctors said Melinda was fortunate she did not suffer serious complications such as bleeding in the brain

Despite the hurdles, doctors said Melinda was fortunate she did not suffer serious complications such as bleeding in the brain.

Most babies this small don't survive even with advanced medical care.

About 7,500 babies are born each year in the United States weighing less than one pound, and about ten per cent survive.

A study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2010 found that many survivors have ongoing health and learning concerns.

Record-breaker: Melinda, pictured here shortly after birth, became the world's third smallest surviving baby when she was born at 24 weeks weighing just 9.5 ounces

Record-breaker: Melinda, pictured here shortly after birth, became the world's third smallest surviving baby when she was born at 24 weeks weighing just 9.5 ounces

Most also remain short and underweight for their age, but there are some rare success stories.

The smallest surviving baby born weighing 9.2 ounces is now a healthy seven year old.

Another who weighed 9.9 ounces at birth is an honors college student studying psychology, according to doctors at Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois where both the girls were born.

Watch video of Melinda going home here:


The smallest surviving baby born weighing 9.2oz is now a healthy 7-year-old and another who weighed 9.9oz at birth is an honours college student studying psychology.

Rumaisa Rahman in December 2004

Rumaisa Rahman, pictured right as a baby, now aged seven, was born at 26 weeks weighing just 9.2oz - the equivalent size of an 18-week old foetus.

The tiniest baby ever to survive premature birth, Rumaisa now goes to school in Chicago and is expected to develop normally.

Twenty-two-year-old Madeline Mann was born in 1989 weighing 9.9oz, then the world record.

She suffered bleeding on the brain shortly after her birth, but suffered no other long-term problems and is now an honours student studying psychology in Rock Island.

Both were born at Loyola University Medical Center and were resuscitated by Dr Jonathan Muraskas.

Their progress was detailed in a study published this week in the journal Pediatrics.

Read more:

Scientists behind Armageddon flu virus suspend their research because it 'could put world at risk of catastrophic pandemic'

Researchers studying a potentially more lethal, airborne version of bird flu have suspended their studies because of concerns the mutant virus they have created could be used as a devastating form of bioterrorism or accidentally escape the lab.

In a letter published in the journals Nature and Science on Friday, 39 scientists defended the research as crucial to public health efforts.

But they are bowing to fear that has become widespread since media reports discussed the studies, and their possible fallout, in December.

Fears were raised that the engineered viruses may escape from the laboratories - not unlike the frightful scenario in the 1971 science fiction movie The Andromeda Strain - or possibly be used to create a bioterror weapon.

Among the scientists who signed the letter were leaders of the two teams that have spearheaded the research, at Erasmus Medical College in the Netherlands and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, as well as influenza experts at institutions ranging from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the University of Hong Kong.

For the full letter, see below or click HERE.

Apple juice made in America? Think again.

Which food revelation was more shocking this week?

Did it blow you away that low levels of a fungicide that isn't approved in the U.S. were discovered in some orange juice sold here? Yawn. Or was it the news that Brazil, where the fungicide-laced juice originated, produces a good portion of the orange pulpy stuff we drink? Gasp!

While the former may have sent prices for orange juice for delivery in March down 5.3 percent earlier this week, the latter came as a bombshell to some "Buy American" supporters. But that's not the only surprise lurking in government data about where the food we eat comes from.

Overall, America's insatiable desire to chomp on overseas food has been growing. About 16.8 percent of the food that we eat is imported from other countries, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, up from 11.3 percent two decades ago. Here are some other facts:

— Not all juices are treated the same. About 99 percent of the grapefruit juice we drink is produced on American soil, while about a quarter of the orange juice is imported; more than 40 percent of that is from Brazil.

— About half of the fresh fruit we eat comes from elsewhere. That's more than double the amount in 1975.

— Some 86 percent of the shrimp, salmon, tilapia and other fish and shellfish we eat comes from other countries. That's up from about 56 percent in 1990.

Better communication (thank you, Internet) and transportation (thank you, faster planes) play a role in all the food importing. And in many cases, it's just become much cheaper to pay for shipping food from distant countries, where wages are often lower and expensive environmental rules often laxer than in the U.S.

Our expanding population — and bellies — also has made feeding people cheaply more important. The U.S. has about 309 million residents, as of the 2010 U.S. Census. In 1990, that number was about 249 million.

There's also a shift in our food psychology. New Americans — those who have immigrated from Latin America and other countries — want the foods that they enjoyed back home. Not to mention that Americans in general have come to expect that they should be able to buy blueberries, spinach and other things even when they're not in season in the U.S.

"This is about the expectation that we're going to have raspberries when it's snowing in Ithaca," said Marion Nestle, a food studies professor at New York University.

Of course, the U.S. government still has high standards when it comes to dining on vittles that were created elsewhere.

For instance, while 85 percent of the apple juice we drink is imported, only about 7 percent of the apples we eat are. Andy Jerardo, an economist at the USDA, says that's because the juice often comes from China, which produces apples that are inferior for snacking but good for drinking.

And we still get the majority of American dinner staples like wine, red meat and veggies from within the U.S. The U.S. is more inclined to import foods that can be easily stored and won't spoil quickly. For example, 44 percent of the dry peas and lentils Americans consume are imported.

Also, we're much less likely to import foods that we already grow a lot of here. Indeed, only about 1 percent of the sweet potatoes we eat — which grow plentifully in states like California and North Carolina — come from outside the nation's borders. And basically all of our cranberries are from U.S. places like Massachusetts and Oregon.

But stuff like fruit and fish can be a little trickier to gauge.

The USDA's Kristy Plattner says the percentage of imported fruit has grown because we're eating more tropical fruits. That's a result of two things: More Americans have ties to Latino cultures and as a nation, we're becoming more adventurous eaters.

So, even though we consume fewer apples than we did 30 years ago (about 15.4 pounds per person in the 2010-11 season, down from 19.2 pounds in 1980-81), we eat more mangos (about 2.2 pounds, up from about one-fourth of 1 pound). We also chow on more limes, lemons, kiwi, papayas and avocados.

Fish importing has risen for another reason. The U.S. isn't building its aquaculture industry, or fish farms, as aggressively as some other countries.

Fish farms supply about half the world's seafood demand, including about half of U.S. imports, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But in the U.S., our seafood farms meet less than 10 percent of the country's demand for seafood.

Lorenzo Juarez, deputy director of the NOAA's aquaculture office, says the U.S. has stricter environmental and safety standards for its farms. But that's not to say that the NOAA is opposed to U.S. fish farms.

In fact, the agency sees them as the best way to feed an expanding country, especially in light of USDA recommendations that Americans should expand their seafood intake.

"The amount of fish that can be had sustainably from the wild fisheries is set," Juarez said. "If we need to increase per-capita consumption, the only way this can happen is through aquaculture."

In other words, there are only so many fish in the sea.

The 10 Dirtiest Places in Your Home

When we think of dirty places, the home isn't the first thing to come to mind. But in all actuality, millions of microbes and viruses lurk around the house in some obvious and not-so-obvious places. What we consider to be a filthy area of the house is sometimes cleaner than we thought and the real problems exist elsewhere. So before you clean house and miss some spots, be sure to tackle these 10 dirtiest places first.

  1. Kitchen sink

    Believe it or not, kitchen sinks are dirtier than bathrooms. The kitchen sink, including the basin, faucet handles, and drain are breeding grounds for bacteria and dangerous pathogens, such as salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter. The drain is by far the filthiest part of the sink, with more than 500,000 bacteria per square inch. The faucet handles of a sink can have up to 25,000 bacteria per square inch. The entire sink should be sanitized with a bleach and water solution or another tough disinfectant. It's also a good idea to clean and replace your sponges and brushes every month. You can blast bacteria growing on sponges by placing them in the dishwasher during the drying cycle.

  2. Bathtub

    You cannot get clean in the bathtub without dirtying it up in the process. Bathtubs can contain up to 250,000 bacteria per square inch, making it one of the most unsanitary places in the house. Studies show that this germy surface can harbor staph aureus and staphylococcusbacteria, both of which can lead to dangerous skin infections and illnesses. The act of cleaning increases the amount of bacteria and the bathtub's moist environment allows it to grow more rapidly. It's advised to disinfect the bathtub at least once a week with a tough cleanser and scrub away soap scum.

  3. Remote control

    Remote controls are some of the dirtiest items in your house. Remotes are touched by multiple hands and are rarely disinfected. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Arizona, single men have the highest levels of bacteria on their remotes. After swabbing the remote controls in 30 bachelor and 30 bachelorette pads, a shocking 30 percent contained coliform fecal bacteria. Banish the bacteria on remote controls by taking it apart and cleaning the individual parts with a disinfectant or plain ole soap and water.

  4. Trash can

    It's not surprising that the trash can is one of the filthiest places in the whole house. Although most people use trash bags to collect garbage, the actual containers see very little cleaning. Trash cans should be disinfected every time you change the bag. Liquid, food particles, and other debris in the can should be washed off with a disinfectant and allowed to air dry.

  5. Doorknobs and handles

    Doorknobs and handles are some of the filthiest surfaces in the house. Not only are doorknobs and handles touched several times each day, but people also forget to clean them on a regular basis. Doorknobs and handles can harbor various types of bacteria like staphylococcus, E. coli, salmonella, as well as the flu virus. Doorknobs and handles are easy to clean and should be disinfected at least once a week.

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Revealed: Doctors Routinely Cheating Exams in Uncovered Scandal

Anthony Gucciardi
Activist Post

Utilizing an extensive data bank of answers recorded by those who have taken the test, radiology doctors around the nation from prestigious and little-known programs alike have been cheating the exam system for a very long time.

With exam officials openly admitting that the cheating has been going on for a ‘long time’, the information sheds light on the fact that many radiology doctors may actually be completely unqualified to be dosing up patients with damaging radiation.

Doctors around the country have setup very complex banks of information known as ‘recalls’, which have been setup by doctors who have previously memorized test questions and shared them for public viewing.

Can Fluoride Calcify Your Arteries?

Sayer Ji, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

New research reveals a startling new finding: fluoride is likely contributing to the epidemic of cardiovascular disease by stimulating calcification of the vascular system, including the coronary arteries.

In a study published in the journal Nuclear Medicine Communications this month (Jan. 2012), researchers assessed fluoride uptake and calcification in the major arteries of 61 patients who were administered sodium fluoride, the active ingredient in most fluoridated toothpastes. The study revealed:
"The coronary fluoride uptake value in patients with cardiovascular events was significantly higher than in patients without cardiovascular events."
They also found that there was a significant correlation between fluoride uptake and calcification observed in most of the arterial walls, indicating that the fluoride itself likely stimulates the precipitation of calcium within the arteries.

The Link Between Processed Meat and Cancer

Mike Barrett
Activist Post

A recent study conducted by Swedish researchers has shown a further link between processed meats such as sausage or bacon and an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. This kind of connection is not necessarily new, but the study provides further evidence that indulging in processed meats may not be the greatest decision for your health.

Processed Meats Increases Pancreatic Cancer Risk

The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, analyzed data from 11 clinical trials which involved 6,643 individuals struck with pancreatic cancer. What they found was that eating processed meats such as bacon, sausage, salami, pepperoni and hotdogs increases your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by 19 percent for every 50g of processed meat consumed. What may sound startling is that you only need to consume one sausage to meet the 50g.

The Aspartame Trap: You May Be Unknowingly Ingesting this Toxic Sweetener

Andre Evans
Activist Post

The risk of artificial sweeteners is still very real. Aspartame is used as a substitute sweetener in thousands of products. Most diet sodas, processed foods and candies contain this ‘alternative’ to sugar.

If you aren’t careful, you’ll easily run into it somewhere in your food.

Aspartame is marketed not by its real name, but through products like Equal and NutraSweet. This is because aspartame itself has a bad reputation as a dangerous excitotoxin. An excitotoxin is named for its ability to ‘excite’ the cells of the body into overproducing a particular chemical, thus burning them out prematurely. Aspartame in particular has been found to affect brain cells, by mimicking the response to sweetness and producing an artificial form of it.

20 Hospitals With Inspiring Social Media Strategies

Hospitals and social media are a great mix, offering a wealth of opportunities for connecting with the community, patients, and even collaborating across health systems and between different hospitals. Some medical groups are wary of the liability and privacy issues that social media may open up, but others have found ways to manage these concerns and enjoy the benefits of using social media. Read on, and you’ll learn about 20 inspiring ways hospitals are using social media, from crisis communication to customer service.

  1. Mayo Clinic

    The Mayo Clinic has long been an online resource for medical information, with a website that offers advice and expertise from more than 3,300 medical professionals for free, so it’s not at all surprising that the medical group has been successful in social media. In an interview with Med City News, the Mayo Clinic was named the "poster child for healthcare social media" with social media chief Lee Aase at the helm. The Mayo Clinic has its own social media network where patients can connect, several health promotion campaigns, including "Know Your Numbers," which promotes heart health, and a healthy presence on just about every social media outlet available, including YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. Even Mayo Clinic doctors are encouraged to take part in social media. The clinic has been so successful in social media, in fact, that they are the hosts of the Health Care Social Media Summit, most recently held in October 2011 with 375 attendees and a buzz reaching about 100 tweets per hour.

  2. Rush University Medical Center

    At Chicago-based Rush University Medical Center, things get personal through blogging. Doctors were able to share and connect with readers and patients through a first-hand account of relief efforts performed after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Sent through a text message, Dr. John Fernandez shared his experience with Doctors Jeff Mjaanes and Geoffrey Van Thiel, who all traveled together to the Dominican Republic. Their first-hand story shared messages of sacrifice and compassion, including a hungry four-year-old who saved a breakfast bar for his brother at home, insisting that he himself did not need it, and a mother treated for a horrible wound that she got by going back into her home to save one of her children. Through social media and the ease of communication in texting, Dr. Fernandez’s message was able to be delivered first-hand, and within 48 hours of when it all actually happened. This one message is not the only one, however, with Dr. Fernandez and his fellow doctors sharing several updates from the trip, offering a story that blog readers were able to follow as it happened.

  3. Massachusetts General Hospital

    Social media is all about sharing, especially when it comes to sharing resources. Massachusetts General Hospital recognizes this, and did something amazing when researchers from the Emergency Department worked together to create an iPhone app designed to help users find the closest emergency room to their area anywhere in the U.S. The app was promoted using hospital social media outlets, creating a YouTube video that bloggers could embed in their stories, also providing for opportunities to tweet the video and share it on Facebook. With the help of social media, the hospital’s app was able to stand out in the sea of apps available for the iPhone.

  4. Scott & White Health Care

    During the Ft. Hood shooting crisis, one of the hospitals treating victims, Scott & White, took it upon themselves to share updates with the community. Employee Steven Widman offered updates on emergency room access, hospital operation status, and more, also updating with Red Cross news and sharing communications with reporters. The crisis pushed Scott & White’s communications to the forefront of social media, increasing their Twitter followers by 78% in only three days, turning Scott & White Healthcare into a Twitter "trending topic," and ranking the hospital’s YouTube channel among the most viewed non-profit channels during the crisis. Both people who were affected and those who were tuned in from afar were able to get real-time updates, thanks to the efforts of Widman and the ability of social media to share information.

  5. Nebraska Medical Center

    Nebraska Medical Center has created an incredible YouTube presence, one so successful, that as 360 Digital Influence points out, they’ve had an increase in requests for one surgery in particular. It’s all thanks to a patient who shared her cancer experience on YouTube, which led to so many requests for the surgery she had to treat her rare carcinoid cancer that NMC had to open a monthly clinic for the condition. The medical center encourages patients to share their experience, and even makes use of QR codes to share videos of physicians introducing themselves to potential patients.

  6. University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital

    Connecting with patients and community members is great, but what if you could use social media to do something really amazing, like raise more than $1 million for a new children’s hospital? UCSF did just that, taking on a social media fundraising contest named Challenge for the Children. About 165,000 people blew past the hospital’s initial $100,000 fundraising goal thanks to social media channels including Facebook and Twitter. Much of the campaign’s success ($805,554 worth) was thanks to the Facebook game FarmVille, which allowed players to purchase virtual candy cane seeds that sent 100% of the profits to the challenge. This amazingly successful challenge paved the way for a new children’s hospital in Mission Bay, set for completion in 2014, and the top two teams will be honored with the naming of a dedicated space in the hospital.

  7. WakeMed Health & Hospitals

    It’s so important to be relevant to the topic at hand in social media, and getting off course can turn off would-be fans. But WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh, North Carolina made a smart move in April 2011, sharing a time-lapse video shot from the hospital’s helipad that showed a tornado as it passed through the area. Although the tornado is a non-medical story not directly related to the hospital’s mission, hospitals are a vital part of any community, and in sharing this video, WakeMed further cemented itself as a valuable resource for the Raleigh area. Med City News praised WakeMed for the video, pointing it out as one of the top blog entries for the medical group. As WakeMed spokeswoman Heather Monackey shares, they’ve found success in social media because they "just pay attention to what’s going on."

  8. Texas Health Resources

    Hospitals are using social media to connect internally, in addition to community building. At Texas Health Resources, social media tools make it possible for physicians and other health professionals to engage with each other and take advantage of useful tools. Using social media, Texas Health Resources promotes the adoption of electronic health records, and integrates the use of the private microblogging site Yammer to share internal messages, how-to videos, and more. Project managers and physicians use social media tools like Yammer to come together, collaborate, and communicate effectively over a large hospital system.

  9. Geisinger Health System

    Health care social media isn’t just about attracting patients and building community, at least not for Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pennsylvania. The health system typically turned to ads in medical journals and direct mail to recruit gastroenterologists, but when they had trouble getting enough responses, associate vice president of marketing Cathy Connolley turned to social media to recruit their physicians. With the help of a recruitment marketing firm, Geisinger created a social media physician recruitment campaign, creating a convenient and cost-effective way to communicate with physicians, and an easy way to direct gastroenterologists to their Facebook page. As Connolley reports, "that tactic outpaced our direct mail approach and our email blasts."

  10. Henry Ford Hospital

    Live-tweeting brain surgery just sounds like crazy talk, but Henry Ford Hospital near Detroit made it work. While performing surgery on a 47-year-old man, doctors discussed the procedure with more than 1,900 people, and even uploaded video of the surgery to YouTube. Things seem to go to the next level when the answer to Twitter’s "What are you doing?" question is brain surgery. The hospital earned praise and attention from ABC News, and showed off just how well they can make use of social media. In addition to Twitter brain surgeries, Henry Ford Hospital makes use of news feeds, Flickr, and blogging to reach patients and the general community.

  11. Scripps

    Scripps makes it a point to connect with patients and customers through the use of social media. In an interview with Found In Cache, Scripps director of web technology Marc Needham shared that the hospital typically spends its social media time on customer service. In fact, Scripps developed a new position of Electronic Customer Service Representative, specifically created to reach out to patients through social media and respond to online reviews. Needham pointed out that Scripps believes it’s important to have a good handle on their online brand perception, and left unchecked, "unaddressed complaints fester and lead to online reputation rot." Scripps has found success in this pursuit, but Needham says they haven’t quite defined their social media approach just yet, and they’re still experimenting with a variety of different sites, including Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Scripps tends to use different sites for different purposes, like Facebook for recruitment and LinkedIn for employee connections.

  12. Children’s Hospital Boston

    Children’s Hospital Boston has a wildly popular Facebook page. A Facebook page alone isn’t quite enough to be truly impressive these days, but Children’s Hospital Boston really stands out, not just for its half a million plus fans, but really for its top-notch content. Their landing page has information people really want to read, and an encouraging atmosphere that gets patients and fans to open up and share their stories. This high level of engagement is truly inspiring, and offers a great lesson for any Facebook Page owner. Through photos of the week, Children’s Hospital Boston highlights families and patients, who in turn spread the word to their friends and family on Facebook, bringing fans and patients to the Facebook Page to interact. But, as Ignite Social Media points out, Children’s Hospital Boston does so much more than Facebook, effectively managing a Twitter feed and YouTube video collection as well.

  13. Sarasota Memorial Hospital

    Sarasota Memorial Hospital understands the value to building better relationships through social media. In an interview with The Side Note, the hospital’s market research manager Shawn Halls shared how it came to begin using social media as an important tool. After growth and more than three years of use, Sarasota Memorial now sees Twitter and other sites as an important part of their communications strategy, using social media as a way for the community to directly communicate with the hospital. The hospital encourages patients to direct message their Twitter account, and has even been able to connect patient family members with resources like local florists through the site. Like other hospitals, Sarasota Memorial also has plans to share surgery via Twitter, specifically a brain mapping procedure where the patient is awake.

  14. Greater Baltimore Medical Center

    Social media is great for spreading news, but it’s also a useful tool for correcting misinformation as well. The Greater Baltimore Medical Center knows that fact all too well, as in August 2010, a Baltimore TV station incorrectly reported that the hospital had been invaded by an armed robber. GBMC media relations manager Michael Schwartzberg was able to act quickly to correct the mistake, sending out a swift collection of tweets that set the story straight for the public and concerned citizens. With active social media accounts already in place, the foundation for sharing information was set and easy to take advantage of, something that the hospital utilizes frequently. Schwartzberg reports that in addition to media relations and customer service, GBMC uses social media as a valuable way to share crisis communication, much like their fake armed robber, H1N1 updates, and if need be, disaster reporting.

  15. Inova Health

    Just like GBMC, Inova Health found value in Twitter’s ability to set incorrect information straight. Inova uses a security system designed to prevent the theft of babies from maternity wards, and as hospital personnel ran a test of the system, a visitor heard it and mistakenly believed that there was a lost baby. That same visitor then Tweeted about the non-incident. Director of digital communications and marketing Chris Boyer had wisely set up social media monitoring services, and quickly spotted the Tweet within just minutes of posting. After calling to confirm that there was not actually a problem, Boyer was able to immediately respond on Twitter and share the hard facts of the story, helping to preserve the hospital’s reputation before things got really crazy. Inova Health’s story shows just how important it is to use tools that can help you monitor and stay on top of your social media presence.

  16. Children’s Medical Center Dallas

    Living organ donation is an amazing gift and process, and Children’s Medical Center was able to share a special family’s story through Twitter. As a Texas firefighter donated his kidney to his three-year-old son, the Twitterverse was able to follow along with their successful story from start to finish, shared by none other than the mom and wife. With nearly 85,000 people on the waiting list for a kidney, Children’s Medical Center media relations manager Jessica Newell hopes that "twittering from this surgery will help raise awareness for organ donation, as well as living organ donation."

  17. University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

    Twitter and social media in general can be a scary thing for hospitals, opening up issues of liability and uncomfortable situations. But at least at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, doctors and professors recognize Twitter as an incredibly valuable tool for learning and training. Dr. Philip L. Glick shares his insight: "[A] lot of the training consists of passing on information, lessons learned, and wisdom to the next generation. Twitter allows us to dramatically scale up our ability to do this. When I post something on Twitter, all the pediatric surgeons, trainees and colleagues in the country and the world can see it instantly." In addition to small updates, University at Buffalo uses social media to share audio and video of procedures, breaking them down into small pieces that offer opportunities for sharing and teaching.

  18. St. Luke’s Cedar Rapids

    Anxious groups of families and friends sit in hospital waiting rooms across the country, hoping to hear updates and news that their loved one is doing well. Some will find out about things as they go along, some simply when procedures are over. The level of information shared largely depends on the capacity and availability of the team of medical professionals at work. With Twitter, the time and energy necessary to share updates with loved ones is significantly decreased, and small, frequent updates can be shared in just moments, creating an opportunity for hospitals to better inform worried waiting rooms as things go along. At St. Luke’s Cedar Rapids, one family was able to enjoy this incredible level of customer service, as their 70-year-old mother Monna Cleary underwent a hysterectomy and uterine prolapse surgery. Cleary had given her OK for the hospital to share a play-by-play of her operation, and hospital spokeswoman Sarah Corizzo shared more than 300 tweets, allowing the family to follow along, and informing the general public. Corizzo answered questions, and fascinated nearly 700 people who followed along with the surgery. Hospital spokeswoman Laura Rainey pointed out that live-Tweeting is a "more gentle" way to inform patients and consumers, allowing them to follow what’s going on without shocking visuals. Cleary’s son Joe and his siblings appreciated the opportunity, pointing out that "it made the time go by," and they enjoyed having real-time information and staying informed while in the waiting room.

  19. Southcoast Health System

    Sharing information during a crisis is vital, even when you don’t have a lot of time or resources to do it. So when more than 50 people had to go to hospitals for treatment following a chemical fume exposure at a trash disposal station, Southcoast Hospital turned its Twitter account into a "crisis communication portal," sharing status updates for more than a week. Updates included status on admitted, discharged, and treated patients during the spill, and helpful information and links that kept the public and concerned loved ones constantly updated during the situation.

  20. Barnes-Jewish Hospital

    Hospitals are full of stories that the community is interested in, with people overcoming great odds and going on to live healthier lives. At Barnes-Jewish Hospital, a 23-year-old heart transplant patient Megan Moss attracted lots of local interest, thanks to updates from the Barnes-Jewish Hospital blog, Touching Base. Additionally, Megan’s dad shared constant updates through his own blog. Moss’s story attracted so much attention, that one weekend, she got 75 emails through the hospital’s website with well wishes from friends, family, and strangers alike. Through numerous updates and even a video interview with the hospital’s director of heart transplant, both Moss and Barnes-Jewish got much deserved attention within the community.

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Leukemia Doubles Near Nuclear Plants

The incidence of leukemia is twice as high in children living close to French nuclear power plants as in those living elsewhere in the country, a study by French health and nuclear safety experts has found.

But the study, to be published soon in the International Journal of Cancer, fell short of establishing a causal link between the higher incidence of leukemia, a type of blood cancer, and living near nuclear power plants.

France has used nuclear power for three decades and is the most nuclear-reliant country in the world, with 75 percent of its electricity produced by 58 reactors.

The study, conducted by the French health research body INSERM, found that between 2002 and 2007, 14 children under the age of 15 living in a 5-kilometre radius of France's 19 nuclear power plants had been diagnosed with leukemia.

This is double the rate of the rest of the country, where a total of 2,753 cases were diagnosed in the same period.

Read more: Leukemia Doubles Near Nuclear Plants
Important: At Risk For A Heart Attack? Find Out Now.

Research From 100+ Countries Proves Sunlight Prevents Cancer

Sayer Ji, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

For the same reason that the conventional energy industry has not harnessed the full potential of solar energy (it's free!), sunlight and its indispensable byproduct in our skin: vitamin D, represents a serious threat to the medical establishment, whose questionable and aggressive promotion of vaccination and drug-based strategies in place of inexpensive, safe and effective vitamin D supplementation (or better, carefully meted out recreation and sunlight exposure) for immunity, has many questioning their motives.

Vitamin D, after all, has a vital preventive role to play in hundreds of conditions, due to the fact that 1 in every 10 genes in the human body depends on adequate quantities of this gene-regulatory hormone to function optimally. In other words, the very genetic/epigenetic infrastructure of our health would fall apart without adequate levels.

Statins Increase Not Decrease the Risk of Prostate Cancer

A just-released study made headlines claiming that cholesterol-lowering drugs also lower a man's risk of dying from prostate cancer. But no one should consider taking statins for their cancer-preventive effects, says Dr. Russell Blaylock, renowned neurosurgeon and editor of the Blaylock Wellness Report:

'Worried well' are warned against taking daily aspirin: Pills can cut heart attacks by 10% but raise risk of internal bleeding by nearly a third

Doctors should stop giving aspirin to ward off heart attacks in patients without cardiac disease, claim scientists.

British researchers behind the biggest study of its kind warn the tablets can harm the ‘worried well’ by raising the risk of stomach bleeding.

At the same time, it has no effect on deaths from heart problems or cancer, they said.

Aspirin: The pills, normally taken for light pain relief, are widely taken by people for their positive effects on cardiovascular health

Aspirin: The pills, normally taken for light pain relief, are widely taken by people for their positive effects on cardiovascular health

But the scientists stress that patients with heart problems must keep taking aspirin as evidence that it prevents further attacks is indisputable.

Thousands of others who have not had a heart attack or stroke are prescribed low-dose aspirin in line with guidelines as they are feared to be at risk of cardiac attack.

In addition, healthy middle-aged people – the so-called worried well – regularly take aspirin bought over-the-counter at pharmacies in the hope it will benefit them.

Taking daily aspirin is known to cut the risk of repeat heart attacks and stroke by up to a third. But there has been uncertainty over whether it has the same benefit in patients who have never suffered an attack.

The latest study reviewed nine clinical trials involving more than 100,000 people without a history of cardiovascular disease. It found the risk of internal bleeding from aspirin cancels out any benefits to the heart.

Double edged sword: Aspirin can cut the risk of heart attacks by 10 per cent, but was found to raise the risk of dangerous internal bleeding by 30 per cent

Double edged sword: Aspirin can cut the risk of heart attacks by 10 per cent, but was found to raise the risk of dangerous internal bleeding by 30 per cent

Half of the patients took aspirin and half took an inactive substitute for an average of six years.

Taking aspirin daily, or every other day, cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 10 per cent, mainly due to a drop in non-fatal heart attacks. But there were no reductions in deaths from heart attacks or the number of strokes.

Doctors should consider aspirin treatment on a 'case-by-case basis' for low-risk patients

Doctors should consider aspirin treatment on a 'case-by-case basis' for low-risk patients

However, the benefit to the heart was almost entirely offset by a rise in the risk of internal bleeding affecting the stomach or brain.

Although one heart-related event was averted for every 120 people taking aspirin, one in 73 suffered bleeding during the same period.

Lead author Dr Rao Seshasai said people with a history of heart problems must not stop taking aspirin.

He said: ‘However, the benefits in those not known to have these conditions are far more modest than previously believed. In fact, aspirin may potentially result in considerable harm due to major bleeding.’

He said doctors should consider aspirin treatment on a ‘case-by-case basis’ for low-risk patients.

The study, published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal, was carried out by a team from Professor Kausik Ray’s group at St George’s, University of London.

It adds to growing evidence that giving aspirin where patients do not have symptoms of heart disease is counter-productive. A report in the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin in 2009 said the practice should be abandoned.

And a UK study also in 2009 found aspirin can double the risk of dangerous internal bleeding in those without a history of heart disease while having no effect on the rate of heart attacks or strokes.

Natasha Stewart, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘People who don’t have diagnosed heart disease shouldn’t take aspirin as the risk of bleeding may outweigh the benefits.’

Nick Henderson, executive director of the Aspirin Foundation, said the study was ‘at odds with so much existing medical opinion’.

Scientists mystified as babies keep getting bigger and longer

The average weights and lengths of babies have been growing in recent decades, increasing by a pound and a half and standing- well, laying- a half inch longer as well.

New research, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, used data going back to 1929 to track babies' sizes at birth and beyond, and found that those born after 1970 were heavier and longer than babies born in earlier decades.

‘What would have been considered a big kid in the 1930s would not have been considered a big kid today,’ said Ellen Demerath, one of the study's authors and an associate professor in the University of Minnesota.

Big guy: A study of babies born in southwestern Ohio since 1970 tend to be one pound heavier than they were in the 1920s and 1930s

Big guy: A study of babies born in southwestern Ohio since 1970 tend to be one pound heavier than they were in the 1920s and 1930s

But by age one, most babies were about the same size as counterparts in previous generations, suggesting that babies born smaller in the past experienced faster catch-up growth in their first year of life to arrive at similar average weights as the modern infants.

To test those ideas, Ms Demerath and her fellow researchers used data from a long-term study in Ohio of babies born since 1929 and their mothers.

The 620 babies they followed were weighed and measured from birth to age three, and all were of European ancestry.

The Calcium Supplement Problem: As Serious As A Heart Attack

Sayer Ji, Contributing Writer

Osteoporosis is not caused by a lack of limestone, oyster shell or bone meal. Heart attack, however, may be caused by supplementation with these exact same "elemental" forms of calcium, according to two meta-analyses published last year in the British Medical Journal.

Back in July of 2011, the British Medical Journal published the results of a high-powered meta-analysis which looked at whether or not calcium supplementation had any effect on cardiovascular disease risk. Indeed, this groundbreaking report, which was based on the results of five clinical trials conducted in the US, Britain and New Zealand, involving over 8,000 people, showed that taking elemental calcium supplements of 500 mg or more increased the relative risk of heart attack by 27%.

9 Ways to Boost Your Immune System and Avoid Being a Victim of the Flu Season

Paul Fassa

Drugstores and Walmarts are promoting walk-in flu shots for the “flu season.” The late and early months of each year seem to be when more of us catch colds and come down with the flu.

So what measures can you take to ensure you are not sidelined with nagging colds or a debilitating flu episode?

Boosting your immunity is important for coping with the cold and flu season. Getting flu shots, recently proven as not even effective, is not one of them. All vaccines depress the immune system and can cause lifelong neurological damage and autoimmune diseases.

Cholesterol Drugs Likely Poisoning Patients

Sayer Ji, Contributing Writer

A growing body of clinical research now indicates that the cholesterol-lowering class of drugs known as statins, is associated with over 300 adverse health effects -- research boldly flying in the face of national health policy, medical insurance premium guidelines, statin drug manufacturer advertising claims, and the general sentiment of the public, with approximately 1 in every 4 adult Americans over 45 currently using these drugs to "prevent heart disease."

The Cholesterol Myth

For well over 40 years, statin drugs have successfully concretized a century-old myth about the primary cause of heart disease: namely, that cholesterol "causes" plaque build up in the arteries, ultimately leading to obstruction of blood flow, and subsequent morbidity and mortality.

Indeed, the medical establishment and drug companies have been singing the praises of this "cholesterol myth," to the tune of 25 billion dollars in statin drug sales, annually.

How flushing the toilet with lid up 'could spread winter vomiting bug'

It may seem like a subject ripe for toilet humour - but whether you close the lavatory lid before you flush could have an impact on the spread of disease, according to an expert.

Professor Mark Wilcox, Clinical Director of Microbiology at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said leaving the lid up can allow a cloud of bacteria to explode into the air, settling on nearby surfaces.

Sanitary: Leaving the toilet seat up allows the spread of germs

Sanitary: Leaving the toilet seat up allows the spread of germs

This increases the risk of viruses like the winter vomiting bug of transmitting to another person.

'It is very clear from our work that the lid is there for a reason,' Professor Wilcox told Mail Online.

Professor Wilcox and colleagues from Leeds University conducted a study to see how using a toilet lid could affect the spread of disease, specifically in hospitals.

They used a sterilised toilet cubicle and created a 'diarrhoea effect' in the bowl using stool samples that had been infected with the hospital superbug C. difficile.


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