PLEDGE: Join us in telling StarKist, Bumble Bee, and Chicken of the Sea to stop making deceptive claims to consumers about the dolphin-safety and sustainability of their tuna products.


The environmentally devastating practices, including practices that can lead to dolphin mortality, of these companies are not “sustainable” or “dolphin-safe.” These claims are deceptive and constitute false advertising to consumers, who rely on the accuracy of such representations to make informed purchasing decisions.

Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea claim to be “100% dolphin-safe,” and all three of the suppliers state they will not purchase tuna caught in association with dolphins—a significant concern because tuna often swim together with dolphins. Dolphins can be traumatized, netted, injured, and killed by typical tuna fishing practices, including the use of giant “purse seine” nets, which capture dolphins along with tuna. Yet while approximately half of tuna consumers believe the dolphin-safe label means no dolphins died for the tuna in their can, the number of dolphins killed or injured by “certified” dolphin-safe tuna fishing methods in reality could number in the thousands every year. According to Greenpeace, around 300,000 cetaceans—whales, dolphins, and porpoises—die as bycatch each year.[1]

Meanwhile, on their packaging and their websites, the top three tuna suppliers all outline their commitment to “sustainable” fishing practices—ones that won’t deplete resources or harm the natural cycles of tuna or other marine life. However, the longlines and purse seine nets used to catch approximately 75% of the world’s tuna—including tuna sold by Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea, and StarKist—kill millions of non-target marine animals as “bycatch” every year, including sharks, sea turtles, dolphins, whales, and even sea birds. Some of these populations have been so decimated by commercial fishing that they are now critically endangered.

Longline fishing and purse seine fishing are not “sustainable.” These companies need to stop using greenwashing to deceive well-meaning consumers. If you agree, boycott all three!

Since practices required for ‘dolphin-safe’ certification don’t provide a 100% guarantee that dolphins are not harmed, the best way to be fully assured of dolphin-safety is simply not to eat tuna—this is best for the tuna, as well! However, some fishing practices—like use of giant purse seine nets—are clearly more environmentally devastating, and dangerous to dolphins, than others. If you choose to eat tuna, you can contact tuna companies to find out if their suppliers use purse seine nets.

Source: Greenpeace international

Prenatal testing: Is it right for you?


Prenatal testing can provide valuable information about your baby’s health. Understand the risks and benefits, and how prenatal testing might affect prenatal care.

Pregnancy is a time of great anticipation — and anxiety.

You might be wondering if you’ll experience complications or if your baby will have health problems. Take comfort in the fact that most babies are born healthy. Still, you might want details about your baby’s health beyond what your health care provider can observe.

Enter prenatal testing.

Types of prenatal testing

Prenatal testing includes both screening tests and diagnostic tests:

  • Screening tests. Prenatal screening tests can identify whether your baby is more likely to have certain conditions — but they usually can’t make a definitive diagnosis. General screening tests, such as blood tests and ultrasounds, are routine in most pregnancies. Specific screening tests, such as first and second trimester screening for abnormal chromosomes, also might be offered. Screening tests pose no risks for mother or baby.
  • Diagnostic tests. If a screening test indicates a possible problem — or your age, family history or medical history puts you at increased risk of having a baby with a genetic problem — you might consider a more invasive prenatal diagnostic test. A diagnostic test is the only way to be sure of a diagnosis. Some diagnostic tests, such as chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis, carry a slight risk of miscarriage.

Despite these clear definitions, recent changes in technology have blurred the line between traditional screening and diagnostic tests.

For example, a new blood test for Down syndrome is now available in some areas. The test analyzes fetal DNA circulating in a mother’s bloodstream. If a traditional screening test indicates a high risk of Down syndrome, the new blood test can define the risk more clearly. Although it isn’t considered a diagnostic test, a normal result might eliminate the need for more invasive diagnostic testing.

Prenatal screening tests for fetal abnormalities are optional. It’s important to make an informed decision about prenatal testing, especially if you’re screening for fetal conditions that can’t be treated.

  • What will you do with the test results? Normal results can ease your anxiety. However, if prenatal testing indicates that your baby might have a birth defect, you could be faced with wrenching decisions — such as whether to continue the pregnancy. On the other hand, you might welcome the opportunity to plan for your baby’s care in advance.
  • Will the information shape your prenatal care? Some prenatal tests detect problems that can be treated during pregnancy. In other cases, prenatal testing alerts your health care provider to a condition that requires immediate treatment after birth.
  • How accurate are the results? Prenatal testing isn’t perfect. The rate of false-negative and false-positive results varies from test to test.
  • What are the risks? Weigh the risks of specific prenatal tests — such as anxiety, pain or possible miscarriage — against the value of knowing the results.
  • What is the expense? Insurance coverage for prenatal testing varies. If the test you’re considering isn’t covered by your insurance plan, are you willing and able to cover the cost of the test on your own?

The decision is yours

Prenatal testing can provide information that influences your prenatal care. Remember, though, some screening tests introduce the need for careful personal decisions. Ultimately, the decision to pursue prenatal testing is up to you.

If you’re concerned about prenatal testing, discuss the risks and benefits with your health care provider. You might also meet with a genetic counselor for a more thorough evaluation.

A genetic counselor can help you understand:

  • The odds of your baby developing a particular condition
  • How the condition would impact your baby’s life, including your baby’s physical and mental development and quality of life
  • Possible treatment options, either during pregnancy or after birth

Taking the time to evaluate your options will help you make the best decision for you and your baby.

Source: Mayo Clinic.

 

 

 

 

 

Vaccines for adults: Which do you need?


Vaccines offer protection from various types of infections and diseases, from seasonal flu to diphtheria. Understand which vaccines adults need and when to get them.

Wonder which vaccines you need? It can be confusing, especially if you thought vaccines were just for kids. Use the list below to find out which vaccines you need now and which vaccines might be coming up — based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Seasonal influenza (flu)

Seasonal flu is a viral infection that affects the respiratory system. Potentially serious — even life-threatening — complications of the flu are possible.

Who needs it
The flu vaccine is recommended for all adults — unless you had a severe reaction to a previous flu vaccine or you’re currently ill. The flu vaccine is available as a shot or a nasal spray.

If you’re pregnant, choose the flu shot vaccine — not the nasal spray vaccine. If you’re age 65 or older, ask your doctor about a high-dose flu shot. Consult your doctor before getting a flu vaccine if you’ve had Guillain-Barre syndrome or you have a severe allergy to eggs.

When to have it
Get one dose of the flu vaccine every year, ideally in September or as soon as the vaccine is available.

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal disease is a potentially serious infection caused by a type of bacteria called pneumococcus. Pneumococcal disease can take various forms, including pneumococcal pneumonia and pneumococcal meningitis. Pneumococcus also causes infections in the bloodstream.

Who needs it
Get the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine — the type of pneumococcal vaccine available for adults — if:

  • You’re age 65 or older
  • You have a weak immune system
  • You have a chronic illness, including asthma, lung disease, liver disease or diabetes
  • You’ve had your spleen removed
  • You live in a long term care facility
  • You smoke

Don’t get the vaccine if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or you’re currently ill.

When to have it
Get one dose of the pneumococcal vaccine at any time. Ask your doctor if you need a second dose.

Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis

Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis are bacterial infections. Tetanus, sometimes called lockjaw, affects the nervous system, leading to painful muscle contractions — especially in the jaw and neck. Diphtheria is a respiratory disease that can lead to difficulty breathing. Whooping cough (pertussis) causes cold-like signs and symptoms and a persistent hacking cough.

Who needs it
Get the combined tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine if you haven’t received the vaccine in the past or don’t know if you’ve received the vaccine.

The Tdap vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the tetanus-diphtheria (Td) series or Tdap vaccine, you experienced a coma or seizures within seven days of a previous dose of the vaccine or you’re currently ill. Consult your doctor before getting the Tdap vaccine if you have epilepsy or you’ve had Guillain-Barre syndrome.

When to have it
Get one dose of the Tdap vaccine if you didn’t finish the Td series as a child or don’t know if you ever had the Td vaccine. Get a second dose four weeks after the first dose. Get a third dose six to 12 months after the second dose.If you’re due for a Td booster — recommended every 10 years — but haven’t previously received Tdap, get one dose of the Tdap vaccine at any time followed by a Td booster every 10 years.

Meningitis

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Who needs it
Get the meningitis (meningococcal) vaccine if:

  • You didn’t have the vaccine as a child or adolescent and you’re living in a dormitory for the first time
  • You travel to or work in parts of the world where meningitis is common
  • You’re joining the military
  • You had your spleen removed
  • A meningitis outbreak occurs in your community

The meningitis vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or you’re currently ill.

When to have it
Get one dose of the meningitis vaccine at any time — or a booster dose if you’re a first-year college student up to age 21 and first had the vaccine before age 16. Get a second dose eight weeks later if you have certain health conditions, such as HIV.

Chickenpox (varicella)

Chickenpox is a highly contagious infection that causes a red, itchy rash. Complications can include a bacterial infection of the skin, an infection in the bloodstream, pneumonia or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).

Who needs it
Get the chickenpox vaccine if:

  • You didn’t have the vaccine as a child or adolescent or you’ve never hadchickenpox — especially if you live with someone who has a weak immune system
  • You aren’t sure whether you’ve had chickenpox
  • You’re considering pregnancy and don’t know if you’re immune to chickenpox

The chickenpox vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or to gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin, you’re currently ill, you’re pregnant or you have a weak immune system.

When to have it
Get one dose of the chickenpox vaccine at any time. Get a second dose at least four weeks after the first dose.

Measles, mumps and rubella

Measles, mumps and rubella are viral infections. Measles causes a red, blotchy skin rash. Complications can include ear infection, pneumonia and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Mumps causes swelling in the salivary glands, located below and in front of your ears. Rubella, also called German measles, causes a distinctive red rash. Rubella is most serious if it develops during pregnancy.

Who needs it
Get the combined measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine if you were born during or after 1957 and didn’t have the vaccine as a child or adolescent.

The MMR vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or to gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin, you’re currently ill, you’re pregnant, you have a weak immune system, or you recently had a blood transfusion.

When to have it
Get one dose of the MMR vaccine at any time. Get a second dose at least four weeks after the first dose if you’re a health care worker, you travel internationally, you’re a college student, or you had a rubella blood test that shows no immunity.

Human papillomavirus

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection. Most people who have HPV don’t develop symptoms. For some people, however, an HPV infection can lead to genital warts or, for women, cervical cancer.

Who needs it
Get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine if:

  • You’re a woman age 26 or younger and didn’t have the vaccine as an adolescent
  • You’re a man age 21 or younger and didn’t have the vaccine as an adolescent — although men can get the vaccine through age 26, if desired

The HPV vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine, you have a severe allergy to yeast or latex, you’re pregnant, or you’re currently ill.

When to have it
Get one dose of the HPV vaccine at any time. Get a second dose one to two months after the first dose, and a third dose six months after the first dose.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a potentially serious liver infection.

Who needs it
Get the hepatitis A vaccine if:

  • You want to protect yourself from hepatitis A
  • You have a clotting-factor disorder or chronic liver disease
  • You’re a man who has sex with men
  • You inject illicit drugs
  • You’re a health care worker who might be exposed to hepatitis A in a lab setting
  • You travel to or work in parts of the world where hepatitis A is common

The hepatitis A vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine, you have a severe allergy to latex or you’re currently ill.

When to have it
Get one dose of the hepatitis A vaccine at any time. Get a second dose six at least six months after the first dose.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is another type of liver infection. For some people, hepatitis B becomes chronic — leading to long-term liver problems.

Who needs it
Get the hepatitis B vaccine if:

  • You want to protect yourself from hepatitis B
  • You’re sexually active but not in a mutually monogamous relationship
  • You’re a man who has sex with men
  • You have close contact or sex with a person infected with hepatitis B
  • You inject illicit drugs
  • You’re receiving hemodialysis
  • You’re a health care or public safety worker who might be exposed to infected blood or body fluids
  • You live with someone who has a chronic hepatitis B infection
  • You travel to or work in parts of the world where hepatitis B is common
  • You’re age 59 or younger and have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and haven’t received the hepatitis B vaccine

If you’re age 60 or older and have diabetes, ask your doctor if the hepatitis B vaccine is right for you. The hepatitis B vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine, you have a severe allergy to yeast or you’re currently ill.

When to have it
Get one dose of the hepatitis B vaccine at any time. Get a second dose one month after the first dose. Get a third dose at least two months after the second dose and at least four months after the first dose.

Shingles (herpes zoster)

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox might eventually develop shingles.

Who needs it
Get the shingles vaccine if you’re age 60 or older.

The shingles vaccine isn’t recommended if you’re currently ill, you had a severe reaction to gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin, you have a weak immune system or you’re pregnant.

When to have it
Get one dose of the shingles vaccine at any time.

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

Hib is a bacterium that causes potentially serious infections, including pneumonia, meningitis and swelling of the piece of cartilage that covers the windpipe (epiglottitis).

Who needs it
Get one dose of the Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine if:

  • You have certain health conditions, such as sickle cell disease, leukemia or HIV
  • You had your spleen removed

The Hib vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or you’re currently ill.

When to have it
Get one dose of the Hib vaccine at any time.

Source: Mayo Clinic.

Erectile dysfunction: A sign of heart disease?


The same process that creates heart disease may also cause erectile dysfunction, only earlier.

Erectile dysfunction — difficulty maintaining an erection sufficient for sex — can be an early warning sign of heart problems. Understanding the connections between the two may help you get treatment before heart problems become serious. Likewise, if you have heart disease, getting the right treatment may help with erectile dysfunction.

Clogged arteries: Where erectile dysfunction and heart disease meet

Atherosclerosis (ath-ur-o-skluh-ROE-sis) — sometimes called hardening of the arteries — is the buildup of plaques in the arteries of your body. The smaller arteries in the body, such as in the penis, are the first to get plugged up. The plaque reduces blood flow in the penis, making an erection difficult. Erectile dysfunction is an alert to look for atherosclerosis in larger arteries supplying your heart and other organs and to take steps to treat it. Atherosclerosis also increases your risk of other problems, including aneurysm, stroke and peripheral artery disease.

Certain men are at increased risk

Besides sharing a common disease process, erectile dysfunction and heart disease also share many risk factors. These risk factors increase the likelihood that your erectile dysfunction could be a sign of underlying atherosclerosis and heart disease:

  • Having diabetes. Men who have diabetes are at especially high risk of erectile dysfunction, heart disease and other problems caused by restricted blood flow.
  • Having high cholesterol. A high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis.
  • Being a smoker. Smoking cigarettes raises your risk of developing atherosclerosis. It also directly affects your ability to get an erection.
  • Having high blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure damages the lining of your arteries and accelerates the process of atherosclerosis.
  • Having a family member with heart disease. It’s more likely your erectile dysfunction could be linked to heart disease if you have a first-degree relative such as a sibling or parent who had heart disease at a young age.
  • Your age. The younger you are, the more likely that erectile dysfunction signals a risk of heart disease. Men younger than 50 are at especially high risk. In men older than 70, erectile dysfunction is much less likely to be a sign of heart disease.
  • Being overweight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of both heart disease and erectile dysfunction due to atherosclerosis and other reasons.
  • Being depressed. There’s some evidence that depression is associated with an increased chance of having heart problems — and erectile dysfunction.

Treatment for erectile dysfunction caused by heart disease

If your doctor thinks you may be at risk of heart disease, making lifestyle changes such as exercising, changing your diet or losing weight may be enough to help keep your heart healthy — and improve your ability to have an erection. If you have more-serious signs and symptoms of heart disease, you may need further tests or treatment. If you have both erectile dysfunction and heart disease, talk to your doctor about treatment options for erectile dysfunction. If you take certain heart medications, especially nitrates, it is not safe to use many of the medications used to treat erectile dysfunction.

Source: Mayo Clinic.

 

Vaccines for adults: Which do you need?


Vaccines offer protection from various types of infections and diseases, from seasonal flu to diphtheria. Understand which vaccines adults need and when to get them.

Wonder which vaccines you need? It can be confusing, especially if you thought vaccines were just for kids. Use the list below to find out which vaccines you need now and which vaccines might be coming up — based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Seasonal influenza (flu)

Seasonal flu is a viral infection that affects the respiratory system. Potentially serious — even life-threatening — complications of the flu are possible.

Who needs it
The flu vaccine is recommended for all adults — unless you had a severe reaction to a previous flu vaccine or you’re currently ill. The flu vaccine is available as a shot or a nasal spray.

If you’re pregnant, choose the flu shot vaccine — not the nasal spray vaccine. If you’re age 65 or older, ask your doctor about a high-dose flu shot. Consult your doctor before getting a flu vaccine if you’ve had Guillain-Barre syndrome or you have a severe allergy to eggs.

When to have it
Get one dose of the flu vaccine every year, ideally in September or as soon as the vaccine is available.

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal disease is a potentially serious infection caused by a type of bacteria called pneumococcus. Pneumococcal disease can take various forms, including pneumococcal pneumonia and pneumococcal meningitis. Pneumococcus also causes infections in the bloodstream.

Who needs it
Get the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine — the type of pneumococcal vaccine available for adults — if:

  • You’re age 65 or older
  • You have a weak immune system
  • You have a chronic illness, including asthma, lung disease, liver disease or diabetes
  • You’ve had your spleen removed
  • You live in a long term care facility
  • You smoke

Don’t get the vaccine if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or you’re currently ill.

When to have it
Get one dose of the pneumococcal vaccine at any time. Ask your doctor if you need a second dose.

Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis

Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis are bacterial infections. Tetanus, sometimes called lockjaw, affects the nervous system, leading to painful muscle contractions — especially in the jaw and neck. Diphtheria is a respiratory disease that can lead to difficulty breathing. Whooping cough (pertussis) causes cold-like signs and symptoms and a persistent hacking cough.

Who needs it
Get the combined tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine if you haven’t received the vaccine in the past or don’t know if you’ve received the vaccine.

The Tdap vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the tetanus-diphtheria (Td) series or Tdap vaccine, you experienced a coma or seizures within seven days of a previous dose of the vaccine or you’re currently ill. Consult your doctor before getting the Tdap vaccine if you have epilepsy or you’ve had Guillain-Barre syndrome.

When to have it
Get one dose of the Tdap vaccine if you didn’t finish the Td series as a child or don’t know if you ever had the Td vaccine. Get a second dose four weeks after the first dose. Get a third dose six to 12 months after the second dose.If you’re due for a Td booster — recommended every 10 years — but haven’t previously received Tdap, get one dose of the Tdap vaccine at any time followed by a Td booster every 10 years.

Meningitis

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Who needs it
Get the meningitis (meningococcal) vaccine if:

  • You didn’t have the vaccine as a child or adolescent and you’re living in a dormitory for the first time
  • You travel to or work in parts of the world where meningitis is common
  • You’re joining the military
  • You had your spleen removed
  • A meningitis outbreak occurs in your community

The meningitis vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or you’re currently ill.

When to have it
Get one dose of the meningitis vaccine at any time — or a booster dose if you’re a first-year college student up to age 21 and first had the vaccine before age 16. Get a second dose eight weeks later if you have certain health conditions, such as HIV.

Chickenpox (varicella)

Chickenpox is a highly contagious infection that causes a red, itchy rash. Complications can include a bacterial infection of the skin, an infection in the bloodstream, pneumonia or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).

Who needs it
Get the chickenpox vaccine if:

  • You didn’t have the vaccine as a child or adolescent or you’ve never hadchickenpox — especially if you live with someone who has a weak immune system
  • You aren’t sure whether you’ve had chickenpox
  • You’re considering pregnancy and don’t know if you’re immune to chickenpox

The chickenpox vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or to gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin, you’re currently ill, you’re pregnant or you have a weak immune system.

When to have it
Get one dose of the chickenpox vaccine at any time. Get a second dose at least four weeks after the first dose.

Measles, mumps and rubella

Measles, mumps and rubella are viral infections. Measles causes a red, blotchy skin rash. Complications can include ear infection, pneumonia and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Mumps causes swelling in the salivary glands, located below and in front of your ears. Rubella, also called German measles, causes a distinctive red rash. Rubella is most serious if it develops during pregnancy.

Who needs it
Get the combined measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine if you were born during or after 1957 and didn’t have the vaccine as a child or adolescent.

The MMR vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or to gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin, you’re currently ill, you’re pregnant, you have a weak immune system, or you recently had a blood transfusion.

When to have it
Get one dose of the MMR vaccine at any time. Get a second dose at least four weeks after the first dose if you’re a health care worker, you travel internationally, you’re a college student, or you had a rubella blood test that shows no immunity.

Human papillomavirus

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection. Most people who have HPV don’t develop symptoms. For some people, however, an HPV infection can lead to genital warts or, for women, cervical cancer.

Who needs it
Get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine if:

  • You’re a woman age 26 or younger and didn’t have the vaccine as an adolescent
  • You’re a man age 21 or younger and didn’t have the vaccine as an adolescent — although men can get the vaccine through age 26, if desired

The HPV vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine, you have a severe allergy to yeast or latex, you’re pregnant, or you’re currently ill.

When to have it
Get one dose of the HPV vaccine at any time. Get a second dose one to two months after the first dose, and a third dose six months after the first dose.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a potentially serious liver infection.

Who needs it
Get the hepatitis A vaccine if:

  • You want to protect yourself from hepatitis A
  • You have a clotting-factor disorder or chronic liver disease
  • You’re a man who has sex with men
  • You inject illicit drugs
  • You’re a health care worker who might be exposed to hepatitis A in a lab setting
  • You travel to or work in parts of the world where hepatitis A is common

The hepatitis A vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine, you have a severe allergy to latex or you’re currently ill.

When to have it
Get one dose of the hepatitis A vaccine at any time. Get a second dose six at least six months after the first dose.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is another type of liver infection. For some people, hepatitis B becomes chronic — leading to long-term liver problems.

Who needs it
Get the hepatitis B vaccine if:

  • You want to protect yourself from hepatitis B
  • You’re sexually active but not in a mutually monogamous relationship
  • You’re a man who has sex with men
  • You have close contact or sex with a person infected with hepatitis B
  • You inject illicit drugs
  • You’re receiving hemodialysis
  • You’re a health care or public safety worker who might be exposed to infected blood or body fluids
  • You live with someone who has a chronic hepatitis B infection
  • You travel to or work in parts of the world where hepatitis B is common
  • You’re age 59 or younger and have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and haven’t received the hepatitis B vaccine

If you’re age 60 or older and have diabetes, ask your doctor if the hepatitis B vaccine is right for you. The hepatitis B vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine, you have a severe allergy to yeast or you’re currently ill.

When to have it
Get one dose of the hepatitis B vaccine at any time. Get a second dose one month after the first dose. Get a third dose at least two months after the second dose and at least four months after the first dose.

Shingles (herpes zoster)

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox might eventually develop shingles.

Who needs it
Get the shingles vaccine if you’re age 60 or older.

The shingles vaccine isn’t recommended if you’re currently ill, you had a severe reaction to gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin, you have a weak immune system or you’re pregnant.

When to have it
Get one dose of the shingles vaccine at any time.

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

Hib is a bacterium that causes potentially serious infections, including pneumonia, meningitis and swelling of the piece of cartilage that covers the windpipe (epiglottitis).

Who needs it
Get one dose of the Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine if:

  • You have certain health conditions, such as sickle cell disease, leukemia or HIV
  • You had your spleen removed

The Hib vaccine isn’t recommended if you had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or you’re currently ill.

When to have it
Get one dose of the Hib vaccine at any time.

Source: Mayo Clinic.

Decline In Circumcisions Could Prove Costly.



Over the past two decades, circumcision rates in the U.S. have fallen to 55 percent from a peak of about 79 percent. Insurance coverage for the procedure has also fallen — particularly under Medicaid — and is a factor in the decline.

Yet three separate studies have found that circumcision reduces the risks of infection with HIV, leading the World Health Organization to recommend it in places where HIV risk runs high. Kenya, for one, is turning to circumcision of adult men to curb the spread of the virus there.

Circumcision also reduces the risk of infection with genital herpes virus and human papillomavirus. The practice can also reduce urinary tract infections in young boys. Later on, men’s female sex partners are less likely to develop some infections if the guys are circumcised.

 

Johns Hopkins researchers analyzed how declines in circumcision would affect future health care costs, including what would happen if the rate fell to 10 percent, which is the average in Europe. The change — up or down — in HIV infections is the biggest factor.

So what’s the tab? If the circumcision rate fell to 10 percent, the annual net increase in health care costs would be about a half-billion dollars a year. The findings appear in the latest issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Johns Hopkins pathologist Aaron Tobian, senior author on the paper, tells Shots an increase in health costs tied to less frequent circumcision is already happening. He lays some of the blame on the American Academy of Pediatrics, whose 1999 policy statement says the “data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.”

Tobian says that data gathered since then show that position is wrong. “The trials were amazingly consistent,” he says.

The American Academy of Pediatrics declined to comment. But we won’t have to wait too long for more from the group. Next Monday, a long-awaited update to the group’s circumcision policy is set to be published.

Of course, complications from circumcision are possible, though most, such as bleeding, are mild and don’t last long. Critics of circumcision dispute the benefits and say it can lead to sexual problems. “There’s no hard evidence circumcision is causing problems with sexual function or satisfaction,” Tobian says.

Medicaid programs in 18 states no longer cover circumcision. Short-term cost savings is one reason. Tobian says the lack of a statement in favor of circumcision from the pediatricians’ group is another factor. The absence suggests circumcision is “an elective procedure without benefit.” And, he says, that’s untrue.

Source: http://www.npr.org

 

 

The Measurement of Lipids Currently and 9 Years Ago—Which Is More Associated With Carotid Intima-Media Thickness?


Massive evidence supports that increase of lipids bring more risk of atherosclerosis. However, it is not clear if lipids measured a long time ago bear more risk than the current measurement.

Hypothesis:

Lipids measured currently is more associated with carotid atherosclerosis than lipids measured long time ago.

Methods:

A cohort of 1195 participants age 35 to 64 years was examined in both 1993–1994 and 2002 for serum lipids, and in 2002 for carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) with B mode ultrasound. The associations of lipids at baseline and at reexamination with CIMT were analyzed and compared using multiple linear regressions.

Results:

All lipid variables, except for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) both at baseline and reexamination, were significantly associated with age-adjusted CIMT in both males and females (all Ptrend <0.01). The age-adjusted mean of CIMT in all of the population was 0.696 mm in those having low low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) at both examinations, 0.719 mm in those having high LDL-C only at baseline, 0.706 mm in those having high LDL-C only at reexamination, and 0.727 mm in those having high LDL-C at both examinations. Further analysis showed that lipids measured at baseline remained significant, whereas lipids at reexamination became not significant in all models, except those for HDL-C and total cholesterol (TC)/HDL-C, which allow the lipids at different times to compete in association with CIMT.

Conclusions:

Both the current measurement of lipids (TC, LDL-C, non-HDL-C, TC/HDL-C, and LDL-C/HDL-C) and the measurement from 9 years ago are significantly associated with CIMT, but the measurement from 9 years ago had an even stronger association.

Source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com

 

 

 

 

Can We Predict the Site of Entry Tear by Computed Tomography in Patients With Acute Type A Aortic Dissection?


In patients with acute type A aortic dissection (AAD), localization of the primary entry tear to be excluded is of major importance for intervention.

Hypothesis:

There are reliable indirect computed tomography (CT) findings to predict the entry site.

Methods:

In 83 patients with type A AAD whose primary entry tears were identified surgically between 2003 and 2009, we retrospectively examined the diagnostic CT scans regarding pericardial effusion, the largest short-axial diameter of the aorta, widths of true and false lumens, and false lumen thrombosis at 6 levels of thoracic aorta from the aortic root to the descending aorta.

Results:

The primary entry sites identified intraoperatively were proximal ascending in 21 patients, middle ascending in 21, distal ascending in 21, arch in 17, and descending or unknown in 16. The multivariate logistic analysis revealed that pericardial effusion (odds ratio [OR]: 2.2, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.2–3.4, P < 0.001) and dilated ascending aorta (OR: 1.6, 95% CI: 1.1–2.4, P = 0.012) were the significant CT findings to predict the entry tear in the ascending aorta. It also revealed that the significant CT finding to predict the entry tear distal to the aortic arch was nonthrombosed false lumen in the descending aorta (OR: 1.2, 95% CI: 1.1–2.1, P = 0.048).

Conclusions:

We can predict the primary entry site by the preoperative CT findings in patients with type A AAD, considering pericardial effusion, aortic diameter, widths of true and false lumens, and false lumen thrombosis at different anatomic levels.

Source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com

 

 

 

Pretreatment With Low-Dose β-Adrenergic Antagonist Therapy Does Not Affect Severity of Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy.


Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a syndrome of transient left ventricular dysfunction following acute emotional or physical stress without obstructive coronary artery disease. The leading hypothesis for the etiology is stress-induced catecholamine surge.

Hypothesis:

People taking outpatient β-adrenergic receptor antagonist therapy have less-severe presentation and clinical course of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy.

Methods:

We identified patients diagnosed with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy from October 2005 to January 2011 by analyzing our cardiac-catheterization database. Clinical records and angiograms were reviewed by 2 experienced observers independently to confirm the diagnosis. We collected clinical, demographic, laboratory, and angiographic data for the identified patients. We then compared the severity of myocardial dysfunction or damage (cardiac enzymes, left ventricular end diastolic pressure, and left ventricular ejection fraction) between patients taking outpatient β-adrenergic antagonist therapy upon admission vs those who were not. Arrival and peak values for cardiac enzymes were analyzed when available. Analysis of parameters related to the severity of myocardial dysfunction or damage was conducted using the Mann-Whitney U test. Means for age were compared using the Student t test. Statistical significance was set at P < 0.05 (2-tailed).

Results:

Out of 64 patients identified, 16 (25%) were on one of 3 β-adrenergic antagonists on presentation: metoprolol succinate, metoprolol tartrate, or atenolol, with mean doses of 75 mg daily, 52.5 mg twice daily, and 37.5 mg daily, respectively. Patients on β-blockers were older (mean age 73.1 years vs 66 years; P < 0.05). There was no statistically significant difference in levels of cardiac enzymes, left ventricular end diastolic pressure, or left ventricular ejection fraction between the 2 groups.

Conclusion:

Prior therapy with low-dose β-adrenergic antagonists does not affect the severity of presentation and clinical course of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy as measured by common markers of myocardial dysfunction.

Source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com

 

 

Dietary cadmium exposure and prostate cancer incidence: a population-based prospective cohort study.


Experimental data convincingly propose the toxic metal cadmium as a prostate carcinogen. Cadmium is widely dispersed into the environment and, consequently, food is contaminated.

Methods:

A population-based cohort of 41 089 Swedish men aged 45–79 years was followed prospectively from 1998 through 2009 to assess the association between food frequency questionnaire-based estimates of dietary cadmium exposure (at baseline, 1998) and incidence of prostate cancer (3085 cases, of which 894 were localised and 794 advanced) and through 2008 for prostate cancer mortality (326 fatal cases).

Results:

Mean dietary cadmium exposure was 19 μg per day±s.d. 3.7. Multivariable-adjusted dietary cadmium exposure was positively associated with overall prostate cancer, comparing extreme tertiles; rate ratio (RR) 1.13 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03–1.24). For subtypes of prostate cancer, the RR was 1.29 (95% CI: 1.08–1.53) for localised, 1.05 (95% CI: 0.87–1.25) for advanced, and 1.14 (95% CI: 0.86–1.51) for fatal cases. No statistically significant difference was observed in the multivariable-adjusted risk estimates between tumour subtypes (Pheterogeneity=0.27). For localised prostate cancer, RR was 1.55 (1.16–2.08) among men with a small waist circumference and RR 1.45 (1.15, 1.83) among ever smokers.

Conclusion:

Our findings provide support that dietary cadmium exposure may have a role in prostate cancer development.

Source: British journal of oncology

 

Keywords:

dietary cadmium; epidemiology; prospective cohort; prostate cancer; subtypes