Archive for Health/Nursing

We Now Live in a “Post-antibiotic” Era

According to this newly-released CDC report – Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States 2019 – “Antibiotic resistance is not only a U.S. problem—it is a global crisis. Resistance has been identified across the world. New forms of resistance emerge and can spread with remarkable speed between continents through people, goods, and animals. Inappropriate antibiotic use and inadequate infection prevention can increase the chance that resistance develops, spreads, and puts the world at risk”(8)

The report identifies 18 types of germs that have become/or will become antibiotic- resistant. These pathogens are directly responsible for 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections a year along with 35,000 deaths. (3) The report contains a glossary (7), threat assessments (16-17), and pathogen summaries (63-108). This is a call for more action, from developing newer drugs to combating the spread of these germs on the international stage.

This CDC section – Antibiotic/Antimicrobial Resistance – has additional information.

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“The Future of Nursing 2020-2030”

In 2010, a landmark study, actually a call to action, was published by the then Institute of Medicine, now subsumed under the National Academies umbrella – The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health – that advocated for a more involved nursing corps at all levels, propounded that nurses assume leadership roles in healthcare organizations, promoted the need for a better educated nurses, and supported the call for a more diverse practitioner base.

Many programs/processes/procedures were initiated in response to this study. Where do we stand now? This 2019 examination of the nursing field and what progress has been achieved in light of the recommendations put forth by the above document presents a glass-half-full scenario. There have been positive steps but more than a few goals that were supposed to be reached in 2020 will fall short.

The Future of Nursing 2020-2030, a consensus study under the auspices of the National Academy of Medicine, is now underway with the goals of  garnering”… insights on how to advance the profession of nursing to help our nation create a culture of health, reduce health disparities, and improve the health and well-being of the U.S. population in the 21st century. Each meeting featured panel discussions around a specific topic, followed by time for public comments.” The above link leads to video presentations of the town hall meetings as well as live Twitter channels.

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Vaping – Some Resources

The CDC has just announced that it is opening its Emergency Operations Center in an attempt to foster inter-agency cooperation around the increasing incidents of lung injury due to vaping. It has also created a very informative section on Electronic Cigarettes that is replete with helpful links and information.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a recent editorial – Vaping-Induced Lung Injury – that concludes:

Until the investigation into the cause of this epidemic of vaping-induced respiratory injury is complete, no conclusions can be drawn as to which compound or compounds are the causes of injury. In light of these cases, however, efforts should be made to increase public awareness of the harmful effect of vaping, and physicians should discourage their patients from vaping.(Emphasis added)

This journal also supplied pertinent articles that are freely accessible: Pulmonary Illness Related to E-Cigarette Use in Illinois and Wisconsin — Preliminary Report, and Imaging of Vaping-Associated Lung Disease. Other free articles on this topic from this journal are here.

The Lancet, another highly respected medical journal, also allows access to numerous articles on vaping.

PubMed Central gives you access to hundreds of articles on vaping/e-cigarettes. An example is Prevalence of vaping and smoking among adolescents in Canada, England, and the United States: repeat national cross sectional surveys from the June 20, 2019 edition of the British Medical Journal.

A review of state legislation on vaping/e-cigarettes is found at the site Alternative Nicotine Products | Electronic Cigarettes hosted by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

At the moment the most comprehensive report is this 2018 document from the National Academies – Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes.

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As Climate Change Continues, the Heat Index Increases

The heat index is used by the National Weather Service to issue heat event warnings. This article – Increased frequency of and population exposure to extreme heat index days in the United States during the 21st century –  from Environmental Research Communications– posits that this measure of the “apparent temperature” will reach beyond the upper thresholds of this tool as more episodes of high heat are experienced, putting millions of people at risk. The combination of high heat and humidity will jeopardize many with the likelihood of heat stroke. We will have an adumbration of this condition this upcoming weekend. Stay out of the sun, limit physical activity, and stay hydrated.


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Climate Change is a Priority Health Issue

Against a background of soaring temperatures in northern Europe (100+ degrees), rainfall that has flooded parts of southern New Jersey, hail the size of golf balls in France, and in light of the upcoming UN Climate Action Summit, a number of United States medical /health groups have joined together to issue U.S. Call to Action on Climate, Health, and Equity: A Policy Action Agenda that states “Climate change is the ‘greatest public health challenge of the 21st century’.” This brief but cogent document outlines steps that must be taken to address this most pressing problem. Since climate change more adversely affects those already in dire straits, a social justice component in battling climate change is introduced.



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Anti-vaxxers Are Not Just Limited to the United States

The Wellcome Global Monitor 2018 report has just been released, and it reveals that many high-income countries, including the United States, have significant segments of the population that do not believe in the efficacy of vaccines, while conversely, low-income countries recognize the benefits of vaccines. In fact, “In France, one in three people disagree that vaccines are safe, the highest percentage for any country worldwide.”  (Consult Chapter 5 of the report) Voluminous country data is contained in the appendix.

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Pesticides in Fruits and Vegetables

This comprehensive report, along with references and methodologies, from the Environmental Working Group, takes a look at what vegetables/fruits contain toxic chemicals. According to their work “Nearly 70 percent of the produce sold in the U.S. comes with pesticide residues….The most surprising news from the USDA tests reveals that the popular health food kale is among the most contaminated fruits and vegetables. More than 92 percent of kale samples had two or more pesticide residues detected, and a single sample could contain up to 18 different residues.” Read the report to find how other produce rank in this sobering evaluation.

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