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Overview of Environmental Allergies

In case you have environmental allergies, you might find yourself sniffling, sneezing, coughing, or itching - and it’s your environment which are causing the issue. Thankfully, you’re not really doomed to times of misery. The key would be to avoid or get rid of airborne allergens, which can only help you obtain back again to feeling your very best. Here are usually six of the very most common environmental allergies.
allergyPollen, the airborne allergen right behind hay fever, is among the most typical allergy triggers, in fact it is very hard to avoid. Many pollen allergy symptoms could be handled with avoidance steps. But it’s difficult in order to avoid outside allergy triggers like tree pollen or weed pollen, - if you don't want to reside in a bubble or on the moon!
Most people will get relief with over-the-counter or even prescription medication. You may use a nasal steroid for sneezing and itching or an antihistamine for occasional post-nasal drainage or itchy eye. Ultimately, if your asthma and allergies are poor enough, it is possible to explore the choice of traditional allergy photos, that may rid you of nagging symptoms for good allergy.
Dust Mites
Though pollen allergy will probably attack when you’re outside, being allergic to dust mites puts you vulnerable to experiencing environmental allergies indoors, including in your house. Dust mites are usually microscopic creatures which are within everyone’s mattresses, pillows, upholstered couches, and carpets. They're not bed bugs plus they do not bite. Nevertheless, in case you are allergic to them, they are able to cause significant problems with nasal congestion, sinus attacks, headaches, and problems sleeping. Dust mites feed off dead human skin really, so they are located in high volumes we have a tendency to shed dead skin anywhere, such as for example pillows and mattresses.
Pets and Animals
You don’t necessarily need to part with your dog in order to decrease your contact with this environmental allergen. If animals could be made outdoor animals, then this can diminish your contact with pet dander. Bathing pets weekly will certainly reduce shedding and lower your contact with pollens, like grass, embedded in the animal’s fur. Allergens may also be found in your dog’s saliva and urine, so be sure to minimize your contact with the cat kitty litter box.

Health Tips: Treatment for Ants, Centipedes, Millipedes

bed_bugCentipedes, millipedes, sowbugs, and pillbugs are usually arthropods (not bugs), although they do benefit from the same living problems as bugs. These creatures aren't harmful. They're unattractive and regarded as a nuisance merely, when found indoors especially.
Sowbugs and pillbugs
Sowbugs and pillbugs are usually significantly less than 2 cm long and so are usually black to slate gray. They're armadillo-like and participate in the same course of creatures as lobsters and shrimps. These tiny property crustaceans need moist problems to survive, and prefer to live under particles or rocks where they prey on decaying organic matter. They often die quickly as soon as inside homes because dampness levels aren't high sufficient for them.
Millipedes and centipedes
Wormlike centipedes and millipedes both have many entire body sections and several legs. However, the centipede includes a more flattened entire body and only one couple of legs per area, while the millipede's entire body is rounded at the top with two pairs of hip and legs per section. Also, the centipede 's hip and legs are longer, and can quickly move more. When disturbed, millipedes have a tendency to coil up, but centipedes run for the closest dark hiding place swiftly.
Centipedes are a competent method of controlling other bugs in your house.They prefer to eat spiders, bed bugs, cockroaches, silverfish, carpeting beetles, or ants. Millipedes, however, do not survive as soon as in the home since it is too dried out for them.
Should I get worried?
Although all centipedes have poison glands that open up through their jaws, almost all house centipedes cannot penetrate human skin with a bite. Nevertheless, the few that may will give an impact similar to a moderate bee sting, with signs and symptoms disappearing inside a few hours generally. The home centipede's bite won't cause any serious injury to pets like cats and dogs.
Sowbugs and pillbugs can enter damp regions of your house in good sized quantities sometimes. However, they don't bite, sting, or transmit illnesses, plus they don't infest food, clothes, or wood.
Sowbugs, pillbugs, and millipedes breakdown organic matter, releasing nutrition to garden vegetation. Centipedes help control some other bugs. For these reasons, this combined group can be viewed as beneficial and really should be tolerated whenever you can.
A new persistent infestation of sowbugs, pillbugs, or millipedes indoors might indicate a significant moisture problem inside your home, and the current presence of a food source such as rotting wood.
How can I eliminate them?
·Make sure the bottom slopes aside from your house in order to avoid drinking water and moisture retention close to the building foundation.
·Get rid of leaf litter and decaying vegetation round the foundation of your house. Other items providing hiding locations on the floor (like stones, boards, or boxes) ought to be moved away as well.
·Use coarse (rather than good) mulches that allow drinking water to drain.
·Foundation plantings ought to be pruned and cleaned to boost ventilation around your house.
·Allow the soil to dried out between waterings.
·Repair cracks in basis walls or about windows prior to the fall.
·Indoors, work with a dehumidifier or perhaps a small electric lover to dry damp areas inside the basement.
Chemical products
Changing the particular habitat of the creatures outside your house should reduce their figures. If these efforts usually do not handle them sufficiently, you may opt for a registered domestic-course pesticide product (that you can use yourself). Note that utilizing a pesticide indoors to regulate millipedes, sowbugs, or pillbugs isn't recommended because they will quickly die from dehydration as soon as indoors.
·Diatomaceous earth, a dynamic ingredient within many domestic pesticides, can be an ecological method of control. It is a good powder created from crushed microscopic marine fossils. As insects crawl on the powder, their external "pores and skin" is scratched, leading to them to dehydrate and die. Diatomaceous earth shall remain active so long as it really is kept dry. It is nontoxic to humans and animals, but take care not to inhale the dirt when applying the product. This powder may be used in crevices and cracks being an ongoing control measure.

How to Deal with Asthma?

asthmaAsthma is really a long-term ailment that has simply no cure. The particular goal associated with asthma therapy is to manage the condition. Right there are the most of asthma symptoms and treatment:
·Prevent chronic plus troublesome signs and symptoms, for example breathing problems and shortness of breathing
·Reduce your own requirement for quick-relief medicines
·Help you preserve good lung perform
·Let you preserve your regular activity degree and rest through the particular night
·Prevent asthma episodes that can lead to a good emergency area visit or even hospital remain
To handle asthma, companion with your physician to control your asthma or your own child's asthma. Children old 10 or even older-and younger kids who are usually able-should consider an energetic function within their asthma care.
Using an energetic function to manage your own asthma requires:
·Working along with your physician to deal with other circumstances that may intervene with asthma management.
·Avoiding things that will worsen your own asthma (asthma triggers). Nevertheless, one cause you must not prevent is actual physical activity. Physical exercise is an essential portion of the healthy life-style. Talk along with your physician regarding medicines that will can assist you keep active.
·Working along with your physician as well as other wellness care suppliers to generate and stick to an asthma plan of action.
A good asthma motion plan offers guidance in obtaining your drugs properly, staying away from asthma sets off (except actual physical activity), monitoring your height of asthma control, reacting to deteriorating symptoms, plus seeking crisis care as needed.
Asthma is usually treated along with two varieties of medications: long-term handle and quick-relief medicines. Long lasting control medications help decrease airway irritation and stop asthma symptoms. Quick-relief, or "rescue, " medications relieve asthma symptoms that will may surface.
Your preliminary treatment is determined by the intensity of your own asthma. Followup asthma treatment is determined by just how well your own asthma activity plan is usually controlling your own symptoms plus preventing asthma attacks.
Your height of asthma handle can differ as time passes plus with adjustments in your own home, college, or function environments. These types of changes can modify how usually you're subjected to the elements that may worsen your own asthma.
Your own doctor might need to increase your own medicine when your asthma doesn't remain under manage. However, when your asthma is properly controlled for a number of months, your physician may reduce your medicine. These types of adjustments for your medicine can help you maintain the particular best manage possible along with the minimum amount associated with medicine essential.
Asthma therapy for many groupings of people-such as kids, pregnant females, or individuals for who exercise provides on asthma symptoms-will end up being adjusted in order to meet their particular special requirements.
Follow a good Asthma Plan of action
You may work together with your own doctor to produce a personal asthma action program. The master plan may describe your own daily remedies, such like which medications to consider plus when to consider them. The master plan also can explain whenever to contact your physician or even navigate to the crisis room.
In case your child provides asthma, all the people who else take care of your pet or the girl ought to know regarding the kid's asthma plan of action. This contains babysitters plus workers from daycare facilities, schools, plus camps. These types of caretakers may help your kid follow their action program.
Avoid Items That Can easily Worsen Your own Asthma
Several common items (called asthma triggers) may set away from or aggravate your asthma symptoms. As soon as you understand what these types of things are usually, you may take procedure for control most of them.
For illustration, contact with pollens or atmosphere pollution will make your asthma worse. If you are, try in order to limit time period outdoors whenever the degrees of these elements in the particular outdoor air flow are higher. If pet fur sets off your asthma symptoms, maintain pets along with fur out there of your own home or even bedroom.
A single possible asthma trigger a person shouldn’t prevent is physical exercise. Physical exercise is an important component of a proper lifestyle. Talk to your physician about medications which will help a person stay energetic.
In case your asthma symptoms are usually clearly associated to contaminants in the air, and a person can't prevent contact with individuals allergens, your own doctor might advise a person to obtain allergic reaction shots.
A person may require to visit a specialist in case you are thinking regarding getting allergic reaction shots. These types of shots may lessen or even stop your asthma symptoms, yet they aren't cure your own asthma.
Many health circumstances could make asthma harder in order to manage. These types of conditions consist of runny nasal area, sinus bacterial infections, reflux condition, psychological tension, and stop snoring. Your physician will deal with these circumstances too.
Your physician may consider several things whenever deciding which usually asthma drugs are very best to suit your needs. He or she or the lady will verify to notice how properly a medication works. After that, she or he may adjust the particular dose or even medicine since needed.
Asthma medicines may be consumed pill type, but many are used utilizing a device called a good inhaler. A good inhaler enables the drugs to look straight to your own lungs.
Not every inhalers are utilized the exact same way. Request your physician or even another physician to present the correct method to make use of your inhaler. Review how you use your own inhaler from every healthcare visit.
Long lasting Control Medications
Most individuals who may have asthma require long lasting control medications daily in order to help avoid symptoms. The very best long-term drugs reduce respiratory tract inflammation, which usually helps avoid symptoms through starting. These types of medicines may provide you with fast respite from signs and symptoms.

Institute for Health Technology Transformation Announces Health IT Summit in Denver July 24-25

The iHT2 Health IT Summit in Denver, will bring together C-level, physician, practice management, and IT decision-makers from North America’s leading provider organizations and physician practices. For two full days, executives interact with a national audience of peers, national leaders and solutions providers featuring the latest solutions for practice management, mobility, telemedicine, outsourcing, IT infrastructure, next-generation electronic medical records, disease management, and more.

The Summit will feature keynote presentations from Peter Fine, FACHE, President & CEO, Banner Health, and Bernard Harris, Jr., MD, MBA, President & CEO, Vesalius Ventures, and President, American Telemedicine Association.

Featured Speakers include: Dana Moore, SVP & CIO, Centura Health; Gregory Veltri, CIO, Denver Health; Russell Leftwich, MD, CMIO, Tennessee Office of eHealth Initiatives; Neal Ganguly, VP & CIO, CentraState Healthcare System; Andrew Steele, MD, MPH, Director, Medical Informatics, Denver Health; Jonathan Gold, MD, MHA, MSc, Regional CMIO, Catholic Health Initiatives; Charles Doarn, MBA, Research Professor and Director, Telemedicine & e-Health Program, University of Cincinnati; Mark Caron, SVP & CIO, Capital BlueCross, and many more.

Panel Discussions for the Health IT Summit in Denver include: Accountable Care Organizations: Taking on Risk & Identifying Critical Tools, Leveraging Data to Improve Outcomes & Safety, Preparing for 2013: Organizational Strategies for the Transition to ICD-10, Breach Avoidance: Strategies to Protect Patient Data, HIE Performance: Defining Your Objectives & Measuring Progress, Meaningful Use Stage 2: Reaching the Next Stages of Quality & Care, and Mobile Health: Leveraging Data at the Point of Care.

The full agenda can be viewed by visiting:

Sponsors and Partners include: ICA, Quantix, Extract Systems, SLI Global Solutions, Nuance, Comcast, Altus, Rubbermaid Healthcare, VMware, Healthcare IT News, CMIO, FierceHealthIT, ADVANCE, NASCIO, AMDIS, eHealth SmartBrief, Frost & Sullivan, IDC Health Insights, Mobile Healthcare Today,, and more.

Institute for Health Technology Transformation Appoints New Health IT Leaders to Advisory Board

The Institute for Health Technology Transformation (iHT²) announced ten new members to their Advisory Board this week. These members represent some of the brightest minds in healthcare information technology, and they will work to provide thought leadership and valuable industry connections to expand and improve the quality of the Institute’s initiatives throughout the year.

The Institute’s Advisory Board is a group of health care thought leaders representing the diverse stakeholders involved in the integration of health information technology. This esteemed group provides iHT² with insight and guidance throughout the year on how it can better serve the health care industry in their goal of fostering the adoption and implementation of health IT.

“Members of the iHT² Advisory Board greatly enhance our ability to offer health IT leaders superior educational and collaborative opportunities,” said Barry P. Chaiken, MD, MPH, Senior Fellow & Health IT Chair, Institute for Health Technology Transformation, CMO, DocsNetwork & former HIMSS Chair. “The insight provided by these distinguished professionals allows iHT² to keep pace with developing trends in healthcare, and offer conferences, webinars and publications that satisfy the needs of a wide range of industry professionals.”

The new members join a board of over twenty health IT leaders representing organizations throughout the country including: Kaiser Permanente, Catholic Health Initiatives, Capital BlueCross, Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Delaware Health Information Network, and more.

The newly appointed members are:

  •     Samantha Burch, VP, Quality & Health IT, Federation of American Hospitals
  •     Mary Carroll Ford, MBA, VP & CIO, Lakeland Regional Medical Center
  •     Dick Gibson, MD, Chief Health Intelligence Officer, Providence Health & Services
  •     Fred Galusha. CIO & COO, Inland Northwest Health Services
  •     Chris Jaeger, MD, VP, Medical Informatics, Sutter Health
  •     Elizabeth Johnson, SVP, Applied Clinical Informatics, Tenet Healthcare
  •     Bill Phillips, CIO, University Healthcare System
  •     Justin Graham, CMIO, NorthBay Healthcare
  •     Andy Steele, MD, Medical Director, Informatics, Denver Health
  •     Doris Crain, CIO, Broward Health
  •     John Santangelo, Director of IT, Cleveland Clinic Florida

“The Advisory Board contributes invaluable industry insight that results in some of the most comprehensive, intimate, and informative programs taking place year after year,” said Waco Hoover, CEO, Institute for Health Technology Transformation. “The accomplishments and dedication of the Advisory Board is what truly separates the Institute apart from other organizations.”

Intermountain Healthcare, Partners Healthcare System, and Kaiser Permanente to Deliver Keynote Presentations at the Health IT Summit in San Francisco

The Institute for Health Technology Transformation announced the keynote presenters for the Health IT Summit in San Francisco, which will take place March 27-28th at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport. The keynote presenters at the annual program will be Mark Probst, CIO, Intermountain Healthcare, Blackford Middleton, MD, Corporate Director of Clinical Informatics Research & Development, Partners Healthcare System, and Hal Wolf, SVP & COO, The Permanente Federation, Kaiser Permanente.

The iHT2 Health IT Summit, will bring together C-level, physician, practice management, and IT decision-makers from North America’s leading provider organizations and physician practices. For two full days, executives interact with a national audience of peers, national leaders and solutions providers featuring the latest solutions for practice management, mobility, telemedicine, outsourcing, IT infrastructure, next-generation electronic medical records, disease management, and more.

“We are dedicated to continuous improvement that enhances patient care. I look forward to learning from health care leaders and sharing our experience in improving outcomes by putting advanced health IT in the hands of clinicians, care teams, and patients,” said Hal Wolf, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of The Permanente Federation, Kaiser Permanente.

Panel discussions for the Health IT Summit in San Francisco include: Accounting for Assumptions: Taking a deeper look at reforming our healthcare delivery system, HIE & HIX: The convergence of healthcare information, Securing Electronic Personal Health Information (ePHI): From the Data Warehouse to the Point of Care, Analytics in Healthcare: Improving Outcomes Through Data Management, The Cloud in Healthcare, Stage 2 Meaningful Use: Leveraging Technology to Improve Outcomes & Efficiency, Patient Management Without Walls: Enabling mHealth and Telemedicine, and more.

“Healthcare I.S. leadership is consumed with the demands of ARRA HITECH (meaningful use), ICD-10 (maybe we are going to get some relief) and a barrage of requests to meet the demands of a changing healthcare landscape,” said Mark Probst. “I believe that even though the demands are great – as I.S. leaders, we must not simply follow and adopt aging solutions, rather we have the responsibility to innovate.”

Sponsors and Partners include: ICA, InnerWireless, CloudPrime, Accellion, ICW, SLI Global Solutions, VMware, athenahealth, Comcast, InterSystems, LANDesk Software, Pano Logic, Aventura, Key Info, AUXILIO, Somansa Technologies, Inc.,, EMC2, AMDIS, The California Association of Healthcare Leaders (CAHL), California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (CAPH), CMIO, DOTmed, eHealth SmartBrief, Executive Insight, Frost & Sullivan, Healthcare IT News, IDC Health Insights, MarketsandMarkets, NASCIO, ReportsandReports,, and more.

Health Care Thought Leaders Release Research Report Finding Automation Is Key to Population Health Management

The Institute for Health Technology Transformationtoday released findings from an Automating Population Health Research Project, which seeks to educate the healthcare industry on how best to apply technology in meeting the challenges of population health management.

Prepared in consultation with a broad range of industry experts, the Population Health Management: A Roadmap for Provider-Based Automation in a New Era of Healthcare report finds that population health management requires healthcare providers to develop new skill sets and new infrastructures for delivering care. To make the transition from fee-for-service reimbursement to accountable care, which depends on the ability to improve population health, providers will need to automate many routine tasks, ranging from identification of care gaps and risk stratification to patient engagement, care management, and outcomes measurement.

“In the era of healthcare reform, provider organizations must change their traditional approach and embrace new ways of thinking about their mission,” said Waco Hoover, CEO of the Institute for Health Technology Transformation. “They must not only care for the sick, but also strive to keep their patient populations healthy. Information technology is the key to doing this cost efficiently, and automation can enable care teams to identify and work with the patients who truly need their help.”

Report coauthor Paul Grundy, MD, Global Director of Healthcare Transformation for IBM, and President of Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, commented, “Patient-centered medical homes based on primary care are the building blocks of accountable care, and information technology is the key to successful medical homes. With the help of registries, electronic health records, health information exchanges, and other tools for care coordination and automation, healthcare providers can manage their populations effectively and keep their patients as healthy as possible.”

Andy Steele, MD, MPH, Director of Medical Informatics at Denver Health, and another of the report’s contributing authors, said, “Given potential health care reform and efforts to increase quality and efficiency of care in the setting of persistent fiscal limitations, the importance of leveraging information technology and focusing on population health management has become a top priority for many health care institutions. Our goal for the project is to provide resources that health care providers can utilize as they are considering and implementing population health management initiatives.”

Richard Hodach, MD, MPH, PhD, Chief Medical Officer of Phytel and chair of the report’s research committee, commented, “This important new report underscores the message that Phytel has been spreading among physician groups for the past several years. By using technology to identify subpopulations and patients who are at risk, to reach out to those patients, and to automate care management, healthcare providers can provide optimal preventive and chronic care to their patient populations. Providers can also use technology to engage patients in their own care, which is the real key to lowering costs and improving population health. We are proud of our participation in this project, and we hope that the report will be helpful to providers who plan to move in this direction.”

Among the healthcare thought leaders who contributed to the Automating Population Health Research Project are Alide Chase, MS, Senior Vice President for Quality and Service, Kaiser Permanente; Robert Fortini, Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, Bon Secours Health System; Connie White Delaney, PhD, RN, School of Nursing Professor & Dean, Academic Health Center Director, Associate Director of Biomedical Health Informatics, and Acting Director of the Institute for Health Informatics, University of Minnesota; Richard Hodach, MD, MPH, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, Phytel; Paul Grundy, MD, MPH, Global Director of Healthcare Transformation, IBM; Margaret O’Kane, President, National Committee for Quality Assurance; Andy Steele, MD, MPH, Director of Medical Informatics, Denver Health; and Dan Fetterolf, Principal, Fetterolf Healthcare Consulting.

Institute for Health Technology Transformation Appoints Jay Srini Senior Fellow & Innovation Chair

The Institute for Health Technology Transformation announced today that Jay Srini, Chief Strategist at SCS Ventures has been appointed Senior Fellow & Innovation Chair for the Institute’s 2012 series of educational programs and meetings.

Jay Srini is an internationally recognized thought leader on national and international trends that are changing the face of healthcare. In her current role at SCS Ventures, Jay works with startup companies internationally to help them with their business development, technology strategy, and expansion. She also advises established companies on their strategies to enter and grow their healthcare vertical.

“We’re thrilled to work with Jay in a concerted effort to move our health system forward with programs that foster the more innovative use of information technology,” said Waco Hoover, the Institute’s CEO. “Jay has a wealth of industry expertise that will make a meaningful and lasting impact on programs and initiatives developed at the Institute.”

In Jay Srini’s role as Senior Fellow and Innovation Chair she will work with the Institute’s Advisory Board and other industry leaders to program and develop leading educational programs and collaboration opportunities for health care leaders. In tandem with the Institute’s mission to promote the effective use of technology across the U.S. health system, Mrs. Srini will engage leaders from the community to ensure the Institute continually provides timely and relevant resources.

“We are in the midst of tectonic shifts in healthcare on all fronts ranging from new discoveries to new payment models and new stakeholders entering the healthcare sector,” said Jay Srini. “Finding innovative ways to deliver cost effective patient centered health care has never been as important as now. Innovation is virtually impossible without collaboration! I am honored and excited to take on this new role at iHT2 to develop new programs and platforms to drive innovation in healthcare through collaboration knowledge acquisition and knowledge dissemination.”

Jay’s prior experience includes her role as Chief Innovation Officer for UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) Insurance Services Division as well as her role as Vice President of Emerging Technologies for UPMC. Jay was Managing Director for e-Health Initiatives at Internet Venture Works where she led technology and industry assessments of opportunities presented by strategic partners, investors and external sources and served in executive management roles for its’ portfolio companies. She has served on several healthcare boards including HIMSS (, PRHI ( and is a frequent speaker on International Healthcare forums. She serves on several HHS (Health and Human Services – related advisory panels and serves in an advisory capacity to International healthcare Institutions and Venture capitalists.

Jay has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from New York University and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Bucknell University and her executive education from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She also serves as one of the commissioners at CCHIT (Certification Commission of HealthCare Information Technology) in addition to her role as adjunct faculty Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and advisory board of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.


About iHT2

The Institute for Health Technology Transformation is the leading organization committed to bringing together private and public sector leaders fostering the growth and effective use of technology across the healthcare industry. Through collaborative efforts the Institute provides programs that drive innovation, educate, and provide a critical understanding of how technology applications, solutions and devices can improve the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare.

The Institute engages multiple stakeholders:

• Hospitals and other healthcare providers
• Clinical groups
• Academic and research institutions
• Healthcare information technology organizations
• Healthcare technology investors
• Health plans
• Consumer and patient groups
• Employers and purchasers
• Device manufacturers
• Private sector stakeholders
• Public sector stakeholders

Organ Donation: Does Presumed Consent Work?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit:

Organ transplantation can be the best treatment for some illnesses. But treatment depends on the availability of donated organs, and supply is a perennial problem. There are long waiting lists and many patients deteriorate or die before receiving organs.

The UK has one the highest number of people donating their organs to relatives while they are alive (living donation) in Europe. But altruism at the point of death is rarer. People in the UK would rather risk their health by donating a kidney when they are alive than give their kidneys away when they are dead.

And people are becoming less altruistic. The 2014-15 UK Transplant Activity Report shows that for the first time in 11 years the number of people who donated organs fell.

Wales Leads The Way

Since 1989, the UK has been under the informed consent law which means that organ donors must give explicit consent before they die. This is usually recorded on a donor card or formal register. On 1 December 2015, Wales will be the first UK country to change its organ donation law.

The new Welsh system presumes that people who have not recorded an organ donation...

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Do You Share More Genes With Your Mother Or Your Father?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: To whom is she more closely related? Shutterstock

Many of your relatives probably have an answer to the question of whether you are more your mother or your father’s child. But the correct answer to the question is not as simple as it might seem.

Genetically, you actually carry more of your mother’s genes than your father’s. That’s because of little organelles that live within your cells, the mitochondria, which you only receive from your mother.

Mitochondria are the energy-producing factories of the cell; without them, a cell would not be able to generate energy from food.

Mitochondria have an interesting history, as about 1.5-billion to 2-billion years ago they were free-living organisms. The ancestor of all mitochondria was a bacterium that was engulfed by another bacterium, but for one reason or another not digested, giving rise to the eukaryotes. The eukaryotes are basically all plants, animals and fungi, plus some rather weird organisms grouped together under Protista.

Because of their evolutionary history as free-living bacteria, mitochondria have retained their own genome, called mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA. Each cell...

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Fact Or Fiction: Can We Die From A Broken Heart?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Broken heart syndrome is a real thing. from

Dying of a broken heart is more than a myth. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (also known as broken heart syndrome) is a condition first recognised by Japanese researchers more than 20 years ago, and it has gained a great deal of attention in Western countries in the past ten years.

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TTC) temporarily affects the ability of the heart to pump efficiently. When this happens, the person experiences the same symptoms as those of a heart attack, including chest pain and shortness of breath. Less commonly, it can cause death.

Although the symptoms of a heart attack and TTC are the same, they have different causes. Whereas a heart attack is caused by a blockage in one of the coronary arteries supplying the heart muscle, the exact mechanism of TTC is not entirely clear.

TTC is associated with patterns of abnormal contraction of the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber, but it is not caused by blocked coronary arteries. The condition is being widely researched internationally, but it is generally accepted by the scientific community that...

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How Your Genes Influence What Medicines Are Right For You

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Effects may vary. Pills

You have a headache. Do you reach for Tylenol or Advil? Most people have a preference because they have learned over time that one works better than the other at relieving their pain. This type of variability from person to person is true for nearly every medication, whether it requires a prescription or can be purchased over the counter.

Pharmacists, physicians and researchers have tried for decades to understand why the same medication, at the same dose, can work well for some people but not for others, or why some people need higher or lower doses of the same drug, or why some people have side effects, while others do not. Many factors contribute to these differences in how people respond to the same medication, including age, other medications they may be taking, kidney function and cigarette smoking, to name a few. But it’s become increasingly clear that genetics can also be an important factor.

Genes Influence How Well Drugs Work

Understanding how these genetic differences work means that physicians can take a more personalized approach to selecting the right medication and dosage for each...

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Do Sweetened Drinks Really Cause Heart Failure?

Health and Medicine
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Drinking two or more sweetened drinks a day increases the risk of developing heart failure by 23%, according to a recent study. This sounds very precise and very alarming. The problem with nutrition studies is that they’re usually reported with more certainty than they warrant. And the relative dangers of consuming a particular food or drink are usually not that alarming when presented as absolute figures.

The reported 23% increase in risk was calculated as a “hazard ratio”, which represents the study participants' risk of having heart failure at any point in time over the average 12-year period they were studied for.

Hazard ratios can be misleading. To make sense of this information we need to know what specific group of people we are discussing, their baseline risk of heart failure and the increase in risk.

Using hypothetical figures: in 50-year-old men, if the baseline risk of having heart failure is 4 in 1000, a 23% increase in risk means one more person in 1000 will die at the age of 50 if they drink two or more sweet drinks a day.

Discussing the risk in absolute terms is much less alarming than the...

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Seven Hard Facts We All Need To Swallow About Antibiotics

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: World Health Organisation director-general Margaret Chan at the launch of a new global campaign against antibiotic resistance. Reuters/Pierre Albouy

The global public health crisis of antibiotic resistance is in the spotlight. What’s at stake is the impending loss of antibiotics that threatens modern medicine as we know it.

There has been a dramatic increase in multi-drug-resistant bacteria in the last few years. This is happening in the community, with examples such as gonorrhoea, and in hospitals where some “superbugs” are now either virtually, or completely, untreatable. Currently 700,000 people die each year from resistant infections. That number is set to rise to ten million by 2050 if no action is taken.

Far from being someone else’s problem, the release of a World Health Organisation (WHO) multi-country survey describes public awareness around antibiotic resistance, and highlights common misconceptions that are driving the current crisis. Here are seven of them.

1. Antibiotics Won’t Cause Resistance If I Take Them Correctly


Antibiotic resistance is all about Darwinian natural selection. For thousands of years...

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What Is The Risk Of Transmitting HIV?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: We don’t know Charlie Sheen’s specific medical details. But HIV treatment is effective at reducing transmission. Mike Segar/Reuters

Charlie Sheen’s recent announcement that he has HIV has raised concerns about whether he may have transmitted the infection to other people.

While we obviously don’t know his specific medical details (and really, it’s none of our business), HIV treatment is effective at reducing transmission. This is known as the “treatment as prevention” strategy.

There have been many advances in HIV care since Rock Hudson was diagnosed in the 1980s. At this time, the prognosis of AIDS was similar to patients with advanced cancer.

Since the mid-1990s, combinations of antivirals have markedly improved the survival of people living with HIV. Modern combinations are simple to take (as few as one tablet, once a day) and associated with much fewer side effects than older drugs.

The life expectancies of people living with HIV are now comparable to the general population, both in first world countries and developing countries.

Antiviral drugs work by interfering with the replication of HIV. This results in a drop in the...

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What Is Pain And What Is Happening When We Feel It?

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Pain doesn’t originate at the site as most think, it’s created by the brain so we protect the area that’s in danger. from

If someone has a pain in his hand […] one does not comfort the hand, but the sufferer. – Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1953

What is pain? It might seem like an easy question. The answer, however, depends on who you ask.

Some say pain is a warning signal that something is damaged, but what about pain-free major trauma? Some say pain is the body’s way of telling you something is wrong, but what about phantom limb pain, where the painful body part is not even there?

Pain scientists are reasonably agreed that pain is an unpleasant feeling in our body that makes us want to stop and change our behaviour. We no longer think of pain as a measure of tissue damage – it doesn’t actually work that way even in highly controlled experiments. We now think of pain as a complex and highly sophisticated protective mechanism.

How Does Pain Work?

Our body contains specialised nerves that detect potentially dangerous changes in temperature, chemical balance or pressure. These “danger detectors” (or...

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The Hidden Killer In Your Home – And How To Avoid It

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: In your living room? Radon is an invisible domestic hazard. Science Activism/flickr, CC BY-SA

Carbon Monoxide is a much-publicised invisible killer. But there’s another little-known gas that kills 27 times more people, causing the deaths of 1,100 people a year in the UK alone. Worse still, it could be seeping into your home.

Radon is a radioactive, odourless, colourless gas that is naturally present throughout most of the UK and in several other countries across the globe. It is emitted in varying quantities or concentrations from radioactive elements, for example Uranium, that are naturally present in rocks and soils.

Epidemiological studies on the health of miners undertaken by the United States Public Health Service during the 1950s and 1960s established a link between higher concentrations of Radon and incidences of lung cancer.

As Radon is emitted from the ground, it quickly dilutes in the atmosphere into relatively harmless concentrations. But in confined and unventilated spaces in buildings, in basements and in underground mines, it’s concentration levels can become dangerously high.

The Daughters Of Radon


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What We Didn't Know About The Penis

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: YouTube screenshot

Most people tend to assume that science is "done" when it comes to human anatomy. I mean, we've been studying it for THOUSANDS of years. We've dissected dead humans, cut millions of them open every year and fix things while they're still alive. We have advanced technology that can peer inside the living human body. What can there POSSIBLY be left to discover?

Well, quite a lot as it turns out. As Diane Kelly tells us in this great TED Talk, we still have a lot to learn about basic human anatomy. One example: how does the male erection work?


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'Healthy' foods differ by individual

Ever wonder why that diet didn't work? An new study tracking the blood sugar levels of 800 people over a week suggests that even if we all ate the same meal, how it's metabolized would differ from one person to another. The findings demonstrate the power of personalized nutrition in helping people identify which foods can help or hinder their health goals.

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Ethical issues analyzed regarding social media, healthcare

Social media has become ingrained into almost every area of our life, but should you really be Facebook friends with your doctor? A new article uses five case studies to highlight possible ethical and legal issues that arise with the use of social media in health care. The cases address topics such as posting work-related photos on Facebook, tweeting personal or political opinions, and Googling patients and prospective candidates for jobs.

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New treatment options, better hope of preventing vision loss from diabetes

This National Diabetes Month, there is some good news for people with eye complications from diabetes. A network of researchers has found that the drug Lucentis (ranibizumab) can be highly effective for treating proliferative diabetic retinopathy, an eye disease that can occur as a complication of diabetes. The researchers say this is the first major advance in therapy in 40 years.

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British hospitals face serious shortage of liver specialists

Fewer than one in three hospitals employ a full-time doctor who specializes in liver medicine, according to a survey of 144 hospitals in the UK. The results suggest that staffing levels for liver specialists are worryingly low in some regions, and that patient outcomes may be suffering as a result.

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How fast you move can predict how healthy you'll be

Instead of focusing on drawing out the length of life, researchers have created a tool that can be used for accurately predicting lifespan as well as assessing the current health state, and discovered the regulatory mechanism that extends “healthspan”, the time in which an organism is at its optimal health.

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First-in-human use of virtual reality imaging in cardiac cath lab to treat blocked coronary artery

Virtual reality has potential to revolutionize some aspects of medicine and healthcare. Several medical specialties are already using it to train physicians and assist diagnosis and it also has potential for treatment. A group of cardiologists has now successfully used a VR device to guide the opening up (revascularization) of a chronically blocked right coronary artery.

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High frequency stimulation in pain medicine

Due to disease-related changes in their brain, pain patients often suffer from an impaired tactile ability in their hands. In a new study, high frequency repetitive stimulation was investigated as a therapeutic approach for these patients. The results of this study show that passive stimulation of this kind is a promising new therapy option.

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XX FILES: The Extraordinary World Of Female Scientists

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Screenshot from Science Magazine's YouTube video. Producer: Nguyen Khoi Nguyen.

Science Magazine is debuting a new special series called the XX Files that peers into “the extraordinary worlds of extraordinary women scientists.” From Ashlee Rowe’s midnight hunts for scorpions, Elizaveta Solomonova’s exploration of “expert dreamers,” and Kate Prigge’s study of disease-sniffing dogs, the XX Files celebrates female scientists doing what they love and doing it well. 

“It was done with two motivations,” Sarah Crespi, Science Magazine’s supervising producer for the series, told IFLScience. “One, put a spotlight on women scientists and two, find some really amazing science that people will just be really excited about.”

Scorpion Hunting

For a few weeks a year, Ashlee Rowe scours the rugged mountains of southern New Mexico for scorpions. In the pitch black of night, Rowe and her team switch on their ultraviolet headlamps and watch as the stinging critters glow green under the UV light. The fluorescent scorpions skitter away under the harsh glare, but with a quick nip of her forceps and a zip bag, the creatures are safely bagged for the...

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Man Told He Has "30 Minutes To Live" After Doctors Discover Tapeworm In His Brain

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Jubal Harshaw/Shutterstock

A 26-year-old man was told by his doctor he had 30 minutes to live, after a brain scan revealed he had a tapeworm living in his brain.

Luis Ortiz, a student at Sacramento State in California, was rushed to Queen of the Valley Medical Center by paramedics in August, after suffering from the “worst headache of his life.”

Luis was told he had 30 minutes to live. He was promptly put into a coma and doctors performed emergency brain surgery. Using a tool equipped with a camera, surgeons removed the larvae of a parasitic tapeworm living in a cyst that was blocking off circulation to the rest of his brain.

“The doctor pulled it out and he said it was still wiggling, and I’m like ‘ugh, that doesn’t sound too good.’ Like, what are the odds I’d get a parasite in my head?” Luis told CBS San Francisco.

Although Luis’ case may sound like a freak mishap, some doctors believe a parasitic disease in the brain is actually relatively common but extremely underreported. Indeed, similar cases have been reported before.

However, Luis’ unwanted tenant still remains a bit of a mystery.

“They told me it was uncooked pork or...

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Journal Reports Case Study Of Woman With Giant Third Breast

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Hiremath et al., BMJ 2015

WARNING: Graphic (NSFW) images below.

If I told you that up to 6% of the female population have an extra breast, you probably wouldn’t believe me. Skepticism understood, but it’s true: Between 2% to 6% of women have what is termed “polymastia,” or an additional (accessory) breast. But that doesn’t mean that potentially hundreds of millions of women are walking around like something out of Busted’s “Year 3,000” video. They can range from tiny moles, lumps without nipples, to the rather disfiguring and uncomfortable. One such case was presented today in a case study from the BMJ Case Reports.

The report details a 41-year-old woman from India whose left breast had been swelling for the past decade, following her first pregnancy. Despite the severe disfigurement towards the end of this period, the woman decided not to seek medical attention and became socially withdrawn, fearing people’s reactions and stigma. The only reason she eventually went to the clinic was because she began to suffer "dragging" pain in her left shoulder and arm due to the heavy weight of the breast, study author Dr. Bharati Hiremath...

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Antibiotic-Antibody Cocktail Kills MRSA Superbug In Mice

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: A white blood cell ingesting MRSA by National Institutes of Health (NIH), via Wikimedia Commons

A technique borrowed from cancer treatment can perform a focused attack on microbes that are resistant to most antibiotics, according to new study published in Nature. Researchers attached an antibiotic to an antibody and found that the combination was highly efficient in fighting bacteria in mice. 

The team infected mice with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is one the most tenacious types of Staphylococcus (Staph). It then treated the mice either with the combination drug or with vancomycin, a powerful antibiotic that is often used against MRSA.

The researchers reported that the antibody-antibiotic conjugate (AAC) was about 1,000 times more effective against MRSA than vancomycin. It is believed that MRSA hides within cells, which often makes it difficult for antibiotics to defeat it. 

“Most conventional antibiotics are fantastic at killing Staph outside cells, but poor at killing it inside the cell,” said Sanjeev Mariathasan from the biotechnology company Genentech in San Francisco, and a coauthor of the...

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Landmark Trial Finds Injection Every Other Month Treats HIV Patients

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: r.classen/Shutterstock

An end to daily pills could finally be on the horizon for HIV patients. A new trial has found that an injection of long-acting forms of antiviral drugs work just as well as a daily oral regimen of three therapies. That is, the cocktail of pills taken by mouth were no more effective at suppressing the rate of viral replication than the experimental jab.

The drugs on trial are injectable preps of two treatments that attack HIV at different stages of its life cycle. Rilpivirine, created by pharma company Janssen, is an approved once-daily pill that stops HIV’s genome from being copied into a form that can successfully be inserted, or integrated, into a person’s DNA, a prerequisite for replication. Cabotegravir, developed by ViiV Healthcare, prevents that latter phase of integration, but it’s still being evaluated as both a daily pill and an injectable formulation.

The 96-week trial, LATTE 2, is a collaborative effort by those two pharmaceutical companies, and follows on from an earlier investigation, LATTE, which concluded that daily doses of cabotegravir and rilpivirine exerted similar antiviral effects as...

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Watch A Shark And An Octopus Battle

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A dogfish shark vs. an octopus, who would your money be on?

Sharks have been portrayed as ferocious killers at the top of the food chain, so when a shark picks a fight with an octopus, you probably feel safe in assuming who would come out on top. Right?

When dogfish carcasses kept turning up at the bottom of a tank at an aquarium, the staff decided to set up cameras to get to the bottom of the mystery... and this is what they found:



[H/T: National Geographic]


  • shark
  • dogfish
  • octopus

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Gene Editing Saves The Life Of Baby Girl With Terminal Cancer

Health and Medicine
One-year-old Layla has become the first person ever to be treated for cancer using gene-editing technology
Photo credit: One-year-old Layla has become the first person ever to be treated for cancer using gene-editing technology. Great Ormond Street Hospital

Gene-editing technology has been used to treat cancer for the first time, after doctors at London’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital (GOSH) resorted to the previously untested method in a last-ditch attempt to save the life of a baby girl.

Special permission had to be sought before the technique could be used as it had not yet completed clinical trials, yet after all other treatments had failed to help one-year-old Layla, doctors felt it was worth a shot. The procedure involved injecting her with genetically modified white blood cells, called T-cells, which were engineered to seek out and destroy cancer cells, and produced positive results within a few weeks.

Layla had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia – a cancer of the white blood cells – at the age of just three months, with doctors describing her condition as “one of the most aggressive forms of the disease” they had ever seen. Because of this, chemotherapy was not strong enough to kill off the cancerous cells,...

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Bobby Pin Found Piercing Child's Kidney

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: As shown by this X-ray image, the bobby pin went on quite the journey to get into his right kidney. BMJ 2015

When you’re a kid, you want to investigate pretty much everything you can by any means available. You’re a curiosity powerhouse, poking around at things, chewing on others, and sometimes trying to eat stuff. According to an extraordinary case study, published in BMJ Case Reports, one particular four-year-old in Saudi Arabia decided to “investigate” a bobby pin by swallowing it, which went on a strange adventure through his body and ended up piercing his kidney.

By the time his parents brought him to the medical center at KAMC-JD, National Guard Health Affairs in Jeddah, they informed doctors that he had been suffering sharp pain in the upper right section of his abdomen for around three months, and he’d also been experiencing a fever and chills. They informed the staff there that one doctor previously diagnosed the boy with a urinary tract infection (UTI) and gave him antibiotics, but the boy’s condition had barely improved after he finished the course of medicine.

After being admitted to another medical facility, an...

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Why The Drugs Market Isn’t Working And What We Can Do To Fix It

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: bikeriderlondon

When the new owners of a life-saving AIDS drug raised its price by 5,000%, an online backlash forced the CEO to change his mind. While the public might have been outraged, this was hardly the first time the pharmaceutical industry failed to make a cheap-to-produce but essential medicine easily available to those who need it.

Earlier this year, experts warned that a vital snakebite antidote had been withdrawn from the market by its manufacturers and that soon there would be no equivalent treatment available at all.

Too often the knowledge and the means to save lives are put at risk by problems with the pharmaceutical market. When these medicines are already developed and can be produced at modest cost, it is all the more frustrating and morally questionable.

We live in a world where the economic system can generally be relied upon to produce things that people want or need – even when those wants and needs could be viewed as trivial. So why, when it comes to something as important as life-saving medicines, does that system sometimes fail us?

Market Failure

There are a large number of factors at play, but at the...

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Scientists Figure Out Why High Intensity Training Can Be As Effective As Longer Exercise

Health and Medicine
Photo credit: Medicine ball push-ups. ostill/Shutterstock

Researchers from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute have discovered how high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can deliver similar health benefits to prolonged endurance exercises. HIIT is an exercise strategy that alternates short, intense anaerobic activity with a less intense recovery period. 

“Our study shows that three minutes of high-intensity exercise breaks down calcium channels in the muscle cells,” principal investigator Håkan Westerblad, professor at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, said in a statement. “This causes a lasting change in how the cells handle calcium, and is an excellent signal for adaptation, such as the formation of new mitochondria.”

Mitochondria are the components of the cell whose primary job is to burn sugar and to release energy for the cell to use. They are usually described as the powerhouses of the cell. An increase in the number of mitochondria signals an increase in muscle endurance. 

Strenuous exercise increases the number of free radicals (oxidants) in the body, which in the case of HIIT causes the breakdown of...

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