Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Bulletin (videos, interactive graphics, audio slideshows, and more!)

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Photo credit: Mark Warner)


“Reblog” from the Scout Report



Howard Hughes Medical Institute Bulletin

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is a remarkable institution that stands at the forefront of research in a wide range of medical fields. This site provides access to the HHMI Bulletin via the iPad in a format that is most visually stimulating. On this site, visitors can browse screen shots of this most wondrous compendium, complete with exclusive videos, interactive graphics, and audio slideshows. Visitors with iPads who download the app can learn about the latest cancer research, along with fun primers of the basic work of the HHMI and updates about long-term projects. Those without iPads are still strongly encouraged to check out the H HMI Bulletin, available here: [KMG]



December 1, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , | Leave a comment

Whooping Cough Vaccine Less Effective Over Time: Study

On a related note, we went over our dog’s records, and found out he is long overdue for his rabies “booster”. He had initial at 3 months, but we forgot to update.
Am slowly discovering that vaccines are not the “magic bullets” that I thought they were.Many do lose effectiveness over time. And there are side effects.Ideally good nutrition and environmental steps would allow for no vaccinations.

And there are times when only supportive care will do. Our cat’s recent viral infection is a case in point. We followed the vet’s recommendations for hydration therapy, Vitamin B (for appetite), concentrated food force fed through syringe..and within 4 days he was OK again.

However, there are many diseases that do not respond to only supportive care. And prevention must go beyond nutrition and clean surroundings. At times, the immune system is best strengthened by directly stimulating it to make antibodies through vaccines.
Yes, I know the arguments against, Please see the Mayo Clinic article below for some FAQs.***
Personally, I don’t believe autism is a result of vaccines and that natural immunity is best.  I cannot change people’s minds if they believe otherwise.  I can only present information I have found, and let people make informed decisions…and hopefully the best possible decision for children who cannot decide on their own.

Germs are very opportunistic, and they will always be around. I still believe vaccines are one of the best steps in avoiding diseases, to be used in conjunction with public health measures.

From the November 27 issue of Health Day

California outbreak suggests need to reevaluate vaccine schedule
HealthDay news image

Related MedlinePlus Pages

TUESDAY, Nov. 27 (HealthDay News) — Vaccination does safeguard children against whooping cough, but its protective effect seems to lessen over time, new research finds.

The 2010 outbreak of whooping cough (pertussis) in California, which sickened more than 9,000 people and left 10 infants dead, prompted an examination of the current vaccine’s effectiveness. That study concluded that the vaccine is effective but loses power over the years, leaving children 7 to 10 years old particularly susceptible.

“The pertussis vaccine is our best protection against disease,” said the study’s lead author, Lara Misegades, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. “We found that unvaccinated children were eight times more likely to be a pertussis case than vaccinated children. Parents should ensure children complete the childhood series and make sure your children get the adolescent booster too.”

In the United States this year, more than 36,000 whooping cough cases have been reported, including 16 deaths — most in infants younger than 3 months old, according to the CDC.

Because the vaccine’s protective shield diminishes over time, health experts have suggested that the current vaccine dosing schedule may need reevaluation….


The takeaway message for parents, Bromberg said, is that “the vaccine works. It’s effective, so make sure everyone is appropriately vaccinated according to the current schedule.”

“We’ll have to wait for further study to [determine if the current dosing schedule needs change],” he said. “Parents should stay tuned as to whether we recommend additional vaccinations for pertussis.”


Childhood vaccines: Tough questions, straight answers

Do vaccines cause autism? Is it OK to skip certain vaccines? Get the facts on these and other common vaccine questions.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Childhood vaccines protect children from a variety of serious or potentially fatal diseases, including diphtheria, measles, meningitis, polio, tetanus and whooping cough. If these diseases seem uncommon — or even unheard of — it simply means that vaccines are doing their job. Still, you may wonder about the benefits and risks of childhood vaccines. Here are straight answers to common questions about childhood vaccines.

Is natural immunity better than vaccination?

A natural infection often provides more complete immunity than a series of vaccinations — but there’s a price to pay for natural immunity. For example, a natural chickenpox (varicella) infection could lead to pneumonia. A natural polio infection could cause permanent paralysis. A natural mumps infection could lead to deafness. A natural Hib infection could result in permanent brain damage. Vaccination can help prevent these diseases and their potentially serious complications.

Do vaccines cause autism?

Vaccines do not cause autism. Despite much controversy on the topic, researchers haven’t found a connection between autism and childhood vaccines. In fact, the original study that ignited the debate years ago has been retracted. Although signs of autism may appear at about the same time children receive certain vaccines — such as the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine — this is simply a coincidence.

Are vaccine side effects dangerous?

Any vaccine can cause side effects. Usually, these side effects are minor — low-grade fever, and soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site. Some vaccines cause a temporary headache, dizziness, fatigue or loss of appetite. Rarely, a child may experience a severe allergic reaction or a neurological side effect, such as a seizure. Although these rare side effects are a concern, vaccines are much safer than the diseases they prevent.

Of course, vaccines aren’t given to children who have known allergies to specific vaccine components. Likewise, if your child develops a life-threatening reaction to a particular vaccine, further doses of that vaccine won’t be given.

Why are vaccines given so early?

The diseases that childhood vaccines are meant to prevent are most likely to occur when a child is very young and the risk of complications is greatest. That makes early vaccination — sometimes beginning shortly after birth — essential. If you postpone vaccines until a child is older, it may be too late.

Is it OK to pick and choose vaccines?

In general, skipping vaccines isn’t a good idea. This can leave your child vulnerable to potentially serious diseases that could otherwise be avoided. And consider this: For some children — including those who can’t receive certain vaccines for medical reasons — the only protection from vaccine-preventable diseases is the immunity of the people around them. If immunization rates drop, vaccine-preventable diseases may once again become common threats.

If you have reservations about particular vaccines, discuss your concerns with your child’s doctor. If your child falls behind the standard vaccines schedule, ask the doctor about catch-up immunizations.

Related Resources

December 1, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

[World Bank] Health, Nutrition and Population Data and Statistics

From the data section of The World Bank

HealthStats is the World Bank’s comprehensive database of Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) statistics.
It includes over 250 indicators on topics such as health financing, HIV/AIDS, immunization, malaria and tuberculosis, health workforce and health facilities use, nutrition, reproductive health, population and population projections, cause of death, non-communicable diseases, water and sanitation, with background information on poverty, labor force, economy and education.

Users can access HNP data by country, topic, or indicator, and view the resulting data (and wealth quintiles) in tables, charts or maps that can be easily shared through email, Facebook and Twitter.

Screen Shot 2012-12-01 at 4.59.30 AM

The above World Bank  web page also includes a  population growth rate visualization.
A country’s color changes as the growth rate varies annually from 1961 to 2011.
Options for commentary and a chart URL (no custom colors)

Check out the Data Visualizer for bigger map. The visualizer also includes  options to locate individual countries (with rates), and “freeze frames” by year.


December 1, 2012 Posted by | Health Statistics, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[For the health of the planet..and us all..] 50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again

It has been more than a week since I last posted here.

Energies and focus were on volunteer, peace/justice,  and church activities as well as family.
Am doing some serious reflection…and re-thinking what do I want to do as (not when here at age 58) I grow up.

This “recycling” link is in the current  Green Note Column of the Mount St. Agnes Theological Center for Women newsletter. 

From 50 Ways to Never Waste Food Again

…On average, we waste 14% of our food purchases per year, and the average American family throws out over $600 of fruit per year. Most of the food we waste is due to spoilage; we’re buying too much and using too little of it.

Using Up Vegetables

1. Leftover mashed potatoes from dinner? Make them into patty shapes the next morning and cook them in butter for a pretty good “mock hash brown.”

2. Don’t toss those trimmed ends from onions, carrots, celery, or peppers. Store them in your freezer, and once you have a good amount saved up, add them to a large pot with a few cups of water and make homemade vegetable broth. This is also a great use for cabbage cores and corn cobs.

3. Don’t toss broccoli stalks. They can be peeled and sliced, then prepared just like broccoli florets.

4. If you have to dice part of an onion or pepper for a recipe, don’t waste the rest of it. Chop it up and store it in the freezer for the next time you need diced onion or peppers….


The rest of the list is great
Some I’ve done (homemade breadcrumbs, toasted leftover pancakes that were put in freezer).
Many are new (melt fat into suet for birds,  pickle juice for refrigerator pickles or dirty martinis)
Thinking to post a copy of this list on the side of the fridge.








December 1, 2012 Posted by | environmental health | , | Leave a comment


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