Watch: Doctor Dispels Coronavirus Fears: ‘99.8 Percent of People Get Through This With Little to No Progressive or Significant Disease’

(Hannah Bleau) Erickson addressed the dominant narrative of rising cases of the virus within the U.S. and pointed out that it is causing undue fear.

The post Watch: Doctor Dispels Coronavirus Fears: ‘99.8 Percent of People Get Through This With Little to No Progressive or Significant Disease’ appeared on Stillness in the Storm.

What Are Adaptogens & How Can You Benefit from Them?

(Ocean Robbins) It’s no secret that eating plants is good for our health. Even unglamorous veggies like potatoes and ordinary fruits like apples are nutritional powerhouses, providing us with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and multiple forms of fiber. But there are a few plants credited with “above and beyond” powers of healing. Known as “adaptogens,” their popularization in recent years came via wellness-minded celebrities. And adaptogens are gaining momentum in the west as solutions to many of the problems of modern living: low mood, stress, anxiety, depression, and a compromised immune system. Adaptogens are often promoted as safe and natural alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs, although they work complementary to Western medicines as well. So the big question is: Are adaptogens the real deal, or just plain old plants with a big marketing budget?

The post What Are Adaptogens & How Can You Benefit from Them? appeared on Stillness in the Storm.

Infant Liquid Ibuprofen Recalled at Walmart, CVS, Other Retailers

Cold and flu season is upon us, so the medicines-intake will likely be rolling around. But if you’ve recently purchased liquid ibuprofen from Walmart, CVS, or Family Dollar, you should stop using it immediately and return it for a refund. The over-the-counter pain relievers were recalled December 6 because they may contain more ibuprofen than what is listed on the label.

Source: Today.com

The recalled fever-reducing and pain-relieving products were packaged and sold as follows:

  • At Walmart stores as Equate: Infants’ Ibuprofen Concentrated Oral Suspension, USP (NSAID), 50 mg per 1.25 mL, 0.5 oz. bottle. Expiration 02/19, lot 00717009A; expiration 04/19, lot 00717015A; expiration 08/19, lot 00717024A. NDC (national drug code) 49035-125-23.
  • At CVS Pharmacies as CVS Health: Infants’ Ibuprofen Concentrated Oral Suspension, USP (NSAID), 50 mg per 1.25 mL, 0.5 oz. bottle. Expiration 08/19, lot 00717024A. NDC 59779-925-23.
  • At Family Dollar Stores as Family Wellness: Infants’ Ibuprofen Concentrated Oral Suspension, USP (NSAID), 50 mg per 1.25 mL, 0.5 oz. bottle. Expiration 08/19, lot 00717024A. NDC 55319-250-23.

The higher concentrations of ibuprofen in the recalled products put infants at a slightly increased risk of kidney damage. The excess medication may also cause:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • headache
  • Intestinal bleeding are also possible
  • Less commonly, diarrhea

Ibuprofen belongs to a family of medicines known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are associated with stomach bleeding.

Fortunately, Tri Pharma has not received any reports of adverse events caused by the affected products.

Parents and caregivers with questions can contact Tri Pharma via phone at 732-940-0358, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

Stop using the medications in question immediately. Stores typically refund recalled products.

Furthermore, if your child experiences any problems as a result of taking the recalled infant ibuprofen, you should contact your doctor and report your experiences to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program. You can either contact the program online, or download a form and return it by mail at the address on the form, or fax it to 800-FDA-0178 (800-332-0178).

Source:

[1] WebMD

Today

Superbug Crisis: Nearly 50% of Antibiotics Given Without a Proper Diagnosis

In this age of antibiotic resistance, researchers and health experts are warning that doctors need to prescribe significantly fewer antibiotics to prevent an antimicrobial-resistance crisis that could plunge modern medicine back into the Dark Ages. But a new study shows that almost half of all antibiotics are prescribed without an infection-related diagnosis.

Researchers analyzed more than 500,000 antibiotic prescriptions and found that nearly half were written without an infection-related diagnosis, and 20% were given without an office visit – usually over the phone. The authors can’t be certain of how many of the medications were inappropriately prescribed, however.

In looking at patient records, Dr. Jeffrey Linder, of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and his team found that part of the problem could be a result of “bad coding,” referring to the system doctors use to record diagnoses.

Years ago, I worked in medical coding. There is not always a specific code to accompany a specific diagnosis, so doctors and coders alike often have to find a code that is most like a diagnosis. It’s possible, then, that the wrong codes are sometimes chosen.

But even if diagnostic codes are a part of the problem, Linder said the findings are still concerning. They suggest that many doctors prescribe antibiotics not to treat an established infection, but because they assume patients want them, he explained.

Read: CDC Finally Admits the Age of Antibiotics is Finished as Super-Bacteria Take Over

Antibiotic resistance commonly makes news headlines, yet many people still don’t understand that antibiotics are only effective at treating bacterial infections. They don’t work against the common cold and other viruses. When people use these medications inappropriately, bacteria are exposed to the antibiotics and it gives them a chance to mutate and become resistant.

Rampant Outpatient Overprescribing

Linder and his colleagues looked at 510,000 antibiotic prescriptions written at 514 medical clinics over 2 years. Prescribers included doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants in primary care and specialties such as gastroenterology and dermatology.

  • Overall, no documented diagnosis of an infection accompanied 46% of the antibiotic prescriptions the team analyzed.
  • Another diagnosis, such as hypertension, was documented in 29% of cases.
  • 17% of prescriptions lacked a diagnosis altogether.
  • Additionally, 1 in 5 prescriptions was made without an in-person visit.

Linder explained: [2]

“We found that nearly half the time, clinicians have either a bad reason for prescribing antibiotics or don’t provide a reason at all. When you consider about 80% of antibiotics are prescribed on an outpatient basis, that’s a concern.”

Read: The Problem of Antibiotic Resistance is Getting Much Worse

It is OK, sometimes, to prescribe an antibiotic by phone, Linder said. He gave the example of a woman with a history of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) who calls her physician to report that her symptoms have returned. In a case such as this, it may be “perfectly appropriate” to just call in an antibiotic without seeing the patient, according to Linder. [1]

It is also acceptable to prescribe antibiotic refills for someone with acne, but in most cases, the patient should be seen by his or her physician in the office before a prescription is given, Linder advised.

Dr. Ebbing Lautenbach, chief of the infectious diseases division at the University of Pennsylvania, said that patients should feel free to ask questions when they are prescribed an antibiotic.

“Sometimes an antibiotic is an appropriate choice, and sometimes it’s not. Providers should explain, ‘Here’s why I think an antibiotic is necessary.’ And there should be a discussion of the pros and cons of taking one.”

Why are antibiotics doled out so often?

There are multiple reasons why a doctor might prescribe an antibiotic without a solid diagnosis of a bacterial infection. Pleasing the patient is one. Patients sometimes demand antibiotics. In other cases, a doctor might be strapped for time, so it’s easier to just hand out a script.

Linder said: [2]

“Despite 40 years of randomized controlled trials showing antibiotics don’t help for most coughs and sinus infections, many people are convinced they will not get better without an antibiotic and specifically call the doctor requesting one.

At busy clinics, sadly the most efficient thing to do is just call in an antibiotic prescription. We need to dig into the data more, but we believe there is a lot of antibiotic prescribing for colds, the flu, and non-specific symptoms such as just not feeling well, none of which are helped by antibiotics.”

But in most cases, according to the researcher, “the problem is the doctor’s perception that patients want antibiotics.” [1]

Linder said patients need to take a more proactive role when it comes to medications.

“You can tell your doctor that you only want an antibiotic if it’s really necessary. That will automatically shift the doctor’s default position on it.”

The study was presented at ID Week 2018 in San Francisco. The findings are considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Sources:

[1] HealthDay

[2] Pharmacy Times

7 Simple Ways To Uplift Your Day

It’s one of those rainy cold days where you wake up and your body feels weak – and you haven’t even gotten yourself out of bed. You think to yourself  “Great, the day hasn’t even started and it’s already a bad one.” All you want to do is pull the covers over you head, but responsibilities and life are waiting for you.

Option 1: Maintain that dragged out feeling.

Option 2: Try the simple practices below to uplift your morning – helping the rest of your day flow with more ease and energy:

1. Make a warm drink and sit with it for 5 minutes.

Whether it’s coffee, tea, or warm water with raw apple cider vinegar (great for a gentle morning detoxification) – give yourself a few minutes to feel the warmth of the cup in your palms and the soothing sensation of the drink flowing through you, giving yourself these few moments to be with yourself before multitasking with a coffee in one hand and your computer in the other. Being fully attentive with a soothing drink is a simple way to start your morning off with a few nurturing moments.

2. Spend 5 minutes in a comfortable seated position with your eyes closed – focusing on your body and your breath.

You can start with a body scan – notice where there’s any tension, tightness, or feelings of fatigue. Then begin to deepen your breath as you focus your breath into the areas that need extra attention and care. Stay aware of your body and notice anytime you start to tense up your shoulders, neck, teeth, jaw, or eyes. Continue to relax the muscles, and breath deeply. Not only will you feel a lot calmer, clearer, and more awake, you may find your body feels more energized since you just breathed deeper for a few minutes, sending more oxygenated blood to all your cells. Your breath is a powerful ally for increasing your energy.

3. It’s time to awaken your physical body.

When you feel tired or fatigued, some gentle movement can help you feel more energized. By staying inactive and heading straight to work your body will continue to feel sluggish. On the other hand, if you consciously spend a few minutes stretching it and moving it – your energy will lift. You can do a few simple stretches such as standing up and reaching your arms overhead and then hinging forward from the hips into a forward bend position, which enlivens and awakens your legs. Then bring yourself all the way up to standing with your arms back up overhead and then returning to standing position. You can do this a few times, even integrate a couple of pushups, stretching side to side, dancing a little – basically get your body moving in a way that feels good. You can even look up a video on YouTube for a short five or ten minute yoga flow or dance routine to get your blood moving and energy soaring.

4. If you have a few more minutes before heading out to work take a walk around the block.

I know it sounds so insignificant, but those few minutes of fresh air really do your body good. Even if it’s raining or snowing out, a short walk around the block with fresh air entering your body is guaranteed to wake you up and enliven your senses.

5. Make sure you have enough time to eat something healthy to energize you.

If you’re feeling sluggish make sure to eat food that’s alive such as raw fruits and nuts and plenty of water to increase your energy. As you can see – even if you’re in a rush, grabbing some fruits and nuts is a simple way to have something healthy and energizing on the go!

6. Take 30 seconds to a minute to give thanks.

Thank your body for all that it does for you – even if you are feeling tired (though by now, if you’ve done steps one through five, I bet you’re feeling better than when you first woke up!) See if you can come up with 5 specific things you’re grateful for today – it could be as simple as thanking your arms, legs, and spinal cord. It could be gratitude for your work, your spouse, or a dear friend. Anything works – practicing gratitude is medicine for the soul. It helps you acknowledge all that you have which fills you from the inside – giving you energy and a sense of fullness.

7. Throughout the day take a few moments…

…to take a deep breath, to pause, to send out more gratitude, or take another 5-minute time-out with a warm drink or a mini-meditation. Little breaks throughout the day will keep you energized and feeling uplifted.

When you feel good physically, you have more energy to give to your work, to others, and your own enjoyment of the day.  Looking for a few more tips and support? Get a free meditation audio and 5 keys to start and finish your projects by clicking here to sign up for your copy.

Medical journal editor admits science “has taken a turn towards darkness”

COMMENT OF DR. RICHARD HORTON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE LANCET

Dr. Frankenstein

The following commentary was published in Britain’s oldest and most prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, in April, 2015.


Offline: What is medicine’s 5 sigma?

“A lot of what is published is incorrect.” I’m not allowed to say who made this remark because we were asked to observe Chatham House rules. We were also asked not to take photographs of slides. Those who worked for government agencies pleaded that their comments especially remain unquoted, since the forthcoming UK election meant they were living in “purdah”—a chilling state where severe restrictions on freedom of speech are placed on anyone on the government’s payroll. Why the paranoid concern for secrecy and non-attribution? Because this symposium—on the reproducibility and reliability of biomedical research, held at the Wellcome Trust in London last week—touched on one of the most sensitive issues in science today: the idea that something has gone fundamentally wrong with one of our greatest human creations.

The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, “poor methods get results”. The Academy of Medical Sciences, Medical Research Council, and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have now put their reputational weight behind an investigation into these questionable research practices. The apparent endemicity of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fi t their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data. Journal editors deserve their fair share of criticism too. We aid and abet the worst behaviours. Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuels an unhealthy competition to win a place in a select few journals. Our love of “significance” pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale. We reject important confirmations. Journals are not the only miscreants. Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent, endpoints that foster reductive metrics, such as high-impact publication. National assessment procedures, such as the Research Excellence Framework, incentivise bad practices. And individual scientists, including their most senior leaders, do little to alter a research culture that occasionally veers close to misconduct.

Can bad scientific practices be fixed? Part of the problem is that no-one is incentivised to be right. Instead, scientists are incentivised to be productive and innovative. Would a Hippocratic Oath for science help? Certainly don’t add more layers of research red tape. Instead of changing incentives, perhaps one could remove incentives altogether. Or insist on replicability statements in grant applications and research papers. Or emphasise collaboration, not competition. Or insist on preregistration of protocols. Or reward better pre and post publication peer review. Or improve research training and mentorship. Or implement the recommendations from our Series on increasing research value, published last year. One of the most convincing proposals came from outside the biomedical community. Tony Weidberg is a Professor of Particle Physics at Oxford. Following several high-profile errors, the particle physics community now invests great effort into intensive checking and rechecking of data prior to publication. By filtering results through independent working groups, physicists are encouraged to criticise. Good criticism is rewarded. The goal is a reliable result, and the incentives for scientists are aligned around this goal. Weidberg worried we set the bar for results in biomedicine far too low. In particle physics, significance is set at 5 sigma—a p value of 3 × 10–7 or 1 in 3·5 million (if the result is not true, this is the probability that the data would have been as extreme as they are). The conclusion of the symposium was that something must be done. Indeed, all seemed to agree that it was within our power to do that something. But as to precisely what to do or how to do it, there were no firm answers. Those who have the power to act seem to think somebody else should act first. And every positive action (eg, funding well-powered replications) has a counterargument (science will become less creative). The good news is that science is beginning to take some of its worst failings very seriously. The bad news is that nobody is ready to take the first step to clean up the system.

Richard Horton
richard.horton@lancet.com

The Lancet, Vol 385, p 1380, April 11, 2015

Related

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New England Journal of Medicine editor: “No longer possible to believe much of clinical research published”

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