September 16, 2014
Mike Siegel MD
Immunizations / Physical Health
It’s true that the latest Ebola statistics are grim. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 1,900 people have died from the dangerous disease, with...
It’s true that the latest Ebola statistics are grim. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 1,900 people have died from the dangerous disease, with 3,500 reported cases across the globe. Now, the WHO projects that the number of infections may rise as high 20,000 unless the epidemic is controlled, fast.
Ebola spreads through contact with the body fluids of those who are infected. The disease can be contained by isolating anyone who is infected and by avoiding areas of Ebola outbreak. Frequent hand washing is also important for anyone in an area where Ebola is present. Health officials attribute the rapid escalation of this disease to a severe lack of health care facilities, trained nurses, doctors and ambulance drivers in the most effected regions. The problem is exacerbated by the unsafe burial of people who have died from the virus.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Tom Frieden offers some hope, however. Says Frieden, “There is a window of opportunity to tamp this down.” He cautions, “But that window is closing. We need action now to scale up the response.” Leaders from from Doctors Without Borders and the United Nations join Frieden in calling for a global increase in health care facilities and professionals to care for the sick.
Preventive measures are in the works as of this week. The National Institutes of Health and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) launched the first human trials for experimental Ebola vaccines. Results from earlier non-human trials yielded promising results, and GSK is expected to manufacture up to 10,000 doses of the vaccine in the event that the initial human safety trials prove successful.
There may also be progress in formulating a cure. William Pooley, a British volunteer nurse infected with Ebola, recently underwent treatment that included the experimental drug ZMapp—and his caregivers found him to be virus-free.
As the world continues to watch closely over the epidemic, here’s hoping we’ll get to see more news of the hopeful variety.
September 05, 2014
Harvard Medical School just released a new study that shows walking, biking or even riding public transit to work can aid with weight control. People who commuted by...
Harvard Medical School just released a new study that shows walking, biking or even riding public transit to work can aid with weight control. People who commuted by foot, bicycle or public transportation demonstrated a lower body mass index (BMI) in comparison to people who commuted by car. Men had BMI scores between 0.9 to 1.1 points lower than men who drove themselves. That equates to about 6.6 pounds lighter for a man or 5.5 pounds lighter for a woman of average height.
Why would people who take public transit be linked with a healthier body? The answer is exercise! It usually requires some walking or biking to get to and from the bus stop, metro or train station. The United States Census Bureau reports that the average one-way daily commute for workers across the country is 25.5 minutes and one in four commuters leave their county to work. That’s a lot of time spent in the car!If you live close enough to work, think about changing your commute mode to walking or biking. If leaving the car at home is not an option for you, then here are some options to help you get more exercise:
At Molina Healthcare, we even have a bike sharing program run by our wellness department that is available in some of our office locations to encourage biking among employees.
Tell us how you stay active while working a fulltime job in the comments!
To read more, click here.
September 02, 2014
Mike Siegel MD
Mental Health / Physical Health
With a number of states recently passing legislation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, it is a good time to take a look at the conflicting information...
With a number of states recently passing legislation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, it is a good time to take a look at the conflicting information out there about using it. Regardless of your opinion on whether it should be legal or not, it is important that people know some of the impacts it can have on your health.
Public opinion in the U.S. about marijuana has shifted dramatically over the last several decades. The New York Times recently outlined that change: in 1991, 78 percent of Americans agreed that marijuana should be illegal compared to today when a majority (52 percent) believe it should be legal. Along with the belief that it should be legal often comes a perception that marijuana is a benign drug, but the truth is there are some risks associated with using it, particularly among young people.
Marijuana can affect brain development and memory, which is of real concern when thinking about younger people using marijuana on a regular basis. According to a recent New England Journal of Medicine report, other side effects of short-term use include impaired coordination, which can interfere with the ability to drive a car or operate complex machinery; altered judgment which can lead to a variety of poor decisions impacting your health; and paranoia and psychosis, which can occur when marijuana is consumed in high doses.
Another common perception of marijuana is that it is not addictive. While it is not on the same level as nicotine when it comes to addiction, roughly 9 percent of people who use marijuana become addicted.
The moral of this story is to be educated. Marijuana, like any other legal drug, should be used with a full understanding of its risks and benefits.