Murphysboro family organizing 5K benefit for boy with Rett Syndrome

MURPHYSBORO — Five-year-old Kayden Bolter came over to the pavilion, laying down some outer clothing he’d peeled off, before jetting back off across the lawn to the jungle gym.

Sitting on the bench next to where he laid his clothes was Britany Scholz, holding her son, Zackary, who turns 6 today.

“Whereas he (Zackary) is older, he looks smaller,” Scholz said of Zackary.

Zackary, who turns 6 today, is somewhat smaller than the other family friend, his body challenged by a neurological disorder call Rett Syndrome. The neurodevelopmental disorder primarily affects girls, but has been known to develop in boys, and is characterized by normal early growth and development, followed by a slowing development, according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes.

Organizing for Grandson
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Zackary Morse, 6, is held by his grandmother Shellie Scholz, as his mother Britany Scholz and his sister Cheyenne Brooks, 5, look on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, at Riverside Park in Murphysboro. Shellie Scholz is organizing a 5K walk to raise funds for supplemental care for her grandson who suffers from Rett Syndrome, a neurological disorder that mainly affects girls.

It is not known exactly how prevalent it is among boys, according to

Soon after Zackary was born, he started having seizures, which have continued throughout his life, occurring anywhere from once a day to once a week, she said. Family members originally thought he had some form of autism — a common misdiagnosis of Retts — but Zackary’s troubling seizures and muscle weaknesses were diagnosed as Rett Synddrome by a doctor in St. Louis earlier this year.

“This is the first time we heard of this,” Zackary’s grandmother, Shellie Scholz, said.

Shellie Scholz said she’s been told that little boys with the disease have very shortened life spans.

“He’s a miracle,” she said. “He’s our miracle boy.”

Shellie, Britany and other family an friends are organizing a 5K walk on Saturday morning, Oct. 8, to raise funds for medicines and travel expenses to and from St. Louis not covered by his father’s insurance. They are also hoping to be able to purchase a special communication system that will help family, teachers and others better understand his needs and wants.

They are asking participants to pay $20 to join the 5K, which will run through Riverside Park in Murphysboro. The event is on, rain or shine.

Some family members may be sporting purple hair or mohawks to show their solidarity with Zackary during October, which is Rett Syndrome Awareness Month.

Zackary is nonverbal and cannot feed himself and can only walk for short amounts of time.

Britany said one of the frustrating things is trying to figure out what he wants when he becomes agitated, as he did after spending about an hour in Riverside Park; he let out a shrieking cry, which Britany interpreted as Zackary’s desire to leave the park and head home for his favorite thing to do: watch cartoons.

“You don’t know what he’s saying,” Britany said. “That’s a guessing game.”

“Today has been a good day,” his mother said. “He’s been walking around, active.”

Zackary can walk on his own, but the family uses a specially designed wheelchair to help move him when he grows too tired to walk, which is frequently. Zackary attends a tri-county program for children with special needs at Mcelvain Elementary School in Murphysboro.

His teacher, Charlotte McLaughlin, said she had heard of the disease prior to Zackary’s diagnosis, and noted that it is very rare for a male child to have it.

“There is a lot of time that mom spends with Zackary,” monitoring his health and welfare, McLaughlin said. She said there are two aides in the class of seven students that she oversees.

There is no cure for Rett Syndrome, according to the National Institutes of Health website.  To his family, though, he is their little miracle.

“They say when boys get it, it takes them,” Shellie said. “He’s still here, and we’re praising God for that.”



What You Need To Know About Cardiomyopathy (Chronic Heart Disease) Right Now


Lydia Clark was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy after a cardiac arrest episode when she was 16. She now has a pace maker and is awaiting a heart transplant

Lydia Clark was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy after a cardiac arrest episode when she was 16. She now has a pace maker and is awaiting a heart transplant

Cardiomyopathy is a heart disease that can be life threatening, especially if you don’t know you have it. Some people have no symptoms of the disease. Others have symptoms but aren’t aware that they need to act on them.

You do need to act on them. Pediatric cardiomyopathy is the number one cause of sudden cardiac arrest and heart transplants in children. In adults, it can lead to heart failure, a condition that affects more than 6 million people in the United States. The good news is that in many cases, if cardiomyopathy is detected early and managed properly, sudden cardiac death can be prevented and you can lead a relatively normal life.

You can do two things today to help bring your family better heart health:

(1) Know your family’s heart history. If one of your relatives has cardiomyopathy, it’s possible that it was inherited and other family members could develop it too.


(2) Be aware of the symptoms shown below and know that they are serious. Anyone with these symptoms should be evaluated by a cardiologist.

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Finally Off a Laundry List of Meds, Her Debilitating Ulcerative Colitis Went Into Full Remission Thanks to THIS Diet


At the age of 28, Somer McCowan’s life became a series of medications, side effects, and weight gain, after she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. The autoimmune disease caused her to have severe abdominal pain and bloody stools caused by tiny sores in the colon. She also often had to use the bathroom up to 30 times each day. The medications she was put on likely caused everything else.

A high dose of steroids and other drugs aimed to control but not cure the disease caused Somer to gain 75 pounds in less than a year, develop a bad case of acne, even grow facial hair.

“I felt crazy and was not a nice person to be around. I would cry when I looked in the mirror,” she writes in her testimonial on

Just as she managed to get the weight off by working out 2 hours daily and running a half marathon, she would have another flare, be put on the same medications, and the weight was back. It was a vicious, unforgiving cycle, and she was tired of going through it.


When Somer followed the plant-based diet, she got herself back.

Four years after her diagnosis, she had just returned from a trip to Disneyland, which was filled with fast food. She felt horrible with no energy, and incredibly sluggish.

That’s when she remembered what she learned in the movie “Forks over Knives”about healing the body with a whole-foods plant-based diet, and everything finally clicked. Digging deeper, she found a wealth of research showing that such diets are capable of reversing autoimmune diseases.

She decided she was going to give a whole foods, plant-based diet a try.

A Road to Healing Lies Through Food

“I am completely off prescription drugs and my Ulcerative Colitis is in full remission. I’ve never felt better, and I know all of this is a direct result of my diet.”

Simply by following a whole foods, plant-based diet, Somer lost all the weight, and she didn’t have to work extra hard anymore in order to maintain her weight.

After her success, she wrote a book about her variation of the diet, which she called The Abundance Diet, and a 28-day step program to follow aimed at giving the body back the power to heal itself.


In “The Abundance Diet: The 28-day Plan to Reinvent Your Health, Lose Weight, and Discover the Power of Plant-Based Foods,” Somer shares more of her story, explains how to change your relationship with food, and many unique recipes, which will make the diet switch less of a chore and more of a lifestyle. Desserts are also included in the plan, which is based on her own experience of getting off her meds and regaining her health.

Some of the recipes include:

Cheesy-Smoky-Spicy Black Bean Soup
Tropical Colada Green Smoothie
Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagna
Bananas Foster Pancakes
Blueberry Peach Tart with Apricot Crumble

On her blog, Vedged Out, McCowan also posts a wide variety of recipes ranging from meals like avocado-based sandwiches to breakfast foods like french toast, salads, desserts, smoothies, vegan cheese recipes, and everything in between.

Her approach is to create vibrant, unique, restaurant quality foods using only whole-food, nutritious, vegan ingredients, much like a seasoned chef, but with the health conscious eater in mind. And as you can see by the before and after pictures above, it’s been working quite well for Somer.

Sampling the Recipes

In the book, all recipes are vegan and gluten-free.

One YouTube cook tried two of her recipes, Vegan Mozzarella Cheese (cashew-based) and Vegan Chocolate Cookiesand came away impressed.

You can see her process and results in the videos below.

This recipe for Vegan Mozzarella Cheese is made with raw cashews, water, lemon, garlic, sea salt, and tapioca flour. Enjoy:

And these are the vegan chocolate cookies:

Of course, these two recipes are just a small part of the diet, which is packed with nutrient, mineral and antioxidant-rich whole foods.

But when it comes to comfort foods like these, eating healthier while still being able to enjoy your favorite foods is a huge bonus that makes following such a diet feel anything but restrictive — a huge plus when making the kind of life-changing, sudden shift like McCowan did.




A mysterious polio-like illness that paralyzes people may be surging this year

Before dinner on July 29, 3-year-old Carter Roberts of Chesterfield, Va., seemed perfectly healthy. That evening, he vomited. When he woke up the next morning with a slight fever of 99 degrees, his mother, Robin Roberts, figured that he was coming down with a cold. The next morning, she found him collapsed on his bedroom floor.

“Mommy,” she recalls him saying. “Help me, help me.”

Carter could barely stand when she picked him up, and his neck was arched backward. “What was most alarming,” she said, “is he had no control over his right arm whatsoever.”

In the hospital, Carter lost control of his right arm, then over his legs and other muscles within a few days. He now can only wiggle a toe and move the left side of his face. He has been diagnosed with a mysterious, polio-like illness called acute flaccid myelitis, a condition that seems to be surging this year.

Through July, 32 new cases of AFM have been confirmed across the United States this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a sharp rise compared with last year, when just seven cases had been confirmed by that month. The numbers have risen steadily since April. In past years, most cases have occurred between August and December, with a peak in October.

Among the many unanswered questions about the condition are what causes it, how best to treat it and how long the paralysis lasts. Although most cases occur in children, AFM occasionally affects adults.

The CDC official who leads the surveillance efforts said that confirmed numbers for August will not be available until the end of this month, but the number of reports she is receiving from doctors around the country continues to rise.

“CDC is looking at these trends very carefully,” Manisha Patel said. “We have sent out several health alerts to states to let them know we are seeing an increase in reporting and to encourage them to communicate with doctors to report these cases in a timely fashion.”

The CDC began tracking AFM in 2014, when 121 cases were confirmed. That year, the CDC counted only children affected by the disease. Their average age was 7. Most had a fever or a respiratory illness a few days before developing paralysis. Many had to be placed on respirators. Although 85 percent of the children recovered partially, only three of them recovered fully.

Mom celebrates as son with AFM sits up unassisted

Play Video0:56
Five-year-old Braden Scott sits up unassisted at a rehab facility two months after he was struck with acute flaccid myelitis. It’s a major improvement for someone with this polio-like illness. (Facebook/Team Braden Luke)

Health officials and physicians around the country said they are concerned that the rising number of cases through July could foretell a repeat of 2014.

“You hate to be an alarmist, but there’s reason to have some concern,” said Avindra Nath, chief of the section of infections of the nervous system at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “What we don’t know is where are these cases. Are they clustered? Do they all look alike?  Getting more information on these cases would be helpful.”

Beyond saying that confirmed cases have been reported in 17 states through July, Patel declined to reveal which states have been involved. But conversations and emails with physicians around the country indicate that at least four cases have occurred in California and at least three in Massachusetts, and that others have been seen in Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and New York, as well as Virginia.

“We are definitely hearing of cases from our colleagues across the country,” said Teri Schreiner, a neurologist at the University of Colorado and Children’s Hospital Colorado. “It’s a trend that’s worrisome … what I’m hearing from others seems to be coming at a tempo similar to what happened in 2014.”

Jean-Baptiste Le Pichon of Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., said that doctors on a U.S. email list for pediatric neurologists reported five new cases of AFM in just the past few days. “There is definitely an explosion of cases,” Le Pichon said.

No treatment other than physical therapy has yet been shown to markedly improve outcomes, although some doctors have reported that treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), used to treat some other viral infectious diseases afflicting the nervous system, might help. It’s also been suggested that Prozac could prove beneficial. The degree of paralysis in the first month has generally improved only slightly over the course of a year.

“After about a year or so, what you’ve got is what you’ve got,” said Max Wiznitzer, a pediatric neurologist at Case Western Reverse University in Cleveland.

Most perplexing is what causes the disease. The 2014 outbreak of AFM occurred at the same time as a far larger outbreak of enterovirus D68 across the United States. The vast majority of patients infected with the virus developed only a respiratory illness. Some physicians were convinced that EV-D68 was the cause, not only because both outbreaks occurred at the same time but also because of a study that identified a particular strain of EV-D68 in the airways of children with AFM. But officials at the CDC and some doctors, including Wiznitzer, insist that the cause remains unproved.

So far this year, no similarly widespread outbreak of EV-D68 respiratory infections has been reported, although cases of it and other enteroviruses have been seen in some areas.

On Friday, Le Pichon, in Kansas City, said, “I just got confirmation that we have an epidemic of enterovirus breaking out here and at least a few cases [of enterovirus] have typed positive for EV-D68.”

Carol Glaser, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., said: “If the theory is right that it’s caused by EV-D68, which some of us believe more than others, this would be the time of year we start seeing it. It’s an enterovirus, and they tend to peak in late summer and early fall.”

Because the CDC’s surveillance of AFM is less than two years old, it remains unclear if some of this year’s apparent rise in confirmed cases is due simply to more doctors sending in case reports, Patel said. And Wiznitzer emphasized that with just 32 confirmed cases across the United States so far, AFM remains extremely rare

Glaser, however, said she is convinced that the condition is new. She worked at the California Department of Public Health when, in 2012, some of the first reports of AFM anywhere in the country came in from physicians there.

“I was there for 15 years and talked to neurologists every single day,” she said. “It wasn’t until the fall of 2012 when the first physician called in and wanted a test for polio on one of his patients. One of my colleagues in the office chuckled and said to me, ‘We don’t have polio in the United States.’ But in the next two weeks, I got two very similar phone calls. We had never had a report like that. I do think there was something new going on. Fortunately, it’s still rare.”

If EV-D68 does somehow cause AFM, studying the virus may lead to prevention or treatment. One glimmer of good news came from Kenneth Tyler, chair of neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He and his colleagues have been conducting experiments to infect mice with EV-D68 and have them develop loss of muscle control like that seen in AFM. He says he has submitted a paper to a peer-reviewed medical journal describing his success in doing so.

The goal, he said, is to use mice to study how EV-D68 causes harm to the spinal cord and muscles, and to test potential therapies, such as IVIG.

“It looks like we’re seeing protection with IVIG in the mouse model,” he said.

Robin Roberts said she wishes more was known about the condition that has harmed her son. “In this day and age to not have information about something like this is very frustrating. There needs to be more done about it, and for more parents and doctors to know about it,” she said.

Angie Andersen said that her daughter McKenzie was sent home from the hospital twice in the first two weeks of her illness because doctors did not understand the severity of what was happening. Finally her pediatrician told Andersen to bring McKenzie to another hospital.

McKenzie was 6 years old when she developed sniffles in December 2014. “Within 12 days,” Andersen said, “she was paralyzed from the neck down, on a ventilator to breathe for her. She was left with her left hand and her feet and toes that move.”

“You know you could understand the bad that comes from a car wreck, or if she got cancer,” Andersen said. “How do you ever wrap your brain around the fact that she got a cold, and now she’s a quadriplegic on a ventilator? It’s a nightmare you never wake up from.”

Still, she said, McKenzie can now speak and even sing softly despite having a tracheotomy. “She has a lot of spunk, and that is helping her through,” Andersen said.

SOURCE: washingtonpost


Oh See What’s Inside the adult ADHD brain?

Brain scans differentiate adults who have recovered from childhood ADHD and those whose difficulties linger.At left, the brains of adults who had ADHD as children but no longer have it show synchronous activity between the posterior cingulate cortex (the larger red region) and the medial prefrontal cortex (smaller red region). At right, the brains of adults who continue to experience ADHD do not show this synchronous activity.
Illustration: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT (based on images courtesy of the researchers)

About 11 percent of school-age children in the United States have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While many of these children eventually “outgrow” the disorder, some carry their difficulties into adulthood: About 10 million American adults are currently diagnosed with ADHD.

In the first study to compare patterns of brain activity in adults who recovered from childhood ADHD and those who did not, MIT neuroscientists have discovered key differences in a brain communication network that is active when the brain is at wakeful rest and not focused on a particular task. The findings offer evidence of a biological basis for adult ADHD and should help to validate the criteria used to diagnose the disorder, according to the researchers.

Diagnoses of adult ADHD have risen dramatically in the past several years, with symptoms similar to those of childhood ADHD: a general inability to focus, reflected in difficulty completing tasks, listening to instructions, or remembering details.

“The psychiatric guidelines for whether a person’s ADHD is persistent or remitted are based on lots of clinical studies and impressions. This new study suggests that there is a real biological boundary between those two sets of patients,” says MIT’s John Gabrieli, the Grover M. Hermann Professor of Health Sciences and Technology, professor of brain and cognitive sciences, and an author of the study, which appears in theJune 10 issue of the journal Brain.

Shifting brain patterns

This study focused on 35 adults who were diagnosed with ADHD as children; 13 of them still have the disorder, while the rest have recovered. “This sample really gave us a unique opportunity to ask questions about whether or not the brain basis of ADHD is similar in the remitted-ADHD and persistent-ADHD cohorts,” says Aaron Mattfeld, a postdoc at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the paper’s lead author.

The researchers used a technique called resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study what the brain is doing when a person is not engaged in any particular activity. These patterns reveal which parts of the brain communicate with each other during this type of wakeful rest.

“It’s a different way of using functional brain imaging to investigate brain networks,” says Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli, a research scientist at the McGovern Institute and the senior author of the paper. “Here we have subjects just lying in the scanner. This method reveals the intrinsic functional architecture of the human brain without invoking any specific task.”

In people without ADHD, when the mind is unfocused, there is a distinctive synchrony of activity in brain regions known as the default mode network. Previous studies have shown that in children and adults with ADHD, two major hubs of this network — the posterior cingulate cortex and the medial prefrontal cortex — no longer synchronize.

In the new study, the MIT team showed for the first time that in adults who had been diagnosed with ADHD as children but no longer have it, this normal synchrony pattern is restored. “Their brains now look like those of people who never had ADHD,” Mattfeld says.

“This finding is quite intriguing,” says Francisco Xavier Castellanos, a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at New York University who was not involved in the research. “If it can be confirmed, this pattern could become a target for potential modification to help patients learn to compensate for the disorder without changing their genetic makeup.”

Lingering problems

However, in another measure of brain synchrony, the researchers found much more similarity between both groups of ADHD patients.

In people without ADHD, when the default mode network is active, another network, called the task positive network, is suppressed. When the brain is performing tasks that require focus, the task positive network takes over and suppresses the default mode network. If this reciprocal relationship degrades, the ability to focus declines.

Both groups of adult ADHD patients, including those who had recovered, showed patterns of simultaneous activation of both networks. This is thought to be a sign of impairment in executive function — the management of cognitive tasks — that is separate from ADHD, but occurs in about half of ADHD patients. All of the ADHD patients in this study performed poorly on tests of executive function. “Once you have executive function problems, they seem to hang in there,” says Gabrieli, who is a member of the McGovern Institute.

The researchers now plan to investigate how ADHD medications influence the brain’s default mode network, in hopes that this might allow them to predict which drugs will work best for individual patients. Currently, about 60 percent of patients respond well to the first drug they receive.

“It’s unknown what’s different about the other 40 percent or so who don’t respond very much,” Gabrieli says. “We’re pretty excited about the possibility that some brain measurement would tell us which child or adult is most likely to benefit from a treatment.”


Monty Python’s Terry Jones diagnosed with dementia

Monty Python star Terry Jones has been diagnosed with a severe variant of dementia.

The 74-year-old has primary progressive aphasia, which affects his ability to communicate.

As a result, Jones “is no longer able to give interviews”, his spokesman said.

The news was confirmed as Bafta Cymru announced the Welsh-born comedian is to be honoured with an outstanding contribution award.

The National Aphasia Association describes primary progressive aphasia as a neurological syndrome in which language capabilities become slowly and progressively impaired.

“It commonly begins as a subtle disorder of language, progressing to a nearly total inability to speak, in its most severe stage,” their website states.

Image caption     Left-right: Terry Jones, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin

Jones, who is from Colwyn Bay in north Wales, was a member of the legendary comedy troupe with Terry Gilliam, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin and the late Graham Chapman.

He directed Monty Python’s Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life and co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Gilliam.

The surviving members reunited for 10 reunion performances at the O2 Arena in London in 2014.

Kathryn Smith, director of operations at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We are deeply sorry to hear about Terry Jones’s diagnosis of dementia and are thinking of Terry and his family during this time.”

Image caption   Jones and the surviving members of the original Monty Python cast attended the Tribeca Film Festival last year

His award was announced at the Bafta Cymru nominations party, ahead of the British Academy Cymru Awards on 2 October.

“Terry is proud and honoured to be recognised in this way and is looking forward to the celebrations,” his spokesman said.

Hannah Raybould, director of Bafta Cymru, said: “We are very much looking forward to celebrating the work of Terry Jones during the ceremony with a look back at his work from 1969 to the present day.”



British Man Is First To Recover From HIV, Gives Hope To Millions Suffering From The Disease

The 44-year-old British man is actually the first person in the history to be cured of HIV! Scientists told The Sunday Times that presently the virus is completely undetectable in the man’s blood and if it remains that way it will be the first complete cure.

A team assembled from five UK universities is currently conducting experiments on 50 people. “We are exploring the real possibility of curing HIV. This is a huge challenge and it’s still early days but the progress has been remarkable” said Mark Samuels, managing director of the National Institute for Health Research Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure.

HIV is not that easy to treat because it targets the immune system, joining itself into the DNA of T-cells so that they not only ignore the disease, but turn into viral factories which reproduce the virus. Currently, anti-retroviral therapies can target active T-cells which are infected with HIV but they cannot treat dormant T-cells. This means that patient’s body continues to produce the virus.

The new therapy works in two stages. Firstly, a vaccine helps the body recognise the HIV-infected cells so it can clear them out. Secondly, a new drug called Vorinostat activates the dormant T-cells so they can be spotted by the immune system.

“This therapy is specifically designed to clear the body of all HIV viruses, including dormant ones,” Professor Sarah Fidler, a consultant physician at Imperial College London, told the Times.

Fiddler told times “We will continue with medical tests for the next five years and at the moment we are not recommending stopping Art but in the future, depending on the test results we may explore this.”

source: indiatimes


9 Burning Health Questions People Asked Google This Year

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Chances are, one of the first places you turn for quick information on everything from that new diet fad to a troubling rash to a cough that won’t quit is your handy search engine (although if you have a medical concern, there’s no substitute for an IRL appointment with your doctor). So we asked the experts at Google to share the most popular health-related searches of the past year with us. “These top searched health-related questions are based on Google searches in the US from January to November 2015,” says Simon Rogers, a data editor for Google’s News Lab. Here are the burning questions you searched for in 2015, along with answers from doctors and Health experts.

The question: “Is bronchitis contagious?”

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Acute bronchitis is a chest cold that occurs when the bronchial tubes get irritated and inflamed, producing mucus that makes you cough. It may or may not be the result of a bacterial infection, which makes this question a difficult one to answer.

“For the most part, bacterial bronchitis and airway inflammation are not contagious per se,” says Health editorial advisory board member David L. Katz., MD, director of Yale University Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Conn. and founder of True Health Initiative. “Often, however, the precipitant for a bout of bronchitis is a viral infection of the upper airway—frequently called a cold—and these, of course, are contagious.”

In other words, patients should think of acute bronchitis as more a symptom of an illness rather than an illness itself. “Generally, bronchitis is a complication of an infection involving the upper respiratory tract,” explains Dr. Katz. “That infection is usually viral, and contagious. The complication of the infection—bronchitis—is not contagious, however. The subtlety here is that some viruses can cause bronchial inflammation even in the absence of prior vulnerability of bacterial infection, so the ‘no’ in this instance is a qualified no.”

In addition to acute bronchitis, more than 12 million Americans suffer from chronic bronchitis, which is one form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This condition is typically brought on by cigarette smoking, and is not contagious.

The question: “Is pneumonia contagious?”

Getty Images

Getty Images

“The answer here is a qualified ‘yes’,” says Dr. Katz, explaining that most cases of pneumonia—an infection that causes the lung’s air sacs to fill up with fluid—are bacterial. So if you come in contact with someone suffering from bacterial pneumonia, it’s possible for those bacteria to be transmitted to you, although that might not necessarily cause you to develop pneumonia. There are also types of pneumonia that are viral rather than bacterial, and those viruses are more contagious.

In general, however, “pneumonia is not spread nearly as readily as viral infections of the upper airway,” says Dr. Katz. “It also stops being contagious when coughing stops, usually soon after the initiation of appropriate antibiotics.”

The question: “How much water should I drink?”

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

From coconut water to maple water to cactus water, trendy water-like beverages reigned supreme in 2015. When it comes to staying healthy and hydrated, though, nothing beats a plain-old glass of H2O. But how much do you really need each day?

“The easiest formula is to take your weight and divide it in half,” says Keri Gans, RDN, a New York City-based nutrition consultant and author of The Small Change Diet. “The number you get is the amount of water, in ounces, you should consume each day.” For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should be drinking about 70 ounces (or nine cups) of water a day. However, Gans adds that you should always take into account other factors, such as temperature, if you’re exercising, and if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, in which case you’ll probably need more than that. “Another important thing to remember is that water isn’t the only way to meet your hydration needs,” says Gans. “Vegetables, fruit, and unsweetened beverages also count.”

The question: “How many calories should I eat?”

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. “Calorie needs are based on age, height, weight, activity level, health status, and if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding,” says Megan Roosevelt, RD, founder and CEO of Healthy Grocery Girl. “For the most accurate calorie intake calculations, you should meet with a registered dietician.”

Gans agrees: “Honestly, I never tell my patients to count calories,” she says. “I much prefer they focus their attention on creating well-balanced meals that include nutrient-rich foods and portion control.” However, Gans acknowledges that being aware of how many calories in general you’re consuming can help keep on you on track. She recommends that a 5’4″ woman consume between 1,400 and 1,600 calories a day if she’s slightly to moderately active and upwards of 1,900 calories if she’s very active. “But these numbers can still vary even more if we’re talking about an elite athlete or someone who is very sedentary,” she says.

Need help sticking to your goals? In July 2015, the NIH launched a new calorie calculator that uses the latest research to give you a personalized calorie count and exercise regimen to aim for.

The question: “What is lupus?”

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Lupus, short for systemic lupus erythematosus, is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects more than 1.5 million Americans. Depending on its severity, the disease can impact the skin, kidneys, joints, heart, nervous system, and blood cells. Lupus is notoriously difficult to diagnose and is often confused with rheumatoid arthritis. One reason for this is that the symptoms vary widely from patient to patient and can include headaches, fatigue, joint pain, fever, and rashes (such as a sunburn-like “butterfly rash” that spreads across the face).

In the fall of 2015, pop star Selena Gomez revealed that her time away from the spotlight in 2014—which many tabloids attributed to drug and alcohol addition—was actually to treat lupus. “I was diagnosed with lupus, and I’ve been through chemotherapy. That’s what my break was really about. I could’ve had a stroke,” she said in an interview with Billboard. “I wanted so badly to say, ‘You guys have no idea. I’m in chemotherapy.’”

The question: “How far along am I?”

Getty Images

Getty Images

“Before we had blood tests and ultrasounds to help us determine how far along a pregnancy was, we relied on primitive information,” says Joshua U. Klein, MD, assistant clinical professor of OB/GYN and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “Mainly, how large a woman’s abdomen was—a pretty inaccurate indicator—and when her last period was.” If a woman has a regular period, then the day of her last period is the most reliable (well, “semi-reliable,” as Dr. Klein puts it) method for knowing how far along she is. “For women who don’t have regular menstrual cycles, though, that kind of dating will be off.”

Thankfully, physicians today have more accurate methods for determining how far along a pregnancy is. “The primary instrument we use now is an ultrasound to look at fetus development,” says Dr. Klein. “In the first six weeks of pregnancy, you can also get a human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) blood test that measures the level of the pregnancy hormone in your blood.”

Either way, knowing exactly when you conceived is important: “If you’re wrong, your OB could incorrectly calculate your due date,” says Dr. Klein. “And if it appears that you’re ‘late’ for that date nine months later, your doctor may induce the pregnancy prematurely without realizing it.”

The question: “When do you ovulate?”

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

In women of reproductive age, ovulation happens when an egg is released from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes, where it can be fertilized by sperm. For women with regular menstrual cycles, one of the easiest ways to monitor ovulation is by tracking your period. “If you have a period once a month, you’re ovulating once a month,” says Dr. Klein. “And the time of ovulation is usually in the middle of that cycle, approximately two weeks after the day of your last period.”

The average menstrual cycle is between 25 and 35 days, Dr. Klein says, but if you have longer intervals between periods—say, every two months—that means you’re only ovulating once every two months, too. If that’s the case for you, an at-home ovulation test can help you pinpoint exactly when ovulation occurs. “These tests typically have strips that can detect hormonal changes in the urine one to two days before ovulation,” says Dr. Klein. “They can help you get a pretty reliable handle on the one or two days in your cycle that you’re going to be ovulating, which is especially helpful if you’re trying to get pregnant.”

Other than monitoring your period or taking a test, can specific symptoms alert you to ovulation? “Some women know their bodies very well and come to recognize symptoms like abdominal pain, cramps, and breast tenderness around the time that they’re ovulating,” says Dr. Klein. However, because those symptoms can so often be indicators of something else, he cautions against relying on them entirely.

The question: “What is gluten?”

Getty Images

Getty Images

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye. Interest in gluten-free diets continued to climb in 2015, as more and more people opted for gluten-free alternatives. If you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, cutting gluten out of your diet is critical, since it can damage your intestines and trigger other health issues. But experts agree that eliminating gluten isn’t necessary for most people. A diet without gluten “can be very healthy, or it can be junk food,” says Dee Sandquist, RD, a Fairfield, Ohio-based nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And in fact, there are plenty of reasons to keep eating whole grains, which are a great source of fiber and can help aid digestion, control weight, and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

The question: “How long does the flu last?”

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

When you’re suffering from the seasonal flu, the only thing you can think about is getting better—and quickly. So when can you hope to see relief from symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, and fatigue? “This varies to some extent with the strain each year, and obviously goes on longer if complications develop,” says Dr. Katz. “But the typical course of the flu is seven to ten days.” While you’re waiting for the virus to pass, prevent it from getting worse by drinking plenty of fluids, washing hands frequently, and eating vitamin D-fortified foods like orange juice and yogurt.

source: health


lupus erythematosus home treatment

Good self-care is essential to managing lupus. Learn to recognize your body’s warning signs of a flare. Warning signs may include increasedfatigue, joint pain, rash, or fever. When you notice any of these signs, take steps to control your symptoms.

Tips to Keep Joints Healthy

Dealing with stress and fatigue

Stress may trigger lupus symptoms. Keep your stress level as low as you can.

  • Keep your daily schedule as simple as possible.
  • Keep your list of obligations to others to a bare minimum.
  • Delegate to others.
  • Exercise regularly. A daily walk, for example, can reduce stress, clear your head, improve your mood, and help fight fatigue.
  • Use relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, and guided imagery to calm your body and mind.

Fatigue is common in people with lupus. To fight fatigue:

  • Get plenty of rest. Some people with lupus need up to 12 hours ofsleep every night.
  • Pace yourself. Limit tiring activities.
  • Ask others for help. Don’t try to do everything yourself.
  • Take short breaks from your usual daily activities. Consider cutting down on work hours or getting help with parenting responsibilities, at least during periods when lupus symptoms are severe.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity boosts energy and helps you stay in good condition. Walking and swimming are good forms of exercise for people with lupus.
  • If you suspect that depression is contributing to your fatigue, get prompt treatment from your doctor, a mental health professional, or both.

Taking care of your skin and health

Take care of your skin. Ask your doctor about the use of corticosteroid creams to relieve skin symptoms that are particularly troublesome. If you are bothered by the way a lupus rash looks on your face or if you have scars from lupus, you can try makeup, such as Covermark, to cover the rash or scars.

Ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) light triggers disease flares in most people who have lupus. Exposure to ultraviolet light, as from sunlight, can trigger or start skin rash, joint pain, or fatigue, or it can make these symptoms worse. To minimize your exposure to ultraviolet light:

  • Avoid the sun. If you must be in the sun, cover your arms and legs, wear a hat, and apply broad-spectrum sunscreen (covering both UVA and UVB rays) with a high sun protection factor (50 SPF or higher) to protect your skin. Reapply sunscreen after swimming, sweating, or toweling off. Experiment with sunscreens. Some may irritate your skin or wash off too easily.
  • Avoid going out when the sun’s rays are the strongest. In most areas, this is between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., especially during the summer.

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Regular exercise.
  • Education about lupus and self-care.
  • Not smoking. People with lupus have an increased risk of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Smoking increases this risk even more.
  • A healthy, balanced diet.
  • Regular dental care.
  • Regular eye exams by an ophthalmologist.
  • Building a support system of family, friends, and health professionals.

If you have lupus and are a woman in your childbearing years, pay special attention to pregnancy-related concerns, both before you conceive and while pregnant. Most women with well-controlled lupus can take birth control pills if they choose. And for most women, lupus won’t interfere with becoming pregnant or with pregnancy. But some women with lupus, especially those with active disease, are at higher risk of problems from pregnancy. All women of childbearing age should check with theirrheumatologist when they are planning to become pregnant.

Home treatment and regular checkups are sometimes enough for managing mild lupus or for periods of remission. Be sure to have regular checkups. These checks are important to help find and treat progressive organ damage.

It is important that the people in your life understand what lupus is, how it affects your life, and how you can best cope with it. Help them understand your limitations and needs when your symptoms flare. Support groups are great places to learn coping strategies from others.

source: webmd

Local ShopRite Debuts Autism-Friendly Checkout in Response to Mom’s Petition

“It was easy to do,” says the store director. “We’re happy to do it.”

Left and below: The autism-friendly checkout lane at the new Brookhaven ShopRite. Right: Kristin Jackowski and daughter NavyAnna wear all blue on April 2, 2016, in honor of World Autism Day.

Six days after we told you about Kristin Jackowski and her petition to encourage Target to implement autism-friendly checkout lanes in their stores, the Plymouth Meeting mom says she still hasn’t heard from the big-box conglomerate. But one Delaware County supermarket has already made the change.

autism-checkout-lane-shopritePaul Kourtis is the store director of the brand new ShopRite on Edgmont Avenue in Brookhaven, which opened less than three weeks ago.

When Kourtis got wind of Jackowski’s petition, he didn’t quite get it at first. “What’s the big deal?” he says he wondered. After all, if you’re not the parent of an autistic child, you might not comprehend just how difficult the checkout lanes of a store can be, especially with all of the waiting and the candy and other junk in easy reach.

“People think I’m talking about a temper tantrum,” says Jackowski, whose daughter NavyAnna is on the autism spectrum. “What I’m talking about is much worse than that.” Other parents of autistic children confirmed for us the frustrations of store checkouts.

Kourtis investigated and quickly learned that one of the most helpful things he could do would be to replace the candy in the checkout with “sensory friendly” items like Play-Doh, rattles, and small puzzles, one of the key changes requested in the petition. And while Target told Philly Mag that a change like that would require lots of planning and design work, Kourtis was able to do it in a matter of days, debuting an aisle at the store on Wednesday morning.

“I brought it to the attention of the store owner, Pat Burns, and he immediately gave me the go-ahead,” Kourtis tells us, adding that ShopRite will also be working to educate store employees on autism. “I just merchandized the aisle correctly with sensory-friendly objects. No candy whatsoever. It was easy to do. We’re happy to do it. I have 18 checkouts at the store. If I lose one for a good cause, that’s perfectly OK.”

Kourtis says that he’s already had a number of customers recognize the autism puzzle-piece symbol that he’s used to help identify the aisle.

“They’re going crazy for it,” he says. “Even if you don’t have a child who is autistic, everybody knows a child who is. People think it’s a great idea. Anything to provide our customers with a safe and friendly shopping experience, I say let’s do it.”

Due to a hectic schedule — in an addition to taking care of her three kids, Jackowski works nights in the restaurant industry — she says she won’t be able to get to the store until Sunday.

“But I can’t wait to go in there and give hugs,” she says. “I’m like over the moon and sobbing like a maniac. It’s a great example, and I hope other companies follow suit.”