10 Health Tips for Women Age 65 and Older

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=Ng7C9WoaRZc%3Fversion%3D3%26f%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

This video provides 10 health tips for women age 65 and older. These recommendations are based on expert clinical opinion presented in UpToDate online version 18.3. This video was produced by Dr. Nicholas Cohen, MD. The content of this video is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

New Mothers – 10 Health Tips for Women After Delivery

December 29, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=HNZbVU4-Ksk%3Fversion%3D3%26f%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

This video features 10 health tips for new mothers. These recommendations are based on expert clinical guidelines published in UpToDate online version 19.3, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. This video was produced by Nicholas Cohen, MD in 2011.

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

What’s the latest on the flu vaccine?

December 18, 2010 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

Here are some updates on the flu vaccine.

NIAID Media Availability: A Flu Vaccine that Lasts
Why do we have to get the flu shot every year? Because each year, the strains of the influenza-causing virus are different and the vaccine manufacturers try their best to keep up with the rapidly evolving strains. However, this process of constantly producing new vaccines for the seasonal flu is costly and time-consuming, not to mention getting on the nerves of the public. But hopefully, this will change eventually. Scientists at teh National Institutes of Health (NIH) are looking into the possibility of making a universal influenza vaccine, a vaccine which would confer long-lasting immunity. Scientists at NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases believe this could be possible someday.
“Making such a universal influenza vaccine is feasible but licensing it may require innovation on several fronts, including finding new ways to evaluate the efficacy of vaccine candidates in clinical trials.”

Bacteria Seek to Topple the Egg as Top Flu Vaccine Tool
The process of vaccine is dependent upon chicken eggs. Fertilized eggs are used as live medium to grown the viruses. But this may about to change. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have developed a process of making flu vaccines grown entirely on bacteria – thus bypassing the egg completely. According to research leader Dr. John Treanor:

“There are a number of problems with using eggs to produce flu vaccine. It’s a very specialized product. It’s hard to make more eggs in a hurry – you only get them as fast as hens lay them. They’re not easy to manipulate, and it can be challenging to get the flu virus to grow within an egg. The flu vaccine system would be more flexible and reliable if we didn’t have to rely on them.”

This is also good news for those with egg allergies who may have problems tolerating the vaccine.

2009 H1N1 vaccine safe and induces robust immune response in people with asthma
People with asthma were among those who were seriously affected by the 2009 H1N1 flu. Researcher have analyzed clinical data of the effect of the H1N1 influenza vaccine on those who had asthma and reported the following findings:

Flu updates, October 15

October 15, 2010 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

The swine flu pandemic is officially over but the seasonal flu is just starting as we face the coming of the winter months. We will be bringing you regular updates about seasonal influenza.

Here are some seasonal flu updates for you this week.

Kmart Pharmacy kicks off flu prevention program
If you are into seasonal flu vaccine, then you might want to check Kmart Pharmacy’s more than 900 walk-in flu clinics. The clinics will be open through Nov. 15 to sell seasonal flu shots (free Medicare Part B members) that will be administered by a trained practitioner. According to a Kmart statement:

Following a 2009 flu season that saw significant outbreaks, including the H1N1 virus, Kmart Pharmacy is encouraging customers to get their vaccinations early in the season, especially since there is an incubation period before becoming fully effective. The Kmart Pharmacy walk-in flu clinics are family friendly, have knowledgeable on-site pharmacists that can answer flu- and health-related questions, and carry a range of supplies to help customers stay healthy during the winter season.”

Take note that this is not an endorsement!

Q and A: Vaccine Selection for the 2010-2011 Influenza Season

So what’s in that flu shot anyway? Well, the cocktail varies from year to year just as the flu virus strains change from flu season to flu season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains how flu vaccines selection is done. “The seasonal flu vaccine is a trivalent vaccine (a three component vaccine) with each component selected to protect against one of the three main groups of influenza viruses circulating in humans.” The components are selected based on the circulating strains of the previous flu season in both northern and southern hemisphere. The selected viral strains are weakened or killed and incorporated into the new vaccine. Here are the 3 strains included in the Northern Hemisphere’s 2010–2011 seasonal influenza vaccine:

an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)–like virus;

an A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)–like virus;

and a B/Brisbane/60/2008–like virus

Maternal influenza vaccination may be associated with flu protection in infants
A flu shot for mommy during pregnancy seems to extend protection to the unborn baby that tracks through even 6 months after delivery, according to a recent study. This is good news since babies under 6 months are not eligible for the flu shot. The authors wrote:

Influenza virus infection in infants is generally more frequent among those aged 6 to 12 months than in the first six months of life, potentially owing to the protection conferred by maternal influenza antibodies acquired transplacentally or through breastfeeding. However, during severe influenza seasons, morbidity and mortality rates among infants younger than 6 months have been reported to exceed those of older infants.”

Pregnancy depression and flu: a bad combination

January 13, 2010 by  
Filed under DEPRESSION

Raging hormones. Morning sickness. Add to that depression. Then top it up with the flu. What you get is a nasty cocktail of symptoms and complications.

Researcher s at the Ohio State University report that pregnant women who are suffering from more than your usual dose of baby blues –e.g. severe pregnancy depression – are more likely to suffer from severe flu symptoms than “less depressed” pregnant women.

The immune system of pregnant women is naturally weakened to accommodate the growing fetus. However, the study findings suggest that the immune system of depressed pregnant women is even more problematic, e.g. is not functioning typically, a dysfunction can be dangerous when it encounters infections such as the flu bug.

There is a well-established mind-body connection in people under chronic stress and depression. Pregnancy can be a stressful period, yet the mind-body connection during gestation is not well studied event.

According to Lisa Christian, an assistant professor of psychiatry:

“Our basic starting question was, do those same relationships between depression and immune function hold during pregnancy? And these studies suggest that they do. We see immune dysregulation during pregnancy due to stress and depression.”

Does having the flu shot help?

The researchers looked at 22 pregnant women who received the seasonal flu shot. The study participants were tested for inflammatory biomarkers in the blood before and after vaccination and completed questionnaires that asses depressive symptoms. In particular, post-vaccination blood samples were tested for macrophage migration inhibitory factor or MIF, which is a protein that promotes inflammation. The results of the study show

  • Depressive symptoms and perceived were significantly more evident in women who were unhappy about their pregnancies, and in those less social support and more frequent hostile social interactions.
  • Those women with stronger depressive symptoms had higher MIF levels in the blood after vaccination indicating a stronger biological reaction to the seasonal flu vaccine compared to women who were not depressed.
  • The inflammatory responses to the flu shot do no harm, are mild, and typically go away within a few days but is indicative of the immune response when the actual infection strikes.

Research studies have shown that pregnancy suppresses certain functions of the immune system to prevent rejection of the fetus and to protect the fetus from inflammation that accompanies fevers and other illnesses. Excess inflammation during pregnancy, however, has been associated to increased risk of preterm birth and preeclampsia or gestational hypertension.

The study findings support the recommendations that pregnant women should get vaccinated against the flu. However, flu shots be it the seasonal or the H1N1 flu, are viewed with skepticism. Only about 12 to 13% of pregnant women in the US opt for flu vaccination.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.