Aug 31, 2016

Doctor speaks out against claims that autism is linked to vaccines



EAGLE LAKE, Texas-
 More Texas parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children, but the town of Eagle Lake is bucking that trend. Part of the vaccination success can be linked to a doctor who relies on science and his own personal story.

Dr. Russell Thomas Jr. practices medicine in his hometown of Eagle Lake. When he was a boy, he never received the polio vaccine.
"Unfortunately I wasn't included in the last test group," said Thomas.
Two years later he was diagnosed with polio, a moment that he says changed his life forever. 
"It's not just an idea with me, it's not just a concept," said Thomas. "I've lived the outcome of not getting a vaccine, and it's not where I want to be."

He underwent 14 surgeries growing up, and his legs were significantly weakened. Without braces, it's tough to walk.
Dr. Thomas says all of it  could have been prevented with a vaccine.

"If I had the choice between the risks of the vaccine, even early primitive vaccines, I think I would have taken the chance," said Thomas. "I would have gotten that vaccine of my own choice."

Dr. Thomas was awarded the 2014-2015 Texas Family Physician of the Year. He is outspoken when it comes to defending vaccines and encouraging parents to immunize their children.

"My patients are able to see anytime they walk into my office what happens when you don't get a vaccine sometimes," said Thomas.

Now a Facebook video by Bexar County District Attorney Nico Lahood, coupled with the film "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe" is igniting the immunization debate across Texas again.

"We had a very different child after the round of vaccines," said Lahood. "So no one is going to tell my child was born with autism, because he was not."

Thomas says CDC studies clearly show there is no link to vaccines and autism. When families come in with concerns, he points to science and his own personal story.

"Any chance I get, I share that story," said Thomas. "When I have kids concerned about needles or getting the shots, I just tap my brace. I had 14 surgeries. I have to wear a brace. A small shot is a small price to pay to not go through that."

In Eagle Lake, the vaccine exemption rate sits at zero percent. Although the exemption rate is only .62 percent. in Harris County, this number has doubled in the last five years.
Thomas hopes that trend doesn't continue because it may make community more vulnerable to outbreaks.

"That's all we can do, just keep telling the truth, and backing it up with evidence," said Thomas. "And I hope that at the end, that those that are scared realize they're basing their fear on unfounded things.

There are 5.5 million students in schools in Texas, slightly less than 45,000 right now have opted out of vaccinations. This number has continued to rise steadily since 2003. 

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Aug 30, 2016

Researchers find new way to beat antibiotic-resistant infections


VIEW SLIDESHOW
Researchers have discovered a way to test bacteria for drug resistance more rapidly. It’s a potentially life-saving method that will enable doctors to find and attack bacterial infections quickly, instead of waiting for a day or more to find out to which drugs a patient might be resistant. More than 2 million people develop drug-resistant infections every year, according to Scientific American, and 23,000 people die from those infections, due in part to an inability to diagnose and treat the infections quickly and effectively. The current method for testing bacteria for resistance is to “take a sample from the wound, blood, or urine” and expose it to a variety of drugs. It typically takes 16 to 20 hours to grow the bacteria and test it.
New engineering innovations are working to sidestep the need to grow the bacteria, speeding up the diagnostic process as a whole. Researchers at Seoul National University in South Korea took a novel approach that involves observing how the structure of individual bacterial cells changes in response to such antibiotic exposure, and only takes three to four hours. This rapid test could help clinicians to identify the best antibiotic more quickly, and switch patients over to the correct treatment course,” the study’s lead author Sunghoon Kwon wrote in an email to Salon.com.
According to the Center for Disease Controlantibiotic resistance occurs when “commercial antibiotics kill good bacteria that protect the body from infection alongside bacteria that cause illness—setting the stage for drug-resistant bacteria to flourish and take over.” The new method could be a step in the right direction, according to Stuart Levy, the director of the Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance at Tufts University. “The ability to determine changes in the structure of the single cell makes this unique among rapid-type analyses and it is an optimistic sign that this could be the beginning of a new area of study,” Levy said.
Via Salon.com
Photos by Flickr/NIAID

Aug 28, 2016

Polio New Zealand is planning to reach into the Pacific after discovering survivors needing help.


Help needed for Pacific survivors of Polio
02:10
The disease was stamped out in the region years ago, but those who contracted it are still struggling.
The disease was stamped out in the region years ago, but those who contracted it are still struggling.
Source: ONE News
The disease has been stamped out in the region but it's effects are still being felt decades later.
Every step means pain for polio survivor Reggie Kumar who has worn the same braces for more than 40 years. 
They barely work, broken and repaired too many times and leaving scars. 
"There's all sorts of marks here on my legs," said Mr Kumar. 
"I wasn't allowed to touch anyone or mix with anyone for four years."
Polio New Zealand heard Mr Kumar's story and along with QE Health in Rotorua have brought him to New Zealand to be refitted. 
"Yes I am going to be a new man," said Mr Kumar. 
After taking his first steps in his new brace Mr Kumar said, "this looks awesome, I feel awesome."
He could not believe the difference. 
Polio New Zealand believe Mr Kumar's case is just the tip of the iceberg.
"It's estimated there are up to 10,000 polio survivors here in New Zealand... But it's not known how many there are in the the Pacific," said Gordon Jackman from Polio New Zealand. "A lack of resources in the region means that those affected are likely not to be getting the help they need."
"There isn't the infrastructure in terms of footwear or braces or medical expertise which is going to help those people so really we would like to do something about that," said Mr Jackman.
For Mr Kumar it is about new beginnings.
"I am 60 now.. he later part of my life is going to be an exciting one."
When he gets home to Fiji he wants to learn to ride a bike, and live the childhood dream he never had. 

Aug 26, 2016

Polio: In the Shadow of Fear


  • by Tom Adams Andover Historical Society
  •  
  •  

    My name is poliomyelitis
    I cause a disease which you call infantile paralysis
    I consider myself quite an artist – sort of a sculptor
    I specialize in the grotesque, twisting and deforming human bodies
    That’s why I’m called “The Crippler”
    It was an invisible enemy. No one knew where it came from or why it only haunted the warm summer months. It struck with little or no warning. For some, the symptoms were exhaustion, a slight cold coming on, a hint of muscle stiffness – symptoms that often vanished as quickly as they came. For all too many others, polio took on a dark, permanent, and life-altering grip.
    Poliomyelitis has plagued mankind for thousands of years, as far back as ancient Egypt. Outbreaks were recorded in Norway in 1868 and again in Sweden in 1881. One of the earliest recorded outbreaks in North America occurred in Vermont in 1894. It was the 1916 epidemic, however, that cast a shadow of fear. The 27,000 cases of polio reported in 26 states between that June and December resulted in 6,000 deaths – 2,343 were children, 80 percent under the age of five.
    The wagons quickly circled. Sunday schools were closed, ferry service curtailed, and travelers were stopped at designated city limits and issued temporary passes. Then, as suddenly as the disease appeared, it waned with the first frost. The summer, however, had been a killer. Here in Andover, the first two cases of polio were diagnosed. From that summer on, not a single year passed without an epidemic.
    No one knew how polio spread. Fear and isolation became the watchwords. Frightened parents brought their ailing children to crowded doctors’ offices and overwhelmed hospitals. Public drinking fountains were turned off, swimming pools closed and children were confined to their homes. Events were cancelled, camps and schools  shut down, even draft inductions were suspended. All these measures worked for influenza and other major health outbreaks. They did not work for polio. The outbreaks continued. Andover reported 1,503 cases in 1918 with 25 deaths. In 1927, Andover had 8 cases; 7 in 1935 and none from 1936 to 1940. A town health official commented that “…our percentage is remarkably low…” when compared to statewide and regional statistics.
    By the 1950s, the public had been alerted through mass media about what steps to take to avoid polio. Public service announcements aired on radio, television, in newspapers, and in short films played in local movie houses. 
    In July of 1952, the Andover Townsman urged caution - "Avoid fatigue from work or play; don't get chilled; don't swim too long in cold water nor sit around in wet clothes; don't mix unnecessarily with new groups; don't take children out of camp where there is good health supervision; watch closely for signs of illness . . . headache, fever, sore muscles, stiff neck or back, trouble breathing or swallowing. Put a sick person to bed at once, away from others, and call your doctor. Follow his advice." It was advice passionately followed. Yet in 1952, a record 57,628 cases of polio erupted in the United States marking its worst recorded epidemic. In all, 3,145 people, including 1,873 children, died.
    In all, 1.4 million people in the U. S. survived polio. The occurrence of polio has decreased dramatically in the global effort to eradicate the disease. The World Health Organization estimated 350,000 cases in 1988 and just 74 in 2015. Yet the disease continues to haunt its survivors. An estimated 70% have developed post-polio syndrome - a weakness in previously unaffected muscles often accompanied by fatigue, pain and difficulty swallowing and breathing. For those afflicted, The Crippler, remains.




































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