8 sept. 2016

Wheelchair racer Josh George will have hands full at Rio Paralympics

If the Olympics captivated you with inspiring stories last month in Rio de Janeiro -- such as runners Abbey D'Agostino and Nikki Hamblin falling and helping each other up to complete the women's 5,000 meters -- prepare for many more awesome, inspiring athletes this month at the Paralympics. These athletes picked themselves up from far worse falls yet became great examples to everyone: just keep going.
Consider five-time Paralympic medalist Josh George, who will compete in an astounding five events in Rio, his fourth Games. George fell out of a 12-story window when he was 4 years old. While he punctured his lungs and was paralyzed from his mid-chest down, he survived the 120-foot fall, perhaps an indication of his physical and mental strength. "I stuck the landing," he said with a laugh.
"I landed straight up and down on my feet in these short, little bushes next to the building, That's what really saved me," George added. "The combination of landing on my feet and in those bushes and the fact that when you're 4, your bones still aren't fully formed so they still have a little give to them. They absorbed enough for me to survive."
George, 32, has a great sense of humor and outlook on life, along with a love of sports. Despite needing a wheelchair to get around, he grew up playing basketball and tennis, swimming, racing track and more. His parents made sure that he used sports to continue moving forward.
"I give my parents all the credit in the world," he said. "They could not have handled the situation any better. They were amazing. They took it all in stride. They never looked at me as disabled. I was just as able as anybody else in their eyes, and that's how they treated me. I just had to use the wheelchair instead of walking."
The athletic activity turned out to be more than just fun and games for George.
"Sports created seeds of creative problem solving," he said, "to be able to find opportunities to maximize my potential. And it carried over in life. Once you learn how to recognize opportunities and once you learn how to utilize different tools to accomplish your goals, it gives you confidence in your ability to approach problems in your future and know you'll be able to figure out a solution."
After playing wheelchair basketball at the University of Illinois, George has concentrated on track, an endeavor in which he has won five Paralympic medals, including gold in the 100 meters and silver in the 800 at the 2008 Beijing Games. In Rio, where the festivities start with Wednesday's opening ceremony, he will compete in the 400, 800, 1,500, 5,000 and marathon wheelchair races.
"I'm going to have my hands full," he said.
His hands also will be on the improving carbon-fiber wheelchairs that he says help racers put their power into forward momentum. "It doesn't necessarily make you faster, but it makes you more efficient," he said.
That efficiency helps especially over longer distances, such as the marathon. Wheelchair racers complete marathons considerably faster than runners -- George's personal best is 1 hour, 22 minutes, 55 seconds -- though uphill portions can be more grueling since the racers are relying on nothing but arm strength. Going downhill is much faster, with some reaching speeds of 40 mph, but that also leads to potential crashes.
"It's exciting," George said, "but sometimes you end up with your stomach in your throat."
It all makes the race as compelling as the regular marathon, and perhaps more so. It is like watching the combination of a running and cycling race.
Wheelchair racing is growing in attention and popularity. George says that when people see him arrive in an airport with his wheelchair now, they will ask him whether he will be racing in the city marathon. He usually is, having won eight marathons in Chicago, Los Angeles, London and the Twin Cities.
George also writes -- he studied journalism at Illinois -- and you can follow his experiences in Rio at joshgeorgeracing.com. He also is running a campaign called "Maximize Your Potential" that urges everyone to achieve their highest goals.
They can see that is possible in the Paralympics, which George hopes people will watch so they can witness how great the athleticism is -- especially in the United States.
"We have an interesting relationship with disability," George said of Americans. "It's very much a medical model where we think it's people who are broken or injured or old. And that's far from the case. We all have a different disability, but we're not really overcoming that disability. The overcoming part has come and gone. The struggle has come and gone. We are all out there now to maximize our abilities as an athlete and compete for a gold medal in the same sense the Olympians are."
Paralympians have picked themselves up. And now they are providing the same exciting thrills and inspiration as Olympians.

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

CPAP machines don’t prevent heart attacks, strokes in some sleep apnea sufferers

More than 25 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea, a dangerous disorder that causes sufferers to briefly stop breathing while they sleep, sometimes many times each night. The condition, caused by throat muscles that relax and block the airway, has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and Type 2 diabetes.
The standard treatment, using the continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine, keeps the airway open by pumping a stream of air through the nostrils as a person sleeps. The biggest problem with the therapy is noncompliance; many people find the air mask and hose uncomfortable and give up on the machine.
But a large study published Sunday raises a serious new issue: For people with existing cardiovascular disease and moderate to severe sleep apnea, CPAP doesn’t prevent heart attacks, strokes, hospitalizations or deaths any better than sleeping without the machine.
The finding surprised scientists from two Australian research institutes who conducted the research, because previous examinations have shown that CPAP seemed to have a positive impact on those problems.
In earlier studies, “the epidemiological data is very strong and the biomarker data is very strong,” said Craig S. Anderson, a professor of stroke neurology at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, and one of the leaders of the new study. So too is observational research on subjects who use CPAP machines, he said.
Virend Somers, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who was not involved in the research, called the new study “a very important paper” because it provides the first large, randomized, controlled look at CPAP benefits that were only previously assumed.
CPAP is far from worthless, according to the new research, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at a cardiology conference in Rome Sunday. The five-year study of people in seven countries confirmed that the pump reduced the daytime sleepiness that plagues sleep apnea patients, with corresponding improvements in mood, quality of life and work productivity. It also reduced sufferers’ anxiety and depression somewhat.
When the researchers divided the paticipants into two roughly equal groups, they found that CPAP had no impact on heart attacks and strokes, nor from deaths from any cause or hospitalization for heart failure, unstable angina and other reasons.
It’s not clear why that might be, Anderson said. One possibility raised in both the study and an accompanying editorial is that the CPAP group was able to wear the masks only about 3.3 hours per night, a duration that is consistent with CPAP users in the real world. That may not be enough time to affect the frequency of these cardiovascular events. Or it may be that cardiovascular disease is too difficult to modify in this way once it develops, Anderson said.
Somers, the Alice Sheets Marriott professor of medicine and  a consultant in cardiovascular disease at the Mayo Clinic, said he would like to know whether better adherence to the CPAP regimen might convey more long-term benefits. It’s unknown whether the adrenaline and blood pressure surges that come with taking off the mask and returning to an apneic state in the middle of the night are as harmful as sleep apnea itself, he said.
Although the researchers didn’t look at it, Anderson said it is probably safe to assume that sleep apnea sufferers who don’t have preexisting cardiovascular conditions would show similar results. But more research on that is needed, he said. Somers agreed.
However, he pointed out that patients who are most sleepy during the day were excluded from the study, because of the danger that they would be randomized to the group that wasn’t receiving CPAP and could hurt themselves or others in car accidents or in other ways. While it would be a difficult study to accomplish, Somers said, it could be important to know whether CPAP protects sleepy patients from cardiovascular events.

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

Polio Vaccine What You Need to Know

Why get vaccinated?
Vaccination can protect people from polio. Polio is a disease caused by a virus. It is spread mainly by person-to-person contact. It can also be spread by consuming food or drinks that are contaminated with the feces of an infected person.
Most people infected with polio have no symptoms, and many recover without complications. But sometimes people who get polio develop paralysis (cannot move their arms or legs). Polio can result in permanent disability. Polio can also cause death, usually by paralyzing the muscles used for breathing.
Polio used to be very common in the United States. It paralyzed and killed thousands of people every year before polio vaccine was introduced in 1955.  There is no cure for polio infection, but it can be prevented by vaccination.
Polio has been eliminated from the United States. But it still occurs in other parts of the world. It would only take one person infected with polio coming from another country to bring the disease back here if we were not protected by vaccination. If the effort to eliminate the disease from the world is successful, some day we won’t need polio vaccine. Until then, we need to keep getting our children vaccinated.

Polio vaccine

Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) can prevent polio.
Most people should get IPV when they are children. Doses of IPV are usually given at 2, 4, 6 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years of age.
The schedule might be different for some children (including those traveling to certain countries and those who receive IPV as part of a combination vaccine). Your health care provider can give you more information.
Most adults do not need IPV because they were already vaccinated against polio as children. But some adults are at higher risk and should consider polio vaccination, including:
  • people traveling to certain parts of the world,
  • laboratory workers who might handle polio virus, and
  • health care workers treating patients who could have polio.
These higher-risk adults may need 1 to 3 doses of IPV, depending on how many doses they have had in the past.
There are no known risks to getting IPV at the same time as other vaccines.

Some people should not get this vaccine

Tell the person who is giving the vaccine:
  • If the person getting the vaccine has any severe, life-threatening allergies.
    If you ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of IPV, or have a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine, you may be advised not to get vaccinated. Ask your health care provider if you want information about vaccine components.
  • If the person getting the vaccine is not feeling well.
    If you have a mild illness, such as a cold, you can probably get the vaccine today. If you are moderately or severely ill, you should probably wait until you recover. Your doctor can advise you.

Risks of a vaccine reaction

With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of side effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own, but serious reactions are also possible.
Some people who get IPV get a sore spot where the shot was given. IPV has not been known to cause serious problems, and most people do not have any problems with it.
Other problems that could happen after this vaccine:
  • People sometimes faint after a medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting and injuries caused by a fall. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy, or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.
  • Some people get shoulder pain that can be more severe and longer-lasting than the more routine soreness that can follow injections. This happens very rarely.
  • Any medication can cause a severe allergic reaction. Such reactions from a vaccine are very rare, estimated at about 1 in a million doses, and would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.
The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. For more information, visit the vaccine safety site.

What if there is a serious reaction?

What should I look for?
  • Look for anything that concerns you, such as signs of a severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or unusual behavior.
    Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would usually start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
What should I do?
  • If you think it is a severe allergic reaction or other emergency that can’t wait, call 9-1-1 or get to the nearest hospital. Otherwise, call your clinic.
    Afterward, the reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your doctor should file this report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS website, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.
VAERS does not give medical advice.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines.
Persons who believe they may have been injured by a vaccine can learn about the program and about filing a claim by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website.  There is a time limit to file a claim for compensation.

How can I learn more?

  • Ask your healthcare provider. He or she can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.
  • Call your local or state health department.
  • Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

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