FAU aims to prevent dementia with new program

Post-mortem studies confirm that 30 percent of Alzheimer’s disease case can be prevented.

Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton is aiming to find how – and will give patients a plan to follow.

FAU will launch the Dementia Prevention Initiative at the Comprehensive Center for Brain Health. It will take a genetics, biology and the molecular approach to the disease, as well as a personalized approach and precision medicine to reduce risk.

The belief is that the innovative approach developed at Florida Atlantic University turns the “one-size-fits-all” approach on its head when it comes to battling Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Body Dementia, Parkinson’s disease and other related disorders.

This center is one of only a handful of centers around the world that focuses on dementia prevention.

Dr. James E. Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., a world-renowned neuroscientist,  designed the program to deliver a personalized prevention plan, tailored to each individual’s risk profile based on their genetic traits, biomarkers, socio-demographics, lifestyle choices, and co-existent medical conditions.

Galvin’s work supports the idea that there may be multiple pathways to develop neurological disorders –and therefore multiple ways to treat and prevent these diseases.

The photo above shows  Catherine Robson, a nurse practitioner observing as Dr. James Galvin administers a test using to measure eye movement. is used as an early biomarker sign of Parkinson’s disease.

Beach horror: Can sandcastles make your kids sick?

Is there anything more wholesome than children building sandcastles on an American beach?

Guess again, vacationers. The Environmental Protection Agency and pediatricians have issued warnings that beach sand can contain pollutant and bacteria especially harmful to children.

The Palm Beach Post’s news partner, Channel 5, WPTV noted that beaches are occasionally closed because of poor water quality.

A study five years ago among some 5,000 beach visitors, found that those who dug in the most contaminated sand were twice as likely to fall ill with diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach aches.

And it came from the deep. EPA and health officials warn building sand castles can be dangerous to your child’s health. No kidding. (Photo by Suzanne LaGasa via Creative Commons.)

Those who had been buried in the sand showed an even greater tendency to get sick.

Brittany Schiro said she lives close to Galveston, Texas, but comes to Clearwater in Florida with her family for cleaner beaches.

“We have a lot of problems in the water, bacterial stuff going on there,” says Schiro, who lives close to Galveston, Texas.

So what can bad sand do to you? Symptoms can range from gastrointestinal illness to severe rashes.

Sand pollution is highest after heavy rains. Doctors urge parents to use sanitizer on tiny hands.

Schiro said there are limits to being the ever-cautious parent.

“You gotta let them be children, right?” she said.

(Featured image by Richard Leeming via Creative Commons)

From death’s door to People magazine for Loxahatchee flu girl

A Loxahatchee girl featured in the Palm Beach Post after nearly dying of the flu is now featured in People Magazine.

Jenny Spell came forward to tell her harrowing story to encourage people to get the flu vaccine. The 18-year-old  ended up on an ECMO heart-lung machine for five days in the fall of 2014 and eventually had to have a kidney transplant.

She is now enrolled at the University of Florida in the fall to study pre-pharmacy. People Magazine covered her graduation from King’s Academy.

“Jenny and I were happy to have had an opportunity to speak to People about her story,” her mother, Anne Spell, said.

“She faced tremendous suffering with both resilience and faith, and I am very proud of her. Together, she and I hope that her story will make a life-saving difference in the lives of others through flu vaccination and organ donation awareness.”

 

The teenager spent 241 days — about two-thirds of a year — at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital after going into cardiogenic shock, meaning the heart can’t pump enough blood to sustain your body. Her organs started failing one by one. Liver. Pancreas. Gall bladder. Kidneys. She contracted a deadly fungal infection and suffered an aneurysm in her abdomen.

“Jenny was the sickest patient I’ve ever cared for with the flu and probably one of the sickest patients I’ve ever cared for,” said Dr. Gerald Lavandosky, managing director at Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida at Joe DiMaggio.

To read the Palm Beach Post’s feature on Jenny click here.

To read People Magazine’s story on Jenny click here.

 

Why do mosquitoes bite you, but not your friend?

You are enjoying a nice glass of chardonnay with your bestie in the back yard when suddenly mosquitoes take aim as if you are a dart board at an insect bar giving away free Bloody Marys.

But your friend remains untouched. It’s as if she has been sweating bug repellent but still smells of that perfume you can’t stand.

“They like you because you are so sweet,” she jests, as you start scratching at the multiple bites on your arms and legs.

In fact, there is a reason why mosquitoes tend to bite some people and leave others alone, according to the website FeedsGuru.com:

You Smell:  Yep, the smellier a person is, the more attractive they are to a mosquito. When a body sweats it produces lactic acid, which is quite tasty to the mosquito. The older the sweat, the sweeter the meal. So you know, take a bath.

Blood Type: Turns out that people with Type O blood are twice as likely to suffer bites than people with Type A blood, according to one study. Also, 85 percent of us secrete a chemical signal that indicates blood type, increasing the chances to get bit since mosquitoes tend to like to know what they are getting.

Bacteria: FeedsGuru reports that the type of bacteria living on our skin varies from person to person. Studies show that people with Staphylococcus and Variovorax present on their skin will likely suffer more mosquito bites. While other bacteria, such as Delftia, tend to keep the pests away.

Carbon Dioxide: Mosquitoes are drawn to the CO2 you exhale, as well. Produce more, get more bug bites. So people who struggle to breathe get bit more. Beer drinkers, for instance, tend to breathe heavier and thus are more prone to bites.

 

<<RELATED: How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your Yard

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Algae blooms may be more dangerous than ever believed

Last week, the  American Civil Liberties of Florida issued a report that the state failed to adequately warn the public of the health dangers related to toxic algae blooms on the Treasure Coast communities last year.

The algae bloom in the St. Lucie River and its estuaries caused an overpowering, noxious smell, burning eyes, headaches, flu-like symptoms, respiratory problems, and rashes.

The local hospital weathered a spike in emergency room patients. People were forced to evacuate waterside properties and escape to more distant lodgings.

The bloom came after the Palm Beach Post’s story on how scientists have linked blue-green algae to neurological disorders like Parkinson’s Disease and ALS.

In the past decade, a consortium of 50 scientists around the world led by ethnobotanist Paul Alan Cox found cyanobacteria in blue-green algae produce a toxin called BMAA.

BMAA leaves sticky plaque buildup around nerve cells and causing protein tangles within those neurons. It is the same calling card found in patients with these neurological illnesses.

Even more intriguing is a related discovery by Cox and his team that ingesting the organic compound L-serine reduces the effect of BMAA in Old World monkeys called vervets.

And all this research has strong ties to Palm Beach County, where philanthropists have bankrolled Cox’s research at the Institute for EthnoMedicine in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Douglas and Liz Kinney of North Palm Beach learned of Cox’s research more than a decade ago and have helped raise millions for research.

“It’s a game-changer,” said Liz Kinney, describing how she witnessed L-serine countering a neurological illness in a friend who was paralyzed with Lewy body disease, which has signatures of both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. “Within 10 days, he was speaking. He had much more life.”

Algae formed around the Herbert Hoover Dam on Lake Okeechobee on Friday, July 8, 2016. The algae bloom from Lake Okeechobee has grown since it was first measured in May. Environmentalists believe it stretched more than 200 square miles. (Joseph

The ACLU’s full report is available here: www.aclufl.org/taintedwaters.

The Post’s full report tying cyanobacteria to neurological disorders can be read by clicking here.

ACLU: State failed to warn public of health dangers of toxic algae bloom

The American Civil Liberties of Florida is taking aim at the state, saying it failed to adequately warn the public of the health dangers related to toxic algae blooms on the Treasure Coast communities last year.

The ACLU on Wednesday issued the report, “Tainted Waters: Threats to Public Health and the People’s Right to Know,” concluding blue-green algae have not been sufficiently researched by the state.

The Palm Beach Post last year published a story on a group of prominent researchers have tied blue-green algae to neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s Disease and ALS. To read that story click here.

Algae formed around the Herbert Hoover Dam on Lake Okeechobee on Friday, July 8, 2016. The algae bloom from Lake Okeechobee has grown since it was first measured in May. Environmentalists believe it stretched more than 200 square miles. (Joseph Forzano / The Palm Beach Post)

The ACLU report was written by former Palm Beach Post investigative reporter John Lantigua.

“Open government means people have a right to be informed about what public officials and employees are doing, and that information is particularly crucial when it comes to public health issues,” Lantigua said. “What we found was a lack of urgency and transparency on the part of the state in reporting information about the crisis, caused by the release of tainted waters from Lake Okeechobee.”

The algae bloom in the St. Lucie River and its estuary certainly appeared and smelled toxic. It caused an overpowering, noxious smell, burning eyes, headaches, flu-like symptoms, respiratory problems, and rashes. The local hospital weathered a spike in emergency room patients. People were forced to evacuate waterside properties and escape to more distant lodgings.

It caused an overpowering, noxious smell, burning eyes, headaches, flu-like symptoms, respiratory problems, and rashes. The local hospital weathered a spike in emergency room patients. People were forced to evacuate waterside properties and escape to more distant lodgings.

His report quotes scientists concerned that the state provided no public warning about the threat to downriver communities. The state tested waters where toxins where the algae were least concentrated, as well, the report states.

It also notes a task force created by state law in 1999 to monitor and mitigate the effects of algae blooms has not been funded since 1999.

The ACLU’s full report is available here: www.aclufl.org/taintedwaters

Butt lift doctor banned after patient dies

A controversial South Florida plastic surgeon is temporarily banned from performing any more procedures after a woman died undergoing liposuction.

Dr. Osak Omuleupu’s license was revoked by the Board of Medicine in April, but he has been fighting the state action on appeal. A judge now has stepped in to prohibit him from surgery until the matter is resolved, according to the Department of Health.

The Miami Herald has reported that Omulepu’s advertised specialty is liposuction and fat transfers to the buttocks — a procedure known as a “Brazilian butt lift.”

Health Department Spokesman Brad Dalton told television station News 6 in Orlando that it took a second motion Monday by the Department to impose conditions.

“We are waiting for a final resolution of that motion, but during this time Dr. Omulepu shall not perform plastic surgery procedures and shall have a board-certified physician present for any other medical procedures,” Dalton said.

Lattia Baumeister, 30, of  Illinois, was undergoing a cosmetic procedure Thursday morning at the Seduction Cosmetic Center in the Miami suburb of Doral when she experienced a medical emergency, according to police.

Osakatukei Omulepu is a Miami plastic surgeon accused of seriously injuring four patients in May 2015. His has been temporarily banned from performing surgery after a patient died last week.

She later died at  Kendall Regional Medical Center.

“Dr. Omulepu is absolutely devastated by the complication that occurred in this case,” his attorney, Monica Rodriguez, said in a statement. “This is the first patient death he has had. Although what happened has been widely documented as a complication of the procedure the patient underwent, it is not a situation any surgeon wants to have.”

In February 2016, the state issued an order of emergency restriction of license filed against Omulepu, who has been associated with numerous cosmetic surgery centers. The order came after Omulepu was accused of botching medical procedures of patients in 2015 that resulted in hospitalizations from three days to three months.

The order came after Omulepu was accused of botching medical procedures– such as not using the right anesthesia — on patients in 2015 that resulted in hospitalizations from three days to three months.

Steven Rosenberg, a Palm Beach dermatologist and a member of the Florida Board of Medicine that regulates doctors, told the Miami Herald that he was “frustrated” that Omulepu was still performing surgery because of the appeal process.

“We revoke a doctor’s license and the judges override it,” Rosenberg said. He noted that the appeal process can drag out while physicians continue to practice and potentially place patients at risk. Omulepu’s medical license on file with the Florida health department is listed as “clear/active.”

Omulepu is also a defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit in Miami-Dade circuit court alleging that he permanently disfigured a woman who underwent a breast augmentation and a revision in 2015, the Herald reports.

Rosmery Diaz of Miami began vomiting blood and feeling extreme pain shortly after the first surgery. She was also bleeding and her breasts began to spread outward, the complaint alleges.

To read the whole News 6 story click here.

To read the whole Herald story click here,

 

More Trauma Drama: Hospital pushes back on expansion in Jax

Does the trauma drama never end?

After a bill to expand trauma centers once again failed in the state Legislature earlier this year, a new legal fight is underway in Jacksonville that could affect how catastrophic injuries are dealt with throughout the state.

UF Health Jacksonville has challenged a state decision to give preliminary approval to a new trauma facility at a rival hospital, according to the News Service of Florida.

The Florida Department of Health decision last month gave what is known as “provisional” approval for a trauma center at Memorial Hospital Jacksonville, according to documents filed in the case.

UF Health Jacksonville also has been in a legal battle over a state decision to allow a trauma center to open at Orange Park Medical Center in nearby Clay County.

The argument by existing trauma centers is that by opening new ones it dilutes the needed medical expertise necessary to respond to these life-threatening injuries. State law caps the number of trauma centers statewide at 44.

In Palm Beach County, there are two Level 1 trauma centers at St. Mary’s Medical Center and Delray Medical Center. The Health Care District of Palm Beach County runs the trauma system, though.

These hospitals pushed back on efforts by JFK Medical Center in Atlantis to open up a trauma center last year.

Read the whole News Service of Florida story by clicking here.

Study: Infants should sleep in own room, not with parents

A new study is encouraging parents of babies to put them to sleep in their own room, finding they sleep on average of 40 minutes more a night by nine months of age than their counterparts sharing a room with at least one parent.

American Academy of Pediatrics surveyed 30 first-time mothers at Penn State to come to the conclusion.

“We know from prior research that babies experience brief awakenings overnight regardless of where they sleep,” said lead study author Dr. Ian Paul, chief of academic general pediatrics at Pennsylvania State College of Medicine in Hershey.

The findings could be a controversial, though. They fly in the face of latest guidance of the very group doing the study which recommended parents share a room — but not a bed — with their infants for at least the first six months.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/J.K. Califf.

“Our research suggests that parents respond to these brief awakenings, which interrupts both parent and child sleep when they are room-sharing, but not as much when the baby is sleeping in a separate room,” Paul told Reuters.

“This could set up a cycle where parents respond to the infant and then the infant grows to expect a parent response in order to get back to sleep.”

The guidelines to keep baby closer were meant to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, which may occur while an infant is sleeping.

But the practice of having babies sleep in their own room might actually be safer. Infants were more than twice as likely to have unsafe objects around them like blankets or pillows that increase the risk of sleep-related deaths, the study found.

 To read the whole Reuters story click here.