Everything you need to know about Sen. John McCain’s brain tumor

U.S. Sen. John McCain’s brain tumor is a type known as glioblastoma.

So what is a glioblastoma?

It is a highly malignant form of cancer that spreads quickly and is known to be fed by a large network of blood vessels in the brain, according to this NBC News report.

The sad news for the former Republican presidential nominee came out Wednesday after doctors operated on a small clot about McCain’s left eye.

Glioblastoma is a mass of abnormal cells growing in the brain. The tumor grows from star-shaped cells known as astrocytes that make the supportive tissue of the brain. Brain tumors, unlike other cancers, do are not hereditary except in rare cases.

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 24,000 malignant tumors are diagnosed each year — about three in 10 of them are glioblastomas.

Also unlike other cancers, glioblastomas don’t spread to other organs.

McCain’s doctors believe they removed all of the tumor tissue, but cancerous cells could remain and spread to other parts of the brain. It is often difficult to remove glioblastomas because they often spread deep into the brain by the time of diagnosis.

The diagnosis often occurs after a patient suffers a seizure.

McCain also has a history deadly skin cancer known as melanoma. A 2014 study published in the Annals of Epidemiology found glioblastoma was associated with melanoma.were greater among melanoma cases than in people who had never been diagnosed with skin cancer.

The senator’s symptoms may include double vision, forgetfulness or headaches.

Treatment usually is a combination of chemotherapy drugs and radiation on a daily basis. Gene therapy has shown some promise in fighting the tumor.

The prognosis for recovery from glioblastoma is not good.  The median survival rates range from 14 months to three years.

The veteran lawmaker from Arizona fought in Vietnam and was a prisoner of war for more than five years. He is currently recovering at his home.

To read the whole NBC News report click here.

(Featured photo courtesy of Medill DC/Creative Commons)

The case against spanking your children: Study finds it can lead to mental illness

Think spanking will make your child behave?

In fact, a new study discovered that children who receive spankings are more likely to be anti-social, aggressive and suffer from mental health and cognitive difficulties.

The study by the University of Texas and the University of Michigan finds the more a child gets spanked — defined by an open hand on the backside — the more likely they were to defy their parents. Their study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, analyzed five decades of spanking research representing around 160,000 children, according to the news site Mic.com, a website geared towards millennials.

“Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors,” says Elizabeth Gershoff, an associate professor of human development and family sciences at The University of Texas at Austin.

“We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents’ intended outcomes when they discipline their children.”.

“We as a society think of spanking and physical abuse as distinct behaviors,” Gershoff said. “Yet our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree.”

Spanking of children is still a popular mode of discipline in households. A 2013 poll found that 81% of Americans “say parents spanking their children is sometimes appropriate,” according to NBC News.

“We hope that our study can help educate parents about the potential harms of spanking and prompt them to try positive and non-punitive forms of discipline,” Gershoff said.

To read the whole Mic.com story click here.

Diet Soda Alert: They actually make you fat!

Diet sodas, which Americans guzzle in hopes of reigning in our expanding waistlines, might do more harm than good, a new study has found.

The study adds to the growing suspicions of artificial sweeteners linked earlier this year to increased risk for stroke and dementia.

The Washington Post today reports that studies linked artificial sweeteners to increased belly fat despite their zero calories.

Meghan Azad, a researcher at the University of Manitoba, and others reviewed dozens of studies discovered little proof that diet sodas helped in weight management and that people who drank them routinely had increased body mass index and risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

“I think originally it was calories were the problem, and we’ve made something that was zero calories, so we’re good,” Azad told The Washington Post. “But we’re learning that it’s not just about the calories.”

“We need more evidence from better quality studies to know for sure the cause and effect, but there does seem to be at least a question about the daily consumption of these drinks,” she said.

To read the whole Washington Post story click here.

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.

 

Jupiter Medical wins battle with Legislature over deregulation

Jupiter Medical Center took out full-page ads in this newspaper and others and lobbied lawmakers to keep them from changing the rules on hospital expansion. From the result, it worked.

The Florida Legislature failed to pass one of Gov. Rick Scott’s pet bills that would have eliminated the certificate of need process. Under the certificate of need process, hospitals must show a significant need for the community to expand or move into specialized practice areas.

“The organization’s effort among others played a part in it not coming to a vote in the Senate,” said John Couris, the president and CEO of Jupiter Medical Center.

Thus, Florida remains one of 36 states and the District of Columbia that currently limit entry or expansion of health care facilities through certificate-of-need programs. In Florida, this process extends to acute hospital beds to organ transplants to psychiatric services.

Gov. Scott and House Republicans said getting rid of the certificate of need process would open up competition and lower prices.

But Jupiter Medical Center and other critics said deregulation would actually do the opposite by benefiting big hospital chains who could dictate higher prices and undercut patient pool are that is crucial for doctors to perfect their skills.
Couris said the open letter to the community published in full-page advertisements showed the hospital’s commitment to top-notch care. He said competition is already off-the-charts when it comes to certain areas of medicine, such as heart surgery and maternity care.

“We compete every day in healthcare. South Florida is a hyper-competitive market,” he said. “We were concerned for the consumer, for access, quality and cost.”
Couris reiterated that he isn’t against the free market but when it comes to health care appropriate regulation is necessary. Certificate of need “is appropriate regulation and it works,” he said.

The Legislature also let a bill die when the session ended Friday that would have expanded the number of trauma care centers in Florida. Critics had the same worries that the measure would undercut patient pools and thus hurt performance at existing trauma care centers.
The Health Care District of Palm Beach County monitored the progress of both bills.

Currently, Delray Beach Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical operate Level-1 trauma centers. Both hospitals opposed plans by JFK Medical Center in Atlantis to get into the trauma business last year.

Robin Kish of the Health Care District released a statement on the issue:

“Our position remains constant,” she said. “The Health Care District, which oversees the county’s integrated, lifesaving Trauma System, treated more than 4,000 trauma patients in 2016 and we are committed to delivering the highest quality care so traumatically-injured patients can return to their daily lives.”

 

John Couris, president and CEO, of Jupiter Medical Center.

Judge gives doctor’s defamation lawsuit against CNN green light

CNN had the heartbreaking stories from parents who lost their children. It had damning statements by some of the state’s top cardiologists.

But in its zeal to shut down St. Mary’s Medical Center’s pediatric cardiac surgery program, did CNN purposefully fudge the death rate, reporting it was three times the national average?

Did the cable news giant intentionally defame the physician at the center of the program, Dr. Michael Black, whose photograph was splashed on television sets and websites with the headline: “Babies as sacrificial lambs”?

A Palm Beach County Circuit judge ruled Friday that a defamation lawsuit brought by Black against CNN could move forward, rejecting a motion by the network to dismiss it. Judge Richard Oftedal order 15-page order was built on a foundation of solid libel law that included a federal defamation action against CNN by St. Mary’s former CEO.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision. CNN intentionally misled its readers and intentionally manipulated statistical data to portray Dr. Black in a negative light,” said Libby Locke, the attorney for Black.  “We have every confidence that a jury will reach the same conclusion when CNN’s reporting is scrutinized.”

CNN’s attorney, Charles Tobin, could not be reached for comment late Friday.

Oftedal’s ruling echoes another by a federal judge in Atlanta in February when it allowed the defamation case brought by St Mary’s former CEO, Davide Carbone, against CNN to also move forward. U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans found that Carbone’s allegations were sufficient to establish that CNN was acting “recklessly with regard to accuracy.”

 

Dr. Michael Black

Oftedal, in his order, repeatedly referenced the Carbone decision in denying CNN’s motion to dismiss.

The pediatric cardiac surgery program at St. Mary’s shut down and Carbone resigned following CNN’s June 1, 2015, story titled, “Secret Deaths: CNN Finds High Surgical Death Rate for Children at a Florida Hospital.”

As reported by The Palm Beach Post in several stories, the data used in CNN’s report that St. Mary’s sported a death rate of infants in the unit three times the national average was widely disputed by the hospital and the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration. St. Mary’s said at the time that CNN failed to use risk-adjusted data in determining the death rate.

St. Mary’s, owned by Tenet Healthcare, said CNN missed numerous operations and procedures in its analysis.

Black has gone further, saying in court CNN purposefully manipulated the data in order to justify its narrative.

After the criticism, CNN published a story on its methodology as the statistics took center stage, overshadowing the parents featured in the story and a report finding problems with the program by the state’s Cardiac  Technical Advisory Panel. Black is the defendant in lawsuits brought against him by parents of his tiny patients who died or who ended up crippled.

Oftedal rejected CNN’s efforts to dismiss Black’s suit by arguing that the doctor was a public figure and that it was really criticizing St. Mary’s and not the physician. He didn’t buy CNN’s argument that the sensationalized headlines used in the story were just “rhetorical hyperbole” and protected free speech.

The judge noted CNN reported that Black made a “total mess of the babies,” juxtaposing the phrase with the doctor’s photograph.

 

 

More Americans suffering untreated mental illness, study finds

Feeling like there’s a little more mental illness out there in America these days? You are correct.

According to a new study published Monday in the journal Psychiatric Services,  Americans are more stressed, depressed and anxiety-ridden.

And even worse news is that many are unable to get the services they desperately need.

Judith Weissman is a research manager in the department of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City and lead researcher of an evaluation of federal health data.

“Mental illness is on the rise. Suicide is on the rise. And access to care for the mentally ill is getting worse,” she said.

About 3.4 percent of the U.S. population — an estimated 8.3 million American adults —  suffer from serious psychological distress Previous estimates put the number of Americans suffering from serious psychological distress at 3 percent or less, the researchers said.

Much of the distress, Weissman said, is an after-effect of the Great Recession that began in late 2007 and caused long-term emotional damage to many Americans.

Because of the Great Recession, more Americans needing psychological or psychiatric services have gone without.

“The recession seemed to have pushed the mentally ill to a point where they never recovered,” she said. “This is a very disturbing finding because of the implications of what mental illness can do to a person in terms of their ability to function and their life span.”

The study included national health data from a survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 35,000 households nationwide participate each year.

“We need to increase access to care for the mentally ill,” Weissman told CBS. “We also need to put trained psychiatrists and mental health providers within the primary care setting.”

Greyhound racing industry: legislation will unleash catastrophe

Animal activists want the state Legislature to pass a bill prohibiting the use of steroids on female racing greyhounds, saying it can have long-term negative effects.

But the greyhound racing industry says if the bill passes, the Legislature will create hordes of horny dogs that no handle would be able to stop, according to WSFU-FM. Testosterone is administered twice a month to female racing greyhounds to keep them from going into heat. It is given in a chewable tablet.

Fred Johnson works with the Florida Greyhound Association of Jacksonville, said a catastrophe would ensue without the ability to use anabolic steroids.

Could this greyhound be looking for love thanks to the Florida Legislature? (Photo: Palm Beach Post archives)
“If there’s a fight with males trying to get over here to get to those females that you have 30 of them outside and 30 males it’s disastrous—I wouldn’t be able to stop them. Nobody in here could stop them,” Johnson says.

Jack Cory who represents the Florida Grey Hound association says he doesn’t see why anyone would want to stop dog owners from using the drug.

Birth control is birth control. Whether it’s in a dog or a human being. And birth control methods have been used for a long time in this country—legally, honestly and morally,” Cory says.

But animal rights activists, like Kate MacFall with the Humane Society of the United States say steroids are abusive to female greyhounds.

Who me? Animal activists say the use of steroids in greyhound racing is abusive to the animals. The industry says it is simple birth control. (Photo: Palm Beach Post archives)

“For the female dogs it gives them male parts over time. That’s sort of what happens. It’s bad for their health. It’s bad for other parts of their body, but over time that’s what can happen,” MacFall says.

In other countries, greyhound owners have long stopped using drugs to keep their female dogs from going into heat.

“The female dogs are segmented. They’re separated from the male if they’re in heat for the period of time they’re in heat and then they’re allowed to race. It’s not complicated,” said Carey Theil with the animal rights group Grey2K.

Former Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp who also represents the greyhound racing industry it is antithetical to think owners would harm a dog that must be in top racing condition.

“Frankly nobody cares about these animals than their owners,” Kottkamp says.

For more information, read the whole WSFU-FM on Health News Florida by clicking here.

 

Update: County Health official: Zika-related birth defects to increase

Sick of hearing about Zika already? Get used to it as more birth defects related to the virus are expected in 2017 in Florida and throughout the U.S.

This summer, there will be a full-court press by health officials against Zika.

“It’s not something to be taken lightly,” said Dr. Alina Alonso, head of the Palm Beach County Health Department, in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.

“The main emphasis again is going to be on pregnant women. The CDC expects to see a 20-fold higher proportion of Zika-affected birth defects compared to those that were seen in the 2013-14, before Zika came to the Americas.”

Before 2014, there were three cases of Zika-caused microcephaly for every 1,000 births. That number is now up to 60 cases per 1,000. “That’s a large increase,” Alonso said.

Dr. Alina Alonso, head of the Palm Beach County Health Department says pregnant women with Zika are being tracked.

Microcephaly is a rare neurological condition in which an infant’s head is significantly smaller than normal.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention released a report that 15 of infants were born with birth defects in pregnancies with a confirmed Zika virus infection in the first trimester. “These findings highlight why pregnant women should avoid Zika virus exposure,” the report stated.

The CDC suggest that because the full effects of the virus is unknown, all pregnant women infected with Zika should receive postnatal imaging and a comprehensive newborn physical exam and hearing screen.

So as the summer comes barreling down the calendar, the focus of health officials will be on the mosquito-borne virus that causes severe birth defects. More than 2,000 cases have been recorded in Florida.

Alonso said she dispatched teams last summer that went door-to-door in neighborhoods about Zika. “We were very pro-active,” she said. “I expect to see more cases because the mosquito is already established here in our environment.”

The Aedes aegypti is the main culprit that carries Zika. It also can transmit dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika fever and yellow fever viruses.

The Health Department will work with doctors to continue a registry of pregnant women who are positive with Zika. “We will see if they have healthy babies or affected babies,” she said.

Alonso said the best prevention, of course, would be a vaccine, but until then citizens have to practice prevention whether it is draining standing water or using repellant. About 80 percent of people who contract the virus don’t exhibit any symptoms of fever, rash, body aches. But for those that do, Zika can have serious, even neurological, consequences.

Zika can be transmitted through sexual activity, so Alonso suggests the use of condoms or abstaining from sex for people who have traveled to infected areas in the Caribbean and South America.

And Alonso doesn’t shy away from the fact that Zika can cost the state plenty.

“Because it is affecting pregnant women, it is affecting our tourism. It is very important,” she said.

Last week Gov. Rick Scott held a news conference with Alonso to talk about efforts to combat Zika. With serious tourist dollars at stake, Scott can claim some initial victories.

He has called on the CDC for advice and assistance. A Zika hotline was created. Lab testing capacity was expanded. He has demanded more money from Washington. He used emergency power to release $61 million from the general fund for research, prevention and response. Mailers were sent out to residents in multiple languages.

Researchers are working furiously to find a vaccine.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has announced that vaccination trials have begun using an experimental DNA serum.

The trial aims to enroll at least 2,490 healthy participants in areas of confirmed or potential active mosquito-transmitted Zika infection, including the continental United States and Puerto Rico, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico.

“A safe and effective Zika vaccine is urgently needed to prevent the often-devastating birth defects that can result from Zika virus infection during pregnancy,” NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci said on March 31.

“Evidence also is accumulating that Zika can cause a variety of health problems in adults as well. This trial marks a significant milestone in our efforts to develop countermeasures for a pandemic in progress.”

 

Gov. Rick Scott may be the mosquito’s worst enemy.

 

Burned out? Do you meet definition? Find out

Whatever happened to the bright-eyed bushy tail employee who bounded out of bed ready for the day and the job ahead? Cup of Joe and ready to go. Now, he or she is hiding under the covers.

Maybe, this hard worker is suffering burnout. Getting to the job early, staying late, working weekends and then lying in bed at night thinking about work. It’s no joke that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

A few years ago, Forbes’ contributor Lisa M. Greary wrote about burnout and a criteria for what defines it, the signs that you — yes, you Mr. and Mrs. Type A workaholic personality — may be suffering from it.

You keep telling yourself, “Hey, this is America 2017. I could be easily out of work in my chosen profession. Double down. Make that quota, make those goals.” Workaholism is a badge of honor, right?

It could, however, be akin to trying to dig yourself out of a hole with a shovel, Greary points out, saying it a lifestyle that is not sustainable.

The American Psychological Association’s David Ballard describes job burnout as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.” Ballard is an expert on healthy and unhealthy workplaces.

Ballard is an expert on healthy and unhealthy workplaces. Here are some signs, he says,, that you may be experiencing burnout:

Exhaustion: Emotional, mental or physical. It’s the sense of not having any energy, of being completely spent.

Courtesy Creative Commons

Lack of Motivation: Do you wake up in the morning and think, “Kill me now?” You are suffering from this ailment in which there is nothing that gets you enthusiastic anymore. It’s the off-ramp to clinical depression. Beware.

Courtesy: Creative Commons

Cynicism: Ah, that cancer in the workplace. With burnout it is rampant. Frustration turns to negative emotions and pessimism. You become disillusioned with everything. You walk around like FBI Agent Mulder from the X-Files, muttering, “Trust No One.”

Cognitive Problems: Hey, the brain is saying, “I’m outta here.” You can’t pay attention or concentrate. You’ve been spinning plates and they are about to come crashing down. Ballard says, “Our bodies and brains are designed to handle stress in short bursts,” but when stress becomes chronic our ability to multi-task goes out the window.

All of this leads to slipping job performance and problems at home, as well as work. Greary wrote to combat burnout it is imperative to get enough sleep, be organized, stay attuned to your body and stress and cultivate a rich non-work life.

Want to read more burn out click here to read all of the Forbes’ article.