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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
When it came to deceased senior Frances Berkowitz, professional guardian Elizabeth “Betsy” Savitt appeared ready to fight until the bitter end despite efforts to remove her from her position.
But last week she was ready to not only resign as guardian for the late Berkowitz, but as personal representative of the estate. However, the heirs to Berkowitz’s depleted estate wouldn’t let her completely off a hook at a court on Wednesday.
Savitt’s decision came after she sidestepped a scheduled deposition on May 23 to answer questions at the behest of a New York family who the court has determined is the rightful heir to Berkowitz’s estate. Savitt sought a protective order to keep from answering questions.
They also told the court that Savitt cost Berkowitz hundreds of thousands of dollars by failing to properly litigate against a caregiver and other parties — including a bank and a Miami lawyer — who took $1.2 million from the senior under false pretenses, court documents allege.
However, Circuit Judge Howard Coates last year found that the attorneys lacked standing to challenge anything that happened in the guardianship once Savitt was appointed.
Savitt used Berkowitz’s money to sue the former lawyers — Webb Millsaps and Donna Solomon Greenspan — to recoup fees that Savitt claims were excessive. Still pending is a defamation lawsuit filed by Millsaps and Solomon against one of Savitt’s attorneys, as well as an appeal of Coates’ decisions.
At a May 24 court hearing, the lawyer representing Berkowitz’s heirs, the Kerner family, accepted Savitt’s resignation as a personal representative of the estate but said he wouldn’t let her out of her fiduciary duty as a guardian of Berkowitz’s property just yet.
Attorney John Carter also wouldn’t agree to allow Savitt to forgo the final guardianship accounting of her activity in the Berkowitz case. Savitt’s attorney said there is no money left, but Carter said he has seen no such proof that is the case.
“I want to make sure I don’t waive any rights the Berkowitz heirs have to recoup expenses and fees and wasting of assets intentionally or otherwise caused by Ms. Savitt’s professional guardianship,” said Carter.
The Kerner family has sought to remove Savitt as personal representative since they learned in January of Berkowitz’s death on Dec. 31. The Kerners have asserted in court that Savitt misrepresented to the court that there were no rightful heirs to serve as personal representative even though she knew there were family members who could serve in that capacity.
A Savitt attorney has repeatedly pointed out that the main heir to Berkowitz’s estate is facing murder charges for killing the late senior’s sister and has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Another Kerner family member has stepped up to replace Savitt as personal representative, however.
With the deposition pending, Savitt’s attorney filed a motion for a protective order to keep her from answering questions about her activity in the Berkowitz case, saying the professional guardian is entitled to be protected from “annoyance, embarrassment, oppression and undue burden.”
Berkowitz is just one of Savitt’s guardianships in turmoil as families have repeatedly complained about her. Foremost among the complaints was that Savitt took tens of thousands of dollars in fees prior to judicial approval.
After the first stories ran, her husband, Martin Colin, announced his retirement as a circuit judge. Chief Judge Jeffrey Colbath then handed down guardianship reforms, many of which addressed family’s complaints about Savitt.
One thing is for certain, where there is a pandemic, there is money to be made.
A French pharmaceutical company will do the final testing for a Zika vaccine developed last year by the U.S. Army at taxpayer expense, National Public Radio is reporting. If the testing goes well, the company will set the price for the U.S. market.
The question is: Will state governments be able to afford the French company’s asking price for a vaccine that U.S. Army helped bring to fruition?
Rebekah Gee, Louisiana’s secretary of health, told NPR that her state is in the middle of a financial crisis and is looking at cutting money allocated to fight the Zika virus carried mainly by the Aedes aegypti — the B-52 of mosquitos.
“God forbid we have a Zika outbreak,” she told NPR.
The virus can inflict devastating birth defects for fetuses, including microencephaly, in which babies are born with underdeveloped brains and small heads. More birth defects related to the virus are expected in 2017 in Florida and throughout the U.S.
The total number of Zika cases reported in Florida in 2016 was 1,384. The total number of Zika cases reported in Florida for 2017 so far is 18.
The U.S. Army plans to grant an exclusive license to Sanofi Pasteur, Inc. to manufacture and sell the vaccine after it testing. Gee said the French pharmaceutical giant could set a price that is too high for states like Louisianna.
NPR reports that Gee is just one among a growing number of public officials and activists expressing concern. They want Sanofi to agree in writing to show restraint when it sets the price for the vaccine.
Doctors without Borders and Knowledge Ecology International have asked the Army to delay granting Sanofi the exclusive license until the company agrees to reasonable price terms. Former Democratic Presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards have
Former Democratic Presidential candidateU.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards have also asked the Army to get such a guarantee.
“If the American public funds the life-saving intervention, we need price protections for states that have to foot the bill,” Gee says.
Louisianna is in such a tight financial bind, Gee says, lawmakers will have to choose between funding for K-12 education and the Zika vaccine.
Jamie Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International, a non-profit public interest group, said the inventors of the vaccine are all federal employees whose salaries are paid by the U.S. taxpayer. Furthermore, the U.S. Army did all the Phase I research and testing so there is no research and development cost to Sanofi.
Sanofi told NPR that it has incurred a substantial cost, dedicating 60 scientists full time to the Zika vaccine.
If plans remain, the Department of Health and Human Services will give Sanofi $43 million for a Phase II trial. This will determine the success rate of the vaccine and any side-effects. If the vaccine passes, then the agency will then give another $130 million to Sanofi for a Phase III trial.
To read all of the NPR story on the Health News Florida website, click here.
A friend once told me when he lived in the Middle East as a child, he would find cockroaches in his Cheerios and Frosted Flakes all the time.
He said at first, the cereal ended up immediately in the trash. After awhile, he’d just pick out the bugs and pour himself a bowl. Eventually, he just ignored the bugs. “Hey, it’s all protein,” the friend said, delivering the punch line of what was a joke disguised as a travelogue.
But the fact is, Americans eat bugs all the time. You may have just eaten some insects for lunch.
The Food & Drug Administration allows for certain levels of bugs and other contaminants in food because largely insects generally don’t pose a health a risk.
So what does the FDA allow?
Pasta can contain up to 225 insect fragments. One percent of your chocolate can contain insect parts. That cup of raisins can have up to 33 fruit fly eggs. Spinach can have up to 50 aphids per 100 grams.
And you don’t want to know about a 3.5 ounce can of mushrooms. Too late: one can is allowed to have nine maggots and 74 mites. Maggots aren’t exactly naked to the human eye, FDA.
The FDA has previously confirmed there may be up to an “average of 30 or more insect fragments per 100 grams” of peanut butter and an “average of one or more rodent hairs per 100 grams.”
Americans are so grossed out about bugs as food, eating insects are used as crazed feats on shows like Fear Factor. In 2004, the Palm Beach Post interviewed Kelly Crosby-Heyniger of West Palm Beach who got a spot on the show by eating a 7-inch worm for her audition tape.
“I chewed him instead of swallowing, and I smiled really big for the camera to show all the dirt I had in my teeth,” she said.
Intrepid Palm Beach Post reporter Susan Salisbury has been all over the nexus of insects and food like DDT for years.
In 2013, she wrote about how the yogurt king Dannon was under fire by a consumer group to stop using, as Salisbury put it, “critter-based dye.” Insects are also part of lipstick, shampoo, and other products which often have a red-hued.
Salisbury also interviewed in 2015 Penn State University food science professor on how insects could be part of a nutritious diet.
Florida is known for its insects, and Floridians spend millions trying to kill many of them, whether it’s roaches, ants or termites.
Penn State University food science professor John Coupland, suggested to start out slow and work your way up to bigger creepy-crawlies.
“I don’t think your entry-level insect needs to be a fried cockroach,” said Coupland, who is also a spokesman for the Institute of Food Technologists. “Try and eat something that doesn’t look like an insect, to begin with.”
He suggested suggests catching a cricket, cleaning it, drying it out and grinding it up. “There is a huge range of bugs that can be eaten,” he said.
But, of course, just because bugs can be eaten doesn’t mean they should be crawling over your restaurant dish. Consumers should be very concerned with restaurants which have a cockroach problem, the Post reported in February.
If you are bugged out about bugs as food, you are being a little American-centric.
Scientists have identified 1,700 of the 1.1 million species of insects are edible. And yes, they contain lots of protein, hardly any fat and do not cause the types of illnesses caused by eating beef or pork.
The new findings add to the consensus of previous studies that suggested cocoa — particularly dark chocolate — is yummy as well as good for the heart muscle. The new findings shed light on atrial fibrillation for the first time.
“Our study adds to the accumulating evidence on the health benefits of moderate chocolate intake and highlights the importance of behavioral factors for potentially lowering the risk of arrhythmias,” said Elizabeth Mostofsky, instructor in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard.
The study included 55,502 men and women participating in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Heath Study.
“Despite the fact that most of the chocolate consumed by the study participants likely had relatively low concentrations of potentially protective ingredients, we still observed a significant association between eating chocolate and a lower risk of AF,” Mostofsky said.