Author: liran

Who limits patients in NC to get direct treatment?

This Tuesday, 115 nurse practitioners from North Carolina came to the General Assembly to ask lawmakers to loosen the practice restrictions. Why? By easing the restrictions on practicing for nurse practitioners, the economy will be promoted and patients will have a better served health care system in North Carolina.

According to the study released on March 3, 2015, Chris Conover, a PhD student at Duke university, and Richards proposed the economic benefits of less practicing restrictions to nurse practitioners. It is estimated that lifting those restrictions will create 3,800-7,128 new jobs statewide and generate economic output between $477 million and $883 million. Plus, easing the restrictions will help health system in North Carolina saving $433 million at least.

Besides the economic benefits, lifting practice restrictions of nurse practitioners will provide a more direct and quick treatment for patients than ever before. Currently, nurse practitioners have to write prescriptions and diagnose straightforward conditions under the “supervision” of physicians because of the law, though those physicians don’t physically supervise and they are not always willing to supervise those practitioners. Therefore, the laws of nursing is out of date. In addition, with the loosened restrictions nurse practitioners can provide direct and quick service to serve rural area where the primary care provider is in shortage.

Tay Kopanos, vice president of state government affairs of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, said that the bureaucracy limits the access for patients in North Carolina to direct treatment. She said:” the laws for nursing here are decades old and they really haven’t kept pace with changes.”

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Should pregnant women eat seafood?

People, especially pregnant women, have been warned for many years about eating seafood appropriately due to various contamination of fish.  But the debate of the benefits and risks of having seafood does not disappeared. Recently, a federal panel reignited the debate concerns about the benefits and risks of eating tuna and other seafood during pregnancy.

What are the benefits and risks of eating seafood? How to strike a right balance to rationalize our diet habit in consuming seafood?

Some experts points out several nutritious ingredients of seafood, which mostly are ignored by us. They are omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, iodine, selenium and vitamin D. Besides, several studies report that fish is very important for brain development in nursing infants.  Thus, it is necessary for people, especially pregnant women, to have seafood to absorb and digest all these nutrients.

Interestingly, a report published recently by Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee demonstrates the risks of mercury exposure from certain kinds of seafoods and emphasizes tilefish, shark, swordfish and king mackerel should be avoided for pregnant women; but it also recommends Americans to eat a wide variety of seafood.  Why?

Although the contamination exist among fish, the benefits of having (omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, iodine, selenium and vitamin D) seafood exceeds the risk of contamination. Therefore, “you should have a variety of types of seafood and not limit yourself to one type, and variety includes canned tuna.” Dr. Abrams, a panel member involved in the seafood recommendations and medical director of Neonatal Nutrition Program at Baylor College of Medicine, said.

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I can’t stand it! I have Misophonia

I am easily irritated by the noise of people eating. I just can’t stand the noise. Why I am so sensitive to the offending noise, especially the noise in eating?

Recently, I read an article “Please Stop Making that Noise” written by Barron H. Lerner, a medical historian, and found that there exists Misophonia, a condition with which certain sounds can drive someone into a burst of rage or disgust. I realized that I am not alone and I am not crazy. Although this symptom only identified and named in the last 20 years, more and more researchers and physicians tend to believe the existence of it.

Besides Barron H. Lerner, Margaret and Pawel Jastreboff of Emory University referred Misophonia, “hatred of sound,” to selective sound sensitivity syndrome in 2002. In 2013, a study published by Arjan Schröder and his colleagues at the University of Amsterdam examined the most common irritants, including eating sounds, breathing sounds, and hand sounds. Yet there are various kinds of responses of those noises. Some people may act like being easily irritated, while others may behave being disgustedly or even angrily.

There are two ways to deal with these symptoms, at present. The first method is behavioral conditioning. Sufferers need to try to put aside their negative emotions and focus on other things instead of noises, and to remind themselves at the same time of the hatred of sounds are involuntary. The behavioral conditioning is firmly recommended and can be learned and practiced by using cognitive behavioral therapy. The second method is removing oneself from the source of the noise. Although the second way works,  it is not always practical.

Even if the number of research targeting at Misophonia is increasing, some experts question whether Misophonia really exists or not. Hopefully, Misophonia can be systematically studies in the future to identify a better treatment for sufferers.

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How to save your health? Be mindful!

What? It’s been almost three weeks since I’ve exercised. Just like what Chapman mentioned in his post. I am also beset by cold temperatures, bad weather, and declining motivation for doing exercise. As a result, I am struggling to maintain my New Year’s resolutions for losing weight. I tried to find several excuses to convince myself to not feel guilty for being lazy, but you can tell there are a lot of people who insist on working out everyday. I’ve begun wonder why some people stick with their schedule to do exercise and others do not.

From previous studies, the most reliable explanation for doing sports is the satisfaction brought by exercise. However, there are not so many articles discussing and explaining the causes of this satisfaction. Recently, a new study published last month in the Journal of Health Psychology presented the possible role of mindfulness for the satisfaction. It hypothesized that maybe mindfulness indirectly affects people’s interest in doing exercise by altering their satisfaction during exercise. Through conducting an online survey, which recruited almost 400 adults who identified themselves as physically active, the researchers of the new study found a pronounced role played by mindfulness in amplifying satisfaction.

Therefore, with a conscious mind, exercise should be more tolerable.

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Is smoking bad? Yes, but it is even worse.

A recently published research mentioned in the New York Times adds at least five diseases to the existed list of consequences caused by tobacco. According to Brian D. Carter, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, infection, kidney disease, intestinal disease, and heart and lung ailments were attributed to tobacco, in addition to the well-known diseases caused by smoking, namely, lung cancer, artery disease, heart attacks, chronic lung disease and stroke.

Although Carter’s new study was observational, the information from observing is valuable to be discussed and further studied. Dr. Graham A. Colditz, an epidemiologist and public health expert in Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, also argued that the smoking epidemic is still ongoing. He believed the effect of smoking presented in Carter’s study was substantially underestimated by previous studies in the United States. More importantly, a new but important finding in this study suggested several diseases might be the products of smoking. It is found that smokers were twice as likely to die because of infections, kidney disease, respiratory ailments, and hypertensive heart disease.

Therefore, although there is no sufficient evidence to back the causal relationships, the findings of this study is suggestive and deserves further studying. This study directed researchers to a new perspective to analyze the consequences brought by tobacco. Subsequently, with new findings health promoters can better persuade general public to stop smoking.

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“Sweaty exercise?” Yes

People may shorten their lives by over doing strenuous exercise, although their initial thoughts were being healthy through running.

Traditionally, people should exercise intensely at least sometimes a week to keep healthy. Previous studies in terms of walking and cycling have found that people doing strenuous exercise tend to live longer than those who doing gently. However, an interesting finding from a recently published article illustrated that joggers were more likely to live longer than those who were faster—runner.

Indeed, there are several caveats to this article including the small sample size, and the general and ambiguous definitions of slow, average, and fast running, unknown causes of the deaths of runners and non-runners. From these limitations, it cannot be justifiably proved that jogging is able to prolong lifespan while running shortens the lifespan.

Nevertheless, this interesting finding leads us to cautiously reconsider the intensity to do exercise. Whether someone might work out too much so as to affect the quality of life, and consequently, shorten their lifespan.

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“The public needs more facts, not more fiction”

“There are myths and misinformation about e-cigarettes and many people do not know that they pose many of the same health risks as traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products. The public needs more facts, not more fiction.” Dr. Ron Chapman, State Health Officer and director of the California Department of Public Health, said that California health officials issued a public health advisory to warn Californians the health risks brought by e-cigarette.

Why has California declared e-cigarette a health threat? Firstly, e-cigarettes (e-cigs) are not a safe alternative to help smokers give up smoking according to an article published by NBC NEWS. It encourages people to smoke indirectly by “re-normalizing smoking behavior” instead. What’s worse, e-cigs are luring younger generation into nicotine addiction. Secondly, components of e-cigs are not as healthy as what general public may be led to believe. “E-cigarette emits ‘a toxic aerosol’ gas when heated,” Chapman said. The emitted aerosol contains at least 10 harmful chemicals, including benzene, formaldehyde, lead and nickel.

E-cigarettes are not safe or healthy, we need to find another way to help smokers quit.


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What makes a food plate stand in for a food pyramid? Usability



What is usability? Are you familiar with this word?

Let’s take a look at replacing the food pyramid with “MyPlate”. The food pyramid, designed to educate people on how to eat healthy and nutritional food, was created jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services. Nevertheless, it was replaced by a new symbol: a plate. Why?

“MyPlate,” as a new symbol, has visual simplicity for its target audience. The Washington Post reports that  “MyPlate” has been well accepted, especially in comparison with the food pyramid. As far as I am concerned, “MyPlate” is easier to remember and implement than the food pyramid. The plate not only simplifies what were six components into four food sections in addition to a blue circle for dairy drinks, but helps users visualize the proportion of each food group they should eat directly. Unlike calculating the specific cups for each component, it is convenient for me to look at my plate and decide how much of each group to eat.

The popularity of “MyPlate” lies in its user-friendly design, which shares the characteristics of usably. “Usability is the ease of use and learnability of a human-made object.”  More importantly, usability is applicable in every field, especially in web design when the subject matter is health content. Imagine how hard it would be for an online user to search for certain health information on a website with terrible navigation.