Monthly Archives: March 2017

Amoeba found in Louisiana drinking water

Traces of a deadly brain-eating amoeba were found in a water system in a parish in Louisiana this month, but officials said the water is safe to consume.

The brain-eating amoeba, called Naegleria fowleri is a “single-celled living organism found in warm freshwater and soil,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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The amoeba spawns primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), an infection in the brain that causes the eradication of brain tissue.

The Louisiana Department of Health told water and town officials Thursday that the amoeba was detected in Terrebonne Parish, according to the New York Post. In a statement, the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Water District 1 said the amoeba was found in “our ACR-182, last fire hydrant on Island Road.”

‘ALARMING’ RAT LUNGWORM PARASITE SPREADING THROUGH FLORIDA, RESEARCHERS WARN

The water district said the organism was found in the same location that also tested positive in Aug. 2015.

“We changed disinfectants on June 12, 2017, to a free chlorine, and will remain on free chlorine until September 1, 2017,” the statement said.

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The office confirmed that the water is safe to drink but cautioned residents not to let the water go up their nose.

Placenta pills after baby’s illness

A group of doctors is warning against a growing trend among celebrities and some new parents that sees moms consume the placenta after birth in an effort to stave off postpartum symptoms. The warning from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doctors stems from a case involving a newborn in Oregon, who contracted a strep infection twice.

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The unidentified infant had contracted group B Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS) during birth and was given an 11-day course of ampicillin, according to a CDC newsletter, which detailed the case. Five days after treatment was completed, the child was admitted to the emergency room again for strep, and it was revealed that the child’s mother had been consuming two capsules of her hydrated placenta three times per day.

‘ALARMING’ RAT LUNGWORM PARASITE SPREADING THROUGH FLORIDA, RESEARCHERS WARN

“A sample of the capsules was cultured, yielding penicillin-sensitive, clindamycin-sensitive GBS,” the CDC newsletter read, in part. “The three GBS isolates (one from each blood infection, and one from the placenta capsules) were indistinguishable by pulsed-filed gel electrophoresis.”

The mother was instructed to stop consuming the capsules, and the infant was given additional ampicillin and gentamicin before being released from the hospital.

“Although transmission from other colonized household members could not be ruled out, the final diagnosis was late-onset GBS disease attributable to high maternal colonization secondary to consumption of GBS-infected placental tissue,” the doctors said, in the newsletter.

BRAIN-EATING AMOEBA FOUND IN LOUISIANA DRINKING WATER, OFFICIALS SAY

The newsletter noted that there are no standardized practices for processing placenta products, potentially leaving room for error.

“The placenta encapsulation process does not per se eradicate infectious pathogens; thus, placenta capsule ingestion should be avoided,” the newsletter said. “In cases of maternal GBS colonization, chorioamnionitis, or early-onset neonatal GBS infection, ingestion of capsules containing contaminated placenta could heighten maternal colonization, thereby increasing an infant’s risk for late-onset neonatal GBS infection.”

The dangerous mom delays cancer treatment

A Kansas mother who discovered three masses on her brain and two in her abdomen when she was 17 weeks pregnant with twins has decided to put off intensive treatment until after her unborn children are delivered in early July.

Danielle Dick, who underwent surgery in 2011 to remove a mole found to be melanoma on her back, was having trouble speaking and piecing together sentences in April.

“They immediately went to the hospital where they found that Danielle had three brain masses and two masses in her abdominal wall,” a post on a GoFundMe page set up on behalf of the 31-year-old’s family, said.

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Dick, who also has a 2-year-old daughter, was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma and underwent surgery to remove the masses in early May.

“All were found to be melanoma, likely spread from the original mole,” the GoFundMe post said. “Danielle came home on May 5th and has recovered well from surgery. The twins were monitored frequently in the hospital and are also doing well.”

While Dick received radiation on the areas of her brain where the masses were removed, an MRI showed more growth in her body. She will receive limited treatment until the twins reach 29 weeks gestation, at which point they will be delivered and cared for in the NICU, according to the GoFundMe.

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The fundraising campaign, which surpassed it’s $5,000 goal and has reached more than $18,000 in one week, also urges others to wear sunscreen and be aware of melanoma.

“Please share Danielle’ story so others will become more aware of this disease and take necessary action to prevent it,” the post said. “It seems that skin cancer is often seen as easily treatable and not a serious issue, which is obviously not the case.”

Metastatic melanoma, which is also known as stage 4 melanoma, occurs when melanoma cells have spread through the lymph nodes to other areas of the body and organs, particularly the liver, lungs, bones and brain, according to the Melanoma Research Foundation.

A new study says it may be possible

Good news for those making plans for their 110th birthday: The human lifespan is perhaps far more robust than previously thought. The Guardianreports that new research disputes a high-profile claim last year that the human lifespan has maxed out at 114.9 years.

In an extraordinary scientific feud, five research teams banded together to trash that conclusion, publishing their findings in the journal Nature, which is where the original study appeared.

Author Jim Vaupel, a specialist in aging at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany, tells the paper there’s no evidence for an upper limit on human longevity.

And if there were, he adds, “it is above 120, perhaps much above—and perhaps there is not a limit at all.” Vaupel calls the original study led by geneticist Jan Vijg of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York “the worst piece of research I’ve ever read” in Nature, adding that he was “outraged” that the journal would publish “such a travesty.” Vijg, who’s standing his ground, had used existing data to show that after a period of steadily rising longevity, humans appeared to hit a ceiling of 115 in the mid-’90s.

But the new papers pooh-pooh the plateau prediction and, in a sci-fi twist, suggest humans could be blowing out 150 candles by the year 2300. Vijg suggests his nitpicky critics didn’t read his work properly, and perhaps have issues with their own mortality.

“When you look at these super-old people, there are not many of them,” he says. “That’s kind of the point, isn’t it?” (A rare aging disease killed the 2nd oldest patient to have it.)

What to know about the parasite found in Florida

A “rat lungworm” parasite has been found in multiple Florida counties, according to University of Florida researchers.

Why should you worry? Escargot lovers may become infected with the parasite if they eat raw or undercooked snails.

Here’s what you should know about the parasitic roundworm, Angiostrongylus cantonensis, and how it can be avoided.

Where is the parasite found?

Its adult form is found just in rodents, and sickened rats can pass larvae of the parasite in feces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says online.

How are snails, slugs and humans infected?

Snails and slugs become infected when they ingest the larvae. Humans consuming raw or undercooked infected snails and slugs may end up with rat lungworm, the agency warns. Eating raw or undercooked freshwater shrimp, crabs or frogs infected with larvae may also be an issue.

‘ALARMING’ RAT LUNGWORM PARASITE SPREADING THROUGH FLORIDA, RESEARCHERS WARN

Another way people can be infected is if raw produce contains a snail or slug, the CDC says. It’s important to note that if someone’s infected, they cannot transmit the parasite to somebody else.

Where have there been cases in the U.S.?

Humans were infected in Hawaii, Louisiana and Texas, University of Florida researchers say. Most recently, researchers found rats and snails that tested positive for the parasite in five Florida counties: Alachua, Hillsborough, Leon, St. Johns and Orange. Earlier studies found the parasite in the southern part of the Sunshine State.

What sort of preventative measures can I take?

Skip eating raw or undercooked snails and slugs, and make sure to wash your hands and sport gloves if you’re handling them, according to the CDC.

Doctors left camera in body after transplant surgery

A woman is suing the hospital where she underwent a kidney and pancreatic transplant after surgeons allegedly left a camera used during the procedure inside of her torso. Lacrystal Lockett, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, is suing Emory University Hospital for negligence, The Atlanta Constitution-Journal reported.

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While the surgery took place on Dec. 14, 2014, the camera wasn’t discovered until an exam that took place the following June, the lawsuit claims. Lockett was then forced to undergo another procedure to remove it.

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“As a result of Defendants’ negligence, Plantiff Lacrystal Lockett suffered undue hardship through additional surgical procedures and has incurred medical expenses as well as significant pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, and lost wages,” the lawsuit alleges, according to the report.

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The lawsuit lists Dr. Paul Lu Tso and his assistants Drs. Ronald Parsons and Denise J. Lo. The hospital did not respond to The Atlanta Constitution-Journal’s request for comment.

US fertility rate hits historic low

New data released Friday revealed the number of women giving birth in the United States has hit a historic low, causing some to fear that the country is heading toward a “national emergency.”

The number of births compared to the year before fell 1 percent, bringing the fertility rate in the U.S. to 62 births per 1,000 women between the ages 15 and 44, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s provisional 2016 population data.

The study found teenage girls and women in their 20s were having fewer babies compared to before. The birthrate among women in their 30s and 40s showed an increase, though not enough to prevent an overall decline.

DOCTORS WARN AGAINST PLACENTA PILLS AFTER BABY’S ILLNESS

The historic low has some experts fearing the nation is heading toward a “national emergency,” causing economic and cultural turmoil, The Washington Post reported.

Experts, however, have an optimistic view of the future despite the low birthrates.

Donna M. Strobino, a professor of population, family and reproductive health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the newspaper that millennials are the ones to be watching. Some believe millennial women are postponing parenthood, but others believe most are choosing to skip having children altogether.

‘ALARMING’ RAT LUNGWORM PARASITE SPREADING THROUGHOUT FLORIDA, RESEARCHERS WARN

Strobino said teens having fewer babies is a positive trend.

“What this is is a trend of women becoming more educated and more mature. I’m not sure that’s bad,” Strobino said.

The U.S. also still has higher fertility rates compared to other developed countries. There’s also more births compared to deaths.

Overall, the historic low shouldn’t alarm people. Demographer William Frey told The Washington Post that when the economy takes an uphill turn, people will start having more children.