Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Boston health officials investigating severe infections from “medical tourism”

Boston health officials are investigating some reports of severe infections in patients who took a trip to the Dominican Republic for cosmetic surgery.

Mycobacterium abscessus, a bacteria that is not easily battled with antibiotics, and can take months of treatment to vanquish was believed to infect at least two patients in Boston, and another in Worcester.

The patients were part of a group that went to the Dominican Republic during the summer for surgeries and started having health problems, including abscesses and drainage from their surgery sites, earlier this fall, said Dr. Anita Barry, director of the infectious disease bureau at the Boston Public Health Commission.

Other patients in the group who live in Maryland, Connecticut, and New York have also been infected, she said.

Health officials are anxious for the reason that so-called “medical tourism” has become a major industry in many Latin American countries.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximation that 750,000 people from the United States travel abroad every year seeking low cost medical care.

“We became aware because one of the out-of-state people knew someone in the Worcester area, who was having similar post-op problems,” Barry said. “That person knew someone in Boston who was having the same problems, and that person told us about a second Boston case.”

The germ can be spread by means of contaminated medical equipment, medical supplies, or poor surgical techniques.  Severe pain and swelling are the effects of the infection, and frequently does not show up until some weeks after surgery.

The infection is not contagious to other people, but is serious and needs to be treated, Barry said.

“We’re trying to get the word out that if you are going overseas for surgery, you have to find out how many infections this place has had, and also find out how many people have died having medical procedures in this place,” Barry said.

The commission suggests that patients thinking about surgery in another country talk with their primary care provider regarding the procedure at least four to six weeks before going trough traveling, and secure copies of all medical records associated to the surgery and medical care provided abroad prior to going back home.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving dinner’s ‘sweat equivalents’ Eat hard, play hard

Sure thing everyone wants to know how to work off Thanksgiving dinner.  Maybe cancel your plans to watch movie night or watch football after dinner or maybe why not cancel your plans on going shopping on Friday because more probably it will take over a weekend to work it off.

In a proposition to center Americans on keeping an eye and controlling their weight, public health advocates have embraced posting calories, labeling nutritional content and offering all manner of helpful and eye-catching logos to catch consumers’ awareness to “better-for-you choices.” But there’s rising evidence that no form of consumer information suggests the probable impact of a food choice on one’s weight quite as mightily as do “sweat equivalents.”

Sweat equals leave little room for self-delusion.  They don’t have need of anything to know how many calories a day she should be taking in, or what percentage of that total that bag of potato chips represents.  They simply say: “If you eat this, this is how long you’d have to jog (or swim, or jump rope or play basketball) to work it off.”

Simple’s good. And in experiments, posting sweat equals forcefully steered consumers toward water over sugar-sweetened soda, pretzels over chips, salads over cheeseburgers.

CoachUp, a service that connects athletes intent on stepping up their game with private coaches, brings you the “sweat equivalents” of a typical American Thanksgiving.

The average American takes in 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving which means that is a lot of turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, creamed onions, candied yams and pumpkin pie — actually, about seven Big Macs’ worth of calories.

From of good reputation of sources on the energy-expenditure of a variety of activities, are some of the activities you will have to engage in to work off the average American intake on Thanksgiving:

– Run (or play basketball or football) for 7.7 hours;
– Cycle for 15 hours;
– Row (or hike) for 10.3 hours;
– Swim for 10.6 hours, (or bowl for almost twice that long — 20.6 hours)

You may be anticipating forward to spending hours on the elliptical machine this weekend, or have plans anyway to run a marathon or marathons.  However you might try to alter what scientists call the “energy balance equation” (calories taken in versus calories expended in activity) a little on both sides if you want to limit Thanksgiving’s damage: Don’t go back for thirds on Thanksgiving Day and plan a long hike or an epic game of flag football after the meal, and run the next day.