MEASLES UPDATE FOR THOSE BORN 1957-1967

The international measles outbreak has rightly stirred concerns among the general public in the US, questioning their own protection and immunity against measles. Do I need to worry?

Here is the answer:

If you were born before 1957, then you did not get vaccinated…but you did get the measles with near certainty as there was no vaccine and the measles was ubiquitous throughout the US and was impossible to avoid. Because it is so very contagious, everyone (99% of people were infected) is essentially immune

The modern measles since dose vaccine was begun in 1962 and carried out through 1967. This single dose immunization was approximately 90% effective, but immunity may have wained for this ‘notch group’….1957-1967. This group should consider testing for immunity with a blood test (Rubeol IgG testing….Rubeola is the old name for measles)…or just get a booster of MMR. That is the other option.

Finally, for those after 1968 and later, they are immune based on having obtained the standard 2 dose measles vaccinination, which was the schedule developed for that birth-year and beyond. 1968 and beyond is also 99% effectively immune.

So…is you are in the notch group, you could consider a lab test or 2nd MMR vaccine.

WHERE DO YOU FIND THAT about mental health?

The internet has plentiful resources for an array of topics in psychiatry, but like most of you, I often find a Google search less than helpful due to adds and other methods that game the searcher and prevent them from finding, fact-based resources of information.

As I’ve indicated in the past, among the ways to improve the quality of your searches on Google, you can type in the topic you are looking for plus an additional search word like:

NIH (which stands for National Institutes of health)

MAYO

HOPKINS

Or the like.

Here is a nice resource for mental healh information on the web, a list of sites provided by the University of San Francisco Psychiatry Department

Look >>>>HERE>>>>

BOSE HEARING AIDS YOU CAN BUY YOURSELF

Although my patients know that Cathy Kurth, AD is the audiologist we recommend the most, many patients still are not inclined to use a hearing aid for a whole host of reasons.

With the FDA approval of the BOSE HEARING AID, one of those impediments to getting a hearing aid has been eliminated, in that you can buy this hearing aid without seeing an audiologist.

Yes…that’s right…you can now just go buy a hearing aid that is of the highest caliber and adjust it using the BOSE SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGY that works with your smart phone.

You will be seeing this available in the near future…so look for it if you are interested.

LYING…..IT AIN’T RIGHT

A recent report from The Washington Post about researcher Piero Anversa’s falsified heart research at Harvard Medical School is a tragedy.

Not only has this researcher duped the general scientific community, his 31 scientific papers suggested a new area of research for young cardiologists, and those who are following this path and chasing a red herring.

Doing great research is a challenge and a burden.  Pursuit of greatness can alter the objective mentality that is needed for a true scientific mindset.  See my recent comments on James Allison, PhD, the latest Nobel Prize winner in medicine.

Anversa is not alone.  There is an entire website devoted to withdrawn research.   Review it  <<<HERE>>>>   You will be amazed how much of what is taken for accurate results is ultimately withdrawn from the scientific literature, and often without such fanfare.

 

THE CHOLESTEROL HYPOTHESIS STILL HOLDS…NEW MEDICATION SHOWS BENEFIT

The internet is full of untruths, especially when it comes to comments and concerns about statin therapy.

There is a grass-roots effort by the non-medical community to impugn the CHOLESTEROL HYPOTHESIS, a foundational concept in cardiovascular medicine that hold that higher level of cholesterol (LDL/bad fraction) increases the risk of heart disease and lowering this number reduces the risk.

So….they comment on data that is critical of this concept or that suggests statin therapy is ineffective, or worse, causes dementia and other major health problems.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and the latest study in the NEJM on PRALUENT, a new type of injection medicine to lower cholesterol, has demonstrated definitively that lowering LDL cholesterol to levels previously unobtainable (25-50) and provide improved benefits in the heart and prevent death.

PRALUENT, and it’s sister medication REPATHA, are a new set of medications that focus on reducing cholesterol via the PCSK9 receptor pathway.  This is markedly different than the mechanism of action from statins, but it achieves the fundamental same goal….reduction of LDL cholesterol.

In this latest study, we finally have ‘endpoint’ results that show longer life in patients who have had an acute MI and who are put on PRALUENT.

The exact patients who benefit most from the $600 per month injection therapy (every 2-4 week self-injections) will become clear with additional study, but one this is for certain…the lynchpin CHOLESTEROL HYPOTHESIS continues to hold and inform us on ways to increase longevity in heart disease patients.

ELLEN LOST A BET…SO WHY IS SHE SMILING?

Ellen and I had a bet. She had heard about the measles outbreaks and was worried she could be susceptible to an infection since she did not have measles as a child.

Since Ellen was born prior to 1957 she did not get the measles vaccine as it was not available…but that is also why I was sure she had the measles even though she did not recall it nor had she been told it as a child.

Measles (rubeola) is a viral infection that is the most highly contagious of viral infections and virtually all people born before 1957 were infected. Some people would have a ‘subclinical’ case, having not seen any rash but they were infected nonetheless.

As Ellen is not an ‘only child’ it was statistically impossible to me that she did not have the measles…but Ellen was certain, so to come to an understanding we did a blood test looking for IgG levels (gamma globulin specific to measles) that she had the infection in the past. Ellen was so sure…she wanted to ‘bet’….so we did….2 bottles of diet coke.

Sure enough…..her blood test was positive. I was not surprised, but Ellen was. She was certain of her history, but the blood test revealed otherwise. Like any good scientist, being proven ‘wrong’ is among the greatest achievements….as we learn so much from this. Ellen was glad to be found wrong…..and rejoiced in seeing the light. Edison, the great experimenter, found negative results helpful, commenting….. ‘I’ve not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work’

Twain said it even better….. “It’s not what you don’t know that gets you in trouble…it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

WHEN PIGS FLY……PROBABLY SOMETIME SOON

I’ve written before about human organ transplantation that is about to become a reality as genetic engineering of pigs allows us to eliminate the barriers to trans-species transplantation (xenografting).  We already use pigs for valve transplantation and in the previous generations, for producing insulin and heparin.

Using the latest techniques of genetic engineering made possible by the revolutionary technique of Crisp-cas-9, we are on the brink of commonplace organ transplantation from pigs.  It is a real possibility.

Read more about it >>>HERE<<< in this article from the NY Times.

AGREED….IT’S A GAME-CHANGER

I’m intrigued by the new Apple 4 watch that has an FDA approved EKG monitor.

This is a much more accurate way to measure heart rhythm and is really the first readily available health monitor that provides accurate information that can be shared with the doctor.

I’m excited for this ‘new future’ and the Apple 4 is a game changer.  Read more >>>HERE<<<<

PS…Hypochondriacs…please don’t buy this…it will only cause consternation.

GET CRACKIN!

Physical activity is the single most important action you can take to improve your healthy.  Staying active impacts all aspects of health from memory to balance to heart and lung capacity.

Anyone, no matter their physical condition, and increase the physical activity…and dare I say, even exercise!

Yes, if this fellow in the England’s National Health Service can exercise…so can you.

Look at this LINK >>>HERE<<< for a series of easy-to-do exercises that are very simply explained.