Norovirus & the Olympics: What to Know

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The bug began Sunday amongst a group of security guards staying at the youth training center in Pyeongchang. Nervous organizers have since quarantined at least 1,200 Olympics staffers as a precaution. And South Korean officials deployed roughly 900 military personnel to help with the security shortage. So far, no athletes have been infected. But officials are on high alert, as some of the security workers showing symptoms reportedly worked at the athletes’ villages.

In light of the norovirus, here’s what you need to know.

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What is the norovirus?

The norovirus is also referred to as the “winter vomiting bug,” Lee-Ann Jaykus, the scientific director for NoroCORE, a food safety initiative that’s funded through a $25 million grant from the USDA, told Fox News.

And it’s common: roughly 21 million Americans get the virus each year, according to the CDC.

The norovirus is consumed through the mouth, reaches a person’s gastrointestinal tract and inflames the stomach or intestines, or both. As a result, the virus causes nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea, which leads to dehydration. It can also cause fever, headaches and body aches.

While the symptoms can be severe, most people recover within days.

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How does it spread?

The norovirus, which has different strains, can spread easily — especially in close spaces, Jaykus said.

A common way the virus is transmitted is through close contact with an infected person. This is either directly or indirectly; such as sharing a bathroom, a dorm room or another communal space. Cruise ships, schools and nursing homes “are the most commonly reported settings for norovirus outbreaks,” the CDC says.

More specifically, however, the virus spreads through fecal matter and vomit.

When an infected person vomits or defecates, “massive amounts [of the virus] are excreted,” Jaykus explained. “There are millions to billions of particles in one just one gram.”

“It only takes a few virus particles to make people sick,” she added.

The virus also spreads through food and contaminated water.

Food handlers who are sick and don’t practice adequate hygiene can easily infect other people. Infected water can also spread the illness, though this more commonly occurs in developing countries, Jaykus noted.

How do you prevent it?

Unlike the flu and other illnesses, there is no vaccine to prevent norovirus.

“Hand washing is hugely important. In fact, it’s the single most important thing for people attending Olympics.”– Lee-Ann Jaykus

Keeping your hands washed and thoroughly cleaning contaminated surfaces is key to prevent the spread of infection.

“Hand washing is hugely important,” Jaykus said. “In fact, it’s the single most important thing for people attending Olympics,” she said.

The norovirus is extremely hard to kill, Jaykus warned. Inactivating the virus requires a high concentration of bleach. And while it’s easy enough to clean countertops and other similar surfaces with bleach, the same can’t be said for carpet and furniture. Alcohol isn’t strong enough to entirely kill the virus either, Jaykus added.

“The norovirus can be spread for weeks,” said Jaykus, who added that quarantining infected people can also be useful in preventing the spread of norovirus.

How did the norovirus spread at the Winter Olympics?

The short answer: no one is sure.

Health officials in South Korea said that a preliminary five-day survey of water for cooking and drinking has come up negative for norovirus. Restaurants and all food facilities linked to the Olympics will also be inspected.

“This is really scary for the athletes — if you have norovirus you really are incapacitated,” said Jaykus, though no athletes have reported having symptoms of the virus.


PlasmaMed is currently recruiting patients for multiple indication studies including patients diagnosed with Lupus, RA, Crohn’s, MS, various cancers, and more. To find out how to contribute to research while getting compensated, reach out at:

http://www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact 

 

 

Reprinted from: Source

Targeted Treatments: Updates in Finding the Cure for Inflammatory Diseases

Plasma Med Research - Get Paid to Donate Plasma Clinical Studies

Sources listed below.

Inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis have been linked to faults in a critical immune pathway that enables inflammation to continue unchecked.

Researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia, have shed new light on how this immune response is controlled, and hope it could lead to new drugs for people with these chronic diseases.

A NOD to Inflammatory Diseases

Mr Che Stafford, Dr Ueli Nachbur, Professor John Silke and colleagues at the Institute led the research, which was published today in Cell Reports. The critical immune pathway in question is the NOD2 pathway, which detects and responds to bacterial invaders by releasing inflammatory signals to fight the infection.

Inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and inflammatory skin diseases have been linked to faults in how the NOD2 pathway is regulated.

Dr.Nachbur said faults in how the NOD2 pathway was controlled could enable the cell to continue to cause inflammation long after the bacterial threat has passed, leading to chronic inflammatory diseases.

“Inflammation occurs when our immune cells release inflammatory messengers, or cytokines, which is a normal response to disease. However when too many cytokines are produced, inflammation can get out-of-control and damage our own body – a hallmark of inflammatory diseases,” Dr Nachbur said.

Inflammatory ‘controllers’ identified

Mr.Stafford said the research team showed that a protein called xIAP was the ‘master controller’ that initiated inflammation via the NOD2 pathway.

“We revealed that xIAP was the key to initiating the inflammatory response in these cells,” Mr Stafford said. “We also showed that, once the NOD2 pathway trigger is initiated, the cells need a second, amplifying step to complete a full-strength immune response.”

Knowing the key players in the entire NOD2 pathway, from initiators to enhancers, would pave the way for new strategies to treat inflammatory diseases, Mr Stafford said.

“Targeting key components of the NOD2 pathway shows promise as a way of switching off ongoing inflammation associated with diseases such as Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis. In 2015 our research team showed that blocking a different protein in the NOD2 pathway could halt inflammation and was able to halt the progression of multiple sclerosis in a preclinical model. So, it is very exciting to identify other potential targets for treating these diseases,” he said.

Need for Targeted Treatments & Donors’ Help

Clarifying how the NOD2 pathway was regulated on a molecular level was important for developing new treatments for inflammatory diseases, Dr Nachbur said.

“Chronic inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis have a very significant impact to people’s lives and new, targeted treatments are urgently needed. xIAP has other roles in the cell, such as regulation of cell death, so it is a tricky target for treating inflammatory diseases. However these new discoveries provide us with vital information to develop new treatment strategies that could lead to a safe and effective way of switching off inflammation for treating disease,” Dr Nachbur said.

If you have an inflammatory disease, or know someone who does, your donations are why discoveries like Dr. Nachbur’s have become possible. To find out more about participating in research, visit our website and reach out to us at

www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact

SOURCES:

Source 1

Source 2

Source 3

 

 

 

Becoming a Blood Sample Donor: Why does it matter, misconceptions & how much impact do you actually make?

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Short and simple, even a one time donation of blood can make a huge difference for researchers and patients worldwide.

For anyone diagnosed with cancer, autoimmune disorders, and other chronic diseases and conditions, perhaps the most promising hope for discovering cures lies inside their own bodies – more specifically, in the cells traveling through their blood.

workers in protective uniform at laboratory

Misconceptions

Many people with these conditions shy away from becoming a donor because they fear that they need to donate unsafe amounts of blood to contribute. However, this is a misconception.

Donors are often asked to donate only a small amount of blood, as little as 10mL, which is a less than a tablespoon!

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PlasmaMed’s small blood sample requirement allows people to contribute to research that generally wouldn’t be able to. 

Serious researchers looking at computer screen in the lab

Researchers across the nation as in need of more specialized cells, from donors that are diagnoses with illnesses, to do their cutting-edge medical research, which is why PlasmaMed Research is here to help. 

After you leave the office, your blood donation directly goes to researchers that use your blood to accelerate their studies which allows for faster development of treatments and cures for debilitating diseases.  

“Like a lot of blood science, these testing programs got their start in the late 1980s when HIV and AIDS were on the rise. That’s when the NHLBI started the first iteration of the REDS program, initially called the Retrovirus Epidemiology Donor Study. It did a lot of work to better understand HIV and better characterize the risks of infection,” says Simone Glynn, chief of the Blood Epidemiology and Clinical Therapeutics Branch at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. “Those samples go to various researchers,” Glynn says, “they’re used by people who are developing diagnostic tests and treatments for (diseases) like Zika, for example, because it’s a source they can evaluate.”

Nurse with plastic blood bag next to a donor

When asked what donating meant to them, this is what these donors had to say:

“I’m capable of donating blood and helping people that suffer from a chronic illness, why wouldn’t I do it? If it means contributing to finding a cure for others just like me…why not do it?” -Julia

“Giving a little blood you won’t miss, can save lives” -Felipe

“Donating means cooperating with life, with the facility (blood bank), helping others and oneself… helping others not expecting anything in return; in addition to having the right to take the day off, though I never do” -Lucas

“Helping others. People need cures and one day I may need it (a cure), so I need to do my share to ensure I’ll have it. I need to help somehow whoever is in need. I always had a desire to help, perhaps because of my upbringing” -Marcos

Patient Involvement in Research Agenda

Young scientist works in modern laboratory

PlasmaMed research recruits patients with various indications including but not limited to

  • LSCLC, cervical cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, multiple myeloma
  • Lupus, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis
  • HIV, HCV, HBV 
  • Zika, and much more.

Patients are always compensated $50+ for their time and commitment to making a difference.


To find out how to contribute to scientific research and help develop cures, visit 

www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact or reach out to us on PlasmaMed’s Facebook.


Sources:

Source 1

Source 2

What are the Differences between Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)

Article Source: http://managedigestion.com/what-are-the-differences-between-crohns-disease-uc-and-ibd/

 

Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease

Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease are both Inflammatory Bowel Diseases affecting the bowel and colon. The common symptoms of these diseases are weight loss, severe abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and fatigue.

Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are found among many Americans. Symptoms of these conditions are abdominal pain, exhaustion, weight loss, and bloody diarrhea which can result in anemia. This has severe effects on the colon and bowel and can result in irritable bowel syndrome.

Ulcerative Colitis (UC) mostly attacks the mucosa and submucosa in the large intestine. It occurs normally in young adults starting from the age of 10 to 19 or 20 years old, irrespective of sex. Although the exact cause of this disease is not known, it is mostly attributed to infectious, immunological issues, nutritional and psychogenic related conditions, and both physical and emotional factors. Stress can be a major factor in the worsening of the illness. The presence of this disease may also be influenced by genes and environmental elements.

Ulcerative Colitis is usually indicated by frequent diarrhea. In acute cases, bloody diarrhea and severe pain and cramps in the abdominal region are major symptoms. This can also result in swelling of the abdomen. These conditions may result in anemia. The reduced intake of food and irritable bowel syndrome may bring down the water level and electrolytes in the body. Fever, weight loss, anorexia, and vomiting are the other features of this bowel disease.

Crohn’s Disease is more or less similar to UC. In fact, there are so many similarities between the two that sometimes it becomes difficult to differentiate between the two diseases. The main difference, however, is that Crohn’s does not attack the rectum, whereas Ulcerative Colitis does. Another major difference is that while UC affects only the mucosa and submucosa of the intestinal region, Crohn’s affects the muscularis propria in addition to the other two. Crohn’s Disease typically causes fistulas and strictures while UC results in deadly megacolon and if left untreated can even lead to colonic carcinoma. Due to constant inflammation and regeneration of the colonic wall, there appears a thickening of the bowel wall in Crohn’s Disease. In the case of UC however, the ulcerations made by the intestinal tract cause deep recesses or notches creating the appearance of pseudopolyps.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

However, an X-Ray can help differentiate between the two inflammatory bowel diseases. Although both classified as irritable bowel syndrome, the manner of treating ulcerative colitis is different from that of treating Crohn’s Disease even if some medications may be used for both. While diet plays a major role in Crohn’s, UC doesn’t seem to be affected much by diet.

 

Find out how you can help medical research and contribute to finding cures by contacting PlasmaMed through our website: www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact 

The A – Z of The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Ulcerative Colitis

Article Source: http://managedigestion.com/z-ultimate-cheat-sheet-ulcerative-colitis/

 

What is it?

The word ulcerative colitis literary means inflammatory disease of the large intestine, characterized by the formation of the ulcers. Thus ulcerative colitis belongs to the group of disorders called Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS).

 

 

What causes it?

Perhaps no one would be able to say the exact cause of the disease. Most probably it is a combination of three things: environmental factors, genetics, and autoimmunity. Genetics means that there could be family history, and the person may inherit the collection of weak genes that increase the risk of disease. However, the disease has to be triggered by some changes in environment like some stressful condition, infection, food poisoning. Genetics and environment triggers cause the immune system to behave in wrong way, leading to the disease. The local immune system in the intestine starts to overreact to the infections or microbes thus leading to severe local inflammation, that may further erode to give rise to ulcers.

 

What are the symptoms?

It would start with the symptoms related to the disease of the large intestine, that is chronic diarrhea that would last for weeks or even months, and most treatments would not help enough. Blood in stool is common due to ulceration of large intestine or area near the rectum. Other symptoms would be abdominal cramping, pain in the rectum (pain would come and go), weight loss, chills, abdominal bloating, dehydration. If left untreated, many other symptoms of malnutrition may occur.

The disease is characterized by the flares and remissions, that is times when you may feel utterly sick, followed by the intervals of relative calm.

 

What are the tests?

There is the whole array of tests available. The doctor would often start with stool and blood test, not only to diagnose ulcerative colitis, but also to rule out other similar diseases. Colonoscopy may help to visualize the colon, and if needed take samples of tissue for histological examination. Abdominal CT scan, MRI, X-ray.

What needs to be done?

It is a condition that must be treated under the supervision of a doctor as it needs more than symptomatic care. The doctor would often use anti-inflammatory therapy by using amino-salicylates, corticosteroids, or immunosuppressants. Some cases may require surgical treatment.

 

What should I eat?

When it comes to diet, avoid high-fat food. Drink lots of liquids including coconut water, have more of ripe banana, ripe papaya, boiled apple, cabbage, carrots, and curd. Avoid (during flares) dairy products, high fiber food, alcohol, cut down on caffeine and carbonated beverages.

What can prevent it?

Change lifestyle, make significant changes to diet, avoid stressful conditions.

What are the dangers?

It increases the risk of some health conditions. Bones become weaker due to osteoporosis, in teenagers it may decrease the growth and development, even adults may lose too much body weight. It may cause disease of bile duct called sclerosing cholangitis, rare but life-threatening complication like megacolon due to trapping of gasses (increased risk of rupture), and finally, it increases the risk of bowel cancer.

 

Find out how you can help medical research and contribute to finding cures by contacting PlasmaMed through our website: www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact 

Folate Deficiency: What You Should Know

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As cold temperatures coat the United States respectively, many are quick to jump to comfort foods and forget to incorporate important vitamins into their diet. January is acknowledged as the month for folic acid awareness.

What is Folate? How does Folate Deficiency develop? 

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Although diets low in fresh fruit, vegetables, and fortified cereals are the main reason for folate deficiencies, people diagnosed with gastrointestinal diseases that affect absorption may also experience folate deficiencies. Diseases such as Crohn’s, celiac, and certain cancers can predispose someone to a folate deficiency.

Excessive alcohol consumption may also cause folate deficiency by stimulating folate excretion through urine. Some medications such as phenytoin, tripmethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, methotrexate, and methotrexate have been noted to cause folate deficiency.

What can happen if I am folate deficient? 

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How can I know if I am folate deficient? 

While most people consume the suggested amount of folate through the food in their diet, it is always good to be familiar with the subtle signs of folate deficiency.

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How can I prevent becoming folate deficient? 

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Folate deficiency, for most people, can be prevented through eating a balanced, nutritious diet.

Foods that are high in folic acid are: 

  • leafy, green vegetables (ex: spinach)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • peas
  • citrus
  • lentils
  • fruits, such as bananas and melons
  • tomato juice
  • peanut butter
  • eggs
  • beans
  • legumes
  • mushrooms
  • asparagus
  • nuts
  • shellfish
  • wheat bran
  • fortified cereals

The recommended folate dose is 400 micrograms per day. Women who may become pregnant should take a folate supplement. Folate is critical for normal fetal growth.

People who take medications known to cause folate deficiency should take a supplement as well, but it’s always important to check with your doctor first.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Find out how you can help medical research and contribute to finding cures by contacting PlasmaMed through our website: www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact 

Article resources:

  • https://www.healthline.com/health/folate-deficiency#complications
  • Bueno, O., Molloy, A. M., Fernandez-Ballart, J. D., Garcia-Minguillan, C. J., Ceruelo, S., Rios, L., . . . Murphy, M. M. (2015, November 11). Common polymorphisms that affect folate transport or metabolism modify the effect of the MTFHR 677C > T polymorphism on folate status. Journal of Nutrition, 146(1), 1-8ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26561410

 

 

 

Common signs you might be suffering from a thyroid disorder

Article Source: https://www.metro.us/body-and-mind/health/thyroid-disorder-symptoms

 

January is National Thyroid Awareness Month. Here’s how to know if you have a thyroid problem and how to get treatment

 

Here’s how to know if something might be out of whack with your thyroid. Photo: ISTOCK

You’ve probably heard of the thyroid, but it’s less likely that you know what it is or how it actually functions in the body. The two-inch, butterfly-shaped gland, located in the neck just below the adam’s apple, secretes hormones that help regulate important systems in the body, including temperature, metabolism, heart rate, weight and menstruation.

When too much or too little of these hormones are produced, several bodily functions can get out of whack. For National Thyroid Awareness Month, we asked endocrinologist Dr. Byan McIver to talk us through common thyroid disorders and signs that you might be suffering from them.

Who is likely to develop a thyroid disorder? 

 According to the American Thyroid Association, 20 million Americans have thyroid disease, although women are five to eight times more likely to suffer from it than men. Typically, it affects women in their mid-thirties to mid-sixties who have a family history of thyroid problems — although the disorder isn’t strictly genetic. 

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid

McIver likens the thyroid to a “conductor” for the body’s symptoms.

“When there’s too much thyroid hormone, it’s like that conductor has gone a little crazy and gone too fast, and the whole music goes into dissonance,” he explains, describing the condition of hypothyroidism. This can cause rapid heartbeat, restlessness and anxiety, trouble sleeping, difficulty with memory and focus, hot flashes, an overactive bowel — symptoms akin to how you feel if you’ve had too much coffee, according to McIver. Over time, it can lead to hair loss, muscle weakness, shortness of breath and in severe cases, injuries to internal organs.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid

The most common thyroid condition, hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones. This can cause patients to feel tired and low energy or depressed, have a slower heart rate, be more susceptible to the cold, experience constipation and rapid weight gain. It can also interfere with the menstrual cycle, which can lead to issues with infertility. If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, you might consider getting your thyroid tested to see if that’s the culprit, says McIver.

Nodular thyroid disease 

Talk about a lump in your throat. Nodules are a swelling on or inside the thyroid, and they’re actually very common — you’ll find them in half of women over the age of 50, McIver explains. Depending on the size of the nodule, you can feel it or even see it protruding from your neck. As it grows, it can lead you to develop a raspy voice or have difficulty swallowing. Luckily, the majority are benign, but on occasion they are cancerous.

How do you diagnose and treat thyroid conditions? 

If you’re experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms of overactive or underactive thyroid, or if you suspect you might have a nodule, let your doctor know, McIver recommends. They can refer you to an endocrinologist who can diagnose the condition by testing the levels of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) through a simple blood test.

In the case of hypothyroidism, the endocrinologist can treat it with thyroid hormone replacement therapy. If it’s hyperthyroidism, there are medications to help slow down the thyroid, or removal of the thyroid through radioactive iodine or surgery.

In the case of a potential nodule, a doctor can confirm it with an ultrasound and then biopsy it, or use genetic testing to determine the cancer. Thyroid cancer has a good prognosis, McIver explains.

 

Find out how you can help medical research and contribute to finding cures by contacting PlasmaMed through our website: www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact