A new study finds that urinary tract infections (UTI’s) might have more than one treatment option.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system. The urinary system is comprised of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections impact the bladder and urethra but more serious risks occur if the infection spreads to the kidneys.
If you have a bladder infection caused by bacteria, a health care professional is likely to prescribe antibiotics. Which antibiotic you take is based on the type of bacteria causing your infection and any allergies you may have to antibiotics.
Often, UTIs can be cleared up with antibiotics prescribed by a health care professional. An appropriate antibiotic is chosen based on the type of bacteria causing the infection and that individuals health history; however, 10 to 20 percent of cases do not respond to current first-line drugs. The new study looked at new treatment options.
One of the co-authors of the study, Scott J. Hultgren, professor of molecular microbiology at Washington University in St. Louis said, “Millions of women every year suffer UTIs, and they’re getting harder to treat. We’ve shown that just by blocking the bacteria from adhering to the mice’s urinary tracts, we can treat the infection. This is a new way of approaching the problem of antibiotic resistance.”
Click here to read more about the study.
This week is National Poison Prevention Week sponsored by The National Poison Prevention Council. On September 26, 1961, the 87th United States Congress passed Public Law 87-319, a joint resolution, requesting that the President of the United States proclaim the third week of March National Poison Prevention Week. On February 7, 1962, President John F. Kennedy positively responded to this request and the first National Poison Prevention Week was observed in March 1962.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers offers the following tips to prevent poisonings:
- Be prepared for an emergency.
- Practice safe storage habits.
- Read and follow all labels and directions.
- Detect invisible threats.
If a poisoning does occur, the CDC recommends:
- Remain calm.
- Call 911 if you have a poison emergency and the victim has collapsed or is not breathing. If the victim is awake and alert, dial 1-800-222-1222. Try to have this information ready:
- the victim’s age and weight
- the container or bottle of the poison if available
- the time of the poison exposure
- the address where the poisoning occurred
- Stay on the phone and follow the instructions from the emergency operator or poison control center.
www.poisonhelp.org — When someone has come into contact with a poison, this tool can give information about what to do.
www.pillbox.nlm.nih.gov — The Pillbox website was developed to aid in the identification of unknown pills (oral solid dosage form medications). It combines images of pills with appearance and other information to enable users to visually search for and identify oral solid dosage form medications.
www.toxnet.nlm.nih.gov — A resource for searching databases on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases.
Cardiac arrest is defined by MedlinePlus: “The heart has an internal electrical system that controls the rhythm of the heartbeat. Problems can cause abnormal heart rhythms, called arrhythmias. There are many types of arrhythmia. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or it can stop beating. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart develops an arrhythmia that causes it to stop beating. This is different than a heart attack, where the heart usually continues to beat but blood flow to the heart is blocked.”
From a recent NIH article, “After a 911 call about cardiac arrest is made, an estimated 4 to 10 minutes may pass before emergency medical services arrive. A research team led by Dr. Myron Weisfeldt of Johns Hopkins University explored whether a significant proportion of lives could be saved if bystanders used AEDs before emergency medical services arrived. The study was funded in part by NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Results appeared online on February 26, 2018, in Circulation.”
- AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator.
- It is a medical device that analyzes the heart’s rhythm.
- If necessary, it delivers an electrical shock, known as defibrillation, which helps the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.
The leader of the research team exploring if lives could be saved by bystander intervention using AEDs had this to say about their findings: “We estimate that about 1,700 lives are saved in the United States per year by bystanders using an AED,” Weisfeldt says. “Unfortunately, not enough Americans know to look for AEDs in public locations, nor are they are trained on how to use them.”
To read more about the study and the findings, visit the NIH website by clicking here.
March is Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month. Raising awareness is a focus because there are “three million people across the U.S. live with bleeding disorders that can cause extended bleeding after injury, surgery or trauma, and can be life-threatening if not treated effectively,” explains the National Hemophilia Foundation.
What are bleeding disorders?
Per MedlinePlus, “Normally, if you get hurt, your body forms a blood clot to stop the bleeding. For blood to clot, your body needs cells called platelets and proteins known as clotting factors. If you have a bleeding disorder, you either do not have enough platelets or clotting factors or they don’t work the way they should. Bleeding disorders can be the result of other diseases, such as severe liver disease or a lack of vitamin K. They can also be inherited. Hemophilia is an inherited bleeding disorder. Bleeding disorders can also be a side effect of medicines such as blood thinners.”
How else can you help raise awareness of bleeding disorders? The CDC recommends:
- Visit the National Hemophilia Foundation’s websiteto change your social media profile picture and Facebook banner.
- Share messages from the Hemophilia Federation of America’sfact-a-day social media campaign on Facebook and learn about additional strategies they suggest for helping to spread bleeding disorders awareness.
- Share our videos on hemophiliaand von Willebrand disease, and our Flickr Album containing personal stories of people affected by hemophilia, and the added challenge of having an inhibitor.
- Follow @CDC_NCBDDDand retweet messages about CDC resources available to people with bleeding disorders.
- Visit our webpages on hemophilia, women with bleeding disorders, and von Willebrand diseaseto learn more about bleeding disorders.
World Kidney Day is a global awareness campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of our kidneys.
The official website states, “World Kidney Day comes back every year. All across the globe many hundred events take place from public screenings in Argentina to Zumba marathons in Malaysia. We do it all to create awareness. Awareness about preventive behaviors, awareness about risk factors, and awareness about how to live with a kidney disease. We do this because we want kidney health for all.”
Why is kidney health important? MedlinePlus describes the kidneys and the important function they perform: “You have two kidneys, each about the size of your fist. They are near the middle of your back, just below the rib cage. Inside each kidney there are about a million tiny structures called nephrons. They filter your blood. They remove wastes and extra water, which become urine. The urine flows through tubes called ureters. It goes to your bladder, which stores the urine until you go to the bathroom.”
What is the best way to keep your kidneys healthy? The CDC recommends:
- Keep your blood pressure below 140/90 or ask your doctor what the best blood pressure target is for you.
- Stay in your target cholesterol range.
- Eat foods lower in salt.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Stay active.
- Take your medication as directed.
Earlier last week, Texas A&M Transportation Services announced a partnership with ofo, the world’s first and largest station-free bike share company. ofo’s is providing 500 bikes to service the 70,000 students, faculty, and staff of the campus of Texas A&M.
“We are excited about collaborating with ofo and the opportunity this partnership brings to the Texas A&M campus,” said Peter Lange, associate vice president of Transportation Services at Texas A&M. “With the continued growth of our community we are always evaluating new innovations for modes of travel and the station-free bike share system offers the reliability and ease of access that we want to provide for our customers,” he said.
Bringing a new mode of transportation to campus that is accessible and cost effective will also offer an added health benefit. MedlinePlus states physical activity increases your chances of living longer. It can also help:
- Control your blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight
- Lower your “bad” cholesterol and raise your “good” cholesterol
- Prevent heart disease, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes
The CDC also has a revealing graphic that illustrates the costs and benefits of physical activity. Their figures show that $117 billion in annual health care costs are associated with inadequate physical activity. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that biking at a moderate pace for an hour can burn 290 calories!
Learn more about the partnership between Texas A&M and ofo: https://today.tamu.edu/2018/02/27/texas-am-transportation-services-ofo-roll-out-campus-bike-share-program/
Our blog posts over the past couple of weeks have examined a disturbing statistic: Black women are dying of pregnancy related causes at 3x the rate of other races. Our blog has discussed issues black women could face with fertility, prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. One issue that stood out at each stage we examined was that accessibility or awareness of resources was lacking.
This is a great opportunity to share some of the great resources that the National Institute of Health has available:
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development – NICHD’s mission is to ensure that every person is born healthy and wanted, that women suffer no harmful effects from reproductive processes, and that all children have the chance to achieve their full potential for healthy and productive lives. The institute also aims to ensure the health, productivity, independence, and well-being of people through optimal rehabilitation.
PregSource – a research project that aims to learn about the pregnancy experience. Getting information directly from pregnant women about what they feel, think, do, and experience during pregnancy and after giving birth.
MedlinePlus – information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand. MedlinePlus offers reliable, up-to-date health information, anytime, anywhere, for free.
Your Healthiest Self: Wellness Toolkits – features science-based health tips in five different areas: Your Surroundings; Your Feelings; Your Body; Your Relationships; and Your Disease Defense. Each area has checklists of tips you can print for yourself or share with others.
National Child and Mental Health Education Program – The Program’s objectives are to identify key challenges in child and maternal health, review relevant research and initiate educational activities that advance the knowledge base of the field, and improve the health of women and children.
An earlier blog post brought you the story of Shalon Irving, the CDC epidemiologist who died just a few short weeks after giving birth to her daughter. Shalon’s story is tragic and brings to light a bigger issue. Black women are dying of pregnancy related causes at 3x the rate of other races. In our last blog, we examined labor and delivery. This post will discuss postpartum care.
The postpartum period immediately follows giving birth and has three distinct but continuous phases.
- Initial or acute period – first 6-12 hours following birth
- Second Phase – can last 2-6 weeks
- Third Phase – can last up to 6 months
The March of Dimes lists the following risks that can occur in the postpartum period:
- Cesarean wound infection
- Deep vein thrombophlebitis(DVT), a kind of blood clot
- Endometritis, an infection in the uterus (womb)
- Mastitis, a breast infection
- Postpartum bleeding
- Postpartum depression(PPD)
Not all complications result in death, but the latest numbers do show that between 2011 and 2013 at least 5,259 women died within a year of giving birth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the causes for those deaths:
- Cardiovascular diseases, 15.5%
- Non-cardiovascular diseases, 14.5%
- Infection or sepsis, 12.7%
- Hemorrhage, 11.4%
- Cardiomyopathy, 11.0%
- Thrombotic pulmonary embolism, 9.2%
- Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, 7.4%
- Cerebrovascular accidents, 6.6%
- Amniotic fluid embolism, 5.5%
- Anesthesia complications, 0.2%
- The cause of death is unknown for 6.1%
Although all women are susceptible to suffering a fatal complication, black women are dying at 3x the rate of other races. There is ongoing research as to why this statistic exists but one issue that stood out is accessibility or awareness of resources is lacking. In our next blog post, we will share some of the great resources that the National Institute of Health has available
If you missed Shalon’s story earlier, read it here: story on npr.org about Shalon Irving
An earlier blog post brought you the story of Shalon Irving, the CDC epidemiologist who died just a few short weeks after giving birth to her daughter. Shalon’s story is tragic and brings to light a bigger issue. Black women are dying of pregnancy related causes at 3x the rate of other races. In our last blog, we examined prenatal care. This post will discuss labor and delivery.
MedlinePlus: “Labor is the process of giving birth. Labor happens in three stages. The first stage begins with contractions. It continues until your cervix has become thinner and dilated (stretched) to about 4 inches wide. The second stage is the active stage, in which you begin to push downward. Crowning is when your baby’s scalp comes into view. Shortly afterward, your baby is born. In the third stage, you deliver the placenta. The placenta is the organ that supplied food and oxygen to your baby during pregnancy. Mothers and babies are monitored closely during labor. Most women are able to have a baby through normal vaginal delivery. If there are complications, the baby may need to be delivered surgically by a Cesarean section.”
Cesarean birth is defined by the American College of Obstetricians and Obstetricians as “the delivery of a baby through incisions made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus.” Since a Cesarean section is a surgery, it can pose more risks than a vaginal birth. The March of Dimes lists potential risks and complications on their website. Their statistics also show that black woman have more C-sections than any other race. The March of Dimes also states that “Although it’s rare, you’re more likely to die during a c-section than during vaginal birth.”
Once a black woman survives labor and delivery, they still face issues with postpartum care which will be the focus of our next blog. If you missed Shalon’s story earlier, read it here: story on npr.org about Shalon Irving
Our Consumer Health Coordinator, Debbie Montenegro, recently had the privilege of attending the Space Exploration Educators Conference (SEEC). It is held annually at NASA’s Space Center Houston. In her role with the SCR, Debbie works with K-12 educators, particularly in the sciences, through outreach, classes, membership network, grants, and partnership opportunities. Here is a recap of her conference experience:
As an educator, and also previously a researcher, I was over the moon at the opportunity to meet fellow educators and scientists with a passion for educating the next generation about science. The SEEC conference is designed for K-12 educators, and I fit right in with my previous experience as a high school Chemistry teacher and current outreach work. SEEC is comprised of sessions and keynotes hosted by scientists, engineers, fellow educators, and even astronauts!
The conference sessions were very hands-on. Teachers from across subjects teamed up to conduct classroom activities, such as a “Mars Escape Room” or building small rovers. The Aerospace Education Member representatives from the Civil Air Patrol gave us lesson plans to teach elementary students about aeronautical flight. Mars Academy USA hosted a simulated medical EVA (extravehicular activity) mission on a Mars moon, Deimos. The Director of Education and Outreach at the Lone Star Flight Museum gave tours, and his passion for educating students shined through.
Regional “crew meetings” highlighted teachers from our region who completed their own “Year in Space” mission. The previous year, they had been tasked with performing outreach to other educators in their schools, districts, states or region for one year. Here they shared their results. This was a wonderful opportunity to meet teachers in the SCR region and talk to them about the awesome projects they have done and possibilities for the future.
Our conference keynote sessions started off with Astronaut Dorothy “Dottie” Metcalf-Lindenburger. She spoke to us about her experiences as a teacher and astronaut. Then we made a call to the “Teacher on Board” the International Space Station (ISS), Astronaut Joe Acaba. Joe answered questions LIVE from the ISS and the call was aired on the local news station. Between former teachers Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold on the ISS, NASA is celebrating a “Year of Education on the Station”.
Keynote speaker Dr. John B. Charles, PhD, Associate Director of the NASA Human Research Program spoke about health issues and experiments in space. He mentioned the Twins Study, where Astronaut Scott Kelly spent a year in space while his twin brother, Astronaut Mark Kelly, stayed on Earth. Principal Investigations for this study took place in order to gain information on telomeres, cognition, sleep, biochemical profiles, fluid shifts, eye health, and more. Dr. Liz Warren, PhD, Associate Program Scientist at the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, spoke about how studies on the Space Station have contributed to positive healthcare changes here at home. It might surprise you how many technologies now benefiting life on Earth started off with experiments in space. NASA has started a website for these “spin-offs” called NASA SpinOff.
In addition to all of these wonderful sessions, the absolute highlights for me were the field trips offered as part of the conference. In one trip, I visited the Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) which houses a mock-up of the International Space Station inside a large pool. The NBL staff emphasized the importance of safety and described the measures taken for the health of the divers and astronauts. I also had the opportunity to visit the Planetary Analog Test Site and ride inside the Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle (MMSEV), a special treat offered this year. It can move sideways, diagonally, and can climb rocky terrain pretty well. It was a bumpy ride, but it was amazing!
Debbie Montenegro is the creator and instructor for the NNLM course Astronaut Health: Science Education Resources and also teaches NLM’s Online Playground: K-12 Science and Health Education Resources.
An earlier blog post brought you the story of Shalon Irving, the CDC epidemiologist who died just a few short weeks after giving birth to her daughter. Shalon’s story is tragic and brings to light a bigger issue. Black women are dying of pregnancy related causes at 3x the rate of other races. In our last blog, examined fertility. This post will discuss prenatal care.
MedlinePlus defines prenatal care as “the health care you get while you are pregnant. It includes your checkups and prenatal testing. Prenatal care can help keep you and your baby healthy. It lets your health care provider spot health problems early. Early treatment can cure many problems and prevent others.”
The March of Dimes, one of the organizations that publishes maternal and infant health data, shows that the number of Black women that received inadequate prenatal care is much higher than women whose race is White or Asian/Pacific Islander. The reasons why this racial disparity in prenatal care are not simple or easily defined. A 2018 Newsweek article looks at this topic more in depth.
Pregnancy does come with risks and prenatal care is essential to help minimize complications and immediately address any that do occur. The CDC has a list of complications on their website and state “It is very important for women to receive health care before and during pregnancy to decrease the risk of pregnancy complications.”
Once a black woman survives the pregnancy, they still face issues with labor and delivery and postpartum care. Our next blog will focus on labor and delivery. If you missed Shalon’s story earlier this week, read it here: story on npr.org about Shalon Irving
Our last blog post brought you the story of Shalon Irving, the CDC epidemiologist who died just a few short weeks after giving birth to her daughter. Shalon’s story is tragic and brings to light a bigger issue. Black women are dying of pregnancy related causes at 3x the rate of other races. In this blog, we will examine two issues specific to black women and how it impacts fertility for this population: weathering and uterine fibroids.
Age can influence one’s ability to get pregnant and the risk of complications increase the older a woman is when she becomes pregnant. But what if a woman’s chronological age number does not match up with their biological age? In the NPR article, a 2010 study that examined the chromosomal markers for aging found that at a molecular level, black women were on average 7.5 years older than their white counterparts. This was deemed likely due to “weathering” a term coined by one of the researchers of the study. Weathering describes the stress the body experiences throughout life.
Uterine fibroids also make getting pregnant challenging for black women. Medlineplus defines uterine fibroids as “the most common benign tumors in women of childbearing age. Fibroids are made of muscle cells and other tissues that grow in and around the wall of the uterus, or womb. The cause of fibroids is unknown. Risk factors include being African American or being overweight.” The site also goes on to list possible symptoms of uterine fibroids including “Reproductive problems, such as infertility, multiple miscarriages or early labor”
Once a black woman is able to get pregnant, they still face issues with prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. Our next blog will focus on prenatal care. If you missed Shalon’s story earlier this week, read it here story on npr.org about Shalon Irving
I recently read a story on npr.org about Shalon Irving, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shalon was 36-years old and had a newborn daughter, Soleil. Three short weeks after becoming a mommy, Shalon collapsed and died. Although Shalon’s death is tragic, she is only one example of black women who die at 3x the rate of white women and women of other races because of pregnancy related causes.
This number is startling and reveals a racial disparity in healthcare that needs to be examined and eliminated. A paragraph in the article truly struck a chord, “The researcher working to eradicate disparities in health access and outcomes had become a symbol of one of the most troublesome health disparities facing black women in the U.S. today: disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality. The main federal agency seeking to understand why so many American women — especially black women — die, or nearly die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth had lost one of its own.”
Why does this disparity exist and what can be done to reduce and eventually eliminate it? Our blog posts over the coming weeks will examine all stages of pregnancy and the increased risks that black women face during each stage:
- Prenatal Care
- Labor and Delivery
- Postpartum Care
Stay tuned for future posts on this subject. I would encourage you to read Shalon’s entire story at npr.org as it was the inspiration for this series. The article is a great introduction to a wider story and its key points are made personal through Shalon’s experience.
With February being African American History Month, we wanted to focus our blog posts on health issues unique or more likely to impact African Americans. One of these diseases is sickle cell anemia and this trait can be found in about 1 in 13 African American births.
MedlinePlus defines sickle cell anemia as “a disease in which your body produces abnormally shaped red blood cells. The cells are shaped like a crescent or sickle. They don’t last as long as normal, round red blood cells. This leads to anemia. The sickle cells also get stuck in blood vessels, blocking blood flow. This can cause pain and organ damage.”
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is present at birth and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute states “every state in the United States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories requires that all newborn babies receive screening for SCD. When a child has SCD, parents are notified before the child has symptoms.” If symptoms do occur, it is usually not until 5 or 6 months of age.
The CDC estimates:
- SCD affects approximately 100,000 Americans.
- SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 365 Black or African-American births.
- SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 16,300 Hispanic-American births.
- About 1 in 13 Black or African-American babies is born with sickle cell trait (SCT).
Our Consumer Health Coordinator, Debbie Montenegro, went on a trip that was out of this world. In Part 1, she highlights her visit to our partners at the Moody Medical Library at UTMB Galveston, specifically to see the Charles A. Berry, M.D. History of Space Medicine Collections. Here is a recap of the visit:
First of all, I want to thank the staff at Moody Medical Library for the invitation. Robert Marlin, Archivist and Kelly Caldwell, Library Manager were very welcoming. The History of Space Medicine Collections holds a variety of primary source materials that date to the early 1950s, donated by astronauts, medical doctors, and others associated with the space program.
Among these is Dr. Thornton; a physicist, doctor, and astronaut who worked on SMEAT (Skylab Medical Experiments Altitude Test) and on Skylab. He is an inventor and holds more than 60 patents, and invented medical apparatuses such as a treadmill for space. He was the first to document the shift and loss of fluid changes in the body, height changes, and muscle loss in space flight. It is still being researched today. Dr. Hubertus Strughold coined the term “Space Medicine” and is also known as the “Father of Space Medicine”. Dr. Charles Berry held an instrumental role in the selection of the original seven astronauts. As the NASA Flight Surgeon, he was responsible for sending 42 individuals into space over the course of 30 missions. Dr. Gaume created concept art and wrote on “Life Support Systems for Lunar Base and Lunar Colonization” in 1959.
Other highlights of the collection would be: the original special edition of LIFE magazine that covered the astronauts who went to the moon, a collection of recordings from the Joint US/USSR Working Group on Space Biology and Medicine, and concept art from 1958 and 1959 that showed architectural plans for a house on the moon.
Any researchers, librarians, educators or others interested who want to visit the archives can contact the Moody Medical Library to schedule a visit. Portions of the archives are currently being scanned and uploaded to UTMB Health SHARED, an online community space for Scholarship, Historical Archives, Repository, & Electronic Dissertations. Look for the History of Medicine Collections at https://utmb-ir.tdl.org/utmb-ir/
February is African American History Month and there are a variety of organizations hosting events throughout the month. With so much going on it is impossible to provide a complete list of resources and events available nationally and locally, but we’d like to spotlight a few.
Association for the Study of African American Life and History: Learn more about Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Black History” and his efforts “disseminating information about black life, history and culture to the global community.”
Smithsonian Education: There is a great list of black history teaching resources, including reading lists for young people between the ages of 3 and 10.
The National Park Service: Learn about the park sites dedicated to African American history and culture.
The National Archives: The Archives hold a wealth of material documenting the African American experience, and highlights these resources online, in programs, and through traditional and social media.
The NNLM SCR would like to spend African American History Month focusing on health-related issues that are specific to or largely impact African Americans. Continue to check our blog weekly for new stories in line with this theme.