Head Trauma: Finding The Silver Lining

Is there a silver lining to traumatic brain injury? Does head trauma come with benefits? I didn’t think so until my youngest shared his wisdom.
I was lamenting the loss of my photogenic memory when my youngest son said, “Mom, you’re lucky. You can choose to remember only the good times and forget the bad times.” Until then I never thought about my annoying memory loss in that way. There was a silver lining in losing my memory.

Once I came clean on the memory loss issue, I slowly regained control of many aspects of my life. I was no longer afraid to socialize in public. My mind was no longer focused on recalling noise or things I wasn’t interested or  passionate about. Today, the head trauma comes in handy. It gives me an out when I don’t feel like being bothered. I can just say I forget and most of the times it’s the truth. To think of the suffering I endured in trying to hide the injury. Honesty is best the policy when it comes to your health.

Some people are passionate about recalling names. Unless it’s someone who’ll become part of my life, I quickly forget names. Learning to manage my limited and vanishing memory cells is no small feat. It enabled me to function at a higher level, and I hope that will preserve and protect my memory cells.

I freed my mind to focus on things I love to do, when I accepted the diagnosis of traumatic brain injury. No longer did I sit in a corner worrying about the things I couldn’t remember or the humiliation at losing my train of thought in the middle of making a point, a very important one.

Ironically, all my working life I slaved away to someday enjoy the luxury of a middle-class American family. Today making markedly less, I am finally beginning to live the life of my  dreams.   Now it could be that I don’t remember the life I dreamed about, but who cares I am at peace.

The past is fuzzy!  With triggers and reminders, recalling events from the distant past become easier.  The terrible memories of failures and rejections muted,  and current shortcomings quickly overlooked.  The silver lining is that I forget the impossibility of an outcome and focus on its possibilities, meaning I have a can do attitude until I start to do and fatigue or brain fog sets in.

With fewer connections, less money and less power, I am making the best of the situation.  Today, I use a shopping service to get groceries. I get a manicure and pedicure regularly (I am now overdue). I go to Boston to get my hair done at least twice a month.  I pamper myself.   When I worked full-time, I didn’t have the time to do so.   Having to make money prevented me from enjoying it.

Head injury sure  knocked some sense into me, isn’t that a silver lining?

Are Hospitals Deadly For Your Health?

MEDICAL ERRORS

Going to the doctor may be deadly for your health!

Recently published findings show medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the USA.

Rising medical errors are symptomatic of our ageing community. A culture where health care providers are chronically overworked and understaffed. A culture where working while ill is a sign of strength, responsibility and dedication. A culture where most of the work done for patients is not reimbursable.

Such is the culture of health care that contributes to medical error despite advances in technology and knowledge.

In 2013 medical errors caused 440,000 deaths in the USA: [ http://www.hospitalsafetyscore.org/newsroom/display/hospitalerrors-thirdleading-causeofdeathinus-improvementstooslow ] Medical error, defined as [ https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_error ],  appears to be on the rise.

In 1999, the publication ‘First Do No Harm’ [ https://www.healthdesign.org/chd/research/first-do-no-harm ] did much shine a light on fundamental problems in medicine. Each year, medication errors alone harm 1.5 million American patients.

Tired, overworked health care providers often dismiss patient’s problems and  become magnets for medical errors. The problem of fatigue contributes to high burn out and suicide rates among doctors: [ http://www.thehappymd.com/blog/physician-burnout-rates-top-50-percent-in-usa / http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24448053 / http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/838437 ]

Also, with the billing for services rendered, health care providers perform many services that are not renumerated. Many of these services are essential to the patient and require much time. Services such as communication with other providers involved in that patient’s care.

Reviewing of old records, lab tests and X-rays are not billable. Even the refill of medications, or advocating for patients to insurance companies, are not reimbursing, despite their necessity and the fact that these are done daily. Often several times throughout the day.

Unlike lawyers, doctors do not bill on an hourly rate. They are compensated only for the time spent directly face-to-face in patient care. This underestimates the numbers of hours physicians and nurses spend caring for their patients.

Finding coverage for sick healthcare providers is difficult and often results in rescheduling of patients.  That means fitting patients in already booked and hectic physician schedules. Other contributors to medical errors  include lack of communication and access to information. Another is incompetence, plus poorly supervised residents and interns performing the work of senior doctors.

Many reprimanded physicians continue in practice. Eighty percent of malpractice, and adverse or sentinel events, are committed by 20% of physicians. 80/20. Yet only a fraction ever lose their license, and if they do, they simply go next door.

Medical personnel are treated as super humans, expected to go without sleep plus care for patients with complex medical problems. Medical errors are the end result of this. This finding is no surprise and nothing new since the publication of ‘First Do No Harm’.

A medical team is responsible for your care. An error by one person can cause catastrophic problems.

Lack of communication, and lack of access to information, are two. And lack of coordination makes three elements that contribute greatly to medical errors.

Errors will always occur, of course, but they will be much more likely when one is tired and there are no mechanisms in place to intercept errors.

Again unlike lawyers, doctors are not paid to call patients or to do research on patient problems. That needs to change.  We need to stop discounting the time doctors spend doing non-direct care.  Doctors should be compensated for all work done caring.

Just changes in the above will go a long way in reducing medical error.

To close, a very sad read of six physicians who felt so overwhelmed they took their own lives:

https://www.idealmedicalcare.org/blog/physician-suicide-letters-answered-a-sneak-peek-inside-my-new-book/

&nb

Could Mutated Zika Cause Microcephaly?

Part 1 of 3:

Could Mutated Zika Cause Microcephaly?

Could the transmission of GMM (genetically-modified) mosquitoes cause mutations in the Zika Virus, resulting in microcephaly?

Despite assurance from agencies (like the WHO and the FDA) that GMM is completely safe and without harmful effects, the evidence is not strong enough to substantiate safe distribution of GMMs.

That kind of assurance was said of the Monsanto herbicide Round-up. Which is now reportedly linked to cancer! It was also said of GMO foods that are now linked to numerous cases of autoimmune disease.

Yet GMO labels are still not mandatory on food products and there is legislation to ensure it stays that way.  Without labels we will be unaware of GMOs in our foods and not know why we are afflicted with certain common cancers.

The hidden or non-use of GMO labels will certainly delay any future links of GMOs with illnesses, prevent parties from taking responsibility and impede on the public’s’ right to safe dietary consumption. This kind of carelessness or disregard leaves the public ignorant and open to hazards.

Has Zika been genetically modified?

Zika, which was first discovered in Uganda in 1947, has suddenly and without reason went from an asymptomatic infection to a global public health emergency. How did that happen?

In Brazil a Zika outbreak was associated with an outbreak of microcephaly. Strong evidence suggests the Zika Virus caused microcephaly and other birth defects in human offsprings. Based on news reports, it appears the link between Zika and microcephaly is isolated to Brazil. In the past, French Polynesia had a similar link.

While the Zika outbreak continues to wreak havoc in Latin America and the Caribbean, microcephaly appears only in Brazil. The areas where GMM were released are the ones where this link is strongest. This is a fact that is currently buried in the hysteria caused by Zika being linked to microcephaly. Panic that seems bent on leaving certain stones unturned and untouched.

Instead, mosquitoes are now viewed as dangerous to the survival of humans and slated for eradication, using the most expensive and high-tech approaches afforded the military and Big Pharma. But isn’t it the virus that caused the disease, not the mosquitoes?

Outbreaks in Brazil started in areas where GMM were released. Could there be now a new mutation, a new viral strain?

Will the war on mosquitoes prevent certain viral infections? Or will the viruses mutate and find new hosts?

Can we eradicate mosquitoes without adversely impacting on our ecosystem?

Basic questions yet again unanswered and unexplored, the smokescreen, red flags paving the path for further investigation.

Zika virus in Brazil may be mutated strain
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/zika-virus-in-brazil-may-be-mutated-strain/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Chan-Twitter-General

Part 2 of 3:  The Problem Is NOT Mosquitos But Viruses

Part 3 of 3:  Approaches To Reduce Future Viral Infections 

 

Oxitec GM Mosquitos Linked To Zika Outbreak 

Back in September 2010, a scientific report voiced concerns about the 3-4 % that would survive. The scientists wanted to do further investigations before releasing GM mosquitoes.

The report warned that transgenes (transferred genes) can lead to changes that are unintended, unpredictable and unrelated to the nature of the gene inserted.

In July 2012, praised British company Oxitec introduced its genetically-modified mosquito farm. Reportedly, the goal was to decrease the incidence of dengue fever.

In July 2015, shortly after releasing the 18 million GM mosquitoes into the wild in Brazil, Oxitec announced their success in controlling the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes without much data on the impact to the ecosystem.  Please note this is the same area of the recent outbreak of Zika infection.

Oxitec GM insects (designated OX513A),  were genetically altered male Aedes aegypti that mated with non-modified female Aedes mosquitoes in the wild.

 

Oxitec GM Mosquitos At The Epicenter Zika Outbreak.

Brazil started deploying GM mosquitoes to reduce the natural Aedes mosquito population that transmit dengue fever.

The production of offsprings triggered transcription in the modified part to kill the larvae before breeding age, provided no tetracycline (antibiotics) exposure during development.

Brazil is third in the World for using tetracycline with farmed animals. This is not well absorbed and over 75% is excreted into the soil. GM mosquitos looking for food can ingest this tetracycline as part of their blood meal. Even small amounts will suppress the modified development, allowing the altered mosquitoes to survive.

Tetracycline represses the GM-designed development. Small amounts of tetracycline can result in a survival rate as high as 15%.

It turned out that cat food was used to feed the larvae in at least one lab. This cat food contained factory-farmed chicken which also contains tetracycline. This was discovered when a disparity was noted in survival rate testing results, with one lab testing at 15% survival rate (the one with cat food fed larvae) and another testing in at just 3%.

Scientist Dr Ricarda Steinbrecher voiced concern regarding the release of GM mosquitoes without field cage studies.  She raised many questions, that required answers, to reduce the risk to mankind and other animals.

Earlier this year, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Germany examined information regarding the release of modified insects into the environment in Malaysia and Grand Cayman, which were carried out by Oxitec. The scientists’ findings suggest that there are “deficits in the scientific quality of regulatory documents and a general absence of accurate experimental descriptions available before releases start”. (3)

The Zika outbreak in Brazil followed Oxitec’s release of GM mosquitos.  The release location is the epicenter of the outbreak where a surge in babies with microcephaly was noted.

Recall GM mosquitoes act to produce abnormal offsprings in the natural Aedes mosquitoes, so they die before breeding.  Interesting  the Zika virus in pregnant women causes abnormal human offspring with reduced life expectancy.

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Questions For Oxitec  Before Release Of More GM Mosquitos

Here are questions that should be considered and answered before Oxitec is allowed to release more GM mosquitoes into the wild.  Most of the following questions were asked by Dr Steinbrecher in a letter to the National Biosafety Board (NBB.  World Health Organization scheduled an emergency meeting about Zika on Monday, February 1, 2016.

Let’s make sure Oxitec does not release more GM mosquitos before responding to the following questions and other questions that link GM mosquitos to the recent Zika  virus outbreak in Brazil.

When released into the wild:

  • Will the bite of the female LMO mosquito change?
  • How is the life cycle of the male mosquitos changed after genetic modification?
  • Will the reaction of humans or animals to the mosquito bite change?
  • Are there different immune reactions due to compositional changes in the saliva of the mosquito?
  • Will the pathogen vector interaction change in female mosquitoes?
  • Did the level of dengue virus present in the saliva change?
  • Did the affinity to dengue virus change?
  • Are there new interactions with other viruses?
  • Do different environments result in different altered phenotypic and behavioral characteristics?
  • Do different condition, biotic and abiotic stresses result in different survival rates?
  • What is the emergency response should GM mosquitos  harm humans or other animals?

 

Referenced links:

  1.  Zika Outbreak Epicenter in Same Area Where GM Mosquitoes Were Released in 2015:

http://www.activistpost.com/2016/01/zika-outbreak-epicenter-in-same-area-where-gm-mosquitoes-were-released-in-2015.html

 

2.  Release of GM mosquito Aedes aegypti OX513A (NRE(S)609-2/1/3) | EcoNexus

http://www.econexus.info/publication/release-gm-mosquito-aedes-aegypti-ox513a

 

3.  Can GM mosquitoes rid the world of a major killer? | Environment | The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/jul/15/gm-mosquitoes-dengue-fever-feature?cat=environment&type=article