Saturday, February 17, 2018

Cooking/Healthy Eating Class at the Common Good Cafe, SW Harbor, Sunday June 3 at 2 pm


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SOUTHWEST HARBOR  ---Local physician and popular instructor, Meryl Nass, MD, will return to the Common Good on Sunday, June 3 from 2 to 4:30 to conduct a  class on "Easy Sauces, A Way to Create Delicious Healthful Meals with Minimum Effort."

The focus of the class will be on the health promoting effects of various foods, treating sauces as a "delivery system" for top-notch nutrition.  You will learn to prepare a variety of sauces and how to adjust them to your taste.

Come slice and dice with us and taste some wonderful ways to a healthier diet.  The fee for the class is by donation.  TO REGISTER: Call Fran Martin 207-244-4085 or email francmart@roadrunner.com.

Please contact Fran soon - this class fills up fast!!!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Doctor who linked thimerosal to autism wins damages from Maryland Medical Board for harrassing and humiliating him/WaPo

State medical boards license doctors.  They also enforce standards of practice.  For example, medical boards took away the licenses of over 50 doctors who treated chronic Lyme disease, and investigated many more.  Frustrated Lyme patients, unable to find doctors to treat them, went to their state legislatures to fight back.  As a result, every state legislature in New England has passed legislation directing their medical boards to give doctors the right to diagnose and treat Lyme disease, outside of the restrictive guidelines issued by the CDC.  It sounds crazy, but it's true.  Here is the Maine law.

There are many reports of state medical boards taking action against doctors for other heretical beliefs, such as that vaccines may cause autism. 

Dr. Mark Geier has published many research papers linking vaccines to adverse outcomes.  His review of the evidence linking thimerosal to adverse neurological outcomes in small children was especially strong.  He has testified in many vaccine injury cases, and advised government agencies internationally on vaccine issues.  He also treated vaccine-injured children.

No doubt his advocacy rubbed many (in government and industry) the wrong way.  The Maryland Board of Physicians went after him, pulled his medical license, and made spiteful (and illegal) personal attacks on him and his family.  Board members and staff then destroyed evidence and failed to produce documents when Dr. Geier fought back and brought suit against them.

Medical boards have acted in egregious ways before, no doubt believing that their acts were protected because they were behaving as an arm of state government.  Dr. Geier's case demonstrates that they cannot necessarily act with impunity.

In a most interesting turn of events, each member of the Maryland board who participated in the illegal harrassment of Dr. Geier has been personally directed to pay punitive damages, based on his/her net worth (from $10,000 to $200,000) to Dr. Geier and his family.  Yes: out of their own pockets.  Explaining the unusual award, the judge wrote that "It is necessary in this case, unfortunately, to deter such conduct in the future." 

I imagine other medical boards will take note, and this may deter them from capricious harrassment in future.

The WaPo article is here.

Can it be? Study finds that college students who had been vaccinated against flu were more likely to excrete flu virus / Proceedings National Academy of Sciences

It is only one study.  But it was carefully done, used interesting methods, and it tried to explore issues that have rarely been studied.  Researchers from the University of Maryland studied students who had new symptoms of influenza to see if infectious flu virus spread during coughs, sneezing, or regular breathing.  They looked at nasal swabs as well as exhaled air during normal breathing. 

They found that sneezing is rare during flu and is not important in spread of flu.  They found that cough is not necessary to spread flu:  simply breathing excretes plenty of influenza virus.

This is important because fine aerosols generated simply by breathing remain suspended in air for relatively long periods.  Current thinking is that infectious particles larger than 5 microns fall to the ground quickly, but particles smaller than 5 microns may remain in air longer, travel further, and be infectious at larger distances from an infected person.  So staying 3 feet or 6 feet away from a person with flu will not be sufficiently protective.  Typical infection control for flu in healthcare facilities usually involves contact and droplet precautions, for spread over short distances only.

However, this study suggests this may be inadequate, if airborne transmission is a major contributor to spread.  Prevention of airborne (fine aerosol) transmission requires special air handling and the use of negative pressure rooms.  Visitors to the rooms of flu patients will be at risk.

Twenty-two of the University of Maryland subjects with influenza had received flu vaccinations during both the current season and the previous season.  Surprisingly, this group had significantly greater shedding of viral RNA in fine aerosols, compared to subjects who had not been vaccinated in the current or prior season.  This raised the question whether vaccination might actually increase the spread of influenza.  Hopefully other research groups will pay attention to this finding and help confirm or disprove it.

Is this year's flu a major killer or an annoyance?/ CDC

Probably the best data on the severity of yearly influenza epidemics comes from deaths in children, because there is mandatory reporting of each death as related to influenza.  Flu-related deaths in adults are reported as due to flu (very few), pneumonia (more) or underlying chronic medical illnesses that contributed to death during or after a bout of flu.  So what CDC does is estimate adult deaths, instead of counting them.

This is a bad flu season in terms of the number of people affected, since few of us had prior immunity to this year's influenza A H3N2 strain.  But at this point in time (and I think this flu epidemic is starting to die out) it looks like the number of pediatric deaths is about average.

UPDATE:  As of February 5, CDC reports there have been 53 pediatric deaths associated with influenza in the entire US this flu season.  This is about average.  The US has about 74 million children.

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm

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