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11/28/2011

Army medical reservists to get simulation training...? #RochMn

The U.S. Army Reserves are taking a look at Mayo Clinic's Multidisciplinary Simulation Center and considering the possibility of rotating all medical reservists through training here in Rochester, Minnesota.

It's not a done deal yet, and other centers nationwide have been looked at.

But be sure to read today's print edition of the Post Bulletin, or use your online subscription at PostBulletin.com, to see who's paying attention to a pilot project conducted by Col. Walter Franz and his team.

Also, Franz says he's been alerted to another possible deployment, this time to Afghanistan. His team has previously served in Iraq.

DSCF2925
[Reservists check an assessment tool that helps determine treatment guidelines for a child with traumatic injuries. Spec. Michael Larson of Rochester is at center, wearing glasses. Please click to enlarge. Photo by Jeff Hansel. Copyright.]

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the PostBulletin.com, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel

11/17/2011

Norovirus returns.... #RochMN

More than 100 students stayed home from John Adams Middle School here in Rochester, Minnesota Wednesday (November 16, 2011).
The reason? The most-common foodborne illness in the country — a suspected flare-up of norovirus.
School officials indicate they plan to take aggressive action to interrupt spread of the virus — right before the upcoming holiday by:
• Restricting the sharing of foods brought from student's/staff's homes
• Cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces with cleaners effective 
against Noroviruses.
• Reviewing our food handling procedures with staff.

Noroviruses "are a major cause of gastrointestinal illness in closed and crowded environments, such as hospitals, nursing homes and cruise ships," according to MayoClinic.com. 

"Our school has been receiving increasing reports of students and staff 
experiencing symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea that may be attributed to 
Norovirus which has been circulating in the community recently," a letter to parents and guardians of John Adams students says.

Put your fork down and steel your stomach before your read the next sentences if you're just in the middle of a meal. 

"Noroviruses commonly spread through food or water contaminated by fecal matter during preparation," Mayo Clinic notes. Yep, that's right, you get sick by eating the stool somebody else neglected to wash off his hands after he used the toilet.

The winter 2008/2009, the last majore norovirus occurrence, was "one of the worst Norovirus virus seasons in Olmsted County in 25 years." 

At that time, about 100 to 200 people became ill during four specific outbreaks, plus "many, many" additional individuals who were sickened in the community as a result.

In 2009, Olmsted County listed these still-relevant symptoms on its website that include "severe and frequent projectile vomiting and/or multiple bouts of diarrhea that last about 1 1/2 to 2 days for most people and occur approximately 30 to 36 hours after exposure. Abdominal pain, nausea and headache are also common symptoms, but fever is mild or absent."

Mayo Clinic suggests symptoms can start as early as 24 hours after exposure.

"Norovirus symptoms may last a few days, but most people recover completely without treatment," the clinic advises. "However, in some people — especially infants, older adults and people with underlying disease — vomiting and diarrhea can be severely dehydrating and require medical attention."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes norovirus spreading from person-to-person via food, water and contaminated surfaces touched by an infected person.

If you're getting ready to host holiday guests, this is a good time to think about how you'll keep your loved ones from getting sick. Food safety advocates remind you to scrub your hands really well (sing Happy Birthday twice per wash and dry hands with paper towel) between each different food item you are preparing. Maybe you'll decide to wear gloves. But you'll still want to wash your hands vigorously.

But be sure to change gloves them between menu items so you don't cross contaminate.
Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
If you're serving buffet-style, consider placing tongs, spoons or forks with each serving plate — even with snacks like potato chips or fudge bars. Or, have one person with super-clean hands circulate chair-to-chair with a serving plate and use tongs to serve from the serving plate onto each person's dish.

Offer hand sanitizer bottles at strategic locations. And when you get ready to serve you can call out, "everybody wash your hands and we'll sit down to eat!"

The CDC says food handlers who are sick can easily spread norovirus to many people. So it's especially important if you're going to host a holiday party, offer to help out or work in a restaurant to make sure your hands are well scrubbed or that you wear gloves, especially if you've already been sick.

"Noroviruses are found in the vomit and stool of infected people from the day they start to feel ill, and the virus continues to be present in the stool for as long as 2 to 3 weeks after an infected person feels better," the CDC says.

So wash you hands, wash your hands, wash your hands! <--- say with the rhythm of dash-away, dash-away, dash-away all! Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands — all!

John Adams offered additional resource, including the CDCMinnesota Department of Health (651-201-5414) and Olmsted County Public Health (328-7500).

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the PostBulletin.com, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel

11/01/2011

Pulse on Health transfers to Twitter... #RochMN

I thank readers who have followed the Pulse on Health blog the past couple of years.

We have decided at the Post-Bulletin that the blog will continue to occasionally be used for breaking news — and for items that might not fit into the print edition.

You'll see far fewer blog posts in the future.

But please instead continue to follow me on Twitter @JeffHansel.

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the PostBulletin.com, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel

Mayo Clinic working on glaucoma gene therapy... #RochMN

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News is reporting that Mayo Clinic has entered a legal agreement with Great Britain's Oxford BioMedica "to develop a gene therapy for treating chronic glaucoma."

"The partners will carry out preclinical work to test the feasibility of using a therapeutic based on Oxford BioMedica’s LentiVector® gene delivery system…for use in reducing intraocular pressure," the industry news group writes. "The collaboration builds on research by Mayo Clinic scientists that has demonsrated initial proof-of-concept for the gene therapy approach."

When a company gets exclusive rights to license Mayo technology, the income from those intellectual property rights has the potential to bring Mayo millions of dollars — in addition to improving quality-of-life for affected patients.

According to MayoClinic.com, glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause optic nerve damage and loss of vision.

"Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness," the clinic reports. "Sometimes called the silent thief of sight, glaucoma can damage your vision so gradually you may not notice any loss of vision until the disease is at an advanced stage."

That's why, the clinic notes, you should get your eyes checked regularly, with ocular pressure tested.

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the PostBulletin.com, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel

10/31/2011

Dayton: Minnesota will lead health reform.... #RochMN

The office of Governor Mark Dayton announced a short while ago that he has signed an executive order establishing "a Vision for Health Care Reform in Minnesota."

"The order charges the Minnesota Health Care Reform Task Force, along with members of the Governor's Cabinet, to develop an action plan for reforming how we deliver and pay for health care in Minnesota," the announcement says.

Dayton focuses on Minnesota's historical leadership in health care and says "we must continue to innovate, and there is real urgency to our mission."

"Health care costs are rising at unsustainable rate, undermining the budgets of Minnesota families, businesses, and our state and federal government budgets," Dayton is quoted as saying. "The status quo is not good enough; we need to find new ways to delivering better quality health care at a lower price.  The mission of this task force is to provide recommendations about how we best can accomplish this."

His office notes that Minnesota will use the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, but "seize the initiative and set our own course for how we want to reform health care."

The Minnesota Department of Commerce will create a state "health insurance exchange."

"We know that we can get control of health care costs and also improve quality if we fix the incentives so that we pay for healthy outcomes," Dayton was quoted as saying.

Mayo Clinic here in Rochester, MInnesota has long advocated paying for health-care "value" (high quality health care at lower cost with better, safer patient outcomes).

Dayton's task force has these priorities:
• Improve access to health care for all Minnesotans
• Lowers health care costs by reforming how we pay for health care and changing the incentives, so we encourage preventative care and reward healthy outcomes, not sickness.
• Improves the health of all Minnesotans and address the huge health disparities that plague our state.

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the PostBulletin.com, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel

Ghostbusters...!!! #RochMN

Here's a "frightfully" awesome display from some local kids here in Rochester, Minnesota as they participate in a flash mob attack in Halloween costumes Saturday.

They hit the scene in the downtown and attracted a crowd of spectators each time they danced during the weekend.

This 8 p.m. effort, I can tell you (since I was only wearing a jacket) was pretty chilly.

Congratulations to the kids — and their parents — for a job well done.

Download Flash Halloween dancing in the dark

 

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the PostBulletin.com, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel

10/30/2011

Deer hunter falls — 1 in 3 will during lifetime from tree stand....

Trauma surgeon Dr. David Ciresi at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin says he sees about 10 patients each year with "major injuries related to treestands — head or spinal cord injury, broken bones or hypothermia."

Those injuries, he says in a Health System public service announcement, "are 100 percent preventable."

"Nationally, one out of three hunters will fall out of their tree stand sometime during the course of their lifetime and, believe it or not, it's always preventable," Ciresi says in his "Have a Safe Hunt" video.

The only way to protect yourself, he says, is to prepare ahead of time. Key, he says, are tips that include:
• Tell someone where you're going in case you fall and break your neck. That way, if you can't reach for your cell phone, someone will know you're there.
• Draw a map for that person if it's an unfamiliar hunting area.
• Use a 5-point harness.
• Make sure that you're continuously strapped to the tree, especially when you're cold and tired and ready to leave.
• Always keep 3 points of contact on the tree (2 feet and 1 hand or 2 hands and 1 foot).
• Actually put on your harness — every time.
• Carry a global positioning system and a cell phone.
• Get good sleep and avoid alcohol the night before so you don't get drowsy (which can lead to injury).
• Know your limitations. If you're too heavy or too weak, a tree stand might not be appropriate for you. A ground blind can be just as effective.

Recognize that Ciresi's title TRAUMA surgeon means if this happens to you it's going to be serious and it's going to hurt. 

Better to instead watch his video and prevent your loved ones from ever getting a call that you've been injured seriously in a fall. Ciresi loves bow hunting himself. 

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the PostBulletin.com, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel

10/29/2011

4 & 8 p.m. TODAY kids' Halloween flash mob... #RochMN

Seems like there's always something to do to stay entertained here in Rochester, Minnesota.

Having fun is part of a healthy quality of life.

So if you're in Rochester for medical care this weekend, and wishing you had something fun (and scary?) to do for a little while before your appointments next week, perhaps you'll get a chuckle visiting the Peace Plaza between the University of Minnesota Rochester and Mayo Clinic's Gonda Building. Locals will enjoy it too.

A local group has organized "flash mobs" of kids dressed as Halloween characters. They plan to show up again today (Saturday, October 29, 2011) at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

To find the event, look for the historic Plummer Building (the amber-colored brick building in the downtown skyline).

Walk up to the big metal doors (the ones with all the artwork imprinted) and go left around the buildings to the other side.

Before you get to the Peace Plaza (where the dove fountain is) you should spot kids in costume starting to show up a little before the hour each time.

At 1 p.m., the kids waited until the appointed hour and when music started playing, they started a well-rehearsed dance number, falling to the ground at first and then getting up to dance to the tune "Ghost Busters."

Fun to watch, and they drew more than 100 onlookers!

Feel free to take your own kids along (in costume or not), and wear your own costume if you want. Several adult onlookers were dressed up for the occasion. 

IMG00206   IMG00207

[Cell phone images of the 1 p.m. Halloween costume "flash mob" in downtown Rochester. Photos by Jeff Hansel. Please click to enlarge. Copyright.]

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the PostBulletin.com, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel

10/28/2011

Mayo Clinic Mall of America running clinic....

The Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center plans a Running Clinic at the Mall of America this coming weekend:
• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 29, 2011
• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Individual appointments are designed to help runners and walkers at any level help enhance performance and avoid injury during training," says an announcement from the clinic.

Gateway at the Mall of America CLINICAL CARE
[Mayo Clinic's Mall of America clinical offices across from its retail store in Bloomington. Photo by Jeff Hansel. Copyright.]

Included in the two-hour, $250 session is in-depth analysis of your current gait and shoes and assessment of physical conditioning, "including strength, flexibility, and range of motion."

"A review of your running or walking form is conducted through videotaping and areas for improvement are identified," says a clinic announcement. "Following the consultation, you will receive instruction in pain and injury reduction strategies, as well as recommendations on how to make the most of a running or walking experience."

Appointments were still available as of Thursday by calling 952-854-6996.

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the PostBulletin.com, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel

10/27/2011

Mayo Clinic Distinguished Alumni Awards... #RochMN

Mayo Clinic's national headquarters here in Rochester, MInnesota has announced the recipients of the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

The awards started in 1981, when the Mayo Board of Trustees created them "to show appreciation for the exceptional contributions of Mayo alumni to the field of medicine. Individuals who receive the award have been recognized nationally and often internationally in their fields."

Recipients include:

Dr. Richard Brubaker
Emeritus professor of ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.

 

Brubaker "has played a large role in shaping the science of ophthalmology through research and patient care, the future of ophthalmology through mentorship of students and staff, and the progress of Mayo Clinic through administrative service."

 

Dr. Gene Hunder
Emeritus professor of internal medicine

"From his contributions to the clinical definition of the condition to groundbreaking pathogenic studies, Dr. Hunder is known worldwide for the research and treatment of vasculitis. He is particularly recognized and respected for his work in giant cell arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica," says the Mayo announcement.

 

Dr. Keith Kelly
Emeritus professor of surgery

According to Mayo, Kelly's "contributions affected the practice of surgery and supported patient-oriented research. Dr. Kelly is an internationally known gastrointestinal surgeon and an expert in gastrointestinal motility. He performed innumerable studies on the clinical feasibility and effects of anal sphincter preserving operations and continence-producing operations after total colectomy."

Dr. Guillermo Ruiz-Argüelles
Director general, Centro de Hematologia y Medicina Interna de Puebla, Clinica Ruiz
Director, Teaching and Research Division, Laboratorios Clinicos de Puebla, Clinica Ruiz
Professor of Hematology, Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla and Universidad de las Americas Puebla

He is "an internationally recognized hematologist who has made significant contributions to the management of patients with leukemia, lymphoma and aplastic anemia. His interests in hematology span from clinical care of hematologic malignancies to stem cell transplantation."

Pulse on Health
By Jeff Hansel, member Association of Health Care Journalists
Health Reporter for the PostBulletin.com, 18 1st Ave. S.E. in Rochester, Minnesota 55904 
Twitter Hansel's Pulse: @Jeff Hansel