Month: April 2024

West Virginia confirms first measles case since 2009

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia hospital has confirmed the first known case of measles in the state since 2009, health officials said Monday.

The Monongalia County Health Department said WVU Medicine alerted officials Sunday that an adult patient living in the county tested positive for the viral infection. Health officials have not pinpointed exactly where and how the patient was exposed but said the person had recently traveled abroad.

The patient — who was partially vaccinated against measles, having received one of two doses — had developed symptoms, sought medical treatment through the WVU Medicine system and was instructed to stay home while awaiting lab results.

One of the world’s most contagious diseases, measles can lead to potentially serious complications.

Dr. Brian H. Huggins, the county health department’s incoming health officer, said the department is working with the hospital to identify people who came into contact with the patient.

“We really want to emphasize that this is an illness that people should take very seriously,” Huggins said.

Nationwide, measles cases this year already are nearly double the total for all of 2023, raising health experts’ concerns about the preventable, once-common childhood virus. Health officials have confirmed measles cases in at least 17 other states so far this year, including cases in New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documented 113 cases as of April 5. There have been seven outbreaks and most U.S. cases — 73% — are linked to those flare-ups.

Still, the count is lower than some recent years: 2014 saw 667 cases and 2019 had 1,274.

Most U.S. cases are brought into the country by people who traveled where measles is far more common.

Huggins said West Virginia has not seen a case since 2009 largely due to

Is this the most disgusting health advice ever? Home cook torn to shreds over ‘healthy’ alternative to pasta and noodles

A home cook has been slammed by hundreds for sharing a ‘disgusting’ low-carb alternative to noodles or pasta.

The man behind the ‘Keto Diet & Low-Carb Recipes’ Facebook page boasted about finding the ‘miracle’ dish having been on a keto diet for more than three years.

The home cook sliced a Guerrero low-carb tortilla, poured boiling water over the top then drained it to make low-carb soggy ‘noodles’. 

But the simple meal left others gagging with one labelling it as an ‘abomination’ and another declaring it as the ‘worst thing they’ve ever seen’.

Each tortilla contains 2g of carbs, high fibre, no sugar or fat and 50 calories – far less compared to pasta or noodles. 

A home cook used tortilla strips to make a 'healthy' version of pasta and noodles (pictured)

A home cook used tortilla strips to make a ‘healthy’ version of pasta and noodles (pictured) 

To make dish he poured boiling water over the tortilla strips, then drained it and sprinkled some spices on top. But the simple meal left others gagging with one labelling it as an 'abomination' and another declaring it as the 'worst thing they've ever seen'

To make dish he poured boiling water over the tortilla strips, then drained it and sprinkled some spices on top. But the simple meal left others gagging with one labelling it as an ‘abomination’ and another declaring it as the ‘worst thing they’ve ever seen’ 

‘Never have I ever dreamed of eating real noodles on keto. Three plus years and I’ve just discovered this miracle,’ the post read.

After sharing the method he wrote: ‘Whala, fresh noodles. I added some butter, garlic powder, chili flakes, salt and pepper. I feel like I am straddling two worlds.’

Without context the food looks like a sad, bland plate of pasta that’s been lightly seasoned.

The recipe was laughed at by other home cooks who were left in disbelief.

The recipe was laughed at by other home cooks who were left in disbelief (stock image)

The recipe was laughed at by other home cooks who were left in disbelief (stock image) 

‘This is an

Nova Scotia Health contacting 2,690 patients after privacy breach

Nova Scotia Health said it will be contacting 2,690 patients after their personal information was “inappropriately accessed” at Saint Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish, N.S.

“We are extremely disappointed that an employee of Nova Scotia Health would engage in activity of this nature. Nova Scotia Health will not tolerate any unauthorized access or snooping,” Derek Spinney, the health authority’s chief financial officer and vice-president of corporate services, told reporters on Friday.

Spinney said an employee connected to the privacy breach was fired. Only one person is believed to be involved with the breach, Spinney said. He wouldn’t say what the person’s role was, but did reveal it was “not clinical in nature.”

The health authority said the suspicious activity was identified in September 2023 and the person was suspended immediately and removed from their role. The person was officially fired in November.

The reason these details are only being made public now is because the health authority said it needed to do a “fulsome investigation” to figure out whose data was compromised and what specific information was accessed.

“That’s why we’re spending a lot of time making sure we know exactly what was touched so that we can contact each of the 2,690 people individually to work through this with them,” Spinney said.

Registration, demographic and clinical info accessed

In a news release, the health authority said registration, demographic, and clinical information was accessed.

Clinical would include things like lab test results, imaging results and notes related to an emergency visit or inpatient stay. 

Demographic information would include names, addresses, emails, phone numbers, health card numbers, emergency contact or next of kin, and the names of primary care providers. It would also include registration information, including the reason a person is at the hospital, their initial health assessment and the

Our Helpful Guide to Shopping for Vegan Clothing

More than ever, compassionate shoppers are opting to buy the high-quality, animal-free fashions that are currently flooding store shelves. With such easy access to kind fashion, there’s never been a better time to rid your closet of animal-derived materials. Here’s a quick and easy guide to help you identify the cruel materials in your closet so that you can purchase animal-free, vegan clothing and accessories the next time you shop.

Leather and Exotic Skins

What are they?

Leather is the skin of animals, such as cows, pigs, goats, kangaroos, ostriches, cats, and dogs. Often, leather items aren’t labeled accurately, so you never really know where (or whom) they came from. Snakes, alligators, crocodiles, and other reptiles are considered “exotic” in the fashion industry—they’re killed, and their skins are made into handbags, shoes, and other items.

What’s Wrong With Them?

Most leather comes from cows killed for beef and milk, so it’s a coproduct of the meat and dairy industries. Leather is the worst material for the environment, too, as it not only shares responsibility for all the environmental destruction caused by the meat industry but also pollutes the Earth with the toxins used in the tanning process. Whether it’s from cows, cats, or snakes, no animals need to die so that humans can wear their skin.

Brands and Materials to Wear Instead

Most major brands offer animal-free leather these days, from affordable options from stores such as Top Shop and Zara to high-end designers such as Stella McCartney and bebe. Look for “vegan leather” on clothing, shoe, and accessory tags. High-quality animal-free leather is made from many different materials, including non-animal microfibers, recycled nylon, polyurethane (PU), and even plants, including mushrooms and fruit. And bio-fabricated leather grown in laboratories is coming to a shelf near you soon!

Model wearing vegan leather

Wool, Shearling, Cashmere,

Racism, discrimination may lead to First Nations patients leaving emergency rooms: Alberta study

Systemic racism and inequity in health care may be contributing to why First Nations patients in Alberta disproportionately leave emergency departments without being seen, or against medical advice, according to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The peer-reviewed paper builds on a previous one that found nearly seven per cent of First Nations patients’ visits to emergency departments ended in them leaving without care, compared to nearly four per cent of visits by non-First Nations patients.

The team examined provincial administrative data for more than 11 million emergency department visits in Alberta from 2012 to 2017, controlling for patients’ ages, geography, visit reasons and facility types.

“First Nations people, when we control for all of these other factors, have higher odds of leaving without completing care,” said Patrick McLane, an adjunct associate professor in the University  of Alberta’s department of emergency medicine. He co-authored the study.

The researchers also asked 64 health directors, emergency-care providers and First Nations patients to comment on their quantitative findings through sharing circles, a focus group and telephone interviews from 2019 to 2022.

A man in a white shirt sits in an office.
Patrick McLane, an adjunct associate professor at the University of Alberta, has been studying the quality of emergency care for First Nations patients. (Peter Evans/CBC)

McLane co-led the study with Lea Bill, the executive director of the Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre. Elders and First Nations partner organizations helped shape the study and interpret its results.

Racism and stereotypes

Study participants, while commenting on the quantitative findings, raised a number of reasons why First Nations patients leave emergency departments without receiving care.

They shared stories of providers discriminating against First Nations patients and relying on stereotypes about them.

One participant, who was quoted in the study, reported walking out of one health care facility and visiting another 

Generative AI Is Going To Shape The Mental Health Status Of Our Youths For Generations To Come

In today’s column, I am continuing my ongoing series about the impact of generative AI in the health and medical realm. The focus this time is once again on the mental health domain and involves the startling realization that generative AI is indubitably aiming to shape the mental health of our current and future generations. Kids and teens today and in subsequent generations will be using generative AI as a normal part of their everyday lives, including using ordinary generative AI to be their 24×7 always-on mental health therapist.

Let that soak in for a moment.

It is a sobering thought.

I have previously examined numerous interleaving facets of generative AI and mental health, see my comprehensive overview at the link here. You might also find of notable interest a CBS 60 Minutes episode that recently examined crucial facets of this evolving topic, see the link here (I was interviewed and appeared in the episode).

Other useful background includes my coverage of mental health chatbots that have been bolstered by generative AI (see the link here) and the rapidly changing nature of the client-therapist relationship due to generative AI at the link here. I explored where things are headed regarding the levels of AI-based mental therapy autonomous guidance at the link here, and showcased the importance of the World Health Organization (WHO) report on global health and generative AI at the link here, and so on.

Let’s unpack today’s focus.

Slowing And Inextricably Rolling Forward In Plain Sight

Here’s the deal about existing and upcoming generations of our youths.

With the advent of seemingly fluent generative AI that gained widespread attention via the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022, there are teens

In Canada’s mental health care crisis, prioritize access to medication

Opinion: First phase of proposed national pharmacare legislation doesn’t include medicines for mental illness. Will Canadians living with mental illness continue to be marginalized in future phases?

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In Canada, a country celebrated for its fair and universal health care system, a significant disparity exists today around the accessibility of medicines for mental illness. This inequity not only underscores a critical gap in our health care model, but it also highlights the need for an improved mental health approach in all Pan-Canadian initiatives, including future national universal pharmacare.

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Survey finds Canadians want modernized health care system

Canadians frustrated by lack on connectivity in healthcare system

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A new healthcare survey from Canada Health Infoway has found Canadians are growing more frustrated with the healthcare system’s lack of seamless communication and information. 

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The Canadian Digital Health Survey, based on 2023 data, found that 42 per cent of Canadians experienced gaps in “care coordination and clinical communication.” The need to repeat information to different health care providers was a frustration expressed by many, according to the survey. 

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Just one half of those Canadians surveyed said their healthcare providers had access to their health history prior to a visit.  In Saskatchewan, 60 per cent of those surveyed said they have access to their Personal Health Information (PHI) electronically. 

The data shows that Canadians are “overwhelmingly in favour” of modernized care, according to a Canada Health Infoway media release. The extensive survey points to the need for “Connected Care” – a more connected, collaborative and healthier system that enables “the seamless flow of health data across information systems.”

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Such a system would give patients the ability to access and manage their health information more efficiently, giving them a more active and informed role in their own care.

A more integrated system would also give doctors a more complete picture of a patient’s health history, and seamless communication and collaboration “at the point of care and across care teams.”

The data shows that four our of five Canadians surveyed agreed their health information should be electronically shared among all healthcare practitioners.  Roughly the same number

Ice Age Fashion: The Murky Origins of Neanderthal Clothing

The Neanderthals had a good run. They were around from at least 200,000 years ago to about 42,000 years ago, only a couple millennia after they began to interbreed with modern humans. After that window, all physical traces of them disappeared

Throughout that period, though, Neanderthals would have certainly experienced some cold weather — so much that it’s unlikely they would have walked around completely naked. In fact, some research has shown that the temperatures were likely too cold in parts of Europe during certain eras for any inhabitants to have survived without wearing clothes or making use of shelter, like sleeping under fur bed covers.

The trouble is, clothing isn’t made from materials that typically last very long, even tens of thousands of years before the rise of fast fashion. And evidence like needles has yet to be found in association with Neanderthals.

“The archaeological record is very poor in this case,” says Abel Moclán, an archaeologist at the Regional Archaeological Museum in Madrid.

That record is so poor that some research suggests Neanderthals didn’t wear clothes at all. Scientists studying the DNA of body lice, which live in clothing but feed on humans, found that the insects only originated about 72,000 to 42,000 years ago, when modern humans migrated out of Africa. This may suggest clothing wasn’t around beforehand.

Still, despite the lack of much direct evidence of Neanderthal clothing, researchers have found some indirect signs that reveal what our near-hominid cousins may have worn to keep warm — or show off their own unique style.

Neanderthals May Have Hunted Carnivores for Their Furs

One major line of evidence involves the remains of carnivores, which are rarely associated with Neanderthal sites compared to the remains of herbivorous animals. Notably, hominids didn’t seem to consume much carnivore meat

Quebec Health Department reports 28 cases of eye damage linked to solar eclipse




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