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Healthy Living Starts with What You Eat

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Healthy Living Starts with What You Eat – : TigerTV



During college, it is difficult to live a healthy lifestyle because it is much easier and cheaper to run through a fast food restaurant when you are hungry. However, the road to success starts with the fuel you put in your body.


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    How Cultists, Quacks, and Naturemenschen Made Los Angeles Obsessed With …

    “By 1880, the whole foothill district around Sierra Madre and San Gabriel was ‘one vast sanitarium’,” writes Carey McWilliams in the 1946 book Southern California County: An Island on the Land. People were sicker back then, and Southern California was the place to heal. Things grew here—just look at all the oranges—so it followed that people’s bodies, with all that sun shining on them, would flourish too. This attitude helped create what McWilliams and others have referred to as SoCal’s “cult of the body,” health consciousness and body awareness that often comes at the expense of “tradition, formality, and dignity.” Before the Twentieth Century even began, people in Los Angeles have been okay with doing unusual things and looking a little weird if the end result benefits their overall health and wellness. One effect of this social undercurrent is that it creates the perfect breeding ground for “quackery, pseudo-science, and cults.” In the early years, it was fairly innocent, though.

    [This San Bernardino County sanitarium didn't open until 1905, but you get the picture, via Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection]

    By many accounts, the health food movement in Los Angeles really got going in the late 1920s and 1930s, bolstered by the reliable and understandable vanity of movie stars. Enter Gayelord Hauser, author of such eye-catching titles as Look Younger, Live Longer and the “inventor of the celebrity diet.” (Hauser did have naturopathy and chiropractic degrees.) His advice was a hit with Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and Adele Astaire, among many others. It didn’t hurt that he was handsome and a survivor himself: he claimed to have been saved from tuberculosis by eating eating 36 lemons a day. Not surprisingly, his sane advice—along the lines of “eat more vegetables” or “plain yogurt is good for you”—was mixed in with some solidly fallacious claims, like that blackstrap molasses would cure baldness. But regardless of the science, he’d gotten the endorsement of celebrities, and that helped make health food seem, if not glamorous, then at least more normal.

    ["Miss US TV contestant Sallie Carlisle reads 'Diet Does It' by American nutritionist Gayelord Hauser, circa 1950," via Getty Images]

    In 1921, health pioneer Paul Bragg moved to Los Angeles and opened what he says was the country’s first health food store, in Downtown LA, next to a natural medicine clinic he ran with a colleage. Mid-1920s advertisements for the store that ran in the LA Times read like a mixture of total snake oil salesmanship (“45 Pounds of Fat Removed By Bloodwash”) (bloodwash?!) and sound health advice (“Come hike with us!”). Bragg, though definitely not a cult leader, was certainly a successful figurehead for a movement that was then picking up steam. He signed on to write a column of health tips in the LA Times, he had a radio show about wellness, he did cross-country lecture tours to promote his many books, and he led hiking trips through Griffith Park, which were often attended by shirtless men and women in swimsuits. Bragg’s impact on the movement was immense and he influenced many others who went on to be successful in the field of health and fitness, like the late fitness guru/shockingly-strong-looking old man, Jack LaLanne.

    But the health food movement was not just for go-getting entrepreneurs. Los Angeles was also the epicenter for a super-chill, proto-hippie movement, centered around a Laurel Canyon raw food restaurant and health food store called Eutropheon, started in 1917 by John and Vera Richter. The Richters, German immigrants, were influenced by the “back-to-nature” Lebensreform movement in their native land, and several of their employees were believers in the related Naturemensch movement, which translated into growing long beards, eating raw food, and often living outdoors “in caves and trees, sometimes as many as 15 of them at a time.” All of this was in the late 1940s, way before the 1960s hippie movement got underway.

    ["Gypsy Boots, well-known nature athlete, threatens Miss Bale (left) and Miss London with rock in the head to call attention to his 59th birthday party tomorrow. Mr. Boots will hold annual physical fitness hike to Mt. Hollywood from Fern Dell, Griffith Park. Photo dated August 18, 1970," via Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection]

    Two of the most famous so-called “nature boys” were eden ahbez and Gypsy Boots. A native New Yorker, the musically-inclined ahbez came to the store in 1941 and got a job playing the piano. (He changed his name to be entirely lower case because he believed only the words God and Infinity should be capitalized.) ahbez wrote the song “Nature Boy,” which was recorded and made into a hit by Nat King Cole. He also lived for a while below the first “L” in the Hollywood Sign. ahbez’s friend and fellow Naturemensch practitioner Gypsy Boots was a “fig-chomping, garlic-gobbling”, natural food fan, largely because of a desire to boost his health after his older brother died young of tuberculosis.

    Meanwhile, on a book tour through Cincinnati, Paul Bragg met a man named Jim Baker, who was interested in wellness, health food, and fitness. Before World War II, he’d owned a gym in Ohio; after the war, he and his wife moved to Los Angeles so he could try out for a movie role as Tarzan (he didn’t get it). Instead, in the mid-1950s, Baker opened a health food restaurant called the Aware Inn, that became popular immediately; after 14 months in business, he was ready to open another restaurant. He went on to have many: the Discovery Inn in Topanga, the Old World Restaurant (later a chain), and, in 1969, The Source Restaurant on Sunset. Though many employees from the Aware Inn went on to open their own natural food cafes, thus spreading health food even further, it was The Source restaurant that became something special.

    old world restaurant.jpg
    [The Old World Restaurant on Sunset in 1988 (Baker died in 1975); image via Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection]

    As Baker’s business was booming, he encountered the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, started wearing long white robes, and changed his name to Father Yod or YaHoWa. He was convinced (or at least he told people he was convinced) that God wanted him to have his own children/followers. So it was from The Source restaurant and its healthy agenda that the Source Family took its name and got its start. The group mixed elements of various world religions with health food, healthy living, free love, music, and drugs. What began as a bunch of be-robed longhairs living in a house together and eating raw produce bloomed into a full-blown cult, where members took on “spiritual wives” (Yod himself had 14) and traditional medicine was eschewed—a move that would eventually drive the group out of California, when a child fell ill with a serious infection and ended up at a hospital.

    “If you wanted to create a sort of archetype of the sort of ultimate early seventies, California spiritual cult, you could do no better than the Source family,” says social historian Erik Davis in the recent documentary on the Source Family. What happened there? For so long, LA and health food had been able to coexist peacefully without some kind of freaky-deaky sect breaking out. Maybe it was just a sign of the times. Davis argues that the Vietnam War (and opposition to it) and the rising popularity of psychedelic drugs led to a lot of “Dionysian” activities, but also to an overwhelming feeling throughout society, especially among young people, of being unmoored. Just like those early sick Los Angeles migrants, desperate for any cure.
    · Ask the Experts: Why Does Los Angeles Attract So Many Cults? [Curbed LA]
    · Cults Week [Curbed LA]

    Article source:

    Healthy living focus of ‘Food Day’ at Advocate Sherman Hospital

    Healthy, affordable and sustainable food was the focus of the annual “Food Day” celebration Thursday at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin. The event included a farmers market with vendors made possible through a partnership with the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin’s Harvest Market. It also coincided with national Food Day (officially Friday), which aims to inspire people to change their diets and eat healthy, as well as promote local, state and national entities to improve food policies.

    “Being one of the health care providers in this area, it’s important for us to make those options available to our patients and to our customers,” said Lawerence Synett, public affairs and marketing coordinator for the hospital. Synett estimated between 50 and 100 people visited the event.

    A four-string quartet featuring members of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra filled the lower lobby with soothing music while shoppers perused vendor tables of Breadsmith of St. Charles, Let’s Spice It Up of Carpentersville, Windy Acres Crafts of Elgin, Trogg’s Hollow Farm of Poplar Grove, Sitka Salmon Shares of Galesburg, DA Bee Yard of Carol Stream, and Bema Pa’s Products of Hoffman Estates.

    Licensed dietitians answered questions and provided healthy food recipes and samples. Representatives from Food for Greater Elgin food pantry and Shared Harvest, an Elgin food cooperative, were also in attendance, along with the University of Illinois Extension employees from the St. Charles office.

    To encourage interaction with the vendors, visitors could participate in a scavenger hunt to find the missing ingredients to different recipes, getting their clues from each vendor. They were then entered in a raffle for a $50 gift card good at the hospital gift shop.

    At the Sherman Café, chefs cooked items from the official Food Day cookbook and shared the recipes.

    Cassie Walker of Elgin came by before her breast-feeding class with her 11-month-old daughter, Sagan. “It’s nice to see this side of health care that’s preventive,” she said.

    Article source:

    Health care open enrollment season: Consumer Reports tips – KABC

    The annual open enrollment period for many health insurance plans is now underway, or about to start for others. That’s the time when you can make choices about your health coverage, whether it’s through work, Covered California or a private Medicare plan.

    Consumer Reports has just released its analysis of more than 1,000 health care plans, and offers some important questions to consider before you choose.

    Consumer Reports experts say even though health insurance is tricky, don’t just renew the plan you have.

    “There are some basic things that everyone needs to look at no matter how you get your insurance. One is, What are the cost-sharing provisions of the plan? The deductibles? The co-pays?” said Nancy Metcalf, Consumer Reports.

    And be sure to check the annual out-of-pocket limit. It’s the most you’d have to pay in a year.

    Also, check out which doctors and hospitals are in your plan. Choosing a smaller or narrow network can save money.

    “However, if you have an ongoing relationship with providers who aren’t in the plan, it might not be for you,” said Metcalf.

    And if you take prescription drugs regularly, especially costly ones, study the plan’s formulary (a list of preferred drugs) to make sure yours are covered.

    Consumer Reports has analyzed more than a thousand private, Medicare and Medicaid health insurance plans ranked by the NCQA, a nonprofit quality measurement and accreditation organization.

    “Our rankings look at overall quality, customer service, how well the plans deal with common conditions like asthma or diabetes,” said Metcalf.

    The rankings also spotlight plans that help you avoid overused or unnecessary care, like having a CT scan that you don’t need.

    For those who need to buy health insurance through Covered California, remember the open enrollment period begins November 15 and goes until February 15, 2015.

    You can find the free health insurance rankings on Consumer Reports’ website. They include insurance plans available through employers, as well as private Medicare Advantage plans. The free rankings are available at

    Article source:

    Trinity Dietitian Has Halloween Health Tips – KFYR

    According to the National Retail Federation, the average American will eat 3.4 pounds of candy on, or right after, Halloween. When it comes to sugar consumption and its health-related consequences, that’s a pretty scary fact.

    Four-year-old Tim Leeper is ready for his first time trick or treating, and so is his mother Antonette Leeper.

    “We’re gonna limit him to two to four pieces every day,” said Antonette.

    A rule that Trinity dietitians say is not a bad idea.

    Trinity outpatient dietitian Michelle Fundingsland explained, “Once you get your candy, there’s many different tips that you can do, and it kind of depends on the age of your kids, too.”

    Because every age has different nutritional requirements, and Halloween candy is not likely to meet them.

    “Parents need to teach their kids the importance of nutrition and eating good. Balanced foods before they pick a sugary treat and encourage activity, too, like getting out and playing if you are going to be eating a little extra,” said Fundingsland.

    According to the National Confectioners’ Association, the amount of Halloween candy that kids are expected to eat this year contains about 3 cups of added sugar. That’s over 2,300 calories.
    Fundingsland said, “That’s an issue and that can go along with certain diseases like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”

    But, Halloween doesn’t have to be all about the candy. There are healthier alternatives.

    “Raisins or dried fruit, or non food items like stickers or false teeth,” added Fundingsland.

    Kids would have to walk about 180 miles in order to burn off the calories from all of that sugar. That’s a lot of trick or treating!

    Article source:

    8 Health Tips From The Morgue

    8 Health Tips From The Morgue

    By Stephanie Castillo for Refinery29; Illustrations By Anna Sudit

    The people who handle your postmortem remains — from the funeral director to the (if you so choose) anatomy professor — are in a unique position to make an example of your body. They have access to some very personal information regarding your implants, diseases, and snack habits. Tony Weinhaus, PhD (director of anatomy at the University of Minnesota) and Jennifer Wright (embalmer and director of Sunset Funeral Care) say that working with dead bodies allows them to provide knowledge and comfort to students and the deceased person’s family members, respectively. Wright and Dr. Weinhaus also see firsthand how people’s lifestyles and habits factor into their overall health. 

    “Working with the body, you realize to some degree that it’s a machine,” Dr. Weinhaus says. “Muscles move bones, and the heart is a pump. You can see and appreciate how everything needs to work, [and] how things can go bad pretty easily.” He describes it almost like an eerie episode of Scared Straight: Many of his students don’t think about their own mortality, but when they see diseases lingering in these bodies, they realize very quickly how important it is to prevent chronic conditions — before it’s too late. 

    Related: The Science Of Being Touched Why It’s So Good For You 

    Sure, death isn’t as pretty a source of health inspiration as, say, Pinterest — but, that doesn’t make it any less relevant. Here, Dr. Weinhaus and Wright pull back the morgue curtain and share its real stories and health secrets.


    Heart Disease
    As reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and just about everyone else, cardiovascular disease is the number-one cause of death worldwide. Dr. Weinhaus reports that his students find a significant amount of plaque around the carotid arteries of the cadavers they’re examining. These arteries, which are located in the lower neck, are responsible for supplying blood to the brain. Dr. Weinhaus’ cadavers also reveal signs of other heart complications — such as pacemakers that have been inserted to regulate abnormal heartbeats and rhythms.

    “Cadavers with pacemakers or defibrillators are great teaching opportunities,” he explains. “They stay in, so students can dissect around them and examine how blood traveled to regulate heartbeat.”

    Tip: To avoid heart problems, think preventively. According to WHO, behavioral risk factors are responsible for 80% of coronary heart disease occurrences. Simple lifestyle changes (such as upping fruit and vegetable intake and sweating it out a few times a week) can significantly lower this risk.

    Related: Knee Pain? Where You Hurt How To Fix It


    Obesity Diabetes
    Harvard Health has previously reported abdominal fat can increase risk for cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. “Diabetes has taken away many toes and legs,” says Wright.

    Tip: Kill two birds with one stone (or, rather, keep them alive). A study published in The Journal of Applied Physiology finds that a varied workout program can help decrease body fat and improve blood-sugar levels. And, these workouts don’t always have to fall on the intense end of the spectrum. You’d be surprised what a few downward dogs can do for your core.

    Related: How To Finally Get Over Weird Phobias


    Skin Problems Discoloration 
    Liver conditions such as cirrhosis or hepatitis can lead to jaundice, which causes a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. “The first response is a fatty liver, and the more this tissue is damaged, the smaller and harder the liver becomes, increasing the chances for jaundice,” Dr. Weinhaus explains. The green bile that an inflamed or infected gallbladder emits can also discolor skin. 

    Tip: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women are more at risk for cirrhosis than men. The whole “everything in moderation” thing still rings true, though. Scaling back on those a-little-too-happy hours and greasy foods can do your health a solid.

    Related: The Workout That Wards Off The Flu


    Respiratory Issues
    “There is a staggering difference between smoker and non-smoker lungs,” Dr. Weinhaus says. “Smoker lungs are very black and ugly…students can pinpoint the texture of a developing tumor…and the air sacs in the lungs are just totally destroyed. [It makes] many of my students realize they don’t want to be smokers.”

    Tip: You guessed it! Don’t smoke. If you are a smoker, consider quitting — which, by the way, it’s never too late to do. According to a report published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, older adults who finally put out the habit reduced their risk of stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular disease in as little as five years. Airway inflammation will start to decrease, improving breathing and exercise capacity in the process, says Norman Edelman, MD (former chief medical officer of the American Lung Association) in TIME. Unfortunately, the lungs of a long-time smoker never fully heal, Dr. Edelman adds, especially if the habit has led to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

    Related: The 1 Thing To Do Before Every New Workout


    Alzheimer’s Disease
    “When you look at a brain, those bumps and grooves are known as the gyri and sulci; the crevices in the brain being the sulci,” Dr. Weinhaus says. “In a person with [advanced] Alzheimer’s, the sulci are deeper than they would be in a brain without the disease.” Depression also causes grey-matter reductions,but it’s too subtle of an illness to be physically detected in the body after death. 

    Tip: Science is still working on how patients can stop, or at the very least slow, the progression of Alzheimer’s. However, exercising has previously been linked to improving overall brain health and memory. The same goes for meditation.

    Related: How To Find The Best Fitness Tracker For You


    Cancer is the leading cause of death for clients at Wright’s funeral home. But, beyond lingering tumors and an emaciated body (which can stem from aggressive treatments), cancer can’t always be physically detected in a cadaver. The type of cancer that does have visible markers is esophageal cancer. The esophagus is a tube that moves food from the throat to stomach, and if cancer compromises that tube, surgeons will remove it and rebuild it from parts of your stomach or large intestine, Dr. Weinhaus says. In fact, most of the bodies he has seen in his classroom have had pieces of these organs where the throat would normally be.

    Tip: Cancer Research U.K. recently announced a new initiative that will delve deeper into cancer prevention, since “more than four in 10 cancer cases could be prevented by lifestyle changes such as not smoking, keeping a healthy body weight, cutting back on alcohol, eating a healthy diet, keeping active, and staying safe in the sun.” To Wright, cancer is often due to the fact that “we are such a society of convenience,” often consuming processed, quick-to-make foods. While eating organic has not been proven to reduce cancer, it does mean consuming less additives and chemicals that have been linked to cancer.

    Related: How Much Exercise Do You Really Need?


    Unhealthy Arteries Veins
    Wright doesn’t often see organs as an embalmer; this view is reserved for the medical examiners performing autopsies. However, she does see arteries and veins, and she has never seen healthier ones than those in vegetarians. “A healthy artery is rubbery and cream-colored,” she says. Unhealthy ones, on the other hand, “are more of a red color, and extremely thin and delicate… I have embalmed 90-year-old vegetarians who have arteries that look like they belong to a 20-year-old.” Of course, it’s important to note that correlation doesn’t mean causation; Wright can’t prove that meat consumption itself causes unhealthy arteries.

    Tip: Many people have issues with meat — from the way farmed animals are mistreated to reports that link meat to increased cancer risk. But, we’re not about to tell you to turn a blind eye to burgers. What we will say is that the quality of meat (grass-fed and organic vs. conventional) as well as the amount we eat makes a difference. Plus, the organic variety tends to be more expensive, which can motivate us to limit it to special occasions. Two words: Meatless Mondays. Giving meat up just once a week lessens your risk for chronic, preventable conditions.

    Related: Workout Leggings That Can Also Be Your Halloween Costume


    Mortician Caitlin Doughty’s memoir, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons From The Crematory chronicles her years spent cremating bodies of all ages and all causes of death. Yet it was the bodies with decubitus ulcers — open wounds on the skin — that left a lasting image. Doughty describes these as a “unique psychological horror.” These types of ulcers often come from extended (think weeks) immobility. As a rule, bedridden patients are required to be moved every few hours; without movement, the body will begin to decay while you’re still living, which results in what Doughty calls “football-sized” wounds. She notes that these ulcers often can’t be avoided, since many hospitals and nursing homes are understaffed.

    Tip: While not quite preventative healthcare, choosing a quality care facility is crucial. Sites like and Healthgrades work to help people do just that.

    Article source:

    More health insurance changes on the way

    Employers are increasingly pushing enrollment in high-deductible, low-premium health insurance plans, according to benefits experts, which means it might be time to break out the calculator and reconsider current policies.

    Employees in Chicago and across the country are getting their first looks at what they will be paying for health insurance in 2015 with the start of open enrollment, the annual window in which workers can make changes to their elected benefits, including health insurance. Open enrollment is typically held in October and November each year.

    “Don’t assume that nothing’s changing even if your current option is still available,” said Craig Rosenberg, practice leader of health and welfare benefits at consulting firm Aon Hewitt. “There are probably some new choices that are available for you.”

    Three-fourths of employers aim to offer high-deductible plans coupled with a health savings account in the next three years, and 20 percent will only offer those type of plans, according to data from Mercer, a financial services company with a health and benefits arm. To qualify for a health savings account, a plan has to have a minimum deductible of $1,250 for employee-only coverage and $2,500 for family coverage. Others are offering private health exchanges, which give employees several options for coverage.

    Overall costs likely will rise again in 2015, by about 4 percent, according to Mercer, modest compared with previous years. But some employees are seeing much sharper increases, making high-deductible plans more attractive. Consumers who opt not to obtain coverage, either through their employer or through the federal Affordable Care Act, will also pay more. Those individuals will pay a greater penalty for not securing coverage, increasing to $325, or 2 percent of household income, whichever fee is greater, from $95 this year, or 1 percent of yearly household income.

    High-deductible, low-premium plans are often called consumer-directed health plans and paired with a health savings account that allows workers to pay for eligible expenses with tax-free dollars, experts said.

    Employers have a financial incentive to offer such plans. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers in 2018 that offer plans that cost more than $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family will be charged a 40 percent tax on the amount exceeding the threshold. By raising deductibles and lowering premiums, companies will lower their chance of triggering the tax.

    Beth Umland, director of research for health and benefits for Mercer, said more than one-third of companies would hit that excise tax threshold if they made no changes to their plan offerings.

    Premiums in consumer directed plans typically cost about 20 percent less than a traditional PPO or HMO plan, she said.

    “If you’ve been scared off of consumer directed plans, this might be the year to man-up and take a look,” Umland said. “Employers want to get people into those plans for a variety of reasons. That’s the plan where they see long-term cost control, so to get folks to join it, it’s bargain basement premium contributions.”

    Nancy Coletto, a Chicago-based partner in Mercer’s health and benefits practice, said employer health insurance plans are more likely to add an additional fee for dependents (spouses and adult children) who have access to health insurance at another workplace this year.

    “Health care reform puts more responsibility on employers to cover more of their employees,” Coletto said. “Employers who are now covering more employees may make it more expensive to cover a dependent. Make sure you fully understand what costs are changing. That decision may be different than what it was before.”

    Private exchanges — run by companies like Aon Hewitt, Mercer, Buck Consultants and Towers Watson — are predicted to grow in popularity in coming years, with 33 percent of more than 1,200 companies surveyed by Aon Hewitt saying they would prefer to offer a private health exchange in the next three to five years. Just 5 percent will use a private health exchange in 2015.

    Aon Hewitt started its private exchange program for active employees three years ago with three companies. In 2015, Aon Hewitt anticipates about 30 companies will enroll its exchange, covering 850,000 employees and dependents. Mercer has signed up 170 companies in its private exchange for 2015, covering 975,000 active employees and dependents. The private health exchanges offer a variety of plans, from PPOs, more expensive month to month, to low-premium consumer directed plans.

    “Don’t just buy on price alone,” Rosenberg said, “and instead look at the whole situation. … Look at how much you’ll spend out of pocket when you use the plan throughout the year. … You might find that the lowest-cost plan that you could buy might not end up being the lowest-cost plan with how you would use it.”

    Twitter @ellenjeanhirst

    Tips for health insurance enrollment

    Assess your needs

    How much did you spend on health care out of pocket last year? Ask your health plan provider for your past medical and dental claims to calculate last year’s costs.

    Account for any big changes

    Are you planning to have a baby? Did someone in your family develop a new medical condition?

    Evaluate the network

    Mergers among doctors groups as well as hospital systems are reshaping the provider community, which could affect your choices.

    Decide whether a consumer driven health plan is right for you

    These lower how much money is taken out of each paycheck but leave you with a large deductible if anything happens. Couple this with a health savings account to help pay for out-of-pocket costs.

    Determine whether to put a dependent on the same plan

    If your spouse or adult child has access to health care through another provider, it may be more cost-effective to have him or her enroll with his or her employer plan, depending on fees.

    Take advantage of health and wellness programs

    Some companies offer financial incentives for completing certain questionnaires or various health-related activities.

    Know how your coverage relates to public Affordable Care Act exchanges

    If you’re eligible for health care through your employer, you won’t get federal tax credits to buy insurance through the public exchanges.

    SOURCES: Adapted from materials and interviews with experts from Aon Hewitt, Mercer and the Employee Benefits Research Institute

    Copyright © 2014, Chicago Tribune

    Article source:

    Ebola Today: NYC Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola

    10:00 p.m. ET:
    New York City says they’re prepared.

    New York state and New York City officials, in a press conference Thursday night, outlined the preparations of the city and the timeline of Dr. Craig Spencer, the physician who tested positive for the Ebola virus on Thursday. He had returned to the United States from treating Ebola patients in Guinea 10 days ago.

    “We are prepared to quarantine contacts as necessary. Medical detectives are at work putting together pieces of the timeline,” New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press conference Thursday evening. “Let’s be clear. Ebola is very hard to contract being on a subway car or being near someone who has the disease.”

    “We are as ready as one could be for this circumstance,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference. “What happened in Dallas was actually the exact opposite….We had the advantage of learning from the Dallas experience.”

    Gov. Cuomo also said this instance “is lucky” because the the Ebola patient, Craig Spencer, was a doctor with experience treating people with Ebola and understands how the disease works. Cuomo also said that there are four suspected people who had contact with Dr. Spencer and may be at risk for the disease. The health officials have been in touch with each of these individuals.

    The governor emphasized that the city has been preparing for weeks and “the proof is in the pudding.”

    Dr. Spencer completed work in Guinea on Oct. 12 and arrived in the United States on Oct. 17, said Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health. Spencer was well throughout his journey and arrived in the United States with no symptoms. Bassett said Spencer took his own temperature twice a day.

    On Oct. 21, Dr. Spencer “began to feel somewhat tired” but Bassett emphasized that the first actual symptoms began Thursday between 10 and 11 a.m. this morning with a fever and some other symptoms. He was brought to Bellevue Hospital as a person considered at high risk for Ebola.

    The day before his symptoms began, Spencer went on a three-mile jog and took the New York Subway A train, No. 1 train, and L train. Spencer also went to a bowling alley in Williamsburg and was feeling well at that time except for his feeling of fatigue, according to Dr. Bassett. The bowling alley is closed waiting for inspection by public health officials. Spencer had close contact with his fiance and three friends who are all healthy and being quarantined. One of the contacts is in the hospital. Bassett said Spencer also took an Uber car home, but he had no physical contact with the driver and the driver isn’t considered to be at risk.

    8:30 p.m. ET: Confirmed case in NYC. New York public health officials confirmed Thursday evening that the physician, Craig Spencer, who was admitted to Bellevue Hospital in New York City for Ebola-like symptoms Thursday afternoon, has tested positive for the virus. Spencer returned to New York City 10 days ago from working with Doctors Without Borders treating patients in Guinea. City officials spent the afternoon contact tracing, a process of tracking back every person Spencer may have exposed to the virus.

    The New York Times reported that Dr. Spencer traveled from Manhattan to Brooklyn on the subway Wednesday evening to visit a bowling alley and took a taxi home. He was self-monitoring according to Doctors Without Borders, and reported a temperature of 103 degrees Thursday morning. Health officials are urging that Ebola is not contagious unless the person is displaying symptoms such as a fever, headache, or abdominal pain.

    “As a further precaution, beginning today, the Health Department’s team of disease detectives immediately began to actively trace all of the patient’s contacts to identify anyone who may be at potential risk,” New York Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett said in a statement about the suspected Ebola case Thursday afternoon. “The Health Department staff has established protocols to identify, notify, and, if necessary, quarantine any contacts of Ebola cases.”

    Ashoka Mukpo, the Rhode Island cameraman who returned home this week after recovering from the virus, tweeted the following in light of the news about Dr. Spencer:

    3:30 p.m. ET: Uh oh. A physician is currently being treated at Bellevue Hospital in New York City for Ebola-like symptoms after returning from a recent trip treating patients in the outbreak in West Africa. Doctors Without Borders confirmed with that the patient is a physician who returned from working with Ebola patients in West Africa 10 days ago. CNN is reporting that the patient is a 33-year-old Columbia Presbyterian Hospital employee.

    “The patient was transported by a specially trained HAZ TAC unit wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),” New York Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett said in a statement about the suspected Ebola case Thursday afternoon. “After consulting with the hospital and the CDC, DOHMH has decided to conduct a test for the Ebola virus because of this patient’s recent travel history, pattern of symptoms, and past work.”

    The health care worker has a fever and gastrointestinal problems. City health officials expect the results of a preliminary test in the next 12 hours. After returning from West Africa, the physician regularly monitored his or her health status and notified Doctors Without Borders immediately when Ebola-like symptoms began.

    1:30 p.m. ET: Because we CARE. If you’re traveling to the United States from West African countries afflicted with Ebola, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has prepared a special welcome package for you. Yesterday, the CDC announced that beginning Monday, all travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea will be put under 21-day monitoring by health officials.

    The Check and Report Ebola (CARE) Kit travelers will receive contains a digital thermometer, an Ebola virus symptom card, and a yellow wallet card that instructs travelers about who to contact if they begin to develop worrisome symptoms. The card will also let practitioners know that they are treating someone who has recently traveled from an Ebola-afflicted country.

    CARE Kit from the CDC for all travelers from West African countries afflicted by the Ebola outbreak.

    11:30 a.m. ET: What a sad homecoming. Teresa Romero, the nursing assistant who beat Ebola earlier this week in Spain, was just told by her husband that health officials euthanized her dog Excalibur out of a possible risk that he might spread or contract the virus from his owner. Her husband Javier Limon made a heartbreaking video plea from his isolation before the dog was put down:

    Romero is demanding answers of Spanish authorities. Her husband told El Pais that ‘‘she is asking herself why they killed the dog, who wasn’t to blame for anything.’’

    10:30 a.m. ET: North Korea behaves just as expected. After North Korea spent the past week enhancing inspections and quarantine measures at ports of entry, the country’s state media announced Thursday that all foreign tourists are banned from entering the country starting Friday. The news reached the rest of the world largely through the few tourist companies that coordinate travel to the country.

    “Three days ago, they said that anybody who’s been to West Africa would have to provide a doctor’s certificate stating that they don’t have Ebola,” Gareth Johnson of Young Pioneer Tours, a travel operator based in China, told The New York Times. “And then today, they just said no foreign tourists at all.”

    This isn’t the first time North Korea told the world to get lost. In 2003, the country shut its borders for three months due to the SARS outbreak. It won’t change much for Americans though. The United States State Department has frequently discouraged travel to North Korea, with the latest update in May 2014 warning that American citizens have frequently been detained and arrested there.

    The latest numbers:

    Number of cases worldwide in the current outbreak: 9,936 (Climbed 720 in five days)

    Number of deaths: 4,877 (Climbed 322 in five days)

    Countries currently affected by Ebola: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States of America.

    Countries where the outbreak has ended: Nigeria (Oct. 19), Senegal (Oct. 17)

    And here’s your daily reminder not to panic:

    The likelihood of contracting Ebola in Massachusetts remains very low, according to the state’s public health officials. You have to be in direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids while they are contagious (displaying symptoms of Ebola). Even if someone has been exposed, symptoms may appear in as little as two days, and in as many as 21 days, after exposure. The CDC says the average is 8 to 10 days.

    Ebola symptoms:

    - Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)

    - Severe headache

    - Muscle pain

    - Weakness

    - Diarrhea

    - Vomiting

    - Abdominal (stomach) pain

    - Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

    Need more details? Here’s an MGH physician dropping some knowledge for you.

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    Health Spas Aimed at Teaching Stressed Executives to Unwind

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    Bay Area’s Vaxart seeks to test experimental Ebola vaccine

    • This undated photo made available by the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, shows the Ebola virus viewed through an electron microscope. As of mid-2014, Ebola has caused two dozen outbreaks in Africa since the virus first emerged in 1976.  Photo: Associated Press

    Photo: Uncredited, AP

    Symptoms of Ebola include: Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F), Severe headache, Muscle pain, Weakness, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Abdominal (stomach) pain, Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

    Symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is eight to 10 days. Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient’s immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.

    Symptoms of Ebola include: Fever (greater than 38.6°C or…

    Photo: Jerome Delay, AP

    Transmission: Because the natural reservoir host of Ebola viruses has not yet been identified, the manner in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak is unknown. However, researchers believe that the first patient becomes infected through contact with an infected animal.

    When an infection does occur in humans, the virus can be spread in several ways to others. Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with: blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola; objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus; infected animals

    Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. There is no evidence that mosquitoes or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus.

    Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of sick patients.

    During outbreaks of Ebola, the disease can spread quickly within healthcare settings (such as a clinic or hospital). Exposure to Ebola can occur in healthcare settings where hospital staff are not wearing appropriate protective equipment, including masks, gowns, and gloves and eye protection.

    Transmission: Because the natural reservoir host of Ebola viruses…

    Photo: Paul White, AP

    Risk of Exposure: Ebola viruses are found in several African countries. Ebola was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, outbreaks of Ebola among humans have appeared sporadically in Africa.

    Past Ebola outbreaks have occurred in the following countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Gabon, South Sudan, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Republic of the Congo (ROC), South Africa (imported)

    Risk of Exposure: Ebola viruses are found in several African…

    Photo: Jerome Delay, AP

    Prevention: Practice careful hygiene. For example, wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and avoid contact with blood and body fluids.
    Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids (such as clothes, bedding, needles, and medical equipment).

    Avoid funeral or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola.

    Avoid contact with bats and nonhuman primates or blood, fluids, and raw meat prepared from these animals.

    Avoid hospitals in West Africa where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities.

    After you return, monitor your health for 21 days and seek medical care immediately if you develop symptoms of Ebola.

    Prevention: Practice careful hygiene. For example, wash your hands…

    Photo: Sunday Alamba, AP

    Diagnosis: Diagnosing Ebola in an person who has been infected for only a few days is difficult, because the early symptoms, such as fever, are nonspecific to Ebola infection and are seen often in patients with more commonly occurring diseases, such as malaria and typhoid fever.

    However, if a person has the early symptoms of Ebola and has had contact with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola, contact with objects that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola, or contact with infected animals, they should be isolated and public health professionals notified. Samples from the patient can then be collected and tested to confirm infection.

    Diagnosis: Diagnosing Ebola in an person who has been infected for…

    Photo: Tanya Bindra, AP

    Treatment: No FDA-approved vaccine or medicine (e.g., antiviral drug) is available for Ebola.

    Symptoms of Ebola are treated as they appear. The following basic interventions, when used early, can significantly improve the chances of survival: Providing intravenous fluids (IV)and balancing electrolytes (body salts), Maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure
    Treating other infections if they occur, Experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola are under development, but they have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.

    Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive care and the patient’s immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years, possibly longer. It isn’t known if people who recover are immune for life or if they can become infected with a different species of Ebola. Some people who have recovered from Ebola have developed long-term complications, such as joint and vision problems.

    Treatment: No FDA-approved vaccine or medicine (e.g., antiviral…

    A South San Francisco company is reviving an experimental Ebola vaccine that it previously shelved, joining other companies and health agencies in the rush to contain the deadly disease in West Africa.

    The potential vaccine from Vaxart and promising treatments and tools from scientists in the Bay Area and beyond form a growing response to an international public health emergency that has escalated since March. More than 4,800 people have died in the biggest outbreak of Ebola, which has no approved treatments or vaccines.

    But none of the vaccines under development has been proved to work, nor is it clear how much they could help stem the current crisis.

    In 2012, Vaxart was developing a vaccine that showed improved signs of immunity against Ebola in mice. It stopped testing later that year because the disease at that point had spread too sporadically and in too small numbers to ensure a return on the high cost of investment, the company told The Chronicle in August. Vaxart had said it could not raise funds from the federal government, which sometimes backs biomedical projects that have small commercial markets but could bolster public health and safety.

    This week, however, Vaxart reversed course and said it will ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin a phase I safety trial of its Ebola vaccine in healthy humans early next year. Discussions with federal agencies over the last two months made executives optimistic that the testing process would be sped up and that funding could become available, although no arrangements have been finalized.

    ‘Important role’ for vaccine

    “I think Vaxart could make an important contribution and have a vaccine available in the course of 2015, in theory,” said Dr. Wouter Latour, CEO of the privately held pharmaceutical company, which has about 20 employees. “And I think there’s still an important role to play for a vaccine. I’m hopeful.”

    Other companies are also rushing to test vaccines. Johnson Johnson said Wednesday that it will commit $200 million to a vaccine it is developing with Bavarian Nordic and will make an equity investment of about $43 million in the Danish company to help pay for its part in the project. The companies say they plan to start safety trials in January and produce 1 million doses in 2015.

    Inovio Pharmaceuticals in Pennsylvania and Protein Sciences in Connecticut are also working on vaccines that could be ready to start testing next year.

    The two vaccines furthest along are each being tested in healthy adult volunteers in the United States and outside the main site of the outbreak in West Africa. One was created by the National Institutes of Health and GlaxoSmithKline. The other was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and licensed to NewLink Genetics in Iowa.

    These are all injections. Vaxart’s vaccines, which are being created for a range of diseases, are tablets.

    Latour said the technology’s potential became apparent this month at a scientific conference, where Vaxart said its swine flu vaccine, tested in humans, generated a level of immunity comparable to currently available flu vaccines. “At that point,” Latour said, “we realized we shouldn’t sit on it anymore and should commit resources behind our Ebola program, given the ongoing crisis.”

    Pills are appealing, he said, because they can be easily made, shipped, stored and administered. Unlike injectable doses, they do not need to be cooled below certain temperatures, which can be difficult in areas where medical infrastructure is scarce.

    Latour said the plan is to conduct more animal testing in the next few months in a high-security laboratory in partnership with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

    If approved by the FDA, trials would begin near the end of the first quarter of 2015 in a small group of healthy humans, to first ensure that the vaccine can be taken safely. Those studies would likely be done in the United States, Latour said.

    Provided those go well, the vaccine would next be tested in countries around the world. In a best-case scenario, the pills could be in the field by the end of 2015, Latour said.

    Many challenges await vaccines that have only been tested in animals, said Dr. Charles Chiu, an associate professor of laboratory medicine and infectious diseases at UCSF.

    “We don’t really know about safety,” he said. “We don’t even know if they’ll work, if they’re effective. We don’t know if companies will be able to scale up production even if they end up being approved.”

    Crucial for medical staff

    Vaccines are crucial for protecting doctors and nurses, Chiu said. On the other hand, vaccines may not make it to West Africa soon enough to inoculate the population at large.

    “But it’s certainly not too late for future outbreaks,” he said. “We’ve had several outbreaks — more than 10 in Africa since 1976. This is something that will happen again.”

    Chiu and researchers are examining Ebola patients’ blood samples for biomarkers that can help diagnose patients before they show the telltale symptoms of fever, diarrhea and weakness. Other local scientists and clinicians pitching in include Dr. Dan Kelly of UCSF, who has trained health workers to treat patients in Sierra Leone, and biotech startup OncoSynergy, which has crowdfunded an experiment to see if its potential cancer drug can be harnessed to fight Ebola.

    Nanomix, a 25-employee startup in Emeryville, has developed a diagnostic tool that it says is an improvement over polymerase chain reaction machines, the current means of diagnosing Ebola. These machines can analyze DNA from blood samples with precision, but they require intensive training, take hours to produce results and are heavy.

    In contrast, Nanomix says its light, relatively inexpensive handheld device can analyze proteins in a blood sample and diagnose Ebola in minutes. It can differentiate between diseases with similar symptoms, like Lassa fever.

    “All you need is you need to take (human) blood and put it into the cartridge, stick it into the reader, press the button and it tells you what the answer is,” said CEO David Ludvigson.

    Tulane University researchers have tested the device in Sierra Leone, and it performed well in hospitals there. But more testing needs to be done before the device can be finalized and shipped, and for that, Nanomix would need financial help from the government. Ludvigson estimates the devices could be ready to go in three to six months.

    “While three months sounds like a long time,” he added, “unfortunately, this problem’s not going to go away very quickly.”

    Stephanie M. Lee is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: Twitter: @stephaniemlee

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