The bacteria-fighting super element that’s making a comeback in hospitals: copper
Ancient Egyptians used copper to sterilize chest wounds and drinking water. Greeks, Romans and Aztecs relied on copper compounds to treat burns, headaches and ear infections. Thousands of years later, the ancient therapeutic is being embraced by some hospitals because of its ability to kill bacteria and other microbes on contact, which can help reduce deadly infections.
At least 15 hospitals across the country have installed, or are considering installing, copper components on “high-touch” surfaces easily contaminated with microbes — faucet handles on sinks, cabinet pulls, toilet levers, call buttons and IV poles.
“We’ve known for a long time that copper and other metals are effective in killing microbes, so it wasn’t a great leap to incorporate copper surfaces into hospitals,” said John Lynch, medical director of infection control at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, which is redesigning a waste-disposal room to incorporate copper on light switches and door handles.
For many hospitals, the death of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan last year at a Dallas hospital heightened concerns — two nurses caring for him caught the virus because of poor infection control. And even before that, public health officials had identified nearly two dozen dangerous pathogens — many of them resistant to virtually all antibiotics — whose spread in health facilities and elsewhere could result in potentially catastrophic consequences.
They include MRSA, a potentially deadly infection that is increasing in community settings; VRE, which can cause a variety of infections; and C. diff, which causes life-threatening diarrhea and sends 250,000 people to the hospital every year.
On any given day, about 1 in 25 patients in acute-care hospitals has at least one health-care-associated infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumonia and surgical-site infections are among the most common. In 2011, about 75,000 patients with health-care-associated infections died in the hospital.
Hospital officials aren’t the only ones interested in copper. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport installed drinking fountains retrofitted with antimicrobial copper surfaces. In Colorado Springs, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s flagship training center uses custom dumbbells with antimicrobial copper grips. So do two professional hockey teams, the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues. Even a Chick-fil-A in Morganton, N.C., installed antimicrobial copper on restroom door handles.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/the-bacteria-fighting-super-element-making-a-return-to-hospitals-copper/2015/09/20/19251704-5beb-11e5-8e9e-dce8a2a2a679_story.html?utm_term=.4fd4c2fe2627 (emphasis added)
My most dearest Shosh and Jaialai:
Can you believe I still wake up most mornings at 2:00 or 3:00 A.M.? It sucks. On rare occasions, I do sleep through the night. But, I still don’t most nights. On a more positive note, at least these days, sleep returns without too much delay. In the old days, given all the work and all the stuff on my mind, sleep rarely returned, and I usually got up to start my day at that ungodly hour.
Habits die hard. So, try to create good habits for yourselves.
Manners and hygiene are of utmost important. It still grosses me out when I see the number of people who do not wash their hands after using the bathroom, blowing their noses, etc. Remember,
I digressed. Manners are important habits to cultivate, but, today, I want to talk about another habit I want you to cultivate: the refusal to blindly follow the latest fads in all things. Our forebears have much wisdom from which we can learn. It is important to give their lessons credence because those lessons have withstood the test of time whereas what’s fashionable today rarely holds true tomorrow.
Marketers, celebrities, and talking heads these days are paid to pitch their wares. Some of the latest discoveries are head and shoulder above what came before, but this is not always true. Caveat emptor . Buyers beware.
It behooves you to do your research and analysis of the new to determine whether it is actually better than the old, and in what circumstances. Because of time constraints and the volume of new stuff we are bombarded with each and every day, a reasonable strategy is to stay with what’s tried and true until the new item has proven itself safe in the crucible of time. Aspirin, for example, is a tried and true pain reliever that presents few negative effects. On the other, new research continue to discover new dangers relating to newer pain relievers, like Tylenol. For example,
Acetaminophen in Pregnancy Tied to ADHD Risk in Kids
Acetaminophen is considered the go-to pain medication during pregnancy. But a new study adds to evidence linking the drug to an increased risk of behavioral issues in kids.
Researchers in Norway found that among nearly 113,000 children, those whose mothers used acetaminophen during pregnancy were slightly more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The link was, however, confined to longer-term use — particularly a month or longer.
When moms used acetaminophen for 29 days or more during pregnancy, their kids were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, versus women who did not use the drug.
Drugmaker set to profit from an opioid it said was unsafe
It’s not uncommon for drug companies to try to keep generic versions of their best-selling drugs off the market. But this is a story about a drug company that went to extraordinary lengths to do so, calling into question the safety of a drug it had sold for years. When its plan didn’t work, the company made an unusual decision.As the opioid epidemic grew, Endo Pharmaceuticals took the extraordinary step in 2012 of pulling a version of one of its best-selling painkillers off the market, saying that the narcotic was susceptible to abuse.Endo even unsuccessfully sued the US Food and Drug Administration that year to prevent the approval of any generic version of its drug, called Opana ER. The drugmaker argued that given a chance, drug abusers would crush and snort the generic pills, just as they had with the brand-name drug. Snorting intensifies the high but heightens the chance of overdosing.It seemed as though a drug maker was taking selfless action to try to curb the growing opioid epidemic. But some industry observers say the story of Opana ER may better illustrate the lengths a drug company would go to in order to protect its profits.Endo introduced a new formulation of Opana ER before phasing out the old one, selling two versions of the drug at the same time. Both drugs had the same active ingredient, oxymorphone. Both were extended-release pills for long-lasting effects. Both were called Opana ER.The difference was that the new version had a few different inactive ingredients, including a hard coating that made the pills harder to pulverize. Even so, addicts quickly learned how to cook the new painkiller and inject the liquid with a syringe.Endo contended that the new Opana ER and its hard coating deterred abuse, but this summer, the FDA disagreed. In June, the regulatory agency concluded that the risks of new crush-resistant Opana ER outweighed its benefits and pressured Endo to stop selling it. It was the first time the FDA had taken steps to stop sales of a currently marketed opioid because of the consequences of abuse.President Trump alluded to the drug last week when declaring the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. “We’re requiring that a specific opioid, which is truly evil, be taken off the market immediately,” he said.Endo agreed to halt shipments of Opana ER starting September 1. But that’s not the end of the drug’s story.Endo still has the patent on the original version of the drug, the one it fought to keep off the market. The FDA’s action this summer didn’t impact the crushable version Endo stopped selling in 2012.So on August 8, Endo cut a deal with Impax Laboratories to split the profits of a generic version of its original drug. Endo is now poised to make money from a drug that it said shouldn’t be on the market.
Take the Generic, Patients Are Told. Until They Are Not.
It’s standard advice for consumers: If you are prescribed a medicine, always ask if there is a cheaper generic.
Nathan Taylor, a 3-D animator who lives outside Houston, has tried to do that with all his medications. But when he fills his monthly prescription for Adderall XR to treat his attention-deficit disorder, his insurance company refuses to cover the generic. Instead, he must make a co-payment of $90 a month for the brand-name version. By comparison, he pays $10 or less each month for the five generic medications he also takes.
“It just befuddles me that they would do that,” said Mr. Taylor, 41.
A spokesman for his insurer, Humana, did not respond to multiple emails and phone calls requesting comment.
With each visit to the pharmacy, Mr. Taylor enters the upside-down world of prescription drugs, where conventional wisdom about how to lower drug costs is often wrong.
Consumers have grown accustomed to being told by insurers — and middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers — that they must give up their brand-name drugs in favor of cheaper generics. But some are finding the opposite is true, as pharmaceutical companies squeeze the last profits from products that are facing cheaper generic competition.
Out of public view, corporations are cutting deals that give consumers little choice but to buy brand-name drugs — and sometimes pay more at the pharmacy counter than they would for generics.
The practice is not easy to track, and has been going on sporadically for years. But several clues suggest it is becoming more common.
In recent months, some insurers and benefit managers have insisted that patients forgo generics and buy brand-name drugs such as the cholesterol treatment Zetia, the stroke-prevention drug Aggrenox and the pain-relieving gel Voltaren, along with about a dozen others, according to memos and prescription drug claims that pharmacies shared with ProPublica and The New York Times. At the same time, consumers are sounding off on social media.
Fools rush in. Don’t follow them. Don’t cede control to marketers and talking heads. As you can see from the above public exposure, they do not have your best interests at heart.
Always act with purpose. You have control over you, not anyone else. Think. Stay safe.
All my love, always,
P.S., I leave you with the following tried and true home remedies.
Kitchen cures doctors swear byWhether you have a head cold, an upset stomach, or an itchy rash, fast (cheap!) relief may be sitting on your kitchen shelf.True, some home remedies are simply old wives’ tales, but others have stuck around for generations because they actually work, says Philip Hagen, M.D., preventive medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic. Try grabbing one of these healing ingredients to ease that minor ailment.HoneyUse it for: Minor cuts and burns, cough or sore throatHow it works: Most of us have tried honey in tea to soothe a scratchy throat, but it’s also been used to treat wounds for thousands of years. Last year, a review of research found that honey is helpful in healing minor to moderate burns, and a recent Dutch study identified a protein called defensin-1 that gives the goo its antibacterial action.Try this: Apply warm honey to a minor cut (one without a lot of bleeding) or mild burn, then put a gauze bandage on top; change the dressing daily. However, if you have a burn or wound that’s accompanied by swelling, fever, or pain, or if the wound is deep, check with a doctor instead; it may require oral antibiotics.Nick yourself a lot? Pick up raw manuka honey at the health-food store. Research shows this type has particularly potent antibacterial properties, says Robin Schaffran, M.D., a dermatologist in Beverly Hills, California.SaltUse it for: Sinus congestion, sore throatHow it works: “When you mix salt into water at a stronger concentration than the salt water in our bodies, it helps draw fluids out of tissues,” explains Hagen. You can use this “hypertonic” solution to clear up stuffy sinuses and ease a sore throat.Try this: To make a hypertonic solution, dissolve half a teaspoon of non-iodized salt in an 8-ounce glass of water. For a sore throat, simply gargle the water. To flush out your sinuses, fill a clean, dry squeeze bottle, bulb syringe, or neti pot with the salt water, lean over a sink, and squeeze or pour it into your nostril.Hagen cautions that you should use only sterile bottled or distilled water in your nose, or tap water that has been boiled and then cooled. (Reportedly at least two people died last year after clearing their sinuses with neti pots using unfiltered tap water that contained a dangerous microbe.)Peppermint teaUse it for: Indigestion, stomachacheHow it works: The oil found in the peppermint leaf and its stems calms the muscles of the digestive tract, allowing gas to pass more easily and relieving indigestion, Hagen says. Steer clear of peppermint tea, though, if your pain is caused by reflux — you’ll know from the acidic, burning feeling in your chest. (It can actually aggravate this problem by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter, which lets stomach acids flow back into the esophagus.)Try this: Brew a cup of peppermint-leaf tea and drink up.Meat tenderizerUse it for: Bee stings, nonpoisonous spider bitesHow it works: Meat tenderizer contains papain, an enzyme that breaks down proteins (like the ones in your T-bone steak). But papain can also break down toxins from bug bites and cut back on itching, Schaffran says.Note: Use tenderizer only on mosquito bites, bee stings, and nonpoisonous spider bites. If you experience symptoms such as nausea, difficulty breathing, or cramping in your abs or lower back, seek medical help immediately.Try this: Mix a small amount of meat tenderizer with water to make a paste and apply to the bite. Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.OatmealUse it for: Eczema, sunburn, hivesHow it works: Oats pack phytochemicals with anti-inflammatory properties that soothe itchy and inflamed skin, a study in the Archives of Dermatological Research shows. Most M.D.’s recommend using the finely ground colloidal type sold in drugstores, but any unflavored oatmeal will help.
Try this: If you’re using regular oatmeal, grind it into a fine powder, Schaffran says. Put a cup of oats through a food processor until they dissolve easily into a glass of water. Pour the solution into a bathtub full of warm water and soak for 15 minutes. Using colloidal oats? Just sprinkle them into the tub and say ahhh.
Despite dubious claims, manuka honey may be antibiotic powerhouse
Manuka honey is often touted as a “superfood” that treats many ailments, including allergies, colds and flus, gingivitis, sore throats, staph infections, and numerous types of wounds.Manuka can apparently also boost energy, “detox” your system, lower cholesterol, stave off diabetes, improve sleep, increase skin tone, reduce hair loss and even prevent frizz and split ends.Some of these claims are nonsense, but some have good evidence behind them.Honey has been used therapeutically throughout history, with records of its cultural, religious and medicinal importance shown in rock paintings, carvings and sacred texts from many diverse ancient cultures.Honey was used to treat a wide range of ailments from eye and throat infections to gastroenteritis and respiratory ailments, but it was persistently popular as a treatment for numerous types of wounds and skin infections.Medicinal honey largely fell from favour with the advent of modern antibiotics in the mid-20th century. Western medicine largely dismissed it as a “worthless but harmless substance“. But the emergence of superbugs (pathogens resistant to some, many or even all of our antibiotics) means alternative approaches to dealing with pathogens are being scientifically investigated.We now understand the traditional popularity of honey as a wound dressing is almost certainly due to its antimicrobial properties. High sugar content and low pH mean honey inhibits microbial growth, but certain honeys still retain their antimicrobial activity when these are diluted to negligible levels.Many different types of honey also produce microbe-killing levels of hydrogen peroxide when glucose oxidase (an enzyme incorporated into honey by bees) reacts with glucose and oxygen molecules in water. So, when honey is used as a wound dressing it draws moisture from the tissues, and this reacts to produce hydrogen peroxide, clearing the wound of infection.The antimicrobial activity of different honeys varies greatly, depending on which flowers the bees visit to collect the nectar they turn into honey. While all honeys possess some level of antimicrobial activity, certain ones are up to 100 times more active than others.
How is manuka different to other honey?Manuka honey is derived from the nectar of manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) trees, and it has an additional component to its potent antimicrobial activity. This unusual activity was discovered by Professor Peter Molan, in New Zealand in the 1980s, when he realised the action of manuka honey remained even after hydrogen peroxide was removed.