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New hope for kids battling kidney disease

 

Researchers are optimistic that new study pinpointing some of the reasons kidney disease progresses to kidney failure in children could eventually keep many kids off dialysis and transplant lists. Photo credit: Irvin Calicut/Wikimedia Commons.

Researchers are optimistic that new study pinpointing some of the reasons kidney disease progresses to kidney failure in children could eventually keep many kids off dialysis and transplant lists. Photo credit: Irvin Calicut/Wikimedia Commons.

By Mona Shand, Michigan News Connection

New hope is on the horizon for children suffering from chronic kidney disease, thanks to the results of a study that, for the first time, identifies some of the factors that can lead to kidney failure.

Dr. Bradley Warady was the co-principal investigator on the study, which looked at nearly 500 children with chronic kidney disease over 10 years.

Warady says many people don’t realize that kidney disease can have a profound effect on a child’s growth and development.

“Not only can you develop an inability to remove waste products and fluids, but you may be very short, you may have poor nutrition, you may have poor growth,” he explains. “So it impacts the global development of the child.”

Warady adds the risk factors investigators uncovered, including high blood pressure anemia, and protein loss, are treatable, and the hope is that addressing those issues will keep kidney disease from progressing so that children can avoid having to go through dialysis or even transplants.

Warady points out chronic kidney disease is not as common in children as it is in adults, but it can be much more challenging to treat.

He says the good news is that many of the underlying issues investigators uncovered can be successfully managed.

“If we can do that, maybe, I can’t say for sure yet, but maybe we have a chance of altering the progression or the worsening of chronic kidney disease,” he says.

The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, is published in National Kidney Foundation’s American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

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Lynch Syndrome hereditary cancer awareness week

 

From the Michigan Dept. of Community Health

For the first time, the entire week of March 22-28, 2015 has been proclaimed Lynch Syndrome Hereditary Cancer Awareness Week by Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) to promote the importance of Lynch Syndrome (LS) screening for newly-diagnosed colorectal cancer patients and their families.

Lynch syndrome, also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), is an inherited disorder associated with higher risks of developing colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, pancreatic, and other types of cancer. Approximately 1 in every 35 colorectal cancer patients has LS. First-degree relatives of LS patients have a 50 percent risk of having the condition as well.

The efforts to increase LS awareness in Michigan are supported by a newly-awarded cooperative agreement between MDCH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The five-year project expands existing state resources to advance partnerships, work with policymakers, and educate health providers and the public about LS and genetic screening, with the ultimate goal of reducing overall cancer death rates in the state.

“Lynch Syndrome Hereditary Cancer Awareness Week launches our efforts to put needed focus on hereditary cancers caused by this condition,” said Matthew Davis, Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive. “One of the Healthy People 2020 genomics objectives is to increase the number of newly-diagnosed colorectal cancer patients who receive genetic counseling and evaluation for LS. Our state is already at the forefront of cancer genomics in public health, and the new agreement with the CDC helps us expand the scope of our work to achieve this goal.”

Genetic testing for LS helps determine whether a patient’s colorectal cancer is inherited and whether family members have a higher risk of developing LS-associated cancers. Having this knowledge is the first step in early intervention and cancer prevention measures that could protect the health of at-risk relatives.

“My mom had both uterine and colon cancer when she was 54; she is now 79. Thirteen of her family members died of cancer, most of which were Lynch syndrome-related,” said Sherry Berry, a Lynch Syndrome cancer survivor and advocate. “About five years ago, when I was 48, I was found to have colon cancer. My doctor asked if I wanted genetic testing, and I was found to have Lynch syndrome. If I had known I had LS earlier, my stage 3 colon cancer could have been prevented. Maybe I wouldn’t have needed chemo and wouldn’t have had complications that led to a forced retirement. If my mom’s relatives had known about LS earlier, maybe more would be alive today.”

Based on national evidence-based recommendations, LS screening should be considered for Michigan patients who are newly-diagnosed with colorectal cancer, for the benefit of family members. In addition, Michigan residents are encouraged to discuss their family health history with their healthcare providers to assess if they are at risk for hereditary cancer conditions such as Lynch syndrome.

“Know your family history and make sure your doctor knows your family history. It is of vital importance that doctors act now on critical family history information by considering referral to cancer genetic services,” added Berry. “This action can save lives! If cancer runs heavily in your family, be sure to tell your doctor and consider genetic counseling and testing.”

For more information about Lynch syndrome or hereditary cancer, visit http://www.cdc.gov/Features/LynchSyndrome or www.lynchcancers.org.

The MCGA maintains a list of Michigan clinics that provide cancer genetic counseling and test coordination. To see the directory, visit https://migrc.org/Library/MCGA/MCGADirectory.html.

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Hospice cat therapy

Amy Hansen with her pet cat, Cricket. Courtesy photo.

Amy Hansen with her pet cat, Cricket. Courtesy photo.

A Greenville woman is using her cat to bring comfort to those facing the end of life.

Amy Hansen, of Greenville, recently brought her therapy cat, Cricket, to a local nursing home. She was immediately greeted by a resident who was excited to pet Cricket and share stories of her own cats. The woman told Hansen about the habits her cats had, the color of their fur, and other details, all while petting and snuggling Cricket. When the resident finally walked away, the facility director told Hansen that was the first time the woman had spoken in weeks.

The health benefit of therapy pets includes boosting ones immune system, decreasing feelings of anxiety, and increasing verbal and non-verbal communication. Knowing this, Hospice of Michigan seeks out therapy pet volunteers to help provide comfort and companionship to patients.

Hansen, who has volunteered with HOM for more than a year, is well versed in therapy pets. Several years ago, when her grandmother was living in an assisted living facility, Hansen trained two of her dogs to be therapy pets so they could visit with her grandmother.

“I immediately noticed the joy my pets brought to my grandmother and the other residents,” Hansen explained. “Things can become very routine in a nursing home or assisted living facility and when a therapy pet visits, breaking up that routine, the residents and staff really respond.”

When Hansen attended an HOM volunteer meeting last year and learned there was a need for therapy animals, she knew she wanted to help. Hansen knew that training a dog for a therapy pet would be a big undertaking and she wondered if she could train her cat. After some research, Hansen found Love on a Leash®, which provides certification procedures for therapy pets, including not only dogs, but also cats and rabbits, who have shown that they have the proper temperament to work with people.

Hansen immediately began the certification process, which involved having a veterinarian verify that Cricket was up-to-date on vaccines, was house trained, could travel in a car, wear a harness and had a good temperament with people. After a few supervised visits at a local nursing home, Cricket was certified and became a registered pet therapy animal.

“People typically don’t think of cats as pet therapy animals,” Hansen explained. But once I started looking into it, I realized this has become very popular and is happening all over the world.””

Cricket has one-on-one visits with hospice patients in facilities and private homes. He also makes a weekly community visit to a local assisted living facility. Hansen and Cricket regularly travel beyond Greenville, making stops in Howard City, Lakeview, Rockford and Grand Rapids.

As a HOM volunteer, Hansen has gone through HOM training courses that help her know how to talk with patients and make them feel comfortable, something that can be challenging. Hansen notes that Cricket has made this process easier for her and the patients she visits with.

“There can be a lot of sadness and stress in hospice care, not just for the patient, but for the family and facility staff,” said Hansen. “Cricket can help relieve that stress and bring out feelings of happiness, which allows patients to open up to me and start a conversation. With Cricket’s help, I get a lot of stories and smiles.”

If you would like to learn more about Hospice of Michigan, call 1-888-247-5701or visit www.hom.org.

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Parents: spring chicks may carry Salmonella

 

From the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture

Health officials at the Michigan Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and Community Health (MDCH) are warning parents that baby poultry may carry Salmonella, a common bacteria found in the droppings of poultry, which can cause illness in people.
“Raising birds can be a great experience, but children need to be supervised and wash their hands after handling chicks and other poultry,” said MDARD State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill. “Even birds appearing healthy can carry bacteria which can make people sick.”

“Live poultry, especially baby poultry, can carry Salmonella germs, so it’s important to not keep them in the house and to wash your hands immediately after touching poultry or anything in the area where they live or roam,” said Dr. Matthew Davis, MDCH Chief Medical Executive. “Treating poultry like you would a pet increases the risk for Salmonella infection in a household.”

Salmonella can make people sick with diarrhea, vomiting, fever and/or abdominal cramps lasting 4-7 days or more.

People should always assume baby chicks carry Salmonella and should follow these recommendations to protect themselves and others:
1. Children younger than five-years-of-age, older adults, or people with weak immune systems should not handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry because they are more likely to become severely ill.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.

3. Use hand sanitizer until you can wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

4. Chicks should have a heat lamp and should be kept in a barn or garage, in a draft-free cage that keeps predators out.

5. Always keep poultry away from areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens, or outdoor patios.

6. Do not kiss the chicks

7. Do not touch your mouth, smoke, eat, or drink after handling live poultry.

8. Clean all equipment such as cages, feed, water containers and other materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry outside the house.

For more information, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonellababybirds/

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Pine Rest Offers A Substance Use Disorder Family Recovery Group

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 5, 2015) – Pine Rest is offers a family recovery group led by certified advanced alcohol and drug counselors Pamela Huffman and Stacey Williamson-Nichols for those with a loved one struggling with a substance use disorder.

To attend the group people must attend a required orientation, which is held weekly on Tuesdays at the Pine Rest campus Retreat Center at 5 p.m. The group sessions are held every Tuesday from 5:30-7 p.m. and one topic per session is taught over a 10-week period.

Besides developing an understanding of addiction, participants will learn ways to cope, set appropriate boundaries, build self-esteem and assertiveness skills. The recovery group places an emphasis on the family or support person of an individual struggling with substance use. The goal is to keep the people supporting their loved one healthy and knowledgeable.

The Family Recovery Group is open to the public for a fee of $30 per session, and free of charge to family members who have a loved one participating in Pine Rest’s residential detox and the Retreat Center services at Pine Rest. Orientation is free for everyone. The Pine Rest Retreat Center address is 300 68th Street SE, Grand Rapids. To register, please call 616/258-7467.

 

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EarthTalk®

E – The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What is the “National Food Policy” that environmentalists and foodies are asking President Obama to enact by Executive Order, and how would it affect American diets?

  — Justin Brockway, Los Angeles, CA

 

Existing federal guidelines for the U.S. diet, known as MyPlate, recommend that half the food we eat should be fruits and vegetables, yet these foods are granted less than one percent of farm subsidies.

Existing federal guidelines for the U.S. diet, known as MyPlate, recommend that half the food we eat should be fruits and vegetables, yet these foods are granted less than one percent of farm subsidies.

A November 2014 op-ed piece in The Washington Post entitled “How a National Food Policy Could Save Millions of American Lives” makes the case for President Obama to sign into law an executive order establishing a national food policy for managing the nation’s food system as a whole.

Authored by food writers Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan, along with Union of Concerned Scientists’ Ricardo Salvador and United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, the op-ed states that because of unhealthy diets, a third of our kids will develop Type 2 diabetes—a preventable disease that was formerly rare in children.

“Type 2 diabetes is a disease that, along with its associated effects, now costs $245 billion, or 23 percent of the national deficit in 2012, to treat each year,” the authors note. “The good news is that solutions are within reach—precisely because the problems are largely a result of government policies.” The authors cite Brazil and Mexico—countries they consider “far ahead of the United States in developing food policies”—as examples for positive change: “Mexico’s recognition of food as a key driver of public health led to the passage last year of a national tax on junk food and soda, which in the first year has reduced consumption of sugary beverages by 10 percent and increased consumption of water.”

While the White House has not responded in any way to the suggestion thus far, the article’s message that the current food system has caused “incalculable damage” remains alarming.

Whether or not to pass our own tax on junk food and soda in the U.S. has been the subject of much debate in recent years. Some say it’s deceitful to suggest that a tax on sodas is necessary to curb obesity and Type 2 diabetes when numerous other unhealthy options like sugary caffeinated beverages, candy, ice cream, fast food and video games that promote sedentary behavior would still be widely available. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Public Economics suggests that soft drink taxation leads to a moderate reduction in soft drink consumption by children and adolescents; however “this reduction in soda consumption is completely offset by increases in consumption of other high-calorie drinks.” Furthermore, in 2010, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg stated that “an extra 12 cents on a can of soda would raise nearly $1 billion,” which suggests that government officials expect people to continue buying soda despite the tax.

Even though passing a soda tax has proven to be controversial, The Washington Post op-ed clearly points out the federal government’s contradictions concerning food. Existing federal guidelines for the U.S. diet, known as MyPlate, recommend that half the food we eat should be fruits and vegetables, yet these foods are granted less than one percent of farm subsidies. Meanwhile, more than 60 percent of subsidies go toward corn and other grains. The result, the op-ed states, is the “spectacle of Michelle Obama warning Americans to avoid high-fructose corn syrup at the same time the president is signing farm bills that subsidize its production.”

EarthTalk® is produced by Doug Moss & Roddy Scheer and is a registered trademark of Earth Action Network Inc. View past columns at: www.earthtalk.org. Or e-mail us your question: earthtalk@emagazine.com.

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Nutrition choices made easy in the grocery aisle

Poached Eggs with Serrano Ham and Garlic Asparagus

Poached Eggs with Serrano Ham and Garlic Asparagus

(BPT) – Should you buy eggs instead of cereal? Popcorn in place of pretzels? For consumers seeking “better-for-you” foods at the grocery store, these types of decisions can feel overwhelming, and for some, time-consuming.

With the help of the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System, making healthier decisions at store shelves becomes easier and quicker. Developed by a team of recognized experts, led by Dr. David Katz of the Yale Griffin Prevention Research Center, the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System was created as a direct response to America’s rapidly rising rates of obesity and diabetes in both adult and child populations. This team advocated the development of an independent and simplified nutritional scoring system to help improve public health.

The easy-to-use NuVal Nutritional Scoring System provides foods throughout participating grocery stores with a score of one to 100, 100 being the most nutritious. Scores are determined by an independent team of nutrition and medical experts who analyze more than 30 nutrition factors such as vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids, saturated fat and calories. The experts do the research, so consumers can feel better about their food choices.

“Choosing the right foods at the grocery store can make or break your healthy meal plan for the week,” says registered dietitian Tammy Lakatos Shames. “When walking the aisles, pick up wholesome foods that are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients. For example, Eggland’s Best eggs are the highest-scoring egg on the NuVal scale and the only egg I recommend to my clients and serve my family due to their superior nutrition!”

Check out the foods Tammy recommends for your shopping cart next time you hit the grocery store:

* Fruits and vegetables top the list

With a score of 100, vegetables like broccoli and asparagus receive a perfect score due to their nutritional benefits. They provide important nutrients including vitamin A, which helps protect against infections, dietary fiber which helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease, and folate, which helps the body form red blood cells.

* Seafood catches top scores

Fishing for healthy foods? Try wild Atlantic salmon filets, which have a score of 96 on the NuVal scale. This fish selection offers calcium, which helps build strong bones, and phosphorus, which helps with digestion. Fish is also a great source of minerals such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium and potassium.

* Eggs crack the NuVal Code

Eggs are a complete protein that keeps you full to prevent snacking and also include important nutrients your body needs throughout the day. Out of 56 brands of eggs reviewed, Eggland’s Best eggs scored the highest at 85. Compared to ordinary eggs, Eggland’s Best eggs contain four times more vitamin D, 10 times more vitamin E and double the omega 3s.

Find fresh and nutritious recipe ideas, including this Poached Eggs with Serrano Ham and Garlic Asparagus, at www.egglandsbest.com or www.pinterest.com/egglandsbest.

Poached Eggs with Serrano Ham and Garlic Asparagus

Ingredients:

8 Eggland’s Best Egg, large

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1 1/2 pounds medium asparagus spears, trimmed

1/2 cup chicken broth

Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

4 large slices from round loaf of crusty Italian bread, toasted (3/4-inch thick)

4 ounces very thinly sliced Serrano ham

1/4 cup finely shredded Manchego cheese

1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley

Ground Spanish paprika

Directions:

In large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic; saute 1 minute or until very lightly browned. Remove garlic with slotted spoon; reserve for later use. Add asparagus and broth to hot oil; simmer 3 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning asparagus occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Fill a large pot halfway with water. Add white vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low. Break Eggland’s Best eggs into custard cups, one at a time. Gently slide eggs into hot water, in 2 to 3 batches. Poach eggs 3 to 4 minutes or until egg whites are firm and yolks are slightly thickened. Remove eggs with slotted spoon.

Place toast on 4 serving plates. Top each evenly with Serrano ham, asparagus spears, asparagus broth and 2 poached eggs. Sprinkle with cheese, parsley and reserved garlic. Drizzle plates evenly with remaining 2 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with paprika.

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Child tested negative for measles

HEA-measles-infographic-web

The Kent County Health Department reported last Friday that an infant in Kent was being tested measles. The Michigan Department of Community Health reported Monday, February 23, that preliminary test results were negative for the disease. A child was also tested in Allegan County, and that also came back negative.

The KCHD reported that clinical information received from the treating physicians, for the Kent County child, was consistent with a rash illness, but not fully consistent with measles. Parents self-isolated the child based on CDC recommendations as a precaution.

“There are inconsistencies in the child’s symptoms compared to the case definition of measles. Still, this situation should remind all of us that community-based vaccination programs provide important protection for babies that are too young to receive the vaccine themselves,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department.

“All residents should make sure they are up-to-date on their MMR (Measles–Mumps–Rubella) vaccines and boosters. Contact your health care provider if you have questions/concerns.”

Measles was confirmed in an Oakland County adult late January, which may have been related to a recent Disneyland outbreak in California. “As we are seeing with the recent outbreak in California, measles is a highly communicable disease that can affect both children and adults,” said Dr. Matthew Davis, Chief Medical Executive with the MDCH. “The best way to protect our families and communities against measles is to get vaccinated.”

Measles is a vaccine-preventable respiratory infection that can result in hospitalization, pneumonia, encephalitis, and death. Measles starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat. It’s followed by a rash that spreads over the body. Measles virus is highly contagious virus and spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. Because measles is highly communicable, vaccination is the best line of defense, and successful prevention and control requires high levels of immunity in all communities.

Last year, there were a total of five measles cases in Michigan. From 2001–2012, the average number of measles cases reported nationally per year was about 60. According to the CDC, last year there were 644 cases in the United States, and the vast majority of cases were among persons who had no history of vaccination against measles. Between January 1 and February 20, 2015, there have been 154 cases reported in 17 states and Washington DC.

The measles vaccine is highly effective and very safe. Adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of the vaccine. The first of two routine childhood measles vaccine doses is given at 12 months of age. For international travel, infants as young as 6 months should be vaccinated against measles. The vaccination, or documentation of immunity to measles, is recommended for all persons travelling internationally.

For more info, visit www.cdc.gov.

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Affordable health screenings 

 

HEA-LifeLineScreeningFebruary 28, at Solon Center Wesleyan

Residents living in and around the Cedar Springs, Michigan can learn about their risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and other chronic, serious conditions with affordable screenings by Life Line Screening. Solon Center Wesleyan Church will host this community event on Saturday, February 28. The site is located at 15671 Algoma in Cedar Springs.  Steve Hennigar of Oscoda, MI attended a Life Line Screening and said, “I’m sure Life Line Screening saved my life.”

Screenings can check for:

  • The level of plaque buildup in your arteries, related to risk for heart disease, stroke and overall vascular health.
  • HDL and LDL Cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes risk
  • Bone density as a risk for possible osteoporosis
  • Kidney and thyroid function, and more

Screenings are affordable, convenient and accessible for wheelchairs and those with trouble walking. Free parking is also available.

Packages start at $149, but consultants will work with you to create a package that is right for you based on your age and risk factors. Call 1-877-237-1287 or visit our website at www.lifelinescreening.com. Pre-registration is required.

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Challenges for blind and visually Impaired 

 

Workshop Feb. 20

The ability to see is something that most people take for granted. Vision loss can be devastating as common tasks such as cooking, the ability to drive and reading the mail become difficult.

This can take an emotional toll on a person. The Kent County Disaster Mental Health and Human Services Committee is planning a blind and visually impaired workshop on Friday, February 20, 2015. This interactive workshop is designed to increase awareness of accessibility differences among people who are blind, visually impaired and sighted. Implications for emergency preparedness and response will be explored at the workshop.

Visual impairments are very common and affect all age groups. However, vision loss tends to advance with age. According to CDC, more than one million Americans are legally blind and 12 million are visually impaired. Half of all blindness can be prevented and the risk of blindness can be reduced with early detection and treatment. National and local governments have established programs and regulations to prevent and control visual impairment, as well as developed campaigns with the purpose of educating and creating awareness about the importance of visual function.

“Not all visual impairments are the same, and we need to be prepared for the needs of our community in times of emergency incidents,” explains Adam London, Administrative Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. “It is important for emergency responders and public health staff to have a solid understanding of the various challenges in our community.”

Several speakers will be at the workshop, including a client advocate from the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a sociology professor from Ferris State University and a safety and security coordinator at Clark Retirement Community.

The workshop is open to all community members, public service workers, local officials and many others. The workshop will be at the Kent County Health Department located at 700 Fuller Avenue NE in Grand Rapids on Friday, February 20, from 1:30-4:30 p.m. If you are interested in attending this workshop, please call Pat Draper at 616-632-7292 to reserve your seat.

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