Spanish socialist govt moves to let doctors kill sick patients as health care costs rise

MADRID, February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A majority in the lower chamber of Spain’s Congress has voted to consider a bill that would legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in case of “clearly debilitating diseases without a cure, without a solution and which cause significant suffering.”

Spanish daily El País reported that the 350-member Congress of Deputies passed a measure on Tuesday by a vote of 201 to 140, with two abstentions. Following debate in committee, the bill would go to the Senate for a final vote. In its current form, if passed, the law would allow voluntary euthanasia as well as assisted suicide. This is the third time the bill has emerged in Congress, where its proponents hope it will be approved in June.

Assisted suicide means that a doctor prescribes lethal drugs to a patient, who then self-administers the drugs. Voluntary euthanasia can be defined as when a physician or medical professional kills a patient at the patient’s request. Both forms of killing are legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and in the state of Victoria in Australia. Switzerland and some states in the U.S. allow assisted suicide.

Both forms of dealing death would be legalized by the Spanish legislation, which would allow doctors to object on the basis of conscience but require them to refer patients to doctors willing to assist in death. The bill also requires that patients not have to wait more than a month after making a request for either assisted suicide or euthanasia. After two doctors consider an initial request, patients would then make an additional request for approval by a government committee.

The Catholic Church, as well as the Popular Party and Vox Party, has expressed vehement opposition to the bill. From the floor of Congress, Deputy José Ignacio Echániz of the Popular Party accused Spain’s socialist government on Tuesday of seeking to “save money” on care for “people who are expensive at the end of their lives.” He said, “For the Socialist Party, euthanasia is cost-saving measure.”

Euthanasia as cost-saving measure

Echániz said the socialist government is having trouble paying for its welfare policies: “Every time one of these people with these characteristics disappears, there also disappears an economic and financial problem for the government. For each one of these people who is pushed toward death by euthanasia, the government is saving a great deal. Behind this is a leftist philosophy to avoid the social cost of an aging population in our country.”

While offering legislation to improve palliative care, Echániz said it is “curious” that despite Spain’s excellent medical care, socialists are calling for euthanasia rather than “defending life until the last moment.”

Madrid mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida and city chief executive Isabel Díaz Ayuso, both of whom represent the Popular Party, also denounced the bill. In an interview with Antena 3 radio, Díaz Ayuso reproached the socialists for their reasoning, saying, “Death is not dignity; it is death,” and added, “Life is dignity.” The euthanasia bill, she argued, is a “red herring” being offered by her opponents to distract from their failings.

Speaking for the pro-life Vox Party, Rocio Monasterio said in a news conference on Tuesday that Vox will mount strong opposition the bill. “We believe in the dignity of the person,” she said while calling for more resources for palliative care. Vox, she said, defends the dignity of people from conception to natural death, unlike the leftists, who “want to eliminate all those whose lives, according to the Socialist Party, are no longer useful.”

Vox Deputy Lourdes Méndez took to the floor on Tuesday, warning Congress that they had embarked on legislation that resembled Nazi law of the 1930s with which the German Third Reich could legally murder mentally and physically handicapped people who had been judged “unfit.”

Méndez said, “The weakest and most vulnerable would be pressured by the system and would come to feel that they are a burden.” While she also proposed a bill for palliative care, she said, “In the face of suffering, we propose to offer companionship; we propose a culture of care and propose to relieve pain. You propose in the face of suffering to eliminate the sick; you propose death.” Speaking directly to the socialists, she said, “May God forgive you!”

The Spanish bishops’ conference has condemned euthanasia, issuing a document titled “Sowers of Peace” in December, saying that the Tradition and Magisterium of the Church “have been constant in stressing the dignity and sacredness of every human life” and its opposition to legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The Church, the document reads, offers various ways of accompanying the sick and suffering, “shaping the many charisms that have inspired many institutions and congregations dedicated to their care.” This is based on the words of Jesus Christ, who said, “I was sick, and you visited me” (Matt. 25:36), and in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:25–37).

Critics of the leftist euthanasia bill point out that both euthanasia and assisted suicide are beyond the scope of medicine and also violate the Hippocratic Oath, well enshrined in the medical profession, which states: “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.”

In a statement, the Catholic bishops said there is a flawed belief that assisted suicide and euthanasia are acts of autonomy, saying: “[I]t is not possible to understand euthanasia and assisted suicide as something that refers exclusively to the autonomy of the individual, since such actions involve the participation of others, in this case, of health personnel.” Instead of promoting death, Spain should instead embrace palliative care that can ease suffering, they said.

Fr. Pedro Trevijano Etcheverria, a Spanish theologian and columnist, reacted to the vote that came on the day Catholics commemorate the apparition of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes to a simple peasant girl, Bernadette, in 1800s France. The shrine at Lourdes, which is known all over the world for its healing waters, has drawn millions of ailing visitors and their companions for more than a century. Tuesday is also known among Catholics also as the International Day of the Sic, Trevijano Etcheverria mused, pointing out that while the irony of advancing a bill to kill sick people on that day might have been lost on Spain’s leftists, it would be easily recognized by Satan.

This content was originally published here.

Bloomberg: We Can No Longer Provide Health Care to the Elderly

Another video of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has resurfaced. Back in 2011, the billionaire paid his respects to the Segal family for the passing of Rabbi Moshe Segal of Flatbush. During that time, Jewish families undergo Shiva, a 7-day mourning period. Bloomberg stopped by to issue his condolences to the family.

Interestingly enough, the then-mayor used the opportunity to talk about overcrowding in emergency rooms, Obamacare and a range of other issues, The Yeshiva World reported at the time. One of those topics included denying health care to the elderly.

“They’ll fix what they can right away. If you’re bleeding, they’ll stop the bleeding. If you need an x-ray, you’re gonna have to wait,” Bloomberg said. “All of these costs keep going up. Nobody wants to pay any more money and, at the rate we’re going, health care is going to bankrupt us.”

But don’t worry. He believes he has a way of addressing cost concerns.

“Not only do we have a problem but we gotta sit here and say which things we’re gonna do and which things we’re not. No one wants to do that,” he said. “If you show up with prostate cancer, you’re 95-years-olds, we should say, ‘Go and enjoy. Have nice– live a long life.’ There’s no cure and there’s nothing we can do. If you’re a young person, we should do something about it. Society’s not willing to do that, yet. So they’re gonna bankrupt us.”

Who is Michael Bloomberg to decide who should and should not receive health care treatments? He has a ton of money and we know he’d do everything in his power to get the best doctors and treatment available if he or his loved ones became ill. They wouldn’t be told they’re too old or too broke, would they?

And who would be impacted by this decision? At what point is someone too old to treat? 60? 75? 80? What’s the arbitrary number, Mike? Whatever random number you decide on?

What about those who have chronic illnesses, like diabetes or multiple sclerosis? Do they suddenly stop receiving treatment once they hit a certain age, because they’re no longer deemed worthy?

And here I thought Democrats were supposed to want to take care of anybody and everybody. Guess not.

Bloomberg explaining how healthcare will “bankrupt us,” unless we deny care to the elderly.

“If you show up with cancer & you’re 95 years old, we should say…there’s no cure, we can’t do anything.

A young person, we should do something. Society’s not willing to do that, yet.” pic.twitter.com/7E5UFHXLue

— Samuel D. Finkelstein II (@CANCEL_SAM)

This content was originally published here.

American health care system costs four times more than Canada’s single-payer system | Salon.com

The cost of administering health care in the United States costs four times as much as it does in Canada, which has had a single-payer system for nearly 60 years, according to a new study.

The average American pays a whopping $2,497 per year in administrative costs — which fund insurer overhead and salaries of administrative workers as well as executive pay packages and growing profits — compared to $551 per person per year in Canada, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine last month. The study estimated that cutting administrative costs to Canadian levels could save more than $600 billion per year.

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The data contradicts claims by opponents of single-payer health care systems, who have argued that private programs are more efficient than government-run health care. The debate over the feasibility of a single-payer health care has dominated the Democratic presidential race, where candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., advocate for a system similar to Canada’s while moderates like former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg have warned against scrapping private health care plans entirely.

Canada had administrative costs similar to those in the United States before it switched to a single-payer system in 1962, according to the study’s authors, who are researchers at Harvard Medical School, the City University of New York at Hunter College, and the University of Ottawa. But by 1999, administrative costs accounted for 31% of American health care expenses, compared to less than 17% in Canada.

The costs have continued to increase since 1999. The study found that American insurers and care providers spent a total of $812 billion on administrative costs in 2017, more than 34% of all health care costs that year. The largest contributor to the massive price tag was insurance overhead costs, which totaled more than $275 billion in 2017.

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“The U.S.-Canada disparity in administration is clearly large and growing,” the study’s authors wrote. “Discussions of health reform in the United States should consider whether $812 billion devoted annually to health administration is money well spent.”

The increase in costs was driven in large part due to private insurers’ growing role in administering publicly-funded Medicare and Medicaid programs. More than 50% of private insurers’ revenue comes from Medicare and Medicaid recipients, according to the study. Roughly 12% of premiums for private Medicare Advantage plans are spent on overhead, compared to just 2% in traditional Medicare programs. Medicaid programs also showed a wide disparity in costs in states that shifted many of their Medicaid recipients into private managed care, where administrative costs are twice as high. There was little increase in states that have full control over their Medicaid programs.

As a result, Americans pay far more for the same care.

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The average American spent $933 in hospital administration costs, compared to $196 in Canada, according to the research. Americans paid an average of $844 on insurance companies’ overhead, compared to $146 in Canada. Americans spent an average of $465 for physicians’ insurance-related costs, compared to $87 in Canada.

“The gap in health administrative spending between the United States and Canada is large and widening, and it apparently reflects the inefficiencies of the U.S. private insurance-based, multipayer system,” the authors wrote. “The prices that U.S. medical providers charge incorporate a hidden surcharge to cover their costly administrative burden.”

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Despite the massive difference in administrative costs, a 2007 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Canada’s health authority found that the overall health of residents in both countries is very similar, though the US actually trails in life expectancy, infant mortality, and fitness.

Many of the additional administrative costs in the US go toward compensation packages for insurance executives, some of whom pocket more than $20 million per year, and billions in profits collected by insurers.

“Americans spend twice as much per person as Canadians on health care. But instead of buying better care, that extra spending buys us sky-high profits and useless paperwork,” said Dr. David Himmelstein, the study’s lead author and a distinguished professor at Hunter College. “Before their single-payer reform, Canadians died younger than Americans, and their infant mortality rate was higher than ours. Now Canadians live three years longer and their infant mortality rate is 22% lower than ours. Under Medicare for All, Americans could cut out the red tape and afford a Rolls Royce version of Canada’s system.”

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Himmelstein later told Time that the difference in administrative costs between the two countries would “not only cover all the uninsured but also eliminate all the copayments and deductibles.”

“And, frankly, have money left over,” he added.

Democrats like Biden and Buttigieg have argued that it would be a mistake to switch to a single-payer system because many people have private insurance plans they like. Both have proposed a public option, which would allow people to buy into a government-run health care program but would not do away with private plans.

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But study senior author Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, at Hunter College and lecturer at Harvard Medical School, argued that a public option would make things worse, not better, because they would leave profit-seeking private insurance in place.

“Medicare for All could save more than $600 billion each year on bureaucracy, and repurpose that money to cover America’s 30 million uninsured and eliminate copayments and deductibles for everyone,” she said. “Reforms like a public option that leave private insurers in place can’t deliver big administrative savings. As a result, public option reform would cost much more and cover much less than Medicare for All.”

This content was originally published here.

Researchers at Texas A&M Say Brisket Has Health Benefits

Is BBQ Healthy

Texas BBQ lovers, we have some incredible news for you. Studies have shown that brisket can actually be considered healthy eating. So if you thought you’d have health risks if you eat anything other than grilled chicken at your favorite BBQ joint, you now have scientific evidence to back up enjoying your brisket.

According to researchers at Texas A&M, beef brisket contains high levels of oleic acid, which produces high levels of HDLs, the “good” kind of cholesterol.

Oleic acid has two major benefits: it produces HDLs, which lower your risk of heart disease, and it lowers LDLs the “bad” type of cholesterol.

Researchers say this also applies to most red meats like ground beef.

“Brisket has higher oleic acid than the flank or plate, which are the trims typically used to produce ground beef,” said Dr. Stephen Smith, Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist. “The fat in brisket also has a low melting point, that’s why the brisket is so juicy.”

According to Health.com, “Grilling meats at high heat can cause the carcinogens heterocyclic amine (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to form.”

One way to avoid having any issues cooking your meat at high temperatures is to use a marinade. Certain spices will aid in eliminating HCAs during the grilling process so consider adding spices like thyme, sage, and garlic when you marinate your meat. 

On your next cookout, you can also find other ways to be healthy outside of just marinating your meat and enjoying your brisket without guilt. Consider some healthy grilling staples like adding veggies to your kebab skewers for a healthy side dish. Maybe eliminate the potato salad and coleslaw since those BBQ foods tend to be higher in unhealthy fats.

This post was originally published in 2016.

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The post Researchers at Texas A&M Say Brisket Has Health Benefits appeared first on Wide Open Country.

This content was originally published here.

Admitting Your Child to a Mental Health Hospital

Last week, we quietly admitted our daughter to a mental health treatment facility. I say “quietly” because we told very few people at the time. There was no Facebook announcement, no sendoff.

My friend Michelle sat beside me at intake where I shakily signed form after form. I was there for 5 hours learning more about the program and answering questions to help them better care for our daughter and then I walked out alone. I felt empty and scared.empty hospital hallway with text that reads "admitting your child to a mental health hospital"

The decision to admit our daughter was not one we had arrived at lightly. In fact, the wait list for this particular program was about a year long, so we had had a lot of time to think and rethink our decision. No matter how conflicted we felt though, the bottom line remained the same: we had to give it a try. We were out of other options. We had tried medication, therapy, and outpatient treatment programs. She was suffering. Our family was hurting. We were all living in fear as she continued to decline. It was time.

Our daughter has 3 mental health diagnoses. I’m choosing not to name them in this story because I don’t want this to just be about her and about us. My hope is that you see other stories in ours, to help you better understand and support families you may know who are facing this decision. Or perhaps you’ll see your own story in ours and feel less alone.

There is still such a stigma surrounding mental health. If our daughter had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and she had to be hospitalized for a prolonged period until they could stabilize the disease and if during that time, we had to attend clinics on nutrition and lifestyle changes and information pertaining to her disease and treatment, no one would bat an eye.

We would have announced it on Facebook and put it in the prayer chain at church. There would have been an outpouring of casseroles and prayers and offers to help with our other kids.

But this isn’t the kind of thing that you announce on Facebook or tell people you run into. There is that protective feeling of wanting to shield her from judgment and scrutiny but a knowing that doing that also creates more shame around her disease.

We wrestled with our own feelings of embarrassment, guilt, and shame. We questioned “what could we have done differently?”.

We worry constantly that while almost all of our attention has been focused on the two of our kids with mental health issues, that a crisis could be building in one of our other kids and we may be missing it.

We feel like we are just doing triage, going from one literal crisis to another. It’s hard to even catch our breath.

This kind of life can be so isolating. There are things that have happened in our home that unless you are also walking this path of mental health disease in your children would shock you. My husband and I have literally said to each other, “who could we ever tell this to?”

Do you have any idea how isolating it is to live through “who could we ever tell this to?”? Who would be able to understand (and not judge) things that we can hardly even believe really happen?

Isolation can lead to feelings of hopelessness.

You need a village.

Just 4 days after our daughter’s admission, I found myself at a woman’s event at our church. In line at the buffet table, I answered “fine” to “how are you?” and “good” to “how are all the kids doing?” even though the truth was far from that.

The lie stung in my throat, making it hard to swallow.

Later that morning after the speaker had gone and the room cleared out, I was once again faced with “how are you?”

This time, there was no one else within earshot. I also knew the woman asking had gone through her own trials in life which made it feel safer to share mine.

As the story tumbled out, her eyes filled first with compassion and then with tears. She hugged me and we cried together. And then a magical thing happened. She pulled out her phone and pulled up her calendar and typed in our family’s name on her Wednesday afternoon and evening.

You see, I had shared that one of the many challenges we are now facing is that this program is super intensive and mandates that both parents attend parent sessions and family therapies and on Wednesdays, the time commitment works out to be 6 hours. Wednesday also just happens to be the hardest day for us to find child care for the other kids.

Here was this woman who was not just saying that she would pray for our family or would be “thinking of us”, but actually meeting a need, saying “my husband and I will be there this Wednesday and we will bring supper so you don’t have to worry about that”. What a gift.

You need a village. (worth repeating)

It’s only been a week, and already, we’ve needed to lean on our village.

That first admission day when my friend Michelle sat beside me? She did so much more than that. When I picked her up that morning, she presented our daughter with a gift and a card and these words: “Congratulations! I hear you got into an awesome school that’s super hard to get into and has a long waiting list. You are so lucky!” (all true)

She held us both up in that moment. Later, she took notes in the meetings. My brain wasn’t firing on all cylinders that morning due to the stress and I was sure I would forget important details. She took notes and remembered to ask things that had slipped my mind.

That same morning, one of our other daughters had woken up throwing up (from the stress) and my mom had come to our house to care for her. She also did laundry and changed our sheets. Do you know what a gift it was to crawl into fresh sheets that night after a long and emotional day?!

The night before the admission, we had a crisis here at home with our daughter. During that crisis, my neighbour offered to keep the other kids, to shield them from the worst of it, and to drive kids to and from piano and tutoring. Knowing that my other kids would be safe was also a gift.

Other friends took us out for supper the night of the intake. Honestly, we didn’t feel like going. We both just wanted to crawl into that bed with the fresh sheets and sleep for years. But we had committed and so we went and we ate good food and we were held up by people who loved us and after awhile, we even found ourselves laughing and almost forgetting. Another gift in the midst of such pain.

Is a mental health hospital the right place for your child?

Mental health hospital admissions are all different. For some, it may be an emergency safety admission that lasts for one or two days until the imminent threat has passed. For others, it may be a 30 or 90 day stay.

Our daughter’s program is 4-5 months where she stays at the hospital Monday to Friday and attends school, art therapy, music therapy, group therapy, animal therapy, and family therapy on site and is home on weekends with specific goals to work on at that time. Her program requires an intense commitment from both parents both in time and energy and an even more intense commitment from her.

And when her program ends, that is really only the beginning of the journey for us. We still have a long ways to go.

Perhaps you have come to a place where you find yourself at what feels like the end of the road in your child’s mental health journey. You don’t know what more can be done at home to keep them safe and healthy. Your family is fraying.

You walk around on eggshells every day, worried about what may set your child off. Or perhaps you hardly sleep at night worried that they may harm themselves or others.

I am not a professional and this advice is not meant to replace medical advice. You should always consult with a qualified mental health professional before making these decisions.

When to consider admitting your child to a mental health hospital:

  • they are unsafe at home
  • they are a risk to themselves or others
  • they are under the care of a psychiatrist and/or therapist but are still not stabilizing
  • the family is not able to manage their symptoms at home
  • even working with professionals, you still cannot find the right medications or dosing
  • you or other family members are living in fear
  • your child expresses thoughts of or plans for suicide or attempts suicide
  • addiction
  • upon recommendation of your child’s doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist

Some of the symptoms/diagnoses that MAY require treatment at a mental health facility:

  • suicidal ideation, suicide attempts
  • self harm
  • violent rages
  • inability to cope with life
  • eating disorders
  • severe mood swings
  • depression
  • debilitating anxiety
  • reactive attachment disorder
  • post traumatic stress disorder or developmental trauma disorder
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • bipolar disorder
  • schizophrenia
  • substance abuse or addiction
  • Tourette’s
  • autism
  • oppositional defiance disorder
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • conduct disorder

Remember that a stay at a mental health facility is one tool that patients and their families can use. It does not create a cure, but it can be the beginning of more stability in the mood disorder or mental illness.

How to be the village:

  • Act the same way you would if their child had had to go into the hospital for a serious physical illness.
  • Show up. Just sit there. Be present.
  • Affirm that this decision must be so hard but that you know they love their child and that this is what their child needs right now. Parents carry so much guilt. They need to be reminded that they are good parents, willing to do hard things like sending their child to get the right help, even when all their instincts as a parent scream at them to keep their child close.
  • Take their other children for play dates, outings, or activities so that the parents can rest. They will typically crash physically and emotionally for at least a few weeks, possibly even months depending on what led up to the hospital admission. Having time to be alone and rest will help them to heal faster.
  • Do something kind for the other kids. Bring a small gift, especially something like a craft or activity they can do. Spend time listening to them or playing a board game or Lego with them. They have likely been getting less than their share of attention in recent months as their parents have had to put the sick sibling at the top of the time and attention list. Siblings can carry their own worry and feelings of guilt.
  • Bring healthy food. Snacks, meals, or gift cards for restaurants or take-out. And remind them to eat.
  • If they are married, help them protect their marriage in the crisis by watching the other kids for them to have date nights, by encouraging their relationship, and by giving them opportunities to spend time with other couples.
  • Sit and have tea or coffee with them. Let them cry and express all kinds of feelings. Regret, sorrow, relief at the new peace in their home, fear because the peace is temporary, dread about the future.
  • Or just watch TV with them or take them to a movie or invite them to dinner. Sometimes it’s also nice not to talk about it.
  • Offer to attend important appointments to take notes or hold their hand and debrief afterwards.
  • Pray for them.
  • Help them research. It is beyond exhausting to try to find programs and services and funding and these families are having a hard enough time just getting through each day. Help them research or make calls or fill out forms. There are so many forms.
  • Serve them in practical ways. Laundry, housework, errands, house repairs. Dishes still pile up even when it feels like the world is crumbling down.
  • Drop off comfort items. Chocolate or coffee or wine or whatever their comfort thing is.
  • Send gas or grocery gift cards or cash. Having a family member in the hospital often means time off work, parking fees, extra driving, and additional expenses. There can also be a high cost for the treatment program and medications.
  • Remind them that you are thinking of them and that what they are doing to fight for their child’s health does not go unnoticed.

If you are walking this road yourself, I’m thinking of you. It’s sure not an easy one. It’s likely not one you ever imagined when you began your parenthood journey. I know I didn’t! Please know that you are not alone.

Join me for a free 5 part email series, Little Hearts, Big Worries offering resources and hope for parents.

You may also want to read:

The Waves of Grief in Special Needs Parenting

What I Wish You Knew About Parenting a Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder

50 Awesomely Simple Calm Down Strategies for Kids

Parenting Myth: You’re Only as Happy as Your Saddest Child

The post Admitting Your Child to a Mental Health Hospital appeared first on The Chaos and the Clutter.

This content was originally published here.

Family of Chinese man with new coronavirus flew to Manila – HK health minister | ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) —A Chinese man who tested positive for a deadly new coronavirus strain traveled to Manila with his family on Wednesday, Hong Kong authorities said.

In a press conference, Hong Kong Health Minister Sophia Chan confirmed that the patient and four other family members arrived in the country via Cebu Pacific 5J111, which landed in Manila at 1:20 p.m. Wednesday. 

Charo Logarta Lagamon, director of Cebu Pacific’s corporate communications department, told ABS-CBN News that no one on the flight was quarantined.

Hong Kong quarantined the 39-year-old man after the city’s first preliminary positive result in a test for the new flu-like coronavirus found in an outbreak in central mainland China, authorities said.

The tourist from Wuhan came to Hong Kong on Tuesday via high-speed rail from nearby Shenzhen and was detected having fever at the border. He was in stable condition in an isolation ward at Princess Margaret Hospital, Health Minister Sophia Chan said.

The outbreak has spread to more Chinese cities including the capital Beijing, Shanghai and Macau, and cases have been reported outside the country’s borders, in the United States, South Korea, Thailand and Japan.

Nine people in China have died.

“I urge citizens not to go to Hubei province, Wuhan city if not necessary,” Chan said in a news conference.

She said the isolated patient came to Hong Kong with four family members, who spent the night at a hotel in the busy Tsim Sha Tsui tourist district, before hopping on a flight to Manila earlier on Wednesday.

His family did not have any symptoms. The government was contacting train passengers who sat near him and they would be put under observation in isolation wards. A hotline was also set up for people worried they might have contracted the virus.

Chan could not immediately confirm local media reports of a second person with similar test results.

The Hospital Authority on Tuesday enhanced laboratory surveillance for pneumonia cases to include patients with travel history to all of mainland China, rather than just Wuhan.

Hong Kong had deployed temperature screening equipment at the airport and the high-speed rail station. Air passengers are required to fill in health declaration forms. Some 500 isolation wards at public hospitals were available, with more ordinary wards to be converted if necessary.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses named because of crown-like spikes on their surfaces. The viruses cause respiratory illnesses ranging from the common cold to the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Manila’s airport quarantine office said Wednesday night that based on thermal scanners, “no passenger was detected with high fever on that flight.” There was also no advisory or alert from Hong Kong health ministry. 
 
Nine people have died in mainland China while 400 have been affected of the SARS-like virus. Chinese cities Beijing, Shanghai, and Macau have confirmed cases of the virus. Patients who contracted the disease have also been confirmed in the United States, Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. 

Several airports across the Asia-Pacific have tightened security measures for travelers, especially from China after authorities said the virus — which has infected some 440 people in Asia’s largest economy — could mutate and be transmitted through the respiratory tract. — With a report from Felix Tam, Reuters

This content was originally published here.

District Receives Large Grant to Improve Students’ Mental Health

Edmond Public Schools has received a $350,000 gift from a private donor to fund additional personnel, training, and support to help the district improve student’s social and emotional well-being. The donor (who wishes to remain anonymous) has given two previous gifts to the district totaling $413,000. 

“We are humbled by this donor’s profound generosity and deeply moved by their continued commitment to preventive measures to benefit students for a lifetime,” said Superintendent Bret Towne. “We extend our gratitude to the donor for this most recent gift and look forward to implementing the training and support programs this grant will make possible as we work together to better meet the needs of our students.”

The historic gift, given to the EPS Foundation and passed through to the district, will fund the hiring of two additional elementary school counselors and two school-based therapists who will work with the district’s innovative Fresh Start program-an intensive behavioral remediation program benefiting students who act out due to having suffered trauma. 

Additionally, the gift will fund three two-day Conscious Discipline workshops for teachers, and cover the cost of substitutes while 200 teachers attend Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) training at the district headquarters, two programs with proven track records of sustainable results. 

“A growing body of research points to the importance that educators play in cultivating inner strength and resilience in children,” said Towne. “The above-mentioned training will equip more of our educators with the skills to integrate social-emotional learning, discipline, and self- regulation in the classroom, helping to enhance students’ personal and interpersonal readiness.”

A spokesperson for the donor says the organization is focused on funding initiatives that promote a culture change in the community and in schools with regards to mental health.

“A lot of research went into approaching the needs of helping our community,” said the spokesperson. “Based on ongoing communication with EPS district personnel we were able to select funding options that when implemented will have the greatest amount of impact over time. In addition to programs, we opted to fund additional school counselor positions. We know additional counselors are needed for our growing district.”

The spokesperson says the donor is happy with the way Edmond Public Schools has used the grant money and believes the funded initiatives have made a difference in the lives of teachers and students. 

“We are very pleased with the commitment EPS has demonstrated to mental health and prevention. We know our donor dollars have been put to work. The feedback from teachers, counselors, administration, and parents has been heartwarming.  We understand that knowledge is power, and ongoing training is necessary to meet the current needs of students and faculty.” 

This content was originally published here.

Improve sleep quality and boost heart health: 7 Reasons to eat nutrient-rich cherries – NaturalNews.com

(Natural News)
You know how the saying goes: Big things can come in small packages. This is especially the case for an often-overlooked superfood: cherries. Each cherry you pop into your mouth is packed with essential vitamins and nutrients that can provide a multitude of health benefits.

Cherries on top

Cherries come in different varieties, many of which can be found all over the US in local supermarkets or even on cherry trees themselves. Some of the common cherry types you can find include sweet cherries (Prunus avium) and sour cherries (P. cerasus). Regardless of your cherry preferences, eating either of these types can help you enjoy the benefits found below. (Related: Cherries a superfood? Research confirms this well-known fruit tackles cancer, insomnia, high blood pressure and gout.)

Rich in nutrients

Cherries are chock-full of important vitamins, minerals and fiber that all contribute to overall good health. According to data from the US Department of Agriculture, a cup (154 g) of raw pitted sweet cherries provides:

These nutrients provide their own health benefits. Vitamin C, in particular, plays an integral role in maintaining the proper function of the immune system and promotes skin health. The fiber in cherries is great for keeping the digestive system in tip-top shape by providing fuel for the beneficial gut bacteria and promoting bowel regularity. Further, a study published in the journal Advances in Nutrition states that potassium is a needed nutrient for nerve function, blood pressure regulation and muscle contraction.

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Promotes heart health

Eating nutrient-dense foods like cherries is a fantastic (and delicious) way to keep your heart healthy. A study published in the journal Nutrients found that fruits have a protective role against cardiovascular disease. Cherries, in particular, were found to have a beneficial role in improving myocardial infarction, or heart attack.

Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds

This high concentration of various plant compounds is largely responsible for the health benefits of cherries. The high antioxidant content can help fight off oxidative stress, which is linked to a variety of chronic diseases like cancer. In fact, a review published in Nutrients found that eating cherries not only reduced markers of oxidative stress, but also reduced systemic inflammation.

In addition, cherries are packed with polyphenols, which are plant chemicals that fight cellular damage, reduce inflammation and improve overall health. Research has shown that diets rich in polyphenols can protect you from a wide variety of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, mental decline and certain cancers.

Boosts exercise recovery

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds in cherries can also help relieve exercise-induced muscle pain, muscle damage and inflammation. Tart cherries, in particular, were found to be more effective at this function than their sweet counterparts. Tart cherry juice can accelerate muscle recovery and prevent strength loss in elite athletes like cyclists and marathon runners.

Improves arthritis and gout symptoms

The anti-inflammatory properties of cherries are also beneficial for people with arthritis and gout, which is a type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid that leads to extreme swelling and pain in the joints. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that two servings of sweet cherries after an overnight fasting session lowered levels of inflammatory markers and significantly reduced uric acid levels only five hours after consumption.

Improves sleep quality

Cherries contain a substance called melatonin, which helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Having high levels of melatonin in the body can improve overall sleep quality. A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that those who drank tart cherry juice concentrate for about seven days experienced significant increases in melatonin levels, sleep quality and sleep duration compared to those who drank a placebo.

Easy to add to your diet

Considering the size and taste of this fruit, cherries are surprisingly easy to integrate into your everyday diet. Not only can you enjoy them as a snack on their own, you can also add them as ingredients in recipes for pies, salads, baked goods and salsa. Also, the abundance of related products like dried cherries, cherry juice and even cherry powder only add to the versatility of this superfood.

With a wide array of health benefits, adding cherries to your diet is a great way to boost your overall health.

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Flight From China Diverted Away From Ontario Airport, Top County Health Official Preaches Calm on Coronavirus – NBC Los Angeles

Los Angeles County’s top public health official said Tuesday residents should not be alarmed about the coronavirus, despite the spread of the disease in China and the growing number of deaths attributed to it.

“At this moment, (there is) absolutely nothing to be afraid of,” Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger asked for the update to counter misinformation as many Chinese communities prepare for Lunar New Year celebrations.

“There is no need to panic and there is no need for people to cancel their activities” Ferrer said. “There’s nothing that indicates that there’s human-to-human transmission in L.A. County.”

The first case of coronavirus in Los Angeles County was confirmed Sunday. The patient was a traveler returning through Los Angeles International Airport home to Wuhan City, China, which is the epicenter of the deadly disease. The person felt sick, told officials and is now being treated at a local hospital well-equipped for the task, Ferrer said.

The individual came into “close contact with a very small number of other people,” she said.

The only people who should be concerned are those who have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed case of the disease for at least 10 minutes, according to Ferrer.

The CDC’s guidance indicates people who have casual contact with a case — “in the same grocery store or movie theater” — are at “minimal risk of developing infection.”

Ferrer provided reassurances about the trajectory of the disease in the United States to date, given that it has been circulating in China since early December and despite extensive travel between the two countries, only five U.S. cases have been confirmed.

The coronavirus outbreak was first noted in December in the industrial city of Wuhan in the Hubei province of central China. Since then, more than 5,975 cases have been reported in China, with at least 132 deaths.

“In China, the situation is dire,” Ferrer told the board. “What happened in China is not what’s happening in the United States right now.”

On Saturday, the Orange County Health Care Agency confirmed a case of coronavirus after a traveler from Wuhan tested positive. The two Southland cases are the only confirmed cases in California so far, and two of five in the United States. The other U.S. cases were reported in Arizona, Illinois and Washington state, according to the latest available data on the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials in San Diego County are awaiting results of tests on a potential case there involving a person who recently traveled to impacted areas in China.

The CDC has expanded screening to 20 airports and will now be screening all travelers from China, not just Wuhan, as of Tuesday night, Ferrer said.

Hong Kong closed borders with mainland China Tuesday, CNN reported, and concern over the virus rattled global financial markets Monday, with the Dow Jones Average dropping more than 450 points.

The United States and several other countries are making plans to evacuate citizens from Wuhan. San Bernardino County officials were working with the U.S. State Department on a plan to potentially use Ontario International Airport as the repatriation point for up to 240 American citizens, including nine children, but that plane was diverted to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County.

Those passengers were expected to first land in Alaska, where they would be screened by CDC workers before being cleared to proceed into the continental U.S., according to San Bernardino County officials.

Supervisor Hilda Solis said she was worried about discrimination related to the virus.

“I’m really concerned about how people are going to be mistreated,” Solis said.

Ferrer asked all Angelenos to help in that regard.

“People should not be excluded from activities based on their race, country of origin, or recent travel if they do not have symptoms of respiratory illness,” she said.

There is no vaccine for the virus, only treatment for the symptoms, but residents can take steps to reduce the risk of getting sick from this and other viruses. Health officials recommend staying home when sick, washing hands frequently and getting a flu shot.

“Thirty thousand people will probably die this year from influenza alone,” Ferrer noted.

Even if the virus is not spreading in the United States, rumors are.

USC students were shaken by an erroneous late night claim on social media that a student on campus contracted the coronavirus. The school issued a statement Tuesday morning denying anyone on campus was diagnosed with the virus.

For general information about the coronavirus, go to www.cdc.gov.

This content was originally published here.

Federal Government Misled Public on E-Cigarette Health Risk: CEI Report

A new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute calls into question government handling of e-cigarette risk to public health, especially last week after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tacitly conceded that the spate of lung injuries widely reported in mid-2019 were not caused by commercially produced e-cigarettes like Juul or Njoy.

Rather, the injuries appear to be exclusively linked to marijuana vapes, mostly black market purchases – a fact that the Competitive Enterprise Institute pointed out nearly six months ago. The CDC knew that, too, but for months warned Americans to avoid all e-cigarettes.

“The Centers for Disease Control failed to warn the public which products were causing lung injuries and deaths in 2019,” said Michelle Minton, co-author of the CEI report.

“By stoking unwarranted fears about e-cigarettes, government agencies responsible for protecting the health and well-being of Americans have been scaring adult smokers away from products that could help them quit smoking,” Minton explained.

Now that the CDC has finally began to inform the public accurately, it’s too little too late, the report warns. The admission has done little to slow the onslaught of prohibitionist e-cigarette policies sweeping the nation, and the damage to public perception is already done.

Nearly 90 percent of adult smokers in the U.S. now incorrectly believe that e-cigarettes are no less harmful than combustible cigarettes, according to survey data from April 2019. Yet the best studies to-date estimate e-cigarettes carry only a fraction of the risk of combustible smoking, on par with the risks associated with nicotine replacement therapies like gum and lozenges. Meanwhile, traditional cigarettes contribute to nearly half a million deaths in the U.S. every year.

The CEI report traces the arc of CDC and FDA messaging and actions, starting in late June 2019, about young people hospitalized after vaping. Concurrent news reporting ultimately revealed, though virtually never in the headline, that the victims were vaping cartridges containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the key ingredient in cannabis, with many admitting to purchasing these products from unlicensed street dealers. Yet for months the CDC consistently refused to acknowledge the role of the black market THC in the outbreak, which had a ripple effect on news reporting and on state government handling of the problem.

By September 2019, over half of public opinion poll respondents (58 percent) said they believed the lung illness deaths were caused by e-cigarettes such as Juul, while only a third (34 percent) said the cases involved THC/marijuana.

The CEI report warns that federal agencies should not be allowed to continue misleading the public about lower-risk alternatives to smoking.

View the report: Federal Health Agencies’ Misleading Messaging on E-Cigarettes Threatens Public Health by Michelle Minton and Will Tanner.

This content was originally published here.