InHealth

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Better vaccinations for babies, artificial intelligence, kids' smartphone use

Posted By on Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 1:53 PM

What if all of a baby's vaccinations could be combined into one single shot? MIT researchers say they've done just that.
  • What if all of a baby's vaccinations could be combined into one single shot? MIT researchers say they've done just that.

One-shot wonder
Anyone who’s watched a baby receive a series of vaccinations at multiple doctor visits over the first year of their life knows it’s no fun for the little ones. What if all those vaccinations, over the course of a year or two, could be combined into a single shot? Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology believe they’ve found a way to do just that. Here’s how: Tiny bubbles called microparticles — created from an FDA-approved polymer — can be filled with the various vaccines, sealed tight and injected. The particles then dissolve at specific times, resulting in “short bursts of medication or vaccine delivered at particular intervals, mimicking the timing of a vaccine series.”

In the developed world, that could mean fewer doctor visits, and reduce the number of kids failing to complete a multi-injection regimen. And in developing countries, it could help solve the complicated logistics of providing vaccines.


Leap forward?
Go is an abstract strategy game, invented in China more than 2,500 years ago. Last spring, researchers announced that a computer program based on data derived from 100,000 human-played Go games was able to defeat the human Go champion. That's cool, but no big deal, right?

This week, Google’s DeepMind artificial intelligence researchers announced that they've created a new program, one that is able to learn, and master, the Go game — all by itself. “We’ve removed the constraints of human knowledge, and it is able to create knowledge itself,” says the project’s lead researcher. Researchers watched as the program, based on human neural networks and given only Go's rules, at first eerily mimicked human learning. “You see it rediscovering the thousands of years of human knowledge,” says one programmer. But 40 days in, it was finding plays previously unknown to humans, and easily defeating previous programs. The developers promise to use this powerful knowledge for good: “One promising area … is understanding how proteins fold, an essential tool for drug discovery.”

But Elon Musk, the brains behind Tesla and SpaceX, isn’t so sure about artificial intelligence.


Real world
Technology can be thrilling — and enthralling — for kids. As any parent knows, a day without a smartphone can be a worst-case scenario for many tweens and teens. But when are kids too tuned-in to tech? Find out how to make the best of our kids’ screen-obsessed world in the current issue of InHealth.
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Zika virus could fight brain tumors; step up to help prevent suicide

Posted By on Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 12:03 PM

The Zika virus, spread by mosquitoes, may carry an unexpected health benefit: combating the growth of brain tumors.
  • The Zika virus, spread by mosquitoes, may carry an unexpected health benefit: combating the growth of brain tumors.

Mosquitoes vs. brain tumors
By now you’ve heard of the dreadful Zika virus, spread by mosquitoes, that impairs growth of the developing fetal brain, leading to babies being born with undersized, misshapen heads. But the virus may have a surprising positive side: It seems that the same properties that cause Zika to impair growth in the developing brain may also allow it to impair growth of glioblastomas — the type of brain cancer that Arizona Sen. John McCain has, and one with an especially grim prognosis. Research is still preliminary, but brain tumors in mice shrank significantly when the mice were injected with the virus.

“Our research shows it also selectively targets and kills cancer stem cells, which tend to be resistant to standard treatments and a big reason why glioblastomas recur after surgery and result in shorter patient survival rates,” wrote one of the study’s authors.

The new issue of InHealth is out now, on stands and online.


Video games prepare brain to learn

Playing video games at least 15 hours a week may enhance learning, according to a fairly small but tantalizing new study. MRIs of brain activity of 17 regular gamers were compared to 17 non-gamers, as they completed a task that involved synthesizing and analyzing new information. “Our study shows that gamers are better in analyzing a situation quickly, to generate new knowledge and to categorize facts — especially in situations with high uncertainties," says one of the study's authors.

Playing video games seems to facilitate activity in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in learning and memory, and notably an area affected by age-related changes. Researchers speculate that someday video gaming might offer help to combat those changes.


Suicide: Step up and help out
Join with others to learn about how to help prevent suicide at a training session offered by Spokane-based FailSafe for Life. Participants will receive two hours of comprehensive training on how to recognize someone in crisis, what to say to help and where to turn for additional help, as well as information on stress and depression. A resource guide will be yours to keep; sandwiches and light refreshments will be served: Tickets are available here

FailSafe for Life was founded by Sabrina Votava, who not only has a degree in public health and a decade of work in suicide prevention, but has also experienced the tragedy of suicide through the loss of two brothers. The training session takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 6-8 pm at Providence Holy Family Hospital (5633 N. Lidgerwood), HEC Room 1.
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Thursday, October 5, 2017

The new issue is out! Plus, take a car to the hospital; soup's on for a good cause in October

Posted By on Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 12:24 PM


New issue!
inhealth_oct2017_cover.jpg
Grab your copy of the new issue of InHealth, featuring luscious lotions and skin-smoothing soaps, all made by local artisans. On stands and online.


When in doubt, hop in the car
If faced with the crisis of a penetrating injury — a gunshot wound or a stabbing — it’s probably better to jump in the nearest vehicle and go to the hospital, rather than waiting for an ambulance, according to a study published last month. "For certain types of injury, it might be best to call the police, Uber or a cab — however you can get to the trauma center fastest,” says the study’s lead author.

The study examined data on more than 103,000 patients who arrived at U.S. trauma centers with a gunshot or stab wound. Patients with penetrating injuries were 62 percent less likely to die when they arrived in a private vehicle, versus an ambulance, adjusting for differences in injury severity. An ambulance is still the best bet for other emergencies, like heart attacks or strokes, where “prehospital interventions” can be life-saving.


Soup’s on for a good cause this month
Cool, crisp fall days and a warm bowl of hearty soup just go together. And for the month of October, every Wednesday evening offers the opportunity to enjoy a delicious bowl of soup at area restaurants, while helping out the Arts in Healing program at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital. “Soup for the Soul” participating restaurants pledge a portion of their Wednesday soup sales (or a minimum $200 donation) to the program; six of the 13 participating restaurants are donating proceeds for the entire month of October, not just on Wednesdays. The month-long event has raised a total of more than $30,000 in the past eight years.

As part of the fundraiser, soup bowls donated by Polka Dot Pottery, and decorated by children participating in the Arts and Healing program, will be sold in the Sacred Heart Medical Center gift shop for $20.

Participating restaurants:
The Barrel Steak & Seafood House*
Fieldhouse Pizza & Pub* (both locations)
The High Nooner (all four locations)
• Holy Family Hospital's Take 5/Café Fresca
Little Garden Cafe
Morty's Tap & Grille*
Picabu Bistro
• Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center's The Café
The Screaming Yak*
Selkirk Pizza & Tap House*
Something Else Deli
Steelhead Bar and Grille*
• St. Luke's Waterfall Café

* Donating proceeds during the entire month of October, not only on Wednesdays
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Don't skip lunch, flu season's here, the world is running out of antibiotics

Posted By on Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 2:51 PM

A World Health Organization report confirms that the world is running out of antibiotics. "Antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine," says the WHO Director-General.
  • A World Health Organization report confirms that the world is running out of antibiotics. "Antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine," says the WHO Director-General.

Get some lunch!
Ever noticed that not eating lunch can lead to, shall we say, extreme eating later in the day? "Skipping — or scrimping on — meals can lead to overeating later on when steadily growing hunger reaches primal levels," says Seattle Times nutrition columnist Carrie Dennett. "I say it's time to take back lunch. Instead of stoically working through the lunch hour, eat your lunch (away from your desk, ideally), then go for a short walk, meditate, people watch, run an errand or start learning a new language (there are apps for that)."


Hello, flu season
If you were postponing getting a flu shot until October, you may want to go ahead and roll up your sleeve. There have already been several cases of the flu, including one hospitalization, in Spokane County. Last year, 315 Spokanites were hospitalized with flu-related complications; 14 of them died.

The Spokane Regional Health District has teamed up to offer free vaccines for kids at the following locations: CLICK HERE for information on where to get vaccines for adults.

Childhood vaccinations and flu shots for children:
Thursday, Oct. 12, 1-4 pm
Reardan Elementary, 245 S. Aspen

Tuesday, Oct. 17, 3:30-6 pm
Farwell Elementary, 13005 N. Crestline

Childhood vaccinations and flu shots for children and adults
(sponsored by the Rotary Club):

Tuesday, Oct. 24, 3:30-7:30 pm
Garfield Elementary, 222 W. Knox
Logan Elementary, 1001 E. Montgomery
Stevens Elementary, 1717 E. Sinto


Antibiotics in peril
As if there isn't enough bad news already, a new report from the World Health Organization confirms that "The world is running out of antibiotics." Among the issues: very few antibiotics are in development stages, and even fewer are designed to be given orally, a critical component for rapidly responding to an outbreak. "There is an urgent need for more investment in research and development for antibiotic-resistant infections, including TB, otherwise we will be forced back to a time when people feared common infections and risked their lives from minor surgery," says Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia, who became the first African Director-General of the WHO earlier this year.

In InHealth: Read more about making the most of the antibiotics we currently have.
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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Infants imitate adult persistence, 8 no-bake desserts under 300 calories, and charcoal's role in skin care

Posted By on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 2:36 PM

You'd never guess by looking at this bowl of deliciousness, but this no-bake dessert comes in at less than 300 calories.
  • You'd never guess by looking at this bowl of deliciousness, but this no-bake dessert comes in at less than 300 calories.

Let them see you struggle!
"Grit" is the new buzzword in parenting — in our efforts to create a happy life for our kids, how can we raise them to also persist in the face of challenges? New research shows one way to do just that is to let them observe you working hard to solve your own problems.

“It fits with a lot of prior research showing that infants are good at imitating adults’ goals,” says Temple University psychology professor Liz Gunderson, “but it goes one step further in showing that infants can imitate adults’ persistence toward a goal.”


It's time for treats

All of a sudden, it's darn cold outside! While decadent desserts seem like a deserved reward for endearing rainy, inclement weather, in the long run, you know they're not a great idea. Fear not! Here's a collection of eight dessert recipes that fit right into your healthy diet.


IN OUR CURRENT ISSUE:
Skin losing that summer glow?
Are skin-care products with activated charcoal the answer? "It's basically awesome for getting into pores and sticking to dead skin cells, excess debris and sebum [oil secreted by pores] — that's why it's popular," says Stephanie Guerra, whose Spokane-based natural skin-care line, Kani Botanicals, includes a few products containing activated charcoal. Here's what you need to look for to make sure the product you are considering will be effective.
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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Searching for romance, top 10 men's health websites, and getting in a pickle... in a good way

Posted By on Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 3:29 PM

This is the perfect time to take on an ambitious kitchen project, like making your own beard-and-butter pickles.
  • This is the perfect time to take on an ambitious kitchen project, like making your own beard-and-butter pickles.

Finding romance
Researchers at Northwestern University are stumped. In an effort to effortlessly match up compatible students, they devised a questionnaire looking at more than 100 traits that research says are important in a match — including goals, political persuasion, values, creativity and assertiveness: 350 students filled it out. An algorithm based on their answers was used to predict who would be attracted to who, information the researchers kept to themselves while students participated in 4-minute speed dates.

After the dates, participants rated how attracted they were to others. The bottom line: Romance remains elusive. The algorithm “predicted zero percent of the matches,” says the study’s lead author, who adds, “I no longer have faith in matching algorithms.”


Top 10 men’s health websites
Men could use a little help with their health: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of American adult males are obese, nearly that many have high blood pressure, and more than half don’t meet daily activity guidelines. So the staff at Medical News Today selected 10 worthwhile blogs for men interested in taking charge of their health. Among the top are the well-known Men’s Health blog and some lesser-known offerings, including Bony to Beastly, a blog for guys trying to build muscle and gain weight,  and the Turek Clinics' blog for information on reproductive health and research.


In a pickle... in the best way
With outdoor air unsafe to breathe, this is the perfect time to take on an ambitious kitchen project. And what better way to preserve some of that distantly remembered summer sunshine than in a jar of crunchy pickles? If you’re a little nervous about trying, due to fears of inflicting deadly food poisoning on your family and friends, read about how to safely and efficiently create your own bread-and-butter pickles in the current issue of InHealth.
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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Resilience in the face of disaster, the new diet lowdown, and outdoor Spokane Symphony concerts

Posted By on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 4:22 PM

How would you react to the kind of natural disaster that these Houston residents are facing this week? It's important to develop coping skills to contend not just with hurricanes and floods, but all the difficult situiations life throws at us. - THE NEW YORK TIMES
  • The New York Times
  • How would you react to the kind of natural disaster that these Houston residents are facing this week? It's important to develop coping skills to contend not just with hurricanes and floods, but all the difficult situiations life throws at us.

Being resilient
Ever wondered how you’d fare in a disaster situation like the scene that’s unfolding in East Texas? There are lots of reasons (think Windstorm 2016) to have emergency preparedness kits on hand and a plan in place in case disaster strikes. But it is also important to develop coping skills to contend not just with natural disasters, but also the difficult things that life throws at us, individually and collectively. Here are some tips on practicing resilience.


The new lowdown on diet
In the latest “definitive” research on what your diet should look like, there may be some good news for those who haven’t followed the previous “definitive” research on what your diet should look like.

Two new studies — big ones, using data collected from 135,335 people from 18 countries, aged 35 to 70, over the course of more than seven years — have produced some surprising results.

More fat may be better: The first study considered the effect of fat in the diet. Diets that included a moderate amount of fat (about 35 percent of total calories) and a relatively low amount of carbohydrates were linked with a reduced risk of mortality as compared to lower fat diets. And in contrast, diets high in carbohydrates were associated with a higher risk of mortality.

More cooked peas and broccoli may not be better: The second study looked at fruit and vegetable consumption. Researchers found three to four servings of fruits and vegetables a day were optimal, with additional servings offering minimal benefits. Fruits and raw vegetables were especially beneficial as compared to cooked vegetables. Note that juices, potatoes and legumes weren’t considered as servings in the study.

Both studies were published this week in the British medical journal The Lancet.


Symphony outdoors
Here’s the deal: Music is good for you. Getting outdoors is good for you. Mingling with your neighbors is good for you. Combine them all for a smashingly excellent ending to the summer with the Spokane Symphony’s annual Labor Day concerts.

Sat, Sept. 2 at 6 pm at Pavillion Park, Liberty Lake • Mon, Sept. 4 at 6 pm at Comstock Park, Spokane • Free • spokanesymphony.org • 624-1200 • Free
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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Teens, smartphones and depression, experts recommend parenting books, and reasons to consider supplements

Posted By on Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 1:19 PM

"Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy," according to a new article in The Atlantic.
  • "Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy," according to a new article in The Atlantic.

Feeling gloomy? Put down the phone!
The Atlantic features a story in its September issue (also available online) on the perils of smartphones in the hands of teens and younger kids. The conclusions are grim: "Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen [young people born between 1995 and 2012] as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones ... The results could not be clearer: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy. There’s not a single exception. All screen activities are linked to less happiness, and all nonscreen activities are linked to more happiness."

Before throwing the phones into the lake, read about ideas for moderating screen time in InHealth.


Time to hit the books, parents
One this is clear: all this smoky air has curtailed our outdoor fun. While the kids reluctantly zero in on those summer reading assignments, parents can also learn some new tricks of the trade. Check out parenting books recommended by experts right here in the Inland Northwest in the latest issue of InHealth.


Should you take vitamin and mineral supplements?
Americans spend more than $30 billion on supplements each year, according to the latest research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many of those supplements aren't useful; some may even be harmful. But there are reasons to consider a supplement. The team at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter offers some advice.
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Thursday, August 3, 2017

New issue out now, West Nile virus arrives in North Idaho, and (surprise!) marijuana helps you mellow out

Posted By on Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 2:43 PM

The first case of local transmission of West Nile virus has occurred in Kootenai County, according to officials with the Panhandle Health District. "The virus was likely acquired through local mosquitoes,” says the PHD's Dave Hylsky.
  • The first case of local transmission of West Nile virus has occurred in Kootenai County, according to officials with the Panhandle Health District. "The virus was likely acquired through local mosquitoes,” says the PHD's Dave Hylsky.

New issue on stands now!
Ready to take on a challenge and learn something new? Read about Taking the Plunge and shaking up your routine in this issue of InHealth.


West Nile virus arrives in Kootenai County
The first-ever case of local transmission of West Nile virus has been recorded in Kootenai County, say officials with the Panhandle Health District. “While several cases of West Nile virus are reported each summer, all previously reported human cases have been directly related to travel outside the region. "In this case, the virus was likely acquired through local mosquitoes,” Dave Hylsky, PHD staff epidemiologist, explained in a news release. “It’s imperative that people take extra precautions to protect themselves.”

That includes using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, and using window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of living areas.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: What you need to know about West Nile virus.


Marijuana mellow

A WSU study has confirmed what many may already have surmised: using marijuana blunts the body’s stress response.

In a study of 40 daily marijuana users and 42 non-users, the non-users showed increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva when subjected to a laboratory-simulated stressful situation, while regular users showed no such increase.

“How do researchers provoke stress?” you may ask. Here’s how: They had subjects place their hands in ice cold water and count backward from 2043 by 17s, all the while giving them “negative verbal feedback” and showing the whole scenario live on a video screen.

So is the lack of a stress response good or bad? Researchers don’t yet know.

“Cannabis might have benefits in conferring resilience to stress, particularly in individuals who already have heightened emotional reactivity to stressful situations,” according to a WSU news release. Or it could be detrimental, when the body needs to mobilize its resources and deal with actual threats.
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Friday, July 28, 2017

More help, not more stuff; Medicaid director's husband doesn't accept it; aiding local women and children in crisis

Posted By on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 12:17 PM

Dr. Seema Verna, right, the top U.S. official overseeing Medicaid, doesn't have to look for to find a doctor who won't accept Medicaid payments — her husband, Dr. Sanjay Mishra, left, a child psychiatrist in Indiana.
  • Dr. Seema Verna, right, the top U.S. official overseeing Medicaid, doesn't have to look for to find a doctor who won't accept Medicaid payments — her husband, Dr. Sanjay Mishra, left, a child psychiatrist in Indiana.

Help wanted

More stuff doesn’t seem to make people happier. But buying time just might. A Harvard study found that “paying to delegate household chores like cleaning and cooking is linked to greater life satisfaction.”

Read more about local families embracing the concept of fewer material possessions, and finding greater life satisfaction in the process.


Kids struggling
The current director of Medicaid, Seema Verma, has up-close knowledge of health care since her husband is a doctor. A child psychiatrist in Carmel, Indiana, Dr. Sanjay Mishra’s practice treats plenty of patients, just not any who are receiving Medicaid. Some kids in his hometown in need of help have had to travel long distances to find a provider willing to accept Medicaid payment.

Nationwide, there’s a shortage of mental health care providers, particularly for children, and a substantial percentage of them turn down Medicaid patients, saying reimbursement is too low, leading to long wait times and lengthy travel for children who are already suffering, according to Kaiser Health News.

“It would be better if Seema Verma’s husband were to accept Medicaid, not just for the appearance of supporting the program his wife oversees, but to increase access by one more provider,” said Paul Gionfriddo, CEO of Mental Health America, an advocacy group.

Read more about the shortage of mental health providers for children in the Inland Northwest in InHealth.


Win-win!

Drop off some much-appreciated toiletries and hygiene items at the Helping Hands Fundraiser at North Church Spokane, 8303 N. Division, on Saturday from 8:30 am to 4 pm. The items are destined for the Union Gospel Mission Women’s and Children’s Crisis Shelter. Bonus! There’s a yard sale, raffle, and more than 40 vendor booths for some fun shopping while you’re there.
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TEDxSpokane 2017 @ Bing Crosby Theater

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