Eye Safety Tips Over Labor Day Weekend

In the U.S., more than 9,000 fireworks injuries happen each year, with roughly 1 in 8 fireworks injuries harming the eyes. With Labor Day weekend celebrations approaching, Dr. Ronald C. Gentile, Professor of Ophthalmology and the Chief of Ocular Trauma Service at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, wants to remind people of some eye health and fireworks safety tips.

“Common fireworks and sparkler eye injuries include burns, lacerations, abrasions, retinal detachment, optic nerve damage and ruptured eyeball,” says Dr. Gentile. “And children are frequent victims of these injuries. As many as 30 percent of eye traumas caused by fireworks impact kids.”

Read more

New Research Refutes Long-Held Antiviral Theory

A long-standing belief that mammals use the same potent antiviral molecules deployed by plants and invertebrates is being challenged by researchers at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Their findings, published in the July 10, 2014, issue of Cell Reports, surprised many scientists who assumed that antiviral RNA Interference (RNAi) exists in humans as a natural result of evolution.

Scientists know that human cells, like cells in every living organism with a nucleus, encode and generate small RNAs, which influence our genetics. It is also known that mammals combat viruses with interferons—proteins manufactured by immune cells in response to pathogens.

Read more

CDC Director On Ebola: ‘We Are Definitely Not At The Peak’

NPR reported: “On Monday, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arrived in Liberia to assess the Ebola outbreak. The situation “is overwhelming,” he said.

The outbreak “really is a crisis and is affecting most if not all the counties in Liberia already,” he told NPR from Monrovia, the capital city and first stop on a three-country visit. “This is absolutely unprecedented.”

The CDC, Frieden said, “is working flat out on this, but this is huge and needs a global response … They need a lot of help from the world.”

Read more

Hospitals Get Ready For Ebola – “Case Is Inevitable In The United States”

The New York Times reported: “Hospitals nationwide are hustling to prepare for the first traveler from West Africa who arrives in the emergency room with symptoms of infection with the Ebola virus.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said such a case is inevitable in the United States, and the agency this month issued the first extensive guidelines for hospitals on how recognize and treat Ebola patients.

The recommendations touch on everything from the safe handling of lab specimens to effective isolation of suspected Ebola patients …

Read more

US Hospitals Have Had 68 Ebola Scares, CDC Says

ABC News reported: “American hospitals and state labs have handled at least 68 Ebola scares over the last three weeks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hospitals in 27 states alerted the CDC of the possible Ebola cases out of an abundance of caution amid the growing outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Fifty-eight cases were deemed false alarms after CDC officials spoke with medical professions about patient exposures and symptoms, but blood samples for the remaining 10 were sent to the CDC for testing, the agency told ABC News today.

Read more

Experts Weigh In On Ebola Epidemic, Treatment, Prevention, And Social Effects

The New England Journal of Medicine noted: “Four brief NEJM perspectives examine the current Ebola epidemic, which is the largest and longest-lived on record.”

“One of the three clinically oriented contributions describes the World Health Organization’s declaration of a public health emergency and its implications.”

“Another offers information on drugs that have shown activity against the virus; it describes the problem (and ethics) of collecting efficacy data on these treatments mid-epidemic.”

Read more

WHO Panel Says Unproven Drugs Are Ethical As Ebola Death Toll Tops 1,000

A CNN story reported: “The first two doses of an experimental serum created to treat Ebola went to American missionaries.Then the drug was sent to treat a Spanish priest.The two Americans, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, appear to be recovering. The priest, Miguel Pajares, died Tuesday morning.That’s the problem with experimental drugs that have never been clinically tested in humans: No one knows whether they’ll work — and if they do, in whom.”

“This week, the World Health Organization gathered a group of ethicists to decide whether proven medications and vaccines should be used in the current Ebola outbreak. As the death toll from the epidemic soared over 1,000, the WHO panel unanimously concluded that it is ethical to offer medications to fight the Ebola virus, even if their effectiveness or adverse effects are unknown.”

Read more

Experimental Drug Used For Ebola-Related Virus Shows Promise

The New York Times reported: “An experimental drug has completely protected monkeys from lethal doses of a virus related to Ebola, bolstering confidence that a similar medicine might be effective if deployed in the current outbreak in Africa, researchers reported on Wednesday.

The researchers said that the drug, which is being developed by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, kept all monkeys alive in a study, even if given as late as three days after exposure to the Marburg virus, when the virus was already detectable in the animals’ blood.

Read more

Fighting Ebola, And The Conspiracy Theories

A New York Times editorial stated: “Misinformation about politics may often seem silly — the immigration bill will give out free cars! — but the consequences of false beliefs in public health can be deadly.

In the developed world, myths about the risks of vaccines have enabled the resurgence of communicable diseases like measles and pertussis. And in developing countries, false beliefs have hindered efforts to fight H.I.V./AIDS and eradicate polio in countries like Nigeria and Pakistan.

Read more