Hepatitis A outbreak declared in Broward County

Updated: 12:48 PM, April 11, 2019

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Health officials confirmed Thursday that an outbreak of Hepatitis A is spreading across Broward County.

Heptatitis A is a contagious liver infection that causes inflammation and can last a few weeks, but up to several months. The virus is spread through contaminated food or drinks that have been exposed to the fecal matter of someone who has the virus.

The virus can also be picked up by eating raw shellfish from water that has been polluted by sewage.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A include:

  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice

Doctors recommend thoroughly washing hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers.


12 Reasons Bicycling Will Continue to Soar in Popularity

For too long biking has been viewed skeptically as a white-people thing, a big city thing, an ultra-fit athlete thing, a twenty-something thing, a warm weather thing or an upper-middle-class thing. And above all else, it’s seen as a guy thing.

But guess what? The times, they are a-changin’. More than 100 million Americans rode a bike in 2014, and bicycles have out-sold cars most years in the U.S. since 2003.

Read more… https://www.ecowatch.com/bicycling-soar-popularity-2515406297.html


More toxic chemicals allowed in Florida waterways

Florida regulators voted to approve new water quality standards Tuesday that will increase the amount of cancer-causing toxins allowed in Florida’s rivers and streams under a plan that the state says will protect more Floridians than the current standards do.

“The Environmental Regulation Commission voted 3-2 to approve a proposal drafted by state regulators that would impose new standards on 39 chemicals not currently regulated by the state, and revise the regulations on 43 other toxins, most of which are carcinogens.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article91979107.html

State Officials Determine Non-Travel Zika Cases in Miami-Dade, Broward Are Likely Result of Local Mosquitoes

The Florida Department of Health announced Friday it had determined four Zika cases in the state were likely transmitted by local mosquitos, the first not linked to travel outside the U.S. mainland.

Read more… http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/State-Officials-Determine-Non-Travel-Zika-Cases-in-Miami-Dade-Broward-Are-Result-of-Local-Mosquitoes-388664242.html?_osource=SocialFlowFB_MIBrand

A graphene patch that monitors and possibly treats diabetes

Diabetes is growing into a global public health crisis, one that places enormous economic burdens on many nations. Once thought of as a disease that typically strikes affluent adults, type 2 diabetes has quickly spread all over the world, indifferent to socioeconomic status or age.

Treatment of type 2 diabetes requires patients to control their blood sugar levels through a mix of dietary restrictions and medication. Unfortunately, following the progress of these efforts is not as easy as it sounds. Glucose-monitoring devices available on the market typically require the user to obtain a small blood sample that can be read to quantify the level of the sugar. A minimally or non-invasive alternative would probably help many patients stay on top of their health.


Register your team for Walkerz Against Diabetes

Pictured are the walk committee, from left, Eloy Cuevas, Watermill Express; Stacy Morgan Mora, Tamez and Ortegon Law Office; Nancy Garcia, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and RGVDA Board Member; Alma Cortez, Walmart.; Melissa Martinez, Navy Army Community Credit Union. Not shown; AJ Garcia and Sofia Hernandez, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance.

Pictured are the walk committee, from left, Eloy Cuevas, Watermill Express; Stacy Morgan Mora, Tamez and Ortegon Law Office; Nancy Garcia, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and RGVDA Board Member; Alma Cortez, Walmart.; Melissa Martinez, Navy Army Community Credit Union. Not shown; AJ Garcia and So…

Pictured are the walk committee, from left, Eloy Cuevas, Watermill Express; Stacy Morgan Mora, Tamez and Ortegon Law Office; Nancy Garcia, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and RGVDA Board Member; Alma Cortez, Walmart.; Melissa Martinez, Navy Army Community Credit Union. Not shown; AJ Garcia and Sofia Hernandez, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance.

Posted: Sunday, March 27, 2016 3:00 pm

Register your team for Walkerz Against Diabetes

Special to the Monitor

The Monitor

The Rio Grande Valley Diabetes Association “Walkerz Against Diabetes” committee member are busy signing up teams of the upcoming 5k walk/run. This fun filled event will be held Saturday, April 30, at Edinburg Municipal Park in Edinburg.

Registration for the 5k walk/run begins at 7:30 a.m. Along with our awareness walk/run, the RGVDA is hosting health screenings, such as blood glucose check, foot screening, eye screening, as well as general diabetes information.

If you are interested in supporting the RGVDA and its cause we are in need of teams and/or individual walkers as well. Teams consist of 10 individuals or more, each team member or individual participate are asked to donate $25, with will include the official Walkerz Against Diabetes T-shirt. All proceeds will go to maintain the free services RGVDA offers for the residents of the Rio Grande Valley.

We encourage all walkers and runners to support the RGVDA while we promote the importance of physical activity as an essential part of a healthy lifestyle; whether it is to manage your diabetes or to prevent the onset of diabetes. If you are just starting an exercise regime or are an experienced runner we ask that you come out and show your support as well as bring awareness to a health epidemic that is growing in the Rio Grande Valley at unprecedented rates. One out of every four individuals has diabetes in the Rio Grande Valley, and many more are at risk. Exercise along with a healthy diet is vital in the prevention of Type 2 iabetes.

The RGVDA is a local non-profit organization, founded in 2006 by area professionals in order to bring awareness on this a growing health epidemic to one of the hardest hits areas in the country-Hidalgo County. All the funds generated by the RGVDA stay in the Rio Grande Valley to be used exclusively for educational purposes providing not only awareness but also, diabetic management classes, in school presentations, support groups among other services for adults and children.

The RGVDA would like to thank all its sponsors of Walkerz Against Diabetes; Walmart, Channel 5, Navy Army Community Credit Union, Rudy’s Country Store BBQ, Taco Palenque, Watermill Express.

For more information on Walkerz Against Diabetes or the RGVDA, call the RGVDA office at (956) 782-1900.

  • Discuss


Sunday, March 27, 2016 3:00 pm.

Atom-Thin Patch Could Help Control Diabetes–without Needles

A wearable, graphene-based patch could one day maintain healthy blood glucose levels in people by measuring the sugar in sweat and then delivering the necessary dose of a diabetes drug through the skin (Nat. Nanotech. 2016, DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2016.38).

The device takes scientists a step closer to the “coveted prize” in diabetes care: a noninvasive method to monitor and control blood glucose levels, writes Richard Guy of the University of Bath in a commentary about the new work.

Currently, most diabetic patients keep track of their blood glucose levels by pricking their fingers and testing a resulting droplet of blood. For people who must monitor their levels regularly, this can be a literal pain. “There are a lot of people who don’t like sticking things in their skin,” Guy says.

About 15 years ago, the Food Drug Administration approved a noninvasive glucose-monitoring device called the GlucoWatch Biographer. Patients wore it on their wrists, and it extracted glucose from interstitial fluid in the skin using a small current. It didn’t catch on, in part because it wasn’t user friendly, Guy tells CEN.

For the new patch, the researchers, led by Dae-Hyeong Kim of Seoul National University, decided to detect glucose in sweat because previous studies had shown that levels of the sugar in perspiration match those in blood. Other groups have also developed devices that can analyze biomolecules in sweat (CEN, Feb. 1, 2016, page 11).

The new device uses layers of the fluoropolymer Nafion to absorb sweat and carry it toward the device’s sensors, which are built on modified graphene. The team doped the graphene with gold atoms and functionalized it with electrochemically active materials to enable reactions needed to detect glucose.

In the patch’s glucose sensors, the enzyme glucose oxidase reacts with the sugar and produces hydrogen peroxide, which, through an electrochemical reaction, extracts current from the doped graphene. This produces an electrical signal proportional to the amount of glucose present. The patch also contains pH and temperature sensors that help ensure that the glucose sensor’s signals accurately reflect the sugar’s concentration in sweat.

When two healthy volunteers wore the patch, the measured glucose levels—including spikes after meals—matched those from a commercial glucose meter. To monitor the levels, the patch sent its sensor signals to a device that analyzed them and then wirelessly relayed the data to a smartphone.

The drug delivery half of the patch consists of an array of 1-mm-tall polymer microneedles that pierce the skin. Each needle is made from a mixture of the diabetes drug metformin and a dissolvable polymer, polyvinyl pyrrolidone. And the needles are coated with a layer of tridecanoic acid. A gold and graphene mesh sits on top of the needle array and serves as a heater that can melt the coatings. Once the tridecanoic acid melts, the needle dissolves in the skin and releases its drug payload.

When researchers applied just the drug-delivery component to the stomachs of diabetic mice, they could deliver enough metformin to lower the animal’s elevated blood glucose levels by more than 50% in 6 hours.

Guy thinks the sensor portion of the patch is closer to real-world use than the drug-delivery component. To make the drug-delivery system practical, he says, the researchers must make the microneedle array as small as possible. That means they must find a drug that’s effective at low doses.

As for the glucose-detection half of the device, Guy wonders how often a user would have to calibrate the sensors to ensure accurate readings.

Still, he calls the patch an impressive proof of concept.

This article is reproduced with permission from Chemical Engineering News (© American Chemical Society). The article was first published on March 24, 2016.

Dr. Phil on Type 2 diabetes: I should have talked about it before

Dr. Phil McGraw is known for doling out advice on mental health on his talk show, but now the daytime host is also focusing on physical health with his new campaign about managing Type 2 diabetes.

Though the TV personality has struggled with Type 2 diabetes for more than two decades, he only recently decided to open up and talk in-depth about his personal experience living with the disease.

Why did you decide to partner with AstraZeneca to talk about Type 2 diabetes?

This is a real passion project for me. We’re talking about Type 2 diabetes and that was something I was diagnosed with over 25 years ago, and so I’ve been managing this disease for a long, long time. This is one of those diseases that has a real stigma to it because people judge that population as being lazy and out of shape and not taking care of themselves. When you talk to that population, they struggle with feeling judged, so I welcome the opportunity to deal with all of that.

Tell me about how it’s been for you to live with Type 2 diabetes.

A lot of people didn’t know what was going on with me. There are 28 million people in America that are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and another 86 million that are estimated to be at risk. That number is probably way low. I was one of those people that didn’t know I had it.

When I went to the doctor, it was because I was really having trouble losing weight no matter what I did, and I was having huge fluctuations in energy. They said you have Type 2 diabetes and your blood sugar is really out of control. I was not at all happy to be told I had a disease, but on the other hand, I was glad to finally have an answer.

What is the project you’re working on to raise awareness about Type 2 diabetes?

AstraZeneca was really interested in working with me to talk about dealing with how to manage diabetes because I deal with the psychological aspects of it. The disease is not curable and it’s not going away, so I’m going to focus on what now? What do you do with it now? They were completely willing and interested to say, “Let’s be responsible corporate citizens and help people understand how to manage this,” so we did this really exciting campaign called the On It campaign. It lives on OnItMovement.com, and I have put together six steps that I think cut across managing the disease for all Type 2 diabetes.

The six steps are very doable. You don’t have to be rich or have every resource at your fingertips. The first is what I talked about before: Move forward and get past the shame and judgment about Type 2 diabetes because it’s not your fault. Get educated and understand what this disease is all about. There’s lots more info on the website.

You’re known for covering health on your show. Why did you wait until now to talk more openly about your struggle with diabetes?

I’ve talked about it before, but I never focused on it. Frankly, I should have. I never put together and organized a plan or call to action for people. I should have. I just wasn’t putting enough emphasis on it, but I am now and I’m glad that I am.

You have an app, Doctor on Demand. How do people use it?

It’s a telemedicine app. It’s something that allows you to use your smartphone, laptop or desktop to get information with a board-certified physician, usually with the wait time of under 45 seconds. You don’t have to sit in a waiting room where everybody’s sick — if you weren’t sick, you’ll get sick before you leave — and it’s been an amazing, disruptive force in medicine. It’s a highly efficient way to get healthcare and I suspect the more you accessible you make healthcare, the more you’ll see a dent in these 86 million people who are at risk for diabetes.

Phife Dawg’s Death a Reminder to Take Diabetes Seriously

The death at 45 of Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor of A Tribe Called Quest shines a glaring spotlight on blacks’ vulnerability to diabetes, the condition he battled for decades, and which ultimately claimed his life.

African American adults are “80 percent more likely” than white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, which also found in 2013 that African Americans were twice as likely as to die from the disease.

Black celebrities reported to have the condition include Blackish star Anthony Anderson; singer, Patti LaBelle; actress Sherri Shepherd; former American Idol judge Randy Jackson; Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin; Grammy winner Chaka Khan; entrepreneur Damon Dash; NBA legend Dominique Wilkins; and actress and former Miss America Vanessa Williams. Eating healthy, getting fit, taking proper medications, tracking glucose levels, and getting a twice yearly A1c test to track glucose levels over time are believed to be among the best ways to control the disease.

Taylor made his long-running battle with Type 2 diabetes public in the 1993 song “Oh My God,” rapping, “When’s the last time you heard a funky diabetic?” His condition was aggravated, by an uncontrolled sweet tooth, he admitted in Beats, Rhymes and Life, a 2011 documentary about the history of Tribe, where Taylor said: “Like straight-up drugs. I’m just addicted to sugar.”

Unchecked, diabetes can lead to dire health outcomes, including blindness, limb amputation, and kidney failure. The disease was a primary cause of kidney failure in 44 percent of new cases in 2011, with blacks suffering from kidney failure at a rate three times higher than whites.

Taylor’s condition worsened to the point that he received a kidney transplant from his wife in 2008, while still in his 30s. An All Hip Hop article from that year reported that Taylor was first diagnosed with diabetes in 1990, and went on dialysis in 2000, during which time he had difficulty performing and dropped considerable weight.

It’s a strain on me as far as going where I want to go, doing what I want to do,” he told Diabetes Forecast. “When I was on dialysis the first time, my stepson was playing basketball [and] I couldn’t practice with him. I wanted to go out and run with him and things of that nature, but I didn’t feel good.”

Though his prospects appeared to look up with the new kidney, four years later he was reportedly back on the waiting list for yet another one, and then on March 22 he succumbed to complications from diabetes.

RELATED: Cedric the Entertainer ‘Steps On Up’ for Diabetes Campaign

Taylor initially formed A Tribe Called Quest with high school classmate Q-Tip in 1985. The group later grew with the addition of Jarobi White and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, releasing five albums together between 1990 and 1998, and in 2015 reissuing their debut, People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm to mark its 25th anniversary. They also reunited on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon to perform that album’s chart topping single, “Can I Kick It?”

Diabetes affects how your body uses blood sugar, a source of fuel for the cells in muscles, tissues and the brain. People with diabetes have a glut of glucose in their blood. Type 1 is considered to be a more severe form of the disease, where the person is dependent upon insulin to control it. It’s sometimes called “juvenile” diabetes, because it typically develops during childhood or teen years. The most common form, Type 2, is non-insulin dependent diabetes, and usually develops after 35. While those who have it are able to produce some of their own insulin, it’s usually not enough. Often, Type 2 occurs in people who are overweight and/or sedentary. There’s also prediabetes, where blood sugar is high, but hasn’t yet developed into type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes, which can occur during a pregnancy.

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HHS Says Diabetes Prevention Program Will Save Medicare Money

There's been considerable debate as to whether identifying people with prediabetes could have health benefits.i

There’s been considerable debate as to whether identifying people with prediabetes could have health benefits.


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There's been considerable debate as to whether identifying people with prediabetes could have health benefits.

There’s been considerable debate as to whether identifying people with prediabetes could have health benefits.


A diabetes prevention program being tested by the YMCA of the USA has proven successful at reducing the risk of developing the disease, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

So the Obama administration wants Medicare to pay for the services for beneficiaries at high risk of developing diabetes.

The program “improves health care quality while reducing health care costs,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said at a press conference at the Anthony Bowen YMCA branch in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. “We found that the enrollees lost about 5 percent of their body weight, enough to substantially cut their risk of the disease.”

One of every three Medicare dollars is spent on patients with diabetes, according to HHS, and the prevention effort saved Medicare about $2,650 per participant over 15 months. That’s more than the cost of the preventive program.

The program was developed with an $11.8 million innovation grant under the Affordable Care Act and piloted at YMCA centers across the country. The goal was to work with people with prediabetes, which is characterized by risk factors including higher-than-normal blood sugar, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, to prevent the condition from progressing to full-on diabetes.

Participants met with a lifestyle coach each week and learned about diabetes risks, healthy eating and the value of increased exercise. The YMCA says the 42,000 participants in 45 states lost an average of 5.5 percent of their body weight after one year.

It’s the first program to meet requirements under the Affordable Care Act to gain Medicare coverage, HHS says, including undergoing an independent audit to confirm that it’s effective and saves money. HHS will propose rules this summer that would allow Medicare to pay for the preventive services.

“Expanding Medicare coverage for these evidence-based programs is a significant step toward lowering the burden of chronic disease in a way that improves lives and reduces Medicare spending,” said Lisel Loy, director of the prevention initiative at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Burwell says she hopes employers and insurance companies will also offer the program to their workers and customers.

Skin patch shows promise for pain-free diabetes testing

An experimental device might one day literally take the pain out of managing diabetes, Korean researchers say.

The new invention uses a patch to monitor blood sugar levels via sweat, and delivers the diabetes drug metformin through the skin with microneedles.

“Diabetics are reluctant to monitor their blood glucose levels because of the painful blood-gathering process,” said study author Hyunjae Lee, from Seoul National University in the Republic of Korea. “We highly focused on a noninvasive monitoring and therapy system for diabetics.”

The findings were published online March 21 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. The study team was led by Dae-Hyeong Kim, at Seoul National University. Funding for the study was provided by the Institute for Basic Science in the Republic of Korea.

Currently, people with diabetes have two options for monitoring blood sugar (glucose) levels, said Richard Guy, who wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal. He’s a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom.

One option is a blood glucose meter that requires a finger stick to draw out a drop of blood for testing. The other option is continuous glucose monitoring, which requires that a sensor be placed underneath the skin and worn constantly. Both of these options are invasive and can be painful.

Previously, a less invasive product called GlucoWatch pulled fluid through the skin to the device to measure blood sugar levels. However, that device was never commercially successful and was taken off the market, Guy said.

The Korean research team used a substance called graphene to develop a thin, flexible patch. Graphene conducts electricity, and can be transparent, soft and very thin, the researchers explained.

The patch also contains a variety of sensors that detect humidity, sweat glucose levels, pH and temperature, the researchers said. In addition, the patch contains heat-sensitive microneedles.

The patch uses sweat to determine “sweat glucose,” which can be used to figure out blood glucose levels. Lee said the accuracy of the sweat glucose sensor is similar to that of home blood glucose meters in the United States.

Guy pointed out that someone who sweats a lot might pose a challenge for the patch.

But the researchers said they’ve already taken this into consideration. “We integrated a humidity sensor in the diabetes patch to check how much sweat is generated. So the person who perspires heavily wouldn’t affect the sensing,” said Tae Kyu Choi, another study author from Seoul National University.

Likewise, Choi said, the researchers accounted for someone who perspires very lightly.

The researchers tested the glucose-sensing ability of the patch in two humans and found the device was able to accurately measure blood sugar levels.

In the current version of the patch, the researchers used microneedles to deliver the diabetes drug metformin to mice. Over six hours, the drug — delivered through the skin — was able to drop blood sugar levels from 400 milligrams per deciliter to 120 milligrams per deciliter, the researchers said. For someone without diabetes, a normal blood sugar level taken randomly would generally be under 125 milligrams per deciliter, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Insulin — the hormone necessary to lower blood sugar for people with type 1 diabetes — wasn’t used because it’s a protein that would be difficult to deliver through microneedles because it’s large, and it would be vulnerable to the heating process that allows the drug to be delivered through the skin, the study authors explained.

But, Guy said he expects that should this system go forward in development, other drugs that can lower blood sugar more effectively might be considered. “I think metformin was chosen as an example of a drug used in diabetics for the illustration of proof-of-concept,” he said.

The researchers said they believe the device could be used by either type 1 or type 2 diabetics.

However, Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said the cost of the device might make it very impractical for people with type 2 diabetes. And, he said, people with type 2 diabetes don’t have to know what their blood sugar levels are as often as people with type 1 diabetes.

“They have proved the concept — that a sweat patch can do the monitoring and can deliver a drug transdermally [through the skin]. Trying to do something like this noninvasively really is the holy grail of diabetes. So, there may be a future for this, but there are many barriers to be overcome,” Zonszein said.

The researchers said their next step is to improve the long-term stability and accuracy of the blood glucose sensor. Lee and Choi estimated it would be at least five years before they could solve any remaining obstacles and commercialize the device.

“The promise of a transdermal, minimally invasive glucose monitoring device is coming closer to fruition. I’d hope we’d see a new effort to bring a skin-based monitoring device for glucose to the market in the next few years,” Guy said. “In contrast, such as system combined with drug delivery is, in my opinion, much further away.”