Mysterious Illness Continues to Plague NY Teens

The mysterious illness, which includes a tic, twitching, fainting spells and verbal outbursts, has now spread to affect 14 girls and one boy from Le Roy NY High School. Environmentalist Erin Brockovich has now launched her own investigation.


New York Organization Provides Answers on Health Care Reforms

As questions regarding health care reform abound, the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, based in New York, is offering answers.

Bombarded with questions on a daily basis, the organization has launched a campaign aimed at educating and proving the public with helpful information on the topic.

Representing hospitals throughout Long Island, the council’s campaign will be using their website as well as various social media veins, said Wendy Darwell, a member of the organization.

She continued, stating that the campaign aims to help patients make informed health care decisions based on their individual situations under the Affordable Health Care Act.

A council spokesperson added that the council has no intention of commenting on the political aspects of the reform, and hopes merely to help people adjust to the new policies and procedures.

Mysterious Medical Disorders Affects 12 High School Girls

Twelve teens from Le Roy Junior Senior High School in upstate New York have been experiencing an unusual, rather mysterious medical condition. The female students’ symptoms include stuttering, verbal outbursts and uncontrollable twitching movements, which health officials say are consistent with “conversion disorder.”

A pediatric neurologist Dr. Jennifer McVige is working with a number of the affected students at the DENT Neurologic Institute. She explained: “Conversion disorder is a physical manifestation of physiological symptoms where there is traditionally some kind of stress or multiple stressors that provoke a physical reaction within the body.” McVige was careful to stress that the symptoms, however, are real. “This is unconscious. It is not done purposefully.”

Officials have confirmed that the school conducted mold and air quality tests, but have yet to find an environmental cause for the strange illness. The school’s website broadcasted a statement, saying: “The medical and environmental investigations have not uncovered any evidence that would link the neurological symptoms to anything in the environment or of an infectious nature.”

The case is still being investigated, as is the medical condition.

7 Important Health Tests for Women

Obesity and weight loss are hot topics, and so many people associate health with exercise and a nutritious diet. While both are immeasurably important for your body, there are a few other health habits that every woman should incorporate into her lifestyle; health screenings.

Dr. Miriam Goldberg lists seven important health screenings, including heart tests, mammograms, pap smears, colonoscopies, thyroid tests, bone density tests and checks for melanoma.

“You really have to do it because if you catch it early, then you are saved,” she said.

Dr. Nieca Goldberg of the Tisch Center for Women’s Health stressed the importance of monitoring heart health. She said: “You need to get screened for heart disease and that means getting a blood pressure test at your doctor’s office and laboratory testing for cholesterol and glucose.”

She added: “Skin is the biggest organ of our body and we often take it for granted,” and so it is equally important to protect it and monitor its health as well.

Many mothers claim they have little time for such procedures. Goldberg replies by stating “It’s not an excuse to say I have no time because I have to take care of my kids and my family. The way to take care of your kids and your family is to go to the doctor and take care of yourself.”

BSN in 10 Bill Requires Bachelor’s Degree for Nurses

Though the healthcare industry is currently dealing with staff shortages, New York lawmakers are considering a new measure that would require new registered nurses to earn a bachelor’s degree within a decade. This motion comes as part of a national effort to boost educational requirements for nurses.

The bill, nicknamed “BSN in 10”, is supported by health policy organizations, as well as nursing associations, who hope to resolve the issue of limited nurses qualified to care for the aging population. This population includes hundreds of thousands of nurses who will retire in the next few years. The downside to the plan is that it may discourage new entrants into the field.

“It simply means that if you graduate from a program like ours, within 10 years of graduation, they need to have earned a bachelor’s in nursing (BSN),” explained Rhonda Reader of St. Joseph’s College of Nursing. “We don’t think that’s a bad thing. We think that’s a great thing. It’s naturally starting to happen without the legislation,” Reader added.

She continued, “One of our focuses has always been encouraging lifelong learning and this is a starting point. We’re definitely behind the curve in terms of health care professions.”

New York Health Department Continues to Battle Obesity and Diabetes

New York City’s department of health recently released a new set of posters for its campaign against obesity and diabetes.

The new ads illustrate the growing portions of fast foods and sodas, and connect them to the dangerous health conditions. The ads show how the increase in soda and French fry intakes has made both obesity and diabetes much more common.

“Portions have grown. So has Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to amputations,” one poster reads, with an image of growing soda cups and an amputee in a wheelchair. This is only one of the city’s recent attempts to discourage super-sized servings of sugary drinks and fast, fatty and salty foods.

New York’s health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said “The portion sizes that are marketed are often much more than humans need.”

The American Beverage Association has responded to the campaign, claiming it oversimplifies the connection between the portion sizes and the health conditions.

“Portion control is indeed an important piece of the solution to obesity,” Stefan Friedman of the association said. “But instead of utilizing scare tactics, the beverage industry is offering real solutions like smaller portioned containers and calorie labels that show the number of calories in a full container, right up front, to help people choose products and sizes that are right for them and their families.”

Red Wine May Reduce Breast Cancer

The health benefits of red wine are often discussed, with studies showing that it is healthy for the heart and circulatory system, digestion and more. Now, research has revealed that it may reduce the risk of breast cancer in women as well.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center conducted a study using 36 younger women. The group was told to drink eight ounces of cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay every day for a month, and then later to switch to a different type of wine for an additional month.

Researchers found a difference in the women during the two months.

“In red wine, the hormone levels, the estrogen levels decreased while the testosterone levels increased,” explained Dr. Chrisandra Shufelt. “And that may actually be a change for risk factors for breast cancer.”

She explained that the change in hormone patterns may indicate that red wine can inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

Yoga Reduces Post-Breat Cancer Fatigue

A large percentage of breast cancer survivors are left with fatigue that can significantly impact their quality of life. Recent studies have revealed that yoga may work as an effective treatment for the issue.

A group of breast cancer survivors participated in a three-month, twice-a-week yoga class, and reported reduced fatigue and increased “vigor”. An additional group who took classes in health issues, without yoga sessions, felt no change in their depression or exhaustion.

The psychology department of the University of California, Los Angeles, gathered 31 breast cancer survivors, in order to test if yoga’s stress-reducing qualities will have an impact on the women’s fatigue. Each woman answered a questionnaire, revealing that levels of fatigue in the group were similar. The participants were then randomly assigned to a twice-weekly yoga class or a two-hour health class which took place once a week.

After three months, the educational class continued to suffer from the same levels of fatigue, while the yoga participants reported a dramatic decrease in fatigue and depression. The improvements continued up to three months after the last yoga class, as well.

According to Dr. Maira Campos, the new study’s results mirror those of similar studies conducted over the past few years. Dr. Campos was not involved in the recent study.

Doctors Across New York Program Grants $500,000 Awards

Officials recently announced that healthcare providers throughout New York have awarded grants worth as much as $500,000 to doctors working in underserved areas of the state.

According to Dr. Nirav R. Shah, health commissioner of New York State, Doctors Across New York Program granted the awards in an effort to boost recruitment and retention of physicians in such areas via salary enhancements, sign-on bonuses, loan repayment and other payments to doctors. Shah added that all physicians participating in the program have committed to several years of practicing in an underserved area in New York.

“The Doctors Across New York Program is a critical program to help ensure that New Yorkers in every community in the state have access to high quality healthcare services,” Shah said. “These grants will help these institutions increase access to vital healthcare services in rural and urban areas.”

Shah added that approximately 25% of New Yorkers live in medically underserved areas. Many communities do not have enough physicians to provide specialty medicine such as psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology.