Here Are The Best Things You Can Do For Heartburn While Pregnant

Ah, the joys of being pregnant. Sure, you’re carrying life and hopefully being showered with extra attention, but let’s be honest – physically, being pregnant is no picnic. From the early stages of morning sickness and the endless “fat days” you encounter before actually growing a noticeable baby bump to the false contractions, it makes for a pretty uncomfortable nine months. Especially if you experience a symptom that at least half of all pregnant women endure, which is heartburn (via WebMD).

Many expectant mothers experience heartburn because pregnancy hormones cause the valve that is located at the entrance of their stomachs to relax and not close as it would normally do. This allows for the acidity in the stomach to creep up into the esophagus to result in noticeable acid reflux symptoms (via Kids Health). If you’ve got a baby on board and are feeling the burn, it’s ok. There are a few ways to find relief.

Are you actually experiencing heartburn?

We know it can be hard to tell if the pain you are experiencing is heartburn. A bun in the oven tends to induce a lot of irritations you previously didn’t know existed. Pregnancy-related heartburn can bring on symptoms such as a burning feeling in the chest, burning in the throat, belching, chronic coughing, and wheezing (via WebMD).

To ease the pain of acid reflux, try avoiding foods like citrus, spicy, or greasy food. For drinks, caffeine and carbonated liquids are not your friends. All of these items may bring on or increase ongoing heartburn (via Kids Health). It is also recommended to eat your food slowly, and snack on smaller meals throughout the day. Avoid tight-fitting clothing and try to not eat right before bed. If it’s too late and you’re already feeling the hungry, consider sucking on a ginger candy or taking an antacid (via Health).

Simply put, heartburn is zero fun and is one of many less than glamorous parts of pregnancy for many. But hopefully, the symptoms will subside after a few months or after the delivery. Until then, kick off your shoes, elevate those swollen feet and catch up on as much sleep as possible.

Source: Read Full Article

Approved U.S. COVID vaccines are safe, new review confirms

Approved U.S. COVID vaccines are safe, new review confirms

Only a tiny fraction of the nearly 14 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the first month of vaccinations produced any sort of adverse event, U.S. health officials report.

There were 6,994 reports of adverse events following a shot of the COVID vaccine between Dec. 14, 2020 and Jan. 13, 2021, amounting to about half a percent of the 13.8 million doses doled out during that period, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found.

“The CDC safety data on the first 13 million-plus vaccinations substantiates the fact that the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines are very safe and have a risk-benefit ratio that unequivocally favors their use,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore.

Symptoms most frequently reported were headache (22%), fatigue (16.5%) and dizziness (16.5%), according to the study published Feb. 19 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

There were 640 serious adverse events reported (9% of all adverse events), including 113 deaths.

Available records suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine played no part in these deaths, which mainly occurred among people in long-term care facilities, said the researchers, who were led by Julianne Gee, from the CDC’s COVID Response Team.

Cases of anaphylaxis were rare, amounting to 4.5 for every 1 million doses administered, the CDC found. By comparison, the flu vaccine causes 1.4 cases of anaphylaxis per million, the pneumonia vaccine 2.5 per million, and the shingles vaccine 9.6 per million.

There were a total of 62 reports of anaphylaxis: 46 from the Pfizer vaccine and 16 after the Moderna vaccine.

The data came from the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, as well as from an active surveillance system called V-safe, the researchers said.

To allay concerns about the rapid development and testing of the COVID-19 vaccines, the U.S. federal government “has implemented the most comprehensive vaccine safety monitoring program in its history,” the report added.

No unexpected patterns of reactions or other safety concerns have been identified during this early monitoring, the authors said.

Source: Read Full Article

Lonely adolescents are susceptible to internet addiction: Increasing numbers at risk in the coronavirus situation

teen internet

Loneliness is a risk factor associated with adolescents being drawn into compulsive internet use. The risk of compulsive use has grown in the coronavirus pandemic: loneliness has become increasingly prevalent among adolescents, who spend longer and longer periods of time online.

A study investigating detrimental internet use by adolescents involved a total of 1,750 Finnish study subjects, who were studied at three points in time: at 16, 17 and 18 years of age. The results have been published in the Child Development journal.

Adolescents’ net use is a two-edged sword: while the consequences of moderate use are positive, the effects of compulsive use can be detrimental. Compulsive use denotes, among other things, gaming addiction or the constant monitoring of likes on social media and comparisons to others.

“In the coronavirus period, loneliness has increased markedly among adolescents. They look for a sense of belonging from the internet. Lonely adolescents head to the internet and are at risk of becoming addicted. Internet addiction can further aggravate their malaise, such as depression,” says Professor of Education and study lead Katariina Salmela-Aro from the University of Helsinki.

Highest risk for 16-year-old boys

The risk of being drawn into problematic internet use was at its highest among 16-year-old adolescents, with the phenomenon being more common among boys.

For some, the problem persists into adulthood, but for others it eases up as they grow older. The reduction of problematic internet use is often associated with adolescent development where their self-regulation and control improve, their brains adapt and assignments related to education direct their attention.

“It’s comforting to know that problematic internet use is adaptive and often changes in late adolescence and during the transition to adulthood. Consequently, attention should be paid to the matter both in school and at home. Addressing loneliness too serves as a significant channel for preventing excessive internet use,” Salmela-Aro notes.

It was found in the study that the household climate and parenting also matter: the children of distant parents have a higher risk of drifting into detrimental internet use. If parents are not very interested in the lives of their adolescents, the latter may have difficulty drawing the lines for their actions.

Problematic net use and depression form a cycle

In the study participants, compulsive internet use had a link to depression. Depression predicted problematic internet use, while problematic use further increased depressive symptoms.

Source: Read Full Article

In High-End Real Estate, Are Doctors the New Doormen?

Gyms with Peloton bikes and lap pools are nice, but how about a doctor on call? Some new luxury developments now come with just that, offering residents memberships to medical centers staffed with on-call physicians and nurses. Others are partnering with hospitals and clinics to give homeowners easy access to care, even in remote locations. And a handful have amped up the health and wellness factor, bringing in Eastern medicine gurus and running general health assessments as part of their fitness and spa programs.

At Madison House, a new condo tower under construction in Manhattan’s Nomad neighborhood, buyers get a free one-year membership to Sollis Health, a private medical concierge company that handles everything from emergency calls to routine annual check ups. At Legacy Hotel and Residences, in downtown Miami, there’s a $60 million medical and wellness center on site staffed with doctors, nurses, and nutritionists on site. And at NEMA Chicago, a 76-story luxury rental building downtown, there’s an elaborate fitness center that comes with a complimentary full-body fitness assessment, including blood pressure analysis and body scans.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences in Miami Beach has 111 condominiums, 15 standalone homes, and prices starting at $2 million. Included with every condo purchase is a one-year membership to the Agatston Center for Preventative Medicine, a private medical center founded by Arthur Agatston, the celebrity doctor best known for creating the South Beach Diet. Developer Ophir Sternberg says he’s a member himself and thought buyers might like it as much as he does. “Most are very pleasantly surprised when we do the final walk through and give them their keys and a special medical concierge card,” he says, noting the value of the annual service is about $12,000. “At other developments, it’s just a bottle of champagne.”

For developers, offering medical care can telegraph a sense of luxury that’s broadly appealing and in keeping with the times. “This is not like gold-plated doors or a certain type of stone,” says Evan Stein, the developer of Manhattan’s Madison House. “We think this connotes luxury and what the [building’s] service level is.” Renderings of Madison House’s striking floor-to-ceiling glass windows and sculptural 75-foot-long Olympic pool plays most prominently in marketing materials, but the membership to Sollis has also raised plenty of eyebrows. “Nobody actually wants to sit there and think about their doctors, but they go, ‘wow, ok.’”

In more remote locations, knowing that good care is available can be a big selling point—especially in the midst of a pandemic. At Costa Palmas, a more than 1,000-acre private resort community in Los Cabos, Mexico, there are residences, a Four Seasons resort, and an Aman resort. A partnership with Patronus Medical gives residents and guests 24-hour telemedicine access. Though the partnership was in the works pre-Covid, Michael Radovan, Managing Director of Sales at Costa Palmas, said they’ve recently developed thorough pandemic protocols for screening both employees and guests as well.

In downtown Miami, Legacy Hotel & Residences are attached to a 100,000-square-foot medical center—ideal for out-of-town buyers who want to get treatment locally for chronic illnesses or indulge in anti-aging or cosmetic procedures. Buyers of the 274 residents also get access to a wellness center with a nutritionist, cryotherapy, and professional athletic coaching.

“At other developments, it’s just a bottle of champagne.”

Alternative medicine is also coming home. At 30 Park Place in New York come with services by the Four Seasons and several resident “healers.” According to the developer, they work with residents on sound therapy, crystal healing and acupuncture. “They pick up on things that modern medicine could never guide you on,” says Thomas Carreras, the general manager at the property. “We felt there was a demand for being treated beyond a nice massage that just makes you feel good.”

Source: Read Full Article

How scammers are using COVID-19 vaccine to steal money, info


Scammers are using people’s desperation for COVID-19 vaccines in the midst of a pandemic as a bargaining chip to steal money and personal information.

Though it doesn’t appear to be a widespread problem in Michigan, the state Attorney General’s Office told the Free Press Thursday that it has gotten one report of a fraudster offering a coronavirus vaccine in exchange for money.

“I hope that can be seen as a good sign that people are contacting the proper sources for the vaccine and being cautious about who they provide their personal information to,” said Ryan Jarvi, a spokesperson for Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Eligible for COVID-19 vaccines right now in Michigan are health care workers, residents and employees of long-term care facilities, people ages 65 and older, teachers, child care workers, first-responders, law enforcement and corrections officers.

Anybody offering a chance to jump ahead on the statewide priority list for a vaccination in exchange for money is a scammer, the Federal Trade Commission warns.

“You can’t pay to get your name on a list to get the vaccine,” the agency said in a consumer blog post. “That’s a scam. You can’t pay to get early access to the vaccine. That’s a scam. Nobody legit will call about the vaccine and ask for your Social Security, bank account or credit card number. That’s a scam.”

An FTC spokesman said Thursday that because the COVID-19 vaccines are so new—both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines were approved in mid-December—data about the prevalence of these scams isn’t available yet. Still, the agency issued preemptive warnings about the possibility for fraud around the vaccines, which are in high demand in a nation that has reported 25.3 million coronavirus cases and more than 423,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So did the Henry Ford Health System.

Bob Riney, the Detroit-based health system’s president of health care operations and COO, made this statement Thursday: “People should be extremely vigilant and wary of vaccination offers that don’t come from trusted sources like their doctor, health care provider or local health department.

“The plain fact is that there is no charge to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which is being paid for by the federal government. You can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine, or to get early access, and you don’t need to provide sensitive personal information over the phone. Anyone promising that is trying to steal your personal or financial information, and very likely, your money.”

A Henry Ford spokesman said Thursday that the health system isn’t aware of any specific claims of fraud around COVID-19 vaccines in Michigan, but “we wanted to get this message out to let people know that these scams are out there and to be aware.”

Riney cautioned people to be wary of any the following:

  • Offers for early access to a vaccine upon payment of a deposit or fee.
  • Requests asking for a payment to get a shot or to put your name on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list.
  • Unsolicited emails, telephone calls, or texts from someone claiming to be from a medical office, insurance company or COVID-19 vaccine center requesting personal, financial and/or medical information to determine your eligibility to participate in clinical vaccine trials or obtain the vaccine.
  • Claims of Food and Drug Administration approval for a vaccine that cannot be verified.
  • Ads for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources.
  • A phone call or email telling you the government or government officials require you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

People also should be aware that some tricksters may pretend to be health care workers to try to get access to valuable information, calling, texting or even knocking on doors to try to fool people who are eager to get a vaccine that’s in short supply, he said.

“Our team members would never call to ask for your sensitive personal and financial information,” Riney said. “Anyone who receives a call like this from someone who identifies themselves as being from Henry Ford should just hang up.”

Complaints of fraud can be reported to the FTC at or through the state Attorney General’s Office at

The FTC offers these tips:

1.) Contact a trusted source for information. Check with state or local health departments, your health care provider or pharmacist to learn when and how to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

2.) Don’t pay to sign up for the vaccine. Anyone who asks for a payment to put you on a list, to make an appointment for you, or reserve a spot in line is a scammer.

3.) Ignore sales ads for the COVID-19 vaccine. You can’t buy a vaccine. It is only available at federal- and state-approved locations.

4.) Watch for unexpected or unusual texts. If your health care provider or pharmacist has used text messages to contact you in the past, you might get a text message about a COVID-19 vaccine. If you get a text, call your health care provider or pharmacist directly to make sure the message is legitimate. Scammers are texting, too. So don’t click on links in text messages—especially messages you didn’t expect.

5.) Don’t open emails, attachments, or links from people you don’t know or that come unexpectedly. You could download dangerous malware onto your computer or phone.

6.) Don’t share information with people you don’t know. No one from a vaccine distribution site, health care provider’s office, pharmacy, insurance company or Medicare, will call, text, or email you asking for your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number to sign you up to get the vaccine.

In Michigan, there are several ways to register to get a coronavirus vaccine when you are eligible.

A federal pharmacy partnership with CVS and Walgreens pharmacies are handling immunizations for living and working in long-term care facilities.

For senior citizens ages 65 and older, health officials suggest the best way to register for a vaccine is to sign up through your local hospital system using an online patient portal, such as My Chart, through a Meijer or Kroger pharmacy, or through your local health department.

Hospitals are handling COVID-19 immunizations for their employees and county health departments and hospitals are also vaccinating people who work in private practice or offices independent of hospitals.

Source: Read Full Article

‘What I Eat In a Day’ Videos Are Going Viral on TikTok—Here’s Why They’re So Problematic

Close up of camera screen showing woman drinking fresh juice at kitchen table

There are some real benefits to social media. It helps us feel connected to those we don't see often, it allows people to find supportive communities that aren't accessible to them IRL, and it gives everyone a voice. Of course, by now we all recognize that there are many dangers to social media, too. It's a source of endless unverified—and often false—information, and it allows people to widely broadcast messages that might be harmful to others, whether the original poster realizes that or not.

Case in point: The thousands of "What I Eat In a Day" videos flooding TikTok and Instagram Reels recently (from here on out, I'll call them WIEIAD videos or posts). The wellness influencers (and teenagers who aspire to become them) who post these videos may think that they serve as healthy inspiration for others. But health experts condemn them as promoting eating disorders, disordered eating, comparison, and poor self-esteem. And many of the posts showcase low-calorie menus that aren't enough food for most people, and even the ones that feature nutritionally adequate meals and snacks may end up doing more harm than good. Here's what two registered dietitians and an eating disorder therapist have to say about these posts and why they may cause much more harm than good.

‘What I Eat In a Day’ posts are nothing new—they’re just newly viral

If you followed any healthy living bloggers in the late 'aughts, you likely remember that their entire content strategy was to publish several blog posts a day, chronicling exactly what they ate and how they exercised that day. Then, Instagram's inception in 2010, led to people posting photos of their daily eats. And media outlets have long published celebrity food diaries, giving fans an inside look at their favorite stars' eating habits.

Clearly, we as a culture are fascinated by what other people eat. Shana Minei Spence, MS, RDN, CDN, a Brooklyn-based dietitian and founder of The Nutrition Tea who focuses on Health at Every Size (HAES) and intuitive eating, says that she shared posts like this at the start of her own nutrition career because she thought it was just what dietitians did. "People are always asking [dietitians] for meal plans, so I thought creating these posts was the thing to do," Spence tells Health But even she wasn't immune to the harm that these posts can cause.

These videos lend themselves to harmful comparison

Seeing her colleagues post their daily eats on social media motivated Spence to do the same. "I saw what other RDs were posting, so of course there was that sort of peer pressure that made me want to 'prove' that I was also a 'healthy eater.'" At the time, she (and many others) didn't realize how harmful that kind of pressure can be. "I never thought anything of it or how it could potentially trigger someone with a past eating disorder. I myself didn't realize that I was [playing] the comparison game and comparing what I was eating to others."

Today's WIEIAD posts showcase more than just food. TikTok and Instagram Reels are video platforms, so users often start their daily eats videos with full-length clips of their bodies. "I believe that the message this sends is unequivocally, 'if you eat like me, you can look like me,'" Colleen Reichmann, PsyD, a Philadelphia-based clinical psychologist and co-author of The Inside Scoop on Eating Disorder Recovery, tells Health. "This is so problematic, because the vast majority of the time, the videos are being done by thin, able-bodied, younger white women—women with an immense amount of body privilege." The videos then end up promoting a specific type of body that's unattainable to the vast majority of people. "[This] is fundamentally misleading because weight and body shape are 95% determined by genetics, not food or exercise," Reichman says.

And they rarely, if ever, promote a healthy relationship with food

Kathleen Meehan, a Los Angeles-based dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor, agrees with Reichmann that these videos promote the thin ideal and "fail to acknowledge body diversity." This is particularly problematic when the person making the video is using terms like intuitive eating or food freedom.

"Intuitive eating is weight-inclusive, and is for people of all body sizes," Meehan tells Health. "When people with thin privilege highlight their own bodies or continuously use their bodies in marketing, there's a subtle (and even not so subtle, at times) suggestion that a peaceful relationship with food is only for those with bodily privilege." Someone with a larger or otherwise different body may see the video and think that they can't start intuitive eating until they look like the person on screen, which is completely untrue and opposed to the very principles of intuitive eating. Or, they might feel like they're doing intuitive eating "wrong" because their body looks different from the ones they're seeing on social media.

The problem isn't just about promoting unattainable body standards. Meehan says that the WIEIAD posts that mention intuitive eating often misunderstand what it means in several ways. "When a person posts about intuitive eating but then mentions things like 'portion control,' that's a sign they may not have a complete understanding of what intuitive eating represents," she says. Or they talk only about hunger and fullness without going deeper into other important concepts like satisfaction, flexibility, and body acceptance. It's about so much more than what you eat and how much, and showcasing just those things skews the intention behind intuitive eating.

Social media is never the whole truth

Spence points out that WIEIAD videos are almost never accurate. "Social media presents this image of perfection even though there is no such thing as perfect, especially in the realm of eating," she says. "People have an idea in their heads of what a perfect day of eating looks like and they won't present anything else." They might show portions that are smaller than what they actually ate, or intentionally leave out foods that they deem "unhealthy."

It's also possible that those posting the videos engage in disordered eating behaviors not shown on camera. They might showcase eats on days when they're extremely strict about what and how much they eat, failing to mention that on other days they feel totally out of control around food—a common side effect of such restriction—and end up bingeing.

TikTok audiences are particularly vulnerable

Of the one billion people who use TikTok, a whopping 32.5 percent are between the ages of 10 and 19. (Another 29.5 percent are in their twenties, and 37.4 percent are 30 and over.) That means that these WIEIAD videos, most of which originate on TikTok right now, are reaching a group that's so easily influenced. "It puts pressure on these people who are in an already pressure-filled period of life," Reichmann says. Many preteens and teenagers have heightened anxiety about food and their bodies, and these videos only make it worse. "It is unconscionable to flaunt one's thin adult body, and show this audience videos of (likely) restrictive meal plans," Reichmann says.

Not to mention, female-identifying teenagers and young adults are the group most at-risk group for eating disorders, like anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder, according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). Reichmann explains that anyone who has an eating disorder or who is at risk of developing one is likely to get sucked into these videos, many of which showcase extremely low-calorie meals and snacks.

Seeing what someone else eats in a day is just plain unhelpful

Even for people who have a relatively healthy relationship with food—which, let's be honest, is not most people—these videos are not helpful at all. What someone else eats should have nothing to do with what you eat.

"Everybody has a different body," Spence says. "Just by observation, you can see that we come in all sizes, so our needs will be very different." Plus, we all have different activity levels, hormone fluctuations, and cravings. These things vary daily, so even your own WIEIAD wouldn't be a helpful model for what to eat on another day.

Spence's perspective has changed dramatically since the days when she was posting her daily eats, and now she uses Instagram to speak out against the harms of diets, food rules, and arbitrary body standards. That said, many dietitians still post WIEIAD videos. While it's understandable that some might think this is helpful—people look to dietitians as experts on healthy eating, after all—others disagree.

"I rarely find it helpful or appropriate to be providing full examples of a day of eating," Meehan says. That's not to say that dietitians should absolutely never post food pictures. "Diet culture has skewed our sense of what's 'normal,' and sometimes it may feel valuable to see a plated meal, complete with all different types of foods including a satisfying amount of carbohydrates." (It's worth noting that neither Spence nor Meehan post food photos on their accounts these days.) But, showing a full day of eating "usually does not show all the nuances of a healthy relationship with food," Meehan says.

These videos likely aren’t going anywhere, so the best you can do is stop watching them

Listen, it's impossible to control what other people put out there on social media. But, it is possible to control the content that you see, at least to some extent. If someone you follow is posting WIEIAD videos, mute or unfollow them. If you see these videos in your Discover tab, click the 'Not Interested' button so that they're hidden in the future.

The bottom line is that there's nothing to gain from seeing what someone else eats in a day. "What one person eats should really have no bearing on what I eat," Reichmann says. "It's just unhelpful to put this type of media out into the world. Who benefits from it?" Nobody.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter

Source: Read Full Article

Ohio couple dies of coronavirus minutes apart, family says: ‘Our hearts are shattered’

Fox News Flash top headlines for January 22

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what’s clicking on

Dick and Shirley Meek, married for over 70 years, were holding hands as they died within minutes of each other due to the novel coronavirus. Their favorite music played gently in the background.

“It was a beautiful passing,” reads an obituary from Fischer Funeral Home. “Theirs was a love story for the ages. They had a fairytale ending…Our hearts are shattered, but we are at peace knowing that they are together forever.”

The Ohio couple, aged 89 and 87, died on Jan. 16 about one week after they tested positive for coronavirus and were admitted to Riverside Hospital in Columbus, per local news outlet WBNS. They were scheduled to receive the vaccine three days later.



“Mom passed first,” said Debbie Howell, a daughter to the couple. “They were holding hands. The nurse put mom’s head on my dad’s shoulder and she said to dad ‘Dick it’s OK to let go now. Shirley’s waiting for you’ and he passed within minutes.”

Howell and her sisters Vicki Harper and Kelly Meek told WBNS precautions were eased to celebrate the couple’s 70th wedding anniversary on Dec. 22, and then the pair developed colds. After their conditions quickly deteriorated at the hospital, and no treatment options were left, the hospital staff agreed to let the couple share a room so they could be with one another.

The obituary describes the couple as childhood sweethearts, who led lives of love and passion.

“Theirs was a life of adventure – from sky diving to zip-lining, their bucket list was amazing!! Having devout love for family, they still always made time for each other. They met every single day, no matter where they were in the world, at 3:00 for a date and a toast to each other,” the obituary reads.

“We have years of warm memories of holiday parties, backyard cookouts, vacations, birthdays, days on the beach, annual Meek Family Game Show nights, making silly family videos, water skiing and boating, love, laughter and togetherness. Our life together with them as inspiration was a wild and crazy ride!!”


The daughters shared the couple’s story to urge others to stay safe amid the virus.

Dick, or Edwin Richard, Meek had served in the U.S. Air Force as a Sergeant and was a carpenter, while Shirley worked 25 years at Burger Chef and was a great cook and homemaker, per the obituary.

They are survived by five children, 13 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren as well as nieces and nephews.

Source: Read Full Article

Public Health Officials Are Quitting or Getting Fired in Throes of Pandemic

Vilified, threatened with violence or in some cases suffering from burnout, dozens of state and local public health officials around the U.S. have resigned or have been fired amid the coronavirus outbreak, a testament to how politically combustible masks, lockdowns and infection data have become.

One of the latest departures came Sunday, when California’s public health director, Dr. Sonia Angell, was ousted following a technical glitch that caused a delay in reporting virus test results — information used to make decisions about reopening businesses and schools.

Last week, New York City’s health commissioner was replaced after months of friction with the police department and City Hall.

A review by KHN and The Associated Press finds at least 49 state and local public health leaders have resigned, retired or been fired since April across 23 states. The list has grown by more than 20 people since the AP and KHN started keeping track in June.

Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called the numbers stunning. He said they reflect burnout, as well as attacks on public health experts and institutions from the highest levels of government, including from President Donald Trump, who has sidelined the CDC during the pandemic.

“The overall tone toward public health in the U.S. is so hostile that it has kind of emboldened people to make these attacks,” Frieden said.

The past few months have been “frustrating and tiring and disheartening” for public health officials, said former West Virginia public health commissioner Dr. Cathy Slemp, who was forced to resign by Republican Gov. Jim Justice in June.

“You care about community, and you’re committed to the work you do and societal role that you’re given. You feel a duty to serve, and yet it’s really hard in the current environment,” Slemp said in an interview Monday.

The departures come at a time when public health expertise is needed more than ever, said Lori Tremmel Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

“We’re moving at breakneck speed here to stop a pandemic, and you can’t afford to hit the pause button and say, ‘We’re going to change the leadership around here and we’ll get back to you after we hire somebody,’” Freeman said.

As of Monday, confirmed infections in the United States stood at over 5 million, with deaths topping 163,000, the highest in the world, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University researchers. The confirmed number of coronavirus cases worldwide topped 20 million.

Many of the firings and resignations have to do with conflicts over mask orders or shutdowns to enforce social distancing, Freeman said. Despite the scientific evidence that such measures help prevent transmission of the coronavirus, many politicians and others have argued they are not needed, no matter what health experts tell them.

“It’s not a health divide; it’s a political divide,” Freeman said.

Some health officials said they were stepping down for family reasons, and some left for jobs at other agencies, such as the CDC. Some, like Angell, were ousted because of what higher-ups said was poor leadership or a failure to do their job.

Others have complained that they were overworked, underpaid, unappreciated or thrust into a pressure-cooker environment.

“To me, a lot of the divisiveness and the stress and the resignations that are happening right and left are the consequence of the lack of a real national response plan,” said Dr. Matt Willis, health officer for Marin County in Northern California. “And we’re all left scrambling at the local and state level to extract resources and improvise solutions.”

Public health leaders from Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, down to officials in small communities have reported death threats and intimidation. Some have seen their home addresses published or been the subject of sexist attacks on social media. Fauci has said his wife and daughters have received threats.

In Ohio, the state’s health director, Dr. Amy Acton, resigned in June after months of pressure during which Republican lawmakers tried to strip her of her authority and armed protesters showed up at her house.

It was on Acton’s advice that GOP Gov. Mike DeWine became the first governor to shut down schools statewide. Acton also called off the state’s presidential primary in March just hours before polls were to open, angering those who saw it as an overreaction.

The executive director of Las Animas-Huerfano Counties District Health Department in Colorado, Kim Gonzales, found her car vandalized twice, and a group called Colorado Counties for Freedom ran a radio ad demanding that her authority be reduced. Gonzales has remained on the job.

In West Virginia, the governor forced Slemp’s resignation over what he said were discrepancies in the data. Slemp said the department’s work had been hurt by outdated technology like fax machines and slow computer networks. Tom Inglesby, director of the UPMC Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins, said the issue amounted to a clerical error easily fixed.

Inglesby said it was deeply concerning that public health officials who told “uncomfortable truths” to political leaders had been removed.

“That’s terrible for the national response because what we need for getting through this, first of all, is the truth. We need data, and we need people to interpret the data and help political leaders make good judgments,” Inglesby said.

Since 2010, spending on state public health departments has dropped 16% per capita, and the amount devoted to local health departments has fallen 18%, according to a KHN and AP analysis. At least 38,000 state and local public health jobs have disappeared since the 2008 recession, leaving a skeleton workforce for what was once viewed as one of the world’s top public health systems.

Another sudden departure came Monday along the Texas border. Dr. Jose Vazquez, the Starr County health authority, resigned after a proposal to increase his pay from $500 to $10,000 a month was rejected by county commissioners.

Starr County Judge Eloy Vera, a county commissioner who supported the raise, said Vazquez had been working 60 hours per week in the county, one of the poorest in the U.S. and recently one of those hit hardest by the virus.

“He felt it was an insult,” Vera said.

In Oklahoma, both the state health commissioner and state epidemiologist have been replaced since the outbreak began in March.

In rural Colorado, Emily Brown was fired in late May as director of the Rio Grande County Public Health Department after clashing with county commissioners over reopening recommendations. The person who replaced her resigned July 9.

The months of nonstop and often unappreciated work are prompting many public health workers to leave, said Theresa Anselmo of the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials.

“It will certainly slow down the pandemic response and become less coordinated,” she said. “Who’s going to want to take on this career if you’re confronted with the kinds of political issues that are coming up?”

Weber reported from St. Louis. Associated Press writers Paul Weber, Sean Murphy and Janie Har and California Healthline senior correspondent Anna Maria Barry-Jester contributed reporting.

This story is a collaboration between KHN and The Associated Press.

Source: Read Full Article

Outlandish new gadgets are unveiled at the world's biggest tech show

The face mask that stops you mumbling, the patch that scans for Covid and the loo that gives you a health MOT: Outlandish new gadgets are unveiled at the world’s biggest tech show

  • Health technology was key component at this year’s CES technology trade show
  • Event unveiled gadgets designed to help us protect, monitor and manage health
  • From space-age face masks to virus-killing robots, Covid-19 was a major theme
  • Could such high tech healthcare at home become commonplace in near future? 

It seems like a lifetime ago. Just days after the 2019 General Election, health secretary Matt Hancock appeared on national TV setting out his vision for a ‘digital NHS’.

He promised the newly elected Government would ‘double down on the tech agenda and bring the NHS into the 21st Century’.

His plan, which included greater funding for cutting-edge technology, was ambitious.

But no one could have predicted quite how prescient it was, too.

A little over a month after that announcement, the first Covid case reached our shores – and our healthcare system underwent a radical overhaul, almost overnight. And it will, most agree, never be the same again.

While front-line doctors learned to tackle the deadly disease, with the country in lockdown GPs had to work out how to treat patients without being in the same room.

Prior to the pandemic, the vast majority of appointments were face-to-face – now, most are carried out via video consultation or by phone.

This new strategy hasn’t won over all patients but a survey carried out by the British Medical Association in June found that 88 per cent of GPs wanted to continue using remote consultations after the Covid-19 crisis is solved.

In 2020 the UK saw £1.3 billion invested into its digital health tech. So it’s not surprising that at this year’s CES technology trade show, health tech was a key component.

The event, which took place online, unveiled a number of major gadgets designed to help us protect, monitor and manage our own health, without needing a doctor at all. From the space-age face masks that amplify the voice, to virus-killing robots, Covid was, of course, a major theme. 

Others are simply bizarre – for instance, a ‘smart’ toilet that can carry out urine and stool analysis. But as healthcare at home gets ever more high tech, could such innovations become commonplace in the near future?

The Mail on Sunday compiled the most exciting gadgets from this year’s show… so you can decide for yourself.

Covid mask that gives you that Darth Vader look

The surgical N95 respirator face mask is made of transparent plastic – making it easier for people to lip read, it’s reusable, and it even lights up in the dark


The Project Hazel is a surgical N95 respirator face mask – the type approved for medical-grade PPE – which also amplifies the voice. It’s made of transparent plastic – making it easier for people to lip read, it’s reusable, and it even lights up in the dark.

The mask comes with a charging case that sterilises the device using UV light. Oh, and you’ll look like something from Star Wars while wearing it, if that’s any bonus.


The mask fits snuggly to the face, with soft silicone seals. An in-built microphone on the inside transmits the voice to a speaker outside, making it clear and easier to understand what’s being said, even behind the layers of plastic. We weren’t able to try it out, so can’t vouch for whether it makes you sound like Darth Vader as well as look like him.


Razer plans to continue developing Project Hazel before it goes on the market.

Video-game eye test that spots sight loss

The device carries out ten diagnostic tests for common eye conditions, from colour blindness to glaucoma – high pressure inside the eyeball that causes a gradual loss of vision


The Vror Eye Dr uses the same technology found in virtual-reality computer game headsets – so users see a computer-generated image through the lenses, rather than what is actually in front of them. But this is no game: the device carries out ten diagnostic tests for common eye conditions, from colour blindness to glaucoma – high pressure inside the eyeball that causes a gradual loss of vision.


Once strapped to the head, users see a computer-generated 3D landscape through the goggles. This stimulates the entire visual field, so is said to give a better indication of how the eye functions in day-to-day life than a normal eye test, which uses static images on a screen. An in-built computer takes measurements of the eye’s reaction to the stimuli in the landscape, and this is beamed back to the medical professional assisting the test.


There is currently no release date for the Vror Eye Dr but the company has plans to offer it for use at eye clinics in the US and further afield.

The loo that gives diet tips

The Wellness Toilet is linked to an app that warns you if your diet is unbalanced and makes suggestions on how to improve it – by eating more fibre, for example


The Wellness Toilet by Japanese firm Toto analyses the user’s ‘key outputs’ to provide recommendations on ways to improve their health. It’s linked to an app that warns you if your diet is unbalanced and makes suggestions on how to improve it – by eating more fibre, for example. Sensors in the seat also record the user’s pulse and blood pressure.


Toto says the loo uses biosensors to analyse waste. People with poor gut health are well known to be at increased risk of serious conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s and even depression – and a Korean study published last week found they may also be more likely to suffer from severe Covid symptoms.


Bill Strang, US chief of Toto, says the launch of the toilet, which is still in prototype stage, is ‘a year or two down the road’.

Backpack and keyboard that sanitise themselves

The lamp uses UV-C light to kill germs. It switches itself on for five minutes every hour – but not if it detects a hand under it, as UV-C can be harmful to human skin


Attach the UV-C LED Disinfection Light to a keyboard and it will kill germs on its surface, while the 2Office Antimicrobial Backpack’s fabric has an antimicrobial finish.


The lamp uses UV-C light to kill germs. It switches itself on for five minutes every hour – but not if it detects a hand under it, as UV-C can be harmful to human skin. The backpack neutralises pathogens.


The UV-C LED Disinfection Light will cost £220. The 2Office Antimicrobial Backpack will cost £88.

App detects blood pressure from a selfie

As our heart beats, blood pulses through these veins, causing minute colour changes in our skin. These are detectable, even by a smartphone camera


The Anura app measures blood pressure by taking a 30-second video of the user’s face. Doctors say the app could help people avoid unnecessary visits to the GP.


The blood that flows through the veins in our face sits close to surface of the skin. As our heart beats, blood pulses through these veins, causing minute colour changes in our skin. These are detectable, even by a smartphone camera. The Anura is able to analyse these changes to give an accurate reading of our blood pressure.


Anura is available now to download for iPhone and android for free.

Two pairs of glasses… in one

Turning the dial allows the two lenses to slide over each other – the same technology used to power the zoom on smartphone cameras


Constantly switching between reading and driving glasses? This stylish pair promises to be the only set you’ll ever need, housing two prescriptions in one.

These so-called ‘tunable glasses’ make switching between prescriptions ‘seamless’, says San Francisco start-up Voy.

It’s even possible to adjust one lens at a time, if prescriptions differs between the eyes.


The secret lies with a dial that sits on the top of the frame. Turning the dial allows the two lenses to slide over each other – the same technology used to power the zoom on smartphone cameras.

The Voy glasses can change from a -5 prescription to a 2+ in a matter of seconds.


The Voy glasses are currently available online for £58.55.

The patch that scans for Covid

 The size of a 10p piece, the BioButton sticks to the skin and by monitoring temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate, can give an early warning if the wearer has Covid

Technology that can monitor the body’s vitals just through skin contact are nothing new – there’s similar gadgetry inside many wrist-worn fitness trackers, for instance


The size of a 10p piece, the BioButton sticks to the skin and by monitoring temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate, can give an early warning if the wearer has Covid. Covid testing of course is now widely available but BioButton makers BiointelliSense point out that even PCR tests – recognised as the most accurate – can miss more than 30 per cent of early-stage infections.


Technology that can monitor the body’s vitals just through skin contact are nothing new – there’s similar gadgetry inside many wrist-worn fitness trackers, for instance. But this is linked to an app that uses an algorithm that can detect changes that signal Covid before symptoms are even noticed. The idea is that it would be given by doctors to those most at risk from Covid.


It’s already been approved for medical use in America and is currently being tested in hospitals. BioButton costs around £65, and can be worn for 90 days. There’s no release date for the UK yet.

Exterminate! Robot can target coronavirus 

First, the user programmes the cleaning route via a smartphone app. The robot then navigates itself using in-built motion and audio sensors


Robot vacuum cleaners are nothing new – but this machine is said to destroy microscopic traces of bacteria and viruses – including Covid – using high-energy beams of light. The Unipin Ultraviolet Disinfection Robot can also disinfect at high speeds – taking just over two hours to clean an average-sized nursing home.


First, the user programmes the cleaning route via a smartphone app. The robot then navigates itself using in-built motion and audio sensors. It uses ultraviolet light to destroy living organisms – studies have shown this type of UV light can alter the structure of virus particles and stop them from reproducing.

Motion sensors stop the device emitting UV light within five metres of a person, as the rays can harm human skin. It also contains a filter to clean the air, ridding surfaces of Covid-19 particles and droplets in the air.


There’s currently no release date, but the manufacturers say it will be priced at roughly £5,500.

Source: Read Full Article

Jessica Simpson and Daughter Max Are 'Twins' in Cute Christmas Pajamas

Jessica Simpson’s Family Album

Picture perfect! A little over a month after she gave birth to her second child with fiance Eric Johnson in June 2013, Jessica Simpson debuted her new family on the cover of Us Weekly. Posing with son Ace, daughter Maxwell, and Johnson at their home in Hidden Hills, Calif., the singer and fashion mogul opened up her busy life as a mom of two.

Related: Jessica Simpson’s Best Instagram Pics of the Kids!

In order to view the gallery, please allow Manage Cookies

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!

Source: Read Full Article