Do Flu Shots Work?

Every spring, federal health officials select two influenza A virus strains (usually H1N1 and H3N2 subtypes) and one or two influenza B virus strains to include in flu vaccines released in the fall. In December, CDC informed us that one of the A strains selected for the vaccine for this year was “starting to drift.” So what does that mean? It means that the mutating subtype of the A strain causing this year’s disease is not in the flu vaccine used for inoculation. Well, so you had the shot, does it confer some help with the symptoms if you get the strain that’s winning the flu war? No, it doesn’t. Does it help at all? Hmmm, big arguments on that subject, but it probably does not, even a little bit. If you go back to 2003-2004, a similar process occurred. It was determined that the vaccine being prepared was not going to work on the virus that was active. The vaccine makers told the government they couldn’t include the mutated H3N2 subtype because they would miss the fall 2003 delivery and marketing deadline. The government knew that and yet approved the vaccine. Then there’s the 2012-2013 where the vaccine was about 40% effective. That wasn’t about the drift problem, it was about a manufacturing problem, where a mismatch was created (by the maker). Is it about preventive health then or money? Billions are spent to create genetically engineered flu vaccines that contain insect and animal DNA, trying to prevent the flu with its often serious effects on international health and disease control, and its obvious secondary infections. Vaccine manufacturers...

Common Cold Facts

Advertising tells us that there is no cure for a cold, but there are ways to ease the problem using a variety of medications that will suppress symptoms. Is it really worth the whopping $175 million that is spent each year on “cold medicine”? Colds are caused by viruses. Let us go back to Health 101. Each of the body’s cells are “parent cells” and these cells divide into daughter cells, and the daughter cells then become a parent and continue to divide into more daughter cells, on and on it goes. Viruses can’t duplicate themselves that way but are just bits of genetic material coated with a layer of protein. The only way they can live is by using our cells to produce copies of themselves. The virus sneaks into your cell and uses it to replicate itself until it breaks open and the new cell virus each leaves in search of one of our cells to call its own. That process kills our cells. Or the virus gets into the DNA of our cells and allows itself to be passed on to each daughter cell and then uses the same process. The viruses pick the weakest cells which are already filled with waste products. A cold or flu virus thus really aid the body to purge itself of old and damaged cells and it does it faster than it would normally happen. The result is that awful stuff we hate….mucus by the ounce (of sometimes feels like a quart) that you blow out your nose, cough up from your lungs and bronchial tree. All in all, a...

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

In the field of medicine, a virtual pre-requisite for most healthcare jobs is “medical terminology.” It is included in all of www.Med-Certification.com training courses. Here is a sample of the resources available in the learning process. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) In the world of diagnostic medicine, a major scientific breakthrough is the MRI. Magnetic resonance imaging revolutionized medical imaging. Basically, to start the study, the patient is placed in a tube where various magnetic fields are applied to the body. The way the body responds to those fields and how it relaxes when the magnetic field is removed is noted and sent to a computer along with information about where the interactions occurred. Myriads of these points are sampled and fed into a computer that processes the information and creates an image. An interesting feature of magnetic resonance imaging is that flowing things have a distinctive appearance on MRI scans (similar to Doppler ultrasound). Flowing structures cause “flow voids,” which appear as black holes on the scans. There are computers powerful enough to extract information about a given flow void, such as in the carotid arteries in the neck. The computer does this for each and every slice and puts together images of the vessel causing the flow void. The images look just like someone had had dye injected, as in an angiogram. This type of magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), offers another way of looking at vascular structures in the body. For example, in cases where the aorta is injured by arteriosclerosis, aging, or trauma, MRA can provide exquisite images. Resolution can be somewhat of a problem, however, for...

Diseases

What is Disease? Disease is an interesting medical word, derived from the Greek root of “path” which leads us directly to disease. Medical people know that PATHology is the study of disease and PATH/O/gens (bacteria) may cause disease. People who study have the ending Latin words of “o/logist,” so one who studies disease is a PATH/O/logist. Here’s a part of a chapter in the training process for a Med-Certification student learning medical terminology… DISEASE. Want to learn more, check our course studies available here: Training Course: The term disease broadly refers to any condition that impairs the normal functioning of the body. For this reason, diseases are associated with dysfunctioning of the body’s normal homeostatic processes. Commonly, the term disease is used to refer specifically to infectious diseases, which are clinically evident diseases that result from the presence of pathogenic microbial agents, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, multicellular organisms, and aberrant proteins known as prions. An infection that does not and will not produce clinically evident impairment of normal functioning, such as the presence of the normal bacteria and yeasts in the gut, or of a passenger virus, is not considered a disease. By contrast, an infection that is asymptomatic during its incubation period, but expected to produce symptoms later, is usually considered a disease. Non-infectious diseases are all other diseases, including most forms of cancer, heart disease, and genetic disease. A disease is a particular abnormal, pathological condition that affects part or all of an organism. It is often construed as a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by factors originally from...