Managing Pain in Preemies

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preemieWith the advancements in modern medical technology, preemies and even micro preemies now have a much better survival-rate than ever before.  Babies that even a few decades ago would have had little chance of lasting a few hours outside the womb are now thriving.  Of course, with all of this medical intervention comes a lot of poking, prodding and potential pain for the premature neonates.  Pain isn’t just painful for these little ones, combined with the associated stress, it can actually impair their development.

How to Reduce Pain and Stress

Morphine has long been used for pain management in preemies.  It is relatively well-tolerated and a great go-to option for dealing with moderate to severe pain.  However, when babies are so small and under-developed that even a diaper change can be stressful and painful, morphine isn’t always indicated or appropriate.

Because being exposed to stress and pain can actually impair development, it’s imperative that it be managed somehow.  The natural coping method for an infant is to suck.  However, due to intubation and their tiny little mouths, pacifiers aren’t always feasible for preemies.  That is, until now.

A New Tool

Because standard pacifiers were not intended to be used by preemies or in conjunction with intubation, they were often a failed option.  While they could give comfort, not being able to properly suckle on them could actually lead to more stress.  That was until a new pacifier was born.

Smaller, and with a notch designed to work around intubation tubes without adding additional bulk, these new pacifiers have provided a dependable way to eliminate or reduce pain naturally and un-invasively.   The intuitive sucking allows babies to cope, and many caregivers and scientists alike speculate that it actually interferes with the perception of pain.  This in effect makes the baby perceive a higher level of comfort, even when stressed or in pain.

Does the Pacifier Really Help?

Research on over a dozen babies exposed to moderate pain (routine heel sticks) with and without the pacifier have demonstrated a marked difference in their reactions to painful stimuli.  Preemies who had access to the new pacifier during their procedures had both lower heart rates and better oxygen stats than those without.

So, what does this mean?  It opens up an entirely new way of caring for preemies.  It preserves their development by preventing their exposure to undue stress and pain.  It also provides peace of mind to parents and caregivers alike.

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Evolution of Medicinal Marijuana

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Many Americans never thought they’d see the day where marijuana, a once demonized drug with no recognized medical purposes, would be getting a new lease on life like a new lease on used cars Langley as a medically accepted therapy.  However, in recent years and months, marijuana and its intrinsic chemical compounds are being touted as effective therapy for everything from chronic pain to seizures to cancer to depression.

Legality

The legality of marijuana makes it a risky treatment choice for anyone, no matter where they live in the US.  Even with a doctor’s prescription in one state, a user can drive 50 miles across state lines and be committing a felony just by being in possession of their legally prescribed medication.  Not to mention that federal law is still pretty ambiguous, no matter which state you’re in.  Technically, possession of marijuana is still a federal crime, despite recent decriminalization efforts and promises by the ATF and other federal organizations to let it slide.

The still-evolving legality of marijuana and its chemical attributes have made it a questionable treatment for many, despite so many claiming excellent results. Be sure to take advantage of your cities organic food delivery services once the munchies start kicking in.

Benefits

Recently, with the new quasi-legal status of marijuana in the United States, more and more people are claiming that it’s the cure for what ails you.  It is said to cure depression, suppress seizures and even shrink tumors.  Some of the benefits are backed by serious clinical research.  Others, by word of mouth testimonials.  More high-profile physicians and organizations are jumping on the bandwagon of support, too.  Just a few short years ago, coming out in support of marijuana as a treatment option would have been veritable career suicide.   Now, however, it’s becoming a status symbol.

Risks

medical marijuanaOne of the single biggest selling points of using medicinal marijuana is the fact that it has very few negative side-effects.  Especially when compared to many prescriptions.  This seems to be one of the biggest reasons that consumers are turning away from modern pharmaceuticals and toward a more natural alternative.

Indeed, most of the ‘side effects’ of marijuana seem to be selling points.

This isn’t to say that using medicinal marijuana doesn’t have some intrinsic risks, however.  The legality factor alone is enough to scare many people away.  Even if you’re living and consuming in an area where marijuana use is legal for medicinal and even recreational purposes, getting caught with it in your system can cost you your job.   The Supreme Court has upheld the right of companies to terminate employees who test positive, despite legality and despite the fact that it shows up in drug tests for weeks after the effects have worn off.

 

Melanoma Rates Skyrocket in just 30 Years

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melanomaIn the last three decades alone, rates of melanoma have doubled.  This is a disturbing trend, particularly considering the fact that melanoma is 97 deadliest form of skin cancer.  It’s also one of the easiest to prevent.   It is also easily treatable if caught early.  Stage 1 melanoma has a 5-year survival rate of 97%, while stage 4 melanoma’s 5-year survival rate drops dramatically to only 10-20%.

How to Combat

The CDC has come out and called for comprehensive public awareness and community education programs.  They believe that between now and 2030, hundreds of thousands of melanoma cases could be prevented and billions of dollars saved by simply educating people about UV exposure and encouraging more diligent monitoring and early detection of the disease.

Overall, they believe that education and a comprehensive prevention program could prevent over 20,000 cases of the deadly cancer every single year.

What Causes Melanoma?

The primary cause of melanoma is excessive exposure to UV rays.  This can be the result of anything from excessive tanning bed usage to simply spending too much time outside without proper sunscreen protection.  Overall, medical experts believe a full 90% of all cases of melanoma diagnosed are directly caused by overexposure to UV rays.

Indeed, melanoma isn’t even the most common form of skin cancer, it is eclipsed by non-melanoma cancers.  However, it still kills more sufferers than the rest.

How to Protect Ourselves

sunscreenBecause melanoma is almost universally caused by UV exposure, limiting UV exposure is the obvious way to protect ourselves and our children from developing the deadly disease.  There are many ways to accomplish this, not the least of which being simply avoiding sun exposure when UV rays are at their most intense.

Of course, this isn’t always possible.  Because of this, it is recommended that everyone use SPF 15 or higher sunscreen when they can’t avoid sun exposure.  Staying out of tanning beds is a good prevention technique, too.

The CDC is encouraging community education and comprehensive, government-sponsored campaign to protect children and others from developing the disease.  In addition to teaching people what to avoid, the plan include providing them with ways to avoid excessive UV exposure.  Ultimately, the CDC can only do so much to protect us from this deadly cancer.  We must take responsibility for our heath and that of our children.  Awareness and sunscreen now can prevent tragedy and heartbreak later on.

Public Organ Donation Policies a Failure

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organ donationDespite concerted efforts by state and federal agencies to encourage organ donation, many in place since the 1980’s, organ donation rates have remained stagnant.  Those in need of organ donations still find themselves waiting, and often losing the battle against time, even though personal training can help.  Despite a state-by-state push for more widespread donations, something that eventually spread to include the entire nation, neither the rate of donation nor number of transplants performed has markedly increased in decades.

What Programs

Since the late 80’s, there have been numerous programs designed to increase awareness of the need of more organ donors and even provide incentives for those who donate.  State ID’s and driver’s licenses now generally indicate whether someone is a donor.  Families are encouraged to discuss donation and end of life choices with their next of kin.  Even elementary school children are taught about the need for donors and the benefits of donation.

All to little if any avail.

What’s Worked

The only donations that have substantively improved over the last few decades have to do with finances.  States have given their citizens the options to donate to organ donation funds, which help offset the numerous and extensive costs of receiving an organ transplant.  Increases in donations to these funds have equated to about 8-15 additional transplants per state per year, depending upon whether the organ donor is deceased or living.

While this benefit can’t be discounted, the bottom line is that without organs to transplant, the program is failing needy potential recipients.

So, What to Do?

The problem is that there is no universally accepted consensus regarding how to increase the percentage of donor organs available.  Despite being a highly effective treatment, with success rates for organ donation procedures getting better every day, you can’t force or even compel someone to donate their organs or the organs of their deceased loved-ones.

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The ethics are simply too shady and passions too heated on either side.  For everyone waiting in anguish for a donor organ to save their loved-one’s life, there is someone on the other side who just lost a loved one and who must make the heart-wrenching decision whether or not to donate their viable organs.

Even living organ donation is a very big deal for donor.  Going without a kidney or giving up part of a liver for a perfect stranger is a huge sacrifice.

Professionals who deal with the implications of organ donation or lack thereof every day are calling for reform in policies.  So far, unfortunately, there’s no consensus as to what that entails.

Still not convinced? Watch the video below: