“Giffords is talking and eating 3x a day”

Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords spoke for the first time since she was shot in the forehead, her

recovering

spokesman said Wednesday, yet another significant milestone in her recovery from a traumatic brain injury.  A true testament to her dogged determination to get well and all of the positive energy being sent her from thousands of well wishers and her loving family.

Giffords first spoke within the past few days and is speaking “more and more,” spokesman C.J. Karamargin said Wednesday. He didn’t know what her first words were, but said at breakfast one morning she asked for toast.

“She’s working very hard and it’s paying off,” he told The Associated Press. “We’re elated at this. We always knew Gabby is a fighter and that she’s not going to let this thing win. And you know, every day is proof of that.”

Six people, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge, were killed in the attack outside a grocery store where Giffords was meeting with constituents. Thirteen people, including Giffords, were injured.

Other news organizations, including Politico, earlier reported that Giffords had asked for toast and was able to speak.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Giffords’ husband Mark Kelly said his wife had her appetite back and was eating three times a day, “even though it’s hospital food.”

“It is hard to believe that only one month has passed since Gabrielle was shot,” he wrote. “The doctors say she is recovering at lightning speed considering her injury but they aren’t kidding when they say this is a marathon process.”

He said “there are encouraging signs every day,” pointing to her renewed appetite.

“Your prayers are being heard, so don’t stop,” he wrote.

Kelly, a NASA astronaut, said last week that he expects his wife to be well enough to be at his space launch in two months.

The space shuttle Endeavour will leave April 19 for a two-week mission to the International Space Station, and Kelly will be on board leading a veteran, all-male crew. The mission will be Endeavour’s final flight and Kelly’s fourth.

Dr. Gerard Francisco, who is treating Giffords at a rehabilitation facility in Houston, said Tuesday that he hopes the congresswoman can make enough progress to attend the space launch, but said it’s too early to say.

Resources

Article reprinted courtesy of http://yhoo.it/fuqpiS

Image courtesy of  http://bit.ly/hD1pw7

"Work as a team? = Progress in Alzheimer’s research"

What was that word you used?

My Mother always taught us to share, care and respectfully work together. She said that there is strength in number.

Seems that this is true in medical research as well.  Yes, in the land where no one shared data unless they were close trusted collegues.  Sometimes necessity and the overwhelming enormity of the project creates the perfect opportunity to do as mother taught us so many years ago. Continue reading “"Work as a team? = Progress in Alzheimer’s research"”

"Flesh-eating bacteria were eating her alive"

Looking down at her belly Sandy Wilson after giving birth to her son, she was stunned to see her intestines covered by layers of plastic. She was confused, in a drugged fog and thinking she would not survive this or am I in a movie?
No horror movie could compare to the horror and pain she was to endure from flesh-eating bacteria that were eating her alive.
“When I looked down at my belly, basically all the skin was gone and I could see my internal organs,” she said. “I remember seeing my intestines. I thought, ‘There’s no way I can live like this … This is a death sentence.'”

Being a nurse, she knew what was wrong with her body, she had gotten drug-resistant superbugs Streptococcal Necrotizing Fasciitis commonly called the “flesh-eating” bacteria that produced toxins and cause nightmarish infections  It attacts those compromised or weak immune systems. It kills 20 percent of its victims and horribly disfigures others.

With only one way to rid the body of its decaying parts, doctors cut away dead tissue, but the infection often spreads over much of thee body inside and out. It ate Wilson’s spleen gall bladder, appendix, part of her stomach, her intestines, and her marriage over the next five year. That was the bad news.

The good news
A tribute to her positive attitude, indominable spirit,

determination to live to raise her son, help others, a loving family

and compassionate skilled medical support.

Over five years, she had countless surgeries, including an unusual organ transplant. For much of that time, she lived in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, fed by tubes and unable to give her young son a bath, to read him a bedtime story, to tuck him in at night. She lost her marriage and endured unimaginable pain.

She spend so much time in the hospital for years after her baby was born that She feared her baby was dead. Her family brought him to see her through a window, but she accused them of borrowing a baby from the hospital. They took pictures of Christopher at home with newspapers showing the current date, like kidnappers do to prove a captive is alive. She remained unconvinced, and would not cooperate with her medical care.
Finally, when he was several months old, they put her in isolation gowns and brought him to a conference room. A tiny arm poked out of his blanket.
“I have a freckle on my right arm and he has one on his left in the same spot. I remembered that,” Wilson said. “That’s when I thought, ‘OK, he’s here, he’s real. I’ve got to get back home to him, to get better now.'”

“It was so incredibly hard,” Wilson said. “I wanted to feed him and bathe him and clothe him, and walk him when he cried. I worked in the pediatric emergency room for 11 years. I had waited all my life to do this for my own child, to take care of him, and I couldn’t.”

Her son Christopher’s first birthday party was in the rehab hospital. For his second, Wilson was in a medically induced coma and didn’t even see him. The little boy took it all in stride and never seemed afraid, said Lori Walden-Vetters, another nurse and family friend.

The little boy would color pictures on the wipeable patient information board in her room, and nurses made her a mobile of family photos. She said nightly prayers with her parents, but worried sometimes about the looks on their faces and those of the staff.

Natural Medicine therapies help  her live a full life again.
When her pain and separation from her son and family became too much, she was comfort and inspired from Reiki, acupuncture and guided visual imagery integrated medicine therapies that allowed her self confidence, peace and sense of control over her destiny and health to grow anew.

One more major surgery would arrive to challenge her health came in December 2006, when she had to have her small bowel and large intestine transplant. A month later, she had an appetite for the first time in years and devoured her first meal of lasagna, zucchini, salad and cake. That was a big mistake, her stomach energy was not up to processing so much foos suddenly and complained. “It was amazing to actually be able to chew something and to have different flavors in your mouth.”

Struggling progressing one small step at a time she has returned to a normal life.

“You’ve got to look at one small piece: OK, I walked two more feet today. What am I going to do tomorrow?” Wilson said.

Her abdomen looks like a patchwork quilt. Her son loves to throw his arms around it. A big Star Wars fan he challenges her to Star Wars light saber duels. He begs her to take him to his favorite park, where she threw the ultimate Star Wars-themed party for his fifth birthday in April.
She spends as much time as possible with her son and family at home, but her desire to serve has returned along with her health, she plans to return to work at the hospital where she had worked before her own Star War’s recovery became the movie to live and triumph.

How do her doctors and other cohorts fell about her return?

“I think that’s great,” said Scalea, the top surgeon at Shock Trauma.

Wilson plans to take refresher courses this fall so she can return to work, and managers at the University of Maryland “have offered to help me get back to whatever I want to do,” she said.
“I would like to be able to help someone else who has gone through this.”

“Thanks AP and Yahoo News for sharing this inspiring story of human will to live and People Helping People.”

Resources
Excerpts
courtesy of   http://yhoo.it/avf0tY
Infection info: http://bit.ly/bwnW62
For support and to donate: http://www.nnff.org

Image courtesy of      http://bit.ly/9t3dr2

New mother feeling very light headed, tired have your heart checked

New Moms if you have any of the following reoccurring symptoms please call your doctor.

Symptoms

* Fatigue
* Feeling of racing heart or skipping beats (palpitations)New moms heart disease -Peripartum Cardiomyopathy
* Increased night-time urination (nocturia)
* Shortness of breath with activity and when laying flat
* Swelling of the ankles
Doctor’s exam may show Peripartum Cardiomyopathy

liver enlargment
neck veins swollen.
low Blood pressure worse stands up
Heart enlargement,
lungs/veins to lung congested
cardiac output/functioning decreased
heart failure

A real time case
Tanya Ginther, 26, had given birth to her second child just two months earlier, so she thought it was only natural to feel tired, and out of breath. But packing the car one day in the garage attached to her Bismarck, N.D., home, Tanya collapsed her heart had stopped without warning – a cardiac arrest.

Doctors later determined Tanya was suffering from a mysterious condition called Peripartum Cardiomyopathy (PC).
PC strikes as many as 3,000 new mothers in the United States every year, is characterized by symptoms that include fatigue and shortness of breath. No one is certain of its cause or why Peripartum Cardiomyopathy develops.

“The heart muscle weakens in the last months of pregnancy,” Sharonne Hayes, a doctor at the Mayo Clinic, told ABC News. “We don’t know what causes it. It could be inflammation, or a virus, or the changes in hormones.”

At a Bismarck, N.D., hospital, Tanya Ginther’s heart stopped, again and again. Doctors, shocking her back to life each time, She needed a heart pump. In a last attempt to save her life, the Mayo Clinic dispatched one of its “air ambulances,” a Learjet equipped with the latest emergency medical equipment, to lift Tanya to its hospital in Rochester, Minn.

But at an altitude of 30,000 feet, Tanya’s heart failed yet again. Today she is fine. She and her family are grateful she is one of the fortunate ones to survive. (1)

Cardiomyopathy occurs when there is damage to the heart. As a result, the heart muscle becomes weak and cannot pump blood efficiently. Decreased heart function affects the lungs, liver, and other body systems. Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a form of dilated cardiomyopathy in which no other cause of heart dysfunction (weakened heart) can be identified.

In the United States, Peripartum Cardiomyopathy complicates 1 in every 1,300 – 4,000 deliveries. It may occur in childbearing women of any age, but it is most common after age 30.

Risk factors include obesity, having a personal history of cardiac disorders such as myocarditis, use of certain medications, smoking, alcoholism, multiple pregnancies, being African American, and being malnourished. (2)

Resources

1.Excerpts and video courtesy of ABCNews HeartHealth/story?id=6724565&page=1

2.Excerpts and Image courtesy of NIHMedline

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000188

Surgeon General's New Family Health History Tool

Surgeon General’s New Family Health History Tool Is Released

Karen Hendricks of the D.C. Office of the AAP shares the following with you.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Contact: OPHS Press Office
(202) 205-0143
Surgeon General’s New Family Health History Tool Is Released, Ready for “21st Century Medicine”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today released an updated and improved version of the Surgeon General’s Internet-based family health history tool. The new tool makes it easier for consumers to assemble and share family health history information.  It can also help practitioners make better use of health history information so they can provide more informed and personalized care for their patients.

“This valuable tool can put family histories to work to improve patient well-being and the quality of care,” HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said.  “The tool is built on health information technology standards that make it more convenient for consumers and more useful for practitioners.  It is ready for use in electronic health records.  And its software code will be openly available to other health organizations, so they can customize and build on its standards base.”

“Family history has always been an important part of good health care, but it has been underused,” said Acting Surgeon General Steven Galson, a rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service.  “Today, with our growing knowledge of genetics, family history is becoming even more important.  The new tool will help consumers and clinicians alike.  It will also serve as a platform for developing new risk assessment software that will help in screening and prevention of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.”

Key features of the new version of the Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait include:

  • Consumers can access the tool easily on the Web.  Completing the family health history profile typically takes 15-20 minutes.  Consumers should not have to keep filling out different health history forms for different practitioners.  Information is easily updated or amended.
  • Consumer control and privacy – The family health history tool gives consumers access to software that builds a family health tree. But the personal information entered during the use of the tool is not kept by a government or other site.  Consumers download their information to their own computer.  From there, they have control over how the information is used.
  • Sharing – Because the information is in electronic form, it can be easily shared with relatives or with practitioners.  Relatives can add to the information, and a special re-indexing feature helps relatives easily start their own history based on data in a history they received. Practitioners can help consumers understand and use their information.
  • EHR-ready, Decision support-ready – Because the new tool is based on commonly used standards, the information it generates is ready for use in electronic health records and personal health records.  It can be used in developing clinical decision software, which helps the practitioner understand and make the most use of family health information.
  • Personalization of care – Family history information can help alert practitioners and patients to patient-specific susceptibilities.
  • Downloadable, customizable – The code for the new tool is openly available for others to adopt.  Health organizations are invited to download and customize, using the tool under their own brand and adding features that serve their needs.  Developers may also use the code to create new risk assessment software tools.

The first adopter of the HHS-developed tool is the National Institute of Genomic Medicine of Mexico (INMEGEN).  Dr. Gerardo Jimenez-Sanchez, director general of the institute, will release the Mexican Spanish-language version of the tool in Mexico City this month.  The Mexican family health history tool will be available on the INMEGEN Web site, http://www.inmegen.gob.mx.

The Indian Health Service, an agency of HHS that was instrumental in developing the new Surgeon General tool, will also adopt it into the IHS care system.

One organization saying it will link to the new tool is the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF), a cancer advocacy organization.  “A strong family health history tool can be an important element for guiding medical decision-making, especially in the area of cancer screening, prevention and early detection,” said LAF founder and chairman Lance Armstrong.  “This tool will further the capabilities of electronic health records and takes a significant step toward improving clinical care.”

The Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait was originally launched in 2004, but the first version was not standards-based.  The new tool was developed under Secretary Leavitt’s Initiative on Personalized Health Care.  It will be hosted by the National Cancer Institute, where the caBIG® initiative is pioneering health IT networks and software sharing.  A ready process for organizations to download the family health history code is at https://gforge.nci.nih.gov/projects/fhh.

The Surgeon General’s new My Family Health Portrait tool is located at https://familyhistory.hhs.gov.   In addition, a presentation of sample risk assessment tools under development can be viewed at http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=7297 .

Exploding tumor

Love + prayer power + docs + determination save young woman


Woman Survives 12 pound heart tumor that exploded producing live threatening blood clots

At Cleveland Clinic 32-year-old Marianne Cook’s life was perilous. The damage to her legs from the lack of blood was obvious. “It was pretty much as bad as I have ever seen, ” said Dr. Sean Lyden, a vascular surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic. “Her legs looked mottled and purplish, and it really looked like she was going to lose her legs.” The physicians would try their best to help her to save her, but they didn’t hold out much hope.

A scheduled emergency surgery, a usual one-hour operation ended up taking eight hours. The clots in her brain were too numerous and difficult to remove safely. Doctors could only hope that her brain could recover enough functioning with help of the undamaged sections of the brain.

Then more support help arrives.

The doctors could do no more. While in intensive care, the strain on her family was too much, her 64-year-old father, Stanley Cook, died of a heart attack in his sleep.

In spite of the overwhelming multiple tragedyies, “her family waited by her bedside and prayed. “We believe in the power of prayer,” her mother said. And there was a lot of it. Her mother called the “prayer team” at her church. From there one person called another. Word, and prayers, were relayed from church to church, state to state. Within days “we had people across the country praying for her,” said Wilma.

For a week, there was no change, Marianne remained paralyzed on her right side. “Then, eight days later, Marianne started to move a toe. A few days later, a foot. The paralysis was slowly fading. The recovery had begun.

Just after Christmas, Marianne was released to a nursing home. Therapists predicted it would take a year before she was ready to go home. They, too, had underestimated Marianne and all her support help. Less than three months after her collapse, Marianne arrived home — walking and talking, and ever so grateful.

Marianne lost vision in one eye and part of one toe from the lack of circulation. But her prognosis is good. She and her family say they don’t know much about miracles. But this, they say, certainly comes close. Her doctors approach it much the same way.

“I cannot remember ever seeing someone with so many strokes and so many problems before surgery walking out of the hospital,” said Dr. Gillinov.”

For more Medicine on the Cutting Edge stories by John McKenzie, click here.
http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/MedicineCuttingEdge/