Archive for August 28, 2009

If I Could Dance Like This, I’d Be Gyrating Down the Aisles at Winn Dixie

Remember what I said about how it was a shame that people had to dance around half nekkid because they didn’t have any actual talent? If I had as much as a quarter of the dancing talent of this lil’ gal, I’d be gyrating around Winn Dixie behind my shopping cart in my thong and tutu, picking groceries off the shelves with my toes. Oh yes hell I would. I’m not sayin’ her moves are sexually suggestive because they are NOT. Well, at least I don’t think so, but I’m not a man. Men seem to think that cooking breakfast is sexually suggestive. I would just be showing off my dancin’ moves just because I could.

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Friday Night Cinema

I sure do like to watch those old movies when people had actual talent instead of prancing around half nekkid posturing in sexually suggestive poses.

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WHO Warns of Severe Form of Swine Flu

Per the New York Times:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Doctors are reporting a severe form of swine flu that goes straight to the lungs, causing severe illness in otherwise healthy young people and requiring expensive hospital treatment, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

Some countries are reporting that as many as 15 percent of patients infected with the new H1N1 pandemic virus need hospital care, further straining already overburdened healthcare systems, WHO said in an update on the pandemic.

“During the winter season in the southern hemisphere, several countries have viewed the need for intensive care as the greatest burden on health services,” it said.

“Preparedness measures need to anticipate this increased demand on intensive care units, which could be overwhelmed by a sudden surge in the number of severe cases.”

Earlier, WHO reported that H1N1 had reached epidemic levels in Japan, signalling an early start to what may be a long influenza season this year, and that it was also worsening in tropical regions.

“Perhaps most significantly, clinicians from around the world are reporting a very severe form of disease, also in young and otherwise healthy people, which is rarely seen during seasonal influenza infections,” WHO said.

“In these patients, the virus directly infects the lung, causing severe respiratory failure. Saving these lives depends on highly specialized and demanding care in intensive care units, usually with long and costly stays.”


Minority groups and indigenous populations may also have a higher risk of being severely ill with H1N1.

“In some studies, the risk in these groups is four to five times higher than in the general population,” WHO said.

“Although the reasons are not fully understood, possible explanations include lower standards of living and poor overall health status, including a high prevalence of conditions such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension.”

WHO said it was advising countries in the Northern Hemisphere to prepare for a second wave of pandemic spread. “Countries with tropical climates, where the pandemic virus arrived later than elsewhere, also need to prepare for an increasing number of cases,” it said.


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British Boy Treated for Brain Cancer in Jacksonville


Convinced that it was his best shot at survival, Alex Barnes’ parents rushed the 4-year-old last fall from their home in England to Jacksonville for six weeks of proton therapy.

The results were two-fold: Alex’s aggressive brain cancer all but vanished, and impressed British health officials have begun taking steps to establish the country’s first proton therapy center.

England’s National Health Service last week announced that it is accepting bids from hospitals to host proton therapy services. In a statement to the media, the head of the agency credited the initiative to the lobbying efforts of Alex’s mother, Rosalie.

“Her campaign to bring proton therapy services to England so that other children and adults can benefit from having the treatment here impressed me greatly,” said Health Minister Ann Keen, who had a one-on-one meeting with Rosalie last April.

Britain has a proton beam, but it is only strong enough to treat eye cancer. Health officials say the new device likely won’t receive funding until 2011 at the earliest.

They aren’t cheap — the University of Florida’s Proton Therapy Institute, which debuted next door to Shands Jacksonville in 2006, cost $116 million. The hefty price tag has limited the number of devices in the United States to six and worldwide to about two dozen.

Supporters say the key difference between proton therapy and conventional radiation, which uses X-rays, is the amount of healthy tissue it preserves around its target. Protons only destroy tissue at the tumor site whereas traditional radiation destroys everything in its path and beyond, leading to potential complications, they say.

For Alex, precision was crucial. Doctors worried that X-ray radiation would damage the boy’s hippocampus, the brain’s learning center, and his hypothalamus, which controls body function. That would have put him at risk for developing diabetes, cardiovascular problems and other complications.

Although the British government offers to pay for overseas proton treatments, the Barnes family skipped that process, fearing that Alex would die before his claim could be processed. As it stood, doctors only gave him a 25-40 percent chance of survival.

Local news coverage of the boy’s plight helped the family raise thousands of pounds for Alex’s treatment in America. Last September, the boy and his mother flew from their hometown of Fleckney to Jacksonville, where, as it happened, Rosalie went to high school and her parents still lived.

The boy, now 5, underwent surgery at Wolfson Children’s Hospital to remove a quarter-inch-long tumor in his brain. After a few weeks of healing, he crossed the St. Johns River for 33 proton therapy treatments.

In the e-mailed words of his mother, “Alex went straight back to school as soon as we returned home and he hasn’t missed a day since. His eyesight is perfect … and his hearing is sharp, too.”

Coverage of Alex’s story in the British press, coupled with Rosalie’s lobbying campaign, persuaded a contingent of British officials to visit the UF institute earlier this summer. The group spent most of their time quizzing the administrators about how they overcame the logistical hurdles to build the center, said Stuart Klein, the institute’s executive director.

The visit also led to a new partnership. Recently, British officials said they have selected Jacksonville as one of three sites worldwide where they will send proton therapy patients until their device is ready.

So, where will countries with national health programs send their patients for treatment when our medicine is socialized, too?

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