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Flu vaccine means shots for kids this year (VIDEO)

CLEVELAND  -- Sorry, parents. The nasal spray version of the flu vaccine won’t be a go-to option for your kids this year. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently joined with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in recommending against the nasal spray flu vaccine, saying it doesn’t effectively protect against the virus.
The CDC found that among children ages 2 to 17, during the 2015 to 2016 flu season, effectiveness for the nasal spray was 3 percent. The effectiveness rate for the shot was 63 percent.
Doctors recommend individuals 6 months and older receive their flu shots by the end of October. According to the CDC, seasonal flu viruses can be detected year-round, however, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States between December and March.
Even though nasal sp rays aren’t an option for kids this year, don’t hesitate to get your children vaccinated. The flu vaccine is the most effective solution for disease prevention. “If you get influenza you can be bedridden for five to seven days. That means no school, that means no work,” says Frank Esper, MD, Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. “One child gets the flu you know how these things pass through the house, and so by getting an influenza shot for your child, you’re protecting everyone else.”

Proton therapy spares the heart in new breast cancer trial (VIDEO/AUDIO)

The evolution of breast cancer treatment has introduced personalized medicine, advanced screening methods, and more precise surgical techniques. This momentum continues with a new clinical research trial using proton therapy radiation for patients with left-sided breast cancer.
University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center is participating in a national multicenter trial that compares patients treated with standard photon (X-ray) radiation with the new proton therapy and how both affect the amount of radiation exposure to the heart. The proton beam will enable radiation oncologists to take what is now considered a safe dose of radiation to an even lower, more highly targeted dose.
“For women who have breast cancer on the left side, it’s especially important to protect their heart from radiation,” says Janice Lyons, MD, Radiation Oncologist at UH Seidman Cancer Center. “Proton therapy allows for more targeted treatment, directed straight to the tumor. Because there isn’t an exit dose of radiation, protons allow us to protect and spare healthy tissues and organs.”
Dr. Lyons says the risk to women whose hearts are exposed to radiation includes a higher incidence of myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease in the future.
Researchers are currently enrolling patients into the trial. UH Seidman Cancer Center was the first center in Ohio to treat a patient with proton therapy in July 2016. The center is one of only 20 centers in the country. Proton therapy is also beneficial for the treatment of certain types of tumors in children and young adults who are more prone to short and long-term complications from radiation.


Mammography advocates question study showing overdiagnosis of tumors (VIDEO/AUDIO)

CLEVELAND -- Women are more likely to have breast cancer that is overdiagnosed, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, than to have early detection of a tumor destined to become large.

The study finds mammograms are detecting more small tumors unlikely to cause problems than actually detecting lethal tumors. This overdetection also leads to overtreatment, with women undergoing procedures they might not need. But screening advocates say the overdetection is inflated in this study.

"The overdiagnosis with screening mammographies is one to ten percent and closer to the two to three percent range," says Donna Plecha, MD, Director of Breast Imaging at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center. "In the past, I think it has been proven by studies in Europe and the United States, overdiagnosis is not as high as studies that don't adjust for these different factors."

Dr. Plecha advocates for the earliest and most frequent screening, calling for women to have yearly mammographies starting at age 40, This, she argues, saves the most lives.

"When they actually look at women who were actually screened, there is a decrease in mortality up to 40 percent and that is something that is hard to ignore," says Dr. Plecha, who also says early detection helps women undergo the least invasive treatments

"We don't just look at mortality we look at morbidity so if we can catch the cancer earlier, patients will not have to go through chemotherapy and the toxic effects of chemotherapy if we find things earlier."

She does not suggest only women with a family history of breast cancer undergo screening since 75 percent of women with breast cancer have no family history.

Cubs and Indians history should teach baseball fans to temper playoff expectations (VIDEO/AUDIO)

CLEVELAND -- "Baseball is a game of failure," says Jeff Janata, PhD, Division Chief of Psychology at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. "The greatest of the hitters fail seventy percent of the time."

And no two baseball teams have known failure quite like the Indians and Cubs. The Cleveland Indians have not won a championship since 1948 while the lowly Cubs haven't even been to the World Series since 1945, with their last championship coming in 1908, Yes, that's 108 years of failure. Both teams, however, are playing in their respective league championships series, looking to erase decades of futility, disappointment, and heartache.

"These two teams that have such proud and long histories of losing to be able to meet one another, I think that would be a great story," says Dr. Janata. If they meet in the World Series, one team's moniker of loveable loser will end and its fans will celebrate. That's not the case, however, for the fans of 29 other teams.

"Most of us are going to be let down, fans of these teams around the country," says Dr. Janata. "Using that to modulate our enthusiasm is probably smart and strategic. But a lot of us get carried away anyway."

Concussion Study: First Link to Alzheimer's (VIDEO/AUDIO)

CLEVELAND -- Doctors now have a possible quantifiable measurement to determine the severity of concussions, according to a new study in JAMA Neurology that shows concussions may change the levels of certain proteins in the brain.

"This is the first study to show a biomarker in the cerebrospinal fluid that shows the damage from a repetitive brain injury," says Michael De Georgia, MD, Director of the Center for Neurocritical Care at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. "This is evidence that there's ongoing damage that would potentially lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) or a form of Alzheimer's/dementia."

Fluid from a lumbar puncture shows higher levels of neuro filament light protein (NF-L) and lower levels of beta amyloid in players who experienced concussions, both indicators for post-concussion syndromes. But this is not a test that can be administered on the sideline and determine immediately if a player can go back in. Yet. 

"Whether we'll get to a real time method is not clear," says Dr. De Georgia. "Ultimately, what we need to have is a blood test that you can do with a finger stick on the sideline."

Concussions in the NFL increased 58 percent  in 2015 with 271 reported during the season. Meanwhile, a study in Pediatrics  shows concussions in youth soccer have increased 1600 percent in the last 25 years, making this study even more significant.

"It does add more evidence to what we've thought all along, that patients who seem to have minor traumatic brain injuries and concussions can incur serious long term effects," says Dr. De Georgia. "What we need to do is take any concussion very seriously."


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