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Flu-Mageddon? Vaccine has 10% effectiveness for strain of flu most likely to hit North America (VIDEO/AUDIO)




CLEVELAND -- "Most of us think it will be a bad flu season," says Amy Edwards, MD, an infectious disease expert at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital. "If you look at the numbers in the southern hemisphere, they got slammed pretty bad."

Infectious disease experts found this year's vaccine has only 10 percent effectiveness against the H3N2 strain of flu virus in the southern hemisphere, the predominant strain during their flu season, a good predictor of the flu season in the northern hemisphere. Dr. Edwards says the H3N2 virus mutated, causing the vaccine to be less effective but the prediction still isn't certain. "We don't know yet until we start our flu season," she says.

Experts want about a 40 to 60 percent effectiveness at a minimum and consider 60 to 80 percent effectiveness a huge success. For comparison, last year's flu vaccine was about 50 percent effective overall.

Flu vaccines protect against several strains of the flu virus and experts don't know which will be the predominant strain in the north this season. So these initial reports shouldn't dissuade anyone from taking the usual preparations.

"The number one recommendation is still to get the flu vaccine," says Dr. Edwards. "Even when the vaccine can't prevent you from getting the flu, it can often help you have a more mild course."

2017-18 Flu Tips
1) Get the vaccine regardless
2) Wash hands frequently
3) Stay home if you get sick


Stroke victim lives to see Thanksgiving, 92nd birthday thanks to DAWN Trial findings (VIDEO/AUDIO)




CLEVELAND -- Even before the New England Journal of Medicine published the groundbreaking results of the DAWN Trial, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center doctors believed they could help 91-year-old Connie Leblanc.

"She had a very severe stroke with right-sided paralysis and the inability to talk," says Michael De Georgia, MD, Director of the Neurocritical Care Center at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. "But because of our experience with the DAWN Trial, I was willing to have her transferred down to us and to see if we could give her the benefit of the doubt."

University Hospitals was one of the sites for the DAWN Trial, which showed some patients, identified by MRI imaging, could benefit from retrieving a blood clot in the brain with a catheter (a thrombectomy) up to 24 hours after the stroke. The previous guidelines only allowed for the procedure up to six hours.


"I think this will fundamentally change the way stroke is treated," says Dr. De Georgia.

Connie Leblanc was about ten hours into her stroke when Dr. De Georgia made the call to helicopter her to UH and do the procedure, well beyond pre-DAWN guidelines.

"When I saw her the next morning after this procedure was done, I walk in her room and she's sitting in a chair, talking to me, moving both arms, moving her legs," says Cindy Yanasak, Connie's daughter. "It was amazing."

Connie is on her way to a full recovery, getting ready for Thanksgiving with her family and ready for another milestone on Friday.

"It'll be great to see my ninety-second birthday," Connie says.

"Ninety-two years were not enough for Connie Leblanc to be here on this earth," her daughter continues. "There's still more here for her to do."

Connie has six grandchildren, two of whom graduate from high school this year. She's currently undergoing physical therapy and looking forward to getting behind the wheel of her car again and resuming her independent life.

"Ten hours after her stroke had started," says Dr. De Georgia, "We were able to help and return back to home. That's pretty cool."

Researchers conducted the DAWN Trial from September 2014 to February 2017 with results published earlier this month.


No Sweat (Pants): Skinny Jeans Key to Staying Skinny this Thanksgiving (VIDEO)




CLEVELAND --
 Can what you wear on Thanksgiving dictate what you can wear after Thanksgiving?

"We want to wear something that's form fitting, things like your skinny jeans or a form fitting dress or something that is snug on your body so you don't tend to overeat," says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, RND, a registered dietitian at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. "When we wear things that are comfortable or things with an elastic waistband, we tend to overeat."

Of course, your choice of wardrobe isn't the only important decision to make on Thanksgiving. There are food choices and plate management but Jamieson-Petonic says many decisions come before the turkey is even served.

"Start the day with a plan," says Jamieson-Petonic. She suggests starting the day with an activity, anything from a walk to a touch football game to a turkey trot. And she also advises against skipping any meals.

"When you skip breakfast, you're going to make your blood sugars drop, you're going to be hungrier, and we tend to overeat when we skip meals," she says.

Your plan doesn't end once your plate is clean, either.

"Be part of the clean up crew," says Jamieson-Petonic. "Your host will love you and if you spend about an hour cleaning off the table, loading the dishwasher, or cleaning up after the meal, you're going to burn about 100 calories."

Top Ten Thanksgiving Tips

   1) Start your day with an activity
   2) Don't skip breakfast
   3) Don't wear loose fitting clothes
   4) Eat vegetables not nuts as an appetizer
   5) Put sides in a small bowl or ramekin to limit portion size
   6) Only choose the foods you really want
   7) Substitute mashed cauliflower for potatoes
   8) Dessert or drinks -- one or the other but not both
   9) Eat slowly since it takes 30 minutes for your brain to realize you're full
 10) Help cleaning up can burn 100 calories


Just Say Maybe: Can PSAs be an effective tool in reducing opioid use? (VIDEO)




CLEVELAND -- When President Trump declared opioids a national health crisis, he also promised money for "really great advertising," saying, "If we can teach young people, and people generally, not to start, it's really, really easy for them not to take them."

This, of course, is not the first time money has been spent on drug education and this is not the first administration to commit money for anti-drug public service announcements.  Most famously, part of President Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs included the "Just Say No" campaign, spearheaded by First Lady Nancy Reagan.

"Did it stop kids from using drugs? Probably not," says Ray Isackila, Manager of Addiction Recovery Services at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. "But it perhaps probably laid the foundation for our culture to become more aware of the need for education, prevention, treatment."

Isackila cites the effectiveness of anti-smoking PSAs on the decrease in teen smoking and praises previous PSA efforts to call attention to the drug problem. But he doesn't share the President's optimism that the prevention of drug abuse will be easy and be done can simply by some catchy PSAs.

"A quick sentence or two, to think that it's going to prevent drug abuse, that's unrealistic," says Isackila. "PSAs are helpful if they're based in research. We have had a history of public service announcements that were borderline scare tactics, kind of shock value, and those have proven not too effective in preventing drug abuse."

Isackila says some PSAs backfire, since making behavior seem risky can also make it attractive to adolescents. He also says celebrity testimonials often don't work because it can send the message you can use drugs and still be a star.

"You can party your brains out for ten years, look, and then you're a hero later," says Isackila. "That's not a message that is intended by the speaker but you have to know your audience."

He suggests honesty in the ads featuring people who know drugs. He also suggests targeting parents, who set the tone in the house with their attitude toward drugs, calling a no tolerance attitude toward drugs the the biggest protective factor parents can give their kids. But PSAs also can't lose sight of the fact they battle a product that makes the user feel good, feel excited, and feel accepted.

"There are some statements made in politics regarding, 'We're going to eradicated drug abuse in our country, we're going to solve the drug problem,' says Isackila. "My opinion is that will not happen in our lifetime."

Five Keys to Successful Anti-Drug PSAs

1) Use honesty, ads based in fact and research from people who know drugs
2) Target parents, not kids
3) Know how seductive drugs can be
4) Avoid scare tactics, since risky behavior can be attractive to young adults
5) Avoid testimonials, which send message you can use drugs and still be a star


Wendy Williams Passes Out During Show (VIDEO)




CLEVELAND -- Daytime talk show show Wendy Williams passed out live on the air during her show on Halloween while dressed as Lady Liberty.

"I saw her eyes kind of flutter back and she stumbled back and fell and it didn't look like she trying to brace her fall," says Lolita McDavid, MD, Medical Director of Child Advocacy and Protection at UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital. "I have to believe that it really did happen. I'm very surprised she came right back."

Dr. McDavid warns this incident is an opportunity for parents to make sure kids where appropriate costumes that don't obscure their vision or potentially cause them to trip.

Williams apparently overheated in her Halloween costume at about 48 minutes into her show she tapes in New York City. She started slurring words and swaying back and forth before eventually collapsing during her annual "How You Doin' Halloween Costume Contest" show. She returned after a commercial break to explain her collapse was not a stunt and that she did indeed pass out.


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