Dreaded ‘stomach flu’ wreaks havoc on families — and it’s only going to get worse

The WashingtonPost reports: ”

Once the virus hits, the attacks are often swift and brutal. The stomach and intestines become inflamed. Bouts of vomiting and diarrhea follow that leave victims weak and exhausted. And since the bug is extremely contagious, it can spread easily to others, especially in places like day-care centers, schools, cruise ships and nursing homes. If all of this sounds familiar to those of you who were laid viciously low over the holidays, it’s because the arrival of cold weather usually coincides with an increase in one of winter’s most dreaded horrors: norovirus. Although norovirus is often referred to, incorrectly, as stomach flu, it has nothing to do with influenza, which is a respiratory virus. While you can get sick from norovirus at any time during the year, it’s most common in the winter.” More.

Posted in Medical News | Leave a comment

On being a Hospice Jedi

My colleague and friend  writes:

“Everything I needed to know about being a Hospice Jedi,

I learned from Yoda in Star Wars”

It’s true: read her post here at her blog Telling Secrets.

Posted in Chaplaincy | Leave a comment

The Grieving Need You Most After the Funeral

JOHN PAVLOVITZ writes “But if there’s anything I would tell you, as someone who’s walked through the Grief Valley, is that the time your presence is most needed and most powerful, is in those days and weeks and months and years after the funeral; when most people have withdrawn and the road is most isolating. It is in the countless ordinary moments that follow, when grief sucker punches you and you again feel it all fully.” More.

Posted in Grief | Leave a comment

Feed Your Kids Peanuts, Early and Often, New Guidelines Urge

The New York Times reports: “The new guidelines, issued by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on Thursday, recommend giving babies puréed food or finger food containing peanut powder or extract before they are 6 months old, and even earlier if a child is prone to allergies and doctors say it is safe to do so. One should never give a baby whole peanuts or peanut bits, experts say, because they can be a choking hazard.” More.

Posted in Medical News | Leave a comment

What is palliative care? A conversation with a doctor who has made it her life’s work

When someone is diagnosed with a serious disease — cancer, for instance — oftentimes, an entire team of health professionals oversees the person’s care. There could be a primary care doctor, a surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, social worker, a dietitian.

And sometimes, a palliative care specialist. But not often enough, says Dr. Diane Meier. She’s a palliative care specialist and the Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Palliative care focuses on improving a person’s quality of life when he/she is dealing with a serious illness. Diseases that not too long ago would mean certain death are now treatable. Even if a disease can’t be cured, it may be treated as a chronic condition.

In this Catching Health podcast, I talk with Dr. Meier about why she believes palliative care is so important, not only for the patient but for the whole family. She also explains the difference between palliative care and hospice.” Full story here.

Posted in End of Life | Leave a comment

Unexpected Risks Found In Replacing DNA To Prevent Inherited Disorders

NPR reports: “The potential for conflicts between transplanted and original mitochondrial genomes is real, and more sophisticated matching of donor and recipient eggs — pairing mothers whose mitochondria share genetic similarities, for example — is needed to avoid potential tragedies.” More.

Posted in Medical News | Leave a comment

Desmond Tutu Joins Advocates To Call For Right To Assisted Death

NPR reports:  “Desmond Tutu, South Africa’s former Anglican archbishop and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, recently celebrated his 85th birthday with an interesting message: He wants the option of an assisted death. Tutu has largely retired from public life, but is still considered the moral conscience of South Africa for his leading role in the fight against apartheid. Some were taken aback when Tutu said he wants the option to end his life when he chooses. “As a Christian, I believe in the sanctity of life, and that death is a part of life,” Tutu said in a recent video. “I hope that when the time comes I am treated with compassion and allowed to pass on to the next phase of life’s journey in the manner of my choice.” More.

Posted in End of Life | Leave a comment

Hospitalized Elderly Have Lower Death Rate When Cared for by Female Doc: Study

In a study that is sure to rile male doctors, Harvard researchers have found that female doctors who care for elderly hospitalized patients get better results. Patients cared for by women were less likely to die or return to the hospital after discharge.

Previous research has shown that female doctors are more likely to follow recommendations about prevention counseling and to order preventive tests like Pap smears and mammograms.

But the latest work, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, is the first to show a big difference in the result that matters most to patients: life or death.” More of this news from KQED.

Posted in End of Life | Leave a comment


“At least you have your research world, where there are facts,” a journalist friend told me recently. He was referring, of course, to the sharp Orwellian turn that our public discourse has taken in the past year, when practically anyone who traffics in truth—scientists, reporters, intelligence experts, cyber-security specialists—has been dismissed by our President-elect as a liar or a shill. My friend was right: research has indeed provided a respite from the maddening media conversation, a chance to challenge the assumptions and biases of medical science and public health not with bluster and noise but with rigorous experimentation. It was with this in mind that I selected the notable findings of 2016. Welcome to the sanctuary.” More of this story in The New Yorker.

Posted in Medical News | Leave a comment

Work stress? At some companies you can pray with a chaplain

From the charlotte observer: “When the Movement Mortgage office chaplain stops by Felicia Powers’ desk, she doesn’t have to worry that the conversation will be about work. Instead, chaplain Maureen Palmer, who goes by Moe, may ask Powers how her day is going, or how she could pray for her that day. “…You’re not asking about my files or my production. You’re asking about my life.” Read more here.

Posted in Chaplaincy | Leave a comment