Featured

Flu Declared Widespread in Rhode Island Again; Masking Requirement In Effect For Unvaccinated Healthcare Workers

Providence: Director of Health Michael Fine, MD today declared the flu to be widespread again in Rhode Island. This declaration triggers the requirement that healthcare workers who have not been vaccinated against the flu wear surgical masks during direct patient contact. Rhode Island is seeing a second wave of flu that is even more intense than the first. The dominant strains in this late-season wave have been H3N2 -- which has a great impact on the elderly -- and influenza B. The majority of the 13 flu-related deaths this season have been people in their 80s and 90s. There have…
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Featured

Brown Medical Student Katie Brooks, MD

Katie Brooks is this week's Medical Apprentice. She speaks fluent Spanish and said that she decided to become a doctor later in life. While in college she majored in Political Science, taking classes in sociology and Hispanic Studies. She also worked as a social worker in Philadelphia, working primarily with AIDs patients. Through her interactions with these patients and their doctors, she decided that medical school was a good choice for her. Katie combines her educational and work experience into her work as a doctor and believe it shapes the way in which she executes her profession. Katie explains that…
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Featured

Influenza Deaths Climb; H3N2 taking toll on elderly

Providence: Thirteen people, most of them in their 80s and 90s, have died from influenza this season, many since the arrival of the H3N2 strain of flu in late March. Rhode Island is also seeing cases of Type B strains recently. There have been 392 hospitalizations, with 40 of those occuring in the last week with a spike in influenza activity, as part of a the late season second wave of influenza disease. “Thirteen Rhode Islanders have died from influenza this season, and the number of hospitalizations due to influenza has increased, with much of the activity occurring in the…
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Featured

Traumatic Experiences Can Be Inherited From Parent to Child

Can a traumatic experience, or any change in our lifestyle be transmitted genetically to our children? This phenomenon, called Epigenetic inheritance has been linked in a multitude of diseases, from obesity to psychiatric problems like bipolar disorder where there is a gene that is clearly identified. But up to this date, no mechanism by which this occurs has been identified. A team of scientists from the Institute of Brain Research at the University of Zurich Switzerland, offer the key in the magazine "Nature Neuroscience". Their work suggests that the environment leaves traces in the brain, organs and also in the gametes. And that it is through small fragments of RNA of…
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Community

Diabetes Awareness and Health Screening Initiative

Diabetes in the state of RI has increased in the past five decades and it is predicted that the numbers will continue to rise, especially among African American and Hispanic populations. Diabetes remains a chronic disease with no known cure, and without proper control and observations it can have a deep impact on a person's health and quality of life. Yet when managed correctly, health outcomes do improve and certain risk factors of the disease can be prevented.   On Wednesday, April 2, 2014 help kickoff a new initiative. Light refreshments will be offered at 10:00am, and the program will…
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Featured

Further Action in Africa To Prevent Spread of Ebola

Measures are being taken in West Africa to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus after an outbreak in Guinea. It was reported that the authorities in Mauritania closed its border with Senegal and Mali due to fears of infection. The Ministry of Health in Guinea banned the sale of bats because the animals carry the virus. So far the only confirmed cases occurred in southern Guinea, but it is suspected that there are other cases in Sierra Leone and Liberia. A man who returned from Liberia to Canada fell ill with symptoms of the hemorrhagic fever. Five people died with…
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Health

Attorney General and Director of Health Warn Consumers of Possible Medical Phone Scam

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and Director of Health, Michael Fine, MD, are warning the public of a possible scam in which individuals, primarily women, are being called by a "medical compensation company" or "the state department of health" asking about recent surgeries and other personal information. The targets of the calls appear primarily to be women, some, but not all of whom, may have had a recent surgery. Based on the information provided to the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) by individuals who have been contacted, the caller will often hang up when asked why they are calling,…
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Health

Different Strain of Influenza Causing Illness in Rhode Island; Elderly More at Risk

An influenza strain, different from the flu strain that is most common this season, is causing an increase in the flu in Rhode Island. This latest strain, H3, causes more severe illness and has a greater impact on the elderly. This year's flu vaccine protects against both these strains of the flu. "If you haven't been vaccinated yet, it is not too late to get a flu shot," said Director of Health Michael Fine, "Getting vaccinated not only protects you, but also protects those around you, including senior citizens who are now most vulnerable." There is still plenty of flu…
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Health

Body of Pakistan Polio Campaign Worker Found

Police in Northwest Pakistan found the body of a health worker in a field near the city of Peshawar. Salma Ghani was taken by force from her residence on Sunday by a group of unidentified armed men. According to the authorities, Ghani was tortured and shot several times. Her family believes that she was kidnapped because of her work in a local polio immunization program. It is believed that in the past 15 months that over forty people of vaccination teams have been killed. Islamist militants oppose the vaccination programs because they believe that they are part of a plan…
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Health

Why There Are More Than Twice As Many Children With Tuberculosis Than Previously Thought

Each year millions of people die unnecessarily of tuberculosis (TB). The lack of education and health care access, poverty and armed conflicts are some of the reasons. But perhaps the most serious is the lack of knowledge. On World TB Day, it is important to shine a spotlight on this devastating disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers that more than 3 million people have TB and don't know it. Experts estimate that there are one million children suffering from the disease, double what the WHO calculates and three times more than what is diagnosed a year. In Latin America, one out of…
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