Lies Spread on Social Media Hamper Vaccinations

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Foreign disinformation campaigns on social media have caused vaccination rates to fall, a new study reveals.

Every 1 point increase in the effort to discredit vaccines is linked to an average 2% drop in annual vaccine coverage around the world, and a 15% increase in negative tweets about vaccination, researchers found.

Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed reluctance or refusal to be vaccinated because of safety concerns as one of the top 10 threats to world health.

The proliferation of “antivaxx” messaging on social media is a public health concern because vaccination is a key way out of the coronavirus pandemic, the researchers noted.

To gauge the effect of social media use and foreign disinformation campaigns on vaccines, researchers analyzed social media activity in up to 190 countries.

They also used national survey data about public attitudes to vaccination safety and vaccination rates for the 10 most commonly reported vaccines between 2008 and 2018.

Analysis revealed that the prevalence of foreign disinformation activity was “highly statistically and substantively significant” in predicting a drop in vaccination rates.

A one-point uptick on a five-point disinformation scale was tied with an average annual 2% drop in vaccination rate, and a 12% drop across the decade. A belief that vaccines are unsafe was tied to organizing resistance on social media. The more organized the resistance, the greater the conviction that vaccines are unsafe.

Foreign disinformation increased the number of negative vaccine tweets by 15%.

“The use of social media to organize offline action is highly associated with an increase in public belief in vaccines being unsafe,” the researchers wrote.

The findings suggest that combatting disinformation and misinformation is critical to reversing the rise in vaccine hesitancy worldwide.

“These findings are especially salient in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, given that the vaccines under development will require deployment globally to billions of people in the next year,” the researchers wrote.

“We urge policymakers to take the time before a COVID-19 vaccine is available for mass distribution as an opportunity for action against social media factors contributing to vaccine hesitancy.”

The findings were recently published online in the journal BMJ Global Health. Steven Lloyd Wilson, an assistant professor of politics at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., was the lead author.

More information

For more on the anti-vaccine movement, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: BMJ, news release, Oct. 22, 2020

Our health care industry is really a disease management industry

When I was a kid, if I were told that I’d be writing a book about diet and nutrition when I was older, let alone having been doing a health related radio show for over 36 years, I would’ve thought that whoever told me that was out of their mind. Living in Newark, New Jersey, my parents and I consumed anything and everything that had a face or a mother except for dead, rotting, pig bodies, although we did eat bacon (as if all the other decomposing flesh bodies were somehow miraculously clean). Going through high school and college it was no different. In fact, my dietary change did not come until I was in my 30’s.

Just to put things in perspective, after I graduated from Weequahic High School and before going to Seton Hall University, I had a part-time job working for a butcher. I was the delivery guy and occasionally had to go to the slaughterhouse to pick up products for the store. Needless to say, I had no consciousness nor awareness, as change never came then despite the horrors I witnessed on an almost daily basis.

After graduating with a degree in accounting from Seton Hall, I eventually got married and moved to a town called Livingston. Livingston was basically a yuppie community where everyone was judged by the neighborhood they lived in and their income. To say it was a “plastic” community would be an understatement.

Livingston and the shallowness finally got to me. I told my wife I was fed up and wanted to move. She made it clear she had to be near her friends and New York City. I finally got my act together and split for Colorado.

I was living with a lady in Aspen at the end of 1974, when one day she said, ” let’s become vegetarians”. I have no idea what possessed me to say it, but I said, “okay”! At that point I went to the freezer and took out about $100 worth of frozen, dead body parts and gave them to a welfare mother who lived behind us. Well, everything was great for about a week or so, and then the chick split with another guy.

So here I was, a vegetarian for a couple weeks, not really knowing what to do, how to cook, or basically how to prepare anything. For about a month, I was getting by on carrot sticks, celery sticks, and yogurt. Fortunately, when I went vegan in 1990, it was a simple and natural progression. Anyway, as I walked around Aspen town, I noticed a little vegetarian restaurant called, “The Little Kitchen”.

Let me back up just a little bit. It was April of 1975, the snow was melting and the runoff of Ajax Mountain filled the streets full of knee-deep mud. Now, Aspen was great to ski in, but was a bummer to walk in when the snow was melting.

I was ready to call it quits and I needed a warmer place. I’ll elaborate on that in a minute.

But right now, back to “The Little Kitchen”. Knowing that I was going to leave Aspen and basically a new vegetarian, I needed help. So, I cruised into the restaurant and told them my plight and asked them if they would teach me how to cook. I told them in return I would wash dishes and empty their trash. They then asked me what I did for a living and I told them I was an accountant.

The owner said to me, “Let’s make a deal. You do our tax return and we’ll feed you as well”. So for the next couple of weeks I was doing their tax return, washing their dishes, emptying the trash, and learning as much as I could.

But, like I said, the mud was getting to me. So I picked up a travel book written by a guy named Foder. The name of the book was, “Hawaii”. Looking through the book I noticed that in Lahaina, on Maui, there was a little vegetarian restaurant called,” Mr. Natural’s”. I decided right then and there that I would go to Lahaina and work at “Mr. Natural’s.” To make a long story short, that’s exactly what happened.

So, I’m working at “Mr. Natural’s” and learning everything I can about my new dietary lifestyle – it was great. Every afternoon we would close for lunch at about 1 PM and go to the Sheraton Hotel in Ka’anapali and play volleyball, while somebody stayed behind to prepare dinner.

Since I was the new guy, and didn’t really know how to cook, I never thought that I would be asked to stay behind to cook dinner. Well, one afternoon, that’s exactly what happened; it was my turn. That posed a problem for me because I was at the point where I finally knew how to boil water.

I was desperate, clueless and basically up the creek without a paddle. Fortunately, there was a friend of mine sitting in the gazebo at the restaurant and I asked him if he knew how to cook. He said the only thing he knew how to cook was enchiladas. He said that his enchiladas were bean-less and dairy-less. I told him that I had no idea what an enchilada was or what he was talking about, but I needed him to show me because it was my turn to do the evening meal.

Well, the guys came back from playing volleyball and I’m asked what was for dinner. I told them enchiladas; the owner wasn’t thrilled. I told him that mine were bean-less and dairy-less. When he tried the enchilada he said it was incredible. Being the humble guy that I was, I smiled and said, “You expected anything less”? It apparently was so good that it was the only item on the menu that we served twice a week. In fact, after about a week, we were selling five dozen every night we had them on the menu and people would walk around Lahaina broadcasting, ‘enchilada’s at “Natural’s” tonight’. I never had to cook anything else.

A year later the restaurant closed, and somehow I gravitated to a little health food store in Wailuku. I never told anyone I was an accountant and basically relegated myself to being the truck driver. The guys who were running the health food store had friends in similar businesses and farms on many of the islands. I told them that if they could organize and form one company they could probably lock in the State. That’s when they found out I was an accountant and “Down to Earth” was born. “Down to Earth” became the largest natural food store chain in the islands, and I was their Chief Financial Officer and co-manager of their biggest store for 13 years.

In 1981, I started to do a weekly radio show to try and expose people to a vegetarian diet and get them away from killing innocent creatures. I still do that show today. I pay for my own airtime and have no sponsors to not compromise my honesty. One bit of a hassle was the fact that I was forced to get a Masters Degree in Nutrition to shut up all the MD’s that would call in asking for my credentials.

My doing this radio show enabled me, through endless research, to see the corruption that existed within the big food industries, the big pharmaceutical companies, the biotech industries and the government agencies. This information, unconscionable as it is, enabled me to realize how broken our health system is. This will be covered more in depth in the Introduction and throughout the book and when you finish the book you will see this clearly and it will hopefully inspire you to make changes.

I left Down to Earth in 1989, got nationally certified as a sports injury massage therapist and started traveling the world with a bunch of guys that were making a martial arts movie. After doing that for about four years I finally made it back to Honolulu and got a job as a massage therapist at the Honolulu Club, one of Hawaii’s premier fitness clubs. It was there I met the love of my life who I have been with since 1998. She made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. She said,” If you want to be with me you’ve got to stop working on naked women”. So, I went back into accounting and was the Chief Financial Officer of a large construction company for many years.

Going back to my Newark days when I was an infant, I had no idea what a “chicken” or “egg” or “fish” or “pig” or “cow” was. My dietary blueprint was thrust upon me by my parents as theirs was thrust upon them by their parents. It was by the grace of God that I was able to put things in their proper perspective and improve my health and elevate my consciousness.

The road that I started walking down in 1975 has finally led me to the point of writing my book, “A Sane Diet For An Insane World”. Hopefully, the information contained herein will be enlightening, motivating, and inspiring to encourage you to make different choices. Doing what we do out of conditioning is not always the best course to follow. I am hoping that by the grace of the many friends and personalities I have encountered along my path, you will have a better perspective of what road is the best road for you to travel on, not only for your health but your consciousness as well.

Last but not least: after being vaccinated as a kid I developed asthma, which plagued me all of my life. In 2007 I got exposed to the organic sulfur crystals, which got rid of my asthma in 3 days and has not come back in over 10 years. That, being the tip of the iceberg, has helped people reverse stage 4 cancers, autism, joint pain, blood pressure problems, migraine headaches, erectile dysfunction, gingivitis, and more. Also, because of the detoxification effects by the release of oxygen that permeates and heals all the cells in the body, it removes parasites, radiation, fluoride, free radicals, and all the other crap that is thrust upon us in the environment by Big Business.

For more, please view www.healthtalkhawaii.com and www.asanediet.com.

Namaste!

Hopequesting or Doomscrolling

What Are You Really Looking For?

Recently, I wrote a blog on Doomscrolling and how endlessly scrolling through social media reading news headlines can wreak more havoc on our mental health than we think. The point of this blog was to draw attention to how damaging some of the current headlines can be to our emotional wellbeing; and ultimately, our spirits. Since writing this blog, I have heard a lot of things about “hopequesting”. After doing some investigating, I learned that hopequesting is the act of intentionally scrolling through social media to look for content that makes us laugh, feel happy, and even find a small sense of normalcy in this world.  

Amongst the chaos of everything that is posted, shared, liked, retweeted, and live streamed; we can all eventually find what makes us feel good. Getting to that point is a struggle though. We get distracted and sidetracked by headlines that instill fear and anger in us. We become completely overwhelmed and even frightened from the power of social media. We are left feeling hopeless, anxious, and even heart-broken. This distraction and sidetracking is doomscrolling. None of it was intentional, but we all experience it. We go in with good intentions, feeling hopeful; wanting to look for things that make us laugh, smile, feel validated for our beliefs, and to feel normal. This is hopequesting. And we start on our social media voyage hopequesting, only to find ourselves “doomscrolling” by the end of it.  

Thankfully, we can still enjoy social media by utilizing a hopequesting “toolbox” to avoid the darker sides of social media. Our hopequesting “toolbox” can consist of things like following social media accounts that uplift our spirits and make us laugh or feel joy. Then we can do things like share the positives from our day to flood social media with joy and peace. This will not only help ourselves feel better, we can also become a beacon of hope for those around us. We can remind people that there is still good in the world, that none of this is permanent, and that none of us are alone.  

Finally, I leave you with something to think about. I saw a tweet from @CapnCorwin:  

Psoriasis Meds Don’t Raise Risk of Severe COVID-19

By Cara Roberts Murez
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Researchers in the United Kingdom have reassuring news for people with psoriasis based on the first analysis of a global registry of COVID-19 patients who also have the skin disease.

Moderate-to-severe cases of psoriasis are treated with drugs that suppress the immune system. This analysis of the international PsoProtect registry found that more than 90% of psoriasis patients survive infection with the new coronavirus.

“We can reassure our patients that the survival for people with psoriasis is high, and the risk factors for psoriasis patients are similar to those of the general population,” said Dr. Satveer Mahil, a consultant dermatologist at St. John’s Institute of Dermatology in London, who co-leads the registry.

The registry was established to understand how psoriasis and the medications used to treat it affect severity of COVID-19, according to a news release from the U.K.’s National Institute for Health Research.

Psoriasis is a skin disease believed to be related to an immune system problem. It causes red patches and flaky plaques of skin that are covered with silvery scales.

The findings were recently published online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

For the study, the researchers analyzed 374 cases from 25 countries in which psoriasis patients had COVID-19 between March and July 2020. About 71% were taking biologic medications and 18% were taking traditional immunosuppressants. About 93% fully recovered from COVID-19, 21% were hospitalized and 2% died.

Helen McAteer is chief executive of the Psoriasis Association. She said, “From the beginning of the pandemic, we understood the importance of being proactive in order to address the many concerns expressed by people who are living with psoriasis. The PsoProtect registry is vital in helping us understand more about the interactions between psoriasis, its treatments and COVID-19 infection so patients can make the most informed choices about their care and treatment at this challenging time.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

I am Healthy UNH! Spotlight with Daniel

Name: Daniel Gebel

Major: Nursing

Role at UNH: Student

Year Started at UNH: Fall 2019

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Daniel Gebel, via Zoom for an “I am Healthy UNH!” spotlight interview. Daniel is a nursing major here at UNH. In addition to being a fulltime student, Daniel is also working for the university as a COVID-19 tester. This job requires him to dress in full PPE, and to test UNH faculty and staff for COVID-19.  

Unlike our typical interviews for “I am Healthy UNH!” spotlights, I got to ask Daniel about his motivations to continue his work as a UNH COVID-19 tester even though cases are beginning to rise again in most parts of the country. I also asked Daniel about how he stays connected with his friends on campus while maintaining physical distancing protocols. In the interview, Daniel gives us some great insight to balancing school work and his job. He also shares some meaningful words of encouragement for all UNH community members who feel hopeless about the pandemic.  

To watch the full interview, check out the video below on our YouTube channel! 

 

[embedded content]

Searching for Clues to COVID-19 Immunity

Joel Ernst, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the division of experimental medicine, UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco.

Santosha Vardhana, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and attending physician, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York.

Nicolas Vabret, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York.

Medline Plus: “Immune response.” 

Journal of Experimental Medicine: “The many faces of the anti-COVID immune response.”

UCSF: “Ask the Expert: Seeking Immunity Against COVID-19.”

La Jolla Institute for Immunology: “T Cells Take the Lead in Controlling SARS-COV-2 and Reducing Covid-19 Severity.”

Cell: “Antigen-Specific Adaptive Immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in Acute COVID-19 and Associations with Age and Disease Severity.”

Immunity: “Immunology of COVID-19: Current State of the Science.”

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: “Genomic evidence for reinfection with SARS-CoV-2: a case study,” and “What reinfections mean for COVI-19.”

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

The Lancet Infectious Disease: “Longitudinal antibody and T cell responses in Ebola virus disease survivors and contacts: an observational cohort study.”

mBio: “Decline of Humoral Responses against SARS-CoV-2 Spike in Convalescent Individuals.”

Science Immunology: “Persistence and decay of human antibody response to the receptor binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in COVID-19 patients.”

BRO News: “COVID-19 reinfection tracker.”

Itching for Empathy

It was a humid, ninety-degree Summer day in Indiana. Coach blows the whistle to end our conditioning training outdoors in the scorching heat. I was playing Division-1 collegiate soccer and those hot day sprints were brutal. As if being sore, tired, hot, and blistered weren’t enough, I had the honor of tacking on eczema, atopic dermatitis, and asthma as the cherries on top. Mandatory ice baths followed daily practice, which I dreaded — not because I minded the freezing cold, but because I was humiliated by the rashes all over my arms and legs.

Atopic dermatitis flare-ups caused my skin to be insanely itchy, dry, and red. Throw in the heat and sweat, and you get the most perfectly uncomfortable burn. Ever felt sandpaper? It’s like that on your skin, then add an itching fire to it. I’ve had AD my entire life, so I’m used to it, but I will never forget those days when I was severely insecure about my skin.

Through my lifelong journey with AD and Asthma, I’ve learned the importance of empathy for the patient from the healthcare industry — especially when it comes to advertising content. Authenticity is key.

More than 40% of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health. I am a part of that 40%.

Just the other week, I saw an ad on Facebook with a beautiful, famous, rashless person smiling comfortably, posing for a treatment option. It’s a stark contrast to the real-life patient experiences I shared above. It’s not reality, it’s not relatable, and it’s an insulting fairytale AD patients can only dream of.

Seeing that made me feel uncomfortable. I don’t always have a break out, but I know this condition isn’t sunshine, rainbows, and glamorous product photoshoots. The reality is that it’s painful, frustrating, and frankly sometimes embarrassing. When asked about that treatment, I don’t recommend it and I tell people how I feel. Not just because of that ad, but it does play a substantial part and certainly didn’t help me favor the brand more than before. A Google image search provides a more honest, authentic look at AD than the ad. That’s the core issue we need to fix — and the solution is empathy and authenticity.

What’s Empathy Got To Do With It?

According to Karla McLarne, author of “The Art of Empathy”, empathy is a “social and emotional skill that helps us feel and understand the emotions, circumstances, intentions, thoughts, and needs of others, such that we can offer sensitive, perceptive, and appropriate communication and support”.

As an AD and asthma patient, I can’t stress enough the importance of the right content messaging. After those brutally hot soccer practices in college, I wanted to put a snowsuit on to hide my flare-ups to refrain from itching. Then imagine I open Instagram and see a happy, rashless, well-known celebrity promoting an AD product — someone I’ve never heard speak about this condition before. Celebs have teams of make-up artists to cover any outbreaks, concierge doctors, and not to mention money most people only dream of. I don’t relate to that ad. It doesn’t make me feel good. It is not authentic. I just don’t trust it.

On the contrary, if I saw an ad that had a patient like me talking about their struggles with AD and how they found a product that works for them — that’s something I can relate to. Something that activates my empathy. Something I can trust. Because I know what that feels like.

Why Do People Connect with Authentic Content?

I originally had the title above as “Why Do Patients Connect with Authentic Content?”, but I caught myself. Throughout my own patient journey and working in the healthcare space on both the sales and patient sides, I have learned how important it is to make sure these two terms are congruent. Patients are people; human beings with human emotions. Whether at the doctor’s office or on social media, people want to be treated as humans, not lab rats or money makers.

Fractl, a content marketing agency, studied 345 of their campaigns and found that emotional, empathetic content drives better results. “Campaigns that received more than 20,000 social shares were eight times more likely to include a strong emotional hook than campaigns that received fewer than 1,000 shares.” The study also found that ads promoting positive feelings are the most successful. Think about it this way – if you’re happy and excited, you tend to want to share that feeling. The feeling resonates, and you want others to feel that, too. This is where empathy comes into play.

According to behavioral scientist, Susan Weiinshneck, Ph.D, all decisions are based on emotions. “You should just assume that all decisions involve emotions. Rather than just making logical arguments to persuade, you are more likely to persuade people to take action if you understand how they are feeling about the decision and feed their feeling.”

For example, if Suzie, a breast cancer patient, feels insecure after having a mastectomy then sees an ad with messaging encouraging her to feel secure and embrace her “new beautiful,” the empathetic messaging resonates and she is more likely to be interested in the product or service.

Why Now?

MM+M reported earlier this year that 42% of healthcare marketers increased social media ad spend targeting consumers. If marketers want a more significant ROI on their increasing budgets, empathetic and authentic messaging is an imperative.

According to the study, How Many Ads Do We See a Day in 2020?, “the average person is now estimated to encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day.” That is an insane amount of content.

As if, collectively, our mental health isn’t already in jeopardy as a result of COVID-19, we are also overstimulated with ads competing for our attention and our dollar. From a mental health perspective, empathy in advertising would provide some relief to help with feelings of aloneness. From a strategic standpoint, empathetic advertising is more likely to catch our eyes, impact our decisions, and ultimately earn that dollar.

Jonah Berger, renowned social influence expert and Wharton school professor, has researched this topic in great depth. According to Berger, “In order to stand out, you’ve got to give people unique content, which is difficult to do when most people are turned off by traditional ads.” Emotional marketing and empathy in advertising is demonstrably not the norm and a way for brands to stand out.

How to Emotionally Support Your Content

I wish I had a secret sauce or magical plan to accomplish this, but the answer is relatively simple: care and make it clear. Genuinely care about the target audience. Show empathy in your content. What do they need? How can you help? What can you do for them?

Emotional marketing is the tactic to accomplish this. Hubspot defines emotional marketing as, “marketing and advertising efforts that primarily use emotion to make your audience notice, remember, share, and buy. Emotional marketing typically taps into a singular emotion, like happiness, sadness, anger, or fear, to elicit a consumer response.”

Jonah Berger outlines how emotional marketing works using the acronym STEPPS. STEPPS, broken down at a basic level, looks like this:
Social Currency- as discussed above, if people see things they like, they want to share. They want to look and feel valued and knowledgeable to those around them.
Triggers – the factors reminding patients to think about your product.
Emotion – human decision is driven by emotions, and people “are connected to feelings rather than function”
Public eye – make sure ads are being seen often, and to the right audience
Practical Value – connect emotionally with patients, but also be sure the product is valuable enough to talk about
Stories – humans connect with humans through many outlets, but stories are extraordinarily personal and able to truly connect us with each other and with a product

Remember the experience I shared in the beginning about an ad I saw that rubbed me the wrong way? That is a prime example of where emotional marketing was missed entirely.

So, what does an emotional marketing content piece look like? Let’s look at the 2018 Pharma Choice Professional Campaign Bronze Winner Biolumina and Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Their campaign for Kisqali nailed it.
Social Currency – Everyone wants to feel confident, beautiful and accepted. This ad for a brand for a rare breast cancer condition shows that these women are still beautiful.
Triggers – The unusual personification of chinaware and blue flowers triggers a powerful visual sensory reaction associated with Kisqali.
Emotion – Fragility, hope, and empathy are portrayed.
Public eye – The content placement was spot on.
Practical Value – Talks about “what does she need?” It makes women feel heard and cared for.
Stories – Without literally telling a story, there is still a compelling one here. The woman’s broken pieces are beautiful.

Hats off to you, Kisqali. This is an excellent example of touching on all the STEPPS for emotional advertising.

So where should healthcare marketers start? Working directly with patients to gather insights is the best way to understand their needs. From there, co-creating content with patients ensures the message hits the mark, and it’s also being relayed by an authentic voice that your target consumer trusts and relates to. According to WEGO Health behavioral intent survey data, nearly 9 in 10 patients would ask their doctor about a medication or treatment if they saw another patient talking about it online. For pharma and healthcare marketers, working directly with patients is the best way to ensure both the message and the method of communication will resonate with your brand’s target audience, therefore increasing the likelihood of consumer action.

Scratch the Itch

If you have AD, don’t take that advice literally…because, ouch! But for the rest of us, let’s start incorporating human emotion and empathy into advertising content. Research conducted by the Advertising Research Foundation concluded that “likeability” is the measure most predictive of whether an advertisement will increase a brand’s sales.

We know that emotional resonance increases consumer engagement and the likelihood to share. This implies likeability. When consumers can associate likeable content with a brand, it’s a practice in increasing brand trust, as well. When consumers like and trust a brand, they continue to engage over time. The key is to tap into empathy. Let’s ask patients what they need and with what they connect.

The next time you start thinking about content, marketing, and advertising, remember first to honor that patients are people – people like me who may sometimes be embarrassed by their AD breakouts, people who can’t relate to celebrities, people who feel human emotions just looking for more authenticity in the world.

Scientists Discover New Organs in the Throat

Ot. 21, 2020 — Dutch researchers have found what might be a set of previously unknown large salivary glands in the space where the nasal cavity meets the throat, the New York Times reported Monday.

If confirmed, these glands could be the first of their kind discovered in about 300 years. Modern anatomy books show only three types of salivary glands, a set near the ears, another below the jaw and a third under the tongue. “Now, we think there is a fourth,” researcher Dr. Matthijs Valstar, a surgeon at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, told the Times.

The report was published recently in the journal Radiotherapy and Oncology.

Dr. Valerie Fitzhugh, a pathologist at Rutgers University, who wasn’t involved in the research, told the Times that although the study was small, “it seems like they may be onto something. If it’s real, it could change the way we look at disease in this region.”

Dr. Yvonne Mowery, a radiation oncologist at Duke University in North Carolina, told the paper she “was quite shocked that we are in 2020 and have a new structure identified in the human body.”

It’s not clear how these glands hid for so long. But, “the location is not very accessible, and you need very sensitive imaging to detect it,” researcher Dr. Wouter Vogel, a radiation oncologist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, told the Times.

This finding might help explain why people who undergo radiation therapy of the head or neck often end up with chronic dry mouth and swallowing problems, Vogel said.

Dr. Alvand Hassankhani, a radiologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, told the Times he isn’t sure these are “new organs.” It’s possible the Dutch researchers found a better way to see a set of minor glands, he explained.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

The Future of the Affordable Care Act

How November Can Bring Change to the ACA 

Since the 2010 passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the act has been highly controversial. Though the entire bill enacted many new changes to the face of healthcare in America, one of the biggest controversies of the bill was the tax penalty individual mandate for health insurance. The act mandated that all Americans have some sort of health insurance coverage by the end of the year that the act was passed. If you were found to have no health insurance coverage by the end of the year, you were punished with an income tax penalty.  

This became highly controversial very quickly because of the idea that Congress does not have the power to enact tax penalties at the federal level. There were also arguments against the ACA pertaining to the idea that it is “unconstitutional” for the federal government to mandate that people buy private goods. In this case, “private goods” being health insurance.  

Over the past 10 years, some people have called for the act to be overturned by the supreme court due to the controversial tax penalty created by Congress. In 2017, Texas, along with 19 other states teamed together to “fight” the ACA health insurance individual mandate in court. The case was originally overruled. Then in 2019, an appeals court ruled that the health insurance individual mandate was indeed unconstitutional. Flash forward one year to 2020, the case (now titled California v. Texas) is set to hit the Supreme Court this November.  

Many legal experts and congress people have speculated that if the insurance mandate is unconstitutional, then the entire ACA will be overturned. The Supreme Court could possibly overturn the ACA because the remaining parts of the ACA are not “severable” from the insurance individual mandate. To help understand this, imagine that you have a necklace that has been tangled, and you realize that it is unsalvageable and must be thrown out. This is how some members of the Supreme Court and Congress view the ACA as it stands with the insurance individual mandate.  

Overturning the entire ACA has also raised concern for some. For instance, the ACA is what made it so insurers could not refuse coverage for those who have pre-existing conditions. The ACA also made it so children can remain on their parent or guardian’s health insurance until age 26. Ultimately, the ACA over the past 10 years has left an impact in some way or another on almost every person in America.  

Only time will tell what the future of American healthcare will look like. If you would like your voice to be heard more in government decisions; vote! Showing up to vote, can be the first start to advocating for yourself and others. November may be just around the corner, but it is not too late to vote. So, contact your local voter registration office to register, and check out Layla’s blog on voting to learn more!

Fun Fall Outdoor Activities

Getting the Family Outside this Fall

Many parents all around the country now have kids attending school this fall remotely, via Zoom. Though school days for some may be shortened, there is no denying that screen time has increased significantly for all of the kids out there attending online school. In addition, with shorter school days, kids now have even more time for leisurely screen time like watching TV and playing video games. It also isn’t much help that local parks and businesses have had to shut down due to outbreaks of COVID-19 in some areas. Combining all of these factors can cause a nightmare for a lot of parents who are just trying to shorten daily screen time for their kids.  

 

If you are a parent who is struggling to come up with tech-free activities to keep your kids entertained in a COVID world, check out these fun activities that can take place outside and don’t involve being near large crowds of people:

  1. Collect leaves in the backyard: Collecting leaves in the backyard can be a fun activity on a nice day considering all of the fun things you can do with them! Use them to make fall-themed arts and crafts and make hopscotch or mazes on the ground. In addition to all of the potential fun activities that you can use leaves for, the kids will be doing chores without even realizing it!  

  2. Draw with sidewalk chalk: Drawing with sidewalk chalk is not just a spring and summer activity. As long as there is nice weather, get outside and bring the chalk to draw fall pictures and positive messages on the sidewalks or in your driveway. This can allow your kids to feel creative and show off their artwork to all of the neighbors. 

  3. Visit the local farm stand: Avoid the crowds at the apple orchard and go to the local farm stands instead. Here, you will access to tons of fresh produce with lots of variety. You can pick up your favorite fruits and vegetables to bring home to have a family cooking night! This can also help you teach your kids the basics of cooking and the importance of having variety in the diet.  

  4. Carve a pumpkin: Next time you go to the grocery store, pick up a pumpkin in the produce section to bring home to carve with the family. You can also roast the seeds to make a fun fall snack!  

  5. Decorate: Dig out the arts and crafts to make some fun fall decorations to put up around the house. This can be a great way for the family to spark some creativity and find a little bit of joy in this crazy world we are living in.  

All of these fun activities can help to get the whole family off of the screens and out into the fresh air! With the pandemic still among us, it is crucial that we spend as much time outside to get fresh air and Vitamin D to keep our immune systems strong. Let us know what your favorite family outdoor fall activity is at Healthy.unh@unh.edu.