Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can have many causes but is commonly due to an infection, usually a virus. The latest Medical Minute, a service of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, reviews the five types of hepatitis virus, termed A through E. Hepatitis is often referred to as "yellow jaundice" because the skin and eyes turn brownish-yellow from high levels of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a by-product of red blood cell recycling. It leaks from the liver into the blood when the impaired liver can not remove it from the system. In 1995 hepatitis A vaccine was licensed in the United States. Initially it was recommended for vaccination of high risk populations and children older than age 2 in states with the highest incidence of hepatitis A -- mostly the states west of the Mississippi. In five years the incidence of hepatitis A plummeted from about 12 cases per 100,000 to less than three. Results have been so impressive that recommendations for vaccination have been expanded.
Penn State's student leaders are impacting the University and the surrounding community in ways that will leave meaningful and lasting contributions. High levels of student participation in clubs and organizations are resulting in stronger leadership skills and improved University events, services and town-gown relations, and Penn State administrators are taking active steps to foster those skills. Such was the message shared by Vicky L. Triponey, vice president for Student Affairs, and a panel of student leaders and student affairs administrators at the Board of Trustees meeting on Friday (Jan. 20) at Penn State's University Park campus. Triponey reported that undergraduate involvement is high -- at 75 percent -- according to a recent student satisfaction survey, and among that engaged student population, 64 percent believe their club participation has "strongly" improved their leadership effectiveness. "I continue to be grateful that so many of our students have discovered ways to give back to Dear Old State by enhancing the experience for their fellow students and by making Penn State a more vibrant and caring community," said Triponey.
"You cannot choose your color or your culture, but you can choose your character."
--Rev. Jesse Jackson, speaking on the importance and ability of all people to choose right and aid others, Wednesday (Jan. 18) at Eisenhower Auditorium on Penn State's University Park campus. Jackson, a prominent civil rights activist and founder of the Rainbow/PUSH coalition who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Last month, employees participating in the Penn State Herhsey Medical Center benefits plan were mailed letters containing a special Personal Identification Number (PIN) from Capital BlueCross. This PIN enabled individuals to upgrade their online access a second level of services on the Capital BlueCross page for medical center employees. Employees who haven't yet upgraded their accounts, however, will find their PIN has expired and will need to request a new one. To do it, log onto the Medical Center's Employee Self Service site and click onto the Capital BlueCross Web portal for information on how to access a new pin number.
In just a few weeks the Walking Works program will begin. With an institution-wide emphasis on health and wellness, all employees (Medical Center & College of Medicine) are encouraged to participate in this free program that promotes living a healthy lifestyle complete with modest exercise. The 12-week challenge kicks off Feb. 24. Registration for individuals opens on Feb. 1. Anyone in the campus community may join on a team of up to six people or sign up by themselves. For more information log onto http://www.pennstatewalkingworks.com online.
Read the full story at http://live.psu.edu/story/15563
There is a lot to consider when deciding on the type of medical care to choose. There may be a time when the cost of a test or procedure plays a role in the decision. Employees participating in Penn State Hershey Medical Center's health-care benefits plan have several options available to get an estimate of what something might cost.
In an effort to accommodate employees and their family members participating in Penn State Hershey Medical Center's health-care benefits plan, the medical center's Allergy Clinic has set aside Tuesday, Jan. 24, as a Transition of Care Day. Employees and family members who wish to transfer their care from a nonmedical center allergy physician to a Penn State Hershey Medical Center allergy-care provider should contact the clinic at extension 1310 to schedule an appointment.
January is National Blood Donor Volunteer month. The need for new donors increases every year while donations have dropped annually for a combination of reasons. There are stricter rules for donor exclusion to avoid transmission of disease. Younger generations tend to donate less often than our current seniors and the baby boom generation. Not only is the number of donors lower, the use of blood is increasing for more complex surgery and medical treatments. We are living longer and are more likely to need blood as we age. Although 60 percent of Americans are eligible to donate, only 5 percent do. Many hospitals including Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, which provides the Medical Minute, are testing artificial blood, but that product will not be ready for general use for several years. Even when artificial blood becomes available, it just replaces the oxygen carrying part of blood. There will still be a need for real blood to provide other blood components, such as, clotting factors and platelets.
"Life is about others because service to others is the rent we pay for the space we occupy on this earth. ... Dr. King wrote, 'One of the great liabilities of history is that too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change.' Today, our very survival depends on our ability, all of us working together, to stay awake to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change ... At times of political crisis and social change, apathy is not an option.
A new Applied Energy Research Center at Penn State Erie is expected to generate 200 advanced-manufacturing jobs in the Erie region over the next five years. Dennis Yablonsky, state secretary of community and economic development, announced Wednesday, Jan. 11, that Penn State Erie will receive a $231,000 Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) Starter Kit grant as seed money for the new center. KIZ Starter Kits are a new initiative of the Governor's Office designed to help Pennsylvania universities recruit faculty researchers, equip laboratories, hire interns and leverage research in life science, information technology and advanced manufacturing into a skilled work force. Without a solid base of research activity and workers with advanced skills, Gov. Ed Rendell said, companies in these sectors are less likely to locate or remain in the state and are not able to "translate" research into family-sustaining jobs. The grant requires a $1 to $1 match investment by Penn State.
Folic acid is an essential nutrient that keeps nerves working properly and is important in blood production and protein and DNA synthesis. According to the latest Medical Minute, a service of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, it also has been found to be extremely important for developing babies. During development, the brain and spinal cord grow from embryonic tissue called the "neural tube." This literally is a tubular structure that is open at both ends but normally closes well before birth. The signs of its prior existence can be seen in the "soft spot" or anterior fontanelle on a newborn baby's head and sometimes by a dimple at the base of the spine. Folic acid is a B vitamin and is present in most multivitamin supplements but a very good source is enriched grain products, such as bread and cereals. Other foods that can supply folic acid are legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, fruit, and vegetables -- particularly asparagus and leafy vegetables. Liver is an excellent source. About two ounces of chicken livers provide an entire day's requirement of folic acid. Unfortunately, liver is very high in fat and cholesterol. Including fortified cereal, some bread, green leafy vegetables, some nuts, legumes and fruit daily is not only good nutrition, it should provide a full day's supply of folic acid.
Our views on dying have changed in the last half century. In the past, most people died quickly from infectious diseases or at birth with little time to prepare. Our life expectancy has improved through advances in public health and technology such as antibiotics, life-support systems, advanced surgical techniques and effective medical treatments for cardiovascular disease and cancer. Death is still inevitable, but it can sometimes be a lonely, lengthy and uncomfortable process. Hospice care provides supportive social, emotional and spiritual treatment of terminally ill people. Hospice medical treatments center on palliative care to reduce or control pain, anxiety and other troubling symptoms. Hospice caregivers view death as the final stage of life that should be lived to the fullest and shared by a circle of family and friends.
Born in the West Indies island of Trinidad and raised in Grenada, Ian Baptiste was concerned with the ideas of civic engagement at the core of adult education before he even knew the terms. Now the head of the adult education program in Penn State's College of Education, Baptiste has helped organize and operate an initiative that promotes civic engagement by building the capacity of community organizations in West Philadelphia and his native Grenada. "In the case of Grenada, my family still lives there and I am still considered a member of those communities for which we are a part," he said. "This is giving back. I hate the term 'giving back,' but this is extending my work to people I care deeply about." The goal, Baptiste said, is to help citizens become active and willing participants in democracy. The purpose is not to encourage voting, but to encourage people to get involved in the decision-making processes outside the voting booth that affect their communities and their everyday lives.
It's the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and many people haven't even heard of it. About 24 million Americans have been diagnosed with some form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and about 120,000 or 43 out of every 100,000 people die from it annually. In 2000, more women than men were hospitalized for it and had more deaths from it than men for the first time. What is it? According to the latest edition of the Medical Minute, a service of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, COPD -- as the name indicates -- is a long-term lung disease which blocks air movement. There are three classifications, depending on the cause. First, some basic anatomy. The lungs consist of tubes called "bronchi" which carry air down to tiny air sacs or alveoli which allow oxygen to cross through into the blood and carbon dioxide to leave in the breath. The bronchi are lined with a mucus-producing tissue that traps dust and germs and carries it out of the lungs. The alveoli have immune system cells to kill bacteria which may find their way into the lung.
Winter is just around the corner, but snow is here already and many of us have been faced with the task of clearing the sidewalks and driveways of white stuff. It's no exaggeration to say it's real work to shovel snow. For the heart, it's like jogging a 12-minute mile -- not a competitive speed, but stressful if one has heart disease and is not used to that much exercise. If the air is very cold, the stress level is even higher. Those who don't exercise regularly should check with their doctors before taking on the stress of shoveling snow. The latest edition of the Medical Minute, a service of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, suggests shovelers warm up by doing light exercise before attempting to shovel. Have a little breakfast -- some nutrition is needed to do the work but a heavy meal and vigorous exercise can compete for circulation and lead to stomach cramps. It doesn't have to be done all at once -- it's less stressful to do it a little at a time. Stop and rest if it is too much. If chest pressure or pain develops, call 911.