New Study Finds MERS Vaccine to Be Effective on Camels...

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a respiratory illness that originated in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Symptoms of this disease include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, nausea, diarrhea, and possible renal failure. Since its discovery, researchers have been working hard to develop a vaccine that will effectively prevent people from developing MERS. Now, they have found hope in the most surprising of places: the desert. After developing a vaccine that protects against the virus that causes MERS, researchers began testing it on camels. Developed by German scientists, the vaccine has shown to reduce the amount of virus found in camels infected by MERS. The findings were part of a recently published study that sought to discern the effectiveness of the new vaccine. According to the study, camels are considered the primary host for the MERS virus. Humans then contract the disease when coming into contact with an infected camel. Since the disease came into focus in 2012, 1,600 cases of MERS have been found in 26 countries, and 600 people have died after contracting the illness. Previous studies have shown the origins of the illness to be in Saudi Arabia, where the majority of the camels are said to have MERS. The vaccination might help to reduce the spread of MERS among camels, preventing them from spreading the virus to humans. For the study, the camels were administered the vaccine using a nasal spray. For a control, four camels were given a placebo spray. In eight to 10 days time, the camels that received the placebo were experiencing more symptoms of MERS (runny noses), while the camels that got the vaccine were not. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that anyone above the age of six...

Even Sugar-Free Soft Drinks Are Bad for Your Teeth, According to New Study...

It’s a well-known fact that sugary sodas and sports drinks can directly harm to your dental health, but according to new research from the government-sponsored group The Oral Health CRC, even sugar-free drinks could be causing major damage. As reported by Men’s Journal, the new study suggests that sugar-free soft drinks cause just as much erosion to tooth enamel as regular, sugar-filled versions. The researchers tested 15 different soft drinks on extracted molars. The teeth that were exposed to sugar-free soft drinks ended up with nearly the same amount of erosion as the teeth exposed to regular soft drinks. In other words, it’s not just the sugar in soft drinks that causes tooth decay. Although natural sugar does cause tooth enamel to erode, researchers believe that the chemicals in sugar-free drinks may have the same effect on teeth. Chemicals like xylitol and sorbitol have been used as sugar substitutes in “diet” soft drinks for a while now, and because these drinks contain no real sugars, many people have been led to believe that diet sodas are safer on the teeth. Another common misconception is that non-carbonated sports drinks are healthier than regular sodas, too. Considering that as many as one in five Americans have untreated cavities and dental decay — and considering that fewer Americans are drinking soda on a daily basis — it’s not entirely surprising that there are a variety of foods and drinks that contribute to poor dental...

Several Indiana Counties Funding Pre-K Program to Prepare Local Children for Kindergarten...

A publicly-funded pre-kindergarten program in Indiana is paving the way for thousands of children to hit the ground running when they enter elementary school. According to local Indiana news affiliate WANE, the state of Indiana is currently funding the On My Way Pre-K Pilot, a trial preschool program that is the first of its kind in the area. As of now, five separate counties have combined to provide a pre-K education to more than 2,000 Indiana children. About 90% of funding for the pilot program comes from the state, while participating counties fund the other 10%. The initiative has been met with widespread applause from those who believe that early education is a crucial step in ensuring that children are ready for elementary school and beyond. “It’s going well. We have a lot of children who are getting the things that they need to enter kindergarten ready to learn, so you don’t have to do years of remediation when you have a strong program starting out with,” said Greta McKinney, executive director of MLK Montessori, a school in which pre-K classes are being held. McKinney added that the program also provides children with important services such as health screenings and speech therapy, which can impact a child’s future if they aren’t addressed immediately. “If you don’t have those foundational skills when you walk in the door in kindergarten, you’re already a year and a half up to three years behind,” said McKinney. Preschool and pre-K programs are seen as crucial resources in the development of young children, and research supports its benefits. For example, kids who attend preschool do 21% better on math and reading tests in kindergarten than peers who do not attend. “Starting children out in pre-K, you can assess all of...

Pharmacists in Oregon and Cali Will Soon Be Able To Prescribe Birth Control Pills...

California and Oregon will be the first two states to allow customers to purchase over-the-counter birth control pills without a prescription from a doctor. According to the new regulations, pharmacists will be able to give out birth control pills to all women over the age of 18; customers under 18 can still be prescribed contraceptives, but will need a doctor’s prescription beforehand. There will be minimal medical screenings in place, according to Tech Times, including a mandatory medical history questionnaire and a screening questionnaire before a pharmacist determines whether or not to issue a contraceptive. Additionally, pharmacists in both states will be required to undergo extensive training before they are allowed to provide birth control pills and other contraceptives to women. According to Latinos Health, the new laws in California and Oregon differ slightly. In California, for instance, pharmacists will also be allowed to prescribe smoking cessation aids and medications for travel, provide routine vaccinations for children, and order lab tests. The Oregon law is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, while California still hasn’t determined when its new legislation will officially go into effect (though it is expected to happen within the next year). These states are the first to loosen up regulations over contraceptives, and as The New York Times reported, most Western countries still require women to obtain a doctor’s prescription before getting hormonal-based contraceptives, such as birth control pills. However, as the NYT also stated, around 6.6 million pregnancies each year in the U.S. — which equals approximately half of all pregnancies in the country — are unplanned; this is a much higher proportion of unplanned pregnancies than in most European countries. Advocates of the two new laws are hoping that this legislation will make contraceptives more...

Telepsychiatry and Pharma Firm Merger Further Evidence Telehealth Here to Stay...

One of the nation’s biggest behavioral health specialty pharmacies, Genoa, announced earlier this month that they acquired 1DocWay, one of the largest outpatient telepsychiatry software providers. The acquisition is part of Genoa’s launching of their new Genoa Telepsychiatry branch, which will allow them to offer a simple, easy-to-use platform for patients and their mental health provider, according to the digital healthcare technology news source HITconsultant.net. 1DocWay was founded in 2011 by a team of individuals experienced in running hospitals as well as building software at Microsoft. As a provider of telehealth services, their main priority is to improve access and availability to patients across the country. It’s an industry that’s become increasingly popular and important in the field of healthcare. If nothing else, this recent merger is a testament to the value these new kinds of services and platforms are having in the industry. As more providers try to keep up with consumer demands this is likely to be a growing trend. Specifically to Genoa is a focus on mental and behavioral health. Currently there is a shortage of professionals in the field as compared to people in need of services. Telepsychiatry services help meet these needs by making it easier and more efficient for professionals to see more patients and for patients who might not otherwise be able to physically get into an office when they them. Studies have shown that many people actually prefer using them. In one study, telepsychiatry appointments were significantly less likely to be cancelled by patients (3.5% vs. 4.8%) and significantly less likely to be no-shows (4.2% vs. 7.8%). In another trial of online therapy, patients averaged six sessions each and 73% re-booked with the same clinician. “We chose 1DocWay because they are experts in the field of...