Health tips: Pregnant moms’ need for flu vaccine, older adults and asthma & psychiatrist with bipolar disease

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    WEEKLY NEWS TIP SHEET

    HEALTH TOPICS FOR THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 27, 2017

     

    DESPITE RECENT STUDY FINDINGS, PREGNANT MOMS STILL NEED FLU SHOTS

    In the wake of a new study in the journal Vaccine, a UofL pediatrician reminds pregnant women that the flu vaccine is still recommended and very important for their own health and that of their newborns.

    The recent study looks at a possible link between flu shots in pregnant women and miscarriage, but experts from the CDC note that the study has shortcomings due to the small number of women studied. Even one of the study’s co-authors, Edward Belongia, M.D., director of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Population Health at the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin, and a member of the CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices, said the study does not show a causal relationship between flu vaccination and miscarriage.

    For that reason, Heather Felton, M.D., medical director of the University of Louisville Pediatrics Clinic at Sam Swope Kosair Charities Centre, echoes the CDC recommendation that pregnant women in all trimesters get the vaccine this flu season.

    “Not only does the vaccine help keep the expectant mom protected from flu, but some of her antibodies will cross to the baby to protect the little one,” Felton said. “Babies can’t get the flu vaccine until they are 6 months old so the protection they get during gestation is imperative.”

    Expectant moms can make an appointment to get the vaccine, along with complete prenatal care, from UofL Physicians-General Obstetrics and Gynecology by calling 502-588-4400. After baby’s birth, Felton and other staff provide pediatric care at UofL Pediatrics-Sam Swope Kosair Charities Centre on Eastern Parkway, 502-588-0700.

    OLDER ADULTS WITH ASTHMA SOUGHT FOR RESEARCH AT UofL

    Myriad household cleaning products, air fresheners, polishes and paints are impacting the quality of indoor air and potentially triggering health problems for older adults with asthma.

    Researchers at the University of Louisville are studying the environmental and personal factors in asthma control of older adults, focusing particularly on the levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in study participants’ homes. VOCs are toxic chemicals emitted from numerous household products.

    After sampling the air in more than 100 homes in the Louisville area, UofL researchers have found more than 20 chemicals that are known to trigger asthma attacks or cause other serious health problems, including cancer.

    “We’re finding that indoor air is much more hazardous than the participants had realized,” said School of Nursing Professor Barbara Polivka, Ph.D., R.N., who is co-leading the $2.4 million study funded by the National Institute on Aging. “The information from this study can be used to develop patient-centered interventions to help seniors with asthma better manage their symptoms, reduce trips to the emergency room and improve their overall well-being.”

    Interested in participating in the study? Participants are being sought who have been diagnosed with asthma, are 60 or older, are not a current smoker and have no other lung diseases. They will receive $200 in gift certificates, asthma trigger control supplies and test results. For more information and to see if you qualify, email asthma@louisville.edu or call 502-852-2273.

    PROFESSOR WHO FACED BIPOLAR DISORDER WILL SPEAK AT UofL DINNER

    A Johns Hopkins University psychiatry professor and New York Times bestselling author will discuss her experience overcoming bipolar disorder and her latest book on the relationship between mental illness and art at a University of Louisville-sponsored event in October.

    Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D, will speak at the UofL Depression Center’s Annual Benefit Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St. A book-signing featuring Jamison will begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m.

    The dinner benefits the UofL Depression Center, Kentuckiana’s leading resource for depression and bipolar disorder treatment, research and education. Tickets are $125 per person and can be ordered by phone at 502-588-4886 or by email.

    Jamison’s current book, “Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania and Character,” published in February, brings a fresh understanding to the work and life of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Lowell, whose intense, complex and personal verse helped change public discourse about private matters.

    Jamison brings her expertise in mood disorders to bear on Lowell’s story, illuminating the relationships among mania, depression and creativity, as well as the details of Lowell’s treatment and how it influenced the great work that he produced.

    Jamison herself battled mental health issues as early as her teenage years. While pursuing her career in academic medicine, Jamison found herself succumbing to the same exhilarating highs and catastrophic depressions that afflicted many of her patients. Her memoir, “An Unquiet Mind,” rose to the best-selling list upon its release in 1995 and was cited for its candor in its examination of bipolar illness from the dual perspectives of the healer and the healed.

     

     

     

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    Jill Scoggins is proud of her role as an academic communications professional with more than 25 years’ experience with universities in four states. At UofL, she manages communications for several departments, divisions, institutes and centers within the School of Medicine. Her areas include women’s health, pediatrics, family medicine, geriatric medicine, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery and oncology/hematology, among others.