Fall 2015 Health Notes

Following are features from our Fall 2015 Health Notes Newsletter:



Whoomp! There It Is

By: Janella Limbo, Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy

Whooping cough, that is. Sorry 90’s kids! Unfortunately, this isn’t an article on how great that decade was. While there’s a decrease in sales in puka shell necklaces and MC Hammer’s favorite type of pants (harem pants), there is one thing from the 90’s that is on the rise. Pertussis is making a comeback in the United States. In 1997, British surgeon Andrew Wakefield published an article in The Lancet. This article circulated about how autism was linked to the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine. The paper was later discredited due to ethical violations, his investment in a rival MMR vaccine, and procedural errors. The anti-vaccination movement caught on when celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey joined in. Many parents listened to the movement’s claim about how the contents in the vaccines (i.e. mercury) were too dangerous for children. Others believe that the immunization schedule was too early and needed to be spaced out. All of these claims are legitimate concerns for every parent.

However, immunization is largely dependent on the majority being vaccinated. Herd immunity is when the small number of the population is unvaccinated is protected from outbreak because almost everyone in the community is vaccinated. The chance of transmission is very little which prevents the spread of disease. This is extremely critical for those who cannot get immunized due to weakened immune systems. They rely on the majority to be vaccinated. Still think that herd immunity is a myth? Does the Disneyland measles outbreak in December 2014 ring a bell? A measles outbreak affecting 125 patients (49 of which were unvaccinated) and that’s just from a 4 day vacation. As of December 31, 2014, there have been 31, 28,660 cases of pertussis or whooping cough. Infants are the ones that are most severely affected. Pregnant women (27-36 weeks) and all family members are encouraged to get vaccinated. Although it is not
uncommon for older children and adults to experience pertussis, they usually only experience a mild, persistent cough. However, they can be carriers of the bacteria.

In a June 2015 study published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the effectiveness of the TDaP vaccine decreases from 73% to 34% two years after vaccination. This supports the changes in today’s pertussis schedule. As it currently stands, infants and children are recommended to
get a 5-dose vaccination series. A booster was recommended for adolescents and adults in 2005 due to the large number of pertussis outbreaks in infants.
The evidence is clear that vaccination is the answer to prevent widespread outbreaks. Hindsight is always 20/20. Don’t let anyone in your family be a statistic.

Want to help with herd immunity? Sign up for our upcoming investigational vaccine research study!

Tension Headache

Tension Headaches are the most common types of headaches in adults. They affect approximately 23% of women and 18% of men. You’ve may have experienced a few. It’s that mild to moderate band-like pain, tightness, or pressure around the forehead or back of the head and neck. It usually begins gradually in the middle of the day and gets worse as the day progresses. It may last for 30 minutes or several days. The pain may be severe enough to impair one’s ability to do the usual activities of daily living. If you experience 2 – 14 Tension Headaches per month, we would appreciate your consideration for research study participation. The investigational research medication is a combination medication with a component that was utilized for tension headaches for 70 years. There are only 4 visits! Call Matthew or KK and go through a brief questionnaire.

A New Potential Option for Low-T

Testosterone replacement therapy has been available for decades, first as injections into muscle, then as patches, skin gels, pellets inserted under the skin, and tablets that adhere to the gums. Each option has its shortcomings. Injections and pellets are painful and cause wide swings in the serum level of testosterone, making it difficult to maintain T within the normal range. Patches don’t stay in place and the adhesive can cause irritation. Skin gels are expensive and can transfer to women and children by contact. People don’t like a tablet lump under the lip. But a new approach is being investigated that is in capsule form.

Testosterone production by the testes is under the control of the pituitary gland, which is just under the brain and behind the nose. For most men, low T is a result of the pituitary decreasing the demand for testosterone (as if the “T thermostat” has been turned down too low). It isn’t clear why this happens,
but it appears to be associated with many conditions ranging from illness to aging to obesity. The new investigational capsule is based on an old drug used
to treat infertility. It tricks the pituitary into turning up the testosterone production. Because it “works within the system” it tends to maintain levels more consistently than the old injections or pellets; because it is swallowed as a capsule it doesn’t have the problems that the patches and gels have.

We are currently enrolling a clinical research study for men who have symptomatic low testosterone levels combined with erectile dysfunction (partial or complete impotence) for men aged 18-65 who are otherwise in good health. If you are interested, please call Eric or Matthew for more information.

Worried about your memory?

As we age, there is some natural loss of short term memory. Where did I put my coffee cup down? Where did I leave my keys? Situations such as these occur naturally. It could be you’re in a hurry or have too many things going! However, if you find yourself repeating the same question several times or you and family members are concerned, why not come in for a memory screening test? Clinical Research Associates, Inc. professional team will be conducting an upcoming community memory screening in our office. The screening will consist of verbal recall as well as paper-and pencil tasks. The visit should last about 1 hour. Our neuropsychologist, Dr. Ed Qualls, will be interpreting the results, conducting a secondary battery of tests if warranted, and making any recommendations.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, among all people living with Alzheimer’s disease only about half have been diagnosed. Is it time for you to determine if there’s a problem? The screening will be at no charge and we encourage you to check our website or call our office to find out the exact date and make an appointment.

What is HSDD?

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD, is defined by a decrease in sexual desire and distress over this lack of desire. Decreased sexual desire is a real medical condition, affecting about 12% of women in the US. Although many treatments have been evaluated through clinical research, none have been approved for HSDD. The “Reconnect Study” is evaluating the safety and effectiveness of a “take as needed” investigational medication for women with decreased sexual desire. You may qualify if you are in a committed relationship for at least six months, not yet gone through menopause, lack of desire and distressed by it. In the past, you may have not felt comfortable discussing it with your doctor, friends or loved ones. They may have dismissed it, or said it was just part of getting older and dealing with life’s everyday stresses. Or you may have been too embarrassed to bring it up.

With the “Reconnect Study”, you will speak to a study doctor who understands HSDD and what you’re going through. Participation in this research study could lead to a new future treatment and increased understanding about HSDD. Contact us to learn more.

Contraceptive Choices

Are you tired of having to remember to take your birth control pill at the same time every day? Wish there were other options? Birth Control patches and rings
are good alternatives for a woman on the go. Both work in the same way as the common birth control pill by releasing hormones, like estrogen or progesterone, in order to prevent the release of eggs or implantation. We are searching for women who would like to participate in contraceptive research studies. This could be an opportunity for you if you are 18 years or older, capable of becoming pregnant but seeking not to do so. All participants will receive 13 cycles of contraception, patch or ring, annual exams and compensation. Check out our website and call to see if you qualify. Just need to answer a 5 minute phone questionnaire and we will be happy to answer any of your questions, too.

Ebola

Liberia was declared “Ebola-Free” May 9. However, by the end of June a teenager who had died was found to have been infected by the virus and as of July 1st, two other people were found who had been infected by him. Although the virus is found in Africa, it is only a plane-fight away from the rest of the world.
And it isn’t going away! Diseases like smallpox and polio only infect human beings, which mean they can be eradicated by world-wide vaccination campaigns. But Ebola is carried by some of the bats in Africa which also means eradication isn’t possible.

The good news is that new investigational vaccine is being developed! We will be the first site in Nashville to study it and you can help. We need volunteers who are 18 -65 years old and in good health. We will measure the antibody response to the vaccine, so nobody have to have actual Ebola exposure for this research study. We have seen brave souls who go to Africa as missionaries, Peace Corps volunteers and medical workers. While staying right here at home, you can contribute to their efforts by helping in the development of an investigational vaccine that might protect them from this horrid disease.