Learn more About Diabetes and a healthy Diet for Prevention and Maintenance.

Diabetes is a rapidly growing threat in U.S. society. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), from 1980 to 2012, the rate of diabetes among adults quadrupled, and it is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States (2014). Around 200,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to diabetes (CDC, 2014).It is calculated that the prevalence of diabetes cases in U.S. (both type 1 and type 2) will increase by 54% from 2015 to 2030 (Rowley, et al., 2017). Because of the soaring rates of diabetes, it is important to take measures to prevent diabetes, and also to help individuals manage diabetes effectively.

So what is diabetes?

It is a chronic condition in which the body does not correctly process food for the body’s energy needs. Food is typically converted into glucose and stored in the body to be used for energy. However, with diabetes, the hormone, called insulin, does not do its job correctly in spreading the glucose throughout the body as energy. With diabetes, there is either too little insulin, or the insulin is not used correctly.

One of the most helpful websites is by the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org. On this website, you can learn more about diabetes whether you are managing it personally, or helping to support a family member or friend with managing diabetes. This website has a lot of information on recipes, family activities, medications, available resources, and emerging research findings, that can help improve diabetes management. There are diabetes cookbooks that can help a variety of people, whether looking for simple meals, or more challenging meals or deserts that can feed the entire family and guests. For example, did you know that whole grain use decreases the risks of diabetes? According to Chanson-Rolie, et al. (2015), for every 45g of whole-grains in the everyday diet, there is a 20% reduction in relative risk of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, even if one family member has diabetes, then these dietary adjustments can help reduce the risks to other family members.

For anyone who wants to reduce their own risks, switching to whole-grans and cutting out refined grains can make a major difference. Whole grans includes the following: Dark bread, cooked oatmeal, popcorn, whole-grain breakfast cereal brand and types, bran, brown rice, wheat germ, bulgur, couscous, and more. In contrast, here is the list of refined grains that are known to increase diabetes risks: English muffins, biscuits, muffins, white bread, pasta, cakes, sweet rolls, refined-grain cereals, pancakes, waffles, pizza, and white rice (Liu, et al., 2000).  Learning more about food and everyday exercise and lifestyle factors can significantly help with management and prevention.


CDC. (2014). Diabetes Report Card. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Liu, S., Manson, J. E., Stampfer, M. J., Hu, F. B., Giovannucci, E., Colditz, G. A., … & Willett, W. C. (2000). A prospective study of whole-grain intake and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in US women. American journal of public health90(9), 1409.

Rowley, W. R., Bezold, C., Arikan, Y., Byrne, E., & Krohe, S. (2017). Diabetes 2030: Insights from yesterday, today, and future trends. Population health management20(1), 6-12.

Eating Disorders: Truth Exposed


First off, let’s talk about what eating disorders are and who can be affected by them.  There are a few different types of eating disorders, but the major ones are; anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. You may also hear them by the names; anorexia, bulimia, and BED.  A common misconception is that a person can only have one type of eating disorder, however, a person can have one or more eating disorder at the same time.

Anorexia Nervosa:  Anorexia is the refusal or inability to maintain a healthy body weight.  Let’s think about that second part again, inability to maintain a healthy body weight. A person can be considered anorexic even if they are trying to gain weight.

Bulimia Nervosa: Bulimia is a combination of excessive eating followed by purging or other compensatory strategies to prevent weight gain.  While self-induced vomiting is the most thought of method to counteract excessive eating, it’s not the only method.  People suffering from bulimia develop compensatory strategies like, excessive exercise and misuse of medications to name a few.

Binge Eating Disorder: BED is when a person consumes excessive amounts of food in a short amount of time.  Not to downplay the severity of BED, but we are all guilty of this from time to time.  A person with BED follows this binging or excessive eating pattern at least once per week for a three-month period.  To clarify, BED seems similar to bulimia, the main difference is BED lacks purging or compensatory strategies found in bulimia nervosa.

Now that we have a better understanding of the differences between eating disorders, let’s talk about what they share in common.  Many eating disorders have similar symptoms and emotional weight associated with them. But, an important thing to remember is that not every person with an eating disorder will have all the symptoms or warning signs.  Everyone is different in how they present themselves and how they feel.

Symptoms of eating disorders may include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Rapid weight loss or weight gain
  • Uncontrollable thoughts of food
  • Frequent extreme diets
  • Hiding food or eating in secret
  • Avoiding family or friends
  • Skipping meals
  • Obsessive thoughts of body weight
  • Excessive exercise
  • Incorrect use of laxatives
  • Self-induced vomiting
  • Distorted self-image
  • Constant checking of weight/measurements

These symptoms or warning signs often get jumped on too quickly, if you or a friend have one or more of these signs it doesn’t necessarily mean you have an eating disorder.  While symptom checkers online can often help a person get a better understanding of an illness, it is always best to speak with your doctor. 

POP QUIZ: Let’s see how much you’ve been paying attention.  Watch the following video clip, a trailer for a Netflix Original film, called To the Bone.  Think about what you have learned and see if you can spot the common misconceptions involving eating disorders.


How many misconceptions did you notice?  How many ideas have been generalized for the purpose of the film?  Let’s take the time to filter through this clip to determine what’s fact and what’s fiction.


●       Some people with eating disorders have excessive thoughts regarding calories in food.

●       Some people exercise excessively, this is more common with anorexia and bulimia.

Key words being some people with eating disorders, not all.

●       People with eating disorders often use their weight and eating habits to be in control.

●       A person could end up in the hospital from the negative side effects associated with eating disorders.

●       Family based therapy has been proven to help treat eating disorders.

●       Loved ones of those with eating disorders can be greatly affected.

●       People with eating disorders can learn ways to have healthy habits and meaningful lives.


●       A doctor would refuse to help their patient, this is not true, they take an oath to do just the opposite.

●       All people with anorexia look like the main character in the film.  People with eating disorders, even anorexia, come in all different shapes, sizes, genders, and skin colors.

●       A hamburger cake can get rid of an eating disorder.

●       Everyone can afford a specialized inpatient treatment program for eating disorders.  While this is not true, there are many free resources, support groups, and in some cases therapy that insurance may cover.


Eating disorders can affect anyone.  Eating disorders are considered a mental illness that do not discriminate based on age, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Look at what the speakers in the next video clip have to say about eating disorders.

This clip does a good job sharing testimonials of people living with eating disorders.  It also talks about the fact that eating disorders are mental illnesses.  The DSM-5, a handbook that health care professionals use to diagnose mental illnesses, has officially included binge eating disorder as a mental illness.  Both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa had previously been included.  The clip also shares information such as; women more likely to be affected by an eating disorder.  It fails to mention how women are also more likely to seek treatment and have an official diagnosis. Studies have linked eating disorders with an increase in alcohol abuse, medication misuse, suicidality, compromised cognitive functioning, hospitalization, and rehospitalization.  While the clip missed a few important factors of eating disorders, the purpose was to raise awareness during National Eating Disorders Awareness week.

Eating disorders affect people of all age, gender, ethnicity, shape, size, and socioeconomic status.  As readers it is crucial that we stop and decipher what we view in the media as fact or fiction.  We can ask ourselves if what we are viewing is a misconception or stereotype of a certain illness and change the way we perceive that illness.


Fairburn, C. G., & Brownell, K. D. (2005). Eating disorders and obesity: a comprehensive handbook (2nd ed.). Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=mM7SAgAAQBAJ&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Keel, P. K., Klump, K. L., Miller, K. B., McGue, M., & Iacono, W. G. (2005). Shared transmission of eating disorders and anxiety disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 38(2), 99–105. https://doi.org/10.1002/eat.20168

Netflix. (2017, June 20). To the Bone Official Trailer [HD] Netflix. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=705yRfs6Dbs.

POPSUGAR. (2016, February 28). Heartbreaking Video Shows What Eating Disorders Really Look Like. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVifJ6I-i7g.

Singh, S., Accurso, E. C., Hail, L., Goldschmidt, A. B., & Le Grange, D. (2018). Outcome parameters associated with perceived helpfulness of family‐based treatment for adolescent eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 51(6), 574–578. https://doi.org/10.1002/eat.22863


Fight for Recess—Necessary or A Waste of Time

By: guilherme jofili

Recess or no recess? This is a decision elementary school districts throughout the United States are making. Principals and school boards are deciding if they will allow students recess or restrict it to fit in more academic instructional time.

Since the early 2000’s, recess has decreased in many elementary schools. Within the last decade, media reports have showcased students, parents, teachers, pediatricians, and government officials taking a stand to put recess back into the school day.

How Does Recess Impact Children’s Health

By: GotCredit

Pediatricians stress how important play is in healthy childhood development. Because play happens during recess, recess is necessary for students’ health and the healthy development of their academic skills.

    1. Play is necessary for children to meet their developmental milestones and develop healthy bodies and brains (Barros et al., 2009, p. 431).
    2. Recess provides breaks from academic tasks which helps students combat stress and anxiety (Danaher, 2018, p. 15).
    3. Recess can help children achieve their recommended 60 minutes of rigorous activity daily to combat childhood diseases like obesity and type II diabetes (Huberty et al., 2012, p. 989).

What Happened to Recess?

By: Matthew Paul Argall

This local Georgia news station has an answer.

How factual are their facts?

1. 20% of schools cut recess an average of 50 minutes per week—TRUE

      • Between 2001 and 2008 recess was cut 50 minutes per week from 20% of schools (Stapp & Karr, 2018, p. 449).

2. Educational reform acts like No Child Left Behind (NCLB) are              responsible for recess cutbacks—TRUE

      • Several research groups cite NCLB as the push behind recess cuts (Stapp & Karr, 2018, p. 449; Martin et al., 2018, p. 249; Huberty et al., 2012, p. 990).

3. Test scores needed to be boosted, so schools figured more                 academic instructional time was needed and cut recess—TRUE

      • Schools cut recess because it was “not perceived to enhance students’ testing abilities” (Martin et al., 2018, p. 249).
      • Teacher’s perspective: “You have to meet these standards and in order to meet these standards you have to teach and if you are out at recess you’re not teaching and you can’t meet the standards” (Huberty et al., 2012, p. 990.)

What’s the Big Deal?

Why should schools and governments be fighting to put recess back into their schools? Simon Link explains why.




In this local news report from Wisconsin (view link above), a first grade teacher states recess helps her students focus when they get back into the classroom. One student says she feels better after recess, and another boy warns if recess is taken away students may become angry (unintentionally) and do badly on their work.  But how factual are Simon’s and the reporter’s facts?

Does Recess Help Kids Learn?

By: GotCredit

Yes! Several research studies have examined recess’s impact on foundational academic skills. The results are clear students do…

1. Attend Better after Recess

      • Students “[work] less efficiently when confined to their classroom in continuous instructional time (Barros, 2009, p. 435).
      • Students’ ability to block out distractions and continue paying attention to their work increases after recess (Brez & Sheets, 2017, p. 441)
      • Students’ brains and nervous systems are immature, and their experience in learning is limited. So, they require more breaks to maintain attention for optimal learning (Danaher, 2018, p. 24).

2. Focus Better after Recess

      • Recess increases neurotransmitters in the brain, increase oxygen saturation, and cause growth in neurotropic factors. Students’ brains and genes do change when exposed to play during recess, and these changes increases the amount of time they can productively focus on tasks (Stapp & Karr, 2018, P. 453).
      • Recess = more focus = more learning and less daydreaming

3. Retain Information Better after Recess

      • During cognitive rest (happening at recess), students’ brains transition what they learned from short term to long term memory. They come back into class after recess physically able to take in more information (Danaher, 2018, p. 23).
      • No recess = brains not processing information = unproductive learning (Danaher, 2018, p. 23).

4. Behave Better after Recess

      • Recess makes student’s calmer, more receptive to teaching and learning, and less irritable and disruptive (Martin, et al., 2018, p. 251-252).
      • Students are calmer, more relaxed, and less negative after recess (Martin et al., 2019, p. 251).
      • Academic work without recess = students unable to focus or remain on task = students become disruptive and misbehave
      • Academic work with recess = students’ brains reset = students return to class ready to learn and are less disruptive

5. Listen Better after Recess

      • Students who do not receive frequent recesses use more brain power to simply listen to teachers (Lund et al., 2017, p. 5).
      • Students given frequent recesses do not use brain power to listen and can use additional brain power to complete academic work (Lund et al., 2017, p. 5).

Does Recess Help Kids Develop Social Skills?

By: Vincent Li

Yes! Researchers agree recess is an arena where children are exposed to real life communication and social interactions. Recess is built on free play, meaning students can decide what and how they play and who they play with. Free play is what develops social skills.

    1. Social skills are learned easier during free play than during lessons about them in the classroom (AAP, 2013, p. 184).
      • During recess students learn communication, negotiation, cooperation, sharing, problem solving, perseverance, self-control, self-regulation (AAP, 2013, p. 184; Brez & Sheets, 2017, p. 434)
      • During recess students develop their creativity, resiliency, and leadership skills (AAP, 2009, p. 431).

2. The social and emotional benefits of recess extend further than         the playground and add to student performance and behavior in         the classroom (AAP, 2013, p. 184, 186).

      • Students problem solve for classroom work better because they have learned and done it at recess (Martin et al., 2018, pp. 251-252).
      • Peers get along better in class (Martin et al., 2018, p. 250).

Take Away

As accurately reported in the media and backed up by peer reviewed scientific studies its proven recess is an important factor in children’s health, well-being, and academic development. Every individual can be an advocate for children and support the schools and people trying to put recess back into schools. If instructional time and recess are appropriately scheduled to complement student’s brain needs, students will be equipped to reach their highest levels of health and academic success.


11Alive. (2019, July 29). Why have schools cut recess time? [Video file]. Retrieved  from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voxz8xLNIuc&list=WL&index=3

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2013). The crucial role of recess in school. Pediatrics 131(1),183- 188. doi:10.1542/peds.2012-2993

Barros, R. M., Silver, E. J., & Stein, R. E. (2009). School recess and group classroom behavior. Pediatrics 123(2), 431-436. doi:10.1542/peds.2007-2825

Brez, C., & Sheets, V. (2017). Classroom benefits of recess. Learning Environments Research, 20(3), 433-445. doi:10.1007/s10984-017-9237-x

Channel 3000/News 3 Now. (2013, January 7). Pediatricians stress value of recess for schoolchildren [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zV3cyQ1JuA&list=WL&index=3&t=0s

Danaher, S. E. (2018). Scheduling of recess before mathematics and third grade achievement in Virginia: A casual comparative study (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Liberty University.

Huberty, J., Dinkel, D., Coleman, J., Beighle, A., & Apenteng, B. (2012). The role of schools in children’s physical activity participation: staff perceptions. Health Education Research, 27(6), 986-995. doi:10.1093/her/cys071

Lund, E., Brimo, D., Rhea, D., Rivchun, A. (2017). The effect of multiple recesses on listening effort: A preliminary study. Journal of Educational, Pediatric, & (Re)Habilitative Audiology, 23, 1-7.

Martin, H., Farrell, A., Gray, J., & Clark, T. B. (2018). Perceptions of the effect of recess on kindergartners. The Physical Educator, 75(2), 245-254. doi:10.18666/tpe-2018-v75-i2-7740

Stapp, A.C., & Karr, J. K. (2018). Effect of recess on fifth grade students’ time on-task in an elementary classroom. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 10(4), 449-456. doi:10.26822/iejee.2018438135

TEDx Talks (2014, December 18). Kids need recess/Simon Link/ TEDxAmanaAcademy [Videofile]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh9GbYugA1Y&list=WL&index=6

Stroke Prevention Through Diet

By: Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker

Every year, stroke kills approximately 140,000 Americans with a staggering  795,000 total incidences of stroke according to the Centers of Disease Control. It’s easy to think that we won’t be affected by stroke, but in 2009, 34% of stroke victims were under the age of 65 again reported by CDC.

Stroke can be a life changing event leading to long-term disability.

You may be wondering, how do I keep this from happening to me?

One way, is to make healthy life-style choices through diet. Certain foods are actually proven to reduce the risk of stroke. While this is not a complete compilation of foods, consider the following list:

7 Best Foods to Prevent Stroke

    1. Salmon-contains omega-3 fats which are known to reduce inflammation in arteries increasing blood flow and decrease risk of blood clots.
    2. Bananas-eating 9 servings a day of potassium rich foods lowers risk of stroke by 38% compared to those who ate only four servings.
    3. Almonds-lowers cholesterol. With 9 grams of monounsaturated fat, lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol. Also contains vitamin E which could keep plaque from building up in the arteries.
    4. Blueberries-contain antioxidants helping blood vessels widen to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation.
    5. Oatmeal-lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol. (High cholesterol causes plaque build up in blood vessels around the brain increasing risk for ischemic stroke.
    6. Low-fat Milk-Contains calcium, magnesium and potassium which can help lower blood pressure. Fatty acids found in milk have positive effects on LDL and HDL cholesterol contributing factors in stroke prevention (Thorning et al, 2016).
    7. Sweet Potatoes-like bananas, another potassium rich food.

While only a select few are mentioned, the overall benefit of eating fruits and vegetables is know to prevent the incident of stroke (Mo et al, 2019). Also for consideration, nuts are beneficial due to their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties, but have received mixed results in studies confirming stroke prevention (Shao et al, 2016).

Below is a video highlighting stroke preventing food choices:

Check out the following links for more information on stroke prevention through healthy life-style choices:





Centers of Disease Control. (n.d.). Stroke Facts. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/facts.htm

Mo, X., Gai, R.T., Sawada, K., Takahashi, Y., Cox, S. E., Nakayama, T., & Mori, R. (2019). Coronary heart disease and stroke disease burden attributed to fruit and vegetable intake in Japan: projected DALYS to 2060. BMC Public Health, 19(1), 1-9. Retrieved from library.neit.edu:2216/ehost/detail/detail?vid=6&sid=a17590bb-c038-4a06-8b8f-d48384b98cd8%40sessionmgr4008&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=31174509&db=cmedm

Shao, C., Tang, H., Zhao, W., & He, J. (2016). Nut intake and stroke risk: a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Scientific Reports, 6, 30394. Retrieved from library.neit.edu:2216/ehost/detail/detail?vid=8&sid=a17590bb-c038-4a06-8b8f-d48384b98cd8%40sessionmgr4008&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=27469072&db=cmedm

Thorning, T. K., Raben, A., Tholstrup, T., Soedamah-Muthu, S. S., Givens, I., & Astrup, A. (2016). Milk and dairy products: good or bad for human health? An assessment of the totality of scientific evience. Food and Nutrition Research, 60, 1-11. Retrieved from http://library.neit.edu:2216/ehost/detail/detail?vid=12&sid=a17590bb-c038-4a06-8b8f-d48384b98cd8%40sessionmgr4008&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=120831066&db=asn

3 Common Misconceptions about Autism

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a social communication disorder. This means that children or adults diagnosed with autism may have difficulty understanding and interpreting meanings behind others actions. They also may have difficulty appropriately expressing their wants and needs.

Rates of autism have been rising. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the most recent estimate is 1 in every 59 children being diagnosed.

If you think your child has ASD, contact a medical professional to schedule a screening or evaluation.

Fiction: Autism can be cured.

The internet holds some amazing information, but is it all true?
A quick search on Google pulls up a multitude of article claiming Autism can be cured.

While it is possible, that a child previously diagnosed with ASD may no longer demonstrate the same symptoms; medical professionals do not unanimously consider this to mean that the child has been cured.

Treatment is different for each child as it is dependent on what the particular needs are. Some options include Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Language Therapy, as well as Applied Behavior Analysis.

*Seek consultation from a medical professional when considering which method or methods are right for you and your child.*

Fiction: Children with ASD are either
really smart or really dumb.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is just that; a spectrum. Like anyone, each child has their own personal potential. Everyone has things they like and don’t like, as well as things they are good at and not good at.

Sometimes children with autism are eligible for services to assist them in succeeding in school or other activities. However, simply having the diagnosis does not automatically ensure services.

To determine if your child is eligible for services contact a medical professional to schedule a consultation.

Fiction: Children with ASD do not
feel emotions or love.

Autism is characterized as a mirror neuron disorder. Basically, this means that signals are lost or translated incorrectly. Children with ASD may have a difficult time independently recognizing and understanding how other people feel.

However, this does not mean they are incapable of feelings. Everyone expressed their attachment and love in different ways; even children with ASD. It is important to remember that they have the ability to feel as deeply as any other person, even if they express it differently.

Stay Educated

Since research on autism spectrum disorder is constant, new information and updated treatment methods are always in flow. By continuing to stay up to date on the facts you can avoid common misconceptions.

Some helpful websites include:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Autism Speaks

Autism Society



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). Autism Spectrum Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html

Miller Kuhaneck, H. & Watling, R. (2010). Autism: A comprehensive occupational therapy approach. American Occupational Association Press.

Tanner, Hand, O’Toole, & Lane. (2015). Autism Spectrum Disorder. AOTA Critically Approved Topics and Papers Series. Retrieved from https://www.aota.org/~/media/Corporate/Files/Secure/Practice/CCL/Autism/Autism_RRB_%20Play_%20Leisure_CAT.pdf


Published Nov. 2019

Brain Breaks in the Classroom: Beneficial or Detrimental?

What are Brain Breaks?

By: Brittany Lapierre

By: USAG- Humphreys

Brain breaks are mental breaks designed to help students stay focused and attend. The brain breaks get students moving to carry blood and oxygen to the brain. The breaks energize or relax. The breaks provide processing time for students to solidify their learning (Jensen) (adapted from Alison Newman)

Why Brain Breaks?

When kids enter Kindergarten, the academic demands greatly increase. This ultimately leads to prolonged sitting which can impact the learning of students due to decreased attention and ability to focus.

What are the benefits?

  • Strengthen social skills
  • Develop perseverance
  • Improve cognitive skills
  • Reduce stress
  • Increase productivity
  • Increase brain function

How Often Should Brain Breaks be Performed?

Students should engage in several Brain Breaks throughout their school day and should take any opportunity to be active in different ways. Some ways that movement can be integrated into the classroom on top of brain breaks are listed as follows:

  • Pass out papers
  • Walk to get a drink
  • Bring a note to the office
  • Incorporate a game into content
  • Quick and silent ball game (throwing, catching, crossing mid line)
  • Run in place
  • Short walk around the school

Ideas of Brain Breaks


Brain Breaks: Watson Life Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.thewatsoninstitute.org/watson-life-resources/situation/brain-breaks/.

Students need Brain Breaks! Here’s why–plus how to help. Retrieved from https://www.realmomnutrition.com/brain-breaks/.

Terada, Y. (2018, March 9). Research-Tested Benefits of Breaks. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/article/research-tested-benefits-breaks.

Time for a Brain Break! (2017, September 28). Retrieved from https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/time-for-a-brain-break/.


Does the Flu Shot Cause Guillain-Barre Syndrome?

It is very common to enter a hospital or skilled nursing facility during flu season and see employees with surgical masks on. Most facilities require employees to wear these masks during flu season if they did not receive the flu vaccination. When asked why they chose not to receive the vaccination, a large number of people will reply that they did not want to risk getting Guillain-Barre Syndrome. If so many people are willing to wear a mask everyday at work, could this theory actually be true?

What is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?

Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a rare disease that causes a person’s immune system to attack their own nerves causing weakness and eventually paralysis throughout their entire body including some automatic functions such as breathing. This weakness usually starts in the hands and feet and works its way up. GBS effects people in all age groups but is most common in older adults. GBS can cause severe disability and even death but more often than not, partial or full recovery is possible. The recovery stage of this disease is a very long process, often taking over a year to fully regain all strength and coordination. Below is a video of one survivor’s story of recovery. 

Association between the flu shot and Guillain-Barre Syndrome

The common belief that there is a link between the flu shot and GBS dates back to the year 1976 when there was an increased rate of GBS in people who had received the swine flu vaccination. Since then, there have been many clinical studies completed to determine if there is a link between the seasonal flu vaccination and GBS. The overall results determine that there is no elevation in the number of GBS cases following the seasonal flu vaccination or the swine flu vaccination. 

What is the real cause of GBS?

If the flu shot isn’t to blame, what is? According to research, 40-70% of all cases of GBS began shortly after a brief infectious illness such as an upper respiratory infection or gastrointestinal infection. One common bacteria that causes these infections is Campylobacter jejuni which has a strong link to many cases of GBS. Out of 2,502 cases analyzed, 32% included a recent infection of CampylobacterOne example of how someone may develop a Campylobacter infection is from eating raw or undercooked food. In some cases, a person may even develop GBS after having the flu itself rather than the vaccination. When putting it into perspective, the flu vaccination is a much smaller amount of bacteria being put into your system than the flu itself so it makes sense that getting the flu itself has a higher rate of GBS cases preceding. It is hard to determine if Campylobacter has a link to all cases of GBS due to the fact that infected people often let the bacteria run its course and are not tested for which type of bacteria is in their system. By the time the symptoms of GBS begin, the bacteria is completely out of the persons body. 


 Burwen, Dale R., et al. “Surveillance for Guillain–Barré Syndrome After Influenza Vaccination Among the Medicare Population, 2009–2010.” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 102, no. 10, 2012, pp. 1921–1927., doi:10.2105/ajph.2011.300510.

Dash, Sambit, et al. “Pathophysiology and Diagnosis of Guillain–Barré Syndrome – Challenges and Needs.” International Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 125, no. 4, 2014, pp. 235–240., doi:10.3109/00207454.2014.913588.

Poropatich, Kate O, et al. “Quantifying the Association between Campylobacter Infection and Guillain-Barré Syndrome: A Systematic Review.” Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, vol. 28, no. 6, 2010, doi:10.3329/jhpn.v28i6.6602.

“YouTube.” YouTube, YouTube, 13 May 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=huN8iIWXNCs.




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Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

Photo by IamMidnight on Flickr

What is CPR:

Cardio pulmonary resuscitation is a lifesaving technique that can be performed during a medical emergency when another person’s heart stops or the individual stops breathing. There are two different types of CPR according to American Heart Association. The first one is conventional CPR which utilizes the standard chest compression and breaths. The ratio is 30 compressions of 5 cm depths (5cm for adults) and 2 breaths (mouth to mouth). This form of CPR is provided by individuals who are trained in CPR. The second type is compressions only, without the breaths. This type of CPR is provided by an individual who isn’t trained or a healthcare provider. First step is to call 911 and provide compressions at the center of the chest.

Photo by American Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming on Flickr

Importance of CPR:

Cardio pulmonary resuscitation can save a life! When an individual’s heart or breathing stops, they are in extreme danger. By performing CPR you are buying the person much needed time by continuing blood circulation and breathing. In medical emergencies seconds are extremely important. Having the ability to do CPR and knowing what to do is essential. In an emergency someone might freeze and there might be external factors causing panic and confusion. Having CPR training can be the difference between life and death. CPR provides people with a fighting chance.

Photo by Las-initially on Flickr

CPR Process (Do’s):

  • Before providing CPR check your surrounding, make sure you and the person are out of any danger.
  • Check for responsiveness, tap the persons shoulders and ask if they are okay to make sure they are in need of assistance.
  • Call 9-1-1 (preferably a bystander call if possible)
  • Make sure the person is on a flat surface and open up the airway (tilt head back and lift chin slightly)
  • Check for breathing (look at chest, place ear to mouth to ensure person requires help)
  • Begin CPR
  • Place hands in middle of chest one over the other interlocked, lock arms and use body weight to provide compressions 5 cm of depth. Allow for full recoil of chest between compressions.
  • Provide 2 breaths with persons head tilted back, chin lifted. Pinch the nose and place mouth over mouth to give the breaths.
  • Ratio: 30×2 (compressions x breaths)
  • Continue CPR cycle until person shows signs of life or medical emergency services arrive.

CPR Don’ts:

  • Don’t bend arm while providing compressions. Keep arms in a locked position and allow your body to do the work of the compressions. You will become fatigued if you attempt to provide compressions with just your arms.
  • Provide compressions too deep or not deep enough. The correct depth of a compression should be 2 inches or 5 centimeters for an adult.
  • Don’t stop CPR unless person shows signs of life, an AED is provided, you are too tired to continue or medical emergency services arrive to assist.

Photo by U.S Pacific Fleet on Flickr

Where to receive training:

In todays day and age is quite simple to become CPR certified. You can take an online course or attend an in person course that are provided in the United Stated of America and internationally. The American Heart Association provides a section where you can find a course anywhere in the world. https://cpr.heart.org/en/find-a-course


“What Is CPR.” Cpr.heart.org, https://cpr.heart.org/en/resources/what-is-cpr.

“CPR Steps: Perform CPR.” Red Cross, https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr/performing-cpr/cpr-steps.

“Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): First Aid.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 Feb. 2018, https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-cpr/basics/art-20056600.

Fact or Myth: Dementia

Facts and Myths: Dealing with Dementia

By: eflon

More often than not we see either in public or firsthand how an individual caring for someone with Dementia can seem harsh or short toward the person. Their demeanor is cold, they seem demanding and they appear frustrated; how does the person with Dementia respond? Well, not-surprisingly, they respond in a similar manner. Here is a list of facts and myths associated with facts about Dementia, managing Dementia behaviors and treatment for Dementia.

Remain Calm. FACT. According to the media, and verified by research sources, patient’s with Dementia are often like children who can pick up on bad vibes. When a caregiver creates an environment that feels hectic or is too overstimulating (ex: noisy, bright), the individual will respond negatively. Outbursts are a common way that individuals with Dementia show they are overwhelmed.

By: starmanseries

Pick and Choose Arguments. FACT. There are helpful ways in which a caretaker can help to prevent outbursts and frustration. One way in which this can be done is first by looking at how you approach the person with Dementia. If you show that you are upset or you’re being forceful they immediately pick up on it and react. According to Andrew Voss, from Today’s Caregiver Magazine, approaching someone with Dementia with a calm, reassuring voice and positive body language can be of great benefit. It is important to remember this during all interactions with your loved one. When an argument is beginning to arise, it is important to not argue with them; but instead to accommodate them.

Morning Routines Become Difficult. FACT. As your family member begins to forget the simple things like putting a shirt on correctly or how to open the toothpaste, it is common that you both may become frustrated. A way in which frustration can be reduced is by providing environmental cues to help promote a routine. For example, if you were trying to get your mother to brush her teeth and comb her hair, you may choose to place sticky notes on the mirror to jog her memory about what to do or where to begin. According to Andrew Voss, establishing a routine is primary to reducing confusion and promoting independence.

By: Ann

Treatment Can Reduce Dementia. MYTH! Most forms of Dementia cannot be cured however, the symptoms may be managed and the progression may be slowed. Dementia cannot be reversed. The best treatment for Dementia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is early treatment of symptoms, a healthy diet, increasing activity and medicinal treatment. If early intervention is not established, your loved one may decline at a more rapid rate. Early intervention can reduce risk of institutionalizing, according to the CDC.

Memory Loss is a Normal Part of Aging. MYTH! Forgetting small things such as your waitresses name at the diner you ate at two mornings ago is completely normal. However, forgetting family members, forgetting to turn the stove off, or forgetting to eat are not considered normal or harmless. Memory loss that affects everyday function should be addressed by a doctor immediately.

Dealing with behaviors related to Dementia can be overwhelming and frustrating; but it doesn’t have to be. Some simple tips on how to deal with behaviors and how to change the environment can make a huge difference in the response received.


Alzheimer’s Association. (2019). Myths. Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers/myths

Chapman, D.P., Williams, S., Strine, T., Anda, R., & Moore, M. (2006). Dementia and its implications for public health. Preventing Chronic Disease, Vol. 3(2), 1-13. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1563968/pdf/PCD32A34.pdf

Voss, A. (2017). Caregiver tips for dementia management. Retrieved from http://library.neit.edu:2216/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=6&sid=7463462c-ff3e-4cb3-a256-3b95724511bf%40sdc-v-sessmgr03


Diabetes- the difference.

“So I’ll wait ’til kingdom come, All the highs and lows are gone, a little bit longer and I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine”
– A Little Bit Longer, Jonas Brothers- 

This song was written by Nick Jonas. He was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2005. This was actually the same year I was diagnosed as well. I myself have come to terms with being a diabetic and having to take insulin almost every time I eat. The one thing about it that gets really old really quick is the statement ” You don’t look like a Diabetic!” So in this blog I am going to do a little background on Type 1 diabetes and the difference between type 1 and type 2.


To start I am going to talk about the differences. Type 1 is when your pancreas produces little to no insulin. This makes all type 1 diabetics insulin dependent.  Type 2 is when your pancreas still produces normal levels of insulin, your body is just not able to absorb it. Type 2 diabetics can start on pill forms to help control their diabetes but then may needed insulin to help down the road.

As you can see there is a major difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Another major difference is that Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease whereas type 2 is a multifactorial one. This means that for type one the immune system has attacked the cells in the pancreas that make the insulin. So basically, there is a war going on in the body and the immune system thinks that it is doing the right thing but made it so the body can no longer produce the right amount of insulin. With type 2., there is still the production of insulin the body just decides that it no long knows what to do with it and becomes very resistant to it, like a child who doesn’t want to wear a coat even though their parent said they would need it.

Type 2 has many causes like obesity and the disease runs in the family. Type 2 is usually diagnosed after the age of 40. Type 1 however the cause if it is unknown and is usually diagnosed in childhood, which to me makes sense seeing as I am 1 of 5 kids and there is no family history of it that I know of. I know type 2 runs on my papas’ side of the family but he is in no blood relation to me and as you can tell type 1 and type 2 are a very different thing.

There are reasons on why everyone automatically assumes that all diabetics have type 2. That is because it is more widely talked about. This could also be that 95% of diabetics are type 2 and that means that only 5% of diabetics have type 1. Knowing this information makes me understand more where the statement “you don’t look like a diabetic” comes from and it also makes me want to educate more people about the difference more.

Iliades, C., Salomon, S. H., Upham, B., & Roan, S. (n.d.). What’s the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes? Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/diabetes/difference-between-type-1-type-2-diabetes/.

Medical Providers. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.jchdonline.org/index.php/all-topics/49-programs-and-services/health-education/295-what-are-the-main-differences-between-type-i-and-type-ii-diabetes.

T1D Basics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.jdrf.org/t1d-resources/about/.