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‘Case Health – Health Success Stories’ Blog

Hi, I try to inspire health information collection and sharing through a non-income earning community website. To encourage more visitors (collect more health success stories to share), I have released two press releases (copy of most recent includes a ‘Meningococcemia Theory’ – see copy below).

From what I’ve seen here, this is a wonderful site for collecting and sharing information.

Regards, Casehealth

………………………………………………………

‘Meningitis, a Layperson’s Theory on a ‘Silent’ Health Success Story’
& related Meningococcemia Theory

By C Kerr, ‘Case Health – Health Success Stories’ website @ www.casehealth.com.au

With the knowledge most of us are regularly exposed to the risk of contracting Meningitis or Meningococcemia YET rarely develop these serious infections; perhaps we should be wondering why most people DON’T develop these diseases. ‘Why most people don’t’ may prove to be a powerful but ‘silent’ (untold) health success story.

Success stories are valuable. Why? If a company has a business plan and model that results in success other companies will take notice of that success and copy it.

In the business world this is called espionage (just kidding). In the business world this is called ‘best practice’ and it’s about identifying what works best and why it works best, then recording (creating guidelines, policies and processes) how the success was achieved. Until the success is analysed, broken down into steps and recorded, the success is not easily repeatable.

In a nutshell that means scoping both what people did and what resources they used to achieve success, then writing down the details so anyone can repeat the same steps and achieve the same successful results. The best-loved chocolate cake is easily reproduced once the recipe has been written down and shared.

Those who maintain good health use a recipe that should be shared. Those who recover from ill health use a recipe that should be shared.

The ‘Case Health – Health Success Stories’ website is based on this premiss and has been providing the worldwide internet community a central point for sharing information on what works since 2001.

On occasion a health success story can be obscure or ‘silent’ as with Meningitis and Meningococcemia.

What do we know about Meningitis?
Meningitis is the term that describes inflammation of the meninges (inflammation of the membranes and fluid surrounding our brains). There are many possible causes for inflammation of the meninges…viral, bacterial, fungal, allergic, etc; and though the word itself is feared most types of Meningitis are not critical.

Of these causes, Bacterial Meningitis is the more serious. The most common culprits for the development of an infection that may result in Bacterial Meningitis are; Streptococcus Pneumoniae, Haemophilus Influenzae, Listeria Monocytogenes, and Neisseria Meningitidis (commonly known as meningococcus). Of these, it is Neisseria Meningitidis (meningococcus) that causes the most serious form of bacterial meningitis, Meningococcal Meningitis.

Meningococcal meningitis is less dangerous than Meningococcal Septicaemia (Meningococcemia) when infection is in the bloodstream. Meningococcemia is critical and is evidenced by the rash most people associate with the word ‘Meningitis’.

Vaccines
There are vaccines that protect against some forms of meningitis but they don’t prevent all forms of meningitis.

Signs & Symptoms
(1) Meningococcemia has different symptoms to Meningitis. A person with Meningococcal Septicaemia may never experience a headache or stiff neck as the infection is in the blood and may or may not be in the Meninges. Common to both Meningitis and Meningococcal Septicaemia are; fever (usually high), drowsiness/impaired consciousness, irritable, fussy, agitated, severe headache, vomiting. Symptoms associated primarily with Meningitis are; stiff neck, pain on moving neck, rash (not always). Symptoms associated primarily with Meningococcal Septicaemia are; rash, cold hands and feet, rapid breathing, pain in muscles, joints, and abdomen.

(2) Meningitis symptoms in infants and children may include a high-pitched whimpering, moaning or crying, dislike of being handled, fretful arching back, neck retraction and refusing feeds or vomiting. Any victim may show these symptoms; blank staring expression, difficult to wake up or very lethargic, unrelenting fever (does not go away), pale, blotchy skin colour, sensitivity to light, cold feet or hands, nausea or vomiting and/or joint pain. A red/purple rash (bleeding under the skin). This may appear as little red pin pricks, hickeys or purplish bruises. This is a life threatening sign.

Preventives: Don’t share drinks, food, eating utensils, tooth brushes or makeup, water bottles, sippy cups, unclean toys or sweat towels with others, even family members. Cover your mouth with your hand or tissue when you cough. Avoid public water fountains. If these must be used, teach children the proper way to use them, make sure they are in good working order and clean. Avoid containers of ice, water or other liquids where several people are dipping with cups or hands. Wash yours and your child’s hands frequently. Brush yours and your children’s teeth two ~ three times a day. Wipe noses when cold or allergy is present. Make sure these preventives are expressed to your day care provider or school.

As symptoms can resemble those of flu and other viral infections it’s important to be vigilant. Both Bacterial Meningitis and Meningococcemia are considered medical emergencies.

Where do the bacteria come from?
Bacteria love warm, moist environments so they could be just about anywhere. Chances are some strains will be found on dishcloths and other moist areas in your home or in soil. From there they can move into other warm, moist environments such as ears, throats, nasal passages, and lungs. They can multiply very quickly and cause all sorts of irritating nasties such as sore throats, upper respiratory infections, ear infections, sinusitis, and food poisoning.

It seems logical that simple hygiene practices like cleaning, hand washing, and covering sneezes would eliminate most transmissions . but what about those who may already be hosting these nasties? Many may host bacteria but few will develop Meningitis or Meningococcemia.

Why some do but most don’t.
If you’ve ever had a sore throat, ear, sinus, respiratory, or other infection, it’s possible you’ve hosted bacteria capable of causing Meningococcemia yet were spared because the bacteria wasn’t able to access your bloodstream.

Studies have suggested a higher prevalence of the disease amongst pre-schoolers and teens. Both these groups are known to happily share body fluids via toys and tongues, but transmission of bacteria is only one part of the puzzle.

Bacteria can happily reside in the ear, nose, chest, or throat and not develop into a more severe infection. So how does the bacteria obtain access to the bloodstream?

There must be opportunity, but what opportunity?

Meningococcemia Theory: Interestingly, bacteria can enter the bloodstream from the mouth during some dental procedures and when gums are not healthy (periodontitis). They can cause very serious heart diseases. If there’s something else pre-schoolers and teens share . perhaps it’s teething problems.

1) Babies & toddlers:
a) Babies have immature immune systems.
b) The group is too immature to personally manage oral hygiene and is dependent on the actions of parents/carers.
c) Teething problems. As a mother I know babies often experience other health problems when they’re teething. It’s possible natural immune defences are lowered to enable teeth to erupt and break through the gum. If bacteria are present, this may provide opportunity for bacteria to gain direct access to the bloodstream.

2) College students:
a) College students adopt body piercing.
b) College students may suffer lowered immune defences/immunity due to steroid or recreational drug use.
c) College students may have poor oral hygiene practices (as a result of greater freedom from parental supervision).
d) College students play sport. Teeth and gums can be injured. College students may also get wisdom teeth. If bacteria are present, this may provide opportunity for bacteria to gain direct access to the bloodstream.

There are probably other common links and risk factors between these groups … but aren’t these links worth considering?

You can share your own health success story with others via www.casehealth.com and www.casehealth.com.au.

NB For your family’s health . if your family suffers sore throats your dishcloth may be the culprit. Children will often grab a dishcloth to wipe their hands and mouth.

If in doubt, hold the cloth near your nose. If it has a smell, wash it or replace it immediately. Always use separate, clean cloths for washing dishes and wiping little hands or faces.

Sources:
(1)Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada
http://www.meningitis.ca/whatismeningitis/meningococcal.asp
(2) The American Academy of Periodontology
http://www.perio.org/consumer/mbc.top2.htm
(3) Meningococcal Support (Australia)
http://www.meningococcal.com.au

Summary of theory as posted to ‘Rapid Responses’, BMJ (British Medical Journal) Journals ONLINE @
http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/eletters/321/7257/383

###
__________________________________________________

Apr 2005 – Here’s a useful Australian link – includes info on Meningococcal serogroup prevalence in Australia and other countries and provides info on which serogroups are covered by todays vaccines, eg; A, C, Y, W135 (NB this info will change over time) – AustralianPrescriber.com
http://www.australianprescriber.com/index.php?content=/magazines/vol26no3/56_58_meningococcal.htm

C Kerr
Administrator
Case Health – Health Success Stories
URL: www.casehealth.com.au www.casehealth.com
Email: online
Australia

About Case Health …

‘Case Health – Health Success Stories’ is a non-income-earning, totally independent community website providing a free health information-sharing service primarily based on visitor’s anecdotal stories of health success. The online database also contains a selection of successful research results.

Any visitor can submit their own non-identifying health success story (case study), or search the database for other health success stories of WHAT WORKS. Searches are free and facilitated by condition, symptom, or treatment. If you don’t have time to enter a story via the online submission form, send it via the email contact form. We’ll do the rest. Case Health does not selling anything or generate SPAM.




The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.

2 thoughts on “‘Case Health – Health Success Stories’ Blog”

  1. Article Summary:

    In a recent news release I read the Ministry of Health in Singapore is promoting dual-tracked careers in Medicine and Science. They’ve initiated an annual ‘Clinician-Scientist Investigator Award’. Recognizing a need for translational research, the award promotes career development for clinician-scientists.

    In other words, the Ministry of Health in Singapore identified a gap between science and medicine and is implementing strategies to close the gap.

    Clearly Science and Medicine are linked, yet in day-to-day practice the link is difficult if not impossible to find. The doctor in the clinic is far removed from the scientist in the lab in terms of both location and communication. If we accept science and medicine are linked but acknowledge a separation exists, then we must consider the implications of that separation.

    Consider the doctor whose skills and practical experience result in what could be a significant clinical observation. … ‘Medicine & Science – What’s Falling Through the Gap?’ presents a community health researcher’s theoretical example of what could be falling through the gap between the two disciplines of science and medicine.

    ***

    Medicine & Science – What’s Falling Through the Gap?

    – Meningococcemia Theory

    by C Kerr, Community Health Researcher, ‘Case Health – Health Success Stories’ website

    In a recent news release I read the Ministry of Health in Singapore is promoting dual-tracked careers in Medicine and Science. They’ve initiated an annual ‘Clinician-Scientist Investigator Award’. Recognizing a need for translational research, the award promotes career development for clinician-scientists.

    In other words, the Ministry of Health in Singapore identified a gap between science and medicine and is implementing strategies to close the gap.

    What gap? I may have an example.

    I administer a community health website that records and shares health success stories. To supplement this information I occasionally add research results. To do so means regularly researching health news. It’s very time-consuming but worthwhile from a ‘bigger picture’ perspective.

    There’s nothing particularly interesting about what I do. It’s mostly laborious and can be boring, but I’m driven to pan for those gems of information that make it all worthwhile.

    Like most, I mentally link the news I read with past information I’ve read. I analyse the news to determine both it’s significance and relevance to my website readers. I have no desire to bog my readers down by loading the website database with repetitive information.

    For the most part, the process of mentally linking news items results in ‘general observations’, but on one particular day back in 2004 it resulted in an ‘Aha!’ moment.

    I had just finished reading the results of a Meningitis study linking two higher risk groups – pre-schoolers and college students. The study suggested links between these two groups and in particular; the tendency to share closed spaces and personal items. I have three children of mixed ages. It’s my experience that children of all ages share closed spaces and personal items. For me this particular link didn’t make sense, but if it didn’t make sense what was a more likely link?

    I pondered this for a while and what evolved was a ‘Meningococcal Septicaemia’ theory.

    Now consider this. I am not a doctor. I am a community health researcher; a layperson with no medical, scientific or associated qualifications; who’s developed a theory on Meningococcemia. Where could a person such as myself take such information? Worse, how could a person such as myself presume to offer such a theory to those who are qualified to work in the fields of medicine and science (without coming across like a crackpot).

    I relayed the theory to my daughter’s orthodontist. He joked we should write a paper together but on a subsequent visit appeared not to even recall our conversation.

    I tentatively contacted a couple of Meningitis Foundations and a microbiologist. The microbiologist listened politely but gave the impression of being disinterested. I pressed on. They said they might talk to a paediatrician but I suspected the words were used as an escape. By now I was feeling quite foolish.

    Fortunately, feeling foolish is more of a pastime than an obstacle for me so I decided to let some time pass and reconsider my options. Quite some time did pass, then recently I penned a story based on my theory and distributed it as a press release in the hope it would gain the attention of researchers. The story wasn’t picked up. I guess they saw my theory as not credible, not newsworthy, inaccurate/poorly written or a combination of all three.

    I then came across research indicating a possible link between periodontitis and premature births. Surely this new research would add weight to my theory and make it more newsworthy? Unfortunately, no.

    Thankfully the web provides other avenues for publishing and to-date I’ve taken advantage of most. I’ve emailed my theory in various formats to over 500 online news sources, online publishers, associated foundations, industry bodies, researchers, government departments, and peak health bodies. To-date I have not received one response.

    By now you may be wondering exactly what my theory is.

    Meningitis is the term that describes inflammation of the meninges (inflammation of the membranes and fluid surrounding our brains). There are many possible causes for inflammation of the meninges … viral, bacterial, fungal, allergic, etc; and though the word itself is feared most types of Meningitis are not critical.

    Of the causes, Bacterial Meningitis is the more serious. The common culprits for the development of an infection that may result in Bacterial Meningitis are; Streptococcus Pneumoniae, Haemophilus Influenzae, Listeria Monocytogenes, and Neisseria Meningitidis (commonly known as Meningococcus). Of these, it is Meningococcus that causes the most serious form of bacterial meningitis, Meningococcal Meningitis.

    Meningococcal meningitis is less dangerous than Meningococcal Septicaemia (commonly known as Meningococcemia) where Meningococcus has infected the bloodstream. Meningococcemia is a critical condition visually evidenced by the rash most people associate with the word ‘Meningitis’.

    Whilst the Neisseria Meningitidis bacteria can be hosted by someone without incidence, a minority of hosts will develop life threatening diseases.

    How the bacteria pass from one person to another is not puzzling. What is puzzling is how the bacteria gain access to the bloodstream.

    My theory is simple. I reasoned that toddlers, pre-schoolers, and college students have something else in common, that is; opportunities for bacteria to access the bloodstream via the gums.

    1) Babies & toddlers:
    a) Babies have immature immune systems.

    b) The group is too immature to personally manage oral hygiene and is dependent on the actions of parents/carers.
    c) Teething problems. As a mother I know babies often experience other health problems when they’re teething. It’s possible natural immune defences are lowered to enable teeth to erupt and break through the gum. If bacteria are present, this may provide opportunity for bacteria to gain direct access to the bloodstream.

    2) College students:
    a) College students adopt body piercing.
    b) College students may suffer lowered immune defences/immunity due to steroid or recreational drug use.

    c) College students may have poor oral hygiene practices (as a result of greater freedom from parental supervision).
    d) College students play sport. Teeth and gums can be injured. College students may also get wisdom teeth. If bacteria are present, this may provide opportunity for bacteria to gain direct access to the bloodstream.

    There are probably more common links/risk factors between these groups … but aren’t these links worth considering?

    Just as research has implied links between oral health (in particular, periodontitis), heart disease, premature birth, and other diseases; further research may discover links between oral health, bacterial meningitis, and other diseases.

    This Meningococcemia theory may be totally off the mark, but what if it’s not?

    What if it’s possible this theory is representative of what’s being lost in the gap that exists between science and medicine, and if that’s possible, what else is being missed?

    The author, C Kerr is a Community Health Researcher who administers the community health website ‘Case Health – Health Success Stories’ @ http://www.casehealth.com.au & http://www.casehealth.com

    ####

    Additional Information:

    1) The American Academy of Periodontology

    http://www.perio.org/consumer/mbc.top2.htm

    2) Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada

    http://www.meningitis.ca/whatismeningitis/meningococcal.asp

    3) Meningococcal Support (Australia)

    http://www.meningococcal.com.au

    About Case Health …
    ‘Case Health – Health Success Stories’ is a non-income-earning, totally independent community website providing a free health information-sharing service primarily based on visitor’s anecdotal stories of health success. The online database also contains a selection of successful research results.

    Any visitor can submit their own non-identifying health success story (case study), or search the database for other health success stories of what works. Searches are free and facilitated by condition, symptom, or treatment. Too hard to enter a story via the online submission form? Send it in via the email contact form. We’ll do the rest.

  2. Trusting health advice on the Internet
    Apr 8, 2005, 04:16

    Surprisingly, some of the most ‘reputable’ sites in terms of medical expertise, proved to be some of the least trusted sites. The women were drawn initially to attractive sites, containing contributions or stories from like-minded individuals.

    By The British Psychological Society, Psychologists are discovering what people look for in deciding whether or not a website offers trustworthy health advice and why people sometimes reject advice from some of the most trustworthy sources.

    Research into the area by Professor Pamela Briggs and Dr Liz Sillence from the PACT Lab, Northumbria University, with colleagues at both Northumbria and Sheffield Universities, will be presented at the British Psychological Society Conference at the University of Manchester on Saturday 2 April 2005.

    In a project sponsored by the ESRC E-Society initiative, Professor Briggs, Dr Sillence and colleagues studied the internet habits of 15 women who were considering taking hormone replacement therapy over a period of six months.

    The researchers were interested in how women made decisions about which sites to trust and which to ignore. Participants attended four 2-hour sessions at an Internet café where they were directed to particular sites as well as being allowed to explore sites freely. Their preferences were noted via discussions and a logbook recording their impressions. The women were also interviewed again after six months.

    Surprisingly, some of the most ‘reputable’ sites in terms of medical expertise, proved to be some of the least trusted sites. The women were drawn initially to attractive sites, containing contributions or stories from like-minded individuals. They were suspicious of sites where the authors might have had a hidden agenda – for example, to sell some specific product.

    Professor Briggs said: “We can no longer assume that simply because advice comes from a reputable health organisation that it will be adopted by consumers. There are thousands of health advice sites out there, so we need to appreciate that good design combined with stories that resonate with individual experience are very important factors in building that initial trust”.

    http://www.rxpgnews.com/article_1048.shtml

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