18-12 Segment 1: Hospitals and Housing

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In the past, healthcare has spent thousands of dollars on treating the homeless, and often times the hospitals are never paid for these treatments. Homelessness affects an individuals health and severely decreases their life expectancy. Stephen Brown, Director of Preventive Emergency Medicine at University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences, Chicago, explains that homeless people are admitted to the hospital more than the average person and on a more consistent basis. Yet, following these treatments, the homeless are often sent back to the streets and forced to fend for themselves again.

However, some hospitals around the nation are beginning to acknowledge their role in helping homelessness. In light of this growing problem, bigger cities around the nation have started to provide housing to the homeless. But, they have replaced the traditional model that required people to be clean of their addiction before they were provided with housing with a much more efficient model that has already shown higher success rates. Shannon Nazworth, President and CEO of Ability Housing in Jacksonville, Florida, explains that the new “housing first” model takes people straight from the street and provides them with shelter, and then gives them access to resources that help them get back on their feet. She explains that they have the responsibility to pay rent, but the program helps the individuals access funds through benefits. The end goal of this program is to help the person work toward a financial position in which they are able to to move from program housing to different community housing.

Since “housing first” programs began, they have shown a significant increase in getting homeless individuals off the streets and keeping them off the streets. But, the programs have still faced backlash. Nazworth explains that due to stigmas associated with mental health and homelessness there have been misconceptions about the individuals that would be allowed in these programs. In order to change this, Nazworth states that the program allows people to come in and observe the housing to acquire more knowledge on it. By providing homeless individuals with the opportunity to receive housing and aid, many of them are capable of redeeming their health and eventually no longer rely on the programs for help anymore.

Guests:

  • Stephen Brown, Director of Preventive Emergency Medicine at University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences, Chicago
  • Shannon Nazworth, President/CEO of Ability Housing, Jacksonville, Florida

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18-12 Segment 2: Stem Cells and COPD

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Currently, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of lung diseases that decrease the performance of the lungs and make it hard to breathe, is the third leading cause of death in the United States, yet many people who suffer from it go undiagnosed for a long time. Despite being a prevalent disease, it is tough to detect and even more difficult to gain control of. Dr. Jack Coleman, Medical Director of Lung Health Institute, states that patients with chronic lung diseases have a tendency to not do well after being diagnosed because of the limited treatments available to do them. Along with this, the treatments do not work to cure the disease, but instead are implemented to help control the symptoms.

However, in recent years, the quality of life of COPD patients has increased. Dr. Coleman explains that research has discovered a new approach to treating COPD that direct a patient’s own healing abilities to control the processes damaging the lungs. Since stem cells do not know where the damaged part of the body is, the lungs benefit more from stem cell treatments than other part of the body because they are the first part of the body that the stem cells interact with. Dr. Coleman states that the treatment has been effective in helping patients with COPD; in fact, approximately 85% of the Lung Health Institute’s patients have seen an improvement in their quality of life. The process of using stem cells to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is not yet a faultless procedure, but it has given promise to patient’s for a better life in the future.

Guests:

  • Dr. Jack Coleman, Medical Director of Lung Health Institute

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Medical Notes 18-12

 

Medical Notes this week…

More than 25 years after the first war in Iraq, more than 200,000 veterans are still affected by Gulf War Illness, a syndrome believed to be caused in part by exposure to toxic chemicals. Victims typically suffer from sleep disorders, chronic fatigue and memory problems. But now a study in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity finds that curcumin, a component of the spice turmeric, may be able to reverse some of the disease’s effects. Researchers say curcumin has also been shown to improve memory in older adults, but they say more testing is needed.

A new national survey shows that more than half of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, and of those who haven’t been diagnosed, more than half suspect they have an eating disorder. The survey by the National Eating Disorders Association also finds that among those diagnosed, 88 percent have considered suicide.

And finally, plastic surgeons say a lot of people are showing up in their offices asking for a nose job, showing selfies to prove their nose is too big. But a study in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery finds that most selfies distort the size of the nose by as much as 30 percent because they’re taken from too close a distance. Researchers say close-up selfies are the equivalent of a fun house mirror. If you want a more accurate portrait take the picture from about five feet away.

And that’s Medical Notes this week.

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