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Fiji Tiger Shark Eating Tuna
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When One Lets Go of the Tail…
…Tiger Eats You!Read More »
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Suffolk County health officials issued a warning for parents this Halloween season on the dangers of colored contact lenses.
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“Every time we think we’ve gotten ahead of the bugs, they come back stronger and fitter,” said Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP). It is the ability to mutate that has given rise to “superbugs” that resist some — or, increasingly, all — of the antibiotics that were hailed as miracle drugs in the last century, creating one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development today, according to the World Health Organization.
For years, experts have warned against the overuse of antibiotics in livestock and fish farming, which stave off infections in animals in crowded living conditions and also help animals gain weight faster, making them ready for slaughter sooner. The phenomenon, along with over- and unnecessary prescription of antibiotics and a lack of a new class of antibiotic drugs, have promoted the growth of resistant bacteria. As susceptible microbes are killed off, the resistant survivors thrive and multiply. Today, a growing number of bacterial infections, including pneumonia, tuberculosis and gonorrhea, are more difficult to treat because of such resistance — at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year in the U.S. as a direct result of such infections, according to the CDC.
“This scale-up in antibiotics, primarily as a substitute for good nutrition and hygiene in livestock production, is simply unsustainable and will be devastating to efforts to conserve the effectiveness of our current antibiotics,” said Laxminarayan, the senior author of a new study focusing on antibiotic use in livestock. “We already face a crisis, but continuing to use medically important antibiotics for growth promotion in animals is like pouring oil on a fire.”
“Over the last 10 to 15 years, resistance has grown from under 2 to 3 percent to between 30 to 80 percent [encountered in humans globally],” Laxminarayan told Yahoo News. “That’s a big deal. We now have patients who have completely untreatable infections in every part of the world.”
The new research from the CDDEP analyzed and described a comprehensive strategy for preserving antibiotic effectiveness by reducing antibiotic use in farm animals up to 80 percent globally by 2030.
To reduce antibiotic use in livestock, the authors of the study, which was published in Science, suggested three interventions: regulations on the use of antibiotics in farm animals; limiting meat intake; and the imposition of taxes on veterinary antibiotics.
“One can safely predict that the bugs will outsmart us every time,” said Laxminarayan.
At last year’s U.N. General Assembly, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was of top importance. Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, called it a “major global threat.” At this year’s summit, the WHO reinforced its intention to combat superbugs.
“This is only the fourth time a health issue has been taken up by the U.N. General Assembly — the others were HIV, noncommunicable diseases and Ebola — so the serious nature of AMR’s effects should not be taken lightly,” said Dr. Dean Hart, a professor at the Columbia University School of Medicine.
As the largest consumer of veterinary antimicrobials in the world, China needs to take a leading role in combating AMR, the researchers said. The country recently promulgated new nutritional guidelines recommending 40 to 70 grams — less than 2.5 ounces — of meat per day, which is about half the current consumption level in the country. China is also phasing out certain drugs in livestock that are still used in Europe. If followed, the measure could have a substantial impact on reducing antimicrobial consumption and, in turn, resistance. The U.S. has introduced a voluntary ban on the use of antibiotics for growth purposes. McDonald’s announced in August a 10-year plan to phase out antibiotics in its poultry production chain beginning in 2018.
The U.S. also has seen a large shift to organic consumption based on consumers’ greater awareness of the potential dangers of antimicrobial resistance. Still, demand for organic products is a luxury — “most of the world’s population simply can’t afford the benefits of eating strictly organic products, especially in Third World countries,” said Hart.
When compared with other developed nations, Denmark and Germany are quite conservative when it comes to using antibiotics — and results show that those populations have lower levels of AMR, said Hart. Interestingly, the U.S. shows relatively moderate levels of resistance even though the population uses antibiotics heavily.
Of note, the quality of a country’s health care system also seems to have a direct relation to antibiotic resistance levels, said Hart. EU countries have very high standards, but antibiotic use is too high. Venezuela’s health care system is far less robust; this means antibiotics are far scarcer, and AMR is relatively lower.
Hart also pointed to pharmaceutical manufacturers as obstacles in the fight against AMR. “We are a country that buys drugs, and a lot of them, at much higher prices than the rest of the world,” he said. “The antibiotic market is huge business for these companies, and the push to develop the new ‘superdrugs’ is something that affects their bottom line. While treatment with older forms of antibiotics can often be effective and serve the greater good of humanity, the inclination of doctors is almost always going to be to use the latest and greatest new medicine available.”
Hart argued that awareness is the most important factor: Doctors should be advised to first treat bacterial infections with older forms of antibiotics that have a proven track record of being effective. Patients should understand that antibiotics have zero effect on viral infections such as the flu or the common cold. “The next super-infection can be just around the corner, and we must be prepared.”Read More »
Doctors warns New Yorkers not to be tempted to view solar eclipse with unprotected eyes
Don’t look now — the city’s skies are being taken over Monday by a rare solar eclipse.
As New Yorkers awaited the celestial wonder, experts were warning not to gaze at the sun with unprotected eyes or risk serious vision damage.
The eclipse, where the moon covers the sun, is set to start at 1:23 p.m. and last until 4 p.m., peaking at 2:44 p.m., when the biggest swath of the sun will be covered.
New York is not in the path stretching across the country that will see a total eclipse — from Oregon to South Carolina, the first coast-to-coast total eclipse in 99 years. But 71% of the sun will be obscured in the city.
“It’s too tempting, because it’s such a beautiful, awesome sight nature is offering us,” Dr. Dean Evan Hart, an optometrist, said Sunday at a press conference outside the city Health Department.
“It will be so mesmerizing, you won’t realize the damage because it won’t feel bright,” he said. “You stare at it and I’ll tell you for sure next week we’ll have many people coming in with permanently scarred and damaged retina.”
Staring at the sun during an eclipse can cause retina burns and macular degeneration, leading to vision loss that in the worst cases can render someone legally blind.
It’s safe to check out the eclipse with special eclipse glasses – but many retailers sold out fast, and some online merchants were hawking the cardboard devices for more than $100 for a five pack.
“We know that they’re sold out all over the city and are going to exorbitant amounts on the internet as we speak,” said City Councilman Robert Cornegy (D-Brooklyn) at the Sunday press conference.
If you manage to get your hands on some glasses, check for the letters ISO and the number 12312-2 to make sure they’re legit, Hart said.
It’s also safe to scope out the eclipse indirectly by fashioning a pinhole camera from a cardboard box. Regular sunglasses don’t offer any protection, and even with glasses the eclipse should not be viewed through binoculars or a telescope.
The Hayden Planetarium at the Natural History Museum, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, and the New York Hall of Science in Queens are among the spots offering viewing parties, included with the price of museum admission.
For those who would rather peer skyward with a drink in hand, rooftop bars like the Haven Rooftop, Lovage Rooftop, and Salvation Taco in Midtown are also holding events.Read More »
It’s finally here: The solar eclipse. The celestial event is expected to darken Long Island’s afternoon skies Monday, bringing awe and wonder. But it also could bring serious eye injury if viewers do not protect themselves, a Suffolk lawmaker and an optometrist warned.
Legis. William Spencer and Hicksville optometrist Dean Hart urged Long Island residents to don proper protective eyewear to view Monday’s spectacle or risk permanent damage to their vision.
“As a legislator, as a doctor, I cannot stress this enough,” Spencer (D-Centerport), a pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist, said during a news conference outside his Huntington office on Sunday. “Do not look at the sun if you do not have the proper eyewear.”
Monday’s total solar eclipse will be the first to sweep coast-to-coast across the United States since 1918. The moon will completely blot out the sun during the peak of the eclipse in a 70-mile wide strip that runs diagonally from South Carolina to Oregon.On Long Island, the moon will slowly slip in front of the sun at about 1:20 p.m. and cover about 70 percent of it by 2:45 p.m. The celestial show is expected to end by 4 p.m., when the sun returns to its full brilliance.Hart, a Democrat who is running for Oyster Bay Town clerk in November’s election, said even looking at the sun during the eclipse for just a few seconds can injure the retina, leading to permanent vision damage or even blindness.
Hart said people don’t normally look at the sun because of its intense brightness. The darkened skies, he said, may fool people into looking directly at the sun.
“The 30 percent of the sun that is coming through will burn and oxidize your retina within a matter seconds,” said Hart, who said he fears Long Island eye doctors will receive calls from patients who did not take the proper precautions.
Spencer and Hart said amateur astronomers who wish to look at the heavenly dance between the sun and the moon should use official eclipse glasses that meet the International Organization for Standardization 12312-2 safety guidelines. The glasses should be labeled ISO, they said. Dark sunglasses offer no protection, and viewing the eclipse through a telescope or binoculars will simply magnify the damage to the eyes.
Most retailers and online outlets sold their stock weeks ago, and Spencer said science fans should be wary of scams and substandard gear.
“There are those who are offering eyewear that number one, doesn’t offer the appropriate protection and number two, there is price-gouging,” he said.
Eclipse watchers who don’t have the proper protective eyewear can build eclipse-viewing boxes, Hart said.
“There are various ways to watch this,” he said. “The absolute safest is an internet video or television. These will surely not hurt your eyes.”Read More »
Most Long Island Politician Ever Attacks Opponent For Not Loving Billy Joel Enough
Here are three things we know about Dean Hart: (1) He’s running for New York State Assembly in Long Island, (2) he really, really loves Billy Joel and (3) he thinks his opponent doesn’t love the music legend quite enough.
The Oyster Bay resident said in a press release Thursday that he would spend $1 million to build a marble statue of Joel outside the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island to commemorate the piano man’s awesomeness. The coliseum is scheduled to re-open next April with a performance by Joel, who is a Long Island native.
Hart isn’t just celebrating Joel, however. He’s also slighting his opponent, Republican incumbent Michael Montesano, who has unsuccessfully attempted to name a state route in Oyster Bay “Billy Joel Boulevard” for years.
“My opponent is either impotent or is simply not trying, because everyone loves Bill Joel,” Hart said. “No wonder Albany is a mess, our representative can’t do something as simple as renaming a small portion of a road in Billy Joel’s backyard, where there’s near universal support.”
But the issue in Montesano’s case isn’t Montesano. It’s Hart’s fellow Democrats, who have reportedly stonewalled the proposal, as Montesano has made clear, according to Politico.
“The question for my opponent is, since he’s a Democrat, what’s he going to do to convince his colleagues and the chair of the Transportation Committee to let this bill pass?” he said. “Because that’s where the stumbling block is.”
Hart’s release can be found below. But the larger takeaway here is that this is the most Long Island story of all time.Read More »
October 24, 2016- Albany, NY – It’s still October, but we’re ready to call it: This year’s most memorable political ad comes from the campaign of Long Island Democrat Dean Hart, who is running against Republican Assemblyman Michael Montesano.
The ad starts in conventional fashion, with stenciled words and portentous voiceover slamming the incumbent as “part of the corrupt Oyster Bay machine” that also includes just-arrested Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto. (Hart recently printed up toilet paper with Venditto’s face on it.)
And then the commercial takes a one-way trip to Crazytown (or, if you prefer, the Village of Crazytown) by cutting to a shot of Hart standing in front of a waving flag superimposed with bursting fireworks as “The Stars and Stripes Forever” plays, with a badass-looking computer-generated eagle perched on his arm. It’s a shame Hart didn’t opt for a more patriotic theme, eh? (This reporter will admit to initially being fooled by the eagle — “Dude, you need a glove to hold an eagle like that!” was Matt Hamilton’s correct observation.)
“On election day, vote for Dean Hart for Assembly,” says the optometrist, pronouncing the name of the chamber as if it came with four syllables, “and no to continued corruption and cronyism that’s rampant in our party and in our town.” His purse-mouthed expression as the ad ends is worth the price of admission.
Here’s the ad — and you’re welcome, America:
Hart’s campaign has been, well, unconventional in other ways: Earlier this month, the candidate said he was ready to spend up to $1 million for “a giant marble statue” of Long Island singer-songwriter Billy Joel in front of Nassau Coliseum. Hart has chided Montesano for failing (twice) to secure passage of a bill that would name a stretch of roadway after the pop star. (“My opponent is either impotent or is simply not trying, because everyone loves Bill Joel,” Hart said in a statement.)
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