Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Update

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Unexplained, persistent malaise, widespread muscle and joint pain, headaches, mental and physical exhaustion. Restless and un-refreshing sleep. Inability to focus, think and concentrate effectively.

These are a few of the more common symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, recognized and internationally classified under G93.3 (ICD-10) and 780.71 (ICD-9).

In this month’s Discovery Magazine, the research of two Norwegian oncologists in the field of chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome was reviewed. The scientists are focusing on a component of the body’s immune system, B-cells, as playing a significant role in the progression of chronic fatigue.

B-cells play an important role in the body’s immunity; B-cells generate antibodies, which help direct the body’s immune system to fend off invaders. Unfortunately when something goes awry, B-cells generate antibodies that attack healthy tissue, so-called auto-antibodies.

In their study, the scientists treated one group with rituximab, a drug that selectively depletes B-cells, and another group with a placebo. After 1 year of therapy 66% of the rituximab group significantly improved, whereas 13% of the placebo group improved.

Unfortunately, even in the cases of positive response, the initial improvement was slow and once the therapy was halted, in most cases the chronic fatigue returned, and the patients had to be re-treated.

Attaining the Rescue Diver certification

Monday, October 6th, 2008

I have been an avid scuba diver for over 25 years since getting ‘the diving bug’ from my father, who provided my initial training in an Iowa lake in the early 80’s. 

Back then, we breathed undewater using a long hose attached to an air compressor motor floating on an inner tube.  Many years and many dives later, I still enjoy the freedom of underwater weightlessness.  Matter of fact, my father, now in his late 60’s, and I have completed several dives together this summer.

It was only relatively recently that I decided to transition from recreational diving toward instructional-level certification.  Why?  Not for any great desire to start a new career as a scuba diving teacher, but rather in a quest for knowledge and training in advanced techniques. 

On the pathway toward this goal was a Rescue Diver course which included techniques and in-water training scenarios for preventing emergencies and saving lives involving in-water rescue of scuba divers, swimmers, or anyone involved in an in-water emergency.

Given my background in healthcare and emergency response, the course work and written examination were simple, yet the in-water training scenarios were totally new to me, including coordinating a search and then actually searching underwater for drowning victims, providing CPR and other First Aid while simultaneously swimming a victim toward safety.

All in all, well worth the time and highly recommended for aspiring scuba divers.