Whether it’s Lyme disease or the ongoing concern about measles, infectious diseases and vaccines are hot topics in the news. Infectious diseases are disorders caused by organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Some infectious diseases can be passed from person to person. Some are transmitted by insects or other animals. Many infectious diseases, such as measles and chickenpox, can be prevented by vaccines.
On this Mayo Clinic Radio program segment, Dr. Gregory Poland, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases and vaccine expert, will give an update on infectious disease hot topics, including the hope for a universal flu vaccine and new age guidelines for the HPV vaccine.
Cigarette smoking has fallen to its lowest point in recorded history, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But there’s a new problem at hand: electronic cigarettes. These battery-powered devices were introduced to the market to help smokers switch from traditional cigarettes. They work by heating a liquid into an aerosol that a user inhales. They are not an aid to quit smoking that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Using e-cigarettes, also called vaping, has become increasingly popular among teens and young adults.
Because e-cigarettes don’t burn tobacco, most experts agree that they’re likely to cause fewer harmful effects than traditional cigarettes. But some e-cigarettes may contain harmful substances, such as carcinogens; toxic chemicals; and THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. E-cigarettes containing nicotine aren’t considered safe for children, young adults or pregnant women. Nicotine can harm brain development in children and adults into their early 20s, and it is toxic to developing fetuses. In youth and adult nonsmokers, e-cigarette use also poses the risk of a nicotine addiction, which could lead to long-term use of e-cigarettes — the effects of which aren’t known — or the use of traditional cigarettes.
On this Mayo Clinic Radio program segment, Dr. Jon Ebbert, associate director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center, will talk about smoking cessation, nicotine addiction and e-cigarettes.
Chest surgery, also known as thoracic surgery, formerly involved “cracking open the chest,” which requires a large incision, cutting through muscles, and a crank to spread apart the ribs in order to access the organs. But advances in techniques, including minimally invasive procedures and the use of 3D models, are improving the way chest surgery is performed. Minimally invasive surgery can be performed through small incisions. This approach to surgery has many benefits for patients, including less damage to the muscles, less pain, fewer complications and a shorter hospital stay than with open surgery.
On this segment of the Mayo Clinic Radio program, Dr. Shanda Blackmon, a Mayo Clinic thoracic surgeon, will explain how advances in surgical techniques are improving outcomes for patients.
The Food and Drug Administration recently approved Vyleesi (bremelanotide) to help women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or low libido, which affects 8% to 10% of all women. The new drug, which will be available in September, has been referred to as “female Viagra.” However, that’s a misnomer. Viagra works on blood vessels; whereas, Vyleesi acts on brain receptors.
Vyleesi is intended to treat low sexual desire that is not due to existing medical or psychiatric conditions, problems within the relationship, or the effects of a medication or other drug substance. Patients using Vyleesi will inject themselves under the skin of the abdomen or thigh at least 45 minutes before anticipated sexual activity.
On this Mayo Clinic Radio program segment, Dr. Stephanie Faubion, an internal medicine physician and the Bill and Penny George Director, Center for Women’s Health at Mayo Clinic, discusses Vyleesi. She also has a warning about over-the-counter treatments for menopause symptoms.
When one of the heart’s natural pumps isn’t working well, a ventricular assist device can be used to increase the amount of blood that flows through the body. A ventricular assist device is an implantable mechanical pump that helps pump blood from the lower chambers of your heart (the ventricles) to the rest of your body. It is used in people who have weakened hearts or heart failure.
Although a ventricular assist device can be placed in the left, right or both ventricles of your heart, it is most frequently used in the left ventricle. When placed in the left ventricle, it is called a left ventricular assist device. Having a ventricular assist device implanted can improve quality of life for people with weakened hearts, heart failure or for those who are awaiting a heart transplant.