Coastal Eye Group News
From SC Department of Health and Human Services (May 15, 2019):
On Monday, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced that cases of hepatitis A across the state have reached outbreak level. Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection that is transmitted through person-to-person contact with someone who has the infection or through eating or drinking food or water contaminated by an infected person.
Getting vaccinated against hepatitis A is one of the most important components of preventing the spread of this infection. Hepatitis A vaccination is covered by the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) for Medicaid beneficiaries, as recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) guidelines. Children covered by Medicaid are eligible to receive the Hepatitis A vaccination through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. For additional information on the VFC program you may visit the SCDHEC website at http://www.scdhec.gov/Health/Vaccinations/. Vaccines for adult Medicaid beneficiaries are payable directly through the Medicaid program.
Additionally, SCDHEC is currently offering no-cost hepatitis A vaccines to individuals at high risk for infection who are not covered by Medicaid. To schedule an appointment for a vaccination at a local health department, residents should call (855) 472-3432 or visit www.scdhec.gov/health/health-public-health-clinics.
More information about this outbreak is available at scdhec.gov.
Study shows popular online symptom checker was incorrect 74 percent of the time, often assesses symptom severity incorrectly
CHICAGO – Oct. 29, 2018 – A study examining the diagnoses generated by WebMD Symptom Checker showed the online tool was correct only 26 percent of the time. And the recommendation for the top diagnosis was often inappropriate, at times recommending self-care at home instead of going to the emergency room. The research will be presented today at AAO 2018, the 122nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The researcher suggests ophthalmology-related symptom checkers have an inherent limitation because most eye diseases and conditions require an in-person examination.
Lead researcher Carl Shen, M.D., an ophthalmology resident at McMaster University in Canada, was inspired to conduct the study by his patients, who often come to appointments with an incorrect self-diagnosis or preconceived notions about their condition. He wants to help patients better understand and interpret the eye health information they find online.
To conduct the study, both medical and non-medical personnel input 42 clinical scenarios into the popular WebMD Symptom Checker. Results were then compared with the known diagnosis. The top diagnosis returned was correct in just 26 percent of cases. While the correct diagnosis did appear within the top three results 40 percent of the time, it wasn’t even an option in 43 percent of the cases.
The assessment of symptom severity was also often incorrect. In 14 of 17 cases, the online symptom checker made incorrect recommendations about what the patient should do next, such as self-care at home or getting immediate treatment.
While WebMD can arrive at the correct clinical diagnosis, a significant proportion of common ophthalmic diagnoses are not captured, Dr. Shen concluded.
“Sometimes doing research online can be helpful in identifying possible conditions, and it’s good to be an informed patient,” Dr. Shen said. “But it’s also true that often these online symptom checkers do not arrive at the correct diagnosis. And the wrong recommendation on what to do with that diagnosis could be dangerous. The technology used in these online symptom checkers still have a long way to go in terms of accuracy.”
From the Washington University of St. Louis School of Medicine website:
As people age, their immune systems age, too. And new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that aging immune cells increase the risk for age-related macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness in the United States.
Studying mice and cells from patients, the researchers found that as immune cells called macrophages age, they are more likely to contribute to the inflammation and abnormal blood vessel growth that damage vision in macular degeneration.