Review Category : Health

Hospital Pharmacist Charged in Theft of Nearly 200,000 Pills

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The former Pharmacy Director at Beth Israel Medical Center was arrested on Tuesday and charged in the largest-ever theft of pills by a hospital worker prosecuted in New York City.

Anthony D’Alessandro, who worked at the hospital for 14 years, was arrested in Staten Island on Tuesday morning. He allegedly had been stealing oxycodone pills since 2009, securing almost 200,000 pills — which had a street value of approximately $5.6 million.

The Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York charged D’Alessandro with operating as a major trafficker under New York State’s Drug Kingpin Statute. In addition, D’Alessandro faces charges of grand larceny and 247 counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance.

The theft was uncovered when Mount Sinai Medical Center merged with Continuum Health Partners. The new administration received an anonymous letter and accompanying documentation, the prosecutor says.

D’Alessandro was responsible for overseeing all medication at Beth Israel Medical Center and allegedly used his position to steal pills on at least 218 separate dates. The thefts started out in the range of 100 to 500 pills per day, but by January 2014, D’Alessandro was allegedly stealing up to 1,500 pills in a single day, prosecutors charge.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Hospital Pharmacist Charged in Theft of Nearly 200,000 Pills

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The former Pharmacy Director at Beth Israel Medical Center was arrested on Tuesday and charged in the largest-ever theft of pills by a hospital worker prosecuted in New York City.

Anthony D’Alessandro, who worked at the hospital for 14 years, was arrested in Staten Island on Tuesday morning. He allegedly had been stealing oxycodone pills since 2009, securing almost 200,000 pills — which had a street value of approximately $5.6 million.

The Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York charged D’Alessandro with operating as a major trafficker under New York State’s Drug Kingpin Statute. In addition, D’Alessandro faces charges of grand larceny and 247 counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance.

The theft was uncovered when Mount Sinai Medical Center merged with Continuum Health Partners. The new administration received an anonymous letter and accompanying documentation, the prosecutor says.

D’Alessandro was responsible for overseeing all medication at Beth Israel Medical Center and allegedly used his position to steal pills on at least 218 separate dates. The thefts started out in the range of 100 to 500 pills per day, but by January 2014, D’Alessandro was allegedly stealing up to 1,500 pills in a single day, prosecutors charge.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Scientist Untangles Mystery of Jumbled Headphones

Photos.com/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A physicist may have solved the mystery of tangled headphones.

Robert Matthews, a visiting scientist at Aston University in Birmingham, England, has developed a mathematical theory that explains why headphones invariably tangle up into hopeless knots. It’s called the “Murphy’s Law of String” or the “Loop Conjecture,” and it’s a phenomenon that has driven headphone users bonkers since before the Walkman was popular.

Matthews’ years of study suggest that clipping the two earbuds together, then attaching them to the end near the audio jack to form a loop, will cause a tenfold reduction in knot formation.

“First, by forming the loop you’ve effectively reduced the length of string able to explore the 3D space by 50 percent, which makes a big difference,” Matthews said. “Second, you’ve also eliminated the two ends, which are the prime movers of knot formation.”

To test his theory, Matthews invited schools across England to participate in “the Great British Knot Experiment.” Participants compared different types of knots to determine which are the easiest to unravel. One school picked away at over 12,000 jumbled strings to provide data for Matthews’ predictions, he said.

Matthews, who has also studied why toast wants to fall butter side down, said he’s particularly satisfied that he was able to tie up the loose ends on headphone tangles.

“I hope it saves people a lot of grief,” he said.

He added that tangles are no trivial question for science. His work may help cast light on why DNA sometimes forms knotty mutations, and how knot formations in cancer cells can be undone with targeted drugs.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Sports Psychologist Helps Brazil Cope with Loss of Neymar

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images(SAO PAULO, Brazil) — While Brazil mourns the loss of superstar striker Neymar following his back injury at the World Cup, a sports psychologist has been brought in to help boost the spirits of the host nation’s team ahead of its semifinal clash Tuesday with Germany.

The woman who is making Brazil’s players feel “at ease” is Regina Brandao, a psychologist and university professor who has been in Brazilian coach Luis Felipe Scolari’s inner circle since the late 1990s.

Brandao worked with the Brazilian team at the 2002 World Cup (a tournament it won) and the Portuguese national team at the Euro Cup in 2004 to make sure players were mentally prepared to withstand the rush of emotions on and off the field.

“My job is to draw up a psychological profile of each of the players,” Brandao said in an interview with the New York Times in December 2013. “It is to help Scolari with the individual and the collective. It is to understand how each player feels and how that affects the way they play.”

If ever there was a time Brandao was needed, it’s now.

The seemingly unstoppable Neymar, the team’s leading scorer at this World Cup, was knocked out of the tournament this past Friday after being kneed in the back in a collision with Colombia’s Juan Camilo Zuniga during the quarterfinals.

Neymar, who suffered a fractured vertebra, was carried off the pitch in pain — leaving the Brazilian team and its fans downtrodden, even after beating Colombia 2-1.

In an emotional video released by the Brazilian soccer federation on Saturday, Neymar urged his team and fans to stay strong.

“My dream is not over yet. It was interrupted by one move, but it will continue and I’m certain that my teammates will do whatever possible so I can fulfill my dream of being a champion,” he said in the taped message. “I won’t be able to fulfill the dream of playing in a World Cup final, but I’m sure they will win this one, they will become champions, and I will be there with them, and all of Brazil will be celebrating together.”

It is unclear where Neymar will be watching the match against Germany Tuesday, however Brazil also faces a second setback. Team captain Thiago Silva is suspended for the match after picking up two yellow cards.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Sports Psychologist Helps Brazil Cope with Loss of Neymar

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images(SAO PAULO, Brazil) — While Brazil mourns the loss of superstar striker Neymar following his back injury at the World Cup, a sports psychologist has been brought in to help boost the spirits of the host nation’s team ahead of its semifinal clash Tuesday with Germany.

The woman who is making Brazil’s players feel “at ease” is Regina Brandao, a psychologist and university professor who has been in Brazilian coach Luis Felipe Scolari’s inner circle since the late 1990s.

Brandao worked with the Brazilian team at the 2002 World Cup (a tournament it won) and the Portuguese national team at the Euro Cup in 2004 to make sure players were mentally prepared to withstand the rush of emotions on and off the field.

“My job is to draw up a psychological profile of each of the players,” Brandao said in an interview with the New York Times in December 2013. “It is to help Scolari with the individual and the collective. It is to understand how each player feels and how that affects the way they play.”

If ever there was a time Brandao was needed, it’s now.

The seemingly unstoppable Neymar, the team’s leading scorer at this World Cup, was knocked out of the tournament this past Friday after being kneed in the back in a collision with Colombia’s Juan Camilo Zuniga during the quarterfinals.

Neymar, who suffered a fractured vertebra, was carried off the pitch in pain — leaving the Brazilian team and its fans downtrodden, even after beating Colombia 2-1.

In an emotional video released by the Brazilian soccer federation on Saturday, Neymar urged his team and fans to stay strong.

“My dream is not over yet. It was interrupted by one move, but it will continue and I’m certain that my teammates will do whatever possible so I can fulfill my dream of being a champion,” he said in the taped message. “I won’t be able to fulfill the dream of playing in a World Cup final, but I’m sure they will win this one, they will become champions, and I will be there with them, and all of Brazil will be celebrating together.”

It is unclear where Neymar will be watching the match against Germany Tuesday, however Brazil also faces a second setback. Team captain Thiago Silva is suspended for the match after picking up two yellow cards.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Scientist Untangles Mystery of Jumbled Headphones

Photos.com/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A physicist may have solved the mystery of tangled headphones.

Robert Matthews, a visiting scientist at Aston University in Birmingham, England, has developed a mathematical theory that explains why headphones invariably tangle up into hopeless knots. It’s called the “Murphy’s Law of String” or the “Loop Conjecture,” and it’s a phenomenon that has driven headphone users bonkers since before the Walkman was popular.

Matthews’ years of study suggest that clipping the two earbuds together, then attaching them to the end near the audio jack to form a loop, will cause a tenfold reduction in knot formation.

“First, by forming the loop you’ve effectively reduced the length of string able to explore the 3D space by 50 percent, which makes a big difference,” Matthews said. “Second, you’ve also eliminated the two ends, which are the prime movers of knot formation.”

To test his theory, Matthews invited schools across England to participate in “the Great British Knot Experiment.” Participants compared different types of knots to determine which are the easiest to unravel. One school picked away at over 12,000 jumbled strings to provide data for Matthews’ predictions, he said.

Matthews, who has also studied why toast wants to fall butter side down, said he’s particularly satisfied that he was able to tie up the loose ends on headphone tangles.

“I hope it saves people a lot of grief,” he said.

He added that tangles are no trivial question for science. His work may help cast light on why DNA sometimes forms knotty mutations, and how knot formations in cancer cells can be undone with targeted drugs.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Vials of Smallpox Virus Found in Unapproved Maryland Lab

iStock/Thinkstock(BETHESDA, Md.) — The National Institutes of Health announced on Tuesday that vials of the smallpox virus were found in a laboratory on its Bethesda, Maryland, campus, violating an international agreement reached in 1979 that stated the virus could only be held at two labs in the world: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s lab in Atlanta and the Vector Institute in Russia.

It’s unclear how long the vials had been in the lab’s cold storage room, but the boxes holding them may date back to the 1950s, according to CDC spokesman Tom Skinner.

“At the end of the day, we don’t know why this stuff showed up,” Skinner said.

Scientists found six freeze-dried vials labeled to contain variola — the virus that causes smallpox — and 10 other vials with unclear labeling information in a cold storage room owned by the Food and Drug Administration on the NIH’s Bethesda campus while preparing for the laboratory’s upcoming move to the FDA’s main campus, according to Dr. Steven Monroe, who directs the CDC’s division of high consequence pathogens and pathology.

“It’s pretty hearty as viruses go, particularly in the free-dried state,” Monroe said of the variola virus. “That could certainly prolong viability.”

The vials were on their sides in a cardboard box packed with cotton balls and index cards to hold them in place, Monroe said, adding that he was not aware of any documents accompanying the vials.

The CDC was informed of the discovery on July 1 and sent a three-person team to transport the vials via a government plane to its main campus in Atlanta for further testing, Monroe said.

Of the 16 vials, only the six labeled for variola tested positive for variola DNA, according to Monroe. The contents of the vials are now being tested in cell culture to determine if any of the virus samples are still infectious. Once that process is complete, they will be destroyed, Monroe said.

Smallpox killed a third of those who contracted it for about 3,000 years until it was declared globally eradicated by routine vaccination in 1979, according to the World Health Organization. We’re not even vaccinated for it anymore.

Once it was considered eradicated, the World Health Assembly agreed that all labs would either destroy their stockpiles of the virus or send them to one of two labs for study. Earlier this year at the World Health Assembly, scientists voted not to destroy the remaining smallpox stockpiles.

Monroe said no other smallpox vials had turned up unexpectedly since the 1979 agreement.

“We can’t say with 100 percent certainty there are no other vials like this,” he said.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Insertable Device Counts Kegel Exercises, Syncs with Smartphone

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In a world where everyone from Fido to Great Aunt Fifi wears some variation of a pedometer or Fitbit, there are few workouts left that can’t be tracked electronically. But soon, an oft-forgotten and perhaps unexpected exercise will be added to the list: kegel contractions.

Yes, kegel, as in a woman’s pelvic floor muscles.

The kGoal Smart Kegel Trainer is a wearable device that allows women to track the number of repetitions, pressure applied and squeeze duration while contracting their kegel muscles. Like Fitbit, the information is communicated wirelessly from the device to an app on one’s smartphone, where future workouts will be recommended based on user history.

“Pelvic floor muscles are one of the most important, but least appreciated parts of the body,” said creator Grace Lee in a promotional video on the product’s Kickstarter page. The kGoal “is like having a gym, a physical therapist and a tracking system in the palm of your hand.”

The body wear comes in an array of colors and is comprised of a wide member that gets inserted into the woman’s vagina, while a smaller arm rests outside of the body. Size can be adjusted to conform to the wearer, but the kGoal does not vibrate and is not intended for sexual stimulation.

Kegel exercises have long been encouraged by medical experts to help prevent urinary incontinence, prevent overuse during childbirth and enhance sexual activity. Prescriptive advice, however, can vary.

“There is no hard data on kegels in terms of recommendations for how many, how long, what age, etc.,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Ashton, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor and an obstetrician-gynecologist. “The medical teaching is that, like most muscles, the more it’s used, the better.”

The Mayo Clinic suggests on its website that women incorporate kegel exercises into their daily routine, noting that “You can do Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor muscle training, discreetly just about anytime.”

But there are no guarantees that the exercises will offer an instant cure for incontinence or improved orgasms.

“In terms of preserving urinary continence, the value of kegels is somewhat controversial, but medically and behaviorally, they certainly can’t hurt, and can possibly help pelvic function,” said Ashton, who is not affiliated with the kGoal device. “I like the idea of an app, combined with a biotech device to help women with this! But only long-term studies will show just how useful it is.”

Pre-sales of the kGoal Smart Kegel Trainer have already sold out, but when the device officially launches in December 2014 it will cost $125.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Nurse Firing Highlights Hazards of Social Media in Hospitals

“New York Med”(NEW YORK) — One of the most dramatic scenes so far from the second season of ABC’s New York Med had nothing to do with gunshot wounds or heart transplants. It came when emergency room nurse Katie Duke was fired for posting a photo to Instagram.

The photo captured a messy but empty trauma room that had been used to treat a man hit by a New York City subway train. Duke posted the photo with the caption “#Man vs 6 train.”

[Join Today's Emergency Medicine Tweet Chat Today at 1 PM, ET]

Later that day, she was fired from her job at New York Presbyterian Hospital, she said.

“I got a call at the end of my shift telling me I was being let go after seven years in the ER,” Duke told ABC News.

Duke claims she was told by her supervisor that she had not breached hospital policy or violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a law known as HIPPA that protects patient privacy.

“I was told I was being fired for being insensitive,” she said.

Duke also claims that the photo was not even hers, but rather reposted from a doctor’s Instagram page. The doctor — who also works for the hospital — was not reprimanded, she said.

New York Presbyterian declined to comment on Duke’s firing or anyone else’s involvement.

Duke is certainly not the first medical professional to get herself into trouble on social media. Last year, a St. Louis doctor’s Facebook complaints about a chronically late patient drew hundreds of outraged comments from Internet posters. And a student who was admitted to an Illinois hospital for extreme intoxication claimed a doctor posted photos of her to various social media sites — with commentary.

Because nurses are often on the frontline of medical care, they need to be extra careful with what they post on social media, said Nancy Spector, director of regulatory innovations for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

“Most of the nurses that get into trouble have good intentions but they just don’t know how far reaching social media can be,” Spector said. “Remember, nothing can really be deleted.”

Duke maintains that she did nothing wrong by posting the picture. She was, she said, showing how life and death situations play out every day in the hospital.

However, she concedes the posting might have upset someone not familiar with the morbid exchanges that can occur in the emergency room.

“If you hung around nurse’s station and heard the way we talk about injuries, life and death you might get the wrong impression but it’s just a coping mechanism.” She said. “Now I check my posts so no one gets offended or thinks I am a cold-hearted person.”

[Emergency Medicine Tweet Chat Today at 1 PM, ET]

Would you know how to handle a trip to the emergency room?

Come chat about it with Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ chief health and medical correspondent as well as the stars and producers of New York Med. We’ll be joined by emergency medicine professionals from all over the country who will offer their ideas about how to handle yourself in a medical emergency.

Learn how to join the chat here.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Study: Consuming Alcohol Regularly May Protect Against Cardiovascular Disease

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Previous studies have suggested that wine holds health benefits, but new research suggests any kind of alcohol can be good for you, if you drink the right amount.

Two new Swedish studies in the journal Circulation concluded that alcohol, when consumed on a regular basis and at low volumes, can offer protection against cardiovascular disease.

(Low volume is considered up to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.)

But heavy drinking — which is considered more than 4 to 5 drinks a day — has the opposite effect.

Researchers warn, however, that there is no way to know if there’s a safe threshold for drinking.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →