Walking through a field of weeds might give some an asthma attack, but a thunderstorm?
According to the journal PLOS ONE, researchers in Australia think that, under unusual conditions, lightning storms may cause a surge of asthma attacks.
Thunderstorm asthma is rare, but deadly. The first such recorded event occurred in 1983 and 22 accounts have since appeared in medical literature, according to Live Science.
When pollen counts are high, high wind may distribute pollen particles, but the pollen grains are normally too large to get deeply in the lungs. They mainly make you miserable in the eyes and nose.
Thunderstorm asthma events seem to occur when there is high pollen, high wind gusts, little rain and, what may be the key factor, lightning strikes and static electricity in low-humidity air.
Researchers think lightning and static electricity in the air break down the large pollen into breathable particles, triggering asthma attacks. Another theory is that wind gusts drive pollen to the clouds, where water saturates them and they burst.
The most dramatic example of thunderstorm asthma occurred in Melbourne, Australia, on Nov. 21, 2016. The weather that day was hot and dry. In the peak of the grass pollen season, the air held more than 133 grains of pollen per cubic yard. The storm dumped little rain while lightning and static electricity crackled through the dry air.
Public hospitals saw a 672 percent increase in patients with respiratory problems. Emergency calls inundated the medical system. In the end, 10 died from storm-related asthma.
Australian researchers are trying to develop an early warning system for thunderstorm asthma. They say the lightning theory isn’t perfect and more research has to be done.
Artificial intelligence offers hope for better colon cancer detection
It’s one of the most common — and deadliest — cancers in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colorectal (colon) cancer is the fourth deadliest cancer, after lung, breast and prostate cancers.
While colonoscopies — the standard diagnostic procedure used to screen for irregularities in the colon and rectum — are highly effective, they aren’t perfect, according to Wired. Some precancerous and cancerous spots may be hidden or exceptionally difficult to identify.
Now, Medtronic, the makers of the new GI Genius diagnostic tool, says its AI-powered technology can identify even the most shadowed and difficult-to-identify precancerous polyps along the lining of the colon.
According to Yahoo! Finance, Medtronic has provided data to the Food and Drug Administration regarding the safety and effectiveness of the device, including clinical data. The results are impressive — one study found that the GI Genius increased cancerous and precancerous cell detection rates by 14 percent over colonoscopy alone.
AI technology is being used to detect more than just colorectal cancer. According to Nature, in one study of about 43,000 lung scans, an AI detection tool outperformed six radiologists who also viewed the scans. The AI tool reduced the number of false positives by 11 percent and false negatives by 5 percent.
While no one expects AI tools to replace physicians, according to Nature, researchers have high hopes for the future of cancer screening as more new AI-powered diagnostic tools are developed.
It’s Nurses Week! Did you know nurses get access to freebies and deals all week long? We put together a list of the TOP 10 best deals we could find, check them out below.
Dunkin’: Healthcare workers who show their ID at Dunkin’ coffee shops on May 6 will be treated to a free medium hot or iced coffee at participating locations—no purchase necessary and while supplies last.
Free Crocks: The company known for the comfy slip-on shoes gives away 10,000 pairs of free shoes to nurses each day. The virtual queue is set up daily at noon ET on their website, so happy clicking!
IHOP: Show your healthcare ID at a participating IHOP restaurant and receive a 25% discount on your meal.
Asics: Get yourself a discount code for 40% off all full-priced items at Asics.com when you verify your status as a nursing professional.
Discount Eyewear: During the week of May 6-12, use NERDYNURSE40 to save 40% off from Discount Glasses, and NERDYNURSE20 to receive 20% off from Discount Contact Lenses.
Lululemon: The athleisurewear company offers a 25% discount (in-store only) when your valid ID is presented.
Free Insomnia Cookies: Bring your ID to an Insomnia bakery to grab a free cookie, no purchase required. And if you spend $5 in the store, you’ll get a free six-pack of cookies.
Discounted Rental Cars: Nurses can receive a 25% discount on their rental car purchase from Budget, Enterprise, and National, after verifying their ID.
Under Armor: Through May 9, nurses and other first responders can enjoy 40% off purchases in stores and online. After that date, healthcare professionals (and military) can verify your identity at UnderArmor.com to receive a 10% discount.
Discounted Gas: BP gas stations are offering healthcare workers and other essential employees 15¢ off every gallon of gas for 60 days. Get the details here.