Eagles Open Sensory Room at Lincoln Financial Field

August 21st, 2019

FootballTo help those affected by autism, the Eagles have created a sensory room at Lincoln Financial Field.

Lincoln Financial Field Now a Sensory-Inclusive Stadium

The 500 square foot room was created for fans with autism and other sensory challenges to provide a quiet and safe space.

The sensory room was just a part of Lincoln Financial Field getting certified as a sensory-inclusive stadium. The process also included training for Eagles employees and Lincoln Financial Field staff to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation.

Lincoln Financial Field also offers sensory bags which include: noise canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards, and weighted lap pads. 

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia collaborated with the Eagles on the sensory room. 

There will be nine NFL football franchises this season that will be considered sensory-inclusive certified and make sensory bags available to fans who might need them.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems with social interaction and communication. ASD includes conditions that were previously considered to be separate—autism, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and an unspecified form of pervasive developmental disorder.  

Some children show signs in early infancy, such as reduced eye contact, lack of response to their name or indifference to caregivers. Other children may develop normally for the first few months or years of life, but then suddenly become withdrawn or aggressive or lose language skills they’ve acquired. 

Each child with ASD is likely to have a unique pattern of behavior and level of severity from low functioning to high functioning.

ASD has no known single cause. There are probably many causes. Both genetics and environment may play a role:

  • Environmental factors: Researchers are currently exploring whether factors such as viral infections, medications or complications during pregnancy or air pollutants play a role in triggering ASD.
  • Genetics: Several different genes appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorders. Some genetic mutations seem to be inherited, while others occur spontaneously.

One in 59 children have been identified with ASD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in six children in the United States has a developmental disability, according to a CDC study.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America is glad that the Eagles are taking the initiative to create a welcoming environment for families with autistic children. A little bit of understanding can go a long way. IAA hopes that more teams go in this direction!  

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Sesame Allergy Greater Than Scientists Believed

August 14th, 2019

Sesame bagelA new study says 1.5 million children and adults in the United States have a sesame allergy. That’s a greater number than previously estimated, making it the ninth most common allergy.

Sesame Allergy on the Rise

In the U.S. the top allergens are required to appear on labels when they are among a product’s ingredients. Sesame, however, is not currently required to be on food labels.

In October, the US Food and Drug Administration requested more information from researchers, medical providers and consumers on the prevalence and severity of sesame allergies to help guide regulations on labeling.

For the study, researchers sent food allergy questionnaires to more than 51,000 households in all 50 states and surveyed 78,800 people.

Researchers estimate about .49 percent of the U.S. population reports having a sesame allergy and .23 percent had what’s called a “convincing” or true food allergy, with skin, lung, heart, or gastrointestinal symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Belly pain
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hives
  • Wheezing

Others may have been diagnosed with an allergy, but had not experienced symptoms.

The .21 percent of children and .24 percent of adults estimated to be allergic to sesame in the U.S. is an increase from the number reported in an earlier, smaller study, which showed a prevalence of .1 percent.

The study was published on August 2 in the journal “JAMA Network Open.”  

Allergy vs. Intolerance

In some cases a person may not have an allergy to a food, but an intolerance. For your health, it is important to know the difference!

A food allergy happens when your immune system mistakes something in food as harmful and attacks it. It can affect your whole body, not just your stomach. A food allergy:

  •   Can be life-threatening
  • Happens every time you eat the food
  • Small amount of food can trigger a reaction
  • Usually comes on suddenly

When a food irritates your stomach or your body cannot digest it properly, that’s an intolerance.A food intolerance:

  • Is not life-threatening
  • May only happen when you eat a lot of the food
  • Usually comes on gradually
  • A food allergy and intolerance do have shared symptoms, including nausea and stomach pain.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to be aware of what is going on in the world of health. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

Interested in reading more on this topic? Click here!

August is Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month

August 7th, 2019

SMA Awareness ButtonSpinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disease affecting the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement. As August is SMA Awareness Month, now is a good time to learn about this little known disorder.

Types of SMA

SMA involves the loss of nerve cells called motor neurons in the spinal cord and is classified as a motor neuron disease.

SMA can be classified into four types based on the highest motor milestone achieved:

  • SMA type I: Evident usually before age six months. The most severely affected infants (SMA type 0 or 1A) have reduced movements in utero and are born with contractures and breathing difficulties. Symptoms of SMA type I include hypotonia (reduced muscle tone), diminished limb movements, lack of tendon reflexes, swallowing and feeding difficulties, and impaired breathing. Without any treatment, affected children never sit or stand.
  • SMA type II (intermediate form): Usually show their first symptoms between six and 18 months of age. They are able to sit without support, but are unable to stand or walk unaided, and some may lose their ability to stay seated independently without treatment. They may have respiratory difficulties.
  • SMA type III: Children develop symptoms after 18 months of age and can walk independently. They first show difficulty walking and running, climbing steps or rising from a chair. The proximal leg muscles are most often affected first, with a tremor seen in the hands.
  • SMA type IV: Individuals develop symptoms after 21 years of age, with mild to moderate proximal muscle weakness.      

SMA symptoms cover a broad spectrum, ranging from mild to severe.

Causes of SMA

SMA is a disease that’s passed through families. If your child has SMA, it’s because he/she has got two copies of a broken gene, one from each parent. When this happens, the body will not be able to create a specific kind of protein. Without it, the cells that control the muscles die. 

The most common form of SMA is caused by defects in both copies of the survival motor neuron 1 gene (SMN1) on chromosome 5q. Individuals with SMA have insufficient levels of the SMN protein, which leads to loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord, producing weakness and wasting of skeletal muscles. This weakness is often more severe in the trunk and upper leg and arm muscles than in muscles of the hands and feet.

Less common forms of SMA are caused by mutations in other genes, including the VAPB gene located on chromosome 14, the BICD2 gene on chromosome 9, and the UBA1 gene on the X chromosome.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to help spread awareness on Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month. Take the time to help make others aware by sharing this blog post with friends, family and colleagues.  IAA knows that a little support can go a long way!

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Nonprescription Antibiotic Use Could Lead to Public Health Issue

July 31st, 2019

Pill bottleSome people in the United States are using antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription. That’s a public health problem that can increase drug resistance and make it harder to treat infections, according to a study published in the medical journal “Annals of Internal Medicine.”

Nonprescription Antibiotic Use

Researchers gathered data on nonprescription antibiotic use in the U.S. from 31 studies conducted between 2000 and 2019. Nonprescription antibiotic use included obtaining, storing, taking or intending to take antibiotics without medical guidance.

Researchers tried to figure out what factors drove people to self-treat and use nonprescription antibiotics. The study cited several factors, including:

  1. Lack of transportation
  2. Long wait times at the doctor’s office
  3. Poor healthcare access

People got these nonprescription antibiotics through a variety of sources, including:

  • Family and friends
  • Flea markets
  • Health food stores
  • Leftover prescriptions
  • Local markets that sell antibiotics over-the-counter
  • Online venues
  • Pet stores

The study was published on July 22.

Consequences of Nonprescription Antibiotic Use

Antibiotics are powerful tools for fighting illnesses and disease, but overuse has helped create bacteria that are outliving the drugs used to treat them.

When people take nonprescription antibiotics, it could lead to resistance. Antibiotic resistance compromises doctors’ ability to treat infections and is a serious threat to public health. Antibiotic resistance is the ability of microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites) to resist the effects of drugs.

In the U.S., at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die annually as a direct result of these infections.

Another problem with nonprescription antibiotic use is the risk of side effects. Antibiotics can cause severe allergic reactions or disruptions of the microbiome when normal bacteria in the body are killed off. 

Use antibiotics safely:

  • Don’t share or take leftover antibiotics: Toss any old ones you have in your medicine cabinet so they don’t get used inappropriately.
  • Don’t take antibiotics if you don’t need them
  • See your doctor if you have an infection you think is bacterial 

It is estimated that more than half of antibiotics are unnecessarily prescribed, commonly for cough and cold illnesses, most of which are caused by viruses. 

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to be aware of what is going on in the world of health. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

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Healthy Lifestyle Could Help Lower Dementia Risk

July 27th, 2019

Apple sitting next to small weightsA healthy lifestyle can cut your risk of developing dementia, even if you have genes that raise your risk, a large study has found.

New Study on Lifestyle and Dementia

People with high genetic risk and poor health habits were about three times as likely to develop dementia versus those with low genetic risk and good habits, researchers reported on July 14.

Regardless of how much genetic risk someone had a good diet, adequate exercise, limiting alcohol, and not smoking, made dementia less likely.  There are five simple steps you can take:

  1. Balanced diet
  2. Engage in mentally stimulating activities
  3. Moderate alcohol use
  4. No smoking
  5. Vigorous exercise for at least two and half hours a week

Researchers used the UK Biobank to study nearly 200,000 people 60 or older with no signs or symptoms of dementia at the start. Their genetic risk was classified as high, medium or low based on dozens of mutations known to affect dementia. They were also grouped by lifestyle factors.

After about eight years of study, 1.8 percent of those with high genetic risk and poor lifestyles had developed dementia, versus 0.6 percent of folks with low genetic risk and healthy habits. Among those with the highest genetic risk, just over one percent of those with favorable lifestyles developed dementia compared to nearly two percent of those with poor lifestyles.  

People who adopted four or five healthy lifestyle habits reduced their risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 60 percent compared to people who had only one of those healthy behaviors. People who added just one or more of those healthy habits to their lifestyle, regardless of how healthy they were when they started, saw their risk of Alzheimer’s drop by 22 percent.

The limitation is that researchers only had information on mutations affecting people of European ancestry, so it is not known whether the same is true for other racial and ethnic groups. The other limitation is that patients self-reported their own lifestyle.

Results of the study were discussed at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Los Angeles and published online by the “Journal of the American Medical Association.”

What is Dementia?

Dementia causes problems with thinking, memory and reasoning. It happens when the parts of the brain used for learning, memory, decision making, and language, are damaged or diseased. It is not a disease itself; it is a group of symptoms caused by other conditions.

Dementia can be split into two groups based on which part of the brain is affected:

  1. Cortical dementias: These happen because of problems in the cerebral cortex, the outer layer of the brain. They play a critical role in memory and language. People with these types of dementia usually have severe memory loss and can’t remember words or form language.
  2. Subcortical dementias: These happen because of problems in parts of the brain beneath the cortex. People with subcortical dementias tend to show changes in their speed of thinking and ability to start activities.

Usually dementia goes through stages. The stages may vary depending on the area of the brain that is affected:

  1. No impairment: Someone at this stage will show no symptoms, but tests may reveal a problem.
  2. Very mild decline: You may notice slight changes in behavior, but the patient will still be independent.
  3. Mild decline: You’ll notice more changes in thinking and reasoning. The patient may have trouble making plans and repeat themselves a lot. He/she may also have a hard time remembering recent events.
  4. Moderate decline: The patient will have more problems with making plans and remembering recent events. He/she may have a hard time with traveling and handling money.
  5. Moderately severe decline: The patient may not remember his/her phone number. He/she may be confused about the time of day or day of the week. At this point, assistance with some basic day to day functions is needed.
  6. Severe decline: The patient will begin to forget names. He/she will need help going to the restroom and eating. There will also be changes in personality and emotions.
  7. Very severe decline: The patient can no longer speak his/her thoughts. He/she can no longer walk and spends most of the time in bed.

About five to eight percent of adults over age 65 have some form of dementia.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America is here to bring you updates on the world of health.Just think of IAA as your third party health monitor, here to keep you in the know!

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