This Woman’s Plan to Improve the Quality of Life for Dialysis Patients

Due to high rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, blacks and African Americans have an increased risk of developing kidney failure, according to Kidney.org.  As a result, Kidney.org also reports African Americans represent more than 35% of all patients in the United States receiving dialysis for kidney failure. When your kidneys fail the treatment is dialysis to remove waste, salt, and extra water to prevent it from building up in the body.

In honor of National Diabetes Month, we caught up with Eboni Gee—a wife, mom, registered nurse, and woman on a mission to help dialysis patients and their families discover a new normal for their lives. As co-founder of Living With a Purpose, a consulting business and wellness platform, she provides wellness workshops and dialysis classes focused on techniques for organizing medication and doctors’ appointments, controlling fluid intakes, and protecting your bones and heart while mentally handling a life-changing diagnosis.

 

 

Why did you decide to expand your nursing career into entrepreneurial waters?

Living With a Purpose was born out of an awakening. When I first started working with dialysis patients, I noticed I enjoyed helping people see past where they were at the present moment to where they could be. As time went on, it became clear that dialysis patients and their families needed the individualized education and support to decrease their stress and anxiety while maximizing their ability to advocate for themselves.

What’s a common misconception people have about dialysis treatment?

Many people think their kidney function will return. While this might be the case for someone with an acute kidney failure diagnosis, most end-stage renal disease diagnosis is irreversible.

When it comes to diabetes prevention, how can we take better care of ourselves?

  • Practice healthy habits and routines as well as a healthy mindset. Stress creates damage in our bodies and can cause hypertension.
  • Exercise and move our bodies on a regular basis.
  • Pay attention to what you’re eating. Food portions are two to three times what they should be. Ask for only half the meal to be served or eat half and box up the rest.

What resources are available for patients and their families? 

  • Our website provides holistic support and solutions.
  • Kidney Grub has recipes specifically for people with kidney disease. Of course, everyone still has to follow a diet that works for them.
  • The Kidney Connection Podcast covers kidney health and dialysis wellness.

Psychologist Dr. Samantha on Overcoming Our ‘Internal Self-Image Problems’

Psychologist Dr. Samantha Madhosingh is the founder and CEO of ElevateHER, an organization serving women leaders by providing key strategies to rewire their brains, achieve mindset mastery, maximize communication and relationships, and ultimately create a legacy of lasting wealth.

Her cutting-edge, proprietary system is built on principles of neuroscience, human potential, positive psychology, cognitive therapy, leadership, and coaching to deliver fast, life-changing results.

 

(Dr. Samantha Madhosingh. Image: Jin Kim, Jin Kim Studio, Dallas)

 

A frequent media contributor and sought-after expert for both local and national media, “Dr. Samantha” as she is known, has appeared on broadcast TV and is the author of the books Strike it Happy! 101 Reflections to Revolutionize Your Life; the Strike it Happy! journal; and Magnify Your Brilliance: 5 Keys to a Powerful Life.

Black Enterprise caught up with Dr. Samantha to discuss neuroscience and human potential.

 

You’re a brain expert. Explain.

I’ve studied—quite extensively—about how the brain and mind work, as well as how each impact and influence behavior. I am also keenly interested in the mechanisms and processes of the brain that explain how and why people think and behave the way they do.

When you truly understand that the brain’s purpose, from both an evolutionary and biological perspective, is to keep you alive and safe, understanding why people behave the way they do is much easier. Our brain is conditioned by our interactions with everything and everyone in our environment. About 90% of our brain’s processing is unconscious and is influencing our actions without us even thinking about it. We develop biases and preferences because of who and what the brain thinks is safe. I teach my clients how their brain’s conditioning has led to their current biases, beliefs, and behavior patterns; how to unlearn the old conditioning; and how to prime their brain intentionally for what they want to achieve, how they want to be, and act.

 

What’s the connection between the brain and the study of metaphysics?

We create our reality by the meaning our brain forms from our experiences and the words we attach to them. It is from this narrative that our individual “stories” are created, and that we exist in life. Reality, then, is our brain’s interpretation of our physical experience. The very nature of our being is deeply spiritual and energetic, and yet even this is processed by our brain.

 

What critical factors do you think keep most people from reaching their true potential?

Most people have an internal self-image problem: Their deeply held beliefs about who they are and what they are capable of get in the way. This is the result of all the conditioning (and we all have been conditioned) they have received over the years. These internal limits, the point where their brain says, “This is what you deserve,” or “This is all you are capable of” function as sabotage, and in some way help them to “restore” balance. In other words, it helps them to maintain the status quo and allows the brain to rationalize that it is safe.

 

Share a challenge that you were able to overcome with your own brain—and an opportunity that you were able to harness by leveraging its power.

The biggest challenge I have had, and continue to have, is a depressed brain. At various periods in my life, I have succumbed to the damaging wiring and “lies” that my brain and mind have offered. Nevertheless, I have also learned how to create new neuropathways.  With lots of daily practice, I am able to prevent my brain from sliding me into deep darkness. If I listened to my depressed brain, I would not be a speaker, psychologist, writer, or mentor; because I would believe that I have nothing to offer. My own personal growth work is ongoing because our brains are like radars and are always seeking validating evidence for confirmation. The work I do both with my clients and personally continues to strengthen this muscle.

 

What’s your best advice to someone struggling with becoming their best self?

Get curious about your brain’s conditioning and pay closer attention to your thoughts and beliefs. If the language you are constantly using to describe yourself, your life, your work, your impact, your career is negative—then you will keep struggling. Reframe it. Focus on falling in love with and accepting who you are right now, even as you grow and evolve. You are beautifully perfect in all your imperfections. Stop focusing on what you perceive as “wrong” and start using all your gifts and strengths to your advantage.

 

Jay Ellis Named 2018 Ambassador for American Black Film Festival

Jay Ellis 2018 ABFF Ambassador

Actor Jay Ellis, best known for his role on HBO’s Insecure, has been named the 2018 celebrity ambassador for the American Black Film Festival, which was launched by Jeff Friday over two decades ago.

 

 

 

“Jeff’s vision for ABFF and his continued passion to create a platform for storytellers and content creators of color has been inspiring to me and many others,” Ellis said in a press release. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of building on the mission of ABFF.”

The festival returns to Miami next spring for its 22nd year, June 13 to June 18. Recognized as one of the leading film festivals in the world, ABFF is dedicated to fostering talent of African descent—both in front of and behind the camera.

“Diversity and equal opportunity for people of color are just some of ABFF’s main goals for film and television,” Ellis elaborated, in a statement on Instagram. “It’s a platform with a mission to keep moving forward.”

“We are delighted to welcome Jay Ellis to the ABFF family. His commitment to new and diverse stories embodies the mission of this festival,” said Jeff Friday, CEO of ABFF Ventures, in a press release.

In addition to his role as Lawrence on the critically acclaimed Insecure, which screened at ABFF this year, Ellis has a number of impressive acting credits. He starred as Bryce “Blue” Westbrook on the hit BET series The Game and had roles on Masters of Sex, Grace and Frankie, How I Met Your Mother, Grey’s Anatomy, and NCIS.

Ellis is currently on location in Cape Town, South Africa, filming Sony Pictures’ The Maze, for the big screen with producer Neal Moritz. He recently wrapped production on the indie film A Boy. A Girl. A Dream: Love on Election Night, co-starring Omari Hardwick and Meagan Good and directed by Qasim Basir.

“Jay’s career trajectory exemplifies the importance of supporting and uplifting our own. We feel very fortunate to have him as our 2018 ambassador and are excited about what his participation will bring to our event.”

Watch Tiffany Haddish Tell Us How To Stay Healthy This Fall, Like Only She Can

Tiffany Haddish, one of our favorite funny women, is using her talents to encourage people to stay healthy by washing their hands.

Tiffany Haddish Fight Dirty PSA Tiffany Haddish (Photo courtesy of method)

 

“Although some people say I have a dirty mouth, I actually love the feeling of being clean,” said Haddish in a press release. “It was so much fun partnering with Method on this PSA to make the world a cleaner place, one hand wash at a time.”

The spot, named “Fight Dirty” is part of a campaign for “People Against Dirty,” which was created by eco-friendly cleaning brands method and Ecover.

Haddish, whom many consider the breakout star of this summer’s mega-hit film Girls Trip, was recently named “funniest woman alive” by VanityFair.com. Her comedy special, Tiffany Haddish: SHE READY! From the Hood to Hollywood, is available now on Showtime. And she’s slated to star next year in The Last O.G. with Tracy Morgan on TBS.

“Who better than Tiffany Haddish to help Method fight dirty? She’s culturally relevant, super funny, and one of the most sought-after comedic talents today,” said Doug Piwinski, chief marketing officer of People Against Dirty, in a press release.

The mission is to highlight the importance of hand washing, especially as we near the height of cold and flu season. According to People Against Dirty:

  • 80% of common infections are spread by hands, according to the CDC.
  • 111 million workdays will be lost, costing nearly $7 billion in lost productivity between October and May.
  • 1 in 6 people tested positive for fecal bacteria on their hands or mobile devices during a recent study in London.

That last stat underscores the dangers that can be lurking on unwashed hands, and how easily germs and bacteria can spread from dirty hands to dirty phones. According to the CDC, germs can live on the screens of your mobile devices for up to 24 hours.

“One would think that washing your hands after using the restroom is a no-brainer, but Tiffany has turned this seemingly simple act into something memorable, impactful, and shareable.”



 

Black Vote Stops Trump Bump for GOP in Statewide Races on Election Day

The outcome of two major contests—gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey—demonstrated that Donald Trump did not have coattails to carry the GOP to victory.

A year after the election that ushered in the incendiary Trump presidency, Democrats achieved huge wins and a much-needed momentum boost on Election Day after recent intraparty controversies and a series of special election defeats earlier this year. But the successful campaigns proved the value of coalition politics and, the contest in Virginia, in particular, demonstrated that African American voter turnout continues to prove critical for Democratic fortunes.

As the Democrats take a victory lap—the party also gained important local victories in New York and North Carolina—the results of these contest will force the leadership of both parties to re-evaluate their strategic thrust and voter messaging as they prepare for next year’s rough-and-tumble mid-term elections.

Virginia’s Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam overcame a racially-divisive campaign to trounce Republican challenger Ed Gillespie in a landslide victory in what veteran political analyst Larry Sabato told CBS News was a clear “repudiation of Trump.”

 

(Ralph Northam is the new governor-elect of Virginia. Image: Twitter/RalphNortham)

 

Moreover, a bit of history was also made on election night when 38-year-old Democratic state senator Justin Fairfax became the second African American to be elected as Virginia’s lieutenant governor—32 years after L. Douglas Wilder achieved that milestone. The significance of that victory is that the position has traditionally served as the path to high office. In fact, Wilder became the first African American elected governor in the Old Dominion and the nation four years later in 1989.

 

(Justin Fairfax is the lieutenant governor-elect of Virginia. Image: fairfaxforlg.com)

 

In other races: New Jersey Democratic nominee Phil Murphy beat Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno to take the governor’s mansion in the Garden State–a referendum on the scandal-plagued administration of the nation’s most unpopular governor, Chris Christie. Moreover, history was made in that statewide contest with the election of Sheila Oliver, who became the first African American female lieutenant governor of New Jersey.

Incumbent Bill de Blasio easily won re-election to gain a second term as mayor of New York City.

The Virginia governor’s race offered a real litmus test on the immunity of Trump’s appeal as well as the development of a strategy for Dems to gain congressional seats in 2018. Political analyst Zerlina Maxwell told CBS News on election night that a major part of the equation will continue to include African American voters; a major contributor to the sweeping victories of Northam and Fairfax and reportedly the greatest Democratic power shift in the State Legislature in more than 40 years.

According to The Washington Post, exit poll results showed that African Americans comprised 21% of voters, similar to the participation in the 2016 presidential election that delivered Hillary Clinton the second highest statewide turnout. In fact, the black electorate favored Northam over Gillespie by a whopping 73-point margin, according to the Post.

Democrats heavily courted black Virginian voters in the weeks leading up to the election—even recruiting former President Barack Obama to hold an October rally in Richmond, the state capital as well as getting him to record an endorsement message as part of the campaign’s get-out-the-vote effort. In the final days, Northam and Fairfax brought out other high-profile black politicians, New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker and Minnesota Rep. and Deputy DNC Chair Keith Ellison.

(Barack Obama with Justin Fairfax and Ralph Northam. Image: Twitter/Justin Fairfax)

 

There had been concerns prior to the election related to black voter participation due, in part, to Northam’s inability to connect in earlier stages of his campaign. Black voter turnout had also declined nationally in the post-Obama era. But myriad Democrats predicted a surge as a result of this past summer’s deadly rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia, by white supremacists. According to Politico, BlackPac, an independent organization that spent more than $1 million in mail, digital, media, and grassroots voter outreach, found that African American voters throughout the state have been alarmed by the current political environment. In fact, its poll found that 54% of black voters believed people of color were under siege and 73% embraced the statement that their vote would “send a resounding message to Trump.”

DNC Political and Organizing Director Amanda Brown Lierman released the following statement: “The DNC knows that the victories we celebrate would be impossible without the massive support from the African American men and women who made up a fifth of the commonwealth’s electorate. Undoubtedly, a cornerstone of our party, black voters continued to surge to the polls in a tremendous way, set the tone for future elections and paved the way for government that truly represents them.”

Northam’s campaign was also buoyed by overwhelming diverse voter support from Northern Virginia and the fact that Trump has an overall 35% approval rate in the state.

Trump endorsed but did not openly campaign for Gillespie, who used race-baiting tactics like the airing of negative TV ads aimed at immigration, attempting to link the Northam campaign to “Latino gang violence” despite protests from Democrats and Latino groups of the promotion of racial stereotypes. He also supported protection of Confederate monuments, an approach in which Trump tweeted his support during his campaign, and mocked the NFL protests against racial inequality and police brutality inspired by quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem. And although he tried to distance himself from Trump, Gillespie aggressively campaigned using the pugnacious politician’s playbook, especially the stance against sanctuary cities.

After Gillespie’s defeat, however, Trump blasted the former GOP chairman on Twitter: “Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for. Don’t forget Republicans won 4 out of 4 House seats, and with the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!”

In a victory speech in Virginia, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez began positioning the party for the 2018 races by asserting that Northam’s gubernatorial victory “sent a message” to Trump, who is currently on a tour of Asia: “The America that Donald Trump comes back to in a few days is far different than the America he left. It’s an America, where we are regaining our values.”

Perez later tweeted an early appeal to constituents and party members: “Tonight was a great night for Democrats, but now more than ever, we know we can’t get ahead of ourselves. Sign up to make today’s victories tomorrow’s victories too.”

 

 

One Benefit of Being Black: We’re More Resilient to Stress

By all accounts, being black in America is stressful. But African Americans seem to have found a way to prevent some of the effects of that stress.

 

 

(Image: iStock/g-stockstudio)

 

Researcher Shervin Assari and his colleagues, through numerous studies, have shown that blacks seem to overcome many of the factors—such as lower educational attainment, increased anger and hostility, feelings of hopelessness, and a high number of stressful life events—that usually lead to mental and physical disorders.

Even having a greater number of depressive symptoms early on didn’t lead blacks to the same higher risk of chronic medical conditions or higher mortality rates as their white counterparts.

Assari, assistant professor of psychiatry and public health at the University of Michigan, writes in an article for The Conversation:

Research, including work I have done with my colleagues at the University of Michigan, demonstrates that although white Americans are, on average, the “healthiest group,” they are also, on average, far less “resilient” than black Americans. It seems that vulnerability is a cost of privilege, and resilience comes as a result of adversity.

He goes on to write that:

White Americans seem to be more vulnerable to certain psychosocial risk factors for a wide range of physical and mental health outcomes compared to minority groups. In other words, they are less resilient—less able to successfully adapt to life tasks in the face of highly adverse conditions.

One of the studies showed that blacks and Hispanics had a lower risk for depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and social phobia. And that blacks, specifically, had lower risk for panic disorder, substance use disorders, and impulse control disorders.

Another study showed that the prevalence of a lifetime major depressive disorder was significantly lower in blacks, at 10.4%, than whites, at 17.9%. But it did note that the burden of the disorder was higher on blacks, who received treatment less often and were more likely to rate their disorder as severe.

So why is it that blacks, despite having more stress, are less susceptible to that stress leading to mental and physical health problems? Assari theorizes that it’s because blacks, through their history of adversity, have learned to deal:

Minority groups … have consistently lived under economic and social adversities which has given them firsthand experience and ability to believe that they can handle the new stressors. For blacks, a stressor is anything but new. They have mastered their coping skills.

So as Assari himself puts it, for blacks, it’s basically true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

 

[OPINION]: Thousands Visit Detroit for The Women’s Convention Inspired to Create Change

On Jan. 21, 2017, the largest single-day protest took place in U.S. history at the Women’s March. The momentum and energy from that event was an experience of a lifetime. Lives were changed and many women went back to their communities to continue the efforts for change.

(Image: womensconvention.com)

 

During the weekend of Oct. 27–29 in Detroit, over 5,000 attendees came together at the Cobo Center for the first-of-its-kind Women’s Convention in 40 years. The inaugural event brought together thousands of first-time activists, women who’ve organized locally and nationally, students, movement leaders, politicians, and more. Attendees were from Los Angeles, New York, D.C., Chicago, Florida, Oklahoma, and more.

Confronting White Womanhood

 

The theme of the convention was “Reclaiming Our Time,” this was in honor of Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ viral phrase “reclaiming my time.” The event had over 170 workshops and 400 speakers and panelists. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about wellness as it relates to activism, fighting for gender equality, how to plan a rally in less than 24 hours, strategies on building a new vision for safety to overcome mass incarnation, strategies for organizing in schools and communities for youth, and combating sexual violence within the community.

One of the most popular sessions was “Confronting White Womanhood,” which led organizers to create a repeat session on Saturday due to the overwhelming demand. The convention also included a Social Justice Concert with Melanie Fiona, Alice Smith, BombaRica, V. Bozeman, Jessica Care Moore, and more.

From the moment the convention started, the energy was infectious and electric. The opening remarks included speeches from Women’s March co-Chairs Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour; Tarana Burke; the original founder of the #MeToo campaign; actress Rose McGowan; activist Rosa Clemente; and more. That set the momentum that would run throughout the weekend. After a full day of sessions, Friday night remarks included Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

Maxine Waters: “Creep, Get Off My Back!”

 

On Saturday, Congresswoman Maxine Waters was honored and gave a speech that spoke to sexual harassment, sharing that the issue is beyond Hollywood. She also warned those who are trying to divide the women’s resistance movement to “go to hell.” She started the catchphrase “reclaiming my time.” Another one that will surface soon, is “creep, get off my back.” This came as Waters was telling the attendees about Trump walking near Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in an intrusive and intimidating manner during a 2016 debate. “Hillary should have said: ‘Creep, get off my back!’” Waters said. Wrapping up the speech Waters had the crowd on their feet cheering and chanting “Impeach 45.”

As the weekend came to a close, a very important question was answered during the final discussion “Where Do We Go From Here?” The panel was moderated by Mallory. Panelists were Angela Rye, Carmen Perez, Bob Bland, and Donnell R. White. The speakers encouraged attendees to go local when it comes to creating change. Rye referenced Martin Luther King’s 1967 speech Where Do We Go From Here and broke it down into three prongs. She advised the crowd to, “bank black, give black, and buy black.” She continued to share that “black women are the largest group of entrepreneurs” and encouraged attendees to support black-owned businesses.

Where do we go from here is a loaded question, but the people who attended the Women’s Convention are up for the challenge. Many left feeling a bittersweet emotion, clarity, rejuvenated, and ready to take action. Although there is much work to be done, this event was a strong follow up from the march.

5 Black-Owned Cosmetic Products to Treat Acne and Dark Marks for People of Color

acne

Many people get an occasional zit here and there, but dealing with constant acne can be extremely frustrating, especially for people of color. In addition to suffering from blackheads, razor bumps, and pimples, people with brown skin share common skincare concerns such as acne-related dark marks due to hyperpigmentation. Those with skin of color are also commonly subjected to an uneven skin tone and overactive sebaceous glands.

To make matters worse, finding an acne treatment designed for melanin-rich skin can be a challenge since many products contain ingredients that are harmful to those with darker complexions. Benzoyl peroxide, for example, can cause irritation, while salicylic acid can cause skin to become too dry and, subsequently, create more oil.

Fortunately, there are several skincare products designed for people of color and by people color that address the unique challenges darker-skinned folks face. Here are five black-owned beauty lines that treat acne for black and brown people.

 

SheaMoisture’s African Black Soap Facial Regimen

(Image: www.sheamoisture.com)

 

Founded in Harlem in 1991, Shea Moisture is a top-selling personal care company for millions of black consumers that focuses on shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. In addition, the company makes black soap-based acne products that gently exfoliate, cleanse, and moisturize skin while helping to control breakouts. Made with natural and organic ingredients, SheaMoisture’s African Black Soap Facial Regimen helps absorb excess oil and detoxify skin, leaving skin refreshed and clearer looking.

“Formulations include African Black Soap, a natural remedy for blemishes, troubled skin and Tamarind Extract, a natural astringent which helps exfoliate and brighten skin. Tea Tree Oil promotes healing with naturally antiseptic properties,” states the website.

The kit includes:

  • Acne Prone Face & Body Bar
  • Problem Skin Facial Wash & Scrub
  • Problem Skin Moisturizer
  • Problem Skin Facial Mask

Price: $19.99


Foxie Bombs’ Roses Are Red

 

(Image: Instagram/FoxieCosmetics)

 

The Roses Are Red facial mask promises to balance, rejuvenate, and detox skin. Plus, it’s infused with rosewater, which has antibacterial properties that help prevent acne, and rose petals, which treat acne, shrink pores, and are full of vitamin C and antioxidants.

The vegan-friendly mask was handcrafted by Kayla Phillips, who founded Foxie Bombs Cosmetics in 2015. The beauty line also produces bath bombs, soaps, and other products for body, skin, and hair care.

Price: $26


The Afro Hair & Skin Co.’s FLOW

(Image: Instagram/afrohairandskinco)

 

FLOW – Perfectly Balanced Facial Oil is a serum that combines black currant seed oil with organic ylang-ylang flower, a balancing floral oil that helps to prevent flare-ups and the overproduction of oil, which is a known factor in the causes of acne, pimples, and breakouts. It is produced by The Afro Hair & Skin Co., an independent beauty and wellness business founded by Ibi Meier-Oruitemeka.

Price: $19.50


Leland Francis’ Luxe Face Oil

(Image: www.lelandfrancis.com)

 

Luxe Face Oil by Leland Francis is a blend of 16 mostly organic lightweight and natural oils that hydrates the skin and helps fade stubborn dark spots. It also includes argan oil, an ancient remedy for acne and scars. Celebrity makeup artist Dillon Pena created Leland Francis as an alternative for people who wish to use effective and 100% natural skin products, rather than harsh chemicals.

Price: $98


Farsail’s The One

 

(Image: Instagram/farsalicare)

 

The One is a gentle, non-drying, antioxidant-rich cleanser that rapidly dissolves makeup and impurities. It is infused with eight organic plant extracts that combat inflammation, acne, uneven tone, oiliness, and enlarged pores. The mild cream cleanser is produced by Farsali, an international, cruelty-free cosmetic line created by Sal Ali.

Price: $24.95

Nurse Alice: An Innovative Treatment for Blindness

A potentially groundbreaking treatment for a rare form of blindness moved one step closer to U.S. approval last week, as federal health advisers endorsed the experimental gene therapy for patients with an inherited condition that gradually destroys eyesight.

(Image: iStick/XiXinXing)

The panel of experts to the FDA voted unanimously in favor of Spark Therapeutics’ injectable therapy, Luxturna, which aims to improve vision by replacing a defective gene needed to process light.

Inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) are a group of rare blinding conditions caused by one of more than 220 different genes. Some people living with IRDs experience a gradual loss of vision, eventually leading to complete blindness. Others may be born with or experience vision loss in infancy or early childhood.

If approved, Luxturna would be the first gene therapy in the United States for an inherited disease and the first in which a corrective gene is given directly to patients.

Doctors deliver the therapy with an injection in each eye that inserts a replacement gene into the retina via a modified virus.

In their experimental genetic study, one year after treatment 18 out 20 patients who received the injection showed the maximum improvement in completing a study-designed obstacle course, and 13 completed the task at the lowest level of light needed showing an improvement in vision. None of the patients in the non-therapy comparison group did.

The FDA has until mid-January 2018,to make a decision and does not have to follow the recommendation of the panel experts, although often it does.

What do you foresee the FDA deciding? Is curing blindness enough reason to move forward with experimental genetic therapy? Or will the lack of research and knowledge about the side effects of genetic therapy blindside their decision? What are your questions or comments? Let me know. You can post them on Twitter or Facebook using #AskNurseAlice or email them to info@AskNurseAlice.com.

Nurse Alice: Wendy Williams’ Live TV Health Scare As Assessed by a Healthcare Professional

Who was watching Wendy Williams on Halloween and gasped when she took a tumble? Although we were all relieved to see her be the trooper we know her to be and come back and finish the show—here are some important takeaways to consider.

First off, we love you, Wendy. We know the show must go on but please take care of yourself.

 

 

(Image: Instagram/wendyshow)

 

Although I am not a part of Wendy’s healthcare team and don’t know her medical history, as a veteran advanced practice nurse and someone who has spent most of my career in critical care and now the emergency room—my first impression was OMG, is Wendy having a stroke? And many other people thought the same thing and here’s why …

We love Wendy and wish her well but just like the American Heart and Stroke Association, I want people to think F.A.S.T

Look for:

F – Face. Ask the person to smile to look for facial droop or asymmetry.

A – Arm. Ask the person to hold their arms out. Does one arm drift downward?

S – Speech. Ask the person to say a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

T – Time. If anyone displays these or other signs of stroke, call 911 immediately.

This is important because time is tissue. The more time that passes without treatment the more brain tissue is injured and increases the possibility of permanent damage. Strokes can present differently in people and we can’t predict their severity so the best thing is to call 911 and get medical attention.

So let’s be clear—I’m NOT diagnosing Wendy. And let’s be honest – EVERYONE who was watching was worried about what was happening and many people watching (even non-health professionals) had the same concerns that she was having a stroke because …

F – She had facial asymmetry. When you compared her eyes—the right side of her face stayed the same while the left was exaggerated in response.

A –  Although no one asked her to hold her arms out for drift. We know she had muscle weakness because she stumbled, raised one arm higher than the other when reaching for her head and ultimately was so weak she collapsed.

S – Her speech was slurred. She was talking just fine and then it changed. Instead of saying “our first guest” it came out as “our fursst caress.”

T – Time! The show went dark for a second but she came back to finish. Deep down I was hoping she was going to take the time off to get medical attention. We all would have understood.

When someone presents to the ED with symptoms of a stroke – health professionals work quickly as if it were a stroke until proven otherwise. And the reason is that we want to rule out the most serious cause FIRST. And then once a stroke is ruled out we can look into other things like being overheated, having low blood sugar, exhaustion, etc. If a stroke is identified right away there are timely interventions we can perform within a specific time frame. We look at presenting symptoms and confirm them with CT scans, MRIs, blood tests, and a more detailed physical and neurological assessment. There is also an important clot buster medication called TPA we can give within a 3-hour (sometimes 4.5- hour) window of symptom onset if it is, in fact, a stroke caused by a blood clot.

And for those who use the term mini-stroke because symptoms resolve, those are called TIAs (transient ischemic attacks). The risk factors and symptoms are similar to strokes, and symptoms resolve on their own but they are red flags that a person may have a stroke in the future. For more information about strokes and TIAs, please visit stroke.org.

Could it truly have been that Wendy was overheated in her costume (aka heat stroke)? Absolutely! But only her doctor would be able to clearly say that and after a medical work-up and further assessment. But even if you’ve been overheated in the past and pass out—that’s not healthy for you. And it also doesn’t make you exempt from having a stroke in the future so don’t always dismiss changes in your health to minor things.

The takeaway message here for people is: don’t just assume. If anyone presents with signs that could possibly be a stroke, please call 911. Act like their life depends on it. You’d want someone to act on your behalf if it were you. Your life and health are too important to dismiss unexplained health issues. Dehydration and overheating are real but wouldn’t you want to know for sure that you weren’t having a stroke? And if it was a stroke, wouldn’t you want to get to a hospital early enough so you could receive stroke saving medications and therapy? And even if it weren’t a stroke, you can rest assured of that and begin to work on whatever the cause was and work on preventing it from happening again. Listen to your body.

What do you think? Do you have some questions or want to make a comment? I’d love to hear from you. You can post them on Twitter or Facebook using #AskNurseAlice or email them to info@AskNurseAlice.com.