Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Friday, September 18, 2009

2 Publications In-Press from MSM WWW Study

Filed under: Nursing Science — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 03:30

Publication Cover Publication Cover

I am happy to report that 2 articles I authored based on a study I completed several months ago looking at high-risk sexual activity among men who have sex with men (MSM) have been accepted for publication. The first, “Requests for Safer Sex Among Men Who Have Sex with Men Using the Internet to Meet Sexual Partners: Implications for Healthcare Providers” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Research. The article focuses on safer-sex requests by MSM using a popular Internet sexual networking site to find sex partners and examines specific sex behavior requests which places them at lower risk for HIV and sexually-transmited infections (STIs). The second article, “The Relationship Between Population Size, Requests for Bareback Sex, and HIV Serostatus Among Men Who Have Sex With Men Using the Internet to Meet Sexual Partners” was accepted for publication in the Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment. The article uses data from the same sample and focuses on differences in the rates of unsafe sex requests in-relation to the population size of specific geographic regions. Both articles can be viewed under “Research.” The publication dates, volume, and issue numbers for each are pending.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Circumcision to Become Major CDC Recommendation in US

Filed under: Nursing Science — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 21:31

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After a multitude of studies have found circumcision can reduce HIV infection by almost half in heterosexual men, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is strongly considering making a national health recommendation that all newborn boys be circumcised. Research, largely conducted in Africa where circumcision is rare, indicated the cells which makeup the foreskin of uncircumcised men are highly susceptible to the HIV retrovirus, which greatly enhances the likelihood of HIV transmission and infection from female body fluids during sexual intercourse. While the recommendation is important, the research has not been replicated in gay and bisexual men, who continue to comprise the largest group of Americans who are infected or who are becoming infected with HIV.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Smoking Rates Remain High Among Gays and Lesbians

Filed under: Nursing Science — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 14:55

 imageAccording to the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association, a new study indicates smoking rates are significantly higher among gay men and lesbians. Men and women who are gay or lesbian are more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to smoke, according to findings from a review study carried out by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The findings, published in the August issue of the journal, Tobacco Control, show that as many as 37 percent of lesbians and 33 percent of gay men smoke. That compares to national smoking rates of 18 percent for women and 24 percent for men in the 2006 National Health Interview Survey.  The authors reviewed findings from 42 studies of the prevalence of tobacco use among sexual minorities in the U.S. published between 1987 and May 2007. The findings suggest smoking is a significant health inequality for sexual minorities.

Nurse Practitioners Key to Healthcare Reform

Filed under: Nursing Science,Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 04:08

   During the 2008 election year, the American Nurses Association (ANA) endorsed then-candidate Barack Obama. One of the main reasons the ANA endorsed the President was because of his understanding of the importance of the Nursing profession and its vital role in the United States healthcare system. Today, TIME highlighted several areas of Obama’s healthcare reform bill which specifically refers to the importance of Nurse Practitioners in meeting America’s needs for healthcare, particularly in primary and preventative care settings. Currently, less than 10% of all physicians choose primary and preventative care practice settings. Excerpted from the TIME report: 

“There is an existing group of providers that health reformers are hoping can help fill this gap: Nurse Practitoners. Depending on the state in which they practice, nurse practitioners, with advanced training often including master’s or doctoral degrees in nursing, can often treat and diagnose patients, as well as prescribe medication. And they can do these things at a lower cost than doctors – Medicare, for example, reimburses nurse practitioners 80% of what is paid to physicians for the same services. As part of health reform, the Administration wants more money for the National Health Service Corps, which offers loan forgiveness to primary-care providers – including nurse practitioners as well as doctors – who agree to work in rural and remote areas. But even if these measures encourage more medical students to pursue careers in general practice, it will take years to have a real impact. Nurse practitioners, on the other hand, require fewer years of training and can therefore bump up their ranks faster. In the recently released House health-reform bill, nurse practitioners (and physician’s assistants, another relatively new, but smaller, category of medical professionals who can perform medical procedures and often prescribe medication) are listed alongside doctors as primary-care providers. Nurse practitioners lobbied hard for this legislative language in meetings with White House health officials, including Nancy-Ann DeParle, Obama’s health-reform czar.”

Important to note, research on healthcare outcomes and patient satisfaction has overwhelmingly suggested Nurse Practitoners provide care that is at least comparable to physicians; some studies even show patients rate interactions with Nurse Practitioners more favorably than those with physicians. Obama and Democratic leaders have an uphill battle in getting true healthcare reform, which is so desperately needed in our country, passed. Yet it remains so refreshing to have leadership with a realistic perception of what really is happening in the US healthcare system and is using nursing scientists and professionals in making policy aimed at improving how America accesses and receives healthcare.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Obama Relying Heavily on Nurses for Healthcare Reform

Filed under: Nursing Science — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 16:02

Go to fullsize imageIn an amazingly positive sign, President Barack Obama is working very closely with the nursing profession as he attempts to reform the nation’s healthcare system. Today, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the accrediting body for Schools and Colleges of Nursing within the United States, announced their participation in tonight’s forum on healthcare reform at the White House:

“AACN is pleased to be invited to this high-profile event to continue our work to advance the importance of nurses and nursing education in conversations about healthcare reform,” said AACN President Dr. Fay Raines. “We hope to use this platform to underscore the strategic role schools of nursing play in preparing a highly qualified nursing workforce able to meet the demands of tomorrow’s healthcare system.”

Registered nurses makeup the largest portion of healthcare workers in America and nursing’s input is unbelievably important as our President begins to restructure a system that is currently sailing as strong as the Titanic in-terms of the uninsured, negative reimbursement, and lack of primary care and community-based health. While input from physicians is also paramount, it is refreshing to see President Obama working closely with nursing leaders, who perhaps have a greater understanding of our nation’s healthcare problems, issues, and needs, than any other group of medical professionals.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Smoking Becomes More Expensive in Florida

Filed under: Nursing Science — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 19:59

Go to fullsize imageAs a Nurse Practitioner who has worked in Pulmonary/ Critical Care for the past several years, the news that Florida’s price for a pack of cigarettes is going up $1 effective July 1st is music to my ears! Today, in what will probably be one of the only positive actions of the hopefully short-lived career of Republican Governor Charlie Crist, legislation increasing the price of a pack of cigarettes by $1.00 was signed into law. Estimates indicate this should raise close to $900 million annually.

The funds will go to offset the costs of smoking-related illnesses currently being funded by Medicaid and help fund cancer-related research. The American Lung Association hailed the new legislation as a major victory in the fight to keep Florida smoke-free. Research suggests as costs of cigarettes increase, the number of new smokers decrease. In fact, if every smoker in the United States quit smoking, one out of every three hospitals could permanently shutter their doors! If you are a smoker–make the commitment to stop now! As someone with close to a decade of nursing experience, I can promise you, the road that lies ahead of you in-terms of your health is an awful and torturous one filled with major heart and lung disease. If you need help, visit the American Lung Association Web Site @ http://lungusa.org.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fighting HIV with Antibodies

Filed under: Nursing Science — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 00:55

Go to fullsize imageSome very exciting HIV-related research surfaced today from the Childen’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Headed by Dr. Philip Johnson, a team of scientists have developed genetic therapy which has shown to be highly effective at stopping immune system destruction and disease progression to AIDS. Mice infected with HIV (and monkeys infected with SIV–which elicits AIDS in primates) had an enhanced gene inserted into a piece of muscle tissue, which began developing antibodies which successfully fought-off their HIV infection and protected them from developing AIDS.

In humans, HIV specifically targets CD4 cells, which are essential to immune surveillance. HIV uses an enzyme called reverse transcriptase to convert the CD4 cell into what amounts to an “HIV factory.” Once the cell becomes completely filled with HIV particles, it bursts, which both destroys the cell and allows the virus to circulate and infect other CD4 cells. Eventually, as CD4 lines become depleted and fall to a value less then 200, the individual develops AIDS, marked by lethal opportunistic infections.

Highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) targets HIV from various approaches, most of which stop the virus from attaching to CD4 cells or from replicating once inside. Because HIV is easily susceptible to mutation, finding a vaccination has been very difficult; all vaccine trials thus far have failed. Once an individual becomes infected with HIV, their immune system develops antibodies which are ineffective at killing HIV. HIV tests react to the presence of these antibodies, which is diagnostic for HIV infection.

By developing antibodies which are effective at destroying the virus, scientists would essentially have a cure. But these data shouldn’t be interpreted as a sign of an immediate end to the pandemic. An AIDS vaccine isn’t “in the wings.” Years of work may lie ahead before a product is ready for human use. Nevertheless, the work is a ray of hope for a future. Let’s hope all the new medical discoveries indicate HIV’s days are numbered. Congratulations to this team of scientists!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Courageous “Face”

Filed under: Nursing Science — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 01:10

Connie Culp, the first woman ever to receive a full face transplant from a cadaver, gave her first press conference yesterday at the Cleveland Clinic. 5 years ago, a shotgun bullet blast a hole through Culp’s face. Lucky to even be alive and countless operations since, it is amazing to hear Connie speak about her ordeal and thank the nurses and physicians who assisted her. This women’s spirit really soars and she is to be commended for her courage and amazing resilience.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another Smart Decision by President Obama

Filed under: Nursing Science,Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 05:50

obama.jpgWhile President Obama has vowed he would reverse the ridiculous restrictions placed on stem cell research by the Worst President in the History of the United States, it looks like that action is coming a lot sooner than expected. Within days into his administration, Obama lifted the executive orders affecting stem cell research. Now, it appears he is ready to take more extensive action. Reuters is reporting President Obama will soon issue an executive order which will lift bans on federal funds to sponsor stem cell research.

Medical scientists believe the research could eventually produce cures for a variety of diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, heart disease and spinal cord injuries. Obama vowed to reverse Bush’s ban during his presidential campaign and in his inaugural address last month promised to return science to its proper place in the United States. Bush ignored science in-favor of ignorance, stupidity, and idiocy.

Beyond his stem cell research bans, Bush also declared global warming a “debatable” issue despite sound and solid scientific evidence to the contrary and also ignored the theory of evolution in-favor of “intelligent design” which is the belief a supernatural “spirit” created the Earth and the planets in just seven days  (remember though on the seventh day, he took a break and “rested”), despite the fact humans created the calendar and defined what time constitutes a day! Thank God we are beginning to restore intelligence and integrity back to the United States of America!

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