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Public health leadership paramount to emerging coronavirus pandemic

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine and Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, and collaborators, discuss the urgent need for public health leadership in the wake of the emerging coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Credit: Florida Atlantic University

For decades, public health officials have directed the containment of emerging pandemics—perhaps most notably—the worldwide eradication of smallpox starting in the early to mid-1960s. Since then, surveillance systems have increased in number and sophistication with advances in data collection, analysis, and communication. From influenza to smallpox, the establishment of systematic reporting systems and prompt action based on results have enabled public health officials to lead the charge in containing emerging pandemics.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine and Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, in collaboration with the Christine E. Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Center, Boca Raton Regional Hospital/ Baptist Health South Florida and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, have published a commentary online ahead of print in the American Journal of Medicine about the urgent need for leadership in the wake of the emerging (COVID-19) pandemic.

Their message? Public health leaders, namely, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, whom they liken as the “Babe Ruth” of virology, should guide the nation and other comparable world leaders through this pandemic and ensure preparedness for the challenges ahead.

Over the course of a decade spanning the tenures of U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, using evidence-based leadership, led the U.S. and worldwide efforts that resulted in smallpox becoming the first human disease ever eradicated from the face of the earth. At the helm of this effort were Alexander D. Langmuir,

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Style of language influences credibility and trust

Young family searching for online health information. Credit: Lars König/Regina Jucks

More and more, people are using internet forums as the first place to look for information on health issues. However, the scientific medical information being provided there is often so complex that laypeople are barely able to form considered judgements on the content of much of the advice. One criterion which users apply instead in evaluating the information is the style of the language used. This is the result of the research carried out by psychologists at the University of Münster (Germany). In an online experiment, the test persons placed greater trust in authors in health forums—and also found their recommendations more credible—when the articles were formulated in a neutral style, rather than containing many positive adjectives. The study has been published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

In an online experiment, the researchers showed articles in a health forum, formulated in different ways, to 242 test persons. The articles contained an author’s assessment, in reply to a woman’s enquiry, as to how effective a certain medication was. Depending on the test conditions, the test persons read either a piece of advice containing a large number of positive adjectives such as “outstanding” and “excellent,” or a comment formulated in a neutral way. The result was that the test persons rated the author of the article with the positive language as being less trustworthy. They attributed to him not only a lower level of goodwill and integrity, but also more manipulative intentions. The advice offered by the author was also considered to be less credible than that given in the neutrally formulated article.

The author’s professional background, on the other hand, had no influence on the assessments given by the users. In the experiment the author described himself

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Free Light Chains: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

What is a free light chains test?

Light chains are proteins made by plasma cells, a type of white blood cell. Plasma cells also make immunoglobulins (antibodies). Immunoglobulins help protect the body against illness and infections. Immunoglobulins are formed when light chains link up with heavy chains, another type of protein. When light chains link up with heavy chains, they are known as bound light chains.

Normally, plasma cells make a small amount of extra light chains that don’t bind with heavy chains. They are instead released into the bloodstream. These unlinked chains are known as free light chains.

There are two types of light chains: lambda and kappa light chains. A free light chains test measures the amount of lambda and kappa free light chains in the blood. If the amount of free light chains is higher or lower than normal, it can mean you have a disorder of the plasma cells. These include multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells, and amyloidosis, a condition that causes a dangerous buildup of proteins in different organs and tissues.

Other names: free kappa/lambda ratio, kappa/lambda quantitative free light, freelite, kappa and lambda free light chains, immunoglobulin free light chains

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D-Dimer Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

What do the results mean?

If your results show low or normal D-dimer levels in the blood, it means you probably don’t have a clotting disorder.

If your results show higher than normal levels of D-dimer, it may mean you have a clotting disorder. But it cannot show where the clot is located or what type of clotting disorder you have. Also, high D-dimer levels are not always caused by clotting problems. Other conditions that can cause high D-dimer levels include pregnancy, heart disease, and recent surgery. If your D-dimer results were not normal, your provider will probably order more tests to make a diagnosis.

If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

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