Study: Hand rinsing can reduce contraction of gastrointestinal illnesses
RESTON, Va. New research out of the U.S. Geological Survey has determined that hand rinsing effectively may reduce exposure to microbes that cause gastrointestinal illnesses commonly found in beach sand.
“Cleaning our hands before eating really works, especially after handling sand at the beach,” stated Richard Whitman, the lead author of the study. “Simply rinsing hands may help reduce risk, but a good scrubbing is the best way to avoid illness.”
For this study, scientists measured how many E. coli bacteria could be transferred to people’s hands when they dug in sand. They analyzed sand from the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago. Using past findings on illness rates, scientists found that if individuals were to ingest all of the sand and the associated biological community retained on their fingertip, 11 individuals in 1,000 would develop symptoms of gastrointestinal illness. Ingestion of all material on the entire hand would result in 33 of 1,000 individuals developing gastrointestinal illness.
In a further laboratory experiment, USGS scientists determined that submerging one’s hands four times in clean water removed more than 99% of the E. coli and associated viruses from the hands.
In recent years, USGS scientists have discovered that concentrations of E. coli bacteria in beach sand are often much higher than those in beach water. Follow-up research at beaches around the nation by many scientists has resulted in similar findings, although the amount of bacteria in sand varies depending on the beach. Although beach water is monitored for E. coli as mandated in the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act (BEACH Act 2000), beach sand is not currently monitored for contamination.
Recent analysis of seven beaches across the nation by the University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency showed that beachgoers digging in sand were more likely to develop gastrointestinal illness after a day at the beach compared to those not digging in sand. The association with these illnesses was even stronger for individuals who reported being partially covered up in sand. Because children played in the sand more frequently and were more likely to get sand in their mouths, they were more likely to develop gastrointestinal illness after a day at the beach.
“The excess illnesses we observed among those exposed to sand generally consisted of mild gastrointestinal symptoms, but it is a good idea to be sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after digging or playing in the sand,” stated Chris Heaney, lead author of the UNC study.
E. coli is an indicator of recent sewage contamination and if it is present, pathogens harmful to human health are also likely present. The origin of these bacteria is often unknown. They can persist throughout the swimming season, remaining a potential contamination source to beach visitors.
Results of these studies highlight the need to intensify efforts to determine sources of microbial contamination to beaches and associated risk of playing in beach sand.
Study: Stomach bugs increase risk of IBD
NEW YORK Diarrheal disease may increase a person’s risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease, according to a study published in Gastroenterology.
IBD refers to a group of conditions, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, marked by chronic inflammation in the intestines, leading to such symptoms as abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Henrik Nielsen, M.D., from Aarhaus University Hospital in Aalborg, Denmark, and colleagues reported in the latest issue of the journal that over the course of 7.5 years, IBD was diagnosed for the first time in far more gastroenteritis patients 1.2% of patients were diagnosed with IBD, compared with 0.5% of healthy control subjects.
Nielsen and colleagues compared the risks of IBD between 13,148 patients with documented gastroenteritis caused by salmonella or campylobacter and 26,216 uninfected controls.
Stomach bug patients had nearly a threefold increased risk of developing IBD over the entire study period, and nearly a twofold increased risk in the first year after infection.
Advanced Vision Research founder dies
WOBURN, Mass. Jeffrey Gilbard, 55, founder of Advanced Vision Research, died Aug. 12 at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston from complications related to a bicycle accident.
Gilbard was best known for his pioneering research around dry eye disease, a condition caused by a chronic lack of moisture in the eye. He also is considered one of the first ophthalmologists and researchers to understand the correlation between nutrition and the health and wellness of the eye.
“Jeff Gilbard was an innovative, gifted ophthalmologist and researcher, who made several important contributions to our profession,” stated Edward Holland, director of Cornea Service at the Cincinnati Eye Institute. “He was the first person to understand the importance of tear film osmolarity and his development of hypotonic artificial tears containing bicarbonate and potassium is a landmark event in the treatment of dry eye disease. Dr. Gilbard was on the forefront of the treatment of ocular disease and nutritional supplements. Dr. Gilbard’s legacy will be the scientific papers he authored, the revolutionary products he developed to help patients with ocular surface and retinal disease and most notably the people whose lives he’ll continue to improve.”
“Our company is grieving the loss of its founder and our close friend, Dr. Jeffrey Gilbard,” stated Leigh Reynolds, Advanced Vision Research COO. “Over the past 12 years, I have worked closely with [Gilbard] to build AVR. Jeff’s vision for AVR to make products to prevent suffering due to dry eye and other eye diseases was very clear. We will continue his mission of improving people’s quality of life. This is what [Gilbard] would want us to do and there’s no better tribute to him than to continue his work.”
“[Gilbard] was blessed with extraordinary intellect and dedication,” commented Neil Donnenfeld, SVP global sales and marketing. “He combined the two and made a significant difference in the world. He had no greater satisfaction than to hear that one of AVR’s products helped a dry-eye sufferer — and he heard that frequently. His legacy will live on through the relief that dry-eye sufferers receive when they use one of his products. We have lost a giant of a man.”
Gilbard founded Advanced Vision Research in 1995 to market and distribute TheraTears, an over-the-counter eye drop for dry eye. TheraTears quickly became one of the best-selling eye lubricants on the market. His holistic approach to eye care included the use of nutritional supplements to improve the ocular surface and to treat and prevent retinal disease. This research resulted in additional products including TheraTears Nutrition, Macutrition and NutriDox.
The AVR executive team will led by COO Reynolds, who will continue to run the company. Donnenfeld and Ruth Webb, controller, will continue in their respective capacities.Born Feb. 19, 1954 and raised in Roslyn, N.Y., he was the son of a self-educated New York business entrepreneur Harris Gilbard and mother Frances Gilbard. He attended Brown University, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree, Magna Cum Laude in 1975. He received his medical degree in 1979 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He was an Intern in Internal Medicine at Stanford University Medical Center and served his Ophthalmology residency at Harvard Medical School in the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. He remained at Harvard as a Heed Fellow in Cornea. He was a clinical assistant professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Dry Eye and Ocular Surface Disease Clinic at the New England Eye Center in Boston.
Dr. Jeffrey Gilbard is survived by his beloved wife of 19 years, Liz and his three children, who he adored and nurtured. He also leaves behind his twin brother Dr. Steven M. Gilbard, his older brother Dr. Robert J. Gilbard. A memorial service will take place on Monday at 11:00 am at Temple Shir Tikva, 141 Boston Post Road, Wayland, Mass.