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Pro-choice advocates: Law is not good health policy

JACKSON, Miss (WJTV) – Not everyone is excited about the new abortion law. 

Protestors were outside the state’s only abortion clinic in Jackson. Critics are unhappy the bill even reached the Governor’s desk. 

Shannon Brewer with the Jackson Women’s Health Organization says the bill could have a negative impact on women all over the state.

“I’m not trying to convince anybody to be pro-choice, I’m not trying to convince anybody to get an abortion. that’s not what we’re here for. if you feel like you wouldn’t have an abortion, that’s fine. but that’s your opinion. why is it ok for them to have theirs….and okay for the next person to not have theirs. they don’t want women speaking up for themselves.”

Brewers says she feels the bill is just a vehicle for the Supreme Court to rule on in order to overturn Roe v. Wade which is protected in the Constitution.


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Your Good Health: 1960s measles vaccines effective, or inadequate

Dear Dr. Roach: In a recent column on the measles vaccine, you wrote: “Older people may lose immunity, and some people born between 1963 and 1967 may have received an inactive vaccine.” Wait, what?! How do we know if we were not properly vaccinated, and what should we do about it?


There were two types of measles vaccines available between 1963 and 1967. One type was a live, attenuated vaccine, and there were three strains given: the Schwarz, Edmonston B and Moraten strains. If given on or after the first birthday, these strains continue to provide lifelong immunity.

A second, killed vaccine was available only during those years, and was frequently given as a series of two or three injections. People who received the killed vaccine are at risk for developing a condition called atypical measles (an immune-mediated disease with high fevers, rash, and frequent lung symptoms) if they are exposed to a person with measles.

If you have your original vaccination record, it should say what type of vaccine you received. If it doesn’t, or if you received the killed vaccine, you should consider yourself inadequately vaccinated. High antibody titers by blood testing is not sufficient.

Not everybody who is inadequately vaccinated needs to run out and get the vaccine. However, people planning international travel (there are several areas of measles outbreaks in Europe) or people who are in an area of the United States with measles outbreaks (New York and New Jersey had outbreaks in 2018) and at high risk for exposure (including first responders) should be revaccinated with two doses of MMR vaccine (there is no single-dose measles vaccine).

Dear Dr. Roach: Your recent article was pro-vaccination. I also have been pro-vaccination until recently, when my daughter brought to my attention that the vast majority of vaccines are made with aborted fetal tissue. I checked and found this to be the truth. I am appalled that this fact is not publicized and that I have had vaccines made with aborted fetal tissue. That I have unintentionally participated in the murder of innocent children through vaccination is a betrayal of my trust in the medical profession and my personal faith. You may find that this is the major reason for the decline in vaccination rates. There should be an informed consent before any vaccination occurs with the option of being vaccinated with a serum that is not contaminated with fetal tissue.


In July 1962, a pregnant woman was exposed to rubella and underwent a therapeutic abortion, given the high likelihood of severe fetal damage. The cells from this fetus (called WI-38, for the Wistar Institute) were used, and continue to be used, to produce the rubella vaccine, which requires a cell line. From this one fetus, over 300 million doses of rubella vaccine have been produced. It is certainly not the case that production of the vaccine requires any additional abortions, nor has there ever been fetal tissue in any vaccine, as vaccines are purified extensively.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center wrote an opinion, which states: “One is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine. This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them.”

From one family’s tragedy came cells that have prevented 11 million deaths and 4.5 billion cases of disease. It is my position that using the vaccine honours that loss.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to

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Good Health with Sullivan County Community Hospital


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Finland UN official Kai Sauer slams Nikki Haley over her health care remarks


Former Trump administration diplomat Nikki Haley who was an ambassador at the United Nations reportedly has a high rate for speaking events. Veuer’s Justin Kircher has more.

Finland’s United Nations representative defended the country’s health care on Wednesday after Nikki Haley appeared to knock the Finnish system in a string of tweets.

It all started after Haley, the U.S.’s former U.N. ambassador, dug up a weeks-old tweet from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.

On March 6, Sanders tweeted that it costs “on average, $12,000″ to have a baby in the United States. 

“In Finland it costs $60,” he added, before injecting part of his campaign platform. ”We’ve got to end the disgrace of our profit-driven health care system and pass Medicare for all.”

Haley retweeted the tweet Wednesday with a critique of Sanders, telling the senator “you’re not the woman having the baby so I wouldn’t be out there talking about skimping on a woman when it comes to childbirth. Trust me! Nice try though.” 

Maternal deaths and injuries: Top 10 takeaways from USA TODAY investigation of hospitals

Maternal health: What states aren’t doing to save new mothers’ lives

It’s what she said next that would catch the attention of Kai Sauer, Finland’s permanent representative to the U.N.

“Health care costs are too high that is true but comparing us to Finland is ridiculous. Ask them how their health care is. You won’t like their answer,” she said.

A few hours later, Sauer responded in a series of tweets.

“Here are some facts: Finland has a high performing health system, with remarkable good quality in both primary and hospital care. The country also achieves good health status at relatively low level (sic) of health spending,” he said.

He then moved to the debate that started it all: maternal care. 

“Finland has the world’s third lowest infant mortality rate,” he said. “Maternal mortality is the lowest in the world in Finland.” The country, he claimed, also has the second lowest total mortality from cancer of European Union countries. His short rant finished with a link to a news article naming Finland the happiest country in the world.

“Apologies for the delayed reply,” he said, “but we were out celebrating our rank as the happiest country in the world.”

The U.S. has the highest maternal death rate among the world’s developed nations and it’s been getting worse. Two women die in childbirth almost every day in the U.S., that’s about 700 per year.

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Your Good Health: Nightly visions of people over bed a sign of dementia

Dear Dr. Roach: I am an extremely healthy 76-year-old woman. Almost every night, I am startled awake by visions of people standing over my bed. It’s usually once, but can happen up to three times in a night. It’s often after being asleep for an hour and a half.

They’re not dreams. Something wakes me up, and that is when I see a man or a couple or a child standing around my bed or attempting to jump onto the bed. Though it lasts only seconds, my heart hammers and I jump out of bed to chase “them” away, and even checking the door locks. Then I sort of come around and pretty much laugh at myself. As it’s quite frightening, I believe I shout out, and it takes me a bit to calm back down.

I take no prescription drugs nor sleep-inducing medicine. Why am I experiencing this? What actually wakes me up to see these visions? Otherwise, I sleep very well. I would greatly appreciate your insight or any advice as to who I might talk with about it.


I hesitate to tell you, but what I am concerned about most is a condition called dementia with Lewy bodies. This is not Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, the earliest symptoms are usually visual hallucinations. If you read this account (, I think you may find some characteristics that sound familiar.

What makes me doubt this diagnosis is that you report no confusion or memory problems. Although some people may have the hallucinations well before any thinking problems come up, they are in a minority.

Wobbliness may go along with Lewy body dementia. Parkinson’s disease may develop visual hallucinations, but that is usually late in the course of the disease.

This information can be shocking or depressing, but it is still important information for you to have. There is treatment for LBD. More importantly, there are medications that can make it much worse.

I would recommend you visit a neurologist and specifically find someone with expertise in dementia, as that is who is unlikely to miss this diagnosis. Unfortunately, it is not always recognized early.

Here is some additional information to read about this condition:

Dr. Roach Writes: A recent column confused the brand name of a common prostate treatment. Cardura is the brand name for doxazosin, while Flomax is the brand name of tamsulosin. These are similar medications that work by relaxing the muscle inside the prostate gland, allowing urine to flow more freely through the urethra, which runs right through the prostate gland. These medicines are called alpha blockers and they start working right away, as opposed to the dihydrotestosterone blockers — dutasteride (Avodart) and finasteride (Proscar) — which take months to reach maximum effectiveness. I apologize for the error.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to

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Democracy is good for your health

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Updated 11:19 PM ET, Wed March 20, 2019

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(CNN)Thomas Jefferson and one of his co-signers of the Declaration of Independence, physician Benjamin Rush, once argued that sick political systems and despotism produce sick people and disease. It may seem, however, like history has abounded with counterexamples.

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Your Good Health: Prolia problems can include muscle pains, fractures

Dear Dr. Roach: My wife’s doctor wants her to start Prolia shots for bone density, but the reviews I have been reading are extremely negative. She cancelled her appointment to start the shots (every six months) until we get some positive feedback. She had breast cancer five years ago (lump removed) and seems to be in pretty good health, considering.

She has asthma and COPD, and is a little overweight. She doesn’t want to deal with the horrible side-effects, as some of them don’t seem to go away (reading the reviews). We know that a lot of what you read on the internet is rubbish, so we are asking for different opinions, including yours.


Online reviews might be a good way of learning about buying some things, but I would caution that somebody who does fine with a medicine is not apt to write a review of it, so you are likely to see a very biased sample.

Denosumab (Prolia) is an antibody, given by injection, that prevents the formation of osteoclasts, the cells that break down bones. By reducing bone breakdown, bones are built up, and fracture rate (especially of the vertebral bones) was reduced at three years in a clinical trial, from 7.2 per cent in the placebo group to 2.3 per cent in the Prolia group.

However, there are some reasons to be concerned. One is that many people (the drug has mostly been used in women) noted pain of the muscles and bones, sometimes severe. Like other osteoporosis drugs that work this way (the bisphosphonates), Prolia can cause lower calcium levels, and it may oversuppress bone remodelling, leading to osteonecrosis of the jaw (a rare but dangerous complication).

Atypical fractures of the femur from dense but brittle bone (usually occurring after more than five years of treatment) also are possible. When Prolia is discontinued, the bone rapidly loses strength, and rebound fractures may occur, so a different treatment should probably be started soon.

Prolia also interferes with the immune system, with some evidence that there may be increased infection and tumour rates among those prescribed Prolia. If that’s the case, the number seems low.

I do not use Prolia as a first-line treatment for osteoporosis. There are other drugs (like the bisphosphonates, such as alendronate and risedronate) with better long-term safety records.

Prolia, in my opinion, is best reserved for people who cannot use other agents.

Dear Dr. Roach: I had lung surgery in 2014. The scar is still red and sore. I got no instructions on how to deal with it. Do you have any suggestions?


That’s a very long time for the scar to still be red and sore, and I would encourage you to have the surgeon or your regular doctor take a look. For people with redness and soreness in a scar shortly after surgery, I recommend silicone gel (there are many available), as it has been shown to be effective. Many people recommend vitamin E oil, but well-done studies have shown this does not help and may harm the cosmetic appearance.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to


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Good Health: FDA lists most contaminated produce items

The Food and Drug Administration has released its “Dirty Dozen” list, the twelve most contaminated produce which for the first time, includes kale.

Copyright 2019 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.

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Your Good Health: Blisters from shingles gone, but pain remains

Dear Dr. Roach: I am 77 and developed shingles in December 2016. Although my blisters are long gone, I still have pain and topical discomfort, which I know are from the nerve endings. My doctor says I will probably live with this the rest of my life. I have seen doctors, including pain management. I tried gabapentin (300 mg three times daily), tramadol and Lyrica, with no help. Vicodin doesn’t relieve pain but does calm me. I have had two nerve blocks and used CBD. None helped. Also, I have tried all sorts of over-the-counter ointments without relief.


Shingles (the word comes from the Latin word for “belt or girdle,” cingulus) is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus from natural infection or, less commonly, from vaccination. It usually appears in a belt-like distribution over one half of the body. The virus travels down the nerve endings and causes a fluid-filled blister, which is contagious only to people who have never had chickenpox. The rash may be preceded by a period of itching or pain.

If the rash is recognized in time, treatment with antiviral medicine can reduce the likelihood of developing the complication you have, which is called post-herpetic neuralgia. Many people describe the pain as burning, but it can also be sharp and stabbing. It may be constant or intermittent, and variable in severity, all the way to excruciating. Light touch on the area can be painful.

The older a person is, the more likely she or he is to develop post-herpetic neuralgia, and the longer it may last. Without treatment, almost 20 per cent of people over 70 years old will develop this complication. In people over 65, it lasted a mean of 3.3 years. There is still hope it will go away on its own.

Gabapentin is commonly used for treatment, but my experience is that it is hard to use, since the effective dose is much higher than you tried: 900 to 1,200 mg three times daily. Unfortunately, the medication causes so much sedation that many people cannot tolerate it, and my practice is to very slowly increase the medication dose over months. Other drugs that work on pain fibres, such as amitriptyline, also may be tried.

Postherpetic neuralgia is associated with profound problems, including depression, loss of function, loss of libido, poor sleep and loss of appetite with weight loss. I have seen people become bedbound during shingles from being unable to get out, and they rapidly lose muscle strength.

Because treatment for PHN is not very good, prevention is a high priority. The new shingles vaccine is excellent, but sadly, still in short supply.

Dear Dr. Roach: Does cooking affect fibre content in foods? I find that I have an easier time eating cooked vegetables, but I have read a recommendation to eat raw vegetables for fibre. I cook them by steaming.


Cooking does not significantly decrease the amount of fibre in foods. You can get the benefits of fibre from raw or cooked vegetables. Overcooking vegetables does reduce their vitamin content, but brief steaming doesn’t much affect the vitamins in food. Peeling vegetables reduces both fibre and vitamin content, so whenever possible, leave on the skin after a thorough scrubbing.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to

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