CDC is currently working with countries in Africa and Asia to begin screening for Cryptococcus. We have new rapid diagnostic tests that will allow clinicians to detect fungal meningitis early among HIV positive patients, which will help them receive treatment earlier and has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives. There are about a million cases of fungal meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa every year, and about 600,000 deaths — even more deaths than are caused by tuberculosis, so this screening has the potential to make a huge impact in these countries.
Long-standing, or chronic tinnitus, of longer than 6 months duration, is difficult to treat. The very best approach to tinnitus, as with any medical problem, is prevention. If you are beyond prevention, do consider the following list of possible causes and what to avoid, because it will help your tinnitus from worsening. Prescription drugs — even OTC drugs — are a major culprit. The primary offenders are aspartame (NutraSweet), aspirin, steroids, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, antihistamines, anti-seizure drugs, antibiotics (especially cephalosporins) and pain killers. If drug initiation corresponds with onset of tinnitus — bingo! Avoid the drug. Some tinnitus is due to circulatory problems, including low blood volume. Make sure you are not anemic, especially if also being tired, pale and having heavy menses. With that symptom picture you could also be hypothyroid. Make sure you don’t have high blood pressure, which often goes undetected without periodic check-ups. Is your cholesterol or triglyceride level too high? Do you have food allergies? Are you diabetic? Do you have an ear infection? Do you suffer from “TMJ” (temporomandibular joint dysfunction syndrome)? There may be a structural problem. Have you had a head injury? Is your eardrum perforated? Have the tiny bones behind the eardrum fused (otosclerosis)? Is there a cyst (cholesteatoma) anywhere in the ear or canal? Do you use nicotine or caffeine? And, last but not least, do you now or have you ever listened to loud music? Using those Walkman-type devices with little earphones that go into the canal are particularly dangerous. And please don’t stand right under the speakers at aerobics class! Keep the volume low in your car, and at home including the TV. Damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear is irreversible. Protect your ears!
Like JoJo, Cassie Scerbo was also one of the many actresses up for the role of Hannah Montana. Before the casting directors decided to choose between Cyrus and Taylor Momsen for the network’s next big star, they considered making the character a high school student instead of a seventh grader. Starting the character off older would have meant the show could tackle more mature storylines out of the gate, but network executives wanted to make sure they got the tween audience they’d captured once with Lizzie McGuire , and the idea was scrapped.