May 11th, 2015

NMTC Science Café: People, Ticks, and Lyme Disease

Deer tickI was chatting with a patron recently about an investigative report on how little is spent on Lyme disease prevention and research.

This is an important topic to me as I have been treated for Lyme disease after finding the bull’s eye bite plus the flu-like symptoms and severe headache. When I started to search for facts about Lyme disease, I found some eye opening information.

Ron Hamlen, PhD., Vice-chair, Lyme Disease Association of Southeastern PA, Inc., sent me some information compiled by Dr. Daniel Cameron, a researcher and expert on tick-borne diseases.

Here a few quick facts about the seriousness of Lyme disease:

 

– Ticks have been around for 15,000,000 years and the first case was described 5300 years ago.

– CDC reports 300,000 new cases/year, that’s 822 cases/week

– It is the fastest growing disease over HIV, Breast Cancer, Hepatitis and Colon Cancer

– Research funding is only $21 million compared to Hepatitis ($200 million), Colon Cancer ($288 million), Breast Cancer ($674 million) and HIV (3005 Million)

– The Elisa test used is only 35-50% accurate, the disease is usually misdiagnosed because it exhibits symptoms similar to other diseases. Fewer than 50% people remember being bitten by a tick or even noticing a rash.

– 40% of Lyme patients end up with long-term health problems. If left untreated, 60% patients have arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling

– Some Lyme disease patients are as disabled as people with Congestive Heart Failure and have as much pain as post-operative patients

If you want to learn about Lyme disease, come to our NMTC Science Café: People, Ticks and Lyme Disease with Ron Hamlen, PhD, Lyme Disease Assoc. of Southeastern PA. We will have an informal discussion led by Dr. Hamlen, May 19, 7:00 pm at the Elkton Central Library.
If you can’t come to the program but are still interested in this topic, go to NIH, MDHM or CDC (as per links below)

Did you know dogs can contract Lyme disease, too?


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March 21st, 2012

What Buzzin’ in Your Garden?

bees“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” There is a real debate about who actually made this remark, but it is often attributed to Albert Einstein.  Perhaps this may be an extreme statement, but it emphasizes the importance of this small insect.

I grew up in Cecil County with my siblings and we had a big, big yard, not a lawn. A yard covered with little white clover blossoms that honey bees just loved.  Every summer, our barefoot selves would be stung two or three times.  I always felt bad because I knew the bee died – my mom always told us that when she pulled out the stinger and covered it with baking soda paste.  I moved back to our home several years ago and we still have that big, big yard, not a lawn!  But, I hardly ever see those bees anymore and the clover just doesn’t seem as robust. Why is that?  There’s been buzz in the media about bees disappearing, but what does it all mean?

On Thursday, March 29th, we’re hosting a Science Cafe to answer many of these questions. Katherine Darger, a Master’s candidate from the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, will discuss the importance of bees in your garden. She’ll cover identifying and attracting them, and when to be afraid and when not to.  Although the topic doesn’t encompass the world, our gardens and yards are microcosms of the big picture.  The ecological health of our gardens and our pollinators are indicators of the importance of bees in agriculture and world economics.

Whether you love bees or are terrified of them, they are critical to our world.  And, besides, who doesn’t enjoy that bit of honey in our tea or on a slice of warm homemade bread!!!

Have questions about bees?  Share them here or join us Thursday night to learn more about these fascinating creatures and their role in our lives.


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