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Suffolk County health officials issued a warning for parents this Halloween season on the dangers of colored contact lenses.
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“Every time we think we’ve gotten ahead of the bugs, they come back stronger and fitter,” said Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP). It is the ability to mutate that has given rise to “superbugs” that resist some — or, increasingly, all — of the antibiotics that were hailed as miracle drugs in the last century, creating one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development today, according to the World Health Organization.
For years, experts have warned against the overuse of antibiotics in livestock and fish farming, which stave off infections in animals in crowded living conditions and also help animals gain weight faster, making them ready for slaughter sooner. The phenomenon, along with over- and unnecessary prescription of antibiotics and a lack of a new class of antibiotic drugs, have promoted the growth of resistant bacteria. As susceptible microbes are killed off, the resistant survivors thrive and multiply. Today, a growing number of bacterial infections, including pneumonia, tuberculosis and gonorrhea, are more difficult to treat because of such resistance — at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year in the U.S. as a direct result of such infections, according to the CDC.
“This scale-up in antibiotics, primarily as a substitute for good nutrition and hygiene in livestock production, is simply unsustainable and will be devastating to efforts to conserve the effectiveness of our current antibiotics,” said Laxminarayan, the senior author of a new study focusing on antibiotic use in livestock. “We already face a crisis, but continuing to use medically important antibiotics for growth promotion in animals is like pouring oil on a fire.”
“Over the last 10 to 15 years, resistance has grown from under 2 to 3 percent to between 30 to 80 percent [encountered in humans globally],” Laxminarayan told Yahoo News. “That’s a big deal. We now have patients who have completely untreatable infections in every part of the world.”
The new research from the CDDEP analyzed and described a comprehensive strategy for preserving antibiotic effectiveness by reducing antibiotic use in farm animals up to 80 percent globally by 2030.
To reduce antibiotic use in livestock, the authors of the study, which was published in Science, suggested three interventions: regulations on the use of antibiotics in farm animals; limiting meat intake; and the imposition of taxes on veterinary antibiotics.
“One can safely predict that the bugs will outsmart us every time,” said Laxminarayan.
At last year’s U.N. General Assembly, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was of top importance. Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, called it a “major global threat.” At this year’s summit, the WHO reinforced its intention to combat superbugs.
“This is only the fourth time a health issue has been taken up by the U.N. General Assembly — the others were HIV, noncommunicable diseases and Ebola — so the serious nature of AMR’s effects should not be taken lightly,” said Dr. Dean Hart, a professor at the Columbia University School of Medicine.
As the largest consumer of veterinary antimicrobials in the world, China needs to take a leading role in combating AMR, the researchers said. The country recently promulgated new nutritional guidelines recommending 40 to 70 grams — less than 2.5 ounces — of meat per day, which is about half the current consumption level in the country. China is also phasing out certain drugs in livestock that are still used in Europe. If followed, the measure could have a substantial impact on reducing antimicrobial consumption and, in turn, resistance. The U.S. has introduced a voluntary ban on the use of antibiotics for growth purposes. McDonald’s announced in August a 10-year plan to phase out antibiotics in its poultry production chain beginning in 2018.
The U.S. also has seen a large shift to organic consumption based on consumers’ greater awareness of the potential dangers of antimicrobial resistance. Still, demand for organic products is a luxury — “most of the world’s population simply can’t afford the benefits of eating strictly organic products, especially in Third World countries,” said Hart.
When compared with other developed nations, Denmark and Germany are quite conservative when it comes to using antibiotics — and results show that those populations have lower levels of AMR, said Hart. Interestingly, the U.S. shows relatively moderate levels of resistance even though the population uses antibiotics heavily.
Of note, the quality of a country’s health care system also seems to have a direct relation to antibiotic resistance levels, said Hart. EU countries have very high standards, but antibiotic use is too high. Venezuela’s health care system is far less robust; this means antibiotics are far scarcer, and AMR is relatively lower.
Hart also pointed to pharmaceutical manufacturers as obstacles in the fight against AMR. “We are a country that buys drugs, and a lot of them, at much higher prices than the rest of the world,” he said. “The antibiotic market is huge business for these companies, and the push to develop the new ‘superdrugs’ is something that affects their bottom line. While treatment with older forms of antibiotics can often be effective and serve the greater good of humanity, the inclination of doctors is almost always going to be to use the latest and greatest new medicine available.”
Hart argued that awareness is the most important factor: Doctors should be advised to first treat bacterial infections with older forms of antibiotics that have a proven track record of being effective. Patients should understand that antibiotics have zero effect on viral infections such as the flu or the common cold. “The next super-infection can be just around the corner, and we must be prepared.”Read More »
Doctors warns New Yorkers not to be tempted to view solar eclipse with unprotected eyes
Don’t look now — the city’s skies are being taken over Monday by a rare solar eclipse.
As New Yorkers awaited the celestial wonder, experts were warning not to gaze at the sun with unprotected eyes or risk serious vision damage.
The eclipse, where the moon covers the sun, is set to start at 1:23 p.m. and last until 4 p.m., peaking at 2:44 p.m., when the biggest swath of the sun will be covered.
New York is not in the path stretching across the country that will see a total eclipse — from Oregon to South Carolina, the first coast-to-coast total eclipse in 99 years. But 71% of the sun will be obscured in the city.
“It’s too tempting, because it’s such a beautiful, awesome sight nature is offering us,” Dr. Dean Evan Hart, an optometrist, said Sunday at a press conference outside the city Health Department.
“It will be so mesmerizing, you won’t realize the damage because it won’t feel bright,” he said. “You stare at it and I’ll tell you for sure next week we’ll have many people coming in with permanently scarred and damaged retina.”
Staring at the sun during an eclipse can cause retina burns and macular degeneration, leading to vision loss that in the worst cases can render someone legally blind.
It’s safe to check out the eclipse with special eclipse glasses – but many retailers sold out fast, and some online merchants were hawking the cardboard devices for more than $100 for a five pack.
“We know that they’re sold out all over the city and are going to exorbitant amounts on the internet as we speak,” said City Councilman Robert Cornegy (D-Brooklyn) at the Sunday press conference.
If you manage to get your hands on some glasses, check for the letters ISO and the number 12312-2 to make sure they’re legit, Hart said.
It’s also safe to scope out the eclipse indirectly by fashioning a pinhole camera from a cardboard box. Regular sunglasses don’t offer any protection, and even with glasses the eclipse should not be viewed through binoculars or a telescope.
The Hayden Planetarium at the Natural History Museum, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, and the New York Hall of Science in Queens are among the spots offering viewing parties, included with the price of museum admission.
For those who would rather peer skyward with a drink in hand, rooftop bars like the Haven Rooftop, Lovage Rooftop, and Salvation Taco in Midtown are also holding events.Read More »
It’s finally here: The solar eclipse. The celestial event is expected to darken Long Island’s afternoon skies Monday, bringing awe and wonder. But it also could bring serious eye injury if viewers do not protect themselves, a Suffolk lawmaker and an optometrist warned.
Legis. William Spencer and Hicksville optometrist Dean Hart urged Long Island residents to don proper protective eyewear to view Monday’s spectacle or risk permanent damage to their vision.
“As a legislator, as a doctor, I cannot stress this enough,” Spencer (D-Centerport), a pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist, said during a news conference outside his Huntington office on Sunday. “Do not look at the sun if you do not have the proper eyewear.”
Monday’s total solar eclipse will be the first to sweep coast-to-coast across the United States since 1918. The moon will completely blot out the sun during the peak of the eclipse in a 70-mile wide strip that runs diagonally from South Carolina to Oregon.On Long Island, the moon will slowly slip in front of the sun at about 1:20 p.m. and cover about 70 percent of it by 2:45 p.m. The celestial show is expected to end by 4 p.m., when the sun returns to its full brilliance.Hart, a Democrat who is running for Oyster Bay Town clerk in November’s election, said even looking at the sun during the eclipse for just a few seconds can injure the retina, leading to permanent vision damage or even blindness.
Hart said people don’t normally look at the sun because of its intense brightness. The darkened skies, he said, may fool people into looking directly at the sun.
“The 30 percent of the sun that is coming through will burn and oxidize your retina within a matter seconds,” said Hart, who said he fears Long Island eye doctors will receive calls from patients who did not take the proper precautions.
Spencer and Hart said amateur astronomers who wish to look at the heavenly dance between the sun and the moon should use official eclipse glasses that meet the International Organization for Standardization 12312-2 safety guidelines. The glasses should be labeled ISO, they said. Dark sunglasses offer no protection, and viewing the eclipse through a telescope or binoculars will simply magnify the damage to the eyes.
Most retailers and online outlets sold their stock weeks ago, and Spencer said science fans should be wary of scams and substandard gear.
“There are those who are offering eyewear that number one, doesn’t offer the appropriate protection and number two, there is price-gouging,” he said.
Eclipse watchers who don’t have the proper protective eyewear can build eclipse-viewing boxes, Hart said.
“There are various ways to watch this,” he said. “The absolute safest is an internet video or television. These will surely not hurt your eyes.”Read More »
Most Long Island Politician Ever Attacks Opponent For Not Loving Billy Joel Enough
Here are three things we know about Dean Hart: (1) He’s running for New York State Assembly in Long Island, (2) he really, really loves Billy Joel and (3) he thinks his opponent doesn’t love the music legend quite enough.
The Oyster Bay resident said in a press release Thursday that he would spend $1 million to build a marble statue of Joel outside the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island to commemorate the piano man’s awesomeness. The coliseum is scheduled to re-open next April with a performance by Joel, who is a Long Island native.
Hart isn’t just celebrating Joel, however. He’s also slighting his opponent, Republican incumbent Michael Montesano, who has unsuccessfully attempted to name a state route in Oyster Bay “Billy Joel Boulevard” for years.
“My opponent is either impotent or is simply not trying, because everyone loves Bill Joel,” Hart said. “No wonder Albany is a mess, our representative can’t do something as simple as renaming a small portion of a road in Billy Joel’s backyard, where there’s near universal support.”
But the issue in Montesano’s case isn’t Montesano. It’s Hart’s fellow Democrats, who have reportedly stonewalled the proposal, as Montesano has made clear, according to Politico.
“The question for my opponent is, since he’s a Democrat, what’s he going to do to convince his colleagues and the chair of the Transportation Committee to let this bill pass?” he said. “Because that’s where the stumbling block is.”
Hart’s release can be found below. But the larger takeaway here is that this is the most Long Island story of all time.Read More »
October 24, 2016- Albany, NY – It’s still October, but we’re ready to call it: This year’s most memorable political ad comes from the campaign of Long Island Democrat Dean Hart, who is running against Republican Assemblyman Michael Montesano.
The ad starts in conventional fashion, with stenciled words and portentous voiceover slamming the incumbent as “part of the corrupt Oyster Bay machine” that also includes just-arrested Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto. (Hart recently printed up toilet paper with Venditto’s face on it.)
And then the commercial takes a one-way trip to Crazytown (or, if you prefer, the Village of Crazytown) by cutting to a shot of Hart standing in front of a waving flag superimposed with bursting fireworks as “The Stars and Stripes Forever” plays, with a badass-looking computer-generated eagle perched on his arm. It’s a shame Hart didn’t opt for a more patriotic theme, eh? (This reporter will admit to initially being fooled by the eagle — “Dude, you need a glove to hold an eagle like that!” was Matt Hamilton’s correct observation.)
“On election day, vote for Dean Hart for Assembly,” says the optometrist, pronouncing the name of the chamber as if it came with four syllables, “and no to continued corruption and cronyism that’s rampant in our party and in our town.” His purse-mouthed expression as the ad ends is worth the price of admission.
Here’s the ad — and you’re welcome, America:
Hart’s campaign has been, well, unconventional in other ways: Earlier this month, the candidate said he was ready to spend up to $1 million for “a giant marble statue” of Long Island singer-songwriter Billy Joel in front of Nassau Coliseum. Hart has chided Montesano for failing (twice) to secure passage of a bill that would name a stretch of roadway after the pop star. (“My opponent is either impotent or is simply not trying, because everyone loves Bill Joel,” Hart said in a statement.)
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Candidate Denounces LI Assemblyman Michael Montesano for Supporting Corrupt Indicted Oyster Bay Supervisor Venditto
Hart will continue to call for the resignation of Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Venditto – hands out rolls of toilet paper with the message: “WIPE OUT CROOKS IN OYSTER BAY AND ALBANY.”Oyster Bay, NY – October 20, 2016 – Dr. Dean Hart, an Oyster Bay Assembly candidate, denounced his opponent Assemblyman Michael Montesano, also from Oyster Bay, for not joining fellow state Republican lawmakers from Long Island in calling for embattled Town Supervisor John Venditto to resign his office amidst the overwhelming avalanche of federal corruption charges unleashed today.
“Did Assemblyman Michael Montesano get lost on his way to the press conference where his fellow Republican State Senate buddies called for Nassau County Executive Ed Mangao and Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto to resign, or is he so mired in the cesspool of Oyster Bay corruption that he can’t move anywhere?” asked Oyster Bay Assembly Candidate Dean Hart of his opponent. “I think we should at least be able to agree that given the fiscal catastrophe that our county and town finds itself in, Town Supervisor Venditto is no longer in any type of position to be able to help our community.”
Hart has previously called for the resignation of Oyster Bay Supervisor Venditto because of his terrible fiscal management, as well as for his ties to indicted restaurateur Harendra Singh and convicted Oyster Bay Planning Commissioner Frederick Ippolito.
Hart will continue to make his case for Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Venditto to resign by continuing to hand out thousands of rolls of toilet paper to local residents that have a picture of Venditto on it, along with the message “WIPE OUT CROOKS IN OYSTER BAY AND ALBANY.”
Read Full Article HereRead More »
November 4th – Hicksville
Dr Hart has warm relations with the Indian community, and he even took out a float at the India Day Parade in Hicksville this August. He gave this interview to The South Asian Times.
The South Asian Times: You are running on the clean up corruption pitch — but Newsday endorsed your opponent, arguing you have not detailed how.
Dr Dean Hart: If we keep a wall between the politician, public servant and the contractors, then we will increase honesty in the contracting process. The wall should be an unbiased Inspector General that has only one mission and that is to get the best product for the lowest cost. Sourcing and procurement are seldom done by CEO of a large corporation and the process of hiring needs to create an even playing field for all.
Term limits are excellent to avoid the elected official from gaming the system for self-serving benefits.
Assembly and Senate cannot have a title “part-timer” and clearly need to have no side businesses to benefit from the power of the position they are elected to. New York Senate leader Skelos and Assembly Leader Silver were lawyers that operated a law practice and abused their powers. They have been convicted and sentenced to jail for what is for all practicality a lifetime considering their age.
What are the other issues you will take up in OYSTER BAY?
Dr Hart: We need to clean up our Island and improve the environment.
It is essential that the aging population and elderly health care issues and support be improved.
Mental health, veterans suffering from war trauma, women’s rights, safety by law enforcement, roads and medical care are issues that need to be worked and improved upon.
Government should also remember to bring happiness and enjoy the splendor of this great state and nation. Beauty and grandeur of and to our ancestors’ legacy for the sake of our children is essential.
Long Island must get its fair share of taxes paid to Albany, and not be the cash cow it currently must endure for the rest of the state of NY.
Transparency to the citizens is essential and conversely the blind-folding of the politicians as to who is hired is required too.
Judges, executives, and legislators cannot lose site of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. These documents create a framework that has worked now for a third century, but we must always be reminded of the words.
You ran for Nassau County legislature last year, and did not win. How do you hope to win a bigger race for state assembly?
Dr Hart: Since I never held a political position nor ran or yearned for one prior to 2015 I was a novice. As a novice, I almost won and lost by only a few hundred votes in a Gerrymandered district designed for Democrats to lose.
If you do not live and learn you are finished growing on the path of life and hopefully I have learned how to get a few hundred more votes than last time.
Your proposals like erecting a Billy Joel statue outside Nassau Coliseum have made news, but will that help or hurt your campaign?
Dr Hart: Hopefully people realize that somebody that ran many businesses in his life will add great insights to running our government and participating in business decisions.
Any comments on the presidential race which is dead heat now?
Dr Hart: I prefer presidents that accept all Americans as equal and important. Prejudice is intolerable and lying to us is distasteful.
Corruption hit Nassau County last month with the indictment of County Executive Ed Mangano and Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Venditto. What is the root cause of political corruption and what is the long term solution to curb it?
Dr Hart: Nepotism, cronyism, campaign finance rules, and self-serving interests have all congealed into a swamp that needs to be drained.
Any comment on the Indian American community?
Dr Hart: Since I have many patients in the Hicksville practice that is Woodbury Optical, they are my employees and the same as all other patients that choose me to render care. We are all the same inside. One thing I do notice is the immigrants and new generation that makes up America are hard working and law abiding, education striving honorable citizens that contribute to the melting pot that is our great nation.Read More »
Flanzer Eye Center Opens
Center Offers Advanced Care in
The Flanzer Eye Center, which opened formally on November 18, l998, is a state-of-the-art patient
care facility that dramatically revitalizes clinical space on the Harkness Eye Institute’s first floor. The new space combines an attractive, modern, and patient-friendly environment with today’s most sophisticated technology, to accommodate physicians, staff, and patients of Columbia phthalmology Consultants, Inc., Columbia University’s Ophthalmology faculty practice.
Very Special Friends
Lead gifts from Mr. and Mrs. Louis Flanzer, Mr. and Mrs. Seymour Milstein, and a consortium of donors that includes Messrs. Samuel Sheng and Jack Clark, Fluorosystems, Ltd., The Fischbach Foundation, and Dr. and Mrs. Stanley Chang made creation of the Flanzer Eye Center possible. “We are fortunate to have a number of very special friends,” said Dr. Chang, chairman of the Department of phthalmology and Edward S. Harkness Professor, “who, seeing a tremendous need to refurbish the Eye Institute’s first floor offices, helped put together resources that gave our renovations project the ability to move forward.”
Visitors to the new Flanzer Eye Center will enter through a light, airy lobby with gleaming marble floors and walls at the Eye Institute’s 165th Street entrance. At the heart of the Center, is a large central reception area, surrounded by 13 examining rooms and separate treatment suites for imaging and other diagnostic exams, and for laser treatment.
Views from the Chair
At the beginning of another academic year, we can look back with pride on newly achieved successes and project more progress during the coming months. The Department continues to focus on maintaining the highest standards in vision research, education, and patient care. To that end, some of our most exciting recent accomplishments are helping to strengthen
programs going forward in all three areas.
Continuing philanthropy and support from the Flanzer and Milstein families have given our clinical facilities beautifully refreshed surroundings appropriate to the caliber of our services. The Flanzer Eye Center, highlighted in this Viewpoint issue, provides our faculty with a modern and comfortable environment in which to offer their outstanding clinical care. This state-of-the-art facility also presents new opportunities for resident and medical student training as well as expanding the outlook for
ongoing clinical research projects.
Our search for additional faculty has identified a selection of highly qualified investigators with whom negotiations are in progress. We hope, through the Department’s Research Scholars program, to attract the best young minds from the scientific
community to work at Columbia on vision disorders. Our three new residents, Dr. Timothy Du, Dr. Joan Li, and Dr. Marc Winnick, bring outstanding credentials and such boundless enthusiasm to their training in Ophthalmology that we have
responded by enriching the Department’s educational program to challenge their eager minds.
We are indebted to loyal and devoted friends for a great deal of our success in making the Eye Institute one of the nation’s finest eye care, research, and education institutions. It is a delight to know that the Department of Ophthalmology’s family of dedicated patients, alumni, and concerned individuals continues to grow, and we are extremely grateful for the many gifts received to support our efforts in making the gift of sight available to all.
My wife, Jean, and I wish all of you a happy holiday season and continued good health in the coming year.
Stanley Chang, M.D.
Edward S. Harkness Professor and
Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology
George K. Smelser Lectureship to Resume
The Department of Ophthalmology has reestablished the George K. Smelser Lectureship, thanks to a generous bequest from the Estate of Victoria Ozanics. Originally created in 1975, the lectureship was suspended six years after it began because of insufficient funding. Now, Ms. Ozanics’ thoughtfulness and devotion to the late Dr. Smelser has made it possible to
recommence the annual series, whose distinguished roster of speakers has included Dr. Arthur DeVoe, former Department of Ophthalmology
chairman, and Dr. David Maurice, professor of Ocular Physiology.
Professor of Anatomy (in Ophthalmology), Dr. Smelser was Director of Research in Ophthalmology at Columbia from 1956 until 1973.
During that time, he played a key role in increasing the amount and quality of eye research in the Department and contributed extensively to the understanding of eye morphology and its relationship to function. All the
while, Victoria Ozanics, a Columbia research associate, was Dr. Smelser’s loyal assistant, co-authoring many of his papers and sharing his
The Department of Ophthalmology will present the next Smelser lectureship at a date to be announced.
New Low Vision Clinic Established
Columbia’s Department of Ophthalmology has established a low vision clinic, which offers patients with limited eyesight an array of devices to maximize remaining vision. Directed by Dean E. Hart, O.D., the clinic will also specialize in providing contact lenses for hard-to-fit patients and offer psychological and social support services for patients and families coping
with the difficulties of vision loss.
Dr. Hart, a graduate of the New York College of Optometry, is an associate research scientist and assistant professor in Columbia’s Department of Ophthalmology. The director of a low vision clinic at Harlem Hospital for the past ten years, he has frequently appeared on television and radio programs to talk about eye care.
Amilia Schrier, M.D., Joins Columbia Faculty
Dr. Amilia Schrier is the newest member of the Department of Ophthalmology’s growing faculty. A graduate with “high distinction”of the University of Virginia, Dr. Schrier received her M.D.
degree from the SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn Medical School. She completed an
internship at Long Island College Hospital and a residency at SUNY’s Health Science Center in
Brooklyn, where she also served as chief resident. Dr. Schrier then completed a fellowship in
cornea and external disease at North Shore University Hospital-Cornell Medical College.
Before coming to Columbia last July, Dr. Schrier was a resident instructor and assistant
chief of service at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, where she was voted “Teacher
of the Year” in 1995 and again in 1997 and 1998, accomplishments she describes as “highlights” of her career. Specializing in the treatment of corneal and external disease, cataract and anterior segment surgery, and trauma-related reconstruction, she has also published and lectured extensively on the treatment of infectious corneal disease.
Harold Spalter, M.D., announced his retirement from clinical practice on October 1, 1998. He plans to continue his work with Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc., as well as to train residents and help to conduct clinical research.
George Florakis, M.D., Michael Kazim, M.D., and Hermann Schubert, M.D., recently volunteered their services on a medical mission to Morocco. Accompanying them were senior resident, Alexandra Elliot, M.D., and Eye Institute operating room senior staff nurse, Emily Bonduc, R.N.
Schering-Plough Corporation and Mr. Joseph C. Connors have generously supported the acquisition of a new fluorescence microscope for scientific investigations by Department of Ophthalmology research faculty.
Columbia University in the City of New York
Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute
635 West 165th Street
New York, NY 10032-3797Read More »