Sunday, October 9, 2016

In Rare Cases Zika May Be Passed Through Tears or Sweat

At the Foundation Fighting Blindness where Louis Kreisberg is the CEO, the latest research into eye disease is supported in the hopes of finding cures. Other issues of interest to scientists are the causes of eye diseases, how they are contracted, and how their spread can be minimized or halted altogether.

In this vein it is of interest to investigate what illnesses can be contracted through contact with tears. The Zika virus has recently been in the news as an illness that is transferred through mosquitoes. But in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine there was a discussion of an unusual case of the death, in the United States, of a patient with Zika, and how a second patient may have caught the illness from contact with either the patient’s tears or sweat.

The person who died was a 73-year-old man who was the first known death in the US from Zika. He first began to show symptoms of the illness after returning to the US from a trip to Mexico, a place known to have Zika. The second person is a 38-year-old man who came to visit the first man in the hospital. He reported that while he was visiting the first man he had wiped away his tears and assisted the nurses to move him into a more comfortable position on the bed.

About a week after the first man died the second man developed water, red eyes, a common symptom of Zika. After testing for the virus, it was clear the man did, indeed, have Zika. Luckily he recovered with only mild symptoms developing.

The letter in the NEJM discusses two mysteries: Why did the first man die, since deaths from Zika are quite rare; and how did the second man contract the virus? The letter suggests that perhaps unusually high levels of Zika in the first man’s blood explained both the death and the possibility of infected sweat and/or tears.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Choosing a Professional Financial Guide

Getting your financial house in order can be a big, confusing job. It is no wonder many people seek the services of financial professionals to help them sort out all the details and avoid making mistakes. Choosing a financial planner can also seem a daunting undertaking. Here are some tips on how to pick a financial planner that works best for you.

There is a spectrum of professional which offer services, from those who provide advice to those with little or no savings to professional who help people with savings, who want to play a minimal role in the day-to-day activities of their client’s financial lives. Most people need someone who falls somewhere within these two extremes.


Some people might benefit highly from a ‘financial coach.’ A coach works closely with someone who needs to improve their fundamental financial habits “to change their behaviors around money.” Think of a financial coach as similar to a personal trainer who helps their client get out of debt, understand their emotions about money, and then free them to overcome their obstacles to good financial management.


On the other end of the spectrum are financial advisors who simply provide services which are mostly hands-off and transactional or product-focused.  A broker or somehow who manages a portfolio. They might meet with their clients once per quarter, just to keep them updated about how their assets are performing.


Financial planners’ services fall somewhere in between the services provided by either coaches or advisors. Planners often analyze their clients’ entire financial life from cash and debt management, insurance, investments, tax and estate planning. One expert described financial planning as “a disciplined process to clearly define financial goals, gather information about resources available to meet those goals, and developing a plan to achieve them.”