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Vermont Heart Walk to Highlight the Team Effort that Saved a Local Coach: You Can Help Save Lives Too!

Vermont advocates pushed for passage of legislation in 2012 that required schools to teach students Hands-only CPR and the importance of an AED (automated external defibrillator.) Its efforts like these that have raised awareness to the need for public access to defibrillation and a strong chain of survival. Many schools now have AEDs on hand, including at sporting events.

It’s a good thing. The American Heart Association’s Vermont Heart Walk on September 26th will highlight the successful effort that saved the life of Rice High School Girls’ Basketball Coach Tim Rice from a cardiac arrest during a game against CVU this winter. The CVU team had the foresight to bring their AED to the game with them. That AED, along with many quick actions from bystanders and EMS enabled the coach to give a thumbs up as he left the game instead of much worse outcome.

We’ll honor Cardiologist Ed Terrien, who performed CPR on Coach Rice that day. Join Dr. Terrien and hundreds of others walking at the Vermont Heart Walk at Oakledge Park in Burlington on September 26th to raise funds for life-saving research.

There will also be Heart Walks on September 12th in Swanton and September 19th in Berlin. You can register for any of the walks at www.vermontheartwalk.org. Do it today and make a commitment to save lives. Get your friends and family together for a great day and a great cause!

You can also ensure that your community and school have a strong chain of survival by contacting your local high school and asking if the school has an AED and making sure students are CPR-trained.

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Youth Nicotine Exposure Heath Advisory Released by MDH

The Minnesota Department of Health released a health advisory this week on the rise of nicotine poisoning in children, check it out below:

The Minnesota Poison Control System saw a 35 percent jump in e-cigarette and e-juice poisonings among children from birth to 5 years old between 2013 and 2014. This marks the second year of significant increases in nicotine poisonings related to e-cigarette products, which can contain fatal levels of nicotine for children.
Today, the Minnesota Department of Health issued a nicotine heath advisory to inform parents about the health dangers of accidental nicotine poisonings and the harms that can result from ongoing nicotine use among teens and among pregnant women. 
“Many people think nicotine is addictive but not necessarily harmful on its own for teens and young adults, and that is not the case,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “We know there are clear health risks of nicotine exposure for youth.”
The nicotine health advisory is based on a summary of the latest research on the health risks of nicotine. The advisory reports that nicotine may harm brain development during adolescence. Pregnant women should also be concerned due to evidence that nicotine can harm fetal brain and lung development. 
The teen years are a critical time for brain growth and development. As a result, adolescents are especially at risk from the harms caused by nicotine exposure. Evidence suggests that exposure to nicotine during adolescence may have long-term effects on brain development. Animal research has found that nicotine exposure in adolescence causes long-lasting changes in brain development. This could have negative implications for human adolescent learning, memory, attention, behavioral problems and future addiction.
The MDH nicotine health advisory reports that symptoms of nicotine poisoning may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and/or difficulty breathing. A fatal dose of nicotine for an adult is between 50 to 60 milligrams, and a fatal dose for children is expected to be less. E-juice containers may have varying amounts of nicotine, from zero milligrams up to 34 milligrams or higher.
Until recently, people were exposed to nicotine primarily by smoking tobacco in cigarettes and cigars. However, new and flavored tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, are becoming increasingly popular. In 2014 results from the Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey showed many teens use e-cigarettes; nearly 13 percent of high school students have used or tried them in the past 30 days.
These products can contain fatal levels of nicotine for children, who may mistake the e-juice for candy or a drink. Poisonings have jumped from three in 2012 to 62 in 2014. About half of the 2014 cases were treated by health care professionals at emergency departments. Poisonings include calls where unattended e-cigarette liquids were swallowed, inhaled, absorbed through the skin or came in contact with the eyes.
Beginning January 2015, a new Minnesota law took effect that requires e-juice to be sold in child-resistant packaging.
“This past year Minnesota took a big step to keep kids from accidently ingesting these potentially fatal e-liquids,” said Commissioner Ehlinger. “But parents should still use caution and store the products out of the reach of children.”
The Minnesota Poison Control System provides emergency poison medical management and poison prevention information to Minnesotans. The poison center is located at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis and is nationally accredited by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Anyone with a poison-related question should call 1-800-222-1222.
Service is available free of charge 24 hours a day, and is confidential.
For more information, visit Health Risks of Nicotine for Youth.
-MDH-

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PE Reporting Bill Makes Progress!

Great news! New York City Council has scheduled a hearing for the PE Reporting Bill!

This long-awaited legislation will help to address a systemic concern in NYC schools - too few of them are meeting the state requirements for physical education.

According to American Heart Association research, the majority of city schools only offer PE one or two days per week in 45-minute sessions, which comes nowhere close to meeting recommended national guidelines.  Students deserve better, especially with their health on the line. That's why the PE Reporting Bill is needed.  It will require the NYC Education Department to disclose information on each school's PE program, allowing parents and groups like the AHA to know which schools may need additional assistance.

For many students, physical education is the best opportunity to pursue physical fitness. It shouldn't matter which school you attend - every student deserves quality PE. Physical education is the best equalizer - instilling a lifelong appreciation for exercise and healthy behavior. But many children are deprived of this valuable learning experience.  It is simply unfair that this inequity is permitted in our city schools!

The American Heart Association believes that healthy hearts are just as important as healthy minds, and we're optimistic that city lawmakers will agree.  Stay tuned for an action alert on this legislation in the next few days!

(This blog post was composed in part by Kayla Bashe, a new volunteer who will be helping the Advocacy Department in NYC this summer.  You'll see her name on our posts here occasionally.  Welcome, Kayla!)

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Federal Lobby Day: Step Up to the Plate

Recently, Greater Phoenix Division Board Member Dr. Adriana Perez, attended the American Heart Association’s Federal Lobby Day.  The theme for this event was “Step Up to the Plate.”  Dr. Perez, along with our Government Relations Director, Nicole Olmstead, met with staff from both Senator Flake and Senator McCain’s Office, as well as staff from Representative Sinema and Salmon’s Office.  The highlight of the trip was the meeting with Representative Raul Grijalva. 

Dr. Perez advocated on behalf of the AHA for increased support of NIH Research funding, especially around heart disease and stroke research, and also emphasized the need to reauthorize the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act in its entirety.  During the event, Ms. Olmstead, Dr. Perez and the other nearly 400 volunteers enjoyed a heart healthy school lunch to support how easy and tasty it is to stick to the school lunch guidelines.  Dr. Perez was a strong voice for the needs of all Arizonans and we would like to thank her for her support.

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Join us as we rev up F. A. S. T!

With strokes affecting thousands of Americans every day, we’d like to invite you to join us as we rev up awareness about this medical condition. To help with that, today we’d like to share some startling statistics with you:

· 2,150 Americans die each day from Stroke and Heart disease.
· About one person dies from stroke every 40 seconds
· Stroke is the No. 5 killer of all Americans
· Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability among Americans

We’d also like to invite you to watch an exciting video about F.A.S.T. - and ask you to also win the gold by sharing the link with at least 10 of your friends. Whether through Twitter or Facebook, emails or instant messages – this video has some great information about the campaign, and we hope you’ll race our other advocates in spreading the word.

We’d like to spread the word about F.A.S.T. with at least 2,150 Americans across the country, and we sincerely appreciate your help in getting us to the finish line!

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Montana Heart Warriors in D.C.

Guest Blogger: Amber Johnson

My name is Amber, my daughter Laurelei and I are American Heart Association volunteer advocates, as well as congenital heart disease survivors. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the AHA’s National You’re the Cure on the Hill Lobby Day in Washington DC just a few short weeks ago with our local American Heart representative Amanda Cahill.

Having received our life changing diagnoses just two and a half years ago, raising awareness about heart health and the prevalence of heart disease has become a priority in our lives. At Lobby Day, Laurelei, Amanda, and I had the opportunity to train with advocates and representatives from all over the nation, learn in greater detail about the current legislative issues relevant to heart health, and meet in person with our Senators and Representatives to share our personal story and voice our concerns.

This year, You’re the Cure had two areas of focus: first, we asked our legislators to support a 10% increase in National Institutes of Health funding and the House 21st Century Cures bill, which would direct a significant portion of that funding to heart disease and stroke research. The current funding is dramatically disproportionate to the need.

Secondly, we asked Senator Tester, Congressman Zinke, and Senator Daines to protect the progress which has been made with the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act (HHFKA), which has been and continues to be successfully implemented in 100% of Montana schools, and 95% nationwide. The strides which have been made with HHFKA have a significant impact on rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, impacting future generations with healthy eating habits for life.

To see my daughter, at 11 years old, get involved, learn to speak up, turn her challenges into triumphs, and begin learning about the difference one voice can make was a priceless experience. To be there by her[EP1]  side, sharing my story and the importance of heart health research to me only increased my gratitude. We are the face of heart disease, but we are also the cure.

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Mary Cushman and Michelle Johnston Emphasize Research and Nutrition

Vermont AHA board members Mary Cushman and Michelle Johnston joined the American Heart Association at our 2013 DC Lobby Day and enjoyed the effort so much, they made a return trip last month. And what a duo these two ladies are!

Dr. Cushman, a professor of medicine and researcher at the University of Vermont, and Johnston, a cardiac arrest survivor, let our congressional delegation know how important it is to continue the improvements made in school nutrition made by the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act.  Cushman stressed the need to fund National Institutes of Health research to encourage young researchers to begin a career in possible life-saving research. Johnston stressed that this important heart and stroke research is why she is here today.

Congrats ladies on a job well done!

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GRA Advocates are the Cure on Capitol Hill

Last month, hundreds of You’re the Cure advocates from across the country converged on Capitol Hill urging their lawmakers to "step up to the plate" for heart health. We're excited that 43 of these passionate volunteers, survivors and researchers were there representing the Great Rivers Affiliate states of Delaware, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. 

Two longtime GRA volunteers were among four recognized nationally on Monday at the You're the Cure Heroes luncheon in Washington, D.C. From Pennsylvania, Theresa Conejo, RN, received the You're the Cure Volunteer Advocate Award for her relentless activities in support of AHA priorities at the local, state, and federal levels. Theresa is a GRA board member, a former national Advocacy Advisory Committee member, and was recently named as a Stroke Fellow. Her work has also included outreach to priority populations: Access the 2015 Volunteer Advocate Award video here.

From Ohio, Jim Bischoff was presented with the You're the Cure Survivor Advocate Award. As a former affiliate board chair and current national and affiliate committee member, Jim brings his years as a former school superintendent and heart survivor to his impassioned arguments in favor of AHA's public policy priorities. Access the 2015 Survivor-Advocate of the Year video here.

We've made a huge impact, but we need to keep it up. It’s not too late to take action to support healthy school meals and medical research funding. Ask your lawmaker to stand up for heart health! 

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New Leadership in Albany

This week we saw a major shift in leadership at the state's Capitol. Senator Dean Skelos stepped down as New York State Senate Majority Leader amidst rising pressure from lawmakers and good government groups.

New York State Senator John Flanagan was selected by his colleagues as the new Senate Majority Leader.  Senator Flanagan was first elected to represent part of Suffolk County in 2002.  Prior to serving in the Senate, he served for 16 years in the New York State Assembly.  The American Heart Association worked closely with Senator Flanagan in our efforts to get students trained in CPR prior to graduation.  And we look forward to working with him to combat heart disease and stroke, the state's No. 1 and No. 5 killer of New Yorkers.

Please join us in welcoming Senator Flanagan to his new position and ask him to help in the fight against heart disease and stroke by clicking below:

http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=36732

 

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Advances in Stroke Treatment Just in Time for Stroke Month

Check out this great article from the Chicago Tribune on the advances in stroke treatment, just in time for Stroke Month. Based on findings from recent studies, stroke patients will benefit from advanced treatment offered by comprehensive stroke centers across the nation.

Hospitals in Illinois and across the country are changing the way they treat strokes after a battery of recent clinical trials found that swift surgical intervention improves the odds that patients will function normally again.

Instead of trying to break up the clots that cause strokes using only intravenous medicine, hospitals are increasingly offering a surgery along with the medicine while also speeding up treatment to reduce brain damage.

In the most recent of a half-dozen studies published in the past six months, 60 percent of patients who received both the surgery and the medicine regained the ability to walk, talk and live independently, while just 35 percent who received only the medicine recovered to the same degree, according to an article published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Continue reading here

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