Tag Archives: medicine

AAV: from ‘Almost A Virus’ to ‘An Awesome Virus’

28 Jun
AAV (photo credit: depts.washington.edu)

AAV (photo credit: depts.washington.edu)

In 1965, adeno-associated virus (AAV) was discovered while hitching a ride into the cell with adenovirus, which is a virus that causes the fretted pink eye, cold sores and sore throats.

AAV was best described back then as the quiet kid in the back of the classroom. He would simply enter a cell, and basically be invisible in the hustle and bustle of the cytoplasm. He wouldn’t bother anyone; he wasn’t there to cause any symptoms or diseases. He didn’t want to start any trouble.

In fact, he will only replicate if another virus, such as adenovirus,  causes cell damage. Otherwise, he just sits and minds his own business. So why does this virus exist?

While interviewing for another unrelated story for one of my jobs, I had the pleasure of meeting Arun Srivastava, Ph.D., and chair of the division of cellular and molecular therapy at the University of Florida. What I thought was going to be a brief interview to get one or two quotes for another story, actually turned out to be a history lesson about a virus that was ignored for a long time, but has now proved to have life-saving capabilities. Continue reading

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How is health literacy measured in America?

18 Sep

Health communicators face the challenge of communicating what can be complex subjects to the general public. To do this, measures of a particular audience’s health literacy may be measured to create a strategic communication plan. Surprisingly, the form below is how health literacy is tested in the United States.

Is this enough? Is there a more comprehensive strategy? This test simply measures whether or not the patient can read the words aloud, not if they can comprehend them. Research also shows that a majority of the population is health illiterate based on this test. What are effective mediums that health communicators can use to educate lay people?

This, is of course a rhetorical question that will appreciate any comment. I hope I will slowly learn some sort of answer to this question as I research more.

The Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine takes two to three minutes to complete and can be administered by a nurse or other staff member.