Keys to Preventing Lyme Disease

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 6, 2014

Interactive training, including games, appeared to help children improve their confidence and ability to prevent Lyme disease.

It is often said that “knowledge is power.” Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) rheumatologist Dr. Nancy Shadick, however, has discovered that knowledge alone is not enough when it comes to effectively preventing Lyme disease, a tick-borne infection that can cause neurological and joint problems.

Through her research, Dr. Shadick has found that increasing knowledge about Lyme disease is a good start, but that we also need to proactively increase people’s motivations and readiness in order to change their behaviors. That’s why her team developed interactive programs to not only increase people’s knowledge about the disease, but also heighten the sense of their susceptibility and the potential consequences of the disease, promote the perception that taking preventive measures will provide worthwhile benefits, and, most importantly, increase people’s confidence that they can do something on their own to prevent it (self-efficacy).

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Antibiotics in the US – Too Much of a Good Thing

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 5, 2013

Here in the US, antibiotics continue to be frequently prescribed as a treatment for (non-strep) sore throat– a dangerous public health trend.

It has long been understood that antibiotics are an effective and appropriate treatment for strep throat, a bacterial infection, but not for most cases of sore throat. Yet, here in the US, antibiotics continue to be frequently prescribed as a treatment for viral sore throats – a dangerous public health trend.

“We know that antibiotic prescribing, particularly to patients who are not likely to benefit from it, increases the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a growing concern both here in the United States and around the world,” says Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH, a physician and researcher in the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), and senior author of a recent paper examining antibiotic prescribing rates. “Our research shows that while only 10 percent of adults with sore throat have strep, the only common cause of sore throat requiring antibiotics, the national antibiotic prescribing rate for adults with sore throat has remained at 60 percent.”

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