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Tutor profile: Ciara S.

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Ciara S.
Biology Laboratory Manager and Adjunct Lecturer at McDaniel College
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Questions

Subject: Public Health

TutorMe
Question:

Using reliable sources, discuss the health priorities that are most pressing in your local area? (Carroll County, MD was chosen for this example).

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Ciara S.
Answer:

Identification of Health Priorities in Carroll County, Maryland Carroll County is located in northern Maryland and has a population of approximately 167,000 people.1 A collaboration known as The Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County was founded in 1999 and Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs) are created and updated regularly through the program.2 A comprehensive CHNA is required every three years, with the most recent one being conducted in 2018.2According to the results of the most recent CHNA as well as comparison data, the health priorities for Carroll County, Maryland should include illegal drug use, mental health, dental health, and obesity.3 According to data accessible through the “Our Community Dashboard” portion of The Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County web page, 7.8% of the population 12 years of age and older misuse illegal or controlled substances.4 Although this prevalence is less than the Maryland rate, which is 9.7%, the prevalence of illegal drug use has been increasing in recent years.4 In addition, the adjusted death rate due to drug use in Carroll County was 23.9 per 100,000 which is much higher than the Maryland value of 15.2 per 100,000, and the number of deaths have also increased in recent years.4 Illegal drug use, particularly opioid abuse, is a major concern within the community.3 Research has shown that drug abuse can lead to various other health issues such as decreased neurologic function, and people are more likely to be unable to provide for themselves or be productive in society.5 According to an article published in Health Policy, treatment for drug abuse is successful and improves wellness within the community,6 so Carroll County public health officials should focus on prevention and providing treatment for people suffering from addiction. Mental health within the community is also of great concern. Self-reported survey data suggests that almost 90% of Carroll County residents believe they receive an adequate level of mental health care, which is greater than the Maryland value of 83%, however the age-adjusted death rate due to suicide in Carroll County is 14.4 per 100,000, which is much higher than the Maryland rate of 9.1 per 100,000.4 The suicide rate in Carroll County has also increased in recent years.4 Research suggests that there are still large gaps in knowledge about successful evidence-based suicide prevention programs,7 however if an individual was bullied as a child, data shows that they are more likely to suffer from depression and commit suicide later in life.8 Focusing on mental health issues and suicide by allocating resources to provide mental health support, education regarding warning signs and symptoms of depression, and anti-bullying campaigns could reduce the suicide rate in the community. Dental health is another topic that requires additional attention. The most recent data collected by the Maryland Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System shows that only 64% of adults in Carroll County visited a dentist within the past year, which is less than the Maryland percentage of 72%4 Similar to the other public health issues discussed, the current trend is also unfavorable.4 Lack of dental hygiene is concerning because the local health department provides dental health services for children and adults who are residents of Carroll County.9 Poor dental hygiene can lead to heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and oral cancer later in life, so educating people about the need for regular dental exams and ensuring that everyone has access must be made a priority. Lastly, obesity in adults is a health concern within Carroll County. As of July 2015, 35% of adults in Carroll County were obese, which is higher than the Maryland percentage of 29%.4 The obesity rate has also been increasing in recent years.4 Other health issues associated with obesity include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.10 Unsurprisingly, the prevalence of hypertension and heart disease is also higher in Carroll County residents than the state.4 In order to reduce the prevalence of obesity-related conditions, public health officials within the community should focus on preventing obesity. Preventing obesity through education and healthier food options is also more economically sensible than treating the more serious health issues that can result from being obese. All of the health issues discussed currently do not reach any of the goals listed on Healthy People 20204 and could likely be improved through the allocation of more resources. The overall health within the Carroll County community could be greatly improved through educational programs and support. Lifestyle changes are required to address these health issues, however small changes could result in a much healthier Carroll County that would no longer fall behind the rest of the state, and in some cases, national benchmarks. References: 1. Carroll County, MD. Data USA. https://datausa.io/profile/geo/carroll-county-md/?compare=maryland. Accessed May 16, 2018. 2. Community Health Needs Assessment. The Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County Inc. http://www.healthycarroll.org/assessments-data/community-health-needs-assessment/. Published 2016. Accessed May 16, 2018. 3. Community Health Needs Assessment Final Consolidated Report 2018. HealthyCarroll.org. http://www.healthycarroll.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2018-Final-CHNA-Consolidated-Report.pdf. Published 2018. Accessed May 16, 2018. 4. Our Community Dashboard. The Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County Inc. http://www.healthycarroll.org/assessments-data/our-community-dashboard/. Published 2016. Accessed May 16, 2018. 5. Cartwright WS, Solano PL. The economics of public health: financing drug abuse treatment services. Health Policy. 2003;66(3):247-260. doi:10.1016/s0168-8510(03)00066-6. 6. Fernández-Serrano MJ, Pérez-García M, Río-Valle JS, Verdejo-García A. Neuropsychological consequences of alcohol and drug abuse on different components of executive functions. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2009;24(9):1317-1332. doi:10.1177/0269881109349841. 7. Hoven CW, Mandell DJ, Bertolote JM. Prevention of mental ill-health and suicide: Public health perspectives. European Psychiatry. 2010;25(5):252-256. doi:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2010.01.011. 8. Klomek AB, Sourander A, Gould MS. Bullying and Suicide. Psychiatric Times. 2011;28(2):27-31. https://search-proquest-com.une.idm.oclc.org/docview/856676400/abstract/6C8B78081F784E6DPQ/1?accountid=12756. Accessed May 16, 2018. 9. Health Services – Dental and Oral Health. Dept of Health - Carroll County Health Department. http://cchd.maryland.gov/dental-and-oral-health/. Published 2018. Accessed May 16, 2018. 10. Health Risks of Being Overweight. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/health-risks-overweight. Published February 1, 2015. Accessed May 16, 2018.

Subject: Biochemistry

TutorMe
Question:

Explain how tetrodotoxin (the venom in the pufferfish) affects the human body.

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Ciara S.
Answer:

Tetrodotoxin is a sodium channel blocker, which prevents nerves from communicating with the body's muscles, resulting in paralysis. When the muscles of the respiratory tract are paralyzed, death will occur without intervention.

Subject: Biology

TutorMe
Question:

If you cut a 6,249 bp plasmid with three restriction enzymes, SacII at 380 bp, BamHi at 1120 bp, and NarI at 4368 bp, how many fragments will you end up with and what sizes will they be? (This was a question I wrote on the final lab exam for the course I teach).

Inactive
Ciara S.
Answer:

There would be 3 fragments after the restriction digest. The fragments would be 2,261 bp, 740 bp, and 3,248 bp. (This answer would have received full credit on the exam).

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