A Look Back at 2016: Top Ten Dickson Blogs of the Year

As 2016 nears its conclusion, we took a look back at the top 10 stories we published at the Dickson Blog. These are ranked based on your readership. If you have any thoughts or personal stories related to any of the below then we'd love to hear them. Send me an email to jeff@dicksondata.com for a chance to be featured in a future article on our blog, in our magazine or in an upcoming eblast.

[su_dropcap style="flat" size="4"]10[/su_dropcap] Medieval to Modern: Refrigeration’s Impact on Vaccine Degradation

When we think of today's modern society there's a lot of technology we consider as being the last step that brought us to where we are today. The internet is the obvious consideration. Without it we wouldn't have smartphones, smart homes or smart devices of any kind.

Society started to modernize long before the internet came to pass thanks to the advent of refrigeration. Temperature control has been a major factor in that evolution. It allows us to live comfortably, eat safely, and be appropriately cared for by the advancements that have been made in health and wellness.

This is also when medicine began its transition from the dark ages to where we've come today. We investigated the impact that refrigeration has had on healthcare and looked at why it has had such a dramatic effect on the industry.

Click here to read more on medical breakthroughs of the past and to understand more about how it's changed the lives of yourself and your loved ones.

[su_dropcap style="flat" size="4"]9[/su_dropcap] [INFOGRAPHIC] Healthcare Communication Counts: How Paper and Pens are Taking a Backseat to Technology

Every year, the US healthcare system loses out on more than $240 for every American household because of poor telecommunications. On big retail days, that's the equivalent of a big screen TV for every one of them. In total, the amount that could be recouped through modernizing the way hospitals communicate is upwards of $30 billion dollars annually. Add in the fact that 70% of accidental deaths and injuries that occur within their walls are because of failures of communication and you don't only see the makings of a problem. You can see it's an epidemic.

Luckily, this slow to adapt world is finally starting to shift. It means that much of that money will soon be recovered and that it won't be long until the average EMS worker has more technology available than a 13-year-old with a smartphone. Click to learn more about this topic and to understand its whys and hows.

[su_dropcap style="flat" size="4"]8[/su_dropcap] [INFOGRAPHIC] Evolution’s Solution to Medical Device Needs? Get a Dog.

Man's best friends are more than just faithful companions. As it turns out they make for quite the partner and can even save your life. Historical records suggest that dogs have been used for search and rescue in snow areas since the 19th century. A specifically trained type of dog, called a casualty dog or ambulance dog, has even been used by some European armies to help retrieve and provide support for soldiers injured on the battlefield.

Today, dogs are being used to lead the blind, assist the deaf and offer psychiatric services. Over the last decade, organizations have begun training our four legged friends to sniff out dangerous drops in a diabetic's blood sugar. Until recently, researchers couldn't understand how dogs were able to recognize the changes in our body's internal chemistry. The discovery could lead to a new medical device down the road, but, for now, it's just another example of puppy power in action.

You can learn more about dogs for diabetes and an infographic that details the amazing things our canine friends can do over at the blog.

[su_dropcap style="flat" size="4"]7[/su_dropcap] A Breakthrough in Cancer Treatment has Shown Promising Results

Cancer research means huge funding for companies that are actively looking for ways to cure what some consider the greatest plague of our time.

In 2013, the National Cancer Institute reported that Washington alone had invested $4.8 billion into finding solutions to the variety of cancer related diseases. That number was even below the six year average of $4.9 billion, and those dollars are just from government support. They don't include the hundreds of millions of dollars that are raised annually through donations. In fact, the 2014 Stand Up to Cancer telethon raised more than $100 million in a single day.

With the level of funding that's being poured into research, it may surprise you to know that survival rates in men and women have only increased by about 1.5% over the last decade. Thankfully, German researchers think they may have found the answer in a vaccine.

You can read more about their research here, along with how their vaccine works and the promising results they've already seen.

[su_dropcap style="flat" size="4"]6[/su_dropcap] [INFOGRAPHIC] Vaccines for health? Yes, but also for Education.

Deadly contagions have plagued our world since the beginning of time. In the 1300s, the world faced the Black Death. In the 19th century tuberculosis was dubbed the White Plague. The early 20th century brought Polio. Today, each of these diseases have been dramatically reduced, if not eliminated, worldwide thanks to a variety of vaccines that have been developed and introduced into society.

Conversations about the potential side effects that a vaccine may, or may not, offer to patients aside, they’ve helped Americans and members of the world’s population live longer, healthier lives. While there have been additional factors involved with extending American’s lives, like diet and disease treatment, according to UNICEF, (United Nations Children’s Fund), more than nine million deaths are prevented annually thanks to these vaccines.

They also can directly impact a child's education. While attendance has its own obvious importance, funding can mean the difference between a quality education and one that is lacking.

Part one of our deep dive into the VFC program discusses the importance of vaccines, while part two looks in-depth at how funding can be impacted by attendance problems.

[su_dropcap style="flat" size="4"]5[/su_dropcap] Too Much Moisture can be Bad for Your Health

Mold is a health risk that too many people take lightly.  About six years ago, I worked in an office building with mold contamination.  During the early spring, the building was hit by a small tornado and flooding (that caused) the structure and carpeting to become saturated.  During the heat and humidity of the late spring/early summer, the windowless office I worked in began to smell musty... I began to notice chest pain and a cough while on my afternoon walks around the building. The cough, chest pain and eventual breathlessness progressed enough for me to mention it to my doctor to investigate further.  

After trying an inhaler to see if it would alleviate the symptoms, (to me and my doctor's surprise it did), he began asking questions about the building I worked in... He suspected adult onset asthma from prolonged mold exposure and after I was examined by numerous specialists his suspicions were confirmed. I had begun to break out in hives from the mold in my office and had to eventually leave the position due to severe illness. Six years later my asthma persists though not nearly as bad. I use a daily inhaler and a rescue inhaler and probably will the rest of my life due to the prolonged exposure to mold damaging my lungs.

This is an excerpt from a letter we received from one of our readers because, after reading our story, she wanted others to know that the dangers of high moisture are real and potentially life altering. Click here to find out more on the dangers of moisture and how you can work to avoid them.

[su_dropcap style="flat" size="4"]4[/su_dropcap] The Cost of a Good Night’s Sleep

Time is often considered one of our most valuable personal resources. As the amount of time we work goes up, the amount of time we have to give goes down. When that happens, we look at things in our lives that we can cut in order to accomplish everything we need. All too often, it’s sleep that gets left behind.

Add to that the fact that 60% of Americans say they experience a sleep problem almost every night, and you’ve gone from cutting your sleep to severely reducing it. Americans have an issue on their hands; they aren’t getting enough rest. Experts may now have the solution. They believe that sleep may actually be more tightly regulated by temperature than by light.

Part One of our sleep series touches on the importance of a good night's sleep, while Part Two shows you how the cost of a good night's sleep may be higher than you realize. Read both at our blog. 

[su_dropcap style="flat" size="4"]3[/su_dropcap] [Infographic] Vaccinating a Pandemic: The Hurdles Ahead for the Zika Virus

As you've probably heard by now, the Zika virus was a major international story in 2016. As we mentioned on our blog back in February, the situation quickly exploded into a global health emergency and was labeled as such by the World Health Organization. The illness quickly made its way north from South America into the United States, and, as we prepared to send athletes and tourists to Rio for the upcoming Olympics, the threat only continued to grow.

As the story developed conversations shifted from a focus on the frightening realities of infection to one that covered the possibility of a future vaccine. As close as some headlines had reported it being close to a reality, what they failed to mention is the lengthy process that's required for such a cure to hit the market. Needless to say, it's a complicated system that requires rigorous testing and numerous approvals.

Head to our blog for an infographic on the illness and everything it takes to get such a vaccine approved.

[su_dropcap style="flat" size="4"]2[/su_dropcap] [Infographic] A Heated Argument: The Science of the Office Temperature Conflict

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we spend more time working each day than any other single activity we partake in. With that much time in an office or workplace, you're certain to run into someone at some point in your career that you don't quite see eye to eye with.

In many instances that could stem from talking, cleanliness or smelliness. One argument that's close to our heart involves the temperature of the office. Some like it hot. Some like it cold. Is there a right answer? We dove into the conversation to understand what the proper temperature for an office should be. We learned so much about office conflict we even made an infographic.

Based on readership, this is a heated conversation. Read more on the debate and why the perception of temperature can differ so greatly between two different people.

[su_dropcap style="flat" size="4"]1[/su_dropcap] [Infographic] The Major Pharmaceuticals Losing Patent Protection in 2016

Our number one most read story in 2016 was about pharmaceuticals and the amount pharma companies were going to lose thanks to a number of patents that were set to expire during the year. AstraZeneca was one company that really lost out in 2016. They lost two major drugs from patent protection—Cestor and Seroquel XR—worth a combined annual revenue $7.34 billion

 We looked at what this meant for a variety of other pharma companies throughout the year and the kinds of savings that consumers could expect to find the next time they're in line at the pharmacy.  Be on the lookout for a follow up article in early 2017 that talks about the major pharmaceuticals that are ready to go generic in the upcoming calendar year.