Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Mysterious Hum Heard 'Round the World

As a medical suspense author I'm always looking for unique phenomenon to write about. Evidently, in Taos, NM and other parts of the world (Bristol, England and Largs, Scotland) there is a hum that can only be heard by a small portion of the population.

It is so significant, that it has been scientifically investigated, but no source has been found. 

What is known about the hum:

1. Only 2% of the population living in these areas can hear the sound. Generally, they are between the ages of 55-70. Perhaps this is due to the structural changes that happen to our ears as we age making them more susceptible to the sound. Evidently, it can be loud enough to rattle some people's teeth. 

2. People who hear it are referred to as "hummers" or "hearers". And it has driven virtually every one of them to the point of despair. Wow, that's pretty powerful.  

3. The sound is heard mostly at night. 

4. People who hear the humming also complain of headaches, nausea, dizziness, nosebleeds and difficulty sleeping.

5. Researchers say the hum is real but generally unexplained. 

6. Sufferers resort to using white noise to cover up the humming. 

Suspected reasons for the hum-- all unproven:

1. The earth's crust is thinner in Taos. Evidently, very thin. There are also several volcanoes in the area and the theory is the magma flowing under the crust is causing the humming noise. 

2. A space ship (yes, this is a theory) crashed into a mountain and is now causing the noise underground.

3. Low-frequency electromagnetic radiation.

4. Tinnitus, which is a medical condition, that causes ringing in the ears. Testing of these people show they have normal hearing.

5. Earth tremors activated by ocean waves. 

6. Military Experiments.

7. Submarine communications. 

8. Insert your own nefarious reason here . . . 

I'm including some videos that discuss this phenomenon. One is a recording of the hum-- though I don't know if it is an actual recording or a manufactured one to resemble what people have heard. 

What do you think could be the cause of this mysterious humming sound? 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Coming Up!

Hello Redwood's Fans!

Today, I'm traveling back from the annual ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference. This year, it was hosted in St. Louis. Hopefully, next week I'll have some exciting stuff to report and here's keeping my fingers crossed that I didn't get pressed into medical service by some medical emergency (which has happened before!)

For you this week . . .

Tuesday: Did you know there's a mysterious humming noise in certain parts of the world heard by a small portion of the population? We'll take a closer look at this phenomenon.

Thursday: Just how long does it take for a DNA test to be done for a criminal case? Author and forensic expert Amryn Cross stops by for details.

Have a GREAT week!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Are You Ready for Flu Season?

Rarely, I take time out on this blog to discuss regular health issues I find important. I am a proponent of vaccines. I've seen non-immunized children suffer the effects of illnesses that they could have been protected against.

While doing an on-line education program for my nursing job, I came across some very valuable statistics that I wanted to share with you. I don't have an author of the CEU but the company is called CHEX and the module is called Influenza Introduction (v.6.14). The information in this post comes directly from that program to give credit where it's due.

Did you know that pediatric influenza deaths numbered 830 between the years of 2004 and 2012? Does that surprise you? It surprised me and I work in the healthcare field. When flu season hits, we test for Flu A and Flu B. What's the difference? Flu A is capable of infecting animals like wild birds. Flu A is also responsible for the majority of deaths in the pediatric category (78%). Flu B is only found in humans and is less likely to cause pandemics. There is also Flu C but infection is usually mild and well tolerated. It is not thought to cause pandemics either.

Of the pediatric deaths mentioned above the mean age was seven. Thirty-five percent died before hospital admission and 43% had no high risk complication (something like asthma.) The majority of deaths were among children who had not been immunized.

The flu vaccine is not perfect. It's effective in about 60% of cases or has a moderate rate of effectiveness.

The benefits of getting a flu vaccine are decreased illness, decreased unnecessary use of antibiotics, decreased incidence of hospitalizations and decreased deaths.

The age old question is why some people still get the flu despite being immunized. Chances are they were exposed shortly before the vaccine or in the two weeks before they had immunity from the vaccine. They could have gotten a virus that wasn't covered by the vaccine or they didn't get an adequate immune response after the shot. I have a personal friend who doesn't mount an immune response when she gets normal immunizations.

No vaccine is perfect but, personally, I don't like the risks of not immunizing my children every year for the flu.

What about you? Will you be getting your flu shot this year?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

HIPAA and Identity Thefts

Did you know pediatric medical records are being targeted by identity thefts?

I recently attended a staff meeting where our hospital's privacy officer gave a talk.

I've blogged a lot here about HIPAA. You can check out some of those posts below.

What he said that was interesting was that identity thefts are targeting pediatric medical records because they have all the info they need and are "clean" meaning no problems with credit.

Generally, a child's credit score isn't checked until they are 18 so the thieves have years and years to use their information for nefarious reasons. He recommended parents check their child's credit rating every year to make sure their identity hadn't been stolen.

Think he's off target? Here's a news article from March, 2011 that discusses exactly what he's concerned about.

To read more about HIPAA pitfalls when writing fiction-- check out the following links.

HIPAA and Law Enforcement




Have you ever been the victim of identity theft?