Is Alzheimer’s disease linked to dementia, caused by a germ? The recently announced offering of two research grants by the Infectious Diseases Society of America Foundation signals the timely addition of a relevant medical specialty to those already seeking the causes of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), says Leslie Norins, MD, PhD, founder and CEO of Alzheimer’s Germ Quest, Inc. (AGO) “This is the first time a major group of infectious

disease experts feels it is worthwhile to examine the possibility of infection as a root cause of AD,” he says. Dr. Norins predicts ripple effects far beyond the

relatively small dollar amounts offered in these initial “seed research” offerings—$50,000 each— due to the stature of the group involved. The Foundation is the research and education arm of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). “With the recent evidence further implicating

herpes virus as a possible trigger for AD, and the new concept that the amyloid plaques and tangles in the afflicted brain may represent the body’s immune reaction to infectious agents, there is no more pertinent specialty than infec- tious diseases to help extend these beachheads,” he says. A white paper Dr. Norins wrote reads, “From

a two-year review of the scientific literature, I believe it’s now clear that just one germ — identity not yet specified, and possibly not yet discovered — causes most AD. I’m calling it the ‘Alzheimer’s Germ.’” Dr. Norins adds, “Despite many clues suggesting infectious agents might be triggering Alzheimer’s disease, until now there have been too few infectious disease experts involved in researching this possibility.” He attributes this lack of prior involvement to

the paucity of research funds allocated by govern- ment and advocacy group funders for worthwhile investigations on infectious possibilities. “Most of the billions of dollars in AD grant

money for years has been reserved for the more traditional studies of amyloid plaques and protein tangles. Now research on germ involvement must get a fair share,” he says. The grants were made possible by a donation

to the Foundation by Dr. Norins and his wife Rainey Norins. Grant applications can be obtained from AGO is a public benefit corporation headquar-

tered in Naples, FL. Its mission is to accelerate and deepen scientific investigations into the possible role of infectious agents as the root cause of Alzheimer’s disease. AGO is the sponsor of the $1 Million Alzheim-

er’s Germ Quest Challenge Award for scientists. ( The AGQ challenge is only in the ninth month of its existence, says Dr. Norins, and has already attracted 22 entries. Its deadline is December 31, 2020.


Improving hand-hygiene compliance with mild, effective products and enhanced accountability by Susan Cantrell, ELS

(HH) programs. Effective January 1, 2018, “. . . any observation by surveyors of individual failure to perform hand hygiene in the pro- cess of direct patient care will be cited as a deficiency resulting in a Requirement for Improvement (RFI) under the Infection Prevention and Control (IC) chapter for all accreditation programs.”1


The Joint Commission has more strong words regarding HH and HH programs. It states that, because “organizations have had since 2004 to implement successful hand hygiene programs, ... there has been sufficient time for all organizations to train personnel who engage in direct patient care. While there are various causes for HAI [hospital-acquired infection], The Joint Commission has determined that failure to perform hand hygiene associated with direct care of patients should no longer be one of them.”1 Furthermore, “Surveyors also will con- tinue surveying an organization’s hand hygiene program to National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) 07.01.01.”1

The NPSG, intro-

duced in 2004, requires healthcare organiza- tions to (1) implement an HH program, (2) set goals for improving compliance with the program, (3) monitor the success of those plans, and (4) improve the results through appropriate actions.

If healthcare organizations need further reason to improve on and enforce their HH programs, the Joint Commission has provided it.

Better hand-care products encourage compliance

The first step in compliance to an HH program is cleaning the hands. Hands, par- ticularly hands with damaged skin, present a maze of microscopic pathways where pathogens can hide and multiply. Painful skin damage from repeated hand cleansing is a major reason for non-compliance of HH protocols.


ig news from The Joint Commission recently provided more motivation for better-performing hand-hygiene

Ron Chappuis, Vice President of Health-

care Marketing, S.C. Johnson Professional (formerly DebMed), explained how their products encourage proper HH protocol, helping to break the cycle of damaged skin due to constant hand cleansing. “There is no other profession where hands are cleaned so frequently,” he said. “We fully recognize the compliance paradox that exists with products not formulated for high frequency use. The more inferior products are used, the more the skin is damaged, resulting in lower compliance. It is critical to ensure that the products being used are both mild and moisturizing to the skin. “S.C. Johnson Professional offers a port-

folio of products specifically formulated for healthcare workers’ (HCWs) hands,” contin- ued Chappuis. “Our products are blended with mild ingredients, to minimize damage, and they contain specially designed blends of emollients to provide added moisture to the hands. Each of our products contain unique aesthetic qualities that make each product pleasant to use, thus increasing the frequency of use.”

Chappuis highlighted the newest attribute

of S.C. Johnson’s HH products, Invisi-Feel. “We formulated our newest foam sanitizer, Alcare Extra, to have virtually no residue. Healthcare workers notice the difference with just one use of the product. With Invisi- Feel, healthcare workers have nothing left on their hands except emollients.” Important factors in addition to being mild and moisturizing include ease of use and effectiveness. If a product is not easily avail- able, it is less likely to be used by HCWs. Ann Meyer, RN, BSN, Clinical Manager, Anti- septics, Mölnlycke, explained, “HIBICLENS has multiple features that encourage proper HH. It comes in an easy-to-use foam dis- penser and has the lowest potential for skin irritation, when tested against seven other antiseptics (Mölnlycke 2017 irritation study). Additionally, noted Meyer, “HIBICLENS’ soap-based product will remove soil and debris, while the four percent chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) begins killing germs on

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