Review Category : Health

Molly Sims’ Advice to New Moms Struggling to Lose Baby Weight

Mark Mainz/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Molly Sims is known for her bombshell model looks, but after gaining 72 pounds while pregnant with her first child, son Brooks, born in June 2012, Sims was left with pounds to lose and uncertainty that she would ever return to her pre-baby body.

“I actually have a picture of my scale and my feet and it was 204 pounds,” Sims recalled to ABC News.

Six weeks after her C-section, Sims, 40, hit the gym to start losing the weight.

“I would workout for an hour and 45 minutes, an hour and 50 [minutes],” said Sims, who also would wear a trash bag to sweat more while she exercised.

With the stubborn baby weight not coming off, Sims wore a corset, tried acupuncture and went to a Chinese herbalist as well.

“My neck was….I looked like a football player,” Sims said. “I kept asking people, I’m like, ‘I don’t feel right. Something’s wrong with me.’”

“Oh, it’s your hormones. Oh, you just had a baby. Oh honey don’t worry about it. You’re in Hollywood and you’re putting so much pressure on yourself to lose weight,” Sims recalled of people’s reactions.

It took four months after giving birth before Sims’ intuition that something more was wrong was proven correct by her doctor.

“He was like, ‘Uh oh. Something is wrong with your thyroid,’” Sims said of her doctor. “My neck was huge. I mean, literally, huge.”

Sims says she was diagnosed with thyroiditis, an inflammation of the thyroid gland, and began taking medication to regulate her hormones.

“My neck slowly started going down,” she said. “It took a year.”

Now Sims and her husband, producer Scott Stuber, are trying for a second child and she says she hopes her experience will urge women to speak up.

“My wish is that [women] don’t stop asking people what’s wrong,” said Sims. “I tell these women, I’m, like, ‘If you think something’s wrong, ask a million people.’”

“Just don’t give up,” she said.

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Cognition Affected by Long Work Hours

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If anyone says working too hard isn’t good for you, they may be onto something.

According to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, all those extra hours you’re putting in at the job might be negatively affecting your cognitive skills.

British researchers looked at the work habits of more than 2,000 civil servants from the years 1997-1999 and again in 2002-2004 while testing participants’ short-term memory, reasoning and language skills.

The results, during both periods, showed that people working 55 hours a week or more did more poorly in vocabulary and reasoning tests compared to workers who didn’t spend more than 40 hours a week on the job, even when all other personal issues were taken into account.

Other drawbacks to working longer hours included psychological distress and fewer hours sleeping.

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An Encouraging Development in Treatment of Alzheimer’s

iStock/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) — Progress in the treatment and possible cure of the memory-wasting disease Alzheimer’s has been made in baby steps up to now. Scientists still don’t know what causes the condition, which affects as many as five million Americans.

However, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Washington University in St. Louis now believe that an antidepressant may at least slow the development of abnormal proteins, called amyloid plaques, in the brain, which occur years before symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia appear.

The researchers gave the drug citalopram, which is sold as Celexa, to mice with Alzheimer’s disease. Although the antidepressant did not eliminate the plaque, it did stop its growth and fewer plaques were formed, compared to mice given a placebo.

Next, a dose of the same drug was given to two dozen healthy adults. By the next day, their production of amyloid fell substantially.

Scientists won’t know for years if citalopram can be effectively used to protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s or whether it’s able to slow the progression of amyloid plaques over a longer period of time.

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Researcher Claims Absolutely No Vaccine-Autism Link

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In a setback for the naysayers of childhood vaccines, a new study out of Australia claims there is conclusive proof that immunizations do not cause autism.

As first reported in The New York Post, University of Sydney researcher Guy Eslick conducted a meta-analysis of 1.25 million children vaccinated against a variety of illnesses around the world and found not a single instance of a youngster developing autism.

According to Eslick, “The data consistently shows the lack of evidence for an association between autism, autism spectrum disorders and childhood vaccinations…providing no reason to avoid immunization on these grounds.”

Fears of a link between autism and shots for measles, whooping cough and other diseases were first raised by British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield in 1998. Many parents have taken Wakefield’s findings to heart, refusing to vaccinate their kids even after his findings were determined to be fraudulent.

Eslick says he has no stake in either side of the argument, claiming he’s feels empathy for parents who won’t accept the scientific proof offered by his research.

“This study will be cold comfort for them and I don’t think it will change their minds. You will probably never be able to change their minds,” he added.

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Transgender Couple Photographs Their Opposite Transitions

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Transgender artists Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst are transitioning in opposite directions and have captured their individual transformations in the “Relationship” series, a collection of photographs on exhibit as part of Biennial 2014 at The Whitney Museum of American Art from March 7 to May 25.

The photo series is an intimate diary of the couple’s love affair and their gender identity transitions — Drucker from male to female and Ernst from female to male. The photos span five years of their relationship from 2008 to 2013. The photographs include tender embraces, their bandaged bodies from hormone injections and also shots of Drucker’s growing breasts.

Drucker, 31, was born male in Syracuse, N.Y., and is a graduate of The School of Visual Arts in New York City. Ernst, 31, was born female in Pomona, Calif., and graduated from Hampshire College. She had appeared on a TV reality show Artstar, and he had been working for MTV when the couple met in 2005. They now live in Los Angeles. The pair have recently been hired to act as advisers on Amazon’s new original series, Transparent.

Going public with their photographs as their relationship progressed seemed “organic,” Ernst told ABC News.

“We stepped back and we had a huge body of work. It felt like a natural choice. We didn’t think about being in the closet. It’s faithful to our lives and has a lot of layers, not just to do with gender.”

Drucker told ABC News their project was “was an impulse to investigate and to record and to be an inspiration.”

The installation is part of three collaborative projects by Drucker, who is a photographer, filmmaker and performance artist, and Ernst, a director and filmmaker. They have also staged several events at the Whitney, including a screening of their film, She Gone Rogue, a series of tarot card readings with the drag queen Flawless Sabrina, which sold out.

“We have been very fortune to have had supportive family,” said Drucker. “Much of that has to do with our socioeconomic background — also being white. Lots of trans people are in very dangerous, precarious situations because our culture does not create space for people who exist outside the binary. These insidious elements of gender policing trickle down and effect all of us.”

But, added Ernst, “the biggest struggle for us outside being trans is more about being emerging artists and struggling and trying to figure out how to pay our bills and make a living. Practicing our art has been really hard.”

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Pancreatic Cancer May Become Second Leading Cause of Cancer Death

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Pancreatic cancer is projected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States by 2020, health officials warn.

Despite advances in treating other forms of the disease, new data out Monday details an increase in pancreatic cancer, which is historically understudied and underfunded. Cancer of the pancreas doesn’t receive as much as attention as “the big four” — lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal — according to Lynn Matrisian, study author from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

“The projections for deaths from pancreatic and liver cancers are startling,” Matrisian said. “This study is a call to action to the scientific and clinical communities, as well as the population at large, to increase attention, awareness, and ultimately progress in the fight against pancreatic cancer.”

The report, published online in the journal Cancer Research, also indicates that the number of thyroid cancer diagnoses is predicted to increase dramatically in the next decade.

For other types, however, the death rate is declining each year, with those for lung, colorectal, and breast cancer dropping.

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Telemedicine Brings the Doctor to You

Hemera/Thinkstock(DAYTON, Ohio) — With three growing boys, the Alspaughs of Dayton, Ohio, say their home away from home is unfortunately often the doctor’s office.

“We really do have a stack of medical bills and it overwhelms us,” said Rachel Alspaugh.

For the boys — ages 14, 11, and 9 — it costs the family $90 a visit. The price goes up to $100 each time mom or dad goes.

“We’re just wondering, ‘Is there a better way?’” Philip Alspaugh asked.

According to health care consumer advocate Michelle Katz, there is: telemedicine, a brand-new, high-tech medical service.

For $40 to $50 a use — about half the cost of the average doctor’s visit — doctors perform virtual medical exams either online or over the telephone. They even write prescriptions.

Telemedicine is already backed by many hospitals and major health insurers. The U.S. government endorsed the service through Medicare and Medicaid.

But for most families, Katz said, they don’t know it’s an option or don’t figure in the extra costs of going to the doctor’s office.

“It costs money to take off from work, to get all the boys in the car, drive down to wait a few hours, to get a diagnosis that you might already know about,” she said.

Telemedicine is used to treat minor ailments like cold symptoms, which account for nearly a quarter of office visits to the primary care doctor.

“We’ve got a very affordable alternative to an emergency room for non-emergency care,” said Dr. Tim Howard, a telemedicine doctor.

While he tells patients that the best care is received by seeing a primary care physician for a hands-on exam, telemedicine helps families stay healthy in between regular doctor’s office visits, not instead of them.

Katz estimated that the Alspaughs could save more than $2,600 this year.

“I’m amazed,” said Rachel Alspaugh. “I’m simply amazed.”

If you’re interested in telemedicine:
Consult with your primary care physician to see what telemedicine company they might already work with.

Check with your insurance provider to make sure it covers telemedicine and to see whether it has a service it recommends.

Log onto third-party medical rating service websites like vitals.com and NCQA.org to research the doctor/service.

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E. Coli Cases Prompt Recall of 1.8 Million Pounds of Ground Beef

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Approximately 1.8 million pounds of ground beef is being recalled over concerns that it may have been contaminated with E. coli, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced on Monday.

The recall by Detroit-based Wolverine Packing Company involves products made between March 31 and April 18.

[ CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL LIST OF RECALLED PRODUCTS ]

According to the FSIS, the affected products bear the establishment number “EST. 2574B” and were sent to restaurants in at least four states — Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio.

Officials won’t say where the recalled meat was served, but they do say it was not used in school lunches or in meals for the military.

So far, 11 people have been treated for illnesses linked to the recalled beef.

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California Chrome’s Nasal Strips Once a Hit Among Humans, Too

Rob Carr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — It’s official: Triple Crown contender California Chrome can wear his nasal strip to the Belmont Stakes, a decision by the New York State Gaming Commission that dismisses the possibility of an unfair advantage.

But race horses aren’t the only competitors to don the nostril-stretching strips, according to Dr. Cathy Fieseler, president of the American Medical Athletic Association Board. Human athletes have tried them, too.

“People are always going to look for something that’s going give them a tenth of a second or a hundredth of a second advantage,” said Fieseler, referring to athletes like retired San Francisco 49er Jerry Rice, who put nasal strips on the map among human athletes. “They’ll try anything if they see somebody using it.”

Even Meb Keflezighi, winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon, has been photographed wearing nasal strips, although he didn’t wear any during this year’s race.

“They may make someone more comfortable,” Fieseler said, explaining how most athletes breathe more out of their mouths than their noses when they run. “As far as enhanced performance, I don’t think there’s anything to back that up.”

That might be why the stretchy strips have fallen out of favor among athletes in recent years. Robert Truax, a doctor of osteopathy at UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said that any performance-enhancing effects — if they do exist — are exceedingly minimal.

“At what level does a few tenths of a second matter?” he said, likening the strips to the compression socks and sleeves worn by athletes in a range of sports. “They may or may not help performance, but at the end if the race, the person may not feel so fatigued. They’ll feel better.”

Compression socks reduce swelling to keep blood flow in the central part of the body, according to Truax.

“It’s not like a drug,” he said of nasal strips, which he wore when he ran a half marathon. “It’s a truly mechanical advantage.”

New York State Gaming Commission’s equine medical director, Scott Palmer, on Monday discontinued the state’s ban on the strips, citing a lack of research that shows they enhance performance.

“In my opinion equine nasal strips fall into the same category as tongue-ties,” he said in a statement. “Equine nasal strips do not enhance equine performance nor do they pose a risk to equine health or safety and as such do not need to be regulated.”

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How a Handshake Is Boosting Fears of MERS

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A simple handshake has raised questions about MERS, the deadly infection now known to have spread on U.S. soil.

An Illinois man tested positive for the infection on Friday, marking the third U.S. case in two weeks.

But unlike the first two cases, the man had not come from Saudi Arabia. Rather, he had a business meeting and shook hands with a seemingly healthy associate, who two days later would land in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Munster, Indiana.

“This is the first MERS infection acquired in the U.S.,” said ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser. “There are a couple possibilities: one is that it was transmitted by handshake; the other is that their face-to-face meeting, which lasted 40 minutes, was enough for the virus to be transmitted. At this point, there’s no way of knowing which it was.”

The Illinois man is fine. Unlike his business associate, he never developed any symptoms, which include fever, cough and body aches. He tested negative for an active infection May 5, but tested positive for MERS virus antibodies on May 16, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The good news is that you can get this infection and have no symptoms,” said Besser.

But that might also be the bad news, since it’s unclear whether someone with no MERS symptoms can spread the virus.

“We don’t know yet,” Besser said.

MERS is still thought to spread primarily through close contact in healthcare settings like hospitals. But the Illinois man’s 40-minute business meeting raises the scary possibility that the virus has the potential to spread through face-to-face conversations and handshakes.

The CDC tested close contacts of the first two U.S. MERS cases — but only contacted the people they shared flights with to ask about symptoms.

“It sure strikes me that if you’re able to get this through 40 minutes of face-to-face conversation, you would want to know whether the people sitting next to someone on an airplane could get the MERS infection as well,” Besser said, adding that data suggest the MERS virus can live on surfaces for more than 48 hours — up to 24 times longer than the seasonal flu, according to CDC.

But the CDC said the “latest development” does not change the agency’s recommendations to prevent the spread of MERS, which include frequent hand washing, avoiding contact with people who appear sick and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

“It’s possible that as the investigation continues others may also test positive for MERS-CoV infection but not get sick,” said Dr. David Swerdlow, who is leading the agency’s MERS response. “Along with state and local health experts, CDC will investigate those initial cases and if new information is learned that requires us to change our prevention recommendations, we can do so.”

The new case also suggests that some MERS stats are a little skewed. The World Health Organization has been reporting that that infection is fatal 30 percent of the time — a number that fails to account for symptomless cases.

“If you’re only counting people who have been in hospitals and were sick to begin with, it’s going to look a lot more severe than it is,” said Besser. “In all likelihood, that 30 percent figure is inflated.”

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