Review Category : Health

Amy’s Kitchen Recall: What to Know About Spinach Listeria Outbreak

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Amy’s Kitchen and at least three other organic food companies have recalled products this week because of listeria found in organic spinach, which may cause you to think twice before you reach for foods containing Popeye the Sailor Man’s favorite ingredient.

Here’s what you need to know:

What was recalled?

Amy’s Kitchen, which makes organic products, recalled nearly 74,000 cases of them because of the listeria scare this week. For a full list of which products and what dates were on them, click here.

Three other companies — Rising Moon Organics, Superior Foods, Inc., and Twin City Foods, Inc. — also recalled products because of contaminated spinach from an organic supplier. Twin City Foods said its products were sold at Wegmans Supermarkets, Inc., which also issued a separate recall because the spinach was sold under the Wegmans brand name.

Who supplied the greens?

The Food and Drug Administration said its policy is not to name the supplier or comment on whether it is investigating, but Coastal Green LLC in Oxnard, California, told ABC News it supplied leafy greens to all three companies.

Coastal Green said it notified the Food and Drug Administration as soon as it detected listeria during routine testing and realized some of its shipped product may have been contaminated, said spokesman Paul Fanelli. Coastal Green processes organic and conventional vegetables and is working with the FDA to resolve the listeria problem, he said.

“We’re in the middle of an investigation here as to what the root cause was of the listeria,” Fanelli said. “Once we determine what that is, we’ll change our policies and our procedures accordingly.”

Who got sick?

There have been no reported listeria illnesses tied to any of these products, but Wegmans and Twin City Foods said they issued recalls to be cautious.

Amy’s Kitchen, Rising Moon Organics, and Superior Foods did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

What is listeria monocytogenes?

Listeria is a bacterium that lives in animals’ digestive tracts but can cause an illness called listeriosis when consumed by humans. This happens when fruit and vegetable crops are contaminated by animal waste. That can happen because of tainted irrigation or wash water, or because animals got into the field.

“It’s very difficult to wash them so completely and disinfect them so completely that they become completely clean and sterile,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, explaining that this is one of the reasons it is recommended to give vegetables an additional wash at home before consuming them.

What are the symptoms?

Listeria usually results in a fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s especially harmful to older adults, newborns and pregnant women, but healthy people may consume the bacteria without getting sick, according to the CDC.

Listeriosis can prompt dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea and can be especially harmful to people with underlying health conditions, Schaffner said. The bacterium can also get into the bloodstream, he said.

Laboratory tests can confirm diagnosis, and doctors will usually treat with antibiotics and fluids, he said.

How serious is listeriosis?

The deadly bacteria sickens about 1,600 people each year and kills about 260 people, according to the CDC. But healthy people who consume it don’t always become ill.

Why is listeria problematic?

If food hasn’t been heated thoroughly, listeria can live on even after it’s been cooked, Schaffner said. And unlike other bacteria, listeria can continue reproducing in cold temperatures such as a refrigerator and doesn’t die in a freezer, he said.

“This is a rascal,” he said. “It may create an infectious dose even though you’ve kept the food in the fridge.”

What does the outbreak show us?

Food safety lawyer Bill Marler said the listeria outbreak illustrates how complex the food system has become, but that routine testing is effective.

“Products like frozen spinach travel all over the country and make it into multiple brands,” he said. “It does make doing a recall a challenge, and if an outbreak [occurs, it can be] difficult to pinpoint the cause.”

“On the plus side of the recall, it shows that testing of products [for harmful bacteria] works and being transparent with that information, as required by the FDA, will save lives,” Marler added.

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Amy’s Kitchen Recall: What to Know About Spinach Listeria Outbreak

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Amy’s Kitchen and at least three other organic food companies have recalled products this week because of listeria found in organic spinach, which may cause you to think twice before you reach for foods containing Popeye the Sailor Man’s favorite ingredient.

Here’s what you need to know:

What was recalled?

Amy’s Kitchen, which makes organic products, recalled nearly 74,000 cases of them because of the listeria scare this week. For a full list of which products and what dates were on them, click here.

Three other companies — Rising Moon Organics, Superior Foods, Inc., and Twin City Foods, Inc. — also recalled products because of contaminated spinach from an organic supplier. Twin City Foods said its products were sold at Wegmans Supermarkets, Inc., which also issued a separate recall because the spinach was sold under the Wegmans brand name.

Who supplied the greens?

The Food and Drug Administration said its policy is not to name the supplier or comment on whether it is investigating, but Coastal Green LLC in Oxnard, California, told ABC News it supplied leafy greens to all three companies.

Coastal Green said it notified the Food and Drug Administration as soon as it detected listeria during routine testing and realized some of its shipped product may have been contaminated, said spokesman Paul Fanelli. Coastal Green processes organic and conventional vegetables and is working with the FDA to resolve the listeria problem, he said.

“We’re in the middle of an investigation here as to what the root cause was of the listeria,” Fanelli said. “Once we determine what that is, we’ll change our policies and our procedures accordingly.”

Who got sick?

There have been no reported listeria illnesses tied to any of these products, but Wegmans and Twin City Foods said they issued recalls to be cautious.

Amy’s Kitchen, Rising Moon Organics, and Superior Foods did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

What is listeria monocytogenes?

Listeria is a bacterium that lives in animals’ digestive tracts but can cause an illness called listeriosis when consumed by humans. This happens when fruit and vegetable crops are contaminated by animal waste. That can happen because of tainted irrigation or wash water, or because animals got into the field.

“It’s very difficult to wash them so completely and disinfect them so completely that they become completely clean and sterile,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, explaining that this is one of the reasons it is recommended to give vegetables an additional wash at home before consuming them.

What are the symptoms?

Listeria usually results in a fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s especially harmful to older adults, newborns and pregnant women, but healthy people may consume the bacteria without getting sick, according to the CDC.

Listeriosis can prompt dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea and can be especially harmful to people with underlying health conditions, Schaffner said. The bacterium can also get into the bloodstream, he said.

Laboratory tests can confirm diagnosis, and doctors will usually treat with antibiotics and fluids, he said.

How serious is listeriosis?

The deadly bacteria sickens about 1,600 people each year and kills about 260 people, according to the CDC. But healthy people who consume it don’t always become ill.

Why is listeria problematic?

If food hasn’t been heated thoroughly, listeria can live on even after it’s been cooked, Schaffner said. And unlike other bacteria, listeria can continue reproducing in cold temperatures such as a refrigerator and doesn’t die in a freezer, he said.

“This is a rascal,” he said. “It may create an infectious dose even though you’ve kept the food in the fridge.”

What does the outbreak show us?

Food safety lawyer Bill Marler said the listeria outbreak illustrates how complex the food system has become, but that routine testing is effective.

“Products like frozen spinach travel all over the country and make it into multiple brands,” he said. “It does make doing a recall a challenge, and if an outbreak [occurs, it can be] difficult to pinpoint the cause.”

“On the plus side of the recall, it shows that testing of products [for harmful bacteria] works and being transparent with that information, as required by the FDA, will save lives,” Marler added.

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Why Legendary Bodybuilder Who Died with Almost Zero Body Fat Lives On

sportnahrung-engel.de(NEW YORK) — Austrian bodybuilder Andreas Munzer, who died 19 years ago this month, remains both the gold standard and a cautionary tale for men striving for the ripped, lean look the sport demands.

Although it could not be confirmed, he appears to have died from multiple organ failure, the likely result of years of alleged anabolic steroid abuse. He was 31, and easily recognizable from the images that have gone viral in recent days.

Munzer’s autopsy revealed he had almost 0 percent body fat, the legend goes. Such a small amount of body fat could have hastened his demise, experts say.

“You need body fat for cellular function, energy use and to pad the joints and organs,” said Carol Garber, professor of movement sciences at Columbia University in New York City. “Having too little can lead to nutritional deficiencies, electrolyte imbalances and malfunction of the heart, kidney and other organs.”

Men require at least 3 percent body fat and women at least 12 percent in order for the body to function properly, Garber said. Below that is where you start to see serious health problems. Sometimes it leads to organ failure and death, she added.

But despite the risks, Munzer’s pictures and profile frequently go viral on bodybuilding forums all these years later because of the sports’ perpetual obsession with stripping every last ounce of adipose tissue from their body, according to Brian Washington, commissioner of the United States Bodybuilding Federation.

“Percentage of body fat is a major issue with bodybuilders,” Washington said. “They devote a lot of their efforts and money on products to go as low as they can possibly go.”

Others agree.

“There are still some bodybuilders obsessed about their numbers who take their body fat percentage readings on a regular basis readers,” said Louis Zwick, the producer of Musclemania, a bodybuilding and fitness competition production company, adding that even those who don’t care about an exact percentage do care about getting as ripped as possible for competition.

Zwick, who said he was part of the film crew that taped Münzer’s last competition before his death 10 days later, said the Austrian was very lean but doubts his body was completely absent of fat.

“I’ve never really seen anyone who really had zero body fat,” he said. “You just can’t be. You wouldn’t survive.”

But it is possible to get down to so little body fat it becomes unmeasurable by standard methods, Columbia’s Garber said. Pinching the skin to measure the thickness of fat just below the surface is the most common way of measuring body fat percentage, she said. It wouldn’t be precise enough to estimate the degree of accuracy needed to make such a claim, she said.

The average bodybuilder is probably between 3 and 5 percent body fat, at least during competition season, Musclemania producer Zwick estimated. Some cycle up in weight during the off-season but as the sport has moved toward a more natural look in the past decade, many strive to stay in shape all year long, he said.

Munzer, Zwick said, was leaner than most. He was always muscled up and stripped of fat.

“That’s why he’s still a legend today,” he said.

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Study Finds Concussions Affect Baseball Players’ Hitting

Moodboard/Thinkstock(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) — It takes a while for Major League Baseball hitters to bounce back from a concussion, a new study has found.

After examining the records of 66 position players who suffered head injuries between 2007 and 2013, the study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine reports that their batting average, on base percentage and slugging average all dipped noticeably in the two weeks after coming back from their concussion, as compared to what they were hitting before getting hurt.

As of now, Major League Baseball has a seven-day disabled list to allow players to recover from concussions, but there is actually no time limit as to how long they need to stay off the field. If they pass a protocol involving tests of physical and mental functioning, they can resume playing.

Although study author Dr. Jeffrey Bazarian of the University of Rochester says that a recovery rate of 90 percent is probably good enough to return to most professions, he argues that baseball players should be fully recovered before stepping up to the plate where fastballs often exceed 95 mph.

However, Dr. Gary Green, baseball’s medical director who questioned the study’s methodology, maintains that “the player association and MLB make the decision on return. If there’s any discrepancy, we have an independent neurologist give his opinion.”

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Ultrasound Study Reveals How Some Fetuses React to Smoking Moms

Dr Nadja Reissland, Durham University(DURHAM, England) — Smoking has long been known to cause complications in pregnancy but a new study aims to show how the unborn baby of a smoking mother reacts differently.

A small pilot study published earlier this week in Acta Paediatrica found that fetuses of smoking moms touch their face and mouth much more than fetuses of nonsmoking mothers.

Using high-definition, 4-D ultrasounds, researchers, led by Dr. Nadja Reissland of Durham University in the United Kingdom, investigated minute mouth and hand movements of the fetuses in both the smoking and nonsmoking mothers.

Four out of the 20 pregnancies studied involved mothers who smoked. Each woman had scans at four intervals between their 24th and 36th weeks of pregnancy.

Reissland said fetuses of the smoking mothers had a 58 percent increase of mouth movement and a 69 percent increase in self-touch, where the fetuses touched their face or head, compared to the unborn babies of women who didn’t smoke.

Reissland said previous studies have shown that mothers with high levels of stress are connected to a high level of fetal movements, also causing stress in the unborn baby.

“Fetal facial movement patterns differ significantly between fetuses of mothers who smoked compared to those of mothers who didn’t smoke,” Reissland said, adding that a bigger study is needed to confirm the findings.

“These results point to the fact that nicotine exposure per se has an effect on fetal development over and above the effects of stress and depression.”

The extra-movements made by the fetuses of smoking pregnancies could indicate that nicotine or other toxins from the smoke are having an effect on a fetus’ development. Traditionally, Reissland said, the fetus’ movement starts to lessen as they develop to full-term pregnancy.

“The brain…matures indicates certain movements for the fetus that the fetus can make, it’s a proxy for brain development,” said Reissland. “As they grow older, they integrate the movement [and] they make fewer but more complex movements.”

All infants in the study were born at a healthy weight and size with no obvious health issues.

“Technology means we can now see what was previously hidden, revealing how smoking affects the development of the fetus in ways we did not realize,” study co-author Professor Brian Francis of Lancaster University said. “This is yet further evidence of the negative effects of smoking in pregnancy.”

Reissland says she hopes to follow up with the infants of smoking mothers to see whether they show any new signs of health effects or developmental delays related to their exposure to nicotine in the womb.

Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Clevelend, said the study was interesting but she wanted to see more evidence connecting the extra movement in the fetuses to any health effects after birth.

“I think the study is interesting in that it gives us the window to look at the effects of looking at the window on a baby,” Greenfield said. “I think it’s kind of dramatic in that, look, we can see this behavior that’s already different.”

Greenfield said the dramatic images could potentially help discourage other women from smoking during pregnancy, but said she finds the patients who continue to smoke usually have other stressors in their life or other issues that keep them from quitting smoking.

“There isn’t any mom who wants to hurt their kids,” she said. “They feel like they can’t manage without the cigarettes.”

According to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 10 percent of women reported smoking during the last three months of pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy has been connected a number of complications, including low birth weight, miscarriage, or premature birth.

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Adoption May Affect IQ Scores for the Better

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — Children who are adopted may have an advantage over other kids that scientists have never previously considered.

Based on findings of a new study, youngsters who were adopted fared better in IQ tests than their brothers or sisters who stayed with their biological parents.

Study co-author Eric Turkheimer, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, says the difference was about four points higher based on an analysis of 400 sets of full male brothers from Sweden who were given IQ tests that are part of mandatory military service.

Turkheimer acknowledges that the research can’t say definitively whether adoption is responsible for a higher IQ of four points, the equivalent to moving up ten percent in cognitive ability, compared to the general population.

However, the findings do seem to suggest that even when genetic factors are considered, “the more educated the adoptive parents are, the bigger the advantage for the child.”

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How Many Minutes Should Kids Really Spend Doing Homework?

iStock/Thinkstock(OVIEDO, Spain) — Seventy minutes of homework a day doesn’t seem like a lot but a Spanish study suggests that it might be the perfect amount of time to improve grades, particularly in math and science.

Researchers from the University of Oviedo in Spain analyzed the performance of about 7,700 boys and girls with a mean age of about 13. A couple of things were discovered right off the bat: kids did better in standardized tests when assigned homework and when they did it without any assistance.

However, the time spent doing homework was crucial when it came to math and science scores, which declined a bit when students were given between 90 and 100 minutes of homework. Furthermore, the improvement in scores when 70 to 90 minutes of homework was assigned was negligible.

Therefore, 70 minutes of homework for adolescents is preferable.

Co-lead authors Javier Suarez-Alvarez and Ruben Fernandez-Alonso concluded, “It is not necessary to assign huge quantities of homework, but it is important that assignment is systematic and regular, with the aim of instilling work habits and promoting autonomous, self-regulated learning.”

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More Than Half of Patients with Alzheimer’s Never Told Diagnosis

Beau Lark/Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Alzheimer’s disease, which is estimated to affect nearly 5 million Americans, is not a normal part of aging.

Now, a new report published Tuesday suggests that more than half of patients with Alzheimer’s disease may not even have been told their diagnosis by their doctors.

According to the newly released 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, physicians frequently report that they are afraid of causing patients emotional distress by revealing the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

Other findings from the 88-page report include the growing rate of Alzheimer’s, the enormous economic burden, such as health care costs of $226 billion, and the increasing death rate from Alzheimer’s, which predicts 700,000 Americans will die in 2015.

Although there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, researchers say active medical care can improve the quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.

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When the Pain, Torment of Cyberbullying Lingers Years Later

OcusFocus/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In the age of the Internet, bullies can do more damage faster than ever before, and as more cyberbullying victims share their stories of harassment, there is one woman who considers herself an advocate for the cause: Monica Lewinsky.

Lewinsky’s infamous affair 17 years ago with former President Bill Clinton not only played out in the media, it was one of the first scandals to play out online. Now, Lewinsky is determined not to tiptoe around her past.

“I was patient zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously,” Lewinsky, 41, said in a TED Talk speech last week.

In the past year, Lewinsky has joined a star-studded list of celebrities championing change to end public online shaming, from singer Demi Lovato to the Jenner sisters, who are the faces of the “Delete Digital Drama” campaign. The issue of cyberbullying even came up on Monday night’s episode of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, when Orlando model Charlotte McKinney shared a few of the nasty tweets she has received while being on the show.

Ally Del Monte, 16, says she has been a victim of cyberbullying for years, and the ridicule started on the playground when she was 8.

“I was really overweight,” she said. “My friends thought it was funny and would exclude me from the playground. They would make fun of me.”

But as she got older, Ally said, the bullying quickly moved online.

“I would get messages every week that no one cares about me, that I’m not worth anything,” she said. “One night was really bad. I had 172 messages on there telling me to kill myself….And I said ‘OK.’ I tried to take a bunch of pills that night and I almost died because of it.”

Her mother, Wendy, decided the only solution was to separate Ally physically from her tormentors, so she pulled Ally out of school and now home-schools her.

“Bullying is so bad and the school cannot keep up with it,” Wendy said.

But Ally said the cyberbullying problem still continues, even in the safety of her own home.

“I still get messages on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook,” she said. “I learned how to mentally prepare myself for those kinds of things. I have to be able to take some of that criticism. There are nasty people out there. Don’t encourage them.”

It’s a problem so many kids face. Nearly half of U.S. teens say they have been victims of cyberbullying, according to the National Crime Prevention Council.

“It’s very public, it’s very humiliating and it’s 24/7,” New York-based psychotherapist Robi Ludwig said. “It’s not like you can go home, close the door and pretend it’s not happening because it follows these kids everywhere and that’s what makes it so damaging so for a young kid that can’t really see that difficult times will pass.”

Kelsey Kangos knows this all too well herself. Now 26, she said she was living Ally’s story when she was in the seventh grade.

“This was the time of AOL Instant Messenger, in like 1999, 2000,” Kelsey said. “They would make these anonymous screen names…the second I blocked one, another one would pop up and it was sort of this constant bombardment. There was no way to know who it was.”

Kelsey said it wasn’t just on Instant Messenger. Her tormentors created a website about her.

“It had my picture, my school picture of the yearbook, kind of copied on top of a gorilla body,” she said. “They would fake journal entries that I had written, so like, ‘Oh, today I thought about shaving my arms’ or ‘Today I thought about how many bananas I could eat at one time,’ or ‘Today I thought about bringing a gun to school, because nobody likes me.’”

She said she brought the website to her mom, and after her stepfather found out about it, she said, he took action.

“He was like, ‘Who do you think is behind this?’ He made that number of copies and drove to each of the parents’ houses,” Kelsey said.

And even though she says the site was taken down, things became worse.

“It actually didn’t stop until I left that school, until I graduated eighth grade,” she said. “Once high school started, it was like a totally different scenario. It just like stopped altogether.”

Thirty-four states have laws that specifically target cyberbullying.

In the meantime, Kelsey has some advice for Ally:

“There is so much ahead of you that at 15 your social life is everything and I get that,” she said. “So while it feels like this is it, this is my whole life, it’s not. Oh, my gosh, it’s not. You have your whole life ahead of you.”

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NHL Star Darren Helm’s Girlfriend Delivers Baby in Back Seat of Car

Hans Nyberg/iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) — Darren Helm is known as one of the fastest players in the NHL, but when it came to getting his girlfriend to the hospital when she went into labor, the Detroit Red Wings center wasn’t fast enough.

Helm’s girlfriend Devon Englot delivered the couple’s second child in the back seat of their car early Monday morning as he drove on I-96, on his way to the Providence Park Hospital.

“I was trying to get to the hospital as quick as I could,” Helm said Tuesday after the team’s workout.

He was sleeping at around 11 p.m. Sunday when Devon woke him and “said things were happening really fast,” he said.

“It came on so quick, we thought we’d have some time to get to the hospital, and things just took a turn,” he said. “The baby was ready to come out and say hello, and that’s what she did.”

The new baby girl, Rylee Klaire, and her mother were both doing fine, he said.

“I’m extremely proud of what [Devon] did, the courage, the pain she had to endure, it’s amazing,” Helm said.

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