Review Category : Health

Degree of Delivery Room Pain Linked to Mother’s Mate

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Fathers-to-be shouldn’t take it personally when a woman howls in pain during childbirth. Or maybe they should.

A new study out of the University of London suggests that women in the delivery room may actually feel more discomfort when their significant other is hanging around to provide moral support.

To get a better idea, researchers first gave 39 women a test to determine how close they were to their male partner. Then, the women were hooked up to a machine that delivered a “tolerable” amount of pain to one of their fingers.

While wearing a brain scan, each woman was asked the degree of discomfort felt when their partner was present as opposed to when they weren’t.

As it happened, women who said in the test that they preferred less closeness to their mate reported more pain in their finger. No difference was noted in the other women.

So are men really making things better when they’re around for the birth of a child? Perhaps they should ask the mother if they really want them there in the first place.

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American Academy of Pediatrics Reaffirms Opposition to Legalization of Marijuana

sarra22/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The American Academy of Pediatrics reiterated its opposition to the legalization of marijuana in an updated statement on Monday.

The group is against legalized marijuana — both for recreational and medicinal purposes — due to the potentially harmful effects on adolescents, such as memory impairment and difficulty concentrating.

The AAP also says that studies have linked marijuana with a lower likelihood of completing high school and receiving a college degree. Those studies, however, did not prove that use of marijuana caused that lower likelihood of high school completion.

According to the statement, the group’s opposition to medicinal marijuana is based in a need for further research to determine correct dosing and true efficacy.

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American Academy of Pediatrics Reaffirms Opposition to Legalization of Marijuana

sarra22/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The American Academy of Pediatrics reiterated its opposition to the legalization of marijuana in an updated statement on Monday.

The group is against legalized marijuana — both for recreational and medicinal purposes — due to the potentially harmful effects on adolescents, such as memory impairment and difficulty concentrating.

The AAP also says that studies have linked marijuana with a lower likelihood of completing high school and receiving a college degree. Those studies, however, did not prove that use of marijuana caused that lower likelihood of high school completion.

According to the statement, the group’s opposition to medicinal marijuana is based in a need for further research to determine correct dosing and true efficacy.

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American Academy of Pediatrics Reaffirms Opposition to Legalization of Marijuana

sarra22/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The American Academy of Pediatrics reiterated its opposition to the legalization of marijuana in an updated statement on Monday.

The group is against legalized marijuana — both for recreational and medicinal purposes — due to the potentially harmful effects on adolescents, such as memory impairment and difficulty concentrating.

The AAP also says that studies have linked marijuana with a lower likelihood of completing high school and receiving a college degree. Those studies, however, did not prove that use of marijuana caused that lower likelihood of high school completion.

According to the statement, the group’s opposition to medicinal marijuana is based in a need for further research to determine correct dosing and true efficacy.

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UK Ebola Patient Released from Hospital, Free of Virus

JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) — The Ebola patient admitted to a London hospital in December was discharged on Saturday and is now virus-free.

Pauline Cafferkey, a Scottish nurse, had returned from Sierra Leone to the United Kingdom on Dec. 28, 2014, where she had been treating Ebola patients. According to a statement released by the hospital, Cafferkey said she still didn’t feel 100 percent. “I feel quite weak, but I’m looking forward to going home,” she added.

Cafferkey had been admitted to the hospital on Dec. 30, 2014. Earlier this month, there was concern after the hospital had said that her condition had “gradually deteriorated.”

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Epileptic Boy’s Parents Frustrated by Delays Plaguing Medical Marijuana Rollout

pkripper503/iStock/Thinkstock(ORANGE COUNTY, Fla.) — Andrea Saretti’s son Sam starts the day each morning by putting on a special helmet and medical bracelet to protect him in case he falls to the ground with a seizure.

Sam, 9, was diagnosed with epilepsy last year and has suffered seizures that have not stopped despite multiple medications and even an electronic implant that is designed to prevent seizures by sending mild electrical pulses to the brain through the vagus nerve.

“He misses a lot of school,” Saretti told ABC News. “He had a seizure in the road on the way to the bus stop. … It happens at school and happens at restaurants and happens everywhere.”

The medications Sam is currently on have helped somewhat but they have also led to side effects, including weight gain, Saretti said, noting that Sam, who is also autistic, went from 80 pounds to over 120 pounds in just one year of treatment after being prescribed adult doses of medication to try and stop the seizures.

While many doctors are reluctant to say with certainty that marijuana can help with epilepsy, patients who have found little relief with conventional drugs have turned to the natural remedy as anecdotal reports suggest it can reduce seizures.

Sam’s doctors decided last fall they wanted to try using low-THC cannabis to help Sam, his mom said, referring to the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana. The timing seemed perfect as the Florida legislature passed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act in June, allowing doctors to prescribe low-THC cannabis to patients with certain criteria in Florida.

However, while the medical use of the drug became legal as of Jan. 1, Sam and his mother are still waiting to get the medication.

The reason for the delay is that a Florida administrative law judge invalidated the Florida Health Department’s plan to use a lottery system to choose marijuana growers. As a result, no one in the state is currently allowed to grow marijuana and the Florida Department of Health has been meeting with potential growers to decide how to proceed, according to ABC News affiliate WFTV-TV in Orlando.

“There are many parents across the state who are waiting with baited breath [saying] ‘When is this going to be available for my kid?'” said Saretti, noting she’s talked online to parents in similar situations.

Saretti said she’s hoping something will change in the coming months so that Sam can stay in school rather than be stuck at home, where he can be more easily monitored.

“We’re looking at [being] home-bound now for the remaining of the year,” said Saretti. “You look at quality of life — something like [the Compassionate Care Act] can give him back a quality of life.”

After consulting with growers and others about how to progress forward, the Florida Health Department announced last week that a panel would convene in February to discuss how to implement that act and approve marijuana growers in the state.

“The department remains committed to getting this product to children with intractable epilepsy and people with advanced cancer as safely and quickly as possible,” read a statement from the Department of Health. “This rulemaking negotiation is part of the department’s commitment to working with all stakeholders to arrive at a rule and start providing the product to those who need it.”

Dr. Elizabeth Thiele, the director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, said low-THC cannabis or cannabidoil (a chemical derived from cannabis) has been used by some patients only after cycling through different medications unsuccessfully.

However, Thiele, who has not treated Sam, said there has been no large comprehensive study examining if cannabis-derived medications are an effective treatment for epilepsy. But epileptic patients including some children across the country have been trying out low-THC cannabis as a last resort, she said.

Thiele is currently studying 25 pediatric patients with epilepsy who are being treated with doses of cannabidoil, which contain virtually none of the psychoactive ingredient of cannabis. She said early results have been promising but not a total success in treating seizures.

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Sorry, Pregnant Women, New Study Is Not a Carte Blanche to Eat Sushi

Kesu01/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Despite jubilant tweets and Facebook posts to the contrary, a new study does not reverse decades of advice prohibiting pregnant women from eating sushi, experts said.

The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition said pregnant women may be able to eat more fish than previously thought thanks to what appear to be minimal negative effects from mercury consumption on their unborn children, but experts say sushi is a whole different story.

Researchers at Rochester University followed more than 1,200 pregnant mothers in the Republic of Seychelles until their children were 20 months old. Seychelles is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean where people eat more fish than they do in the United States.

“They don’t really eat sushi,” said study author Gary Myers. “That’s the first thing I would say. They ate quite a wide mixture of fish — much wider than what we have in the states, actually.”

The pregnant women in the study ate 12 fish meals a week on average, and researchers concluded that the fatty acids found in the fish may have protected children’s brains from the harmful effects of mercury. Researchers found that pregnant women whose blood had higher levels of the polyunsaturated fatty acid found in fish went on to have children who performed better on a battery of tests on motor skills and other functions that might be effected by high mercury levels.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that women eat no more than 12 ounces of fish or two fish meals a week, but Myers said it’s considering whether to allow more.

For now, Dr. Jeff Ecker, who chairs the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Obstetric Practice, said women should continue to follow the current FDA recommendations. He said the study might help convince the FDA to change the guidelines, but more research analysis is needed.

“The study suggests, as has been known for a while, that there are real benefits from fish eating,” he said. “The balance between the benefits and potential risk of mercury exposure and this work suggest that there’s not as direct a relationship between mercury exposure and adverse outcome as initially thought.”

Still, pregnant women are told not to eat raw or under-cooked fish for several reasons, said teratologist Robert Felix, who studies and counsels women on how things during pregnancy effect their unborn children. If it is not prepared and handled properly, sushi can cause parasitic infections, be cross-contaminated by bacteria or other substances or contain high levels of mercury, Felix said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that pregnant women only eat fish cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

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CDC Issues Health Alert Over Measles Outbreak

Photo by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — The Centers for Disease Control issued a health alert on Friday to health department and hospitals around the country to make them aware there’s an ongoing outbreak of measles.

The outbreak, originally linked to a single case at Disneyland in California in December, has grown to affecting 58 people and spread from California to Utah, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, and across the border to Mexico.

In 2000, the U.S. declared that measles had been eliminated, meaning the disease is no longer native to the U.S. The virus can however hitch a ride with people who have been overseas.

Most of those who have gotten sick have been unvaccinated, according to health officials.

Many young doctors and medical workers likely have never seen a case of measles, prompting the CDC’s alert to remind them what it looks like, and to review vaccination recommendations.

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CDC Issues Health Alert Over Measles Outbreak

Photo by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — The Centers for Disease Control issued a health alert on Friday to health department and hospitals around the country to make them aware there’s an ongoing outbreak of measles.

The outbreak, originally linked to a single case at Disneyland in California in December, has grown to affecting 58 people and spread from California to Utah, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, and across the border to Mexico.

In 2000, the U.S. declared that measles had been eliminated, meaning the disease is no longer native to the U.S. The virus can however hitch a ride with people who have been overseas.

Most of those who have gotten sick have been unvaccinated, according to health officials.

Many young doctors and medical workers likely have never seen a case of measles, prompting the CDC’s alert to remind them what it looks like, and to review vaccination recommendations.

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How a Sonogram Is Helping Gym Goers Lose Weight

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Sonograms are the latest piece of technology gyms are using to help inspire their members to tone up and lose weight. But rather than scoping a growing baby in utero, the hand-held ultrasound scanners evaluate body fat percentage.

Bari Studio in New York City uses this technique to give their members insight into their progress.

“It takes measurements from four different parts of their body — the triceps, waist, hip and thigh — so we can see what’s going on in these specific areas and get information about their total body composition,” explained Courtney Romano, a certified personal trainer who is Bari’s head trainer in New York.

The machine works by bouncing sound off the body’s various tissues to estimate fat thickness without using any radiation. Since sound rebounds off fat at a particular wavelength, the operator can use this information to calculate an overall body fat percentage.

Each measurement costs $50, Romano said, and the typical gym member repeats the measurement about once a month to help fine tune her training program. Clients like Diem Tran said the checkup provides a different perspective on her training.

“When I first started working out my weight stayed the same and I couldn’t figure out what was actually going on,” Tran told ABC News’ Good Morning America.

The 26-year-old credits the regular feedback she gets from the measurement for helping her lose 12 pounds and 7 percent body fat since August.

But proceed with caution, urged Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News’ senior medical contributor.

“Anytime we have technology to improve our health, that can potentially be an exciting thing,” Ashton said. “But my concern is that this not be misused or abused.”

The accuracy of sonogram body fat measurements is well established, Ashton said, but results can vary depending on the skill of the technician, the quality of the machine and how often the scan is repeated.

Despite the caveats, Ashton said she feels the measurement may help some exercisers reach their goals.

“Haters shouldn’t hate on this technology. At the end of the day, it’s whatever motivates the individual,” she said.

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