Review Category : Health

Study: Surgery May Beat Diet and Exercise for Diabetes

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Recent research has pointed to the effectiveness of weight loss surgeries like gastric bypass and laparoscopic banding in treating diabetes. Now, a new study suggests that these surgical approaches may even be more effective at eliminating the disease than the tried-and-true methods of lifestyle intervention — in other words, diet and exercise.

Researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial in which they assigned obese patients with type 2 diabetes to either get gastric bypass with lifestyle intervention for two years, laparoscopic banding with a similar period of lifestyle intervention, or lifestyle intervention alone.

They found that among those who received the surgical interventions, a significant portion were free of diabetes after three years. None of those who got the lifestyle interventions alone, however, achieved this feat.

This study, published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Surgery, was the first of its kind to study the effects of surgical interventions of weight loss for up to three years.

It is worth noting that in order to be eligible for weight loss surgery, a patient must either have a body mass index (BMI) over 40, have a BMI from 35-40 with other weight-related conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure, or have a BMI from 30-34.9 with severe weight-related conditions. This means that not all patients would qualify for these surgical interventions.

Also, previous studies have shown that patients whose diabetes has been eliminated after bariatric surgery can potentially relapse by the five-year follow-up mark.

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Despite Warnings, Adults Using Indoor Tanning Beds Largely Undeterred

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In recent years, the media has been replete with warnings from medical authorities concerning the dangers of indoor tanning beds — dangers that include skin cancer, wrinkles and potentially blinding eye conditions.

Despite this, a new study — published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Dermatology — using data from a large nationally representative survey shows that the reported rate of use of indoor tanning beds did not decrease much between 2010 and 2013.

Researchers looked at data on approximately 60,000 people over these three years, and they found that the rate of adults reporting indoor tanning went from 5.5 percent to 4.2 percent in this period — meaning that nearly four out of five adults who tanned indoors in 2010 still did in 2013.

In certain age and gender groups, no significant changes were seen at all.

Researchers postulate that the small reductions in indoor tanning rates might be attributed to an increased awareness of harm and higher excise tax on indoor tanning — but it is clear that more awareness is needed.

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Sunburn ‘Art’ Makes Experts Cringe

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — This summer some sunbathers are getting a little creative by trying their hand with “sunburn” art.

On social media people can be found using sunblock or temporary tattoos to create “artful” sunburns. But experts cringe at the practice, warning that any sunburn can lead to damage and increased chance of skin cancer.

“This is where popular culture is clashing with medical advice,” said Dr. Barney Kenet, a New York-based dermatologist. “It’s really obvious that sunburn does two things to you: it gives you lines and freckles and wrinkles and it also causes skin cancer especially melanoma.”

Kenet said that if people were really aiming to have a good clean example of sunburn “art” they may be inclined to stay out in the sun longer.

“Then there’s the motivation for getting a good burn,” he explained. “The practice is tempting them to burn even worse.”

Kenet said worryingly those who try to get a good “sunburn art” could be even more at risk for melanoma than those who are exposed to lower levels of sunlight overtime, such as someone who works in the sun.

Kenet explained that a deep burn for someone who is fair-skinned means that person will be at a higher likelihood of getting melanoma even though there may be less overall visible skin damage such as sunspots or wrinkles.

This holiday weekend, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying in the shade, wearing long-sleeved shirts to protect against UV rays and applying broad spectrum SPF throughout the day.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Sunburn ‘Art’ Makes Experts Cringe

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — This summer some sunbathers are getting a little creative by trying their hand with “sunburn” art.

On social media people can be found using sunblock or temporary tattoos to create “artful” sunburns. But experts cringe at the practice, warning that any sunburn can lead to damage and increased chance of skin cancer.

“This is where popular culture is clashing with medical advice,” said Dr. Barney Kenet, a New York-based dermatologist. “It’s really obvious that sunburn does two things to you: it gives you lines and freckles and wrinkles and it also causes skin cancer especially melanoma.”

Kenet said that if people were really aiming to have a good clean example of sunburn “art” they may be inclined to stay out in the sun longer.

“Then there’s the motivation for getting a good burn,” he explained. “The practice is tempting them to burn even worse.”

Kenet said worryingly those who try to get a good “sunburn art” could be even more at risk for melanoma than those who are exposed to lower levels of sunlight overtime, such as someone who works in the sun.

Kenet explained that a deep burn for someone who is fair-skinned means that person will be at a higher likelihood of getting melanoma even though there may be less overall visible skin damage such as sunspots or wrinkles.

This holiday weekend, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying in the shade, wearing long-sleeved shirts to protect against UV rays and applying broad spectrum SPF throughout the day.

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Your Body: Are You Suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Monkey Business/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Are you sleepy-tired, or tired-tired?

When do you know whether your fatigue is caused by just a bad mattress, or some more severe and serious medical condition, like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Those who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are often treated with skepticism. Some people think it’s all “in your head.”

But researchers hope that more studies will help them treat people with this debilitating condition. It could be a daunting task.

In their commentary, the researchers note that the syndrome has 163 possible combinations of symptoms and up to two-and-a-half million people may suffer from it.

If you think you’re one of them, talk to your doctor. If she or he doesn’t have the answer, see another one –just don’t give up.

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California Gov. Signs Vaccination Legislation into Law

uiscar/iStock/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — California Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed into law legislation requiring public school students be vaccinated, a bill that prompted much debate.

The law revokes a parent’s ability to opt out of vaccinating their child based on personal beliefs, but does allow for a physician to exempt a child for reasons that include family medical history. Brown, in a message posted to his website, said that “the science is clear” that vaccines work in protecting children from various diseases.

“While it’s true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community,” Brown added.

Vaccination became a hot topic after 92 cases of measles were reported, many of which were tied to guests or employees of Anaheim’s Disneyland. Many of those cases were in individuals who had not received vaccinations that would have protected against the Measles virus.

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Officials Confirm Ebola’s Return to Liberia

ZOOM DOSSO/AFP/Getty Images(MONROVIA, Liberia) — Liberian officials confirmed that Ebola has returned to the country after the death of a teenager.

The 17-year-old boy tested positive for the virus 48 days after the World Health Organization declared Liberia free of Ebola on May 9. More than 8,000 people died from the disease after the virus spread across the country in 2014.

While officials only confirmed the virus after the teenager had died, he was buried according to Ebola protocols to reduce risk of infection, according to the Liberian government.

“Although this was not the situation we were hoping for, this incident demonstrates[s] that our alert systems are working,” Liberia’s Minister of Health Dr. Bernice Dhan said in a statement. “The structures we have in place to strengthen our surveillance systems in Liberia allowed us to respond quickly. It is critical that the Liberian people remain vigilant and continue all prevention measures to stop the spread of Ebola.”

“We cannot do this without the participation and support of the communities,” Dhan said on Tuesday at the a press conference.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical School, said it’s not surprising an Ebola case reappeared in Liberia.

“We have continuing smoldering Ebola in Guinea and Sierra Leone and it is likely once this investigation is completed there may be association with travel to those countries,” said Schaffner, who is not investigating this case.

“The good thing is this [infection] occurred in a rural village and appears to have been diagnosed rather promptly and appropriate public health responses were put into place,” he said.

Schaffner said it appears the government have taken quick and clear steps that should stop the virus from turning into an outbreak similar to the one that started last year.

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Study Investigates Possible Link Between Citrus and Skin Cancer

Ls9907/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Cancer researchers are examining if eating citrus might put people more at risk for developing melanoma since researchers have long known that certain citrus juices on the surface of the skin can make skin so sensitive to light that people can end up with serious burns.

Dr. Abar Qureshi, director of dermatology at Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital, and his team wanted to know if simply eating citrus could also lead a higher risk of sensitivity to light and as a result developing skin cancer.

To do this, researchers, in collaboration with Rhode Island Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, examined health and diet data from more than 100,000 participants for up to 26 years. All of those involved were health professionals — participants of the ongoing Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

The researchers found that those who ate the most citrus fruits or juices (about 1.6 servings of citrus per day) had a higher incidence of melanoma, up to 36 percent higher than their peers, according to the study published this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

However, researchers noted there were also inconsistencies that would need further explanation. For example some people who had grapefruits were at a high risk for cancer but those who had grapefruit juice were not.

Qureshi, the senior author of the study, said the study findings were interesting but needed to be replicated before doctors started advising anyone to start changing their diet.

“It’s an early signal. We would never ask people to stop consuming overall healthy fruits and vegetables,” said Qureshi, who advised people to be careful about exposure to sunlight if they are concerned.

“It’s combination of citrus plus sun,” that needs investigating, Qureshi said.

Qureshi said he and his team want to know more about how certain chemicals in citrus juice called psoralens and furocoumarins could lead to people being more photosensitive. It’s unclear why some people were more at risk depending on the kind of fruit they ate or how it was prepared, he said.

An editorial published in the same journal found that more study was needed in part because the population, all health professionals, did not accurately represent the general population and some of the findings were at odds with what has previously been determined by past studies.

“This is a potentially important study, given that citrus consumption is widely promulgated as an important dietary constituent and has demonstrated benefit for coronary heart disease, cancer prevention, and overall health effects,” Marianne Berwick, of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of New Mexico, wrote in her editorial. “At this point in time, a public overreaction leading to avoidance of citrus products is to be avoided.”

Dr. Barney Kenet, a New York-based dermatologist, said those afraid of skin cancer should take care to wear sunscreen, stay out of the sun during the midday and get regular checks from a dermatologist, pointing out those are actions known to decrease risk of skin cancer no matter what someone is eating.

“It’s good for information to be out there. The problem comes when people jump to conclusions prematurely,” said Kenet. “Clearly citrus has a place in a healthy diet. “

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Therapy Tortoise Comforts Residents at Florida Nursing Home

Chautauqua Rehabilitation & Nursing Center(DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla.) — A 20-year-old is one of the slowest at a nursing home in Florida.

Shelly — an African spur thigh tortoise — has roamed the halls of the Chautauqua Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in DeFuniak Springs, Florida, for the past two years.

“He’s quite the anomaly here. He’ll always make himself known and do anything he can to get his neck scratched,” occupational therapist Brandy Meredith told ABC News Tuesday.

“We joke that when our residents can outrun Shelly, then they can move out,” she added.

Shelly was rescued four years ago when a passerby noticed him walking down the road, presumably after he got too large for his owner to take care of him. He was taken in as a rescue and Meredith said the nursing home began fostering him two years later.

Shelly lives in a temperature-controlled hut on the patio and is a constant therapy animal for all the residents at the 180-bed nursing center.

“We’ll have therapy dogs come in, but they go home at the end of the day. Shelly is our full-time therapy pet and will be there come rain or shine,” she said.

Meredith — who is the nursing home’s unofficial “tortoise wrangler” — said Shelly helps especially when resident’s grandchildren or preschoolers come to visit and are uncomfortable with being at the nursing home. Shelly bridges the gap between the generations and makes the young visitors more comfortable.

“He’s a visual stimulant and he’s very engaging for everyone that spends time with him,” Meredith said. “It truly takes a village to raise a tortoise.”

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Officials Search for Amnesiac Woman’s Family After Tumor Left Her with No Memory

Found Woman with Amnesia-Help Find Her Family/Facebook(SAN DIEGO) — An amnesiac woman is turning to the Internet in the hopes that someone can identify her after a large tumor left her with no memory of her family or friends.

Called “Sam,” the woman was found in Southern California by firefighters in February and immediately taken to a local hospital, where she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, according to a Facebook page created to help her find her family. Doctors told her a volleyball-sized ovarian tumor may have left her with few memories of her earlier life, according to the page.

“Sam” was found in Carlsbad, California, and appears to be in her 50s, according to Interpol, which also noted that she speaks both English and French. A spokesman for the FBI confirmed to ABC News day that agents at the local San Diego office were assisting law enforcement authorities in the search for Sam’s family. It was unclear what she was doing at the time she was found by firefighters.

After Sam was taken to the hospital, doctors found the large ovarian tumor and determined she needed immediate treatment.

“The amnesia I have is called retro amnesia and doctors have seen this before with the kind of antibodies that were found on the volleyball sized tumor that was on my ovary,” Sam said on her Facebook page. “The doctors said it could have been growing for 5 years causing me to be forgetful of things.”

The woman had to have emergency surgery to remove the tumor and some surrounding organs to help save her life, according to the Facebook page. Authorities are concentrating on contacts in Australia, since Sam appears to have an Australian accent and says she dreamed of the country.

“All of my initial dreams had to do with a lap pool swimming in a salt water pool in Perth, then Icebergs in New South Wales and in Cairns in Queensland and Byron Bay,” she wrote on Facebook. “I also had many dreams of Hawaii living in a contemporary home there. Both Australia and Hawaii are extremely familiar to me.”

She also wrote that she had memories of being aboard a boat for months, explaining it was “not a cruise ship but smaller boat with a crew.”

Dr. Alan Lerner, director of the Brain Health and Memory Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, said ovarian tumors have been known in rare cases to cause memory loss or psychiatric problems for patients due to anti-bodies or proteins produced by the tumor.

“[Proteins] can bind to the cells in the brain in areas that are important in memory,” he explained to ABC News.

Lerner, who did not treat the woman, said even after treatment the proteins can leave behind lasting damage.

Sam wrote that she has been out of the hospital for three weeks and is now receiving continued treatments to fight her cancer.

“I have been getting chemotherapy treatments and have lost all of my hair,” she said on Facebook. “My prognosis is not good and I pray my family will be found soon.”

Sam said she is thankful for the medical staff and others who have stepped up to help her in the last few months.

“She has had an amazing positive influence upon many she has encountered during her lengthy stay in the hospital as a cancer patient,” a chaplain from the unidentified hospital wrote on Sam’s Facebook page.

Sam is described as being 5-foot 7-inches tall with white hair and brown eyes. She was found in a navy blue T-shirt with the words “Annapolis Harbor,” blue shorts and Sperry boat shoes.

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