Review Category : Health

Minimal Sleep May Put You at Higher Risk of Catching a Cold

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Catch some winks, or catch a cold.

New research published in the journal SLEEP suggests that a good night’s sleep, while not likely the cure for the common cold, might just help you avoid one.

Researchers studied at a group of 164 people, assessing how many hours of sleep they got each night. They then exposed the study volunteers to rhinovirus, the bug known to cause the common cold.

Those sleeping fewer than five hours a night had a greater chance of developing the common cold than their better-rested counterparts who got at least six hours of sleep per night.

The findings support what scientists and doctors have long believed – that getting the right sleep helps your body keep its immune system at its best.

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False Positives Common in Lyme Disease Lab Tests

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Some patients relying on commercially available laboratory testing may be getting false indications that they may have contracted Lyme disease.

Lyme disease, a bacterial infection transmitted by tick bites in the northeastern U.S., often can mimic other diseases and can be an elusive diagnosis.

A study in CMAJ evaluated the accuracy of lab tests administered to Canadians who sent their blood to American labs and questions whether these tests may be causing more harm than they are help in finding a diagnosis.

The type of laboratory testing involved in the diagnosis of Lyme disease is known as a ‘Western Blot’ test. Researchers looked at 40 patients without Lyme disease and found that as many as 25 percent had a false positive result with this test.

The authors of this report concluded that commercial laboratory testing may have too low of a threshold for a positive test result – in other words, too many false positives.

While the treatment for Lyme disease is a simple course with an antibiotic, the researchers warn that a false-positive test result may be dangerous, saying “Mistakes in diagnosis can deprive patients of treatment specific to the true cause of their symptoms, and can result in prolonged therapy for a condition they do not have.”

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Social Media Defending Mother Who Left Baby in Shopping Cart

iStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) — A mother of four is at the center of a blistering social media movement dubbed #IStandWithCherish.

Cherish Peterson is under fire for leaving behind her 2-month-old son, Huxton, outside an Arizona supermarket Aug. 24. A photo snapped by a bystander shows the baby strapped into a carrier inside a shopping cart.

In an interview with station KPHO-TV in Phoenix, Peterson shares her side of the story.

“I got into my car and normally I put my cart away, but I didn’t need to because I parked at the front of the store and I never park there, and I drove away,” Peterson, of Gilbert, Arizona, told the station.

She describes the horrific moment she realized baby Huxton was not in the car when she got home 40 minutes later.

“As I was pulling into the garage, my 3-year-old goes, ‘Where’s baby Huxton?’” she explained. “His car seat is right behind me so I turned around and realized it was gone.”

An off-duty Phoenix police officer had spotted the infant and took him inside a nearby salon. Huxton was not injured, but Peterson now faces a misdemeanor count of child endangerment.

“I thought the whole time he was in my car,” the mother, now 28, said.

The incident has sparked a social media firestorm with many quick to condemn Peterson’s actions.

But just as fiercely, others are rushing to support Peterson on Twitter and a Facebook page attracting nearly 17,000 members. Supporters are sharing what they’re describing as their own “perfectly imperfect” parenting moments and calling for forgiveness.

“I have never met Cherish but the public punishment through social media has to be far more painful than any charges that might be brought against her. I forgive and so should we,” one user wrote on the page.

Her husband, Nathan, is also springing to her defense.

“We love our family and we love our children,” he said. “I married the best, in terms of the mother and wife Cherish is to me and our children.”

The Petersons admit they’re not perfect parents and they’ve learned this the hard way.

“I’m a good mom who made a horrible mistake,” she said, fighting back tears.

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Health Officials Investigating Legionnaires’ Outbreak at San Quentin Prison

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN QUENTIN, Calif.) — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, along with local and state health officials are investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at San Quentin State Prison.

As of Sunday, officials confirmed there are six cases of the disease, which is a severe form of pneumonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Five of the affected inmates are currently being treated at outside hospitals. Another 51 inmates are currently under observation for respiratory illness.

Legionnaires’ is caused by bacteria found in both potable and non-potable water systems, and is “carried via aerosolized water, such as steam, mist and moisture,” the CDC said in a blog post. It can’t be transported between people and symptoms can appear two to 10 days after exposure.

While the investigation continues, the San Quentin prison has limited its use of water.

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Health Officials Investigating Legionnaires’ Outbreak at San Quentin Prison

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN QUENTIN, Calif.) — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, along with local and state health officials are investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at San Quentin State Prison.

As of Sunday, officials confirmed there are six cases of the disease, which is a severe form of pneumonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Five of the affected inmates are currently being treated at outside hospitals. Another 51 inmates are currently under observation for respiratory illness.

Legionnaires’ is caused by bacteria found in both potable and non-potable water systems, and is “carried via aerosolized water, such as steam, mist and moisture,” the CDC said in a blog post. It can’t be transported between people and symptoms can appear two to 10 days after exposure.

While the investigation continues, the San Quentin prison has limited its use of water.

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Acting as Surrogate, North Dakota Woman Gives Birth to Her Granddaughter

ABC News(NEW YORK) — A 51-year-old mother with multiple sclerosis gave birth to her own granddaughter in North Dakota, acting as a surrogate for her daughter.

The pregnancy came with an unexpected and welcome side effect.

Mandy Stephens and her husband Jamie couldn’t wait to get pregnant after marrying in 2013, but they had trouble conceiving and opted for in vitro fertilization.

Stephens became pregnant, and the 20-week ultrasound looked perfect. But she subsequently went into early labor and lost the baby, which she named Theo.

“There’s so much excitement,” Stephens, 32, said. “You carry the baby for so long, and then it’s all ripped apart and taken away. Your whole world stops.”

Mandy’s mom, Sherri Dickson, felt the pain, too.

“Watching your child lose a child is the definition of sadness,” Dickson said. “I can’t describe it any other way. It breaks your heart.”

Because Stephens’ cervix opened early, doctors warned the couple that a premature birth could happen again, though there is a procedure that may allow women with cervical insufficiency to carry their own baby.

The couple considered different options. Adoption? A surrogate?

That’s when her mother stepped in.

“I decided that if they needed somebody to carry their child, I would volunteer,” Dickson said.

The decision was easy for Dickson, who, at 51, had three grown children of her own. But there could be complications because of her age and diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system.

“The disabling effects of the disease may make it physically difficult for the mother to carry a pregnancy,” according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Muscle weakness and coordination problems may increase the likelihood for falls.”

But the situation also came with a potential health benefit for Dickson, whose MS was in remission: Becoming pregnant might help keep it that way.

Researchers think that protective changes in the immune system during pregnancy keep the disease at bay.

Two attempts were made with in vitro fertilization, and by November of last year, Dickson was pregnant with her daughter and son-in-law’s baby.

“Pregnancy was easy,” Dickson said. “I was very fortunate … I was playing tennis a week before I delivered, and working out with my trainer, but the delivery at 51 was way harder than the delivery at 33 with my last baby.”

Mila was born four weeks ago.

“It’s indescribable,” Dickson said. “There are times I look at Mila and say, ‘We did that, you know?’ We gave her what she wants. Not that you ever make up for a baby you lost but you give someone that hope, you know?”

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Ice Cream that’s Better for You… and Doesn’t Melt?!

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Reduced-fat ice cream that doesn’t melt? That’s what British scientists are said to be working on.

A team of scientists from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Dundee said in a written statement that they have discovered a type of protein which could be used to create ice cream that is more resistant to melting.

“The protein binds together the air, fat and water in ice cream, creating a super-smooth consistency,” the scientists said in the statement, enabling summer treats to keep frozen for longer in hot weather.

“We’re excited by the potential this new ingredient has for improving ice cream, both for consumers and for manufacturers,” Professor Cait MacPhee, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy, who led the project, said.

Researchers estimate that ice cream made with the naturally occurring protein, known as BslA, could be available within three to five years.

In addition, products manufactured with that protein would contain lower levels of saturated fat and fewer calories than those currently on sale.

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Pediatricians Urge Parents to Talk to Teens Early About Alcohol

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — It may be better to talk to your teens about alcohol earlier rather than later.

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement Monday telling parents to talk to their teens about alcohol, and specifically address the dangers and health effects of binge drinking.

And the message may not come a moment too soon.

Past research cited by the group shows that over three-quarters of U.S. teens will eventually experiment with alcohol. These teens are more likely to engage in risky behavior leading to such negative consequences as unwanted pregnancies, irreversible brain changes, and severe injury and death.

The group also notes that kids as young as 9 years old have started to think about trying alcohol.

What’s the solution?

Talk to your kids about alcohol. The AAP says the very act of addressing the dangers with them influences their decisions around alcohol and leads them to make smarter choices.

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‘Brain-Eating’ Amoeba Kills Texas Teen

cosmin4000/iStock/ThinkStock(HOUSTON) — A 14-year-old boy from Houston has died after battling a ‘brain-eating’ amoeba.

The announcement of Michael Riley’s death was posted on his Facebook page by his family on Sunday.

The CDC says that the ‘brain-eating’ amoeba, known as the Primary Amoeba Meningoencephalitis (PAM), can be contracted after being in a freshwater lake and is very common in freshwater lakes and rivers in Texas, according to ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV.

The amoeba is said to travel into the nose and it’s most common victims are children.

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‘Brain-Eating’ Amoeba Kills Texas Teen

cosmin4000/iStock/ThinkStock(HOUSTON) — A 14-year-old boy from Houston has died after battling a ‘brain-eating’ amoeba.

The announcement of Michael Riley’s death was posted on his Facebook page by his family on Sunday.

The CDC says that the ‘brain-eating’ amoeba, known as the Primary Amoeba Meningoencephalitis (PAM), can be contracted after being in a freshwater lake and is very common in freshwater lakes and rivers in Texas, according to ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV.

The amoeba is said to travel into the nose and it’s most common victims are children.

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