Review Category : Health

Peanut Allergy Study: Three Questions Parents Have

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In what could be a game changer, a new study finds that feeding peanut products to infants early may cut their risk of developing allergies.

“Every once in a while a study comes out and you just say, ‘Wow, this goes against everything I was taught as a pediatrician and what I’ve been telling parents,’” Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, said Tuesday on ABC’s Good Morning America.

The study, published in Monday’s New England Journal of Medicine, found that children younger than 1 who avoided peanuts were 80 percent more likely to develop full-blown peanut allergies than those who didn’t.

Besser said this is important information because the number of children living with peanut allergy has tripled since 1997, according to the advocacy group Food and Allergy Research and Education.

Parents definitely have questions about the study, Besser said. Here are some of the questions they’ve been asking, along with what the study suggests.

@DrRichardBesser @kellyg377 Yes, But why the increase?What are the theories pointing to?Are Environ factors or changing genetics driving it?

— Daddy (@daddyblr) February 24, 2015

“One of the thoughts is that we’ve made the world too clean for children,” Besser explained. “Our children need to be exposed to things early in life so that they’re immune system tones down.”

This so-called “hygiene hypothesis” proposes that when the immune system is introduced to possible allergens early on, it does not develop severe reactions when subjected to them later on.

@DrRichardBesser breastfeeding, noticed rash on 8week old after I ate cashews. Do I stay away from all nuts?

— Tricia Williams (@tricianw) February 24, 2015

“If your child already has food allergies or is at high risk, they need to be skin-tested before you do anything,” Besser said, adding that it’s important to discuss any diagnosed or potential allergies with your child’s doctor.

@GMA @DrRichardBesser peanuts yes/peanuts no coffee yes/coffee no wine yes/wine no … what/who are we to believe? #trust #drknowsbest

— rose howe (@howe_rose) February 24, 2015

Besser said he understood parents’ frustration with changing health information but every new, well-designed study helps us learn. The current thinking is that any child not at high risk for allergies should be exposed to a wide variety of foods as a baby.

“No milk, no honey but everything else is good to go for babies in the first year of life,” he said.

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Same-Sex Couples May One Day Have Biological Children, Researchers Say

Pekic/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A stem cell research breakthrough might someday allow same-sex couples to have their own biological children.

Researchers at Cambridge University in England have taken the first steps towards creating artificial sperm and eggs by reprogramming skin cells from adults and converting them into embryonic-like stem cells. The team then compared the engineered stem cells with human cells from fetuses to confirm they were in fact, identical.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Cell earlier this week, stressing that it’s early days for this type of research.

“We have succeeded in the first and most important step of the process,” Dr. Jacob Hanna, an investigator with the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, told ABC News.

Hanna said the team will now attempt to complete the process by creating fully developed artificial sperm and eggs, either in a dish or by implanting them in a rodent. Once this is achieved, the technique could become useful for any individual with fertility problems, he said, including couples of the same sex.

“It has already caused interest from gay groups because of the possibility of making egg and sperm cells from parents of the same sex,” Hanna said.

However, the prospect of creating a baby by these artificial means alone is probably a long way off, Hanna said.

“It is really important to emphasize that while this scenario might be technically possible and feasible, it is remote at this stage and many challenges need to be overcome,” he said. “Further, there are very serious ethical and safety issues to be considered when and if such scenarios become considered in the distant future.”

The research was funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership.

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Same-Sex Couples May One Day Have Biological Children, Researchers Say

Pekic/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A stem cell research breakthrough might someday allow same-sex couples to have their own biological children.

Researchers at Cambridge University in England have taken the first steps towards creating artificial sperm and eggs by reprogramming skin cells from adults and converting them into embryonic-like stem cells. The team then compared the engineered stem cells with human cells from fetuses to confirm they were in fact, identical.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Cell earlier this week, stressing that it’s early days for this type of research.

“We have succeeded in the first and most important step of the process,” Dr. Jacob Hanna, an investigator with the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, told ABC News.

Hanna said the team will now attempt to complete the process by creating fully developed artificial sperm and eggs, either in a dish or by implanting them in a rodent. Once this is achieved, the technique could become useful for any individual with fertility problems, he said, including couples of the same sex.

“It has already caused interest from gay groups because of the possibility of making egg and sperm cells from parents of the same sex,” Hanna said.

However, the prospect of creating a baby by these artificial means alone is probably a long way off, Hanna said.

“It is really important to emphasize that while this scenario might be technically possible and feasible, it is remote at this stage and many challenges need to be overcome,” he said. “Further, there are very serious ethical and safety issues to be considered when and if such scenarios become considered in the distant future.”

The research was funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership.

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The Tooth Fairy Was Particularly Generous Last Year

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For those who constantly complain that kids have it better than we ever did, here’s some more ammunition: Delta Dental’s “The Original Tooth Fairy Poll” says that youngsters today get an average of $4.36 for every tooth they shove under the pillow.

That’s a considerable increase from the $3.50 left in 2013. Overall, it works out to something like $255 million for all the teeth collected in 2014.

In all, the Delta Dental poll says that the Tooth Fairy showed up at just over eight in ten of the homes where a tooth dropped out, with first-timers generally getting the biggest cash amount — an average of $5.74 — in 40 percent of the cases.

However, being somewhat pragmatic, the amount deposited by the Tooth Fairy is generally determined by how much spare cash is around and the age of the child.

Meanwhile, the best cash rewards are made in the South — a whopping $5.16 on average — while the situation in the Midwest is much leaner with just $2.83 left per tooth.

As for how appreciative the kids are, about 17 percent will complain they expected more money while 11 percent will want a gift in addition to or instead of the cash.

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How a Motorist Can Pass Out from Cigarette Smoke

iStock/Thinkstock(LEICESTER, England) — A lot of smokers in England aren’t particularly happy with a new law going into effect this October that will make it illegal to smoke inside cars where children are passengers.

Naturally, it comes down to the eternal conflict between civil liberties and public health although science seems to have won this argument based on studies that show the harm that can be caused to others by second- and even third-hand smoke.

Some of the most ardent opponents of smoking also point to the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning since the smoke from cigarettes contain that toxic gas.

So in the interest of science, students from the University of Leicester Department of Physics and Astronomy developed a model to determine how much one would have to smoke inside a sealed car before they become unconscious by CO.

The results of the study probably give smokers some measure of satisfaction because the students figured out it would take a person smoking 15 cigarettes over the course of 75 minutes to pass out from carbon monoxide. Even the most addicted chain smoker would probably get sick before reaching that point.

Still, the study doesn’t let smokers off the hook entirely because CO molecules linger in cars even when the windows are open, meaning they pose a health threat to anyone riding inside a smoky vehicle.

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Washing Dishes Also Protects Your Immune System

iStock/Thinkstock(GOTHENBURG, Sweden) — Sure, automatic dishwashers are a fast and convenient way to get your plates, cups and utensils clean but are you inadvertently boosting your kids’ chances of developing allergic conditions?

Researchers at Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, believe that families are better off washing dishes the old fashioned-way, that is, in the sink, because it fits into what’s termed the “hygiene hypothesis.”

Pure and simple, the scientists, led by Dr. Bill Hesselmar, believe that the more people are exposed to different microbes, the greater the likelihood they’ll develop resistances to allergic conditions that include asthma and eczema.

Hesselmar and his team examined the health records of 1,000 kids pertaining to seasonal allergies, taking into consideration various extraneous factors that can cause these conditions, and discovered that children whose families washed dishes by hand had a far lower rate of asthma, eczema and seasonal allergies than in homes where dishwashers were used.

Although the researchers didn’t go as far to say that there was a direct cause-and-effect relationship between reduced allergic conditions and hand-washing dishes, the results seem to verify other studies that support more natural exposure to microbes to build up the immune system.

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When It’s OK to Discipline Someone Else’s Kids

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Picture this: Your child is at a play date and you stop by to pick her up. As you walk into the family’s yard, you see your child crying and what appears to be the mom who is hosting the play date scolding her.

How would you feel?

In her recent article for Babble.com, Chaunie Brusie details the tale. Except that she’s the mom doling out the discipline.

The short version: Brusie’s daughter and the other child got into an argument over a swing. The friend breaks into sobs. Brusie, who is a few steps away, starts to make her way over to the girls and says, “I can’t hear you if you’re crying, honey!”

Brusie writes: “I admit that I may have sounded slightly unconcerned to her plight and I admit that I may have sighed that sigh of tired mothers everywhere as I said it, but I swear my intentions were simply to distract her from crying so I could remedy the swing situation.

But it was at the exact moment that the words left my lips that I saw her.

The girl’s mother.

Who had just come into the yard to witness two things: 1) Her daughter crying hysterically and 2) a woman she barely knew basically scolding her for crying.

I was beyond mortified and even more embarrassed when the woman pretty much sprinted to her daughter, scooped her up, and made the hastiest of hasty retreats.”

After the incident, the relationship “kind of deteriorated,” Brusie told ABC News.

Despite what happened, which she said “looked a lot worse than it was,” Brusie did not and doesn’t “ever think it’s appropriate” to discipline someone else’s child. “There is so much going on ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak with someone else’s child that you aren’t privy to, so you really can’t know what’s going on enough to be able to discipline them effectively.”

Plus, “I’ve never been a fan when people have disciplined my child,” she said.

Parenting expert Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and author of If I Have to Tell You One More Time…, said seeing your own child disciplined by another adult can be very difficult.

“Assume the other person did it out of love,” she said. “It’s natural to feel like we’re being judged and get defensive but if we can assume the person did it from a place of love, we’re more likely to respond with kindness.”

She added, however, that if the direction or reprimand goes against how you parent, you should “calmly let the other person know you handle things differently and you’ll address the issue with the child in private.”

And while McCready generally advises against disciplining other people’s children, saying, “anytime children are involved parent’s emotions are heightened,” there is one time where it is completely appropriate. “If the child is in danger then, of course, you should intervene swiftly and without hesitation.”

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When It’s OK to Discipline Someone Else’s Kids

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Picture this: Your child is at a play date and you stop by to pick her up. As you walk into the family’s yard, you see your child crying and what appears to be the mom who is hosting the play date scolding her.

How would you feel?

In her recent article for Babble.com, Chaunie Brusie details the tale. Except that she’s the mom doling out the discipline.

The short version: Brusie’s daughter and the other child got into an argument over a swing. The friend breaks into sobs. Brusie, who is a few steps away, starts to make her way over to the girls and says, “I can’t hear you if you’re crying, honey!”

Brusie writes: “I admit that I may have sounded slightly unconcerned to her plight and I admit that I may have sighed that sigh of tired mothers everywhere as I said it, but I swear my intentions were simply to distract her from crying so I could remedy the swing situation.

But it was at the exact moment that the words left my lips that I saw her.

The girl’s mother.

Who had just come into the yard to witness two things: 1) Her daughter crying hysterically and 2) a woman she barely knew basically scolding her for crying.

I was beyond mortified and even more embarrassed when the woman pretty much sprinted to her daughter, scooped her up, and made the hastiest of hasty retreats.”

After the incident, the relationship “kind of deteriorated,” Brusie told ABC News.

Despite what happened, which she said “looked a lot worse than it was,” Brusie did not and doesn’t “ever think it’s appropriate” to discipline someone else’s child. “There is so much going on ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak with someone else’s child that you aren’t privy to, so you really can’t know what’s going on enough to be able to discipline them effectively.”

Plus, “I’ve never been a fan when people have disciplined my child,” she said.

Parenting expert Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and author of If I Have to Tell You One More Time…, said seeing your own child disciplined by another adult can be very difficult.

“Assume the other person did it out of love,” she said. “It’s natural to feel like we’re being judged and get defensive but if we can assume the person did it from a place of love, we’re more likely to respond with kindness.”

She added, however, that if the direction or reprimand goes against how you parent, you should “calmly let the other person know you handle things differently and you’ll address the issue with the child in private.”

And while McCready generally advises against disciplining other people’s children, saying, “anytime children are involved parent’s emotions are heightened,” there is one time where it is completely appropriate. “If the child is in danger then, of course, you should intervene swiftly and without hesitation.”

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If Your Maternal Grandpa Is Bald, Will You Go Bald?

indigolotos/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Young men have often wondered, “Will I go bald?” and the old adage, “If your mom’s dad is bald, you’ll go bald” is commonly applied.

But, gentlemen, if your mom’s dad is bald, don’t wig out just yet. While there may be a hair of truth to the old saying, it definitely doesn’t tell the whole story.

Dr. Ashley Winter specializes in urology at New York Presbyterian Hospital but also knows a thing or two about the genetics behind baldness. She reports on the subject: “The main gene we blame for male pattern baldness is on the X chromosome…the X chromosome they inherit from their mother can come from either their mother’s mother or their mother’s father, meaning that target blameful gene can come from your mom’s mom or your mom’s dad.”

She also goes on to explain that the gene for baldness doesn’t act independently, and is affected by a lot of other genes that are inherited in different ways.

“So, basically, the big bad bald truth is that anyone who gives you genetic material can make you go bald,” Winter said.

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Big Breakfast, Small Dinner Helps Diabetics

Nikolay Trubnikov/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK)– A new blood sugar management trick for those with diabetes, and it’s all about timing.

Researchers gave 18 otherwise healthy diabetics either a high-calorie breakfast/low-calorie dinner or a low-calorie breakfast/high-calorie dinner, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Diabetologia.

Both had the same lunch, and the total number of daily calories was about the same.

Researchers found that the high-calorie breakfast eaters had lower after-meal blood sugar levels, better insulin response and a quicker return to normal blood sugar compared to the low-calorie breakfast/high-calorie dinner group.

How much lower? The peak blood sugar after a high-calorie meal was 24-percent lower when it was eaten in the morning.

Overall, researchers say a simple diet change taking advantage of our bodies’ natural internal clock may lead to improved sugar control for millions of diabetics.

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