Review Category : Health

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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Women Facing Same Choice as Angelina Jolie Talk Life-Changing Decision

Sean Gallup/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In a personal essay for the New York Times, Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie recounted the painful and life-changing choice to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes in an effort to significantly lower her cancer risk.

It’s a choice many women at high risk for developing breast or ovarian cancer have faced out of the spotlight, and in some cases women decide that immediate surgery is not right for them.

Lindsay Avner was just 22 when she tested positive for the same genetic mutation on the BRCA1 gene that Angelina Jolie has. The gene mutation alone indicates a 55- to 65-percent chance of developing breast cancer and a 39-percent chance of developing ovarian cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. When combined with a family history of the disease, the chances are even greater.

“I had convinced that I [would have] tested negative,” Avner said. “I felt like I had my father’s side…I was like I’m not going to have to deal with it. It was totally shocking and totally jarring.”

While nationally just 1.3 percent of women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer, women with the BRCA gene mutation have a 45- to 65-percent chance of developing breast cancer and an 11- to 40-percent chance of developing ovarian cancer, depending on if it’s a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

Avner said in 2006 she was faced with one clear option to protect herself. She could have her breasts and ovaries removed to nearly eliminate her related cancer risk.

“Here I am at 22 years old and I feel like there’s a cloud of cancer following me,” said Avner.

At 23, Avner had a double mastectomy, but did not have the second surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes, which would throw her into menopause. Avner said she and her doctors decided to wait until she was 35 to have the second surgery so she could have a chance to have children.

Avner said she tried to crowd out this medical timeline in her twenties but sometimes it was hard to ignore.

“In the back of your mind [there’s a] lurching feeling, ‘Hurry up get married, have children, get your ovaries out at 35,’” Avner, now 32, recalled. “That pressure it was undeniable.”

Eventually Avner froze her eggs to take the pressure off her relationships. Now 32, Avner is engaged and plans to start a family as soon as she’s married later this year.

“Yes, you want life to unfold [naturally],” said Avner. But, “You have information you can’t ignore.”

Avner founded the Bright Pink non-profit organization that aims to educate young women at risk for breast and ovarian cancer so they can be proactive. Avner said she wants to help other young women facing the same situation she did.

Angela Smith, one woman whom Avner worked with, said it took seven years for her to decide to go ahead with both the double mastectomy and removal of her ovaries. Smith was 30, with a 7-year-old son, when she first tested positive for the BRCA1 gene in 2007.

After the test Smith said she didn’t feel ready to have surgeries and instead opted for high level of medical screenings. Last year, after a biopsy led to an MRI and additional worry, Smith decided to go ahead with the operations.

“I kind of thought…‘what I am gaining keeping these body parts?’ It seemed like the natural decision at that point,” she said.

After the surgeries Smith said she felt a weight lifted off her shoulders.

“I didn’t realize how heavy it was,” she said. “I remember waking up and being under anesthesia [thinking], ‘They did it, I’m going to be OK and I’m going to be here to see my son grow up.'”

Both Smith and Avner hope that Jolie’s essay will encourage women to be proactive about reducing cancer risks, and Avner thinks the essay could save hundreds to thousands of lives. Avner said women, like herself, who are at a high risk for cancers need to educate themselves so they can grapple with tough questions about their future.

“Ninety percent of the time I feel strong and empowered and 10 percent I feel, ‘My gosh, isn’t this a lot?’” said Avner.

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What You Should Know About Angelina Jolie’s Surgery

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In a moving and personal op-ed piece, Angelina Jolie announced on Tuesday that she has undergone surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes as a preventative measure to lower her risk of cancer.

The actress had planned to have the surgery, but went ahead with it earlier than expected after a test indicated she could be at risk for a tumor.

“I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt,” she wrote in Tuesday’s New York Times. “I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn’t live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren.”

The surgery called, laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, meant removing her ovaries and Fallopian tubes as a preventative measure, which effectively put the actress into early menopause.

Experts say they appreciate how the actress and humanitarian has shined a light on the choice that thousands of women are forced to decide in their lifetime whether to go through a life-changing surgery or live with the risk.

ABC News talked to a number of experts to look at the surgery Jolie underwent and its effects:

Who Should Consider Surgery?

After undergoing a bilateral mastectomy two years ago, Jolie wrote in a previous op-ed in the New York Times that she had tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation that had left her at a higher risk for both breast and ovarian cancer. Combined with her family history, Jolie said in her op-ed on Tuesday, that her doctors recommended she have the surgery to remove her ovaries early, in order to significantly lower her risk of ovarian cancer.

Experts say each woman who tests positive for the BRCA gene mutation (either BRCA1 or BRCA2) or who has a family history of either breast or ovarian cancer should have a discussion with their doctor about preventative measures, including possibly surgery.

Dr. Robert DeBernardo, a gynecologic oncologist in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at Cleveland Clinic Ob/Gyn & Women’s Health Institute, said women with a BRCA mutation have about a 20 to 40 percent chance of developing the cancer, depending on whether they have the BRCA1 or BRCA 2 mutation, compared with a 1.3 percent chance for all women, according to the National Cancer Institute.

“This is a cancer we can’t detect until it’s advanced,” DeBernardo said. “Once my patients understand the risks, they [often] opt to have the surgery.”

The overall five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is just 45 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

Women who have a family history are told to have surgery about 10 years before the cancer first appeared in their family. In Jolie’s case, she had the surgery at 39 because her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 49, according to her op-ed.

What Does the Surgery Entail?

The surgery is generally safe and can be done laparoscopically through the bellybutton, DeBernardo said. The ovaries and Fallopian tubes are usually removed, although the uterus can also be removed.

“It will take 30 minutes and people go home the same day,” DeBernardo added.

Can You Screen for Ovarian Cancer?

Unlike breast cancer, experts say there is no good screening or test for ovarian cancer that can help doctors find the disease in its early stages.

There’s no “accepted screening test for ovarian cancer; we use things like CA-125 blood test and ultrasounds,” ABC News medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton said. “[They’re] not great screening methods, but it’s all we have.”

What Are the Effects of the Surgery?

By removing the ovaries in the operation, women will end up going into early menopause. Side effects of early menopause can initially include hot flashes, mood swings and sleep problems.

While hormone-replacement therapy can help, going into early menopause can increase risks for a number of other conditions including osteoporosis and heart disease, according to Dr. Laura Corio, an obstetrician-gynecologist and clinical professor at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.

“There’s risk factors about going through menopause; you have to worry about bones and heart,” Corio said, adding that early menopause can also raise the risk of colon cancer.

Are There Other Options Besides Surgery?

Experts stress there are other options for women at high risk of ovarian cancer besides surgery. Women can take birth control, breast-feed their children or just have their fallopian tubes removed to reduce their risk of ovarian cancer.

Young women who have a family history but have not had children can be closely monitored by their doctors until they’ve finished with family planning and then decide to have the surgery.

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A Good Nap Can Jog Your Memory

iStock/Thinkstock(SAARBRÜCKEN, Germany) — People who have a hard time remembering facts, figures or even what they had for breakfast should remember this: a nap might help.

Researchers from Saarland University in Germany say short snoozes during the day can assist in memory recall, such as school work or other important information.

Scientists conducted an experiment in which participants were told to memorize 90 words and 120 phrases that had no connection between the first and second word.

Half the group then took a 45-minute nap while the other participants spent that time watching a DVD.

When they were tested again, the nappers remembered as much as five times the words and phrases as those who stayed awake.

What seems to help is that short bursts of activity called sleep spindles, which can be viewed in brain scans, apparently transform short-term memories into ones that last longer.

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Today’s Marijuana Is Not Your Father’s Marijuana

iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) — It’s possible that marijuana smokers from the 1960s and 70s might not be able to handle the potency of the drug that is now legally available in Colorado. In short, it’s much, much stronger than what Baby Boomers may have puffed back during their heyday.

The Denver-based testing firm Charas Scientific says that the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in marijuana sold in Colorado dispensaries is two to three times greater than what was found in grass from several decades ago. THC is what gets people high.

Charas Scientific president Andy LaFrate says the main drawback of more potent pot is that its effect is intensified when cooked into food, taking some users by surprise.

Another potential problem is that people who use pot for medicinal purposes should avoid recreational marijuana because it doesn’t contain cannabidiol, or CBD, the component that provides benefits to those suffering from nausea from cancer chemotherapy, glaucoma or other serious conditions.

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Angelina Jolie Underwent Surgery to Have Ovaries Removed

ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(NEW YORK) — Angelina Jolie underwent preventative surgery to have her ovaries and Fallopian tubes removed because of cancer fears, she wrote in a New York Times op-ed.

The procedure, laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, was motivated by a family history of ovarian cancer. A small benign tumor was found on one ovary, but no other signs of cancer were uncovered, she wrote.

Jolie’s mother, grandmother and aunt died from cancer.

“Regardless of the hormone replacements I’m taking, I am now in menopause,” she wrote. “I will not be able to have any more children, and I expect some physical changes. But I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is nothing to be feared.”

Previously, Jolie underwent preventative double mastectomy after a blood test showed a mutation in the BRCA1 gene.

In her op-ed, titled “Diary of a Surgery,” Jolie, 39, stated that tests showed elevated risks for cancer, forcing her to move up the surgery.

“I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt. I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn’t live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren,” she wrote.

As a result of her surgery, Jolie received a progesterone IUD, which will help maintain hormonal balance – and prevent uterine cancer, she wrote.

Jolie and husband Brad Pitt have three biological children and three adopted children together.

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Task Force: Doctors Should Stop Screening for Thyroid Problems

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Unless there are symptoms of thyroid problems, the nation’s top advisory panel for doctors is now urging doctors to stop routine checking of thyroid hormone levels.

The United States Preventative Services Task Force made the recommendation on Monday in a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The recommendation comes at a time when thyroid hormone prescriptions are on the rise.

The study’s researchers caution against possible potential harm of false-positive results, over-diagnosing and over-treating when it’s not truly needed.

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Conscientious Children Less Likely to Smoke?

Saša Prudkov/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Many parents encourage their children to be reliable and responsible from a very young age.

Now, a new study from the United Kingdom published in the Journal of Epidemiological and Community Health shows that a fringe benefit may be a reduction in the chances they will pick up a cigarette.

The authors looked at various measures such as intelligence, attention spans, conduct issues and conscientiousness, and found that conscientiousness was the most predictive in not smoking later in life.

The study also found that those who were unemployed or had unskilled occupations were nearly five times more likely to smoke than those who had professional occupations.

The authors propose that childhood values may play a more significant role in shaping adulthood behaviors than previously perceived.

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Study: Smoking Near Children Increases Their Heart Disease Risk as Adults

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Children exposed to their parents’ secondhand smoke are at double the risk of developing heart disease later in life, according to a new study.

Researchers looked at nearly 2,500 children over 26 years in a study published Monday in the journal Circulation.

Children who were exposed to one or both parents’ cigarette smoke were at significantly higher risk of having carotid atherosclerotic plaque, which is plaque in the arteries in the neck, as adults.

Researchers also found higher rates of problems of children with smoking mothers than fathers alone.

Parents who practiced “good smoking hygiene,” such as not smoking in the vicinity of the child, increased the risk for their offspring, but significantly less than those who had “poor smoking hygiene,” according to researchers.

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Professional Chefs Can Help Your Child Eat Better at School

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Only about one in five children in America eats their recommended five to nine servings daily, but a new study by Harvard researchers shows that having schools collaborate with chefs could make that change.

The researchers studied the eating habits of elementary and middle school students in Massachusetts, and found that even if a chef spent only three months at a school to help improve the quality and taste of food, it had an impact that lasted for the next seven months.

The authors of the study, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, also tried other tactics, such as repositioning fruits to the beginning of the lunch line and making the signs promoting fruits and vegetables more noticeable.

Neither of the tactics made the children eat more fruits or vegetables, according to researchers.

The authors propose that school lunches badly need a fix that professional chefs just may be able to serve up.

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