Review Category : Health

Repeating Algebra Can Make Things Worse

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Algebra has been the bane of many high school students going back in time. And yet, it appears that making some youngsters take algebra again because they didn’t do well enough the first time seems to do more harm than good, according to a new California study.

Anthony B. Fong, the lead researcher for the study conducted for the U.S. Department of Education, says that about half the students who received at least a “C” and passed California’s algebra assessment test actually saw their grades and tests scores decline when they repeated the course.

Fong’s study didn’t look into the reasons why this happened but he guesses that many of these students felt embarrassed about having to take algebra again and just did the minimum amount of work to get by.

He also questioned teachers’ motivations for making students repeat algebra. His conclusion is, “If you have a kid who’s on the borderline of repeating algebra or moving on, if you’re in doubt, it seems like it’s better to move on.”

In other cases, when a student flunked the course, repeating algebra tended to get their grade up to a “D” but there was really no indication that they mastered the material.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Repeating Algebra Can Make Things Worse

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Algebra has been the bane of many high school students going back in time. And yet, it appears that making some youngsters take algebra again because they didn’t do well enough the first time seems to do more harm than good, according to a new California study.

Anthony B. Fong, the lead researcher for the study conducted for the U.S. Department of Education, says that about half the students who received at least a “C” and passed California’s algebra assessment test actually saw their grades and tests scores decline when they repeated the course.

Fong’s study didn’t look into the reasons why this happened but he guesses that many of these students felt embarrassed about having to take algebra again and just did the minimum amount of work to get by.

He also questioned teachers’ motivations for making students repeat algebra. His conclusion is, “If you have a kid who’s on the borderline of repeating algebra or moving on, if you’re in doubt, it seems like it’s better to move on.”

In other cases, when a student flunked the course, repeating algebra tended to get their grade up to a “D” but there was really no indication that they mastered the material.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

More Deaths in Animated Children’s Films than Dramatic Films for Adults

Flying Colours Ltd/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Animated films meant for children feature more on-screen deaths than ever before, a new study found.

In a study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers analyzed the 45 animated films with the highest gross revenue from 1937 to 2013. Ranging from Snow White to Frozen, researchers compared, year-to-year, the films to the two highest-grossing non-children films.

Researchers then adjusted for run time and years since release, and found that children’s animated films feature 2.5 times as many deaths as the non-children films.

Researchers also suggest that parents may want to watch movies with their children, “in the event that the children need emotional support after witnessing the inevitable horrors that will unfold.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

‘Low Glycemic’ Diets May Not Provide Significant Health Advantage

ASIFE/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Diets that focus on low impact on blood sugar may not have a significant impact on risk of heart disease or diabetes.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston looked at data from 163 healthy adults who were either overweight or obese at five-week intervals. Each participant ate either a “low glycemic diet” which focuses on foods that have low impact on blood sugar, or a “high glycemic diet.”

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that those participants who ate a diet with low glycemic indexes did not have significant improvement in their cardiovascular risk factors and often had increased levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and decreased sensitivity to insulin.

The study was done over a short period of time, so researchers did not analyze medical outcomes, such as the development of diabetes or the rate of occurrence of heart attacks, but rather studied the risk factors associated with those outcomes.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

‘Low Glycemic’ Diets May Not Provide Significant Health Advantage

ASIFE/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Diets that focus on low impact on blood sugar may not have a significant impact on risk of heart disease or diabetes.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston looked at data from 163 healthy adults who were either overweight or obese at five-week intervals. Each participant ate either a “low glycemic diet” which focuses on foods that have low impact on blood sugar, or a “high glycemic diet.”

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that those participants who ate a diet with low glycemic indexes did not have significant improvement in their cardiovascular risk factors and often had increased levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and decreased sensitivity to insulin.

The study was done over a short period of time, so researchers did not analyze medical outcomes, such as the development of diabetes or the rate of occurrence of heart attacks, but rather studied the risk factors associated with those outcomes.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

What Finally Cured a Woman’s 18-Year Stuffy Nose

Nadia Campbell (NEW YORK) — For more than 18 years, Nadia Campbell had no sense of taste or smell and lived with terrible sinus pain. Even after seeing five specialists and undergoing three surgeries, the 38-year-old said she was still left with a perpetually runny nose that kept her up all night.

“Every day there was a problem,” said Campbell, of Oaklawn, Illinois. “I had a dry mouth from breathing through my mouth and constant headaches.”

That all changed after doctors at Loyola University Health in Maywood, Illinois, diagnosed her with Samter’s triad, a newly recognized medical condition involving a combination of nasal polyps, asthma and a sensitivity to aspirin.

“My patients typically come in carrying a thick folder of medical records because they have tried for a long time to find a cure for their illness,” said Dr. Monica Patadia, the board-certified head and neck surgeon who treated Campbell at Loyola.

More than 37 million Americans have at least one sinus problem a year, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, making it one of the most common medical conditions the average person experiences.

Samter’s triad, also known as aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease, or AERD, affects an estimated 10 percent of people with asthma. About 40 percent of people with both asthma and nasal polyps and who are also sensitive to aspirin may have Samter’s, studies suggest.

The cause of the condition is not completely understood, though researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston believe it may be triggered in part by high levels of cells called eosinophils in the blood and sinuses, which leads to chronic inflammation of the airways. Patients often show elevated levels of another type of cell known as leukocytes, particularly after taking aspirin.

Once the problem was diagnosed, Campbell said the treatment itself was simple and painless. First Dr. Patadia performed outpatient surgery to remove the polyps and open up her sinus cavities. Next, she placed temporary spacers in Campbell’s nasal passages that were removed once the healing process was far enough along.

After surgery, Campbell spent several days undergoing a process to desensitize her to aspirin. This has enabled doctors to wean her off the strong steroid medications she took for almost two decades.

Patadia said the surgery was a success.

“When the sinuses light up like a pumpkin or jack o’ lantern you know the sinuses are wide open and that is a good thing,” she said of looking at Campbell’s sinuses with an endoscope.

Campbell said despite a few lingering allergies, she is thrilled with the results. When she first experienced the feeling of breathing freely again, she said she cried with relief.

“I now sleep through the night and I can taste food again,” she said. “No one can really understand what it’s like when you can’t do those things.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Why Jahi McMath’s Mom Is Sure Her Daughter Isn’t Brain Dead

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Nailah Winkfield said she will never forget giving her teenage daughter permission to die as she lay motionless and on a ventilator.

Months earlier, Jahi McMath, then 13, had been declared brain dead and become a household name as a legal battle to take her off life support was splashed across headlines nationwide. Winkfield and her family won the battle and moved McMath from California to a long-term care facility in New Jersey, but on this particular day, Winkfield didn’t think her daughter wanted to hold on any longer, she said.

“You have my permission to go. I don’t want you here if you’re suffering,” Winkfield recalled telling McMath, her voice breaking. “If you can hear me and you want to live, move your right hand.”

To Winkfield’s shock, McMath obeyed, she said. So Winkfield asked her to move her left hand. She did that, too, Winkfield said.

“That was the first time I knew that she could hear me,” Winkfield said. “It took me to cry for her to move.”

Doctors at Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California, declared McMath brain dead after what was supposed to be a routine tonsil surgery led to cardiac arrest on Dec. 9, 2013. But Winkfield said she and her family didn’t believe it. Attorney Christopher Dolan took on the case and helped them fight to keep her on a ventilator until she could be moved to New Jersey, where state law allows religious objection to brain death.

UCLA pediatric neurology professor Dr. Alan Shewmon wrote an official declaration this fall that although he hadn’t personally examined McMath, the videos and what he understands from others who examined her “leave no doubt that Jahi is conscious, and can not only hear but can even understand simple verbal requests…and make appropriate motor responses.”

He said the nursing records, her MRI brain scan results and other records indicate that she is “not currently brain dead,” though he doesn’t blame the doctors last winter for misdiagnosing her as such.

“She is an extremely disabled but very much alive teenage girl,” Shewmon wrote in an Oct. 3 court document.

Shewmon has published studies examining and questioning brain death for more than a decade. In his declaration, he referenced speaking to two other experts who witnessed McMath’s motor functions: Cuban neurologist Dr. Calixto Machado and Philip Defina, CEO of the International Brain Research Foundation, Inc.

Winkfield left her job in California and moved from across the country in the middle of winter last year with nothing but a knapsack, Dolan said. She even spent some time homeless.

Doctors had told Winkfield that McMath’s brain would liquefy and she would start to look different as her body shut down, but none of that has happened, Winkfield said.

McMath has been out of the long-term care facility since August, and she has been moved to Winkfield’s new New Jersey home, where she gets 24-hour nursing care.

But Winkfield said she makes sure to be the person who gives McMath a bath, talks to her, reads to her and plays her favorite music to her. Every two weeks, she does McMath hair. Every week, she gives her a manicure. This week it’s a purple French manicure.

“I talk to her like I would talk to anybody,” Winkfield said, adding that McMath can now respond by giving a thumbs up.

Winkfield said she’s reached puberty over the last year, and has had two menstrual cycles — something Dolan said can only happen to someone with a functioning brain.

The next step will be getting McMath’s California death certificate reversed so she can move back home and get disability benefits in California, Dolan said. Experts have already testified on her behalf, he said.

The family has posted YouTube videos of McMath moving her hand and foot seemingly on command.

Dr. Wei Xiong, a neurologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Ohio who has not treated McMath, said it’s not clear from the videos whether McMath is responding to instructions or whether she is “posturing” — which happens to brain dead patients when their spinal cords prompt limb movement after their brains have relinquished control. He said the hand movement was especially interesting because it was a “complex” motion.

“That would make it somewhat unusual in someone who is brain dead,” he said. However, a complex movement in someone who is brain dead is “not completely out of the question,” he noted.

For Christmas, Winkfield won’t be able to be with her husband or other children because she needs to stay where she is and can’t afford to fly them across the country. But she said she’ll still cook and buy McMath presents like a new night gown, lip gloss and some socks.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Sharon Stone Opens Up About Enduring a ‘Massive Brain Hemorrhage’

Kevin Tachman/Getty Images for amfAR(LOS ANGELES) — Sharon Stone has been considered one of Hollywood’s sexiest women for all of her more than 30 years in front of the camera. And she doesn’t fear growing older — especially after suffering what she describes as a “massive brain hemorrhage” in 2001.

The 56-year-old actress recounts in an essay published in the Hollywood Reporter that because of the health scare, “I don’t choose to make growing older a negative. I choose to get older. Growing older is my goal.”

“I spent two years learning to walk and talk again. I came home from that stroke stuttering, couldn’t read for two years,” she recounts. “I don’t need someone to make me feel bad about growing older. I’ll tell you what makes you feel bad: when you think you might not.”

Stone said she’s now doing well, which she credits to her hard work and determination to thrive. She tries to hit the gym four or five times a week and eats cleanly, because “people don’t want to see a fat Sharon Stone.”

Ultimately, Stone says, “The key to looking good as you get older is, it all comes from the inside. You have to do what you like to do. If you hate to go to the gym, don’t put yourself on a gym regimen. Do what you like to do, but do it every day. I love to dance, and I dance hard. When I started thinking about aging, I thought, ‘Who do I want to look like as I age?’ And the answer was dancers.”

Now, the actress is looking and feeling her best — and others are noticing too, both personally and professionally. Not only is she unafraid to audition for roles that aren’t originally meant for actresses her age, but also, she says younger men hit on her all the time.

“I believe there can be a movie plot where the leading hot guy who’s 43 falls for me instead of the 25-year-old girl,” she writes. “Every time I go into a Starbucks, some 20-year-old guy throws himself at me! Although it might be because he knows there’s a meal at the end of it. But these young guys know the sex would be better.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

NHL’s Mumps Outbreak Might Not Be Over Yet

Mark Kegans/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — More than a dozen NHL players and referees have contracted mumps in recent weeks, with additional players tested amid fears that the disease could spread.

Players with the Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild and Pittsburgh Penguins have been affected so far.

The viral infection can cause swelling of the salivary glands, fever, headache, fatigue and loss of appetite.

Mumps can be spread by sneezing and coughing, and it can spread quickly in close quarters, with hockey’s physicality and locker room culture aiding in the outbreak.

Because mumps has an incubation period of up to three weeks, doctors say, it will take some time to know when the league’s outbreak is over.

Penguins forward Beau Bennett, who was tested Monday, is the latest player to be screened for mumps.

Days earlier, Bennett’s teammate Sidney Crosby appeared in the locker room with a swollen face, a tell-tale sign of the disease. Crosby is past the infectious stage and could return to the team as early as Tuesday, Penguins officials said.

Bennett was tested four days after he and other Penguins players visited the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to spread Christmas cheer.

In a statement to ABC News, the hospital said it plans to isolate patients and families who visited with Bennett and who had not received their age-appropriate doses of mumps vaccine, and will be monitoring them.

Children with immune problems are at a greater risk to have severe infections from the mumps.

Mumps was nearly eradicated in 1967, but made a re-emergence in 2000. A notable outbreak occurred in the Midwest in 2006, when thousands of college students were infected.

Americans are vaccinated against the mumps as part of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, the first dose of which is given to babies between 12 and 15 months old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The second dose is given at 4 to 6 years old.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Skip the Booze to Get to Sleep

iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBIA, Mo.) — A bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a shot of whiskey is not going to help you sleep better in the long run.

Mahesh Thakkar at the University of Missouri School of Medicine says about 20 percent of Americans have tried this method in an effort to get some shuteye.

While it might put them to sleep faster, Thakkar says many will also find their sleep interrupted at some point and that makes it even more difficult to doze off.

The study author explains the problem is that alcohol interferes with “sleep homeostasis — the brain’s built-in mechanism that regulates your sleepiness and wakefulness.”

The other downside to using alcohol is that it also acts a diuretic, meaning, more trips to the bathroom at night.

While it’s tempting, Thakkar recommend people skip the booze and if problems persist, talk to a health professional about what’s keeping you awake, which can be addressed with individualized treatments.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →