Review Category : Health

More Parents Find Nutrition Labels Really Are Helpful

iStock/Thinkstock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) — Over the years, nutrition labels have become part of the supermarket shopping experience even if many Americans still don’t pay much attention to them.

Fortunately, the numbers are trending upwards, at least among parents, according to the Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

In the survey of nearly 1,500 parents, four out of 10 moms say they read nutrition labels “very often” or “always” as compared to 35 percent of dads.

Meanwhile, ten percent of mothers and 16 percent of fathers admit they don’t look at the labels while shopping.

In terms of how much the nutrition labels influence their purchases, 46 percent of moms and 33 percent of dads said either “very often or always.”

What tops the list when it comes to which nutrient parents regard as “very important?” It’s sugars in both cases, although women also say that proteins and dietary fiber are also “very important.”

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Fatalities Jump as More People Ride Bikes

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — More Americans in recent years are biking as a means of staying fit and reducing transportation costs. However, the downside to this phenomenon is that more bikers are also dying on U.S. roads.

The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that between 2010 and 2012, the number of bicyclists involved in fatal collisions with vehicles jumped 16 percent from 621 to 722.

The researchers wouldn’t say conclusively that an increase of people on bikes was directly related to a jump in deaths although the signs certainly point in that direction.

During the first year the association compiled figures in 1975, there were just over 1,000 deaths as the result of crashes involving cars. Back then, the overwhelming majority of people killed were under 20 years old. Today, most of those killed are over 20.

The study also showed that two out of three bicyclists killed in 2012 were not wearing helmets.

Another disturbing finding is that 25 percent of bikers over the age of 16 who died had been drinking alcohol with many at or over a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, which is legally drunk.

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Modern Communication Is Essential to Healthy Family Relationships

iStock/Thinkstock(LAWRENCE, Kan.) — While parents might complain that their kids are too involved with technology, their children might possibly have a bigger gripe that mom and dad don’t know much about today’s many modes of communication.

In that case University of Kansas’ Jennifer Schon happens to side with the younger generation. She says if parents really want to understand their kids better, they need to enhance their communication skills.

Upon asking grown children ages 18 to 29 how they share and exchange information with their folks using virtually everything from landlines to Snapchat, the respondents of a survey said their relationships grew stronger based on how many channels of communications were used.

Taking into account that some parents have a hard time communicating with their children, Schon contends that using social networks and other technologies can certainly help.

Meanwhile, when asked to pick the better communicator out of their parents, the majority said their moms, mainly because they were usually easier to get in contact with than their dear old dad.

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POLL: Ebola Worries Ease a Bit Despite Preparedness Concerns

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Ebola worries have eased slightly in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, despite a broad sense among Americans that their local hospitals are unprepared to deal with the virus — and continued preference for a more robust response by the federal government.

After the difficulties at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where two nurses were infected, just 29 percent in this national survey think the staff at their local hospitals is adequately trained to deal with Ebola cases. Six in 10 think not.

[See PDF with full results, charts and tables here.]

The fact that both nurses recovered — and just one further case has been identified — may have done at least a little to calm fears of a broad outbreak. In interviews Thursday through Sunday, 36 percent of Americans expressed worry that they or an immediate family member might catch the Ebola virus, down by 7 percentage points from two weeks before. And while 60 percent are concerned about an epidemic occurring in the United States, that’s eased from 65 percent.

Further, the new poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, shows an 8-point increase in Barack Obama’s approval rating for handling the issue, to 49 percent, now exceeding the 41 percent who disapprove. There’s a closer division on the response by the federal Centers for Disease Control, 47-45 percent; it’s said it could have moved more forcefully in providing oversight in Dallas.

Another result shows steady majority confidence — 63 percent — in the ability of the federal government to respond effectively to an outbreak. That said, 61 percent also say the government should do more to try to prevent further cases in the United States.

The public by 46-37 percent also says the United States is not doing enough to try to stop the spread of Ebola in Africa; on this question 17 percent have no opinion.

Interviews for this survey were conducted before debate erupted over moves by some state governments to impose greater restrictions than the CDC’s on people who’ve been to West African countries affected by Ebola. Regardless, 70 percent support restricting entry to the United States by such people — similar to the level two weeks ago — indicating general support for aggressive efforts to prevent spread of the disease.

AWARENESS and WORRY – This survey also finds a high level of awareness about the disease: Eighty-one percent feel that they understand how the Ebola virus is transmitted among humans — an important result, because feeling informed relates to concern.

Specifically, worries about catching the virus, and about a U.S. epidemic, are substantially lower among those who say they understand how it’s transmitted. These concerns are lowest among the 37 percent who feel they know “very well” how transmission occurs, underscoring the role of education in quelling public fears.

Education factors into feeling informed — among college graduates, 91 percent say they’re well informed about how Ebola is transmitted, including 51 percent “very” well informed. Those numbers decline to 76 and 30 percent, respectively, among those who lack a degree.

GROUPS and CHANGES – Concerns about Ebola are concentrated in some groups. Worry about catching the disease remains particularly high among less-educated adults — nearly twice as high among those without a college degree (42 percent worried) compared with college graduates (24 percent). Concerns about a U.S. epidemic, similarly, are 23 points higher among the less-educated group, 68 vs. 45 percent.

That said, some of the greatest changes from two weeks ago are among more-concerned groups. Worry about catching Ebola is down by 8 points among non-graduates compared with earlier this month, and concern about an epidemic is down by 6 points in this group.

Among other groups, worry about an epidemic has subsided among Republicans and conservatives, by 11 and 8 points, respectively. Nonetheless, both remain much more apt than others to say the government should do more to try to stop the spread of the disease in the United States — putting these groups in the somewhat unusual position of favoring more, not less, government action.

Women are 10 points more likely than men to express worry that they or a family member might catch the disease, and 9 points more apt to say they’re concerned about an epidemic. There’s also a sharp racial division, with worries about catching Ebola 22 points higher among nonwhites than whites.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 23-26, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,204 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3 points, including the survey’s design effect.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

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Researchers Consider Bluetooth Technology as Means of Monitoring Athletes’ Hearts in Real Time

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers in Germany were able to used portable electrocardiograms and Bluetooth technology to study how marathon runners’ hearts are stressed during a race.

The study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, looked at data from 10 runners continuously during a marathon. The data collected via Bluetooth was comparable to that gathered by the EKG attached to the runner. One-hundred percent of heart abnormalities found by the direct EKG were also found via Bluetooth.

Researchers wonder whether the technology could hold implications for real-time monitoring of athletes, perhaps working to prevent sudden cardiac arrest.

The study was small, in that it only looked at 10 runners, and collecting data on thousands of runners at an event like the upcoming New York Marathon could be difficult, requiring hundreds of cardiologists and putting a strain on cell phone towers.

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Study: Mammography Plus Tomosynthesis More Effective at Preventing False-Positive Breast Cancer Diagnoses

monkeybusinessimages/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A study partially supported by the National Cancer Institute found that while more expensive, women with dense breasts are better served by receiving a mammogram combined with a process called tomosynthesis than a mammogram alone.

The study, published in the journal Radiology, found that adding the tomosynthesis to a standard mammogram can reduce over-diagnosis of breast cancer in women ages 50 to 74 with dense breasts. Researchers used data from the NCI’s Breast Cancer Surveillance to compare the effectiveness of the two screening options.

The tomography and mammography combined prevented 405 false diagnoses per 1,000 women through 12 rounds of screening, according to the study.

This method, researchers say, while more expensive than just a standard mammogram, could eliminate unnecessary diagnostic work-ups and invasive procedures — and the costs that accompany them — that result from false-positive diagnoses.

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Kaci Hickox Won’t Follow Maine Ebola Quarantine Rule, Lawyer Says

Handout Photo(FORT KENT, Maine) — Kaci Hickox, the nurse who was quarantined at a New Jersey hospital despite exhibiting no Ebola symptoms after arriving from West Africa, won’t follow the quarantine imposed by Maine officials, her attorney said Tuesday night.

“Going forward she does not intend to abide by the quarantine imposed by Maine officials because she is not a risk to others,” her attorney Steven Hyman said. “She is asymptomatic and under all the protocols cannot be deemed a medical risk of being contagious to anyone.”

Hickox will abide by all the self-monitoring requirements of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Maine, Hyman said.

Maine requires that health care workers such as Hickox who return to the state from West Africa remain under a 21-day home quarantine, with their condition actively monitored, Gov. Paul R. LePage said in a statement.

“We will help make sure the health care worker has everything to make this time as comfortable as possible,” he said.

Hickox left University Hospital in Newark Monday afternoon and was taken to Maine, where she lives.

Hickox, 29, was the first person forced into New Jersey’s mandatory quarantine after arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport Friday. She had previously treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone for Doctors Without Borders, but never registered a fever, leaving no medical reason to keep her quarantined, another of her attorneys, Norman Siegel, told ABC News.

She was held in a tent structure outside of University Hospital.

“Her civil rights were violated,” Siegel said. “At a minimum, she could bring an action for damages. But I think her goal is to try to revise the current policies with regard to, for example, mandatory quarantines.”

Siegel criticized New Jersey and New York governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo for enacting quarantine policies, despite criticisms from the Obama administration and medical experts that the measures were unnecessary.

“When you look at what happened and how it happened, you come away with the sense that this policy was based on fear and politics rather on medical fact, and we can’t have the politicians directing these kinds of important issues,” Siegel said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the federal government has established Ebola guidelines that are “based on solid science,” but he declined to classify states’ quarantine efforts as a mistake.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘mistake’ because I think when people do things, the governor of New York, the governor of New Jersey, they’re doing it in good faith to try and do what they feel is the best for their constituents,” Fauci said in an interview with Good Morning America. “What we’re trying to do is set the bar that’s based on scientific data, but that’s not to criticize or to put down a decision that an official might make wanting to go the extra mile. That’s just judgment on their part.”

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Researchers Say Milk May Not Be as Effective at Strengthening Bones as We Think

capdesign/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers in Sweden believe that milk may not be as effective in helping women build stronger bones, and that in some cases the sugars in milk may increase stress on bones.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, looked at dairy consumption among over 106,000 subjects, including 61,433 women. The researchers then followed the male subjects’ health for 11 years and the females’ medical health for 20 years. Women who drank three glasses of milk or more each day had no reduction in their risk for fractures, and may have even shown a slightly increased risk for breaking a hip.

Men who drank higher quantities of milk, by contrast, did not show any increased risk of fracture.

Looking at subjects who ate milk products like yogurt and cheese found that those products were associated with decreased risk of both fractures and death. Researchers believe that lactose and D-galactose — sugars present in milk but not yogurt or cheese — may increase oxidative stress and inflammation in bones. That could, in turn, increase risk of fractures.

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Women May Be More Likely Than Men to Ignore Heart Attack Symptoms

michaeljung/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health say that women may ignore the symptoms of a heart attack for too long.

Heart disease is the most common cause of death for American women, but researchers say that in studying men’s and women’s responses to chest pain, women were slower to seek medical attention. Chest pain is a sign of a possible heart attack, and the study, presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Meeting, found that women were 1.5 times as likely to wait until their symptoms got worse before seeking medical help.

While both men and women initially were uncertain that chest pain was related to a heart attack, women in the study stayed in the denial phase longer. In some cases, researchers said, women waited for others to tell them to seek help before going to a doctor.

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Creator of Polio Vaccine Would Have Turned 100 on Tuesday

Google(NEW YORK) — Happy birthday, Jonas Salk, who got a Google doodle on Tuesday.

The man who discovered the polio vaccine would have celebrated his 100th birthday on Tuesday.

Salk was born in 1914 in New York City. He died in 1994 at age 80, according to the Salk Institute.

Salk was the director of the Virus Research Library at the University of Pittsburgh when he realized he could kill the polio virus with formaldehyde but still have it trigger an immune response.

Polio was an epidemic in the U.S. for many years, leading to paralysis in thousands of people. In 1955, the vaccine Salk developed went public and Salk was hailed a hero. The epidemic was stopped in its tracks.

Salk never patented the vaccine, and didn’t earn any money from it.

He founded the Salk Institute in 1967, devoted to the study of biological sciences.

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