Review Category : Health

Working in an Auto Factory Is Risky Business

iStock/Thinkstock(EAST LANSING, Mich.) — Working in a factory that manufactures automobiles can be a killer — literally.

Michigan State University researchers looked at the case histories of 190 autoworkers in Lansing and Pontiac, taking into account risk factors that include blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and obesity.

Led by MSU professor of medicine Ved Gossain, the team discovered the autoworkers were at a higher risk of dying from heart disease and diabetes than the general population.

Gossain said they didn’t have to probe too much to learn just over half of the workers were obese while more than a third were considered overweight.

Two-thirds also had high levels of bad cholesterol compared to 31 percent of the general population.

Although the 16 percent of workers who smoked was below the national average of 18 percent, it was also discovered that another 58 percent had been smokers, which also increases the chances of premature death.

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Millennials to Soon Outnumber Baby Boomers

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — It’s been a nice run, baby boomers, but now it’s time to cede the number one spot to a new generation.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that at some point this year, millennials, those aged 18-to-34, will number 75.3 million. That surpasses the boomers’ 74.9 million. Baby boomers are those individuals born between 1946 and 1964.

The baby boomers got their name because of the explosion of births following World War Two when the country experienced unprecedented economic expansion.

But although there were ten million more boomer births than those people born between 1981 and 1997, millennials will move past that generation this year because of the influx of young immigrants over the past couple of decades.

Meanwhile, the White House says in its report about millennials that they “stand out because they are the most diverse and educated generation to date: 42 percent identify with a race or ethnicity other than non-Hispanic white, around twice the share of the baby boomer generation when they were the same age.”

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Increased Coffee Consumption Linked to Lower Risk of Developing Melanoma

violetkaipa/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study linked the amount of coffee you drink with your risk of developing melanoma.

Researchers looked at data from 450,000 cancer-free participants from a health and diet study. By comparing the amount of coffee the participants consumed to their risk of melanoma, they were able to determine that their risk of developing the disease was moderately lower.

That fact remained consistent even when adjusted for other health factors that could influence melanoma risk, such as body mass index, exposure to ultraviolet light, age, sex, smoking status and alcohol intake. In fact, those who drank more than four cups of coffee daily were 20 percent less likely to develop the disease.

This study, however, only indicates an association, and not that drinking more coffee causes the lower risk.

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Sea Snail’s Weird Hunting Method Sheds New Light on Insulin

Credit: Jeff Rotman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The questionably cute but slimy sea snail has a secret weapon for capturing its prey, scientists have discovered.

The cone snails have a high level of insulin in their venom that allow them to render small schools of fish sluggish by either shooting the potent venom into the water or via a harpoon-like sting.

Next, the sluggish snails can then catch up to their prey and feast, according to a study from researchers at the University of Utah that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists tested a synthetic version of the insulin on zebrafish and found that it caused blood glucose levels to fall and created a noticeable change in the swimming behavior of the fish.

“This is a unique type of insulin. It is shorter than any insulin that has been described in any animal,” Baldomero Olivera, a biology professor and an author of the study, said in a statement. “We found it in the venom in large amounts.”

The insulin has just 43 amino acid building blocks, making it shorter than any other known insulin, researchers said, noting that when the insulin mixes with venom, it creates a cocktail that is able to quickly slow down schools of fish and put them in hypoglycemic shock.

Aside from the ick and cool factors of the discovery, researchers said it could also be used to help them better understand how energy is metabolized in humans.

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How Mia Farrow and 30 Artists Are Highlighting the Importance of Vaccines

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new collection of artwork commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation highlights the global impact of vaccines on preventable diseases.

More than 30 world-renowned artists participated in the project, including actress Mia Farrow and photographer Annie Leibovitz. The renowned group of musicians, writers, filmmakers, painters, sculptors and photographers from all around the world aimed to demonstrate how vaccines continue to positively change the course of history.

“The Art of Saving a Life showcases the remarkable history of vaccines, their impact saving lives today, and their potential to save the lives of even more children from infectious diseases,” said Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Alexia Sinclair’s stunning photo is a stylized recreation of Dr. Edward Jenner, an 18th-century physician, inoculating James Phipps, the first person to receive the smallpox vaccine.

Farrow had polio as a child and her 10-year-old son Thaddeus was left paralyzed by the disease. Farrow photographed a woman in the Sudan who was similarly paralyzed by polio to demonstrate her strength and resilience.

A sculpture by British artist Katharine Dawson represents the tragedy of a dancer whose career was cut short by polio. When the rest of her troupe opted for vaccination, she decided against it. One month later she was diagnosed with the disease, which left her paralyzed and unable to dance or even walk again.

German painter Thomas Ganter chose to paint the Unknown Health Worker to represent the people in every country who do their best to offer lifesaving services, including immunization. It was inspired by a health care worker in eastern Nepal who was carrying vaccine boxes on her shoulder.

With more than 20 million children globally in need of vaccination, artist Sophie Blackall wanted to illustrate the idea of how finding them can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. She represents how, in many cases, they are found and given the vaccinations and health services they need.

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Whoopi Goldberg Explains Her Debilitating Back Injury and Recovery

ABC/Lou Rocco(NEW YORK) — Whoopi Goldberg returned to ABC’s The View Tuesday.

Goldberg, 59, explained Tuesday that she missed several shows last week and the week before due to a herniated disc.

“Bad seating, when you’re not seated correctly,” she explained. “There are a lot of things that can make this happen.”

Goldberg was joined by Dr. Richard Besser to detail the injury.

“The back is an incredibly complex area,” the ABC News health and medical editor said, pointing to the lower spine and the substance that cushions the spine.

He said all those discs have to stay perfectly in line, otherwise pain can happen.

“As you get older, they become weakened,” he said of the cushioning for the spine, which may have been what caused Goldberg’s injury.

Nicole Wallace, Goldberg’s co-host on the show, added that treatment for the injury and all injuries to the back has changed over the years. She pointed out that she visited Goldberg in the hospital and that they were making her walk for rehab.

Besser said that to prevent the injury, “furniture” like chairs and desks have to “fit you.”

“You want your feet flat on the ground and legs at 90 degrees,” he added. “You spend so much of you day sitting.”

Goldberg was thankful she didn’t need surgery and said there were moves “that you can do on your bed to rotate hips” that also can help.

Besser added that he likes yoga for flexibility and core strength.

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Unvaccinated Clusters Leave Communities Vulnerable to Illness, Research Shows

Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — A study of vaccination rates among children in northern California showed that there are “clusters” where parents aren’t vaccinating their children — and they’re at risk for catching preventable diseases.

Researchers at Kaiser Permanente studied records of more than 150,000 children in the Bay Area from birth to age 3, and identified five clusters where children were under-immunized, meaning their parents either refused to vaccinate them or they missed one or more vaccines. The percentage of under-immunized children in these often well-educated clusters was between 18 percent and 23 percent. Outside them, only 11 percent of the children were under-immunized.

ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser said not only does this put the unvaccinated children at risk for getting illnesses such as whooping cough, but it puts those around them at risk because vaccines aren’t “100 percent protective.” The measles vaccine, for instance, is 95 percent protective.

“The more children you’re around who didn’t get vaccinated, the more likely you are to be exposed to that and get the disease even if you were vaccinated,” he said Tuesday on ABC News’ Good Morning America.

Host Lara Spencer asked him what he would say to parents who think there are “just too many vaccines.”

“As a pediatrician, I’ve seen so many of these diseases cause suffering in children,” Besser said. “And every time we get a new vaccine, I think it’s a wonderful thing.”

He stressed the importance of getting vaccines on time and using online tools to find out vaccination rates in their schools. If they can send their child to a school with higher vaccination rates, they should, he said.

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Nice Kids Are Made, Not Born

iStock/Thinkstock(STANFORD, Calif.) — Nobody’s a natural born nice guy.

Stanford University researchers say in order for altruism to flourish in a child, it needs to be cultivated. Parents shouldn’t expect that their children will grow up to be nice people without some nurturing, according to Carol Dweck, a Stanford professor of psychology.

Together with partner Rodolfo Cortes, Dweck sought to punch holes in a previous experiment in which 18-month old toddlers supposedly went out of their way to help without adult prompting.

Using one- and two-year-olds, one group, that mirrored the 2006 study, had an adult and child rolling a ball to each other while talking. At some point, the adult knocked over an object in hopes the tyke would pick it up. In group two, the adult and child played ball separately while an object was knocked over.

The result was that three times as many kids picked up the object in the reciprocal play group, suggesting that children need social skills and interaction to develop a sense of altruism.

That’s not to say that some kids can’t be nice without prompting but both Dweck and Cortes say that the chances of raising more empathetic children increase substantially through cooperative learning exercises.

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Mom Arrested for Allegedly Putting Substance in Her Child’s IV

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office(KERMIT, W.Va.) — A woman has been arrested for allegedly putting something in her child’s intravenous line at Cincinnati Children’s hospital, records show.

Candida “Candy” Fluty, 35, of Kermit, West Virginia, was arrested on charges of child endangerment and felonious assault over the weekend, according to inmate records.

She “knowingly injected a substance into the victim’s peripheral IV line” in a hospital room, the arrest report reads.

The municipal county court complaint states that the victim was under 18 years old and Fluty was the child’s mother. It says the complaint is based on Fluty’s statements and video evidence from Jan. 16. It was unclear from the court documents what the substance was.

The Cincinnati police department told ABC News it could not release any additional information until the grand jury hears the case next week.

Fluty’s lawyer, Elizabeth Zucker, declined comment to ABC News. Fluty was scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Fluty was being held on $50,000 bond, according to ABC’s Cincinnati affiliate WCPO.

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When Men Outnumber Women, Long-Term Relationships Thrive

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) — Single women who prefer situations when they’re outnumbered by men will probably like the results of a study from the University of Utah.

It seems that men are more apt to commit themselves to long-term relationships when they’re in the majority.

University of Utah anthropologist Ryan Schacht studied 13,000 Makushi people in Guyana where there were more men than women.

Schacht’s chief finding was that the men of the tribe went out of their way to settle down because women were essentially valued resources.

What he was surprised to learn was that there were no males fighting other males for women, like Popeye and Bluto competing for Olive Oyl, nor was than any increase in sexually-transmitted diseases.

While sex was naturally an important consideration, men seem to look at the bigger picture in that “partner availability matters, socioeconomic status matters, the quality of available mates matters,” Schacht said.

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