Review Category : Health

Your Body: What You Can Do to Help Avoid a Preterm Birth

DigitalVision/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

About 1 in 10 babies are born preterm, or before completing the normal 37 to 40 weeks of pregnancy. These babies miss out on the important growth and development that happens in these final weeks.

Babies who survive can have short-term and long-term health issues, such as vision problems and intellectual impairment, so here are some things you can do:

  • Make sure you keep all your prenatal appointments. This gives your provider a chance to screen for infection or preterm contractions.
  • Commit to be fit before and during your pregnancy. Exercise is good for mom and baby and is recommended for all average risk pregnancies.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re pregnant and have any cramps, bleeding or leaking fluid, call your obstetrician or midwife immediately.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Vets and Ex-Athletes with Traumatic Brain Injuries Team Up for Treatment

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Athletes are teaming up with veterans to fight the effects of concussions and PTSD, and they’re already seeing major results.

After four years of study, athletes and vets in treatment together at the Eisenhower Center in Michigan saw improvements in depression, anxiety, PTSD and even pain.

Now, for the first time, the After the Impact Fund will help these groups get treatment in their own, dedicated facility in Jacksonville, Florida, opening early next year.

Watch the video below for more:

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

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Amy Schumer Talks Fat-Shaming; Hits Back at Body Critics

Jim Spellman/WireImage via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Amy Schumer has addressed “trolls” who have criticized her looks.

In an Instagram post Tuesday, the comedian stated that she is “very, very honored” to be under consideration to play “an important and evolving icon.”

According to a Deadline report from Dec. 2, the actress is in negotiations to star in a live-action “Barbie” film.

Almost immediately, Schumer’s critics voiced their opinions that the “Trainwreck” star does not look the part.

She responded to those critics in her Instagram post.

“Is it fat shaming if you know you’re not fat and have zero shame in your game? I don’t think so. I am strong and proud of how I live my life and say what I mean and fight for what I believe in and I have a blast doing it with the people I love. Where’s the shame? It’s not there. It’s an illusion,” she wrote.

“Thanks to everyone for the kind words and support and again my deepest sympathy goes out to the trolls who are in more pain than we will ever understand,” she continued. “I want to thank them for making it so evident that I am a great choice. It’s that kind of response that let’s you know something’s wrong with our culture and we all need to work together to change it.”

This is not the first time Schumer, 35, has spoken out about her body. Back in April, she questioned Glamour magazine’s decision to include her name on the cover of its “Chic at Any Size Issue” alongside Adele and Melissa McCarthy, and, last year, she posed semi-nude for the Pirelli calendar.

“I felt I looked more beautiful than I’ve ever felt in my life,” she said at the time, “and I felt like it looked like me.”

In her Instagram post, Schumer also noted how flattered she was by the two Grammy nominations she received Tuesday morning. The comedian’s book, “The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo,” was nominated for best spoken word album and best comedy album.

“When I look in the mirror I know who I am. I’m a great friend, sister, daughter and girlfriend. I’m a bad-ass comic headlining arenas all over the world and making TV and movies and writing books where I lay it all out there and I’m fearless like you can be,” she told her 5.4 million Instagram followers.

“Anyone who has ever been bullied or felt bad about yourself I am out there fighting for you, for us. And I want you to fight for yourself too! We need to laugh at the haters and sympathize with them. They can scream as loud as they want. We can’t hear them because we are getting s*** done. I am proud to lead by example.”

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Twin Girls Joined at the Chest to Be Separated Tuesday

Stanford Children’s Health(PALO ALTO, Calif.) — A pair of twin girls conjoined at the chest and abdomen will undergo a lengthy surgery to finally be separated.

Erika and Eva Sandoval, of Antelope, California, were born joined at the lower chest and upper abdomen, a type of conjoined twin called omphalo-ischiopagus twins. While their heart and lungs are separate they share some lower some anatomical structures including a liver, bladder and two kidneys.

In an effort to allow the 2-year-old girls to live independently of one another, surgeons and other physicians are performing surgery to be separate the toddlers Tuesday. The medical staff who will work on the surgery at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, which is part of Stanford University, anticipate that there is a 70 percent chance that both girls survive the arduous operation.

“It’s hard to see the numbers and find comfort on the odds. But as you know from the beginning our girls have superseded the doctors expectations of life and will continue to show us their strength,” parents Aida and Arturo wrote online earlier this year.

The procedures are expected to take around 18 hours with 50 medical staff attending to the girls, according to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

“This surgery is complex in terms of enabling a good quality of life for the girls after the separation,” lead surgeon Dr. Gary Hartman, division chief of pediatric surgery at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, said in a statement last week.

Conjoined twins are exceedingly rare and occur between every 1 in 30,000 to 1 in 200,000 live births, according to the hospital. To take on the difficult surgery to separate Erika and Eva, the medical team created a 3D model of the girls’ shared abdomen. As the surgery progresses, their MRI, CT scans and the 3D model will be used to help guide the surgeons.

“You can think of their anatomy as two people above the rib cage, merging almost into one below the bellybutton,” Dr. Peter Lorenz, a professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Stanford University Medical Center who will lead the reconstructive phase of the twins’ procedure, said in a statement.

The operation is scheduled to start Tuesday, but hospital officials declined to give an update on the girls at this time due to the “complex and sensitive nature” of the operation.

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The Top Baby Names of 2016

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When it’s time for your baby to attend school, you can bet there’s going to be a little Sophia or Jackson in the classroom.

There may even be a few Aidens, Emmas, Lucases and Olivias.

That’s because these names top the list of most popular baby names of 2016, according to the popular website Baby Center. The list was culled from the 400,000 submissions received from new parents.

Here are the top 10 names by gender:


  • Sophia
  • Emma
  • Olivia
  • Ava
  • Mia
  • Isabella
  • Riley
  • Aria
  • Zoe
  • Charlotte


  • Jackson
  • Aiden
  • Lucas
  • Liam
  • Noah
  • Ethan
  • Mason
  • Caden
  • Oliver
  • Elijah

For the complete list of the top 50 boys’ and girls’ names, visit Baby Center.

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Your Body: Are You an Early Bird or Night Owl?

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Are you more of a morning person or do you tend to be more productive at night? According to a new study, whether or not you’re an early bird or a night owl is actually in your DNA.

Researchers found 15 different spots in the genetic script that was likely between morning people and self-described evening people. Seven of these genetic swaps occur near genes involving regulating a person’s daily cycles or circadian rhythm.

Here’s my take:

  • Try to really pay attention to your body and figure out if you’re a morning person or an evening person.
  • Don’t fight mother nature. Although I’ve had to work many all-nighters as an OB/GYN, most of my life as a doctor and a mom involves waking up way before 6 am. But try to make me stay up late? That’s a different story.

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Naomi Judd Opens Up About Battle with ‘Life-Threatening’ Depression

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Naomi Judd is part of country music royalty who, with her daughter Wynonna Judd, skyrocketed to the top of country music fame as The Judds.

Naomi Judd, 70, is now revealing that out of the spotlight she battled a “completely debilitating and life-threatening” depression that led to several stints in psychiatric wards.

“They think, because they see me in rhinestones, you know, with glitter in my hair, that really is who I am,” Naomi Judd told ABC News’ Robin Roberts, speaking of her fans. “I’m sort of a fantasy ’cause I want to provide that for them.

“But then I would come home and not leave the house for three weeks and not get outta my pajamas, not practice normal hygiene,” she added. “It was really bad.”

Naomi Judd, who is also mother to actress Ashley Judd, details her battle with depression in her new book, River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope. The book represents a comeback for Judd, not with music but with a powerful message.

“Because what I’ve been through is extreme,” Naomi Judd said when asked why she is going public with her depression. “Because it was so deep and so completely debilitating and life-threatening and because I have processed and worked so hard for these last four years.”

Naomi Judd said she thought in her dark moments, “If I live through this, I want someone to be able to see that they can survive.”

Naomi Judd retired from her country music career as The Judds in 1991 after revealing she was diagnosed with hepatitis C. She declared herself “cured” of the disease in 1998 and resumed some performances with her daughter Wynonna Judd in the years after.

‘Radical Acceptance’

The “Girls Night Out” singer said a part of her treatment for depression was to confront a difficult past that she said includes being molested by a member of her family at the age of 3 1/2 years old.

“I think that’s one of the reasons I wanted to write the book, because my whole life I’ve been a people-pleaser,” she said. “And one of the reasons I got in trouble was because I never acknowledged all the bad stuff that people did to me … all the horrific experiences that I’ve had.”

Naomi Judd said her immediate family members had mental health issues of their own so she was left to rely on and trust only herself at a young age.

“I had to realize that in a way I had to parent myself,” Naomi Judd said. “We all have this inner child, and I needed, for the first time in my life, to look at all these times where nobody was there for me and realize that I got a raw deal.

“I just stayed in therapy and I did, like every day, and I call it radical acceptance,” she said. “Every day I exercised, which I hated at first. Hated.”

‘A Little Estranged’ from Wynonna Judd

Naomi Judd said she would walk to her daughter Ashley Judd’s house one mile away and, if she was home, her 48-year-old daughter would come out to give her a comforting hug.

“Ashley and I are so stinkin’ much alike and people will talk about that,” she said. “I mean we have the same mannerisms. We both read a whole lot. We both love new places. She does acro-yoga. I do Pilates. I mean there’s such similarities.”

Naomi Judd admits her relationship with Wynonna Judd, 52, is trickier.

“From the day I knew she existed, it was the two of us against the world and then through the decades we kind of grew up together, ’cause it was really just the two of us,” Naomi Judd said. “And I’m always tellin’ her, ‘If I’d known better, I would have done better.’

“So Wy bore the brunt of all of the mistakes I made and we talk about ’em,” Judd said. “We’ve been through a lot of therapy together.”

The mother-daughter act reunited last year for the “Girls Night Out” residency at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Naomi Judd says the pair are now “a little estranged from each other.”

“If she sees this, and I hope she does, ’cause the smartest thing is for all of us to feel known, no matter what’s goin’ on. Be truthful,” Naomi Judd said. “I think she’ll say, ‘Good for you, Mom, for finally being willing to talk about the bad stuff.'”

‘I Have Told My Story’

Naomi Judd said what she describes as the swollen appearance in her face is a result of steroids and medication to treat her depression.

“I really haven’t been eating ice cream and candy,” she said with a laugh. “I really haven’t. Well, maybe a little bit, but, no.”

Naomi Judd said her treatment has gotten her to a place where she now finds joy in her everyday life.

“I laugh a lot,” she said. “I’m content and at peace because I practice radical acceptance every single day.”

By her side through it all has been her husband of 37 years, Larry Strickland, who has a message for the loved ones of people with depression.

“Get ready to walk that path with them, because they’re gonna need, they’re gonna need you every minute,” he said.

Naomi Judd has her own message for those walking the path of depression.

“I have told my story. Now you know and you can tell yours,” she said. “You’re not alone. I am still here.”

You can visit the National Institute of Mental Health’s website to find general information about mental health and depression and a locator for treatment services in your area.

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Some Children’s Headphones Raise Concerns of Hearing Loss, Report Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Some headphones marketed for children may not restrict enough noise for young ears, according to a new report published Tuesday by the technology guide The Wirecutter.

The Wirecutter tried out 30 different children’s headphones for style, fit and safety by using both a plastic model ear and a few real children.

“There’s no governing board that oversees this,” Lauren Dragon, the Headphone Editor at The Wirecutter, told Good Morning America in an interview that aired Tuesday. Dragon added that the headphones for children all claim to limit volume to around 85 decibels. Sound below the 85 decibel mark for a maximum of eight hours is considered safe, according to the World Health Organization.

The Wirecutter report found that some of these headphones emit sound higher than the 85 decibel mark. To read the full report click here.

The report gave the highest rating for kids’ headphones to the Puro BT2200, Bluetooth wireless headphones that retail for around $100 on The Wirecutter notes the Puro headphones met their “volume-limiting test standards” and were liked by kid testers of all ages.

The lowest rating among the products reviewed by The Wirecutter went to a pair of wired headphones by Kidz Gear.

Dragon claimed that the volume limiter on the Kidz Gear headphones could be easily removed by children. The Wirecutter report claims that the audio level is safe with the limiter, but without it, the audio can reach as loud as 110 decibels.

The Wirecutter report notes it is up to adults to monitor children’s overall noise exposure. “A limiting circuit alone doesn’t make for safe listening,” the report states.

Kidz Gear told ABC News in a statement that in over 15 years they have “never had a customer complaint on using a limiter when needed.”

“Parents and children alike love the fact that the headphones can be happily used in any sound environment,” the statement read. “We believe when a volume limiter is used, safe sound is achieved and any issues with volume is a user or configuration issue.”

The Wirecutter report comes at a time that one in five teens now suffer from some sort of hearing loss, according to the Journal of American Medical Association. Some doctors say that headphones are to blame for this.

“I’ve seen kids as young as seven who’ve had noise-induced hearing loss,” Dr. Scott Rickert, an otolaryngologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, told ABC News. “They’re listening to their headphones at full blast.”

“We’re really talking about listening to a rock concert on a daily basis,” Rickert added.

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Doctors Debate If High School Football Should Be Banned Due to Concussion Risks

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — With growing concerns about the long-term effects of concussions due to football, the medical community, especially pediatricians, are grappling with how to turn early scientific studies into real-world advice for parents, coaches and school boards.

In a commentary for the medical journal Pediatrics, physicians from multiple institutions, including the University of North Carolina and Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, debate the merits and drawbacks of advising a ban of high school football.

The commentary focused on exploring the risks of high school football by having three experts give an answer to a hypothetical scenario where a small-town pediatrician has to decide whether to advise cancelling a football program.

Concussions and their possible role in the development of CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, has put a spotlight on the dangers of tackle football. In recent years, posthumous examinations of multiple professional football players have revealed the athletes had been suffering from the condition. Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed posthumously. However, the life-time risks for an average football player, especially one in high school, remain unclear.

CTE is a degenerative disease that involves a buildup of the abnormal protein called tao, which is also found in dementia patients and is associated with a breakdown of brain tissue. It’s believed to be caused by repetitive trauma to the brain, especially concussions, according to the CTE Center at Boston University, and symptoms include memory loss, confusion, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, anxiety and progressive dementia.

Dr. Andrew Gregory, an associate professor of Orthopedics and Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said new research and attention on concussions has been important to raise awareness, but that he didn’t want parents to be so afraid that they keep children away from sports in general.

“I do worry about the anxiety in general. … We don’t want the message to be that kids shouldn’t participate in sports because of risk of injury,” Gregory told ABC News Monday. The question is “what can we do to make kids safer?”

In the commentary, Dr. Lewis Margolis, a pediatrician and epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, argued that current evidence points to football as more dangerous to the brain than other sports and that there is not enough evidence that benefits, including character building and physical fitness, is enough to outweigh the risks.

“High school football players have, by far, the highest risk of concussion of any sport,” Margolis wrote. “In football, the rate of concussion is 60 percent higher than in the second ranking sport, lacrosse.”

Margolis wrote that he was also troubled by the fact that a large percentage of players are African American, and that as a result they “face a disproportionate exposure to the risk of concussions and their consequences.”

He advised that pediatricians should advise “discontinuation of high school football programs” until there is proof that it will not lead to long-term consequences for players.

“At present, there does not seem to be a way to reduce the number of head injuries in high school football,” Margolis wrote. “There is no question that football is deeply imbedded in this community, as in U.S. culture. Our society has, however, researched other harms, such as tobacco use, alcohol-related driving, and obesity-related unhealthy diets and exercise, and successfully changed social norms.”

As a counter argument, Dr. Greg Canty, medical director for the Center for Sports Medicine at the the Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, said that the medical community should push to make the sport safe but found there was not enough factual evidence to point to completely banning high school football.

“If we eliminate football, what sport is next and what is our threshold?” Canty asked in the commentary. “Who is going to be responsible for defining ‘safe play?'”

While CTE is often cited as a concern for football players, Canty said the disease has only been found in relatively few players when compared to the millions who have played the sport.

“It has been found in a hundred or so deceased athletes when the sample size of former athletes is in the millions,” Canty noted. “We have no idea how to apply current information about CTE to youth or living athletes. We have concerns, but no definitive answers.”

Canty also pointed out that the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention have reported a “10-fold increase in reported rates of sports-related concussions over the past decade,” but that many in the medical community believe this is due to increased awareness and not increased injury.

If physicians decide to recommend banning football, they may then be forced to look at banning other sports, such as hockey, lacrosse or soccer, which also put players at risk for concussions, Canty said.

“I encourage pediatricians to look for ways to make all sports safer for our patients,” Canty said. “Start by demanding certified athletic trainers at all sporting events. Be a resource for educating your community on sporting topics.”

Dr. Mark Halstead, a sports medicine physician at Washington University, agreed in the commentary with Canty and said there are clear steps schools can take to reduce the risk of dangers from concussion. Among them is teaching key staff members to work with a licensed athletic trainer on site and develop an emergency action plan.

“I am often asked if I would allow either of my 2 sons to play football knowing what I do about concussions. Yes, I would,” Halstead wrote in the commentary, qualifying it would only be in a program where safety was a priority. “I would only let them play in a program that encourages safety and puts an athlete’s health above winning.”

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Tips to Avoid Catching Infections This Holiday Season

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, millions of Americans will take to the roads and skies to visit family and friends. This can mean exposure to plenty of viral and bacterial pathogens through the air and through physical contact.

Here’s a few tips for avoiding the flu, cold or other infection, while traveling this winter.

Wipe Down Tray Tables and Wash Hands Before Eating

Between the seat belt sign and cramped quarters on an airplane, many passengers may feel they cannot get up to wash their hands before digging in to an in-flight meal. But washing hands is a simple and effective way to avoid infections, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Rather than giving up on hand hygiene completely, airline passengers stuck in their seats can use antibacterial wipes to clean tray tables and use hand sanitizer before eating.

Basic steps like these can make a big difference, according to Dr. Goutham Rao, Chairman of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

“The most common sense thing people can do is wash their hands often,” Rao told ABC News. “When you’re traveling … think how much contact you have with everyone fromm gate agents to certain passengers.”

The CDC recommends either hand washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer with more than 60 percent alcohol to avoid picking up in-flight pathogens.

Get a Flu Shot

Receiving a flu shot at least two weeks in advance of travel gives the body enough time to develop antibodies to fight off the influenza virus, increasing potential protection from the virus, while in the air or around large groups of people.

Rao said the vaccine is especially key for people with compromised immune systems, including children and the elderly, during flu season.

“Peak time is December to March and people do travel a lot and mingle a lot, so the risk of getting the flu is much much higher than if you stayed home,” Rao said.

The CDC recommends that everyone older than 6 months of age receive the influenza vaccine.

Go for a Walk and Take Advantage of a Mini-Spa

Long delays, highway traffic jams or layovers can increase the stress level of any traveler. As stress increases, so do certain hormones that can increase inflammation and possibly diminish the immune system. Since some studies have shown massage can help diminish cortisol levels, stopping by an airport spa for a 10-minute massage can not only reduce tension in your shoulders and also giving your immune system a boost as stress levels go down.

To decrease stress and maintain health, Rao also recommends staying active. This doesn’t have to mean prolonged exercise like a 10-mile run; simply going for a brisk walk can be effective.

“It’s very stressful around the holidays for many people,” said Rao. “It can have an impact on your immune system … It’s important to have outlet for stress and stay active as much as you can.”

Watch the Holiday Cookies

Overindulging during the holiday season may be a time-honored tradition, but Rao said watching portion sizes during the holidays is key to staving off long-term weight gain.

Some people “gain more weight over a two-week period than they do for the rest of the year,” said Rao.

The health impacts of weight gain and obesity may not appear as quickly or as acutely as a case of the flu, but the long-term consequences are numerous, including increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.

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