Review Category : Health

Study: We Don’t Always Pick Best the Sunscreens

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Sunscreen is sunscreen, right? Not according to a new study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology, which finds we don’t always choose sunscreens that adhere to the guidelines set by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

Researchers began by looking at the top-rated one percent of sunscreens on Amazon to see whether shoppers are picking the sunscreens that provide the best protection. Researchers looked at the sunscreens that had both the highest ratings and highest number of reviews, and then determined how many of those 65 unnamed sunscreens actually adhered to all of the recommended guidelines for a good sunscreen. Those guidelines include SPF greater than or equal to 30, protection from both UVA and UVB light, and water and sweat resistance.

Results? About 40 percent of those most-popular suncreens didn’t completely meet AAD criteria for effectiveness. The majority of those that didn’t failed because they weren’t water- or sweat-resistant.

Researchers also found consumers were likely to mention “cosmetic elegance” in their reviews — that is, how the product feels, smells or its color — as a positive feature of a sunscreen, with the product’s actual performance coming in second.

“Dermatologists should counsel patients that sunscreen products come with numerous marketing claims and varying cosmetic applicability, all of which must be balanced with adequate photo protection,” the study authors wrote.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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CDC Monitoring 320 Pregnant Women in US After Zika Infection

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Evidence of the Zika virus has been found in at least 320 pregnant women in the U.S. according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden called the virus a “silent epidemic” as it continues to spread across the Americas. While the virus can cause mild symptoms such as fever, rash and pink eye, it has been found to cause devastating birth defects including microcephaly. One reason the virus is so difficult to track is because four out of five people infected do not show symptoms. In Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, Frieden said “dozens and perhaps 50 pregnant women are becoming infected with the Zika virus” every day.

“The vast majority of these pregnancies have not yet come to term,” Frieden told reporters Thursday. “Those that have come to term are those with infections occurring later on in pregnancy, when we believe the risk [of birth defects including microcephaly] is lower.”

In the U.S. seven infants have been born with birth defects after their mothers became infected with Zika while pregnant, according to Frieden. Five additional pregnancies showed fetuses with birth defects. Microcephaly is characterized by an abnormally small head can lead to developmental delays among other symptoms.

“It’s a tragedy for each family affected,” Frieden said. “Hundreds and hundreds of American women [are] dealing with this.”

Virtually all cases of Zika diagnosed in the U.S. were contracted while abroad, although a small number of cases were spread through sexual contact with an infected person. An estimated 1,133 cases of Zika virus have been diagnosed in the U.S. since the outbreak began, according to the CDC. There have been no cases of infections spreading through mosquitoes in the U.S.

The new tally of those infected comes as Congress is at a standstill over funding Zika. Officials said President Obama spoke with Democratic and Republican leaders today, urging a solution before Congress recesses for the summer.

Sen. Chuck Schumer said on a call with reporters that the Zika funding bill the House passed was filled with poison pills.

“We supported a compromise bill that wasn’t everything we needed but was a lot better than nothing,” Schumer said of the $1.1 billion Zika bill passed in the Senate. “This is not a time to play political games.”

Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Kathy Castor explained that in Florida there were 11 new cases of Zika announced just Wednesday, which is a record for the number of cases reported in one state in one day.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Young Mother Diagnosed With Breast Cancer Captures Last Time Breastfeeding

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Natasha Fogarty was in utter shock when, just four months after giving birth to her son Milo, she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. But once the shock subsided and reality set in, she was left grappling with the inevitable loss of her favorite mother-son activity — breastfeeding.

Though Fogarty was able to continue breastfeeding after her diagnosis, she knew her upcoming mastectomy would mark the end of those moments with her now-5-month-old. Her single mastectomy was scheduled for June 27, so on Sunday, June 26, Fogarty arranged a photo shoot to capture the last time she would be able to breastfeed.

The idea, she told ABC News, came to her in the shower. She quickly posted to Facebook, explaining her situation and calling for any photographers willing to do a last minute shoot. Luckily, a friend from high school replied and, moved by Fogarty’s idea, offered to do it for free.

The photos, like those moments with her son, will be cherished forever, Fogarty said. “I wanted to do [the photo shoot] for him and for me,” she explained. “We loved breastfeeding and it’s been hard for both of us to not have those moments together anymore.”

Fogarty also posted the photos in the Facebook group Breastfeeding Mama Talk together with a touching message to fellow mothers. “I wanted and planned to breastfeed for a year,” she wrote. “Unfortunately to save my life I had to stop. I want any other mom out there going through this to stay strong and positive.” The post has received more than 5,000 likes.

Fogarty said she posted in the Facebook group to support other mothers with similar experiences and to remind healthy mothers how fortunate they are. “We all have our bad days in breastfeeding,” she said. “And I just wanted to inspire those women so they realize that they are lucky to be able to breastfeed every day.”

The outpouring of love and support for Fogarty has come in many forms; one that she is especially appreciative of is the donation of breast milk. Milo would not take formula, she explained, which caused her a lot of stress initially. Fortunately, friends offered to contribute some of their own breast milk.

And she didn’t stop at the photos. Fogarty also decided upon realizing she would eventually lose her hair to chop off over 10 inches and dye what was left a bright shade of pink. Pink has always been her favorite color, she said, but now it has even more meaning as the universal color for breast cancer awareness.

“It feels so great to look in the mirror and say, ‘This is me. This is me being strong and this is me destroying this cancer,’” she said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Dad, Daughter Decorate Diabetes Device for Swim Team Spirit

David Engler(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — Claire Engler, 11, has worn both an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device nearly her entire life to help manage the type 1 diabetes she was diagnosed with at age 2.

When the sixth-grader had a swim meet recently with her local Charlottesville, Virginia, team, she and her dad decided to get creative and decorated her CGM.

Claire and David Engler transformed the CGM, a small device Claire inserts into her arms, legs or stomach every three days to track her blood glucose levels, into a killer whale to represent the name of her swimming team, “The Killer Whales.”

“She’s a pretty crafty kid and she likes doing things with duct tape,” David Engler told ABC News. “I’m not sure who came up with the idea but we just got duct tape and looked up a picture of a killer whale online.”

Engler said they reinforced the CGM with medical tape and then placed the completed duct tape killer whale creation on top of that.

“Everyone loved it at the swim meet,” Engler said. “We got a lot of requests from people wanting one too.”

The whale is not the first time Claire has added some levity to the serious medical devices she must wear every day in order to manage type 1 diabetes, a chronic, incurable disease in which the body’s pancreas does not make insulin.

Claire and her dad have previously decorated her CGM to look like Tardis from “Doctor Who,” and decorated the device with the logo from her summer camp.

The CGM is a crucial tool in helping children like Claire with type 1 diabetes maintain their blood sugar levels so they do not go into hypo or hyperglycemia. The device monitors their blood sugar levels 24/7 and communicates with both a transmitter that displays the blood sugar readings. Claire’s CGM now also has the capability of displaying her blood sugar level on an iPhone so her parents and school nurse can monitor it remotely.

“The access to these technologies is what helps people with diabetes live better lives,” Engler said. “Anything we can do to normalize the usage of the technology really helps people to see kids with type 1 diabetes just as kids.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Toddler Cancer Patient Gets Surprise Police Escort to Last Chemo Treatment

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — A Massachusetts girl battling a rare cancer got a big surprise when she was cheered on by neighbors and given a police escort on her way to her last chemotherapy treatment.

Mila Martineau, 2, was diagnosed with a rare cancer called embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma in January of this year. To stop the cancer, the toddler underwent grueling months of chemotherapy, according to a Facebook page her family started to document her illness.

Mila’s mother Jessica Martineau said on the page that they had been looking forward to the end of the therapy, including the weekly trek into the city for the treatments at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

She has welcomed the community support. “They made it really easy to just do the whole thing,” Martineau told ABC affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston.

Mila went to her last scheduled chemotherapy treatment in style. When the family left for the treatment. they were given an escort by police and the local fire department, along with a cheering section of neighbors, according to WCVB.

Martineau was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. Wiping away tears she simply said, “They’re amazing!”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Husband Gifts Wife 500 Roses for Last Chemo Treatment

Alissa Bousquet(NEW YORK) — Alissa Bousquet, 40, was undergoing her final chemotherapy treatment last month when friends and family suddenly started bringing boxes of roses.

Bousquet was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer last December after having her first mammogram.

After weeks of treatment, Bousquet’s husband Brad wanted to celebrate the end of her intense rounds of chemotherapy. He texted 20 friends and neighbors asking them to pay $10 per rose and pledged to donate all proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The news quickly spread and 500 orders were placed.

“I wanted to do something special during this last treatment to celebrate the end of her chemo and to show her the tremendous love and support she has from her friends and family,” Brad Bousquet wrote on Facebook about the gift.

“I had no clue first of all that he was doing it,” Alissa Bousquet told ABC News Thursday. “He did so good. I was in such shock.”

The Bousquets said they distributed the roses to other patients also undergoing chemotherapy.

Brad Bousquet said $4,500 has been raised for the cancer charity and donations are still being sent in Alissa Bousquet’s honor.

“It was crazy,” Alissa Bousquet said. “It just so happened that was the fullest day since I had been doing the chemo. I think there was maybe one chair open or one or two chairs open…that was awesome.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Father Falls Asleep Under Sick Son’s Crib at the Hospital in Heartwarming Photo

Courtesy Amy Palmer(NEW YORK) — A photo of a dedicated father sleeping underneath his sick son’s hospital crib has gone viral, pulling at heartstrings and gaining more than 3,500 reactions on Facebook.

Amy Palmer snapped the photo of her husband and son on Tuesday morning after the toddler’s asthma attack landed him in the hospital.

Palmer told ABC News Thursday that her husband, Andre, had worked the graveyard shift the night before from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m. and then had come to the hospital to be with their son, Andre Jesse (A.J.).

“The room was so small the only thing that fit was the chair bed and the crib. He came in when he got off work early in the morning, and I was still half asleep. That’s why he laid there,” Palmer explained in a comment on her Facebook post. “I had to take a picture because to many, all they see is a man lying on the floor. To me I saw a man who worked all night, who could have went home to go to sleep (I wouldn’t have minded knowing he worked all night), who could have asked me to get up so he could lay down. All this shows the amazing husband and father he is!!!”

She added that she didn’t let him sleep there for long and let him rest on the chair bed.

Palmer told ABC News Thursday that her husband is “very sweet and caring.”

“He does everything he can for our family. You just take it for granted, and then something like this happens and you see how much it touches so many people,” Palmer said.

Palmer told ABC News that her son has recovered, and the whole family is now out of the hospital and back at home.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Dalai Lama’s Translator on Why Compassion Is in Everyone’s Best Interest

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Thupten Jinpa is a former monk turned family man, an author and, for the past 30 years, the Dalai Lama’s chief English translator.

A Buddhist scholar, Jinpa created a course at Stanford Medical School called Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT), which teaches people a series of meditative techniques designed to help build compassion. His book, A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives, serves as a guide that uses scientific study and Buddhist traditions to explain how practicing compassion can improve our quality of life.

“The first benefit of compassion is yourself,” Jinpa told ABC News’ Dan Harris in an interview for his podcast, 10% Happier. “It’s in your own self-interest.”

“Compassion is the natural response that you experience in the face of someone suffering, where you’re able to connect with that person’s experience and wish to do something about it,” Jinpa continued. “If you are able to train your mind so you are responsive enough to empathy, and then move on to compassion, then your focus will be more on the solution rather than getting stuck in the suffering.”

Jinpa sat down with Harris to talk about his background, his work with the Dalai Lama, compassion training and research, and the relationship between compassion and competition. Jinpa argues that being compassionate towards ours, no matter how sentimental it seems, is to our benefit.

“If you are able to bring some compassion into your life, you benefit because you become happier,” Jinpa said. “There’s not much point in being, conventionally, being very successful but at the same time deeply miserable. Then, what’s the point of being successful?”

Jinpa has worked with His Holiness for over three decades. He joked that even the Dalai Lama gets upset from time to time.

“Of course, he is a human being,” Jinpa said. “For me, honestly, when I see him occasionally lose it, and scold me, I actually feel more respect for him, because he’s not trying to hide it. He’s very genuine, he’s very authentic. What you see is what you get. Of course he has a mastery of his mind that is very impressive, but at the end of the day, he is also a human being.”

Jinpa’s childhood was full of turmoil. In 1959, when the Tibetan Uprising against China occurred and Jinpa was only about a year old, his family fled Tibet and resettled in India. When he was 9 years old, his mother died and his father left to join a monastery. Jinpa himself became a monk at age 11, while he was still in boarding school.

“The reason why I chose to become a monk, I remember very clearly that a group of monks came and stayed for a couple of weeks at our school, and each class was assigned a monk,” he said. “The stories they were telling about classical India and Buddhism and the life of the Buddha [were] fascinating. And, of course, as an 8-, 9-year-old kid, I just wanted to be like them.”

Jinpa left school in the 70s at a time when he said a large concentration of hippies had flocked to India. Jinpa said he picked up English from meeting with “one particular person” from the hippie movement on a regular basis.

In 1985, Jinpa said he became the Dalai Lama’s English translator by “pure coincidence.” At the time, Jinpa said he was visiting his siblings in Dharamsala, India when the Dalai Lama happened to be visiting the area to give a series of teachings. As it turned out, His Holiness’s original translator couldn’t make it on the first day.

“They were looking for someone to stand in for him,” Jinpa said. “And then the word spread around that there’s this young monk who has a reasonably good command of English, maybe he could do it. One thing led to another and I was plucked out of my seat and put in there to translate for His Holiness.”

A few days later, Jinpa said he got a call from the Dalai Lama asking him to be his translator full-time.

“I just broke down in tears,” Jinpa said. “You know, for a Tibetan, for someone of that age, for us, His Holiness is someone who is a very elevated figure, the source of our meaning, the source of our purpose, our existence in our community. And I was, of course, tremendously touched.”

Jinpa eventually left the monastery because he desperately wanted to have a family.

“One of the things I always kind of struggled with as a monk was the yearning for a family,” he said. “It’s probably because I missed family life from a very, very early age.”

“I never really had a real family of warm, kind of, memory,” he continued. “So I think there was a yearning for a family and that never really went away.”

He got married and now he, his wife and their two teenage daughters live in Montreal. In addition to his service to His Holiness, Jinpa also serves as a chair of the non-profit Mind and Life Institute, which conducts scientific research on the effects of mindfulness techniques on the brain.

“Increasingly now there is some indication that the more compassionate you are, the more you’re able to bring into account other people’s well-being as part of the equation, you feel less stressed,” he said. “By opening up ourselves, giving space to someone else, it kind of tones down the intensity of our own anxiety and our own suffering.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: Over-Treating Diabetes

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

Are diabetic patients being overly treated for diabetes?

According to a new study, a quarter of diabetics not on insulin were found to be receiving treatment well beyond clinical guidelines.

Those at greatest risk were the elderly and those with other diseases, like dementia or kidney disease. These patients saw a 3 percent chance of having dangerously low blood sugar levels when treated over the recommended guidelines.

The authors of the study are calling on doctors to weigh the risks and benefits of how they’re treating their most complicated patients.

So what should you do?

  • Know your hemoglobin A1c number. It’s one way we track diabetes control.
  • Ask if the medication you’re on is the standard of care or if it’s your doctor’s original approach.
  • And always ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible drug-drug interactions.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Volunteer Explains Why Working in Hospice Is a ‘Privilege’

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For years Deb Kinsbury has been working with patients at a Michigan hospice center in the hopes of adding some levity to their day. Now retired, Kingsbury said the work has been incredibly rewarding but that many friends are dubious when she tells them about where she volunteers.

“I do get a lot of questions from friends and other people, when it comes up, and I think that a lot of people have a misperception about what it may take to be a volunteer for hospice,” she said. “When they hear hospice, it means you sit with people who are dying.”

Kinsbury, 64, said most of her days are not exactly sitting vigil at someone’s bedside.

Since 2013, Kinsbury has been volunteering at the Hospice of Michigan in Southfield, Michigan. She initially became interested in hospice work after studying how the organizations worked as a law student and talking to others who worked in hospice care.

“In talking with those people I was so overwhelmed by the gifts they brought to the people they were working with that I said to myself at some point I need to do some volunteer work with hospice — and then life happened,” she said.

Kinsbury was finally able to start volunteering towards the end of her career as an attorney in Virginia and now in her home state of Michigan. She’s one of many volunteers that the Hospice of Michigan trains to help patients, who are near the end of their lives.

The Hospice of Michigan launched a volunteer drive in the hopes that others will join Kinsbury to help patients. There are different kinds of volunteer positions from companionship to positions where people can simply enjoy time with patients to vigil positions where volunteers stay with them in their final moments.

“A lot of what you do with a patient is up to you and the patient,” said Kinsbury. “I color, watch TV…I played WII bowling.”

“Sometimes I just sit and hold someone’s hand,” she said.

Kinsbury said one person in particular stood out as an exemplary reason do to hospice volunteering.

“He had ‘fired’ his previous volunteer because he was looking for companionship and didn’t feel a connection with the person who had gone in first so they called and asked me if I was interested,” she recalled. When she met him, the patient said he used to be an opera singer.

“Piping in from the other room his daughter said, ‘Don’t you listen to a thing he says,'” Kinsbury said. The daughter continued “‘He was in Vietnam, he loved my mother and anything else he tells you is just a lie.’ That set the tone for the absolutely wonderful relationship.”

“He loved to joke,” she added. “He loved to share stories.”

After nearly a year of visits, Kinsbury’s patient passed away.

“I also know and really believe that, in that time period that I had been visiting him, we both gained something,” she said. “I am a better human being for having met him.”

When asked if she ever had doubts about her work, because she knew she would lose patients she gave a flat answer of “No.”

“It’s a privilege to be there at the end,” she said.

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