Review Category : Health

Marathon Runners, Young and Old, Post Similar Finish Times

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Age has little effect on marathon times, according to a new study, with reports saying runners will finish with similar times during their youth compared to those during their late 50s.

Researchers at Camilo Jose Cela University in Madrid, Spain say people who’ve run marathons for decades will cover a course in about the same time at age 18 that they do between the ages of 55 and 60.

Scientist Juan Del Coso Garrigos explains that runners’ times generally improve dramatically between 18 and 29 and then tail off slightly each subsequent year until both men and women marathoners equal their times as a teen when they hit 55. After that, the drop-off turns pretty steep.

In essence, a person’s marathon times during the course of a long running career forms a U-shape.

The study involved looking at the times of the top ten finishers in every age group from 18 to 75 for both males and females who took part in the 2010 and 2011 New York City Marathons.

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Sleep Patterns Disrupted by Marijuana Use

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Marijuana might make some people lethargic but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to help them sleep better.

What’s more, researchers believe that pot can cause sleep problems, especially among long-term users.

The study conducted at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania reveals that adults who began smoking marijuana prior to their 15th birthday will be twice as likely to experience major difficulties in getting to sleep as well as feeling tired during their waking hours than those who started smoking later in life.

Lead author Jilesh Chheda says one thing about the study that really stood out was that when it came to sleep problems, the frequency of marijuana use wasn’t nearly as significant as the age that the adults began using the drug.

Chheda adds that although his team wasn’t trying to make a direct link between marijuana and impaired sleep habits, the implications of the study were significant given how many Americans now use the drug.

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Many Teens Forgo the Seat Belt, Survey Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A survey of 1,000 teens from Safe Kids Worldwide indicates that about one in four adolescents don’t bother clicking their seat belts and of that group, 75 percent admit to texting while driving, another dangerous habit.

About half of teens who claim to wear seat belts in cars say they also text.

Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, says the worst part of that bad news is that many lives could have been saved if the kids had been buckled up.

Overall in 2012, there were 2,439 teen fatalities caused by vehicular accidents, half of which could have prevented if they had worn a seat belt, according to Carr.

As for why so many youngsters don’t bother strapping themselves in, the most frequent responses are that they either forgot or just aren’t in the habit of doing so.

Other reasons were just as disturbing: they weren’t driving too far, the seat belts felt uncomfortable, or they didn’t feel like buckling up because they were on their way to a party.

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Study Says Suicide Rates Are Higher After Midnight

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that suicides are more likely to occur between midnight and 4 a.m. than any other time of day.

According to a news release from the University of Pennsylvania Health System, the study was published in an online supplement to the journal Sleep and will be presented at an upcoming medical conference. Researchers used data from the National Violent Death Reporting System and the American Time Use Survey to attempt to determine the rate of suicide among those Americans who are awake at a given time.

The study included data on 35,332 suicides and found that, the scaled rate of average suicides per hour was 10.27 percent after midnight, compared to just 2.13 percent between 6 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. Researchers say that previous studies, which indicated that more suicides occur during the day, fail to account for the much higher percentage of Americans being awake than during the late night and early morning hours.

Michael Perlis, PhD and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Penn Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program suggested that treatment for chronic insomnia may be one way to reduce suicide rates.

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Woman Starts World’s Largest Exercise Class on Facebook

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A Montana mom of eight has motivated millions of people to join her on a quest for a flatter tummy.

Robyn Mendenhall Gardner posted a 30-Day Ab Challenge on Facebook hoping to coax a few other people to join in. The likes started pouring in right away. Within a week, nearly one million people were on board with the program. Now, the likes are up to 2.6 million and still climbing.

“I can’t come to everyone’s home or place of work and make you do these so we all are going to have to work together to try and complete this entire challenge,” Gardner writes on her Facebook page.

The challenge, which started on June 1 and runs through the end of the month, consists of a series of sit-ups, crunches, leg raises and planks, all designed to strengthen the core muscles of the abs, waist and lower back. It sticks to a three-day on, one-day off cycle and gets progressively more challenging with each workout.

Never mind that an American Council on Exercise study found that crunches and some of the workout’s other mainstay moves rank near the bottom of the list for their ability to effectively whip those middle muscles into shape. Cedric Bryant, the chief science officer of the Council, says he thinks that exercise choice is beside the point in this case.

“There’s no arguing with the fact that the 30-day abs challenge was quite effective in mobilizing millions of individuals to get some exercise,” Bryant said.

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Woman Starts World’s Largest Exercise Class on Facebook

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A Montana mom of eight has motivated millions of people to join her on a quest for a flatter tummy.

Robyn Mendenhall Gardner posted a 30-Day Ab Challenge on Facebook hoping to coax a few other people to join in. The likes started pouring in right away. Within a week, nearly one million people were on board with the program. Now, the likes are up to 2.6 million and still climbing.

“I can’t come to everyone’s home or place of work and make you do these so we all are going to have to work together to try and complete this entire challenge,” Gardner writes on her Facebook page.

The challenge, which started on June 1 and runs through the end of the month, consists of a series of sit-ups, crunches, leg raises and planks, all designed to strengthen the core muscles of the abs, waist and lower back. It sticks to a three-day on, one-day off cycle and gets progressively more challenging with each workout.

Never mind that an American Council on Exercise study found that crunches and some of the workout’s other mainstay moves rank near the bottom of the list for their ability to effectively whip those middle muscles into shape. Cedric Bryant, the chief science officer of the Council, says he thinks that exercise choice is beside the point in this case.

“There’s no arguing with the fact that the 30-day abs challenge was quite effective in mobilizing millions of individuals to get some exercise,” Bryant said.

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Study: Number of Youths Who Have Witnessed Cyberbullying Triples

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A study conducted by McAfee Online Security found a huge spike in the number of youths who have witnessed cyberbullying within the last year as compared to the same figure for 2013.

According to McAfee’s 2014 Teens and the Screen study, 87 percent of youths have witnessed cyberbullying. That figure was at just 27 percent in last year’s study. Of the respondents who said they were themselves cyberbullied, 72 percent said it had to do with their appearance. Other common reasons for cyberbullying were the victim’s race or religion (26 percent of those who experienced cyberbullying) or sexuality (22 percent).

Perhaps more concerning, 24 percent of the youths who took part in McAfee’s study said that they would not know what to do if they were harassed or bullied online.

The study also revealed a number of interesting figures regarding how young people use the Internet. The study found that one in three young people feel more accepted on social media than in real life, and nearly half of those who participated in the study have regretted something that they posted online.

McAfee also offered five tips for parents to help educate their children about online activity. They say parents should casually discuss the risks of online connections with their children, make sure they have the passwords for their children’s social media accounts and mobile devices, know about the devices and technology children are using, and make sure their children are aware that all online posts live forever online.

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Family Could Break GoFundMe Record to Save Child with Rare Disorder

The O’Neill Family & Von Wong(NEW YORK) — The O’Neill family has been racing the clock to fund a cure for their 4-year-old daughter’s rare, terminal disorder, and in the process, they’re on track to break a fundraising record on GoFundMe.com.

Since early April, the O’Neills have raised more than $777,000 toward a cure for Sanfilippo syndrome, the deadly genetic disorder that’s now barely detectable in their daughter Eliza. It means she lacks an enzyme to break down heparin sulfate, which naturally occurs in cells, causing it to build up over time, causing a variety of medical problems. The result is that Eliza will lose the ability to speak by her 5th birthday, the O’Neills say, and she’ll die before she reaches her 20s.

“The O’Neill family’s efforts are a true testament of two parents’ unwavering love for their daughter, and the willingness to do whatever it takes to reach their goal,” GoFundMe CEO Brad Damphousse told ABC News.

All forms of Sanfilippo affect one in 70,000 births, according to the National Institutes of Health. Because funding for rare diseases is hard to come by, parents often wind up spearheading fundraising efforts.

Researchers Doug McCarty and Haiyan Fu of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, have been working on a cure for about 16 years. They’ve found a gene therapy treatment that works in mice, and they hope to try it in humans. But setting up a clinical trial takes money –- about $2 million that they don’t have.

Desperate to help his daughter, Eliza’s father, Glenn O’Neill, said he Googled “how to make a viral video” and found filmmaker Benjamin Von Wong. Von Wong agreed to shoot and launch a video about Eliza to promote a GoFundMe fundraiser toward Sanfilippo research.

Now, they are about $31,000 away from breaking the GoFundMe record, which stands at $808,845 for Boston Marathon bombing victim Jeff Bauman. Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, two other Boston Marathon bombing victims, are in second place with $794,335.

The O’Neills announced Tuesday that the money raised so far is going toward making the drugs that will be used in the clinical trial, but they will still need to raise another $1 million this summer and fall to make it a reality by the end of the year.

“The first major step towards saving our daughter is complete,” the O’Neills said in a statement. “The medicine will be ready in December and Eliza and others like her will have the chance to get the treatment they so desperately need.”

Damphousse said GoFundMe’s medical category is its most popular.

“The most successful fundraising campaigns are those that evoke strong emotions,” Damphousse said. “People are far more likely to support someone they know — especially when an individual’s well-being is on the line. Accordingly, GoFundMe campaigns related to medical emergencies, illnesses or accidents have always raised more money in less time than other, less urgent causes.”

Glenn O’Neill told ABC News that Eliza sometimes gets extra attention because of the campaign, but she doesn’t understand why. Since she’s shy, she covers her face when people recognize her from the viral videos. Overall, she’s doing well, he said.

“We do notice things related to the syndrome in the way that she processes information,” O’Neill told ABC News. “She is not regressing on anything though and still learning — just at a slow pace and behind her peers.”

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Fetal Faces Hint at Mom’s Stress

Nadja Reissland, Durham University(NEW YORK) — If a fetus looks flustered, it might be because it’s picking up on mom’s stress, according to a new study of 4-D sonograms.

The study, which followed 15 moms-to-be and their unborn babies from 24 to 36 weeks gestation, found that fetuses were more likely to touch their faces with their left hands when their moms were stressed out.

What does face-touching have to do with stress?

“It’s related to soothing,” said Nadja Reissland, a researcher at the University of Durham in the United Kingdom and lead author of the study published Tuesday in the journal Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition.

Newborn babies rub their brows and suck their thumbs to soothe themselves, and Reissland wondered whether those habits formed in the womb. Where does the left hand fit in?

“Handedness is interesting in general because it’s related to mental health,” said Reissland, explaining how left-handedness has been linked to an increased risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia.

“There is some research indicating that high levels of prenatal maternal stress might be a risk factor for developmental disorders postnatally, since stress alters the biochemical equilibrium in the uterus,” Reissland wrote in her study, adding that the study “highlights the importance of reducing maternal stress in pregnancy.”

Reissland stressed that the study only supports an association between maternal stress and fetal face-touching, and said she hopes to explore the link more closely. She has also used 3D ultrasound to catch fetuses yawning and making faces.

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CDC Report: Norovirus More Common than You Think

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Norovirus, while commonly associated with cruise ships, is much more prevalent than most people think, according to a new report out Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials say the illness is responsible for nearly half — 48 percent — of all of the country’s foodborne outbreaks and sickens 20 million Americans each year.

But, as the report finds, foodborne outbreaks involving norovirus are not caused by the food itself. Rather, they are caused by food handlers who carry the infection themselves and spread it through unhygienic practices like coming to work while sick and not washing their hands adequately.

What may be even more interesting about this foodborne bug is that norovirus is not restricted to any type of food in particular. In fact, all types of food can potentially be affected, as more than 90 percent of contamination of food with norovirus happens in the last food handling step.

“Norovirus is one tough bug,” noted CDC Director Tom Frieden, who added that although norovirus is called “food poisoning,” the illness actually comes from people — that is, from infected food workers who come into contact with food.

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