Review Category : Health

New Tech Zaps Walkers in the Right Direction

iStock/Thinkstock(HANOVER, Germany) — Scientists at Germany’s University of Hannover have mated GPS technology with mild electric shocks as a way to literally steer people in the right direction.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the scientists have successfully tested their device, which sends an electrical pulse into the muscle that runs inside the knee to the top of the zapped thigh, effectively steering the walker right or left to follow directions via a Bluetooth device — and without the need for the traveler to look at a map on a mobile device.

Max Pfeiffer, one of the developers, sees tourists someday able to take in the sights without averting their gazes — or firefighters guided in or out of burning structures where visibility is blocked by smoke.

As for the “gentle tug” the impulses bring, he insists they’re easy to override if you choose to find your own path.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Why Allergies Might Someday Mean the End of Latex Gloves

Dr. Mary Catherine Gennaro (NEW YORK) — For many years, Dr. Mary Catherine Gennaro would feel itchy all over after performing surgery. Now a retired physician living in New Hampshire, she began suspecting she was allergic to the protective gloves she wore while treating patients after having a particularly bad reaction.

“I started to swell all over my body and broke out in hives across my back. I was flushed and red. It was just awful,” Gennaro, 58, recalled of the incident that happened about 20 years ago.

Soon after, a doctor diagnosed Gennaro with an allergy to latex. At least three million Americans have a diagnosed allergy to the protein that comes from the rubber tree, according to the American Latex Allergy Association. That’s about the same number as people with peanut allergies, but Gennaro said the number could be much higher.

“It could be as high as 16 million: one in 17 people,” she said. “Many with the [latex] allergy don’t know what it is or they don’t report it.”

Latex allergies range from mild to life threatening. Symptoms include hives, swelling, redness all the way to trouble breathing and anaphylactic shock.

The problem goes far beyond latex gloves worn in the medical profession, Gennaro said. Latex is used in over 40,000 common products, including elastic waistbands, pencil erasers, children’s toys and fitness equipment. The allergic response escalates with each exposure and can sometimes trigger allergies to fruits and vegetables — like avocados, bananas and kiwis — that contain similar proteins.

Gennaro said her allergy is so severe that she cannot eat food handled by people wearing latex gloves, a common practice in the food industry. She finally decided to do something about it last year after the chefs at one of her favorite restaurants started wearing them.

Now, Gennaro works with a group of five other women with latex allergies to lobby state legislatures to ban the use of latex gloves in food service. “People tend to listen better at the local level,” she said.

Her group points to two state’s departments of health, Arizona and Oregon, that prohibit the practice. Rhode Island has passed a law, she said, and the women are working on getting bills before the state legislature in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, California and Connecticut. A bill being considered in Hawaii is calling for a ban on the gloves in the health care and dental industry, as well, her group says.

Alternative glove materials such as nitrile and vinyl are just as effective for preventing the spread of disease, Gennaro said. But they used to be so expensive, it was difficult to get lawmakers to listen to the argument against latex, Gennaro said.

“As the costs have come down, some of the alternatives are actually cheaper,” she said. “And, often, the cost of defending just one malpractice suit or disability due to latex exposure will pay for the switch.”

At the very least, she hopes her actions will alert people to what she refers to as a silent epidemic.

“The best treatment we have is awareness,” she said. “The more people know about this, the better chance we have of making a difference.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Could There Be a Breath Test for Determining Your Risk of Stomach Cancer?

iStock/Thinkstock(HAIFA, Israel) — Will doctors one day be able to diagnose your risk for stomach cancer by checking your breath? A new study indicates that may be the case in the future.

According to a report in the journal Gut, scientists have developed a new device that can assess a person’s gastric cancer risk by measuring organic particles in his or her breath.

Researchers at the Israel Institute of Technology conducted a study involving 484 patients and assessed how well the new test could distinguish between actual cancer (high risk) and pre-cancer (low risk).

The test demonstrated an ability to detect differences between low-risk and high-risk lesions with 87- to 90-percent accuracy.

Medical experts not involved in the study note the findings are preliminary, but additional research is already being conducted with a larger group of patients.

Because most patients with stomach cancer are not diagnosed until they are in advanced stages of the disease, the device could be an economical, non-invasive, painless, lifesaving screening tool if further research supports the early findings.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Would You Have Sex on the First, Second, Third or Fourth Date?

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(LONDON) — A British survey about sex and dating reveals that 26 percent of men would have sex on a first date, but just 15 percent of women would do so.

The survey of 2,225 people, which was commissioned by the sex toy firm LoveHoney and reported in the Daily Mail, finds that even fewer women were interested in hopping into bed on the second date, with only 13 percent saying they would do so compared to 16 percent of men.

The survey finds that 32 percent of women wait three weeks or until their fifth date before having sex.

One thing that both sexes seem to agree on is kissing, with 72 percent of both men and women saying they would be happy to kiss on a first date.

When it comes to the “L” word, 25 percent of the men surveyed said they first mentioned love in the first month of dating, compared to 16 percent of women.

The British survey also finds men like to introduce their partners to their parents quicker, making the move around the eighth date, despite the fact that just 27 percent of women are willing to meet them at this stage of the relationship.

British men apparently change their Facebook status to indicate they’re in a new relationship more quickly than women. The survey finds just over three out of ten men will do so after eight dates, compared to just 27 percent of women.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

This Is What Your Brain Looks Like on a Shopping Spree

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The proliferation of cheap, chic and fast fashion, stores like H&M, Forever 21 and Zara have made shopping a euphoric, almost addictive experience for many, creating a billion-dollar industry.

Research from the University of Michigan shows that the desire consumers feel when shopping can make buying hard to resist every time they walk in, whether they need the item or not.

Thirty-year-old Alex Roberts spends most of her free time on the hunt for that next outfit. She says she spends up to $500 a month on her shopping habit. Many of the clothes in her closet still have the tags on them.

“It is my cardio,” Roberts told ABC News’ Nightline. “I feel so excited and pumped up when I do go shopping…it’s kind of like a drug.”

To find out if shopping really is like a drug, Nightline attached a GoPro camera to Roberts as she hit up her favorite stores. A new technology called facial tracking was able to determine if she was experiencing euphoria like a high while shopping.

At Zara, Roberts came across a pair of camouflage-printed pants that she said she had been in search of for a year and started to feel like she had to purchase them. And inside her brain, analysis provided by a facial tracking company called Nviso said Roberts was on a shopping high. Her eyes were open and alert and her mouth slightly open — signs that the pleasure center in her brain was lighting up, which experts at University of Michigan say is comparable to the joy felt after having sex.

“I was super excited, and I was more excited with the size and the price,” Roberts said of finding the pants. “It was like, ‘This is meant to be. It’s right. I have to get these.’”

While at Forever 21, Roberts seemed to be enjoying herself, but according to the facial tracking software, her brain said something else.

According to Nviso, her quick tightening of her lips and visual scanning of items indicated that she was disappointed and felt stress. Though she scored three items under $90 at the store, her stress level showed that she may have felt compelled to buy the clothes because they were so cheap.

“I definitely find some awesome pieces at Forever [21]. It’s so inexpensive I don’t even look at price tags when I go in there,” said Roberts.

University of Michigan Ross School of Business assistant marketing professor Scott Rick and his team of researchers took an even closer look at shoppers using facial tracking and actually scanning shoppers’ brains.

“We decided to ask the brain rather than the person. So we had people shop while having their brain scanned with functional MRI,” Rick told Nightline. “We found again some subtle emotions underlying these shopping decisions.”

Rick said there was evidence of pleasure and activation in regions that are targeted by dopamine in the shoppers’ brains, and the similar brain region that underlies the craving for drugs, sex or friends also appeared to be active while shopping. The more the subject wanted an item, the more the frontal cortex of the brain lit up. And if the price was right, there was even more activity.

“There is this pain that’s associated with the spending, and to the best that we can tell, there seems to be this trade-off. It’s waning off of pleasure versus pain when we are making that shopping decision,” Rick said.

So because spending can cause stress, the pleasure has to outweigh the pain in order for someone to buy something, according to Rick. This is why low-priced, fast fashion is so hard to resist.

Besides keeping prices low, retailers use dozens of other tricks to lure customers to buy more. Michelle Madhok, who analyzes retail and marketing trends, knows these tactics all too well.

“These stores are set up to set off your brain. They’re hitting something at your human behavior that makes you want to buy,” Madhok told Nightline. “There’s the lights, the music. Sometimes they smell good, so it’s really immersing yourself in the feel-good experience.”

Roberts said learning the science behind her shopping habits still won’t deter her from getting that fashion fix.

“Finding a good deal makes me really happy,” Roberts said. “If I can get something for under $100 or under $50, I get very excited. And then I want to buy more.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Childhood Vaccination Lower Among Military Kids, Study Says

luiscar/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Vaccination among children of members of the U.S. military is less common than among the general population, researchers say.

According to the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, 28 percent of children between 19 and 35 months of age were not up to date on their vaccinations. That figure is significantly higher than the 21.1 percent of all other children who were not up to date. The difference persisted when controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, researchers noted.

The study speculates that the lower vaccination rate among military children could be due to the mobile nature of their lifestyle. “However,” it reads, “the lack of a military-wide childhood immunization registry and incomplete documentation of vaccinations could contribute to the lower vaccination coverage rates seen in this study.”

Doctors have urged parents to have their children vaccinated, especially after more than 100 cases of measles — a disease that had been eliminated in the U.S. years ago — were confirmed earlier this year. Many of those cases involved the disease being caught at Disneyland in California. Officials believe a group of unvaccinated individuals or international travelers with the disease began the outbreak.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Medical Marijuana Extract Could Help Treat Children with Severe Epilepsy, Study Says

michaeljung/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study indicates that medical marijuana extract could be used to help treat children with severe epilepsy.

The study was small and served to assess safety rather then efficacy, but researchers believe the medicinal liquid form of marijuana could help children. More than 200 people participated in the study, including toddlers and adults. Each participant had severe epilepsy that didn’t respond to other treatments.

Participants had Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, conditions that can lead to intellectual disability and lifelong seizures, as well as 10 other types of epilepsy.

When given cannabidiol, a component of marijuana that doesn’t include the part of the plant the creates a high, the participants saw their number of seizures decrease. Researchers claim that those participants who completed the study saw their seizures drop by 54 percent after 12 weeks of treatment.

Twelve participants stopped taking the drug due to side effects, while 64 others didn’t complete the study for undisclosed reasons.

“So far there have been few formal studies on this marijuana extract,” said Dr. Orrin Devinsky of the New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. “These results are of great interest, especially for the children and their parents who have been searching for an answer for these debilitating seizures.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

CDC to Help African Union Launch African CDC

Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will work in partnership with the African Union to launch the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The West African Ebola epidemic reaffirmed the need for a public health institute to support African ministries of health and other health agencies in their efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to any disease outbreak,” said U.S. CDC Director Tom Frieden in a press release. The African CDC Coordinating Center will be located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Five additional Regional Collaborating Centers will be identified and created.

The African CDC will be able to organize and deploy a force of medical volunteers and public health responders, similar to the 800 that the African Union set to West Africa to provide aid with the Ebola epidemic.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Softball Player’s Mysterious Death Attributed to Meningitis

WJLA(ASHBURN, Va.) — An 18-year-old high school softball player died shortly after complaining of a headache, shocking and devastating her Virginia hometown.

Madison Small, of Ashburn, Virginia, became ill last Monday night and died on Tuesday, WJLA, ABC’s Washington, D.C. affiliate, reported.

Soon afterward, students began paying tribute to Small, tweeting the hashtag #WePlayFor24 for Small’s softball jersey number. Residents chalked the message on their cars, and student athletes wrote the number 24 on their arms. Signs appeared in the halls, and students painted the dugout.

Several days later, health officials determined Small died of bacterial meningitis, but they say they’re not concerned about a wider outbreak.

“There have been no other cases identified so far,” Dr. David Goodfriend, who directs the health department of Loudoun County, Virginia, told ABC News. “We are still actively looking for any additional cases, but as we get closer to the 10-day limit, the likelihood that an additional case will arise becomes that much less likely.”

Bacterial meningitis has a three- or four-day incubation period, he said, with the longest time between exposure and onset of illness at 10 days. He said the county is now on day seven, and told ABC News bacterial meningitis is often “sporadic” and not part of any kind of outbreak.

Broad Run High School’s principal David Spage sent the following note home to parents last week:

Dear Broad Run Community,

I am writing to inform you one of our students, Madison Small, became fatally ill this morning.

We have been informing students and staff and offering our support to them, as well as her family, and our community.

Crisis intervention counselors are in place at the school, and will remain as long as needed.

Please let me know if you need anything as we support each other.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

FDA Says Some Wrinkle Creams May Be Overstating Claims

Pixland/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — To appeal to our quest for flawless, younger looking skin, some cosmetic companies are selling anti-aging creams that can sound like the fountain of youth in a bottle.

Doctors warn though that there can be wrinkles in some of those claims.

“It’s not a magical wand,” Dr. Tyler Hollmig, director of Laser and Aesthetic Dermatology at Stanford Health Care, told ABC News. “It’s not going to take away your wrinkles.”

“They can certainly help mitigate and minimize wrinkles,” Hollmig said, pointing out that the creams can help the skin to a certain degree.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a cosmetic may never claim to do such things as treat a disease like acne, increase collagen or revive cells.

“If they are picking up a product that seems too good to be true, it probably is,” the FDA’s cosmetic and colors director, Dr. Linda Katz, said of consumers.

In an ongoing effort to keep companies in check, the FDA sends warning letters to some cosmetic companies.

A letter to the CEO of StriVectin in February targeted two of its anti-wrinkle products, including its Potent Wrinkle Reducing Treatment. The FDA’s letter pointed out that StriVectin’s website described the product as “clinically proven to change the anatomy of a wrinkle.”

A spokesperson for StriVectin told ABC News the company has now “revised all wording” on those products. The spokesperson also said that future communication to the public about its products will comply with the FDA.

The website for the wrinkle-reducing treatment now reads that it is “proven to dramatically reduce the appearance of wrinkle length, width and number.”

Neither the FDA nor StriVectin would comment further as to whether the company is now in compliance.

“The manufacturers need to make sure that their labeling is clear and understandable and not misleading,” said the FDA’s Katz.

Here is StriVectin’s full statement:

“We at StriVectin are committed to providing consumers with the most superior skincare technology available. We stand by the efficacy of our products which is proven by scientific testing and clinical trials. We are doing everything in our power to ensure that our communication to the public complies with the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, per the Food & Drug Administration’s request. We have revised all wording as it relates to the products specified by the Food & Drug Administration, and are doing everything in our power to ensure that any future communication to the public accurately relays our products’ efficacy while complying with the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →