Review Category : Health

Nevada Burning Man Festival Bugging Out over Insect Swarms

David McNew/Newsmakers(NEW YORK) — Looks like fans might not be the only revelers attending the upcoming Burning Man festival in the Nevada Desert. Organizers are reporting swarms of insects and possible stink bugs that are covering equipment and personnel as they prepare for the annual event.

Organizers reported on the Burning Man blog that plenty of insects have arrived, even showing a picture of a carpet covered with the little critters.

“You may have seen the bug rumors on the Internet,” according to a recent blog post. “We are here to tell you that they are all true. Well maybe not all of the rumors, but the bugs are real. They’re everywhere. They bite. They crawl all over you.”

The festival attracts tens of thousands of revelers to the desert every year and is known for its policy of banning cash transactions and the burning of a giant effigy on the last night of the event.

Other pictures from the preparation for the festival, which starts next week, show large green bugs coating tire wheels and other surfaces.

While the bugs seemed to appear mysteriously out of nowhere in Black Rock City, experts say a recent rain likely led to the large number of insects’ arriving at the campground.

Rich Pollack, a public health entomologist and senior environmental public health officer at Harvard University, said he thinks the insects shown in pictures are stink bugs and that the smaller flying insects are a kind of seed bug.

“Most of them are plant feeding; they are all endowed with really stout probicious,” Pollack said, explaining that the bugs may be irritating people if they mistake them for food. “The plant-feeding bugs generally have no interest in feeding on anything else except their preferred plant, [but]they’re so stupid that when they land on something or stand on something, they might sample [it.]”

Pollack explained that it’s possible the bright lights used by crews setting up for Burning Man attracted the insects in large numbers.

“When you have the rain event in the desert, two weeks or so later the desert blooms and the bugs will move in and become active,” he said. “And you bring in a bright light or bright lights and if there are a lot of people,” the bugs can arrive.

Pollack said he thinks it’s likely that most of the swarms of bugs will disperse by the time Burning Man gets fully underway.

“They’re not very long-lived,” he explained. “They’re going to develop quickly because they have got to make the most of a very limited resource. When those plants start to brown up, they’re going to disperse or die.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: How to Handle Hangovers

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

Summer is a time for relaxing and partying with friends and family. And with that comes lots of cool drinks — and hangovers.

To avoid getting a hangover, try your best to drink responsibly and moderately. This includes being sure to eat before and during drinking.

Pace yourself. Stick with clear alcohol. The dark liquors have a substance in them that is linked with hangovers.

Drink more water. Dehydration is the primary explanation behind that hangover headache.

Finally, a painkiller and a good night’s sleep should help do the trick. But be careful — too much acetaminophen and alcohol could hurt your liver.

The best piece of advice: Drink responsibly. My motto is “two and through.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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‘Stage Zero’ Breast Cancer Tied to Slightly Higher Breast Cancer Death Risk

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — There has been continuing debate over the importance of diagnosing the condition known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) – often referred to as “stage zero” breast cancer. While some experts maintain that catching these abnormalities early is important, others say that detecting and treating them is often unnecessary.

Now, new research from Jama Oncology suggests that women diagnosed with DCIS have a slightly increased chance of breast cancer related death, 20 years later.

Based on data from SEER, a large national cancer database, the researchers found that women at ages 40-49 had a 2.9 percent increase in risk of 20-year mortality from breast cancer and women at ages 50-59 had a 3 percent increase in risk of 20-year mortality from breast cancer.

In light of this, the researchers said DCIS should be considered as a more malignant entity than originally thought to be.

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Source of South Bronx Legionnaires’ Outbreak Found, Outbreak Over

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The source of the South Bronx Legionnares’ disease outbreak has been found.

According to New York City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett, the Bronx Opera House Hotel caused the oubreak.

“We eliminated the danger posed by the Opera House Hotel’s cooling tower as soon as it tested positive for disease-causing Legionella,” said Bassett in a statement. “Today, all cooling towers in the affected area have been disinfected, and all cooling towers across the city are being evaluated and disinfected if necessary”

She also announced the outbreak was officially over because no new cases had been reported since Aug. 3.

The outbreak led to the deaths of 12 people and 128 were affected.

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Working Long Hours Face Increases Risk of Stroke, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A long work week doesn’t just mean less time for fun or friends, it can also mean an increased risk for certain cardiac events such as stroke or heart attack, according to a new study.

The large study published this week in the Lancet Medical Journal studied up to 603,838 individuals and found those that worked past a 40 hour work week faced increased health risks.

And there was a 33 percent increased risk of stroke for workers who spend more than 55 hours a week at the office, even after controlling for certain behavioral risks such as smoking and alcohol consumption, according to researchers at University College London and Umeå University in Sweden who looked that people chosen from largely the same pool of study subjects.

The researchers also found people faced a 13 percent increased risk for coronary heart disease or heart attack if they worked more than 55 hours in a week.

For worker bees who spend extra hours on the job, the longer an employee worked past the 40-hour mark, the more they faced an increased risk for stroke or other cardiac events, the study found. People working just a few extra hours a week, between 41 and 48 hours per week, had a 10 percent higher risk of stroke, researchers found, and those working 49 to 54 hours had a 27 percent increased risk of stroke.

The findings are important to help employees and employers understand how long hours and stress can take a physical toll and on the workforce, experts said.

Dr. Roy Buchinsky, director of wellness at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and who was not involved in the study, said the findings may help people be less complacent about looking after their health when spending long hours in a stressful environment.

“It’s not too surprising in a sense that clearly when you’re working longer hours you’re reducing the amount of time you have for yourself in terms of physical activity,” Buchinsky told ABC News. “It can be stressful for most people.”

Nearly every workplace involves stressful situations that can harm the body over time, Buchinsky noted.

“Cortisol [a hormone linked to stress] goes up and the big thing that happens is increased inflammation,” said Buchinksy, who said it can result in narrowing of arterial walls or blood vessels.

Narrowing of blood vessels means decreased blood flow, which can mean increased risk for a host of issues, including heart attack, stroke or erectile dysfunction.

While the health consequences of a long work week are serious, Buchinsky said there are simple steps any office worker can take to decrease the harmful effects of stress.

“Move around. If you’re on the phone at work, stand up. The key is to get the person up and about,” said Buchinsky who recommends getting up for one to two minutes every half hour.

He also noted it’s important to try and lower stress by taking deep breaths, meditating or simply going for walk.

“You count to four and breathe out to four and do that four times,” Buchinksy said. “You reset [the] body’s cortisol level and lower stress level.”

Buchinsky said it’s key that both employees and employers take stock of how people are spending their time in order to be productive and healthy workforce.

“It’s not so much the hours. It’s how are we spending our time during those hours,” Buchinksy said. “People are being asked to do more with less resources.”

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Boston Mom Dances Away Labor Pains

liquidlibrary/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — When Yuki Nishitzawa and Connell Cloyd tell their 2-day-old son, Coji, about his birth, they will have quite a story to tell.

The story will begin with Nishitzawa, 36, of Boston, telling Cloyd, 35, on Tuesday that she was getting bored walking around in circles at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital as they waited, and waited, for Coji to make his appearance.

Coji will really laugh, until he gets old enough to possibly be embarrassed, when his dad tells him what his mom did next, which was to dance until he was ready to come out into the world.

In a video shot by Cloyd and posted to Facebook and YouTube, Nishitzawa can be seen breaking it down to “Tootsee Roll” and other hits while a bemused nurse watches in the background.

The moment, which has now gone viral, was entirely real, Cloyd told ABC News, and it worked. Coji Alexander Nishitzawa-Cloyd was born around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, weighing at a healthy 6 pounds, 15 ounces.

“After she danced she spent some time in the hot bath, about an hour, and then as soon as she said, ‘I want to push, he’s coming,’ he was coming,” Cloyd said. “And 30 seconds later he just came out.”

Cloyd says he and Nishitzawa, both teachers, who also have a 2-year-old daughter, like to listen to music during the delivery process. The song “Tootsee Roll,” by rappers 69 Boyz, had special significance for the couple.

“With the birth of our daughter, the night before we were at a birthday party and she was dancing and dancing,” Cloyd said of his wife. “Ironically, the dance of choice was the ‘Tootsee Roll’ and our daughter was born the next day.”

Cloyd can be heard in the video joking with his wife that the dance was going to make her a star. In reality, he said, the couple filmed the whole birth process just as a keepsake and to share with family and friends.

The fact that the video has gone viral, with millions of views, is fine by Cloyd and his wife, though, because they hope it gives other families hope.

“Our middle son, Yuji, passed away at birth,” Cloyd said. “We tried it again and are fortunate our new son is healthy and everything is going smoothly.”

“For mothers out there, just be encouraged,” he said.

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What You Need to Know About Jimmy Carter’s Cancer Diagnosis

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Former President Jimmy Carter announced Thursday morning that he is battling metastatic melanoma, making him one of an estimated 74,000 Americans who will be diagnosed with melanoma this year, according to the National Institute of Health.

Seemingly calm and relaxed at a news conference at Emory University in Atlanta, Carter told reporters the cancer was first spotted on his liver in a scan and that further tests have revealed he has four additional tumors on his brain.

Doctors removed the tumor from his liver, taking out about 10 percent of the president’s liver, but he will undergo radiation treatment and immunotherapy to target other tumors.

Carter said he expects that medical staff will likely find new tumors as treatment progresses. Experts say Carter’s diagnosis shines a light on rising melanoma rates but also highlights how new treatments are helping patients live longer.

While Carter, 90, had a strong family history of deadly pancreatic cancer, which took the life of his father and multiple siblings, experts said his diagnosis of melanoma instead of pancreatic is not surprising.

“From 1975 to present, there has been an increase in melanoma, especially in older white men,” Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, said. “It’s not unique; it happens, unfortunately.”

He said it’s still unknown whether a family history of pancreatic cancer could have made Carter more susceptible to melanoma. Lichtenfeld said that while Carter’s diagnosis is serious, he has actually fared better than others with metastatic melanoma who can have large lesions on the liver or brain that greatly impair their lives.

Even at his age, experts said, Carter’s overall vibrancy and new treatments give him a far better chance at surviving longer than if he was diagnosed just a few years ago.

Immunotherapy drugs called “checkpoint inhibitors” have been used in recent years to help melanoma patients live longer. The drugs aim to get the immune system to fight the tumor directly.

Dr. Andrew Sloan, director of the Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said scientists have only recently understood how “tumors recruit the immune system.”

“Tumors have figured out how to turn off the immune system,” Sloan said. “They recruit cells that surround them … these are not cells that kill the tumor they protect cells from part of the immune system.”

New medications, including the drug pembroluzimab, with which Carter will be treated, aim to keep the immune system from turning off. Lichtenfeld said such therapies, first presented in 2010, were the first new drugs for melanoma since the 1970s.

“Five years ago,” Lictenfeld said, “we would not have much to offer the president.”

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Your Body: Tips to Help Your Kids Start the School Year off Right

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

The summer is winding down and you know what that means: It’s time for the kids to head back to school. But are you ready to gear your children and teens up for another healthy, happy and successful school year?

The American Academy of Pediatrics has come up with some great tips for back to school health and safety so that your kids can start the year off on the right foot:

  • Have an emergency plan and review phone numbers, locations on where they would go, where you will be and what they should do if an emergency occurs.
  • Pack light. Don’t let your child’s bookbag weigh more than they do. Ten to 20 percent of their weight should be the max.
  • Lastly, stay informed on food options at school so you can help your child make smart decisions. If you can, pack a healthy lunch with a nutritious treat inside for your kids to enjoy.

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Study: Obesity Gene May Exist and Can Possibly Be Turned Off

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Is it possible your body comes equipped with an on/off switch that could keep you from becoming obese? A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine says there may be such a thing in our genes.

Scientists say they’ve found a genetic obesity master switch in mice, and in laboratories they’ve been able to turn it off, causing metabolism to soar and making those mice 50 percent leaner than their control counterparts — all without exercise.

The mice didn’t even gain weight on a high-fat diet after scientists used DNA editing technology to switch a signature, from obese to lean, in the genetic region known as “FTO”.

No testing has yet been conducted on people, but the results offer hope of finding a cure for a major health problem that affects more than a third of all American adults.

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Massachusetts Man Credits “Save My Life” TV Show for Doing Just That After Heart Attack

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — Dana Mower considers himself lucky to be alive, saying it’s all because of the medical documentary TV show Save My Life: Boston Trauma.

Mower, 71, was watching an episode of the ABC show Sunday.

Save My Life showcases real-life medical cases, and the episode Mower watched dealt with a man who thought he had a simple case of heartburn and indigestion, but who was actually having a heart attack.

Mower was experiencing similar symptoms as he was watching the program. He became concerned, and went to the emergency room the next day at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the same hospital that was featured on the episode.

There, he said medical professionals descended.

“The whole team just jumped right on me … the doctors in there were fantastic. They work as a team and — like a well-oiled machine,” he said.

Coincidentally, Mower was also seen by Dr. Kevin Croce, who happened to be one of the doctors he’d seen on Save My Life.

“That was like an unreal situation,” Mower of Lynn, Massachusetts, said. “You go in and I say, ‘Doctor, you know, I was just watching you last night on TV. And all of the sudden here I am.’”

They both had “a good laugh” over the coincidence, Mower, who is doing well now, said. But Croce’s news was sobering.

The doctor told Mower he was suffering from a heart attack and needed surgery immediately.

“It was a coincidence and it was actually quite nice to see that our efforts in participating in the show were paying off a day after it aired in terms of helping someone out,” Croce said.

This isn’t the first time a TV show may have helped to save a life. An episode of the ABC hit series Grey’s Anatomy has been credited with helping Sarit Fishbaine discover her breast cancer.

In a May interview with Yahoo, Fishbaine said a doctor told her not to worry when she expressed concerns about having “lumpy breasts.”

The 34-year-old had been nursing her youngest child at the time and she said the doctor believed the lumps were probably due to milk collecting in certain areas of the breast.

About six months later, Fishbaine was watching an episode of the fictional medical drama and the story appeared to eerily parallel her experience. In the Grey’s episode, a young mother arrives at Seattle Grace Hospital for a mastectomy after her breast cancer had been mistaken for collected milk.

The episode prompted Fishbaine to seek a second opinion, where she was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. The mother of three underwent chemotherapy followed by a mastectomy and then radiation, the Yahoo story said.

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