Review Category : Health

Your Body: Are Fast Food Cravings Genetic?

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

If you have a hard time saying no to that Big Mac or high-fat meal, you may be among the small but significant fraction of the population that has a genetic variant that predisposes you to prefer fatty foods.

At the heart of this recent research is the hormone leptin. This is involved in satiety and acts on brain cells that regulate food intake.

Individuals with a certain defect in a particular gene known as MC4R appear to be less sensitive to changes in leptin as evidenced by apparent preference for high-fat foods.

While these studies are small, it does bring up an important discussion about fat and which ones are good for you and which ones aren’t. Stick to those healthy fats like avocados and nuts and try to avoid the fried or processed foods.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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How Running a Marathon Affects the Body

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — From the start of the race to the finish, running a marathon can take a toll on even the most experienced runners. Here’s a look at how your body can be affected by running 26.2 miles.

Your Body Reroutes Blood Flow

As a runner starts a race, the body immediately sends blood to the areas in use.

“The body is very smart it starts sending oxygen and blood to where it’s most needed,” said Dr. Dennis Cardone, the chief of primary care sports medicine at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. “The blood flow to the stomach and gastrointestinal system starts to decrease and increasingly blood flow goes to working muscles.”

As a result of decreased blood flow to the stomach, Cardone advises runners to avoid eating anything that can disrupt the stomach.

“It’s why we tell people don’t have a big meal, don’t have anti-inflammatory medication,” Cardone explained. Discomfort “can get more pronounced.”

All of Your Muscles Get a Workout — ALL of Them

For the marathon distance, the body uses every single type of muscle fiber to help get through the race.

This means using fast-twitch muscle fibers normally only used for sprinting. As a result of tapping into all this muscle fiber, carbohydrates stored in the muscle start to deplete, meaning a runner might need a mid-race snack.

Dr. Lewis G. Maharam, the chairman of the International Marathon Medical Directors Association, told ABC News in an earlier interview that lower levels of carbohydrates can complicate a run for marathoners.

“When you exhaust glycogen stores, the body’s preferred source of sugar, you start breaking down body fat and muscle protein,” he said. “That’s when you’re in danger of [hitting the wall].”

Drinking Too Much Water Can Affect Your Sodium Levels

While sports medicine experts used to warn runners to constantly drink water so they are never thirsty, they now tell runners to drink enough water but not too much. Too much water can diminish the sodium concentration in the blood. Some runners are so anxious to stay hydrated that they drink too much water, thereby diluting sodium levels, sometimes to an extreme degree leading to a condition called hyponatremia, Cardone said.

“Muscles start to function improperly and [runners] can start to have some mental status changes,” Cardone explained.

Your Legs May Swell Post-Run

After running a full marathon, blood can start to pool in the lower extremities as the heart also starts to slow down. Called “venous pooling” the condition usually reverses quickly, but sometimes runners can pass out at the finish line as they become lightheaded.

“With that blood pooling you may notice that your feet or even your hands become stiff,” Cardone said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Federal Health Officials ID 7 New Carcinogens Including Virus That Causes ‘Mono’ and HIV

Huntstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Federal health officials have identified seven new substances, including five viruses, as known carcinogens in a new report.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regularly releases a list of carcinogens in an effort to help reduce cancer cases. Currently, the HHS has listed 248 known carcinogens that run the gamut from X-rays to alcohol consumption. Today it added five viruses to the list, including HIV and the Epstein-Barr virus, which can cause mononucleosis. Two other substances — an industrial solvent called trichlorethylene (TCE) and the element cobalt, often used in rechargeable batteries and military equipment — also made the list.

“Given that approximately 12 percent of human cancers worldwide may be attributed to viruses, and there are no vaccines currently available for these five viruses, prevention strategies to reduce the infections that can lead to cancer are even more critical,” Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and National Toxicology Program (NTP), said in a statement today. “The listings in this report, particularly the viruses, bring attention to the important role that prevention can play in reducing the world’s cancer burden. There are also things people can do to reduce their exposure to cobalt and TCE.”

The five viruses were listed in the report after medical studies found they were associated with an increased risk of developing certain cancers:

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus): The virus, which weakens the immune system, increases the risk of several cancers, including non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin lymphomas, anogenital cancers, Kaposi sarcoma and liver cancer.

Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1: The virus is a kind of retrovirus that can cause adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma, a rare cancer.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV): This common virus is a form of the herpes virus, and about 90 percent of adults are infected at some point in their lives. While most people remain healthy, this virus can cause mononucleosis, commonly referred to as “mono.” In rare cases, the Epstein-Barr virus can cause certain types of cancer, including four types of lymphoma.

Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV): This virus is a herpes virus that has been linked to several cancers, including Kaposi sarcoma and two rare kinds of lymphoma.

Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV): This is a common virus that generally lives on the skin and rarely causes cancer or even symptoms. It can cause Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare kind of skin cancer where a nerve in the skin develops cancer.

The full report can be found here.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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How the End of Daylight Saving Time Can Affect Health

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — This Sunday, nearly everyone in the U.S. will need to set back their clocks one hour as daylight saving time comes to an end. While this means an extra hour of sleep, surprisingly the end of daylight saving time can take a toll on your health.

An extra hour of sleep can be a welcome respite for many people. But it can also disrupt normal sleep patterns, which puts strain on the body.

The change in schedule can throw off the body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, Dr. Samuel Friedlander, assistant clinical professor of Sleep Medicine and Allergy Immunology at UH Cleveland Medical Center, said.

“It is great to have the extra hour of sleep, but a few days later that can lead to worse sleep,” Friedlander told ABC News. “It can lead to insomnia or sleepiness.”

As a result of disturbed sleep, Friedlander said the body is put under stress. Sleep is an important part of health.

“It affects nearly every system in the body, so that’s how it can lead to problems in the body,” he said.

One way to help acclimate is to get on a good sleep schedule before the time change, Friedlander said — including any sports fans who spent last week staying up late to watch baseball.

“A lot of the nation has been up for the World Series, we are more sleep deprived than normal,” Friedlander said. “Adding daylight savings time can make the situation worse.”

Though the time change is coming soon, using the time before it happens to adjust sleep patterns can help.

“Try to start out having good sleep habits and get enough rest so your body can acclimate better,” Friedlander added.

Once the time change happens, the sun will go down earlier and, in general, end of the year days are shorter. This means that people will be spending more waking hours in the dark, which leads to an increased risk of developing seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Friedlander noted the uptick in risk as daylight saving time ends: “SAD is a very important condition that we have to watch out for.”

SAD is more than just the winter blues, it’s a form of depression that can be difficult to deal with in the winter months, according to the American Psychological Association.

Symptoms of SAD including fatigue, sleep difficulty or excessive sleeping, weight gain, feelings of hopelessness or despair and thoughts of suicide, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

The end of daylight saving time also presents hazards for drivers, who will be spending more time on the road when the sun is down. The National Highway Safety Administration has cautioned “motorists and pedestrians to be more alert as the potential for harm increases as darkness falls earlier.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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NYPD Gives Arizona Boy Battling Terminal Illness VIP Tour of NYC

NYPD(NEW YORK) — The New York Police Department is used to safeguarding famous figures, but this week it invited a 14-year-old boy battling a terminal illness to be its VIP in New York City.

Jacob Priestley of Arizona arrived Tuesday morning with his parents and younger brother. The family was greeted at the airport by NYPD officers who took them winter coats to help them adjust to fall temperatures cooler than in their home state.

One of the officers greeting the family was Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, the head of the Brooklyn North patrol borough. Maddrey and his command first heard of Jacob this summer when his family’s request for 14th birthday cards for Jacob went viral and resulted in thousands of cards being sent.

Jacob has mitochondrial disease, a condition in which cells do not work correctly. His parents, Britney and Tom Priestley, have said that his condition is terminal.

“They described how Jake receiving cards makes him feel better,” Maddrey said. “He suffers from a situation where he’s constantly in pain, and reading cards lifted his spirits and made him feel better.”

“I asked the members of Brooklyn North and all members of the NYPD to send Jacob cards,” Maddrey said.

Maddrey and his fellow officers kept in touch with the family and decided to send them all to New York City this week for a VIP experience.

“At one point we contemplated taking a trip to Arizona, and then we said, ‘Why don’t we bring Jake and his family to the Big Apple and let him experience hanging out with greatest police department in the world and greatest city in the world?” he said.

On Tuesday, Jacob attended a hockey game, tasted some of New York’s famous pizza, received a special proclamation from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and took part in a blessing of the animals for the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall alongside Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

“I can’t really explain it. It’s just cool and awesome,” Jacob told New York City ABC station WABC-TV.

Maddrey said Jacob and his family are excited about all they are doing, which is fun to see.

“For me, personally, it was just amazing to see this young boy, who I know is going through a lot of pain, smile and crack jokes,” he said. “He’s ragging on our sports teams, enjoying the food and the crowds … There’s nothing like a Times Square crowd.”

The Priestleys will be in New York City through the week. They visited the Statue of Liberty Wednesday and will have surprise outings to landmarks and sporting events daily, according to Maddrey.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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What’s the Right Age for Kids to Experience Important ‘Firsts’?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — There’s a first time for everything, but a recent poll found adults and children had different ideas on how old children should be before they have certain important first experiences in their lives — such as getting a cellphone, a job, a pet or going out on a date.”

The Harris Poll covered other key “firsts” such as wearing makeup, going on a sleepover, having a first kiss, seeing an R-rated movie and talking about sex.

Makeup: On average, Americans said children should be about 15 to wear makeup, but the teens who were surveyed said they first wore makeup when they were 13.

Sleepover: On average, poll respondents said children were ready for a sleepover at age 11.

Talking about sex: According to the results, people believed children needed to have the “the talk” at age 12, about a year earlier than they received it.

Cellphone: Adults on average said they believed children should get their first cellphone at 14 years old. Parents with adult children put that age at 15 and parents with younger children put the age at 13.

The poll also found that nine out of 10 Americans thought children were growing up too quickly today.

The poll was released in September. It was conducted in July among 2,463 adults and 510 teens.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: Can You Melt Away Body Fat Without Surgery?

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

A new, non-surgical procedure called Sculpture is reportedly able to melt away abdominal fat — and unlike other non-invasive procedures, this one is the first-ever to use lasers.

The procedure has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration but only for flanks, love handles or abdominal fat.

There are alternatives to consider, however:

A healthy diet and exercise is not only better for you on the outside but better for you on the inside, too.

Surgical liposuction can actually be done in other parts of the body with downtime and some anesthesia.

There’s also the novel concept of just accepting yourself as you are.

It’s important to remember the risks and benefits of any elective cosmetic procedure. There’s cost and risks, but supporters of this type of treatment feel it’s a good option for those who want to remove an inch or two.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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These Texas Women Had Plastic Surgery to Look Like Ivanka Trump

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Tiffany Taylor is a country girl at heart and the 33-year-old mom of three is a Texan through and through, with a surprisingly cosmopolitan role model.

For the past year, Taylor, an aspiring socialite who works in the oil and gas business, has been transforming her body and face to look like Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of Donald Trump.

Taylor has already undergone multiple rounds of plastic surgery to look like her beauty idol.

“I had my breasts done and I got a ‘C,’ so I had them done a second time and got a ‘D;’ I also had my nose done they just took out some of the bulk out of the tip and kind of defined it a little bit right here,” she said.

She’s also had injections in her cheeks and a “mini eye lift, and then my chin area lifted up to help with my acne scars and define the chin and I also had lipo in my stomach.”

And Taylor said she wants more. She recently went in for another round of surgery for a new nose job and to have her eyelids done. In all, Taylor said she has spent approximately $60,000 on plastic surgery.

“I see perfection,” she said, looking at her bruised and bandaged face in the mirror. “Absolutely stunning perfection. It’s like an art piece it has high points and some love. It’s really pretty.”

Taylor’s Houston-based plastic surgeon Dr. Franklin Rose said he is getting more and more clients asking for the “Ivanka Trump look.”

“She’s very beautiful and she’s very poised … and very elegant and very soft-spoken. So patients want to be like that,” Rose said.

After her latest round of surgery, Taylor went to Neiman Marcus to find clothes that would emulate Ivanka Trump’s classic style.

Come to find out that Taylor isn’t alone in her quest. Jenny Stuart, a 36-year-old mother of two and an IT headhunter in Texas, is a consistent head-turner when she’s out.

“I’ve been told probably hundreds of times that I look like Angelina Jolie,” Stuart said.

For some, a comparison to this Oscar-winning actress would be hitting the jackpot, but Stuart also wants to look like Ivanka Trump.

“Honestly if she was running I would absolutely vote for her,” Stuart said. “I was impressed with her when I saw her at the RNC. She looks amazing … and she’s just a very classy pretty, which I admire.”

Stuart also sought out Dr. Rose for the Ivanka makeover. Her surgery entailed liposuction to harvest fat for a Brazilian butt lift, a nose job, breast implants and injectable fillers for her face. She says the procedures cost her $30,000, including a discount from her surgeon for appearing on television.

“This might be the 1000th very, very beautiful patient that I’ve operated on,” Rose said. “In an odd way, it’s sort of more enjoyable because you can take the beautiful into the hyper-beautiful.”

But not everyone is convinced, including some of Stuart’s friends who said, “If she was ugly, we would probably support her more.”

After several weeks of recovery, both Stuart and Taylor said they were pleased with the results.

And even though she wanted to look like a Trump, Stuart said she has already cast her ballot in early voting — and she voted for Hillary Clinton.

“It might seem ironic to some I’ve spent all this time and money to try and look like Ivanka, who I still adore and I think she’s gorgeous and a good business woman, but I don’t associate her with father,” Stuart said. “I cannot possibly condone his behavior even though I have historically voted Republican … so I voted for Hillary.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Seven-Year-Old Gives Up Birthday Gifts for Preemie She’s Never Met

Williams/Young Family(NEW YORK) — A little girl with a big heart gave up her birthday gifts this year for a premature baby she’s never met.

In lieu of presents, Addison Williams, 7, asked her party guests to bring cash donations for Cooper Young–a NICU resident born just shy of 2 pounds.

On Oct. 23, Addison collected $307 for Cooper’s parents to put toward his medical bills.

“We gave her a call and wished her a ‘Happy Birthday’ and told her how honored we were that she selected Cooper,” said Cooper’s dad, Philip Young of Chesterfield County, Virginia. “For her to do that and sacrifice presents for Cooper, to us is quite a selfless act.”

On Aug. 20, Young’s wife April gave birth to their son Cooper 26 weeks into the pregnancy.

Cooper weighed 1 pound, 15 ounces when he was born at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Doctors told the family there were no indicators as to why April went into premature labor, Young said.

Since his birth, Cooper has remained in the NICU, but Young said the now 2-month-old is making strides.

“I’m hoping that we will spend our first Thanksgiving at home together,” Young said. “We still have a couple of challenges to get over, but he’s come so far that I’m extremely hopeful.”

To share their son’s journey, the Youngs created a Facebook page titled Cooper’s Chronicles.

About an hour away, Addison Williams had been following Cooper’s story. Addison’s grandfather, Brad Williams, had previously worked with Philip Young, a firefighter medic, at the Spotsylvania County Fire Department.

In recent years, Addison had collected donations for the homeless and school supplies for children in need. With her seventh birthday approaching, Addison decided she’d raise money for Cooper instead of accepting gifts from her loved ones.

Addison’s father, Josh Shade, had his daughter’s special request printed on the party invitation.

“She just comes up with these things on her own,” her mom Emily Williams told ABC News. “She’s always said, she thinks people need stuff more than she does. She legitimately has a heart of gold. I don’t even know how to explain it. She never ceases to amaze us.”

Williams sent a message to the Youngs on Facebook about the donation. In turn, they called Addison to express their gratitude.

“With Cooper’s dad being a firefighter and with Cooper’s mom being a teacher, I understand that they’d want to give to their community more than asking for help,” Williams said. “When I told them Addison was going to be raising money, they said they know people in the world needing more help than they do. So, they are very humble.”

Addison hopes to inspire other children with her giving spirit, Williams said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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DC Area Hospital Closes After Infants Test Positive for Bacteria

iStock/Thinkstock(CHEVERLY, Md.) – The neonatal intensive care unit of Prince George’s Hospital Center, located about 11 miles from Washington, D.C., is closed once again after two infants tested positive for pseudomonas bacteria, sources tell ABC News affiliate WJLA-TV.

Five babies were transferred out to the NICU as authorities continue to investigate. Sources tell WJLA there have been no positive tests of bacteria in the water.

This follows an investigation in August after two babies died at the NICU where pseudomonas bacteria was found in a water pipe. The NICU was shut down following the incident until Oct. 4, when multiple test results came back negative for any bacteria in the water system, sources confirm.

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