Review Category : Health

Researchers ‘Skeptical’ About Supposed Health Benefits of Moderate Drinking

iStock/Thinkstock(VICTORIA, British Columbia) — Scientists at the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research in British Columbia, Canada have just published a study that may make you feel like having a stiff one: the purported health benefits of moderate drinking have been exaggerated.

The findings, published in the March 2016 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, notes that moderate drinking — rated at two drinks a day — has been linked to a host of health benefits compared to those who don’t drink.

However, the new study reports the comparisons are inherently flawed, because those in the “abstainer” category included “current” abstainers — including people who gave up drinking because their health was poor.

Also, according to Tim Stockwell, Ph.D., the lead researcher, moderate drinking has been credited with an “implausibly” large number of benefits, from better hearing to even lower rates of cirrhosis of the liver — which is caused by excessive drinking.

Stockwell says that his team have discovered that “occasional” drinkers — those who had one drink or less per week — actually lived longest. However, such a low dose of alcohol would likely not have given them their longevity. “Those people would be getting a biologically insignificant dose of alcohol,” Stockwell explained.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Texting Mix-Up Leads to Delivery Room Friendship

Deorick Williams(BAINBRIDGE, Ga.) — It all started with a wrong number.

Deorick Williams was inadvertently looped into a group text about the birth of a baby boy, only he didn’t know anyone on the chain of celebratory messages filling up his phone.

When he alerted the group of strangers that they had sent the texts to the wrong person, they quickly apologized for the mix-up.

But the story didn’t end there. Williams decided he wanted to meet the proud parents and asked if the family wouldn’t mind visitors at Memorial Hospital in Bainbridge, Georgia.

“We have gifts,” Williams texted the group.

The series of texts have since gone viral after Williams shared screenshots of his conversations on social media.

Williams said he and his brother brought diapers, pacifiers and baby bottles to the new parents, Mark and Lindsey Lashley. The family welcomed the Williams brothers into their hospital room and seemed touched by the gesture.

“We had a great time,” Williams told ABC News. “I was invited already, so I thought I might as well go. And why not bring gifts?”

A family friend shared a picture of the brothers on Facebook and wrote: “You 2 are great guys and thank you for giving to someone you don’t know!”

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Study: Birth Month Could Increase Your Risk of Allergies

TongRo Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Could the season in which your child is born determine whether he or she will suffer from allergies later in life?

A new study published in the journal Allergy suggests babies who are born in the fall have an increased risk of developing eczema. Those born in the fall and winter, meanwhile, are more prone to asthma.

And it’s not just childhood allergies — researchers studied babies until they grew up and found that birth season does have an affect throughout life.

While researchers say there is a clinical link between birth month and allergies, they are not advocating that parents plan the timing of pregnancy because of it.

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Harvard Study Highlights Risks of Untreated Sleepiness on the Road

iStock/Thinkstock(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) — Harvard researchers have confirmed what any over-the-road truck driver knows: Sleepiness at the wheel can kill.

Up to one in five truck driver crashes is related to sleepiness, researchers estimate, and the most common medical cause for daytime sleepiness is sleep apnea. This condition occurs when someone occasionally stops breathing while asleep, leading to disrupted sleep.

While fatigue is a problem for the general population, long-haul truckers say that, in their profession, it’s epidemic. In 2006, major North American trucking firm Schneider, Inc. started a program to screen drivers for sleep apnea and mandated treatment for those who tested positive. In the Harvard study, researchers found that truckers who suffer from sleep apnea are much less likely to have accidents if they treat the disorder.

Thanks to the Schneider program’s policies, drivers who did not comply with mandated treatment generally quit or were terminated early.

The study’s findings were published in the the journal SLEEP.

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Mysterious Illness Sickens 22 at Colorado Pool

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(LAFAYETTE, Colo.) — At least 22 people, most of them children, reported symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and vomiting from an unknown cause at a Colorado recreation center this weekend, according to a local fire chief.

Lafayette Fire Chief David Friedel, in Lafayette, Colorado, told ABC News Monday that the cause remained undetermined.

“Thought it might have been chlorine” leak, Friedel said. “Hazmat crews couldn’t detect anything like that.”

Friedel said 22 people came down with nausea, dizziness and vomiting after entering a pool at the Bob L. Burger Recreation Center on Saturday.

Joe Malinowski, Environmental Health Division Manager for Boulder County Public Health, said that no air contaminants were found on Saturday and that they were examining if something had gone wrong with the chlorination system. He said the health department will go to the pool Monday to examine if it is safe to reopen.

A man identified by his first name, Mike, told ABC affiliate KMGH-TV that his eyes started burning shortly after seeing people come out from the pool area.

“People were coming out coughing and choking and having a hard time breathing,” he told KMGH-TV. “I started checking on them to see if they were all right.”

Friedel told ABC News that everyone taken to area hospitals was released by Sunday evening.

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Woman Ditches Yo-Yo Dieting, Loses 85 Pounds in Eight Months

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Arielle Calderon has struggled all her life with yo-yo diets, but she says it wasn’t until she committed to eating healthy and becoming more physically active that she finally found success, losing 85 pounds in eight months.

In an interview with ABC News, the 26-year-old said she has lost weight before — but ended up gaining it all back.

“I would count calories a lot, which was horrible for me personally. I just got to obsessive with it…I would limit myself to about 400 calories a day and I would burn off like more than a thousand a day,” Calderon said.

Calderon, who is the director of community at the website BuzzFeed, learned that for her, slow and steady weight loss was the answer. She used apps to help her track her progress — Weight Watchers for meals, Plant Nanny for water intake and her Apple Watch for physical activity.

She also uses Fooducate, an app that allows users to scan a food item and get a letter grade about that item and a breakdown of its nutritional information.

Calderon, of Manhattan, has even used her Instagram account as a diary, sharing her joys and struggles online in her own BuzzFeed article, including her account of an encounter she had when she had already lost about 20 pounds.

“It was on the subway. It was my birthday and I was carrying a bunch of stuff and flowers that my friend had given me and I was standing and then a man offered to give me his seat and I thought it was because I was holding a lot of stuff,” she recalled. “And then he said, ‘Yeah, you should sit because you’re pregnant.'”

She added: “I think that’s what really was a turning point for me, is that something, like, so soul-crushing didn’t lead me off of the path and it would have before.”

Calderon’s honesty has made her an Instagram star. She started with 115 followers and now has more than 51,000. Her follows have said her struggles motivate them.

Calderon said she now takes the stairs instead of the elevators, stands rather than sits, stopped drinking alcohol, educated herself about nutrition and learned to cook her own healthy meals. She said she walks everywhere and also took up running.

Maya Feller, a registered dietitian, commended Calderon’s approach.

“The way that she did it is absolutely the right way to do it. She looked to make sustainable realistic changes that fit within her lifestyle, so I think that’s really the key for weight management success,” Feller said.

Feller added that it was important to set good habits in your 20s.

“What people do in their 20s informs the latter part of their life with regard to their risk reduction regarding diet related chronic illnesses,” she said. “Specifically diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, so if you make healthy food choices then you’re more likely to sustain that and be a reasonable eater and be at a reasonable weight for the remainder of your life. Which will in turn make you healthier.”

Calderon said she is no longer afraid to look in the mirror. She focuses on small goals and “non-scale victories,” such as being able to run a mile in a faster time, not needing a seat belt extender anymore or seeing a bath towel wrap completely around her body, she said.

“I think that there’s like these little things that, you know, maybe you don’t think about often. I think that focusing on these non-scale victories and setting yourself small goals is really going to help you,” she said.

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Your Body: Sleep’s Effects on Insulin

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

Do you like to sleep in after a long work week? If so, good news: A new study finds there may be more reason to hit that snooze button over the weekend.

Researchers measured the insulin response — a marker for diabetes risk — in patients after they had gotten either four days worth of restricted sleep (about four hours a night) and compared it to the insulin response after non-restricted sleep (around eight hours a night). They found that restricted sleep was linked to a 23 percent higher diabetes risk compared with non-restricted sleep.

It’s possible that the effects of decreased sleep on the brain can’t be reversed on the weekend but that those on hormone levels, like insulin, can be.

To help you catch some Z’s, make your sleep environment cool, dark and quiet. And remember: Not everything needs to be done by bedtime.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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‘Superglue’ Lets Girl Walk Without Pain for First Time in Years

Seattle Children’s Hospital(SEATTLE) — When Madison Fairchild was just 3 years old, she started complaining about a “bruise” that would not go away.

Madison’s mother, Kristen Fairchild, said that in spite of not finding a mark, they assumed the girl just had an injury they couldn’t’ see.

“Every time we bumped it she would scream or start crying,” Fairchild recalled. “After a month of constantly complaining about why her leg hurt,” we got her leg checked.

After an X-ray and MRI doctors found an abnormally large tangle of veins in her leg. The mass in her calf and thigh, called a venous malformation, had been there since birth, her doctors said.

“We’ve never heard of such a thing,” Fairchild said, recalling that doctors told the family there was little they could do except treatments aimed at minimizing pain or temporarily diminishing the veins.

“Over the years, we tried pain management and [other] therapy. It would only work for a few weeks and she would go back to limping and complaining about the pain,” Fairchild said.

The malformation is characterized by masses of blood vessels in the tissue and can cause immense pain. It usually isn’t dangerous but the pain can cause patients to avoid activities as simple as walking, standing or running.

“For the first few years, she was able to move around, [but] she constantly skipped because she couldn’t bear a lot of weight on that front leg,” Fairchild said. “She would always walk on her right toe because anytime she extended her leg it would cause those muscle to contact around the malformation and would cause pain.”

Dr. Giridhar Shivaram, a radiologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, worked with Madison and said a common treatment made her pain even worse. Shivaram used what’s called sclerotherapy, which uses a detergent-like substance injected into the veins to make them scar and hopefully diminish.

Shivaram explained they couldn’t just remove the veins because they was a potential for excessive bleeding and their consistency makes it difficult to remove them.

“It’s like operating on wet tissue paper that bleeds,” Shivaram explained. “Trying to excise that is difficult.”

However, for Madison, the sclerotherapy treatment that she had in 2014 made the pain worse.

Her leg “contracted for the first time at a 90-degree angle and it seized up and she couldn’t straighten her leg at all,” Fairchild said. “That was when we started having issues where it took over her life. She’d hop around a lot.”

Doctors believe the veins cause pain because they are inflamed or because they are wrapped around nerves.

Madison could no longer keep her leg straight at all since the muscles had basically permanently contracted due to the malformation, her mom said. Around that same time, Dr. Jonathan Perkins, a pediatric otolaryngology physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, discussed a new experimental treatment in which medical-grade superglue could be injected into the veins so that they can be removed surgically.

“It allows us to remove affected tissue by sparing normal tissue around it,” Perkins said of using glue to stiffen the veins and removing them the same day.

Shivaram and other doctors at Seattle Children’s Hospital brought up the new kind of treatment with the family. Fairchild said they were concerned that the procedure could lead to bleeding, but were eventually reassured.

“Both [Madison’s] Dad and I were ready to move forward with it,” Fairchild said. “It was an opportunity to let our child be a child again.”

The medical-grade superglue fills the veins so they are easy to remove. Doctors carefully map out the veins first to ensure the glue does not enter the bloodstream or vital organs. Madison had to undergo two procedures to remove the large malformations in her leg.

Her mother said the improvement was clear almost immediately.

“Four days later, she’s walking,” Fairchild said. “It’s a totally different child. Her outlook is more positive.”

Shivaram said there’s little chance Madison will need any other procedures unless they missed some part of the malformation that becomes inflamed again. The hospital has done 50 procedures to help patients like Madison and only one has needed unexpected additional surgery to remove more of the malformation.

Fairchild said Madison still needs some rehabilitation to help her stretch out her nerves and strengthen her leg, but that she sees a major improvement in how her daughter is doing.

“She’s not afraid to run,” Fairchild said. “She’s able to run with her friends now at recess.”

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Tests Find Lead in Newark Public Schools’ Water Supply

iStock/Thinkstock(NEWARK, N.J.) — Tests dating back to 2012 have reavealed a significant amount of lead in the drinking water of Newark Public Schools (NPS), according to a statement released by the City of Newark, New Jersey.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection revealed data provided by the District’s outside laboratory shows 10 to 12 percent of the water samples revealed led levels that exceed the federal action level of 15 parts per billion.

According to the statement, the state-run NPS also revealed that evidence shows that the schools’ water supply has been tested since as far back as 2004, and NPS is currently in the process of getting those older test results.

The the tests have indeed been conducted since 2004, it is evident that NPS has known about the lead problem for a long time. However, the statement says that the NPS claims it has been working to “remediate and mitigate elevated lead levels.”

During this time period, Newark residents have not been told about the problem.

“We don’t believe that the NPS deliberately hid the problem, but we think it was a poor decision not to inform the public,” Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka said in the statement. “We are happy that the present superintendent had the sense to reveal the problem. But we know that the State did not care enough about the problem to take the real but expensive steps to permanently protect the lives and health of our children.”

Mayor Baraka also said in the statement that installing filters is only a small part of fixing the problem. He stated that replacing a limited number of fixtures isn’t a good solution when the lead pipes continue to carry water.

About 17,000 students at 30 schools in Newark were exposed to the toxic water. The schools are offering blood tests for the students to check the lead levels for those affected.

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Ahead of President Obama’s Visit, CDC Warns of Zika in Cuba

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted a message on its website Saturday warning that “local transmission” of the Zika virus has been reported in Cuba.

The CDC defines local transmission as “mosquitoes in the area are infected with Zika virus and are spreading it to people.”

The post comes just one day before President Obama and his family board Air Force One for a three-day visit to the island nation.

The White House responded to the warning assuring the public that the first family will be cautious while traveling.

“Zika virus has not been a factor in the President’s travel decisions, and we don’t expect it to be so in the future,” as per a White House official said.

“Federal employees who may be going on official travel have been encouraged to review the CDC guidance in advance of the trip and take all necessary steps to limit the possibility of transmission. The most important thing all travelers can do is strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.”

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