Review Category : Health

Cancer Patients Attend Pediatric Prom

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Children battling cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital got to swap hospital gowns for prom gowns this week for the hospital’s 24th annual “Pediatric Prom.”

Patients at the Manhattan hospital dressed up, hit the dance floor and forgot about cancer for an afternoon.

“These children are going through rough treatments,” Dr. Farid Boulad, who directs Sloan-Kettering’s pediatric department, told ABC affiliate WABC in New York. “As you can see, some of them lose their hair, some of them have amputations, but today none of that is seen. They’re radiant, there are smiles.”

The first stop of the morning was “Promingdale’s,” which had donated clothes and accessories in sizes to fit infants through patients in their 20s, said the event’s coordinator Rachel Corke. A makeup artist and a face painter were on hand to make everyone look extra special. Everything is paid for by the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering, a volunteer organization within the hospital, she said.

“It started many moons ago because one patient who was an inpatient wasn’t able to go to their own prom,” Corke said. “Part of what we do in pediatrics is insure that your life while you are being treated is as normal as possible.”

Prom-goers danced to a DJ, ate snacks and also took pictures at a photo booth, which was set up with thrones to make them feel like royalty, she said.

“You definitely feel special on this day. You get special attention, special clothes, all of the little things,” Corke said. “It’s a really nice way to be a kid while you’re still in the hospital.”

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New Bathing Suit Designed to Offer Better Back Coverage

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If backne (back acne), scars or tattoos have you reaching for the cover-up the second you exit the water, there’s a bathing suit line in the works that’s got your back covered. Literally.

Lensa Kitilla, the founder of Kenna Swims, has started a Kickstarter campaign to get her suits made. And it looks like she’ll get there: More than half of the $15,000 she needs has already been raised, and there are still more than three weeks to go on her campaign.

So what do these “full back coverage” suits have that a plain, old rash guard can’t deliver?

“Elegance,” for one. Plus, Kitilla said, rash guards are “targeted for women who are sensitive to chlorine, have very sensitive skin and need protection against the sun rays. So it is often made of thick material and usually covers up the entire upper body. And it takes away from the feeling that you are wearing a bathing suit, because it looks like a fitted shirt and not a swimsuit.”

The Arizona-based Kitilla, an engineer by profession, herself suffered from back acne as a teenager and has the scars to show it. To this day, it can make her feel uncomfortable to wear backless clothing.

“As far as swimwear goes,” she wrote on her fundraising page, “I dare you to find pieces that actually cover the back.”

It’s true that the vast majority of suits leave much of the back, especially the upper back, exposed.

Kenna Swims claims to be the “only swimwear line that want to cater to women that want stylish swimwear but want to cover up backne, scars and tattoos.”

Kitilla told ABC News she recently heard from a woman who got a “big tattoo on her back when she was younger and now that she is a mom and older, doesn’t feel comfortable showing it off anymore.”

Setting a good example is something Kitilla can understand.

“I want this brand to be an alternative to teen girls and young adults that are bombarded by the message that attractiveness equals showing more skin,” she said.

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Medicare Ban on Sex Reassignment Surgery Lifted

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Health and Human Services review board determined on Friday that those receiving Medicare may be able to receive insurance coverage for sex reassignment therapy.

The ruling is in line with a trend of court decisions — that since the psychiatric community recognizes gender identity disorder as a mental condition, policyholders are entitles to have the surgery. Private insurance is less likely to cover gender reassignment surgery.

The ruling was a response to a case brought by a 74-year-old Army veteran who sought to have Medicae for his surgery and was denied.

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Experts Explain ‘Mental Incapacitation’ After Reports on Sterling’s Mental State

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — After weeks of speculation, a report emerged Friday that former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers Donald Sterling was declared mentally incapacitated by neurologists.

An attorney for Sterling, Max Blecher, confirmed in an email to ESPN that mental evaluations were performed on his client, but contended that the examination results were “grossly exaggerated” and that “Mr. Sterling is far from mentally incompetent.”

However, in comments to CNN, Blecher said doctors determined that Sterling, 80, had “modest mental impairment” and “a slowing down.”

Information about Sterling’s mental health was reported to ESPN by a source involved in the negotiations to sell the team, although Bobby Samini, another lawyer for Sterling, earlier rebuffed the report.

“Any assertion that Donald Sterling lacks mental capacity is absurd,” Samini told ABC News.

Rumors about Sterling’s mental health have gained traction after his wife told ABC News’ Barbara Walters earlier this month she thought her husband had the “onset of dementia.”

However, experts say one person’s opinion, even that of a spouse, is not enough to declare a person mentally incapacitated especially in regards to a legal document.

According to experts, hours of testing must be administered before a doctor can make that determination.

Dr. Alan Lerner, director of Brain, Health and Memory Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, said that to determine a patient’s mental capacity a doctor will take a lengthy medical history and subject the patient to multiple tests to determine their mental ability.

“The word “pattern” is the key. It’s not any one decision,” that determines mental incapacity, said Lerner. “Are you capable for making decisions that are appropriate for what you need to do?”

Lerner said the patient would likely take a mini-mental exam that can measure memory or other motor skills, before undergoing a more rigorous neuro-psychological battery of tests that would measure, language, mood and judgment.

Lerner said it’s important to get a comprehensive picture of the patient’s mental status and that it takes multiple red flags before a doctor determines a person is incapacitated.

“It’s a pattern of behavior that indicates that a person might be injurious to others or self-destructive, [such as] a person who gives away to $60,000 to scams in magazines,” explained Lerner. “That would indicate a problem with judgment.”

Additionally, it may take more than one doctor to have a person declared mentally unfit. Ellen Aprill, a professor of law at Loyola Law School, said common language in a trust document requires either a court-ordered physician or two physicians to declare the main trustee incompetent. Aprill said that since the Sterling family trust that controls the Clippers is not public, it’s unclear what kind of provisions were made regarding mental capacity.

“It’s possible they have something else, [but] both of these are common provisions,” Aprill told ABC News.

While it’s unclear what exactly happened between the Sterlings in the last few weeks or how the trust was turned over, Shelly Sterling has agreed to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Thursday for $2 billion.

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Teen Rapper Lands Record Deal as He Fights Deadly Cancer

TongRo Images/Thinkstock(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) — A 19-year-old rapper is celebrating his big break into the music world amid treatment for a deadly cancer.

Jeff Mortimer was 16 years old when he was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma – a form of muscle cancer in his left shoulder. Now, after three years of radiation therapy and chemo, he’s battling a relapse. But the teen from West Palm Beach, Florida, insists cancer won’t slow him down.

“I don’t worry about what I’m going through,” Mortimer told ABC News. “When I see what people really go through, it made me want to work harder to push forward.”

Mortimer, who goes by the stage name “Young Jay,” said it wasn’t until he was dealing with cancer that he felt that he could transform his music hobby into a professional pursuit.

“I always used to write…then put it to the side,” said Mortimer. “But I never took advantage of the music until now.”

Once Mortimer started to be serious about music, his talent astounded those close to him.

“Jeff comes on the mike and our hearts and our jaws just dropped,” Brittany Williams, a children’s specialist with Palm Beach Children’s Hospital told ABC News affiliate WPBF-TV about seeing Mortimer on stage for the first time.

Mortimer even helped spearhead a program at the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital to help other children create music that inspires them. And just last week, he signed with recording giant Sony.

While Mortimer will remain in treatment, he said doctors will move him from intravenous chemotherapy to a pill form so that he can be more mobile and tour.

“When doors are open you have to take them, because you never know when you’re going to see them again,” he said.

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WhistleGPS Device Tracks Pet While Owners Are Away

Steve Hix/Somos Images/Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Roughly 10 million pets are reported lost each year in the U.S., according to the American Humane Association. What if you could see Spot on your phone as soon as he goes missing?

That’s the idea behind a new animal tracking device called WhistleGPS. The product communicates a pet’s location in real time using a small unit attached to its collar that syncs with an app on the pet parent’s smartphone. Think of it as Big Brother for four-legged friends.

“A lot of the inspiration came from my own dogs growing up,” said founder and CEO Ben Jacobs, whose family kept German Shephard rescues during his childhood. “Health prevention and loss prevention are the two biggest concerns for a pet parents. Our Whistle Activity Monitor and GPS collects data for both.”

The WhistleGPS costs $129, plus a $5 monthly service fee to sync insights to the smartphone app.

Is it worth the investment?

Of the 10 million annually reported missing pets, “85 percent of lost dogs and cats were recovered” noted a 2012 survey by the ASPCA on the subject. Cat guardians were less likely to find their cat (74 percent), while 93 percent of lost dogs were recovered. In such cases, dogs were recovered either by searching the neighborhood (49 percent) or with a tag or microchip (15 percent).

The ASPCA report noted that one of the key components to finding a lost pet was beginning the search immediately. And that’s where WhistleGPS representatives feel their product can make a difference.

“We are certainly in favor of dogs being microchipped,” said Jacobs. “But there are lot of factors that need to line up: The pet has to find its way to a vet or animal clinic and their information has to be accessible to whatever database that business is using.”

With WhistleGPS, a pet parent will receive a ping on his or her phone as soon as Fido leaves the safe zone, said Jacobs, allowing them to be proactive and track the dog’s location.

“For many pet parents, just like parents of children, just knowing that your dog is home safe provides a steady emotional balance,” he said.

Meanwhile, the device’s small size makes it a boon for a beast to wear on its collar.

“There are a number of GPS trackers on the market that ride traditional cell networks and are basically like strapping a cell phone to your dog,” said Jacobs. “But recent breakthroughs have changed what is possible now from even two years ago. We use Sub-ghz and our device is under a third the size of competing products. So even my current 15-pound mutt can wear it easily.”

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Harley Pasternak’s Five Get Fit Quick Tips

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Behind the bikini-perfect bodies of Jessica Simpson, Katy Perry and Megan Fox is fitness guru Harley Pasternak.

Pasternak appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America Friday to share his secrets for slimming down fast just in time for summer.

The trainer says success can be had with these five small life changes:

Tip 1: Get up and walk. Using an activity monitor, Pasternak says, you should strive to stride a total of 14,000 steps a day. “Walking is one of the best ways that you can injury-free, and for the most part sweat-free, burn calories all day,” he says.

Tip 2: Drink a gallon of water a day.

Tip 3: Follow the Fierce Five workout, which consists of four sets of 20 reps each of these: reverse lunges, single arm dumbbell rows, stiff leg dead lifts, lying dumbbell tricep extensions, plus four sets of minute planks to strengthen the core.

Tip 4: Say bye-bye to baked goods.

Tip 5: Embrace breakfast smoothies.

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Why Americans Can’t Get Same Sunscreen Protection as Europeans

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As Americans start heading to the beach for their summer vacations, they may be at a disadvantage when it comes to sunscreen.

Europeans and South Americans have been able to buy a wider variety, and some say, more effective sunscreens for nearly a decade.

In a recent interview at the Ivy restaurant in New York City, ABC News’ Dr. Richard Besser pressed Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg on why ingredients proven effective against UVA rays in Europe have yet to be approved by the agency.

“The honest answer is that we could and should move faster, but we have so many responsibilities and people are stretched very thin,” Hamburg told ABC News. “We have dedicated a team of people, a small team…to really work on moving this forward.”

In fact, the FDA has not added an approved sunscreen ingredient since 1999.

“We can and will do better,” Hamburg said. “It can be frustrating when you want to move quickly and can be cumbersome in a fast-changing world.”

The FDA is also under pressure to address new products coming out of the tobacco industry. While smoking rates have dropped in recent years, the use of “e-cigarettes” is on the rise, causing concern among some public health advocates who worry users may be trading one health concern for another.

Hamburg affirms that it’s too early to know whether e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco.

“I don’t think we really know enough about e-cigarettes to really put in place a public health regulatory framework for them at this time,” she said.

Smoking e-cigarettes is rapidly becoming more popular among children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the percentage of middle and high school students who use them doubled from 2011 to 2012, from 4.7 percent to 10 percent, all while the FDA has yet to formalize regulations, prompting critics to call for quicker action.

“I wish we could move faster too, but we have to do this in a step-wise way,” Hamburg explained. “We have to first get the authority to regulate these products and then we can take specific actions around things like flavoring and advertising.”

Smoking critics also contend that some e-cigarette advertisements target young people. Hamburg agreed it’s a concern.

“I think one of the worries that many people have is that the advertising going on around e-cigarettes is reminiscent of what happened in the early days of tobacco and cigarette use, and we know how that affected the uptake of cigarette smoking by young people, how it glamorized smoking,” Hamburg said.

“And now we’re seeing a resurgence of images of young people and celebrities and others smoking e-cigarettes,” she later added.

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The Effect of Peer Pressure Dissipates in Just Days

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When you’re growing up, all you hear about is how bad peer pressure is, especially when it comes to adopting unhealthy habits.

As it happens, peer pressure never really goes away even when it seems to turn more benign during adulthood.

However, if you’re feeling a little pressured by friends to do something you’re not sure about, Chinese researchers say hold off for a couple of days because the influence of others will likely wane.

They conducted an experiment with men to rate the faces of hundreds of women. Later, they were shown the average ratings of another group and were asked to give scores to the faces after a day, three days, a week and month.

Although the men were more influenced by the average ratings initially, by the time a week rolled around, they stuck with their own first impressions.

The study authors concluded that the social-conformity effect is also good in the short-term as people tend to think for themselves the further away they get away from others’ opinions.

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Porn on the Brain Could Be a Drain

iStock/Thinkstock(BERLIN, Germany) — Viewing excessive amounts of pornography could be shrinking the tissue that makes up a man’s brain.

Or, it could be that steady porn watchers have less gray matter to begin with.

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany, who looked into the effects of pornography on men aren’t sure which theory is true.

For the study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, 64 participants between the ages of 21-45 “with a broad range of pornography consumption” were first told they were having MRI images of their brain taken before they were asked questions about their porn habits, which averaged about four hours weekly.

After filling out a survey, the men’s brains were scanned during times they watched sexually explicit material and non-sexual behavior.

The results were that the gray matter of heavy porn watchers was smaller in the right section of the forebrain.

Meanwhile, the MRIs also showed that the part of the brain that processes motivation was diminished whenever the men watched porn.

Yet, the scientists say more research is needed since they’re uncertain whether viewing sexually explicit material leads to less gray matter.

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