Review Category : Health

Vogueing and Yoga: ‘Voga’ Workout Coming to America

House of Voga(NEW YORK) — Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it. It’s called Voga. It’s like Madonna’s “Vogue” dance moves combined with yoga.

Hot in the U.K. and making it’s U.S. debut this spring, Voga might be the answer for yogis looking to spice up their practice. Each class has its own D.J. and is set to 80s dance music.

Leg warmers, scrunchies and unitards are optional, but encouraged.

The class description offers the “synchronized movement of Yoga with the expressive moves of a dance class, fusing power and strength with attitude and flamboyance, where slick alignment is key,” the class description reads.

House of Voga“Voga offers all the health benefits of yoga and more, thanks to a unique series of poses and counter-postures that work the whole body, right down to the hands and feet,” said Juliet Murrell, the woman who created the practice.

She said aside from physical benefits, it also inspires confidence. Murrell, a certified yoga instructor, created Voga as a way to regain her energy while suffering from chronic fatigue.

House of VogaUntil now, Voga’s only been experienced in London, Paris and Istanbul. Voga comes to New York City in June.

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See Lab-Made Heart Cells Beat on Their Own

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center(NEW YORK) — Science fiction became reality after researchers from Wake Forest University say they managed to turn stem cells into heart cells that were able to beat on their own.

The accomplishment was part of the “Body on a Chip” project — a $24 million initiative in which researchers at multiple universities, led by a team at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, are tasked with building “miniaturized” versions of organ systems.

The goal is to create systems that mimic the human body so that treatments and medicines can be tested before they’re given to people.

“Miniature lab-engineered, organ-like hearts, lungs, livers and blood vessels — linked together with a circulating blood substitute — will be used both to predict the effects of chemical and biologic agents and to test the effectiveness of potential treatments,” said Dr. Anthony Atala, institute director and lead investigator on the project, in a statement when the project was announced.

The cells shown in the video are heart cells that were formed from stem cells. According to a spokeswoman for Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the cells started beating — mimicking heartbeats — because they were grouped together and in the right environment.

The tiny cardiac cells were “built,” in part, through bioprinting — which is when a 3-D printer is modified to “print” out different organ cells.

In the future, the different collections of organ cells could be key to reducing expensive testing on animals and help medicine or treatments be tested more quickly and thoroughly.

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Outbreaks on Two Cruise Ships Sicken More than 200 Passengers

Photodisc/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — More than 200 passengers reportedly have been sickened on two different cruise ships, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prompting the agency to take action.

CDC epidemiologists and health officers have been dispatched to assess Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas ship and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Infinity ship to review the crews’ responses to the outbreaks. Both ships were to be inspected at dock in San Diego.

At least 116 passengers and crew members on Legends of the Seas reported gastrointestinal symptoms, including vomiting and diarrhea, during a two-week cruise, according to the CDC.

Royal Caribbean, in a subsequent statement, said the number of those sickened had risen to 133 and the cause was likely the common norovirus, a notorious cause of gastrointestinal distress that spreads easily in the close quarters of cruise ships.

The ship will have “super-sanitization” cleaning when it reaches port to prevent further outbreaks or a spread of the disease as guests disembark, according to a statement released by Royal Caribbean officials.

“Royal Caribbean is undertaking direction from the CDC to inhibit the sickness and prevent further outbreaks, including increasing cleaning and disinfection procedures [and] making announcements to notify onboard passengers and crew of the outbreak, encourage case reporting, and encourage good hand hygiene,” read a statement from company officials.

The CDC cited norovirus as the cause of a second outbreak aboard the Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Infinity ship that the CDC said reported 112 passengers and crew sickened by the virus. During a two-week cruise, at least 106 out of 2,117 passengers reported symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea, according to the CDC.

However, a later statement released by Celebrity Cruises reported just 100 passengers and crew became ill due to the norovirus.

“During the sailing, we took a number of steps to prevent the transmission of the illness, including implementing enhanced cleaning procedures and protocols, and using special cleaning products and disinfectants that are proven to kill norovirus to clean throughout the ship,” read a statement from Celebrity company officials.

The crew took immediate steps after the outbreak occurred, the CDC added, including additional cleaning and disinfection immediately after the outbreak started, announcing the outbreak to other passengers so they could take protective steps, and consulting with the CDC.

A CDC epidemiologist and health officer have already boarded the ship, which arrived in San Diego on Monday, to conduct an environmental health assessment and review crew procedures.

The norovirus is one of the most common viruses in the United States and the most common cause of acute gasteroenteritis in the country, according to the CDC. Infected cruise ship passengers make up a fraction of the the 19 to 21 million sickened by the virus in the U.S. every year. According to statements from both Celebrity Cruise and Royal Caribbean, norovirus on cruise ships account for one percent of all reported outbreaks of the virus.

In spite of the two recent outbreaks, officials from the Cruise Lines International Association maintained that norovirus outbreaks aboard cruise ships are rare, with just nine reported outbreaks in 2014.

“According to CDC statistics, 20 million people on land in the U.S. come down with norovirus every year — 1 in 15. The odds of contracting norovirus in a cruise ship outbreak is about 1 in 12,000,” the association said in a statement sent to ABC News.

“Cruise ship crews are keenly focused on keeping ships clean and safe, and their efforts are working to keep passengers healthy,” read a portion of the statement. “The process starts even before a ship leaves port with the screening of passengers for any illnesses they may have contracted on land.”

However, Norovirus can be a problem for cruise ships because of how easily the virus spreads in close quarters, according to infectious disease expert Dr. William Schaffner.

Schaffner, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said sick passengers may not show symptoms for days, meaning they can easily spread the virus by touching common surfaces before realizing they are ill. As a result, even the best sanitation efforts by a ship crew may not be enough to stop all norovirus outbreaks.

“They’re just the place where the circumstances are so unusual,” said Schaffner. “So many people have such close contact with each other over a prolonged period of time.”

Schaffner said the virus can also be spread through close contact and, in rare cases, the virus can travel through the air and infect a person if someone vomits and another person is nearby.

However, there are steps that can lower the risk of infection, Schaffner said.

Use “meticulous hand hygiene,” said Schaffner, and, “Samaritan instincts notwithstanding, stay away from people who are sick.”

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Texas Woman’s Severe Burns Show Dangers of Nail Polish Remover

KTRK-TV(CYPRESS, Texas) — A Texas woman was left covered in third-degree burns after vapor from her nail-polish remover ignited a dangerous flash-fire, authorities said.

Firefighters responded to the scene in Cypress, Texas, Friday night after the young woman was able to escape her house and get help from a neighbor, according to Cy-Fair Fire Department spokesman Robert Rasa.

The unidentified woman, 20, had left open a bottle of flammable nail polish remover near a candle, according to ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston. The fumes from the nail polish remover created a vapor cloud that ignited from the flame of the nearby candle, according to fire department officials.

Rasa said the fire caused minimal damage in the room but was large enough to ignite the woman’s clothing and cause third-degree burns on 50 percent of her body.

In spite of her injuries, the woman was able to flee the house and call for help, eventually getting the attention of a neighbor who called the authorities.

The woman was airlifted to Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston. Hospital officials have not released her condition.

Fire officials said a flash-fire from nail polish vapor is rare but they’ve seen it happen with other flammable substances, including gasoline.

In a video recreation for KTRK, firefighters from the Bellaire Fire Department found that it took less than two minutes for nail polish remover to catch fire in an enclosed space with a candle.

“It was surprising,” Bellaire Firefighter Curtis Thompson told KTRK. “I did not expect it to ignite as fast as it did. It’s an everyday use chemical that I’m sure everyone is not aware it can ignite as fast as it did.”

Rasa said the fire department recommends reading warnings on chemicals in order to keep any flammable liquids away from open flame.

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Success Kid’s Dad Needs a Kidney Transplant

Laney Griner(NEW YORK) — If you’ve spent any time on the Internet in the past few years, you’ve come across the Success Kid meme, featuring a baby making a fist and a victory face.

That baby is now an 8-year-old boy named Sammy Griner, and his father needs a kidney transplant. Thanks to Success Kid’s popularity, his GoFundMe site has already reached more than $11,000 in five days.

“It’s just all been really amazing,” Sammy’s mother, Laney Griner, of Jacksonville, Florida, told ABC News. “It never stops being weird, and it never stops being awesome.”

Her husband, Justin Griner, 39, discovered his kidneys were failing before Sammy was born, but he now spends about four hours a day three days a week undergoing dialysis, Laney Griner told ABC News, adding that the longer he’s on it, the greater his risk of complications.

“Six years on dialysis is getting to be a long time,” Griner said. “It’s wearing on him. …I just want to get him healthy.”

She launched a GoFundMe site this week to help find a living donor and raise money toward the costs of Justin’s transplant. Medicare will cover 80 percent of Justin’s post-surgery costs, but the Griners will still need about $12,000 in the first year to cover drugs alone, and he’ll be on many drugs for the rest of his life, she said.

Although Laney Griner said she considered using the Success Kid meme, she decided against it to make the project purely about her husband. But she says without the Success Kid meme, the fundraiser probably wouldn’t have been able to pull in nearly 300 donors in five days.

Justin isn’t on a list yet for a deceased donor, but they hope to find a living donor soon, she said. Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus confirmed that Justin Griner is indeed a patient there.

As of April 3, there were 101,707 people waiting for a kidney transplant in the United States, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, which is under contract with the federal government to allocate organs. Of the 29,531 kidney transplants that took place in 2014, 23,715 were from living donors, according to OPTN.

Laney Griner said she took the original photo of Sammy when he was 11 months old during a day at the beach. Although he looks super-satisfied with himself, baby Sammy was actually about to shove a fist of sand into his mouth, she said.

She put it on her Flickr page in 2007, and two years later noticed that it was cropping up as an I Hate Sandcastles meme, which she didn’t like because Sammy looked like a bully. By 2010, it had morphed into Success Kid, and she loved it.

From there, the family was invited to participate in a Comic Con-like conference for Internet celebrities, like the David After Dentist child. She said she’s used to adults telling her that her son is their desktop screen saver.

“By now, it’s just out there. What am I going to do? At least it’s positive,” she said. “Without that happening, how much could I get this recognition about my husband’s kidney transplant?”

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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