Review Category : Health

New Beer Claims to Boost Your Creativity

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Have you ever had a drink at a bar and found yourself suddenly infused with inspiration? Brewers of a new beer claim a lack of focus can help you think better.

The Danish brewers behind Problem Solver claim the pale ale boosts your creativity to its optimum level.

Based on studies by beer-loving researchers suggesting your creative peak is highest at a blood alcohol level of .075, the new brew’s bottle is painted with lines indicating where to stop to reach the height of inspiration based on body weight.

The label says all you have to do is think and drink.

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Why These Chemo Patients Are Decorating Their Eyebrows for Holidays

Younger Breast Cancer Network(NEW YORK) — Some women with cancer are turning chemotherapy into a festive occasion on social media.

The uplifting hashtag, #christmaschemobrow, began on the Younger Breast Cancer Network Facebook page earlier this week. The British cancer support group started posting pictures of cancer patients with their disappearing eyebrows decorated with holiday themes.

Now, women from all over the world are tweeting and posting brows decked with boughs of holly, wreathed in tinsel and festooned with creative images of sleighs, candy canes and gift wrap. Loved ones are getting into the act, too, covering their eyebrows in the holiday spirit to show their support.

Victoria Yates, a British lawyer and mom of two, began the network in 2010 after surviving breast cancer herself at the age of 36. She says the idea for chemo brow came about after some of the group’s 1,300 members started posting pictures of extreme brow drawing a few months ago. It proved so popular they decided to give it a Christmas theme.

“It was a real giggle and lifted our spirits at what is a tricky time for lots of our members,” Yates said. “…it was so funny and heartwarming that we decided to share it outside of our group too.”

Yates said women who go through treatment can often feel isolated and low, so finding other young women in the same boat and sharing a laugh can be a tremendous help. Grappling with the loss of eyebrows can be a surprisingly tough aspect of chemo as well, she added.

“Losing eyebrows and lashes is worse than the hair on your head for lots of our members so this was just acknowledging it and using it to make us smile,” she said.

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Are You One of the Internet Six Percenters?

scanrail/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — You may be one of approximately 420 million people on this planet with an Internet addiction.

Researchers Cecelia Cheng and Angel Yee-lam Li from the University of Hong Kong estimate that about six percent of the world’s population feels the compulsion to always be online.

This addiction, according to the researchers, is an impulse-control problem affecting millions who can’t seem to scale back their Internet use, which can damage one’s personal and professional relationships.

Cheng and Li based their findings on metadata from 89,000 people in 31 countries.

The area of the world most addicted to the Internet is the Middle East, the researchers say, with 10.9 percent of the population dealing with this problem.

Things aren’t as dire in Northern and Western Europe, with just 2.6 percent of the population hooked on surfing the web.

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Ramen Noodles: An Inexpensive Way to Wreck Your Health?

jochoz/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — College kids are continually alerted to the inherent dangers of binge drinking and drug abuse, but millions of students may be doing irreparable harm to their health without knowing it.

We’re talking, of course, about that common staple of college nutrition: ramen noodles.

Baylor University and Harvard researchers contend that people may be putting themselves at risk of developing cardiometabolic syndrome, which is as bad as it sounds since this condition can bring on the onset of heart disease and diabetes.

The researchers focused their study on 10,000 South Korean adults, more than half of whom were women. It was determined that consuming these instant noodles two or more times a week can boost the risk of developing cardiometabolic syndrome, with women more susceptible to it.

Ramen noodles are dried or precooked noodles that are high in sodium. What’s more, the researchers warn this food, which is also loaded with preservatives and artificial flavoring, is particularly harmful to young people with poor nutritional habits.

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High School Students’ Use of Tanning Beds Declines

yordan Rusev/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Teenagers may finally be getting the message that indoor tanning is unhealthy, as a new study shows the teenage tanning rate is on the decline.

According to the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology, high school students were 20 percent less likely to have engaged in indoor tanning in 2013 when compared to 2009. In fact, the populations that were more likely to try indoor tanning in 2009 saw significant drops — 20.2 percent of female high school students and 30.7 percent of non-Hispanic white females said they had engaged in indoor tanning in 2013, compared to 25.4 percent and 37.4 percent, respectively, in 2009.

Numerous studies have shown the risk of cancer and other injuries that come with indoor tanning. Indoor tanning devices have even been deemed carcinogens by the World Health Organization.

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Wrongful Death Suit Filed in Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak

Shelly Greer/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The family of a woman who died after eating a caramel apple allegedly tainted with listeria is suing those it says are responsible, including the grocery store her family says sold the apple to her.

Shirlee Jean Frey, 81, bought a prepackaged caramel apple at the Safeway grocery store in Felton, California, shortly before Halloween, according to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by food safety lawyer Bill Marler and his colleagues. Frey ate it that week, and began to feel sick, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says that because of Frey’s illness, she fell and hit her head on Nov. 6, prompting a visit to the local emergency room and a flight to Stanford Hospital, where she had surgery on what doctors suspected was a brain bleed, according to a statement from Marler’s firm. She was discharged for rehabilitation on Nov. 14, and her health appeared to be improving, according to the lawsuit.

Then, on Thanksgiving, Frey would not wake up, the suit noted.

At Stanford Hospital, doctors told Frey’s family on Dec. 2 that she had listeria infection, and she died later that day, according to the wrongful death complaint.

“Listeria is a brutal illness, but it is completely preventable,” Marler said in a statement. “It is sickening and shocking when outbreaks like this one occur as it means the most basic precautions were not taken.”

Health officials told the family later that month that Frey was a victim of the multi-state listeria outbreak tied to prepackaged caramel apples, according to a statement from Marler’s firm.

“Since this is a pending lawsuit, we are not in a position to comment about the case,” said Safeway spokesman Brian Dowling. “The product was supplied to us by a third party, and we are looking into this matter further. We were previously unaware of any issue as it relates to the specific sale of this product at our stores. We have removed the product from sale.”

As of Dec. 22, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 29 hospitalizations as a result of listeria linked to caramel apples in 10 states. Five people died, according to the CDC, including Frey, Marler said.

The people infected in this outbreak ranged from age 7 to 92, according to the CDC. Nine cases occurred in pregnant women, and three cases caused meningitis — or the dangerous inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

Listeria infection, called listeriosis, is caused by ingesting the bacteria listeria monocytogenes. It is especially dangerous to elderly people, pregnant women and people who have compromised immune systems. Its symptoms include gastrointestinal distress, fever and muscle aches.

Out of an abundance of caution, the CDC warned all consumers this month to avoid eating prepackaged caramel apples while they investigate the outbreak alongside the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state health organizations.

Although the CDC has not named a caramel apple brand and is still investigating, it said 87 percent of the victims it interviewed reported having eaten a prepackaged caramel apple before falling ill. And no listeria cases have been identified in people who have eaten caramel alone or apples without caramel coating.

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FDA Recommends Ending Ban on Blood Donations from Gay Men

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — In a major shift, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Tuesday that it will recommend changing the controversial policy that bans gay men from donating blood.

A statement released from FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the agency would recommend allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they have abstained from sex with men for at least one year.

Currently, men who have had sex with other men since 1977 are banned from ever donating blood in the U.S. The ban dates back to 1983 and was started after doctors realized the AIDS virus could be transmitted through blood transfusions.

The FDA decided to advise changing the policy after a number of epidemiologic studies showed no adverse effects on blood supply with a one-year deferral, according to Dr. Peter Marks, the deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

Marks estimated that half of the men who currently can’t donate blood due to the policy would become eligible to be blood donors.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the changed policy does not do enough to address discrimination.

“The FDA’s proposal must be seen as part of an ongoing process and not an end point,” ACLU Legislative Representative Ian Thompson said in a statement. “The reality for most gay and bisexual men — including those in committed, monogamous relationships — is that this proposal will continue to function as a de facto lifetime ban. Criteria for determining blood donor eligibility should be based on science, not outdated, discriminatory stereotypes and assumptions.”

In recent weeks, health organizations have increasingly pressured the FDA to recommend changing the policy.

Last month, the American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers and AABB, a non-profit representing institutions and individuals in transfusion medicine field, have supported ending the ban calling it “medically and scientifically unwarranted.”

In November, the Department of Health and Human Service’s Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability voted 16 to 2 to recommend allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they have abstained from sex with men for at least one year.

In an interview last month after Department of Health and Human Service’s announcement, Ryan Yezak, the founder of the National Gay Blood Drive, which has fought the ban with annual protests since 2013, said he was heartened by the changes but said there was more work to do.

“I think…voting in favor of a one year deferral instead of lifetime ban is a huge step in the right direction,” Yezak told ABC in an earlier interview. “Our whole goal is eliminating sexual orientation from the blood donation process altogether.”

The policy will not change immediately, instead the FDA will issue the first draft guidance on the policy and then they will face a comment period before the policy change can be official. According to the American Red Cross, the risk of HIV in a unit of donated blood is 1 in 1.5 million donated units.

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Santa Makes Special Visit to Children’s Hospital Burn Unit

Akron Children’s Hospital(AKRON, Ohio) — Jim Hipp is the perfect Santa Claus for the annual holiday party at the burn unit held at Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio, and it isn’t because he has the white beard and the red suit. It’s because he is a burn survivor.

Fifteen years ago, Hipp was working as an industrial electrician in Georgia when a fire ignited, causing nearly 14,000 volts of electricity to surge through his body. With 52 percent of his body badly burned, he was placed in a medically induced coma and eventually flown to Akron to complete treatment.

In 2004, at the urging of two fire fighter friends, he decided to give back to the hospital that helped him heal by playing Santa at their annual Holiday party.

The children have embraced him with open arms, he said. “They say, ‘Oh look, he’s hurt too’ and they will touch my face,” Hipp added.

Hipp, who has undergone more than 90 surgeries to correct some of his disfigurement, said he believes working with the children at Akron Children’s Hospital is the greatest thing he’s ever done in his life.

“I see their faces when I come out as Santa and they don’t care that you’re burned,” he said. “They just care that you’re Santa.”

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Santa Makes Special Visit to Children’s Hospital Burn Unit

Akron Children’s Hospital(AKRON, Ohio) — Jim Hipp is the perfect Santa Claus for the annual holiday party at the burn unit held at Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio, and it isn’t because he has the white beard and the red suit. It’s because he is a burn survivor.

Fifteen years ago, Hipp was working as an industrial electrician in Georgia when a fire ignited, causing nearly 14,000 volts of electricity to surge through his body. With 52 percent of his body badly burned, he was placed in a medically induced coma and eventually flown to Akron to complete treatment.

In 2004, at the urging of two fire fighter friends, he decided to give back to the hospital that helped him heal by playing Santa at their annual Holiday party.

The children have embraced him with open arms, he said. “They say, ‘Oh look, he’s hurt too’ and they will touch my face,” Hipp added.

Hipp, who has undergone more than 90 surgeries to correct some of his disfigurement, said he believes working with the children at Akron Children’s Hospital is the greatest thing he’s ever done in his life.

“I see their faces when I come out as Santa and they don’t care that you’re burned,” he said. “They just care that you’re Santa.”

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Mom of Two, Man with Muscular Dystrophy Lose More than Half Their Body Weight

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Patty Pena has struggled with her weight since she was in elementary school.

The 40-year-old administrator at Chicago Bulls College Prep, an inner-city charter school in Chicago, said when she was a child, her mother would have to buy her clothes in the women’s section of department stores.

She gained even more weight in college, and ended up weighing 252 pounds.

A member of what she calls “the clean plate club,” the mother of two would often eat more than her own dinner.

“If my kids had food leftover…I’d say, ‘Well, why am I going to throw that out? It’s perfectly fine,’” she said.

Pena told ABC News’ Good Morning America she knew she had to take charge when her school introduced a fitness initiative to help students get healthy.

“I said I can’t have them…need some support from me and me not be able to give that to them, because I myself was so overweight so I said, I have to do it,” she said.

Her story, and the stories of others who’ve also shed a lot of weight, is detailed in People magazine’s annual “Half their Size” edition, which is out on newsstands Tuesday.

Pena worked out, starting off slowly and realistically and finding activities that she liked. Before she started losing the weight, her mobility was limited, so she would walk in place, do squats and run in place all while watching her favorite TV shows. She joined Weight Watchers to modify her diet.

Pena also joined a gym, but said she found the environment there so judgmental that after one class she cried in her car.

That’s when she decided to work out with the students at her school during their physical education classes.

Pena lost 132 pounds, and now tips the scale at 120.

For Carlos Romero of Seattle, food was a source of comfort. His weight ballooned to 437 pounds.

“I was always overeating,” the 31-year-old told GMA.

It wasn’t until Romero, an operations analyst, was diagnosed with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy — a disease that causes progressive skeletal muscle weakness — that he decided to turn his life around.

“I saw it as an opportunity to inspire people that were struggling with obesity…and muscular dystrophy,” he said of the diagnosis he received two years ago.

Romero has since become a para-athlete. He does cardio and resistance training three times per week, and goes climbing up to six times per week.

Romero lost 225 pounds, and now weighs 212. He has also become active in two organizations — FSH Society and The Friends of FSH Research — working to find a treatment for facioscapulohumeral, or FSH.

“We’re actually making progress towards the first treatments,” Romero said.

During their appearance on GMA Tuesday, Romero and Pena talked about how they maintained their commitment to their new lifestyles during the holidays, when they’re surrounded by family and lot of food.

Romero recommended that people hit the gym before a big holiday meal, rather than afterward.

“I think it’s really easy for people to promise themselves that they’re going to work off those calories afterwards but it usually doesn’t happen, so I believe in getting the work done first, before you reward yourself,” Romero said.

Romero suggested that families have a fun Zumba or class or dance party after a big holiday dinner.

“We get moving in our house,” Romero said. “We put on some music and we have a Zumba party or we just get out of our chairs and we just walk around.”

“We enjoy each other’s company a lot more,” she said.

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