Review Category : Health

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.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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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.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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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.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Six College Students Create Backpack to Help Students on Autism Spectrum

Nesel Packs(NEW YORK) — Students who are on the autism spectrum have unique challenges in school, but a new backpack may help them excel in and out of the classroom.

It’s called the Nesel Pack and it was created by six University of Minnesota students, who were taking a yearlong class titled “Entrepreneurship in Action,” according to Nesel Pack CEO and graduating senior Martha Pietruszewski.

“This guy on my team named Will [Radke] and his family are a foster family, living in Milwaukee. He saw lots of students with autism and other learning disabilities and we sort of came up with this idea,” the 22-year-old told ABC News when describing the inspiration behind the backpack. “We thought something as simple as a backpack would be beneficial because they could bring that to school and be comfortable.”

The Nesel Pack is different from ordinary backpacks. It features straps that mimic a person hugging a student, along with pouches for electronics and weights. The backpack also has clips for any sensory tools a student on the spectrum might need along with a slot for a name card so the student can be easily identified if needed.

“We designed it with students on the spectrum in mind,” Pietruszewski explained, adding that her team interviewed more than 100 parents. “We really wanted to cater to the [students] on the sensory-processing side of the spectrum.”

According to autism advocacy organization Autism Speaks, children with autism often have a hard time “processing sensory information.” For example, for a student on the spectrum the fluorescent lights in a classroom may appear so bright it’s excruciating. Along with hugging, weighted items such as vests and blankets often soothe a student, according to Autism Speaks, which has a list of similar products on its website.

Pietruszewski said the backpacks were tested by 10 students who wore them for a day and additional testing is forthcoming.

Occupational therapist and board certified behavior analyst Lydia Brodegard, who works with students on the spectrum in West Virginia public schools, said the Nesel Pack “could be beneficial” for students on the spectrum.

Especially since the students that she works with often don’t take off their backpacks during the school day “because of their poor organizational skills.” She added, “They won’t use a locker so they carry a backpack more often. But every child is different.”

Brodegard pointed to the backpack’s weight feature and the hugging straps that could provide the most benefit for students with autism.

“Deep pressure can actually target a multitude of areas,” she told ABC News. “It can also help improve poor attention [and] self-stimulatory behaviors.”

“It increases their arousal level, and helps sustain their attention in the classroom,” she added.

Brodegard does have one warning for parents considering purchasing the Nesel Pack: “Make sure you consult an occupational therapist or someone who is good with sensory issues. When you do any kind of weighted devices you need to be careful.

“The ratio of added weights should not be more than 5 percent of the student’s body weight,” she said.

The six students — Pietruszewski, Radke, Larry Lorbiecki, Cole McCloskey, Jake Portra, and Rose Altianas — partnered with Fraser, an experienced autism services provider in their state, to bring the Nesel Pack to the market. The backpack is available in one color, blue, and costs $115.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Russell Crowe Opens Up About 52-Pound Weight Loss

Dario Cantatore/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Russell Crowe is speaking out about his recent weight loss journey.

During an interview with Australian radio show Fitzy & Wippa on Thursday, Crowe opened up about his dramatic weight loss, revealing that he’s lost 52 pounds since beefing up for a movie role.

Crowe, 51, admitted that he gained the weight to get in character for a role in the upcoming film “The Nice Guys,” which Crowe stars in opposite Ryan Gosling.

“I was 121.6 kilos (268 pounds) the first week of August last year,” Crowe said. “I did a movie called ‘The Nice Guys,’ so I wanted to be the physical juxtaposition of Ryan Gosling.”

Crowe revealed that he is now “clawing [his] way back” into shape, and that his current weight is about 98 kilos (216 pounds).

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Strangers Arrange Free Wedding in Two Days for Bride With Mother Dying of Cancer

iStock/Thinkstock(HAMILTON, N.J.) — A newlywed couple from Hamilton, New Jersey, said they were recently moved to tears after a group of strangers arranged a free wedding for them in less than two days after learning that the bride’s mom didn’t have much longer to live.

The bride, Erica Meyers, told ABC News that her mother, Alicia Reyes, has been battling ovarian cancer for the past three years. Erica said that her mom’s cancer recently metastasized, and just last month doctors said she might only have a few more weeks to live.

So Erica and her husband, Darrell Meyers, scrambled to plan a city hall wedding for March 3 in the hopes that Reyes could witness her daughter being married before it was too late.

Just two days before the wedding, Erica said she asked a coworker — whose sister and brother-in-law are professional photographers — if they could take pictures at the city hall. She’d never met them before but had seen their “beautiful photos” on their website, Erica said.

“But when Erica told us, ‘This is supposed to be a happy time for me, but I’m shopping for wedding dresses and for a funeral home at the same time,’ we knew we had to try and do more for them,” said wedding photographer Andrew Lydick.

Andrew and his wife, Abigail Lydick (the sister of Erica’s coworker), told ABC News today that through their contacts, they were able to arrange for a rose garden venue, limo, makeup artist, DJ, minister, flowers and catered food — all donated to the Meyers for free — in less than two days.

So on March 3, rather than a small city hall wedding, the Meyers were treated to a gorgeous rose garden ceremony and reception.

“It still gives me the chills,” Erica said. “All these wonderful people, this compassion from all these strangers, that’s what made it so beautiful. And the memories Abigail and her husband captured for us, it was priceless.”

Erica’s favorite photo from the wedding was a candid moment that Abigail captured after her mother saw her in her gown.

“Her mom lit up as soon as she walked in with that gown,” Abigail said. “She immediately asked for help to stand up to take a picture with her daughter and everyone was shocked because she was pretty weak but she still was determined to get up. She got up and collapsed on Erica with the biggest smile on her face. It was so beautiful to witness and photograph.”

Erica said that she was “so grateful” for the Lydicks and all the vendors who made the special day happen for her.

“Literally less than a week after that, my mom couldn’t get up anymore, so it’s incredible she got to experience this before that happened,” she said. “You know, life and people can be so cruel sometimes, but this just goes to show there is so much good left in this world.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Olivia Wilde Stars in Touching PSA for World Down Syndrome Day

ABC News(NEW YORK) — A new public service announcement in honor of World Down Syndrome Day stars Olivia Wilde and 19-year-old AnnaRose Rubright, a college student with Down syndrome.

The nearly two-minute PSA titled “How Do You See Me?” is narrated by Rubright, who asks, “I see myself as an ordinary person with an important meaningful beautiful life. This is how I see myself. How do you see me?”

While Rubright speaks, the video shows Wilde, who plays a girl with Down syndrome, living everyday life: enjoying time with family on the beach, working, watching television on the couch with a loved one, doing laundry and even crying.

Rubright, who has been a victim of discrimination for having Down syndrome, said she was excited to be part of the PSA alongside Wilde.

“I want people to try and respect people with Down syndrome and see how smart they are,” she told ABC News.

The PSA was created by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi for CoorDown, Italy’s national organization for people with Down syndrome. CoorDown President Sergio Silvestre told ABC News why its latest campaign was so important.

“A real problem for people with Down syndrome is the way people look at them because of their condition,” he explained. “The metaphor in the video aims to … [show] how people with Down syndrome see themselves, whilst revealing the inherent prejudice and discrimination that they face based on society’s preconceptions and stereotypical low expectations.”

Rubright said the reminder is needed for those in her community.

“I still have friends and love going to school,” she told ABC News, adding that she’s participated in the Special Olympics and has been able to experience one-of-a-kind opportunities such as meeting the U.S. women’s soccer team.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Spinal Implant Helps Paralyzed Groom Stand, Dance on His Wedding Day

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A Texas man was able to stand for his wedding ceremony and spin his wife around the dance floor six years after becoming paralyzed, thanks in part to an experimental implant in his spine.

Kent Stephenson, 28, greeted his bride Misti Richeson at the wedding altar on March 12 with the help of the implant and a specially designed railing.

Stephenson was paralyzed after a motocross accident in 2009, and he took part in an experimental procedure in 2012 from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and the University of Louisville that put an electrical implant in his spine. The implant transmits low electrical currents to stimulate the nerves and help allow paralyzed patients to move, doctors said.

His wedding photographer, Allix Ruby, captured the moving moment on video when Stephenson was able to rise to meet his bride.

“He wanted to be able to stand for part of the ceremony.” Ruby told ABC News.

Stephenson and Richeson could not be reached for comment as they are in Antigua on their honeymoon.

Ruby, who knew Richeson growing up, said a family friend helped create a special stand that would allow Stephenson to partially prop himself up so he could stand during the ceremony. Ruby said the moment Stephenson stepped up to the altar, the wedding guests started to tear up.

“Everybody was crying, everything went silent but all you could hear is people crying,” she said, noting that the moment was also powerful for Stephenson.

“He said, ‘I was crying as much for myself as seeing how beautiful she was,'” Ruby recalled Stephenson saying after the ceremony.

While the 29-year-old was worried he wouldn’t be able to stand for the full event, he didn’t need to sit until after he kissed his bride, Ruby said.

Stephenson again relied on the special stand at the wedding reception when he was able to take a spin on the dance floor with his new wife.

“I don’t always shoot stories this powerful but everybody’s wedding day is this important and I just felt so honored to be there and be the one behind the camera,” Ruby said.

In video from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Stephenson recounted the moment he could finally move his leg on his own after the accident.

“It was insane to feel the charge, I could feel the charge of it go down my back to my leg muscles and feel it pull it,” Stephenson said in the 2014 video.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Facebook Users Warn Mark Zuckerberg of Running in Beijing Without Face Mask

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(BEIJING) — Mark Zuckerberg’s morning run was on the rebellious side Friday in Beijing, when he ran through smog-filled Tiananmen Square without a face mask.

The co-founder and chief executive of Facebook wrote a post Friday morning — most likely using a virtual private network, since the Chinese government blocks the site — around 10:30 a.m. local time that read, “It’s great to be back in Beijing! I kicked off my visit with a run through Tiananmen Square, past the Forbidden City and over to the Temple of Heaven.”

In the photo, he is running in a group with several other people, all of whom are not wearing face masks.

Several Facebook users commented on Zuckerberg’s post, warning him of the severe air pollution there.

Facebook user Yiu Sing Lee commented, saying “the smog in beijing is too serious and harmful for running.”

Another user, Shou Wang, wrote “I don’t understand why you would do something like this to yourself… The AQI in Beijing is like 300 now… You know the damage to your lung is permanent and could be detrimental right.”

On Friday morning, the air quality index for PM2.5, which is the ultrafine particles that damage respiration, was above 300 micrograms per cubic meter, according to a monitor calculated by the United States Embassy in Beijing. This is at a “hazardous” level under American air-quality standards, and the Environmental Protection Agency deems AQI values of 201 to 300 being “very unhealthy.”

“When the 24-hour concentration of particle pollution is above 250 micrograms per cubic meter, the EPA recommends staying indoors — in a room or building with filtered air — and avoiding all physical activity outdoors,” EPA press secretary Melissa Harrison told ABC News Friday.

The negative health effects that can occur from these high AQI levels include reduced lung function, aggravated cough and pain when taking a deep breath, as well as severe effects for those with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

Face masks are not effective at filtering out the ultrafine particles, however, a respirator “could provide some level of protection if it is able to filter out very small particles,” Harrison said.

Facebook did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

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