Review Category : Health

Scientists Urge WHO Not to Limit E-Cigarettes

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — More than 50 leading scientists and public health officials have written to the World Health Organization calling on it to “resist the urge to control and suppress e-cigarettes.”

The letter to the WHO was signed by 53 researchers.

One of those who signed, Professor Robert West, said, “I think we can safely say that they’re much, much safer than cigarettes.”

The market for e-cigarettes is growing, but some argue not enough is known about how they work and what the long term health effects might be.

The WHO says it is still deciding what recommendations to make to governments.

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Why Doctors Sugarcoat the Truth About Male Infertility

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — After struggling to get pregnant for two years, Liberty Walther Barnes scheduled an artificial insemination procedure but, the day before the appointment, a bout with the flu had killed all but a handful of her husband’s sperm.

Though doctors convinced them to go ahead — “conception only requires one sperm” — Barnes said she blamed herself for her inability to conceive, “as if my egg had willfully refused to be fertilized.”

Barnes, an assistant researcher in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, set out to find out why women carry the burden of men’s infertility and why attitudes of shame and denial prevent men from getting the medical help they need. The result was the new book, Conceiving Masculinity: Male Infertility, Medicine and Identity.

“My husband was not infertile,” she told ABC News. “But it was probably my first time thinking about male infertility and how come all the pressure was on me? I feel like I have to will my egg to get pregnant and do a lot of work to help my husband feel comfortable and safe.”

Barnes and her husband eventually conceived, despite the initial setback with her husband’s sperm.

“What I was interested in as a sociologist is what social systems are in place to allow men to feel this way,” she said. “The doctors weren’t telling them they were infertile. And it occurred to me these men were not identifying as infertile when I started asking.”

About 30% of all infertility is attributed to male factors, according to Resolve: The National Infertility Association. The group says men are not as willing as their female partners to talk about their experience, adding on its website that “perhaps this is because we traditionally think of children as a woman’s province, or because over the ages, conception has been thought of as the woman’s responsibility.”

An estimated 7.3 million women sought infertility services since the National Center for Health Statistics began tracking in 1955. But only in the 21st century did comparable data become available on men’ fertility, according to Barnes.

Female infertility is a board-certified subspecialty, but male infertility has no equivalent, according to Barnes. Andrology is a subset of urology. Female specialists outnumber males five to one, she said.

Women bear the brunt of male fertility as doctors send couples straight to IVF, rather than exploring options for infertile husbands. Barnes said that men’s medical issues are not adequately addressed because society prizes male fertility and virility.

Doctors, too, collude with society to cushion the blow, according to Barnes.

“They measure every step to protect these men’s masculinity,” she said. “They don’t want them to be humiliated so they try to make a patient feel better.”

Two thirds of male patients don’t know they’re sterile because doctors use confusing language when diagnosing infertility rather than giving the facts, said Barnes.

When Barnes began her research for the book, she joined Resolve and noticed their meetings were attended largely by women and not men. She also went to big conference on infertility at UCLA and “the men attending were claiming they were not infertile” — even those with a “zero sperm count.”

At first, she had a difficult time finding subjects.

Through specialists, she shadowed 24 men in five clinics throughout the U.S., observing their appointments and following up with telephone interviews.

“Men recruited for the study met the clinical definition, but they didn’t understand they were infertile — even men with zero sperm count,” she said.

New technologies have redefined male infertility. In a procedure developed in the mid-’90s, doctors can extract premature sperm cells from testicles and use them in an IVF procedure with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Dr. Philip Werthman, a top male fertility surgeon from Los Angeles who was featured as “the sperm doctor” on the reality show, Chasing Maria Menounos, disagreed with Barnes that doctors “hide or whitewash” a patient’s infertility issues.

“The metaphors are a method of connecting with patients and a way to educate about anatomy, physiology and pathology in a rapid way that most men can understand and connect with,” he said.

He added that men are “not happy to hear they have issues with fertility.”

“They take it as an affront to their masculinity and virility,” he said. “For some men, it becomes an emotional issue and an ego issue to not be able to fulfill their masculine duty and take care of their wives and provide, in a sense, and can lead to denial.”

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Why Doctors Sugarcoat the Truth About Male Infertility

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — After struggling to get pregnant for two years, Liberty Walther Barnes scheduled an artificial insemination procedure but, the day before the appointment, a bout with the flu had killed all but a handful of her husband’s sperm.

Though doctors convinced them to go ahead — “conception only requires one sperm” — Barnes said she blamed herself for her inability to conceive, “as if my egg had willfully refused to be fertilized.”

Barnes, an assistant researcher in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, set out to find out why women carry the burden of men’s infertility and why attitudes of shame and denial prevent men from getting the medical help they need. The result was the new book, Conceiving Masculinity: Male Infertility, Medicine and Identity.

“My husband was not infertile,” she told ABC News. “But it was probably my first time thinking about male infertility and how come all the pressure was on me? I feel like I have to will my egg to get pregnant and do a lot of work to help my husband feel comfortable and safe.”

Barnes and her husband eventually conceived, despite the initial setback with her husband’s sperm.

“What I was interested in as a sociologist is what social systems are in place to allow men to feel this way,” she said. “The doctors weren’t telling them they were infertile. And it occurred to me these men were not identifying as infertile when I started asking.”

About 30% of all infertility is attributed to male factors, according to Resolve: The National Infertility Association. The group says men are not as willing as their female partners to talk about their experience, adding on its website that “perhaps this is because we traditionally think of children as a woman’s province, or because over the ages, conception has been thought of as the woman’s responsibility.”

An estimated 7.3 million women sought infertility services since the National Center for Health Statistics began tracking in 1955. But only in the 21st century did comparable data become available on men’ fertility, according to Barnes.

Female infertility is a board-certified subspecialty, but male infertility has no equivalent, according to Barnes. Andrology is a subset of urology. Female specialists outnumber males five to one, she said.

Women bear the brunt of male fertility as doctors send couples straight to IVF, rather than exploring options for infertile husbands. Barnes said that men’s medical issues are not adequately addressed because society prizes male fertility and virility.

Doctors, too, collude with society to cushion the blow, according to Barnes.

“They measure every step to protect these men’s masculinity,” she said. “They don’t want them to be humiliated so they try to make a patient feel better.”

Two thirds of male patients don’t know they’re sterile because doctors use confusing language when diagnosing infertility rather than giving the facts, said Barnes.

When Barnes began her research for the book, she joined Resolve and noticed their meetings were attended largely by women and not men. She also went to big conference on infertility at UCLA and “the men attending were claiming they were not infertile” — even those with a “zero sperm count.”

At first, she had a difficult time finding subjects.

Through specialists, she shadowed 24 men in five clinics throughout the U.S., observing their appointments and following up with telephone interviews.

“Men recruited for the study met the clinical definition, but they didn’t understand they were infertile — even men with zero sperm count,” she said.

New technologies have redefined male infertility. In a procedure developed in the mid-’90s, doctors can extract premature sperm cells from testicles and use them in an IVF procedure with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Dr. Philip Werthman, a top male fertility surgeon from Los Angeles who was featured as “the sperm doctor” on the reality show, Chasing Maria Menounos, disagreed with Barnes that doctors “hide or whitewash” a patient’s infertility issues.

“The metaphors are a method of connecting with patients and a way to educate about anatomy, physiology and pathology in a rapid way that most men can understand and connect with,” he said.

He added that men are “not happy to hear they have issues with fertility.”

“They take it as an affront to their masculinity and virility,” he said. “For some men, it becomes an emotional issue and an ego issue to not be able to fulfill their masculine duty and take care of their wives and provide, in a sense, and can lead to denial.”

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Scientists Urge WHO Not to Limit E-Cigarettes

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — More than 50 leading scientists and public health officials have written to the World Health Organization calling on it to “resist the urge to control and suppress e-cigarettes.”

The letter to the WHO was signed by 53 researchers.

One of those who signed, Professor Robert West, said, “I think we can safely say that they’re much, much safer than cigarettes.”

The market for e-cigarettes is growing, but some argue not enough is known about how they work and what the long term health effects might be.

The WHO says it is still deciding what recommendations to make to governments.

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Obesity Is a Global Problem, Study Finds

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Obesity isn’t just an American problem. A new study says the numbers are surging around the world.

The world is now home to 2.1 billion overweight and obese people — a number that’s grown dramatically over the last three decades and now represents nearly a third of the earth’s population.

Since 1980, the number of overweight and obese adults has gone up 28 percent, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study. For kids, it’s up 47 percent.

The study, published in the medical journal Lancet, also finds that more than half of the world’s obese people live in just 10 countries. Thirteen percent of them alone live in the United States.

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Pint-Size Dancer Inspires Despite Genetic Disorder

iStock/Thinkstock(EUGENE, Ore.) — A toddler is proving that anyone can dance, even those who have a medical excuse not to.

Brielle Crawford has grown to love dancing even though doctors initially feared a mistake might lead her to permanently harm herself.

Brielle was born with two rare disorders that threatened her ability to move. Part of her lower face is paralyzed because of the congenital disorder, hemifacial microsomia. In addition, a bone disorder called Klippel-Feil syndrome resulted in two spinal bones in her neck being fused. The disorders have led to some paralysis on her right side, a missing rib and her ear not being fully developed, according to her mother, Jaylene Crawford.

Doctors feared what might happen if Brielle fell.

“[A doctor] was concerned about stability. He wouldn’t let us do anything with her,” Jaylene Crawford told ABC News. “I was basically helicopter mom.”

The doctor even told Crawford that a severe fall could mean paralysis, according to ABC News affiliate KEZI-TV in Eugene, Oregon.

However, after further monitoring, Brielle finally was given the all-clear to dance.

Now, the 3-year-old takes ballet and tap classes at a studio in Portland, Oregon, and told KEZI-TV that she “loves it.” Crawford said doctors still have to monitor Brielle and she likely will need surgery for scoliosis that will result in limited spine movement.

“She might not be on Broadway, but she’ll be able to dance in some capacity,” said Crawford. “She knows how to boogie with the best with them.

The dance teachers at the studio have also been inspired by the pint-size dancer’s courage and have organized a benefit at a local theater for Brielle’s medical expenses, including future surgeries.

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Measles Cases in US Reach Record High

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Federal health officials say measles cases have reached record highs in the United States.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report showing that measles cases in the U.S. were up to 288 this year– even though measles had been declared eliminated in 2000.

Almost all of these measles cases are reportedly linked to Americans who traveled overseas, were not vaccinated, and brought the disease back on airplanes.

ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser says it’s important for parents to make sure their kids get measles vaccines as recommended by pediatricians.

“It’s important to realize that we’re not safe here,” Dr. Besser said. “Even though we’ve wiped out what’s called endemic or native measles transmission in the United States, we’re still at risk, and so all children should be fully vaccinated on time. And that means starting with that first doses between 12 and 15 months, getting the second dose before the child starts school and making sure that those vaccines are given on time.”

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FDA Requiring Tanning Beds to Display ‘Visible Black Box Warning’

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Tanning beds will now be required to carry a “visible black-box warning,” banning the devices from minors.

The Food and Drug Administration issued the order Thursday, which will also elevate tanning beds and other sunlamp devices from low risk to moderate risk devices.

Nancy Stade, the FDA’s deputy director for policy, says this will, “ensure that consumers are appropriately educated about the risks associated with the use of sun lamp products and UV lamps so they can make an educated decision about using these devices.”

According to the FDA, indoor tanning may increase your risk for melanoma risk by 59%.

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Sunburns Early in Life May Increase Your Risk of Skin Cancer

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Getting bad sunburns early in life increases your risk of skin cancer.

A study from Brown University released Thursday in the journal of the American Association for Cancer Research shows a connection between women who had at least five blistering sunburns between the ages of 15 and 20 and their risk for melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

The study shows women who sustained blistering sunburns have about 80% higher risk for melanoma and 68% higher risk for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Dr. Abrar Qureshi, the chair of the Department of Dermatology at Brown, says teens and young adults should avoid “large amounts of ultraviolet exposure…especially early in the summer season. One has to be careful not to get burned, especially blistering sunburns.”

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Teen Tennis Sensation Taylor Townsend Dances to French Open Success

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images(PARIS) — U.S. tennis player Taylor Townsend scored a major victory at the French Open Wednesday, defeating France’s top-ranked player, the No. 20 player in the world, Alize Cornet, to advance to the third round in her very first Grand Slam tournament.

“I was doing my little victory dance I was so happy,” Townsend, 18, said after her 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, victory. “But it feels really great.”

“These are just the moments that I have been working for,” she said.

The Chicago-born Townsend began working especially hard, she said, after facing criticism in 2012 from the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

The organization tried to bench Townsend, at the time the top-ranked junior’s girl player in the world, for what it said were health reasons. After she won the Australian Open junior title in 2012, the USTA wanted to keep her out of the U.S. Open junior championship later that year because of her lack of physical conditioning.

Many believed that the USTA’s language was actually code for saying Townsend was overweight.

“I started working really hard trying to get in the best shape that I could be for my body,” Townsend said. “It actually turned out to be a huge strength for me.”

That focus on her body, Townsend said, helped her become a stronger player both physically and mentally.

“It helped me believe in myself more,” she said. “It also opened my eyes to say, ‘You know, you’re not going to look like everyone else.’”

Townsend, the youngest American woman to reach the third round of the French Open since 2003, will face Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro in the third round. The match is expected to be played Friday.

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