Review Category : Health

Study: Places with More Men Have Higher Marriage Rates

iStock/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) — According to a study by anthropologists Ryan Schacht and Karen Kramer from the University of Utah, cities with higher male populations often have higher levels of marriage.

Schacht looked at family formation in eight villages in Guyana for his doctoral dissertation in 2014.

He conducted interviews with over 300 people and found that villages with higher female populations had lower rates of commitment from men, but in villages with higher concentrations of males, the men preferred long-term monogamous relationships with one partner.

Schacht also reviewed the available statistics on both Western and non-Western populations and found that rates of monogamy were highest in communities with higher male populations.

Schacht and Kramer tested this against U.S. Census data to gauge the association between male to female population and family dynamics in 2,800 counties in all 50 states. Schacht said that each state had counties with male-dominant and female-dominant populations, but the results from his Guyana study matched the U.S. There were higher rates of marriage in counties with male-heavy populations as opposed to female-biased counties.

According to Schacht, “You get more unmarried men when there are fewer of them. Men may be less interested in committed relationships when they are relatively rare and partners are abundant. Men may be less interested in settling down with a single partner when there are multiple options available.”

“It’s not the excess women who are driving the elevated levels of instability,” he says. “It’s more likely to be from the relatively high proportion of unmarried men.”

Still, the causal link between gender ratios and societal outcomes requires more research, Schacht believes.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Task Force Explores Why Texas Had Higher Pregnancy Death Rates in Study

moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Texas officials are working to understand why more women across the state have been dying either during pregnancy or shortly after. A study published this month has found that maternal mortality rates doubled in Texas between 2011 and 2012 compared to the years before and a new state task force is attempting to understand why the increase occurred.

Dr. Daniel Grossman, Professor at Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at University of California San Francisco and Investigator at the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, said the findings gave him pause.

“Some of the increase in recent years may be related to better reporting…[and] changes in the way they catch this on death certificates,” he explained. But “it does really seem like this is a real increase — and it’s really very concerning.”

Researchers at the Population research Center in Maryland uncovered the significant finding about Texas while they were analyzing maternal deaths in the U.S. between 2000 and 2014, according to the study published in the September issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In Texas, the rate of maternal mortality doubled to 18.6 deaths per 100,000 live births, between 2009 and 2010, to approximately 36 deaths per 100,000 births between 2011 and 2012, according to the study.

The researchers did not find a specific cause for the sudden uptick in deaths, but called for more study to be done both in Texas and nationwide, so that researchers can better understand maternal health.

A state sponsored task force, the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force (MMMTF), reported in July 2016 that cardiac events and elevated blood pressure complications were first and third causes of death. Death related to drug overdose emerged as the second leading cause of maternal death between 2011 and 2012.

Black women have had the largest risk for maternal death, according to the study – accounting for nearly 30 percent of pregnancy-related deaths in that year.

Based on these findings, and the known problem of collecting proper data nationally, the MMMTF recommended programs for awareness of health disparities and improving health access.

They also note that “mental and behavioral health issues, lack of continuity in access to services, and geographic, racial and ethnic health disparities” likely affected these maternal death rates.

The state senate created the multidisciplinary task force in 2013 to address the problem. State-appointed physicians, nurses, researchers, and community advocates studied and reviewed cases, trends and provided recommendations.

They found that 189 women in Texas died from pregnancy related complications between 2011 and 2012.

Grossman said it’s vital that more study is done in Texas to look at both pregnant women’s access to health care during pregnancy and if the nationwide opioid crisis could have affected the increase in mortality rates.

“Whether part of the spike might be related to epidemic of opiate use that might be somehow concentrated, that merits further examination,” he told ABC News today. “The other aspect of this that is concerning is the increase started around the same time that women’s health services were really being systematically dismantled.”

Grossman pointed out that, starting in about 2010, funding for family planning services as well as for Planned Parenthood was diminished in Texas.

“It’s definitely something that needs to be explored in more depth,” Grossman said of the increasing maternal mortality rate.

In the study published in the Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers said the research and reporting on maternal mortality needs to be improved. Researchers said it is an “international embarrassment” that the United States has been unable to provide national maternal mortality data since 2007.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Syrian Conjoined Twins Evacuated to Damascus Hospital Die of Heart Failure

SYRedCrescent/Twitter(NEW YORK) — Syrian conjoined twins who were evacuated from their war-torn town in Syria for medical treatment died of heart failure Wednesday, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent announced.

The boys, who were conjoined at the chest, also suffered from cleft lip and cleft palate (facial and oral malformations) and liver distortions, the nonprofit humanitarian group said. They were receiving care at a hospital in the country before they could travel abroad for surgery, the BBC reported.

On Aug. 12, the 2-month-old twins, Nawras and Mou’az Al-Hashash were evacuated from the besieged Syrian town of Ghouta to a private hospital in Damascus, Syria, after doctors appealed to the World Health Organization for help. They were immediately placed in intensive care as they waited for permission to leave the country, Red Crescent said. The BBC reported that the babies would die if they were unable to undergo surgery.

The twins were born on July 23 in eastern Ghouta, according to Red Crescent. Official authorities approved for them to be evacuated the next day, but the supervising medical staff in Ghouta refused to let them out.

It has been difficult for humanitarian aid to reach areas juts north of Damascus, such as Ghouta, due to heavy fighting and prolonged shelling since the war began, the BBC reported.

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‘Baby Simulator’ Programs May Make Teen Girls More, Not Less, Likely to Become Pregnant, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Though they are designed to help deter teen pregnancies, school programs that involve the use of “baby simulators” may have the opposite effect, according to an Australian study published Thursday.

The investigators found that girls enrolled in schools that employed infant dolls and education sessions that simulate what having a baby might be like, were about 36 percent more likely to have a pregnancy — at least one birth or abortion by age 20 — compared to those in schools that only employed the standard school curriculum.

“We were very surprised” Sally Brinkman, lead author and associate professor at Telethon Kids Institute at University of Western Australia told ABC News. “It’s one thing to get results to say it doesn’t work, it’s another to get results that does the opposite.”

The study, published in the journal The Lancet, followed more than 2,800 teen girls, age 13 to 15 years old at 57 schools in Australia tracking them until the age of 20.

Brinkman said this is the first study to link actual medical and birth data to a study that evaluates the use of simulator dolls and its effect on teen pregnancies.

The infant dolls, central to these baby simulator programs, are designed to look and behave like real babies. They can cry and burp and require diapering, feeding and care throughout the day and night.

A set of lessons — including education sessions, workbooks and a video documentary of teenage mothers talking about their own lives — supplement the experience by exploring “the physical, emotional, social, and financial consequences of becoming pregnant and dealing with parenthood,” according to the doll manufacturer Reality Works.

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

Both students and school staff who complete the program ended up liking the experience, according to the study.

“A lot of the teenagers become attached to their fake babies” and it allows the administrators “to engage the teenagers,” the study said.

However, according to Brinkan, teen girls were not only more likely to be pregnant, but also more likely to keep their pregnancy if they participated in the infant simulator program.

The findings held true even after they took into account various factors, including socioeconomic status, education, family type, prior sexual experience, psychological distress, prior responsibility for caring for a baby and toxic habits.

While the study was done in western Australia, more than 89 countries use these simulators, including the U.S.

“School is starting, this is a really good time to be talking about sex education,” Dr. Cora Collette Breuner, a professor of adolescent medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital and chair of the Committee on Adolescence at the American Academy of Pediatrics told ABC News.

However, she said there’s wasn’t enough evidence to cite the programs as a cause of increased pregnancy rates, at this point.

Breuner said it was unclear if different socioeconomic backgrounds or changing education levels may have played a role in pregnancy rates, as well.

“I welcome controlled studies looking at teen pregnancy prevention trials,” she said. “I am grateful people are looking at this.”

Though she believes there should be more research into the programs, she said school administrators should not panic.

“If I were an educator and had this in my school, I wouldn’t stop doing [the program] based on this article, but I would take a look at it.”

She added that this study helps “pull the lens back” on the programs and that educators and researchers should “take a long hard look at it and consider that [they] may not be an effective intervention or taking a look at the way [they are] done.”

While the study does not explore the reasons behind the spike in teen pregnancies associated with the electronic infants, the study cites other smaller studies that suggest few girls believed caring for their own infant would be the same as caring for a simulated infant.

The teen who found it difficult to care for the simulator tended to believe it would be much easier to look after their own baby, the study said.

Another paper mentioned in this research suggested that girls at risk of becoming pregnant enjoyed the attention they received while looking after their doll, which may have reinforced the desire to have a baby of their own.

“The main thing to get out is, even though people like these programs, it doesn’t seem to work,” Brinkman said.

After an initial cost of $500 for a starter pack, each baby costs approximately $1,000, she noted.

“It is a high cost to the schools and the education system,” Brinkman said. “Even worse, they may be doing harm. Seems like a very silly waste of public funding.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: The Risks of Plastic Surgery

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Are you considering plastic surgery? I’ll tell you what you should consider before going under the knife after this.

Nearly 16 million cosmetic procedures were performed last year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The top five operations included breast augmentation, liposuction, nose reshaping, eyelid surgery and tummy tucks.

If you’re considering plastic surgery, here’s what you should know before going under the knife:

  • Always go to a board certified plastic surgeon.
  • Be clear and realistic about your expectations.
  • If your surgery will take place at a surgery center, make sure there will be a board-certified anesthesiologist there taking care of you.
  • Remember that even with the best care, complications can occur, so be sure your decision to have surgery is for you and no one else.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Why You Should Think Twice Before Posting Back-to-School Photos

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As children head back to school, the temptation to share your excitement with a first day photo on social media is understandable.

But Donna Rice Hughes, the president & CEO of Enough Is Enough, a non-profit organization that seeks to maximize Internet safety for children and families, is urging parents to think carefully about the information they post.

First and foremost, Hughes encourages parents to double check their privacy settings, and make sure that only friends can view their posts. But, she notes, private posts can still be shared outside of the protected network.

As a rule of thumb: “Don’t assume that any information will not be shared publicly.”

Though it’s become popular to post photos of kids posing with a sign including information like their name, age, grade, school district, favorite activities and some other cute factoids, Hughes recommends keeping details to a minimum.

“Think before you post, nothing is truly private,” Hughes said. “There are unsafe people online.”

For that reason, if you feel inclined to share information about your rising star on social media, Hughes suggests keeping it to grade only, and not mentioning details like school district, which could disclose where your child can be found.

“The more information you give [predators], the easier you make it for them to find your child,” she added.

As parents adjust to the ever-evolving Internet, Hughes reminds us that staying safe online is a team effort.

“If you see a friend not being as careful, warn them,” she said. “We need to help protect each other and help protect each others kids.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Achoo! See the Anatomy of a Sneeze

The New England Journal of Medicine(NEW YORK) — Just in time for cold and flu season, MIT researchers are showing you exactly what a sneeze looks like in slow motion.

Lydia Bourouiba, of the MIT Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory, managed to film a real live sneeze at 1,000 frames per second.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the sneeze cloud shows how quickly sneeze droplets can travel.

Bourouiba reported that large droplets tended to land within 1 to 2 meters (about 3 to 6 feet) and that small droplets could get as far as 6 to 8 meters away (19 to 26 feet). She found that the sneeze itself transitions into a “freely evolving turbulent puff cloud” as it travels through the air.

All the more proof that you should absolutely cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze.

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Back to School: Tech Tool to Help Kids Develop Emotional Intelligence

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Getting students to apply themselves in school isn’t always easy. As the summer ends and thoughts turn to a return to school and classes, some parents may be wondering how to help their children fall in love with learning from a young age.

It turns out that there may be an app for that.

Q Wunder, an app launching in September, uses games, fun, songs and celebrity interviews to try to teach the critical skills children need.

“There are decades of research show that social and emotional skills are a stronger correlate to school readiness and to life success,” said Sofia Dickens, the founder of EQtainment/Q Wunder.

Dickens said the app teaches children discipline, grit, resilience, focus, problem-solving skills as well as how to make eye contact and cope with everyday social situations.

Liz Kolb, an education technology specialist and professor at the University of Michigan School of Business, explained the significance of learning those skills early on.

“In kindergarten … preschool, they focus on social needs, emotional needs of children. In particular, they focus a lot on things like cooperative play and working together,” she said.

And as the educational environment is changing for children, parents need to keep up.

Bibb Hubbard, the founder of Learning Heroes, which helps parents’ understanding of their children’s education, explained why, saying: “It’s really critical that parents are connected to what’s happening in their child’s classroom and know what they can do to help support their children at home.”

Data from “The Nation’s Report Card,” issued by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress, shows that 33 percent of eighth-graders are proficient in math, and 34 percent in reading. But Hubbard’s organization says 90 percent of parents believe their child is at or above grade level.

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“Extreme Weight Loss” Chris Powell’s Tips to Get the Whole Family Active

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Extreme Weight Loss trainer and transformation specialist Chris Powell appeared on Good Morning America Thursday with tips to get your whole family active as the new school year begins.

Powell, who, with his wife, Heidi Powell, has a combined family of four kids, said that when motivating kids to move, it’s important to keep the activities fun and to offer incentives, like time with friends.

The same is true for adults, according to Powell, who said adults should find activities they want to keep doing day after day and ones that offer incentives, whether it be weight loss or a better quality of life.

Powell led kids on GMA in a workout that used circuits to keep the kids engaged.

Try this workout with your kids and keep reading below for more of Powell’s workout tips!

Chris Powell’s Back-to-School Workout for Kids

We use these circuits for both fun and reward.

1. Fun: We set the circuit up and invite the neighborhood kids to come compete. Best time wins!

2. Incentivized: They must complete the circuit x number of times to earn 30 minutes on their electronics (iPod, tablet, gaming system etc). When 30 minutes is up, they can opt to do the circuit again, or find something else to do. When using the circuit as incentive, you must complete/beat a specific time to earn your reward!

Circuit 1: Around the World

Supplies: Exercise mat, medicine ball, two orange cones, two to three rolls white floor tape, two buckets and tennis balls, two benches or chairs.


2 x Over/Unders (climb over an obstacle, like a bench, then go under another, like a chair)

10 Push-ups

10-20 Walk the line (backward, forward, sideways “crossovers”)

10 Sit-ups

Fast feet through an agility ladder or tape on ground

10 Ball Squats (squat down to a stationary ball – you may bounce off of the ball at the bottom)

10 Ball Slams (pick up ball and slam it!)

10 Box Jumps (jump onto 12-15” box then step down)

1 Successful Ball Toss (must throw tennis ball into bucket from 10 feet away)

10 Cone Touch Shuttle Sprints (side-to-side shuffle)

Kick one soccer ball through cones (soccer balls lined up and cones)

Sprint to the finish!

**Times are marked and kept for reference, to compete against others or against yourself.

Chris Powell’s Bonus Tips

1. Body weight movements are the best form of conditioning for children.

2. Find what your child is passionate about and use that to motivate them to be active.

3. Kids should be careful when it comes to lifting weights and not lift any weights if they cannot handle their own body weight.

4. Have fun while being active with your kids and it won’t seem like a chore, for you or for them.

5. If your child loves electronics, have them earn time on them by being active and being outside.

These are suggestions only. Adults and children should consult their physician before beginning any exercise program.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Cincinnati Hit with Wave of 50 Heroin Overdoses in Two Days

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) — First responders were reeling in Cincinnati after a mid-week spate of more than 50 heroin overdoses from Tuesday morning to Wednesday night.

Even in the midst of a drug epidemic that has made opioid overdoses an increasingly common feature in towns and cities across the nation, the wave of emergencies reported in Cincinnati took police, emergency responders and medical professionals by surprise, WCPO, a local ABC television affiliate reported on Wednesday night.

The 911 calls came from all over the city, WCPO reported, including one from the bathroom of an ice cream parlor, another from a McDonald’s, and yet another from the scene of a car crash caused by a man who had overdosed while driving.

Several of the overdose victims had to be revived, but one was not so lucky, turning the scene outside a local restaurant grim as authorities carried away the individual in a body bag.

“I am very disturbed about it,” area resident Richard Henson told WCPO. “It really saddens my heart.”

Police suspect a batch of heroin mixed with fentanyl, carfentanil or even rat poison may be to blame for the wave of overdoses.

Each of these ingredients is known to produce a greater high and a greater risk of overdose and death than pure heroin, said WCPO.

The deadly drug cocktails have even proven resistant to treatments like Narcan that have reduced overdose death rates. In at least one of the Cincinnati overdoses, the victim had to be given two doses of Narcan.

“I’ve got to say to whoever pushed this out on the street, this was the wrong thing to do,” Newtown police Chief Tom Synan, head of the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition, told WCPO.

“You now have the full and undivided attention of the Hamilton County Coalition Task Force, which includes local, state and federal agencies, and I can tell you we’ll all be working with the Cincinnati Police Department to see who pushed this out on the street.”

Police suspect the involvement of multiple street-level dealers in the extremely dangerous batch, with at least one giving it away for free, said Capt. Aaron Jones of the Cincinnati Police Department.

“Of the victims (Tuesday) that would talk to us and were honest in telling us where they received this heroin from, it’s from several different people … from several different areas,” Jones told WCPO. “Some of those were given almost as what we call testers — ‘Try this out and if you like it, you can get a hold of me.'”

Cincinnati is not the only area dealing with a sudden surge in overdose rates. A West Virginia town saw 27 heroin overdoses within four hours a week ago.

More than 47,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2014, with opioids like heroin and fentanyl accounting for nearly 60 percent of that total.

The number of heroin users in the United States reached one million in 2014, a 20-year high, while heroin-related deaths have increased five-fold since 2000, according to a United Nations study published in June.

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