Review Category : Health

Your Body: Breast Cancer Rates and Race

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

New findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show changes in death rates from breast cancer by age group for black and white women, the groups with the highest death rates in the United States.

The decline in deaths suggests that white and black women under the age of 50 are benefiting equally from cancer treatments. But we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to racial disparities in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Many ethnic groups still show higher death rates overall for the same type of cancer. This may be due to possible differences in the cancer itself or it could be due to less access to screening and delay of care.

Here’s my prescription for breast health: Regardless of your race, know your personal risk, get your mammogram and know if you have dense breasts.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Searches for IUD Birth Control Spike After Trump Presidential Victory

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Online searches for long-lasting birth control devices spiked significantly in the hours after the presidential election ended.

Many women took to social media to advise other women to get an intrauterine device (IUD) which can “outlast” a conservative presidency.

The posts began over concerns that Trump and the Republican-held houses of Congress will repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under the ACA, insurers participating in the healthcare marketplace aremandated to provide coverage for contraception without any co-payment or coinsurance, allowing many more women access to birth control.

In the hours after Donald Trump was declared the winner of the 2016 presidential election, Google searches for IUD spiked exponentially, according to Google Trends.

Under related queries, the top two rising search terms were “iud Trump” and “get an iud now.”

The IUD is a small implant that, when placed in the uterus, acts as a continuous form of contraception. It is a reversible form of birth control that can be removed any time before it expires and is considered to one of the most effective contraceptive methods available. According the CDC, IUDs have less than one percent failure rates.

Depending on the type of device — either a copper “T” or hormone-releasing implant — an IUD can provide approximately three to 10 years of greatly reduced pregnancy risk, potentially outlasting even a two-term Trump presidency.

On Twitter, multiple users advised women to get an IUD now so that their birth control would be covered before Trump takes office on Jan. 20, 2017.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Couple Announces Pregnancy With ‘Labor Party’ Candidate on Ballot

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In true Election Day-style, one couple decided to use the historic date as the perfect way to announce their pregnancy to the world: By writing their new baby in as a candidate for the “Labor Party” on a ballot.

Dave and Melissa Houglum, of Scappoose, Oregon, posted a photo of their sonogram to Facebook with “Cast Your Vote for Baby Houglum #2” along the top with their unborn child waving an American flag while wearing a patriotic hat.

“We feel like a baby is a gift from God, and it brings new life and hope and change, including a lot of diaper changing, and we thought it would be a unique and exciting way to announce this good news,” mother-to-be Melissa Houglum told ABC News. “After such an intense campaign, it was a way to bring people together on such a hectic day for a positive, happy event.”

The timing of making the announcement on Election Day worked out perfectly for Melissa and her husband, Dave.

“We thought it was unique, the fact that the presidential election only happens every four years,” she said. “The timing was perfect because I was exactly 12 weeks yesterday. We were counting on the calendar and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s actually on Election Day.’”

Their little bundle of joy is due on May 23, 2017. The happy parents are already prepared to have a future politician on their hands.

“He or she will be 35 in the year 2052, which is an election year, so you never know,” Melissa said, referring to the fact that the minimum age to run for president is 35.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Florida County Votes to Allow Controversial GMO Mosquito Test

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A Florida county has cleared the way for the first U.S. test using genetically modified mosquitoes to fight against the species that spreads Zika virus.

Monroe County, Florida, voted to allow a test of GMO mosquitoes created by the British biotech company Oxitec.

Oxitec has created genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, adding genes to the same insects that transmit Zika virus.

The GMO variety passes on genetic traits to their offspring that cause them to die in the wild, dramatically reducing the overall population of the mosquitoes. They have conducted tests in the Cayman Islands, Panama and Brazil and have wanted to do a test run in the U.S. since 2010.

While the county voted in a non-binding referendum to allow a test, one last hurdle remains since the neighborhood where the test was expected to occur, called Key Haven, voted against it. The final decision will be made by the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board in a meeting later this month.

Derek Nimmo, the senior scientist for the Oxitec trial, said they were happy to get a majority of yes votes in Monroe County.

“Obviously we’re very pleased with the results,” Nimmo told ABC News Wednesday of the 57 percent vote to allow the experimental trial.

The GMO mosquito test came under intense scrutiny earlier this year after residents of Key Haven and nearby islands in the Florida Keys expressed concern and protested the potential trial. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the trial.

The Florida Key Mosquito Control Board will make the final decision on where and if the trail will be held in the county.

Since the neighborhood of Key Haven voted against the trial, Nimmo said Oxitec has alternate sites where they may conduct the trial in the county. The new sites would have to be approved by the FDA. Once approved, Nimmo estimates they could start the trial as soon as next February.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Girl, 4, Wears Wedding Dress in Honor of Mother’s Memory

iStock/Thinkstock(STATESVILLE, N.C.) — A little girl honored her deceased mother by wearing her wedding gown in a photo shoot.

Nora Davis, 4, daughter of Amber Davis, donned her mom’s dress, bouquet and rings on Oct. 25, just over a year after she died of cancer.

“Nora was on Cloud 9,” said Davis’ sister, Adrianne Blackwelder of Statesville, North Carolina. “I think that’s something [Amber] wanted. Something Nora could enjoy, but a memory that she’ll have forever.”

Amber Davis, 28, died on July 28, 2015, after a year-long fight with aggressive cervical cancer.

Blackwelder described her sister as a compassionate person who put others before herself.

“She was the first one to stand up and protect you,” Blackwelder told ABC News. “That was the type of person she was, the type of mother she was. She had the most beautiful laugh, very happy and very funny. She was like the mother to model after. She was calm and even when things were crazy, Amber kept it together.”

“Even when she was going through awful pain, all she could do was encourage others,” she added. “It’s so easy to get caught up in things that don’t matter, but she was the mom that knew very much of what’s important. It blew my mind because where we would crawl up in bed and be depressed, she was up and full of life.”

Davis was mom to three children — Noah, 8, Nora, 4 and Reid, 3.

After she was diagnosed, she came up with the idea to have her daughter Nora take pictures while wearing her wedding dress, according to her friend and owner of My Three Arrows photography, Heidi Spillane.

“I said, ‘Let’s plan a date to get it done,'” Spillane recalled. “But after that, she kind of took a turn for the worse. She was all about spending time with family, so we never got around to scheduling everything. I think she just had that vision of Nora having that special moment to be connected to her mom, by wearing her dress.”

On Oct. 25, Spillane and Davis’ family set up a photo shoot where Nora wore her mother’s gown — the same dress she wore when she married in February 2011. Nora even had her hair done by her mother’s stylist. Her father, Derek Davis, also participated in the photo session, Blackwelder said.

“I thought it was going to be emotional, but it was just a happy time,” Blackwelder added. “We talked about Amber … the day of their wedding.”

Blackwelder wanted to honor Amber’s request, which was, “‘Make sure my kids remember me.'”

“That mother-daughter bond, there is nothing else like it,” Blackwelder added. “I think Amber wanted something special for her. Nora enjoyed her day of being a little princess.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

New Research Suggests It May Not Be Good to Seem too Happy

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you want to be taken seriously and don’t want to be taken advantage of, new research suggests you wipe that smile off your face.

A review of six studies titled “Bliss Is Ignorance” found that people perceived as very happy were judged to be more naive and ripe for rip offs. Others believe they shelter themselves from negative information and would be more easily manipulated.

Researchers concluded that it’s all about magnitude, and the cheerier you are, the more likely you are to be picked as a negotiation partner by someone convinced they can exploit you.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Your Body: Why You Shouldn’t Work Out When You’re Angry

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

Anger and physical exertion may be a deadly combination.

A new study suggests that an intense workout or run while you’re stressed or angry triples the risk of having a heart attack within an hour.

While it may sound counterintuitive since exercise is often prescribed as an antidote to stress, researchers say that vigorous exertion when you’re angry puts dangerous pressure on your heart.

Here’s my prescription:

  • Stay fit and stay active. That is a major way you can reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Control your stress, anger and depression — all of them are bad for your heart.
  • If you smoke, try everything in your power to quit.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Opioid-Related Deaths Reach Pace of 5 Per Day in Massachusetts

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — As the opioid epidemic continues to spread in the U.S., Massachusetts health officials have reported that at least 1,005 people in the state have died from opioid overdoses in the first nine months of this year. Another 392 to 470 deaths are suspected to be opioid-related during that time period.

This means there are on average approximately four to five opioid-related deaths in the state every day.

The opioid epidemic has continued to worsen in Massachusetts, according to the report issued Monday.

While heroin-related deaths have decreased, fentanyl-related deaths have increased proportionately, according to the Massachusetts Department of Health. Fentanyl is a powerful opioid thought to be significantly stronger than heroin.

“In our commitment to combat the opioid epidemic, we believe the constant release of data is a powerful tool to help us better understand the trends of this public health crisis,” Massachusetts Gov. Charles Baker said in a statement Monday. “We will continue to utilize every tool available from prevention to treatment to break the cycle of addiction to support healthy families and communities across the Commonwealth.”

Massachusetts has been on the front lines of the current nationwide opioid epidemic and opioid-related deaths have increased dramatically in recent years. In 2015, there were 1,574 related deaths, while in 2005 there were just 554 deaths in the state.

“While we continue to see a decline in the number of deaths involving heroin, the data released today are a sobering reminder of why the opioid crisis is so complex and a top public health priority,” Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said Monday. “This is a crisis that touches every corner of our state, and we will continue our urgent focus expanding treatment access.”

There were also some bright spots in the state report.

The report found a decline in the number of patients receiving prescription opioids as compared to the same time in 2015. The health department also highlighted initiatives aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic, including 75 new beds at drug treatment centers, a new online prescription monitoring tool and an order that allows EMTs to give high doses of the opioid antidote naloxone to drug users who have overdosed.

“In the midst of another report showing the toll that opioids are taking, it’s understandable to ask: where are we on the road to a solution?” Massachusetts Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel said in a statement. “That is not an easy question to answer in any epidemic, but I find hope in the work of communities across the state to bend the curve of these trends and bring us closer to a solution. We must continue those efforts — no matter how long it takes.”

The death rate from opioid-related overdoses has increased to 25.8 deaths per 100,000 Massachusetts residents in 2015. That rate is 32 percent higher than it was in 2014. This number is higher than the rate of death for suicides in the U.S., which is 13.4 deaths per 100,000. It’s also higher than the rate of death from car accidents, which is 11.1 deaths per 100,000 residents.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there were more opioid-related deaths in 2014 than any other year on record. Every day, an estimated 78 people die in the U.S. due to opioids, according to the CDC.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Woman Born the Year Women Gained the Right to Vote Casts Ballot for Hillary Clinton

Courtesy Dennis McDougle(WORTHINGTON, Ohio) — Virgnia McDougle was born in 1920, the same year that women received the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Now 96 years later, McDougle said she had a “very good feeling” as she cast her ballot Tuesday for Hillary Clinton, who could become America’s first female president.

“I was always hoping that it would happen,” McDougle, of Worthington, Ohio, told ABC News of voting for a female leader. “When I saw other countries doing it, I did wonder why we don’t do it.”

“And now we’ve done it,” she said. “It was a very good feeling.”

McDougle, the mother of three sons and a grandmother to five boys, is one of more than 120 women featured on the website who were born in or prior to 1920 and are voting for Clinton.

The website was started when the granddaughter of Estelle Schultz, 98, of Rockville, Maryland, shared a photo of Schultz with her absentee ballot for Clinton on Facebook.

McDougle cast her first presidential ballot for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She said in all her years of closely following politics, she had never seen a presidential election as tumultuous as this year’s.

“I have been ever hopeful that we would have a woman president,” McDougle said. “I think it’s about time and I think [Clinton] is very wonderfully experienced in government and will make a wonderful president.”

McDougle described an “excitement in the air” at her polling place, where she was taken to vote by her son, Dennis McDougle.

She said she will be “blissfully happy” if Clinton wins the presidential race.

When asked if she plans to stay up to watch the election returns, McDougle quickly replied, “Oh, all night.”

Social media users also took to Twitter today to show examples of women born before passage of the 19th Amendment exercising their right to vote.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →