Review Category : Health

Experts Share Secrets to Streak-Free Tanning

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — There are many reasons to mourn the end of summer, but the threat of ashen, winter-chapped skin is chief among them.

Not ready to face a ghostly complexion just yet? Neither are we.

To keep our pallor at bay, we consulted the experts. Here, they offer tried-and-true tips to maintain the appearance of a summer glow.

Be Gentle

Meredith Fish, who founded Brownberry, a salon and product line that specializes in the art of the spray tan, recommended that wannabe golden girls lightly exfoliate before applying self-tanner.

“The actual activation is happening between [the product and] your epidermis, which is the outermost layer of skin. If you’re not working with the outermost layer, it’s not going to last as long,” she explained.

Of her preferred exfoliation technique, Fish said: “My favorite is just using a wash cloth with a really hydrating soap. You want to be careful not to irritate your skin or dry it out, which sometimes people end up doing, because they’re just so ferociously determined to exfoliate.”

Christy Cella, the vice president of education at Clarins Group and a “self-tanning client of Clarins for 18 years,” agreed. After stressing the importance of exfoliation to eliminate unsightly dry patches, she, too, encouraged users to moisturize.

“People always go, ‘Why do I need to moisturize?’ The fact is if your skin already has a bit of slippage [from lotion], a self-tanner will glide on more effortlessly,” she said. “It just makes the tan look more natural and you’re less likely to have any mistakes.”

Think Ahead

Erin Griffin, a makeup artist at Tarte Cosmetics, has told clients to apply product the day before they want to see results.

“[Y]ou want to ensure the product fully absorbs into your skin and has enough time to full develop a natural-looking color,” she told ABC News. “When using Tarte’s Brazilliance Skin Rejuvenating Maracuja Self Tanner, I always suggest avoiding any activities such as exercising, showering or shaving, for at least eight hours after you’ve applied the tanner.”

Lay It on Thick

According to Fish, the key to superlative sunless tanning is a willingness to “go to town!”

“You’re better off going back over a spot, if you think you missed it…than being cautious where you spray,” Fish said. “You just really want to get every spot — every nook and cranny. Be as thorough as possible.”

For a foolproof tan, Griffin added, “always…apply the product in long, even strokes as opposed to circular motions.”

Nothing Lasts Forever

Like a “real” tan, a faux glow is temporary. To extend its effects, Cella said to moisturize regularly: “Body oils are a great way to keep your skin hydrated and supple.”

At Brownberry, Fish said she “would never want to deter a customer from going swimming, but the longer you soak the more quickly [your tan is] going to fade.” Be ready to reapply, she added.

Fading Gracefully

Of course, no matter how we cling to bronzed skin and the season with which we associate it, cooler temperatures will prevail.

When it does, Cella advised users to apply tanner less frequently and consider products like Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster, which they can mix into moisturizer for a more subtle tint.

“You don’t want to look like you just got back from Tahiti in January,” Fish said. “But I think it’s always nice to have a little sun-kissed glow. It’s definitely youthful looking. It’s definitely healthy looking.”

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Couple that Fought to Ban Medical Procedure After Wife’s Cancer Looks Back at Year of Changes

Courtesy Hooman Noorchashm(PHILADELPHIA) — After nearly a year of campaigning to ban a procedure favored by the medical community and dealing with his wife’s life-threatening cancer diagnosis, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm said he finally feels his family is on solid ground again.

“We think we’ve landed on our feet. It’s been a whirlwind for almost the past year now,” Noorchashm told ABC News.

Noorchashm, a cardio-thoracic surgeon, and his wife Dr. Amy Reed, a certified-anesthesiologist, spearheaded a campaign last fall to ban the practice of using laparoscopic power morcellation in the removal of uterine fibroids or the uterus due to possible cancer risks.

The couple has first-hand knowledge of how devastating the procedure can be after Reed underwent the surgery last October to remove uterine fibroids. According to the couple and confirmed by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as Reed underwent the procedure — where the fibroids are broken up and removed through small incisions — an undetected virulent cancer called leiomyosarcoma hidden in the fibroids was ground up along with the fibroids as they were removed.

As the device ground up fibroids for removal, it may have also spread the cancer throughout her abdomen.

Noorchashm told ABC News he was shocked and angry after hearing in detail how the procedure spread the undetected cancer.

“Within minutes of hearing of my wife’s diagnosis. I just knew this was wrong,” Noorchashm said of the procedure.

At the time of Reed’s surgery, it was unclear what the likelihood a person undergoing the procedure would have undetected cancer.

A 2012 study published in the Public Library of Science found that in 1,091 morcellation procedures performed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital over five years, only one woman was found to have leiomyosarcoma, the same virulent undetected cancer as Reed’s.

Within weeks, Noorchashm was talking to other doctors and asking to get more information about these kinds of procedures and reaching out to other women who experienced something similar. He and Reed started a petition to get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban the procedure.

Within months, two Boston hospitals, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (where Noorchashm was employed and Reed was treated), agreed to first review the procedures and then limit occasions when the procedures would be used.

But Noorchashm wanted a more permanent answer. He temporarily stopped working 90 hours a week as a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and started applying that time to supporting his wife during her treatment and working to get the procedure banned.

“I basically used the same intensity I brought to work and focused it on this,” said Noorchashm. “What you’re seeing here is a large volume of time and non-stop sustained [work] in order to make a change.”

In the months after Noorchashm and Reed started their petition, at least two medical articles were published in the Journal of American Medical Association questioning the safety of the procedure.

A study published in July in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Columbia University researchers revealed that undetected uterine cancers were found in 27 per 10,000 women at the time of the procedure.

Last April, the couple had a major breakthrough after the FDA recommended doctors stop performing the procedure due to possible cancer risks. The FDA found that 1 in 350 women were at risk of having a type of uterine cancer, called uterine sarcoma, spread throughout the abdomen if they undergo the procedure.

In a statement sent to ABC News last April, the FDA acknowledged that Noorchashm brought the issue to their attention last December.

“After further discussion, we involved staff from across the agency to look into the issue further,” the FDA told ABC News in a statement.

Despite the FDA caution, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a statement in May that “minimally invasive surgery, including gynecologic power morcellation, continues to be an option for some patients undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy.”

The ACOG said that preoperative consults should be used to advise patients about their options and that further studies were required in the development of detecting uterine cancers before morcellation procedures.

Despite the ACOG findings, in recent weeks the procedure has become more and more marginalized after a major supplier withdrew devices for the procedure and a Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance plan announced they would no longer cover the procedure due to potential cancer risks.

Late last month Ethicon, the Johnson and Johnson division that makes three device models used in these procedures, announced it is voluntarily withdrawing all of its power morcellation devices from the market.

According to an FDA spokesman, there are approximately 24 devices for laparoscopic tissue morcellators that have been approved by the FDA. The Johnson and Johnson withdrawal covers three devices on the market

“The risk-benefit assessment associated with the use of these devices in hysterectomy and myomectomy procedures for removing fibroids remains uncertain,” Johnson and Johnson said in a statement. “Due to this continued uncertainty, Ethicon believes that a market withdrawal of Ethicon morcellation devices is the appropriate course of action at this time.”

Noorchashm and Reed have not filed any lawsuit against either Ethicon or Brigham and Women’s hospital. The couple said they are focused instead on stopping the procedure altogether.

However, Ethicon’s morcellators are the subject of three lawsuits filed earlier this year against the company. In one case against Ethicon was dismissed after lawyers determined that a different manufacturer made the device used in the procedure. Ethicon has said they do not comment on litigation. According to an Ethicon spokesman, the cases are still pending.

The lawsuits were not a factor in withdrawing the devices, according to an Ethicon spokesman.

This week the Blue Cross/Blue Shield High Mark plan available to residents of Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, announced it would no longer cover power morcellation for uterine procedures due to the possible risks.

For Noorchashm and Reed, both 41, the biggest news of the past year was not one published in a headline. Instead it was the news that after surgery and six rounds of chemotherapy Reed was found to have no evidence of disease.

In recent weeks the couple moved with their six children, aged 1 to 12, to Philadelphia, where their extended family lives and where Noorchashm will start at job at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals later this summer.

Reed is likely to go back to work at some point in the next few weeks.

As the couple start to get back to their normal lives, Noorchashm said the last year has left a mark on how he practices medicine. He and Reed are still planning on working as advocates in different aspects of the field. And Noorchashm said he wants to change the way the FDA approves devices such as the morcellation devices.

Earlier this summer the couple were asked to talk at panel convened by the FDA to review the procedure.

In his day-to-day work, Noorchashm said he now puts himself in his patient’s shoes more often and doesn’t write off patients who seem disgruntled about something minor.

“Do I want that to happen to me or my loved one?” Noorchashm said of his new attitude. “[If] I wouldn’t want to be in that position, I’m not going to do that.”

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Researchers Link New Gene to Increased Breast Cancer Risk

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers say they have identified another gene that may be linked to increased risk of breast cancer.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the PALB2 gene may be linked to between five and eight times increased risk of breast cancer. Researchers say a mutation in the PALB2 gene, which is known to interact with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes previously linked to breast cancer risk, led to increased breast cancer risk among all age ranges of women, even those without family history of the disease.

The individual risk linked to the PALB2 gene did vary based on a number of factors, including age and family history. Women under 40 with the gene mutation were eight to nine times more likely to have breast cancer, while women over 60 were about five times greater than normal risk.

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Liberian Health Workers Face Angry Residents Over Ebola Deaths

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MONROVIA, Liberia) — As doctors at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta fight to save the lives of two Americans infected with Ebola overseas, in Liberia, the epicenter of the outbreak, health officials are still struggling to contain the deadly virus.

Liberia, where the death toll has risen to 282 people, is a ground zero for the catastrophic outbreak. Bodies of those infected litter neighborhood streets, some buried in shallow graves, others left to rot.

Mark Korvaya is a Liberian government health worker fighting an uphill and increasingly dangerous battle.

Workers like him have the grim task of taking samples of the dead bodies to test for Ebola. Not only are they at risk for being infected themselves, but they also have become targets for violent protests. Angry residents blame health workers for spreading the disease, or for not being quick enough to respond to requests to confiscate potentially contagious bodies.

Korvaya believes the work of sampling bodies is important, because confirming an Ebola infection in a dead body helps officials track, and hopefully stop, the virus.

Ebola is one of the deadliest viruses on Earth. Highly contagious, it kills up to 90 percent of the people it infects and spreads through contact with bodily fluids like blood, sweat and vomit. Symptoms begin with fever, vomiting and severe blood loss. Death comes quickly, often within a few days, for all but a lucky few.

When Korvaya and his team enter a neighborhood stricken with Ebola, they suit up in full hazmat gear because even the slightest contact with the virus can be deadly.

“That’s why they say don’t shake hands with anybody because you can never know who it is that you see that has been touching somebody,” said one health worker.

The Liberian government’s health department workers are overworked and often undertrained. They simply aren’t able to work fast enough to keep up with the dozens of people who die each day, and they face different challenges every place they visit.

In Clara Town, a small neighborhood in Liberia, enraged residents were begging the government to take away the bodies of those who have died. But in another neighborhood, angry residents, many of whom are Muslim, wouldn’t allow Korvaya’s team to have access to their dead. Muslim tradition mandates that bodies should be buried the day the person died, but Korvaya’s team wanted to make sure those coming out to mourn their dead wouldn’t become infected with Ebola.

Liberia is a country in chaos, where people are terrified and full of suspicion. Many of the infected refuse to seek treatment, fearing they will be mistreated or turned away at clinics, so they lock themselves inside their homes.

“It’s not easy,” said a resident named Ezekiel Kumeh. “Lost mother, lost a cousin, and then brother and sister are almost at the point of death and they’re refusing to go seek medication….We’re just going to leave it with God, there’s nothing we can do more than this.”

In this poverty-stricken nation, the healthcare system is stretched perilously thin. Sanitation centers line dirt roads but offer only buckets of water and a single bottle of hand sanitizer. For every 10,000 people there is only one doctor, the worst ratio in all of Africa. In the U.S., there is, on average, one doctor for every 400 people.

Doctors in the U.S. are hoping that an experimental Ebola treatment, a serum called Z-Mapp, may save the lives of the two Americans, Nancy Writebol and Ken Brantly, brought back with Ebola. It’s still untested and unapproved, likely years from widespread use. So for those caught in the outbreak, an Ebola cure remains a distant and elusive hope.

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Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Dementia Risk

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers have found a possible link between Vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of dementia.

In a study published in the journal Neurology, researchers said they looked at over 5,000 patients and found that those with vitamin D levels that qualified as “severely deficient” were 122 percent more likely to develop dementia than those who received sufficient levels of the nutrient. Those patients who were merely “deficient” were 51 percent more likely to develop dementia.

Researchers tested the results excluding certain factors — including alcohol use, education level, age, sex and smoking status — and found that their findings remained accurate.

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How You Can Help Map the Ebola Outbreak Zone

American Red Cross (NEW YORK) — To fight the worst Ebola outbreak in history, the American Red Cross is attempting to get ahead of the virus by creating the most detailed maps of rural towns and villages so officials can track the deadly virus as it spreads.

The aid group is enlisting volunteers — maybe even you — to help map the areas hard hit by the virus through its Geographic Information System program. Anyone who wants to volunteer can join online.

Dale Kunce, the leader of the American Red Cross Geographic Information System (GIS) team, said it works with input from people in the field to oversee volunteers as they detail maps by poring over satellite imagery of houses, schools and remote villages.

“One of the more interesting requests was from the [World Health Organization to] start looking at cemeteries,” said Kunce. “It’s very important in the Ebola outbreak because it’s where the infection [can occur.]”

Once the maps are detailed, Kunce said, they are sent out to Red Cross partners, including Doctors Without Borders and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which are working in the field to treat victims and stop the outbreak, which has infected 1,711, killing 932.

Volunteers don’t need prior experience with maps, Kunce said, adding that the sheer number of people helping means the maps are done quickly and errors are caught by hundreds of volunteers sharing the work.

“A Wikipedia article can make an innocent mistake and then someone with more experience will catch the mistake,” said Kunce, comparing the website to the mapping program. ”But then it’s fixed. There’s 700 people and 1,400 eyes [on these maps.] The maps will improve over time.”

People working in the remote areas will also send in notes, such as GPS locations for a village that has never been mapped before.

As a result of the efforts, Kunce said, the volunteers have been able to reimagine entire cities. The original map for the remote town of Guéckédou in Guinea showed just nine roads. After mappers looked at satellite photographs, they were able to add hundreds of roads and streams to the map of the town located near the epicenter of the outbreak.

The maps can be vital to fight Ebola in rural areas where road signs, maps and GPS locations are scarce. Epidemiologists can track where and how fast the disease is spreading. If an aid worker hears a person is sick in a village, he or she can pick up these new maps and figure out a route to that location.

One American Red Cross volunteer, David Schindler, said the maps were key for relief workers trying to navigate rural roads, towns and neighborhoods for the first time.

“The hard copy maps were very useful; they were posted up on the wall and referenced constantly by relief workers,” said Schindler, who helped provide IT support for aid workers in Sierra Leone. “And people were posting maps on to their GPS regularly.”

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WHO to Debate Ethics of Using Experimental Ebola Drug in Outbreak

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A panel of World Health Organization ethicists will discuss whether to use experimental drugs in the West African Ebola outbreak that has killed 932 people since March.

Two American patients have received an experimental Ebola drug called ZMapp made by Mapp Pharmaceuticals, a 9-person company in San Diego.

The drug — made of monoclonal antibodies derived from plants — had been shown to work in monkeys within two days of infection, but it had never been tested in humans before. The patients, Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol, have since been flown from Liberia to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where they are reportedly improving.

“We are in an unusual situation in this outbreak. We have a disease with a high fatality rate without any proven treatment or vaccine,” Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO’s Assistant Director-General, said in a statement. “We need to ask the medical ethicists to give us guidance on what the responsible thing to do is.”

ZMapp is one of several experimental Ebola treatments, but there is no approved vaccine or cure for the deadly virus.

Given that even unproven treatments are in short supply, the WHO panel will also discuss who should receive them.

The first human clinical trial of an Ebola vaccine is set to begin sometime in September, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. If successful, it will likely take until mid- or late-2015 before a limited number of health care workers can receive the vaccine, he said.

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Five Ways to Avoid Getting Sick at the Beach

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Sharks aren’t the only danger lurking at the beaches this summer. From urban runoff and fecal matter to viruses that can be spread through the water, people can become seriously ill from a simple dip in an ocean or lake.

“When you swim in contaminated water, there is a grim inventory of diseases that can be associated with that, from stomach flu, to pink eye, to ear infection, to eye infection, to diarrhea, to even respiratory and neurological disorders,” Steve Fleischli, director of the Water Program for the Natural Resources Defense Council, told ABC News’ 20/20.

Each year, the NRDC uses the government’s data to come up with a list of the nation’s most bacteria-laden waters.

Some of the beaches featured on this year’s list included Cockle Cove Creek in Chatham, Massachusetts, Beachwood, New Jersey and the Malibu pier in California.

While the nation’s beaches are usually clean, Fleischli shared some of his advice to stay safe in the water.

“A day at the beach should never lead to a night at the hospital,” said Fleischli.

Check out Fleischli’s tips below:

  1. Wait at least three days after a heavy storm to go into the water. Runoff causes increased bacteria levels.
  2. Don’t dunk your head into the water.
  3. Avoid getting water in your mouth or nose.
  4. Stay out of the water when you have open cuts.
  5. Don’t go in the water when you’re sick. You can easily infect others.

Watch the full story on ABC News’ 20/20 Friday, Aug. 8, at 10 p.m. ET.

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Let There Be Light to Perk Up Nurses

iStock/Thinkstock(ITHACA, N.Y.) — Laughter has been described as the best medicine but nothing beats a good dose of natural light to revive the physical and mental well-being of nurses.

Cornell University researcher Rana Zadeh says that due to long shifts that often run from early morning to early evening or vice versa, nurses can feel run-down, irritable and depressed.

Naturally, when nurses are not at their best, it can affect patient care.

Zadeh maintains the solution to this problem is as simple as a blast of sunshine or improved quality lighting in nursing areas.

Those with more access to natural light, according to Zadeh, experience lower blood pressure and better communication with colleagues. Zadeh notes that nurses who “see the light” laugh more and are happier, which benefits patients.

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Lying Around Too Long May Be Hazardous to Your Health

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Lying around all day isn’t good for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it can lead to serious illnesses, as reported in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

Generally speaking, health experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep during any 24-hour period.

However, in a study of more than 39,000 Norwegians over 12 years, people who spent anywhere from 11-to-18 hours lying down daily increased their chances of dying from heart disease by more than 90 percent compared to those who were only on their backs for seven hours.

What’s more, the chances of dying from any cause jumped 60 percent among those who lied down 11 hours or more.

The researchers also noted that lying down for extended periods of time, which limits both muscle activity and energy expenditure, also counteracts physical activity people undertake when they’re on their feet.

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