Review Category : Health

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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A Study Cynics Probably Won’t Trust

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study suggests that cynics aren’t doing themselves a favor health-wise by being so distrustful of people and their motives.

According to Anna-Maija Tolppanen at the University of Eastern Finland, cynics may be more prone to dementia than those more apt to trust others.

In the study of 1,500 people with an average of 71, participants took different tests to measure dementia and their level of cynicism.

Those who agreed with statements such as “I think most people would lie to get ahead” and “It is safer to trust nobody” were judged deeply cynical and, as it turns out, were 2.5 times more likely to develop dementia than participants ranked at the bottom of the cynical scale.

While true cynics might scoff at these findings, cynicism often masks anger and hostility, which other studies have shown to be bad for one’s health.

Cynical people tend to lead unhealthy lifestyles and are more prone to stress, which can cause high blood pressure and other factors that may hasten death.

Dr. Hilary Tindle, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, who wasn’t part of the study, says hope is not lost for cynics.

Tindle believes, “People can learn to change — they change every day in that they quit smoking, they lose weight, they cut ties in unhealthy friendships. The ultimate message is people are not ‘doomed’ if they have cynical tendencies.”

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Binge-Watching Is Popular Everywhere

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Binge-watching, which has been described as “watching between two and six episodes of the same TV show in one sitting,” turns outs to be a worldwide phenomenon.

In a poll of 10,500 people from 19 countries, Arris, a communications technology company, found that eight in ten say they do binge watch from time to time with a whopping 14 percent conceding that they do it daily.

Americans and Canadians especially enjoy binge-watching, otherwise known as binge-viewing, with a quarter of these respondents ages 25-to-34 saying they do it at least once a week.

As for what they use to binge watch, 47 percent prefer standard TVs, followed by laptops, smart/connected TVs, desktop computers, gaming consoles and tablets

There is so much good stuff to watch these days that recording content onto DVRs is becoming a problem with 62 percent claiming they have to delete shows because of lack of space. Almost three in ten say they tape content that they never wind up watching.

In addition to the U.S. and Canada, the respondents to the survey came from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the U.K.
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White House Hosting Summit for Sports Head Injuries

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Athletes, doctors, parents, coaches, and military service members will descend on the White House Thursday for a day-long summit on head injuries.

The White House worries there is a “culture of reluctance” among athletes refusing to get treatment for sports head injuries, and way too little medical research into concussions.

Obama has also spoken out for better treatment for concussions. The President has said if he had a son, he probably would not let him play football.

According to ABC’s Ann Compton, the NFL, NCAA, and U.S. military are teaming up to fund more studies on the topic.

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How to Cope with S-T-R-E-S-S at National Spelling Bee

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Competition can be nerve-wracking but the 281 young students participating in the Scripps National Spelling Bee may be doubly terrified as their triumphs and failures are played out in front of an audience of millions.

While the spelling bee airs on ESPN with the viewing audience on par with a national sports competition, experts warn it’s important to let the student competitors, aged 8 to 15, stay kids.

Alan Kazdin, a professor of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale University, said the most important task for parents is to make sure the child knows it is not all about winning and losing. “[A] critical feature is to make sure the parents are not over involved or adding to the stress,” said Kazdin. “The child is stressed [enough.]“

Kazdin said parents, who have coached their child to the Olympics of spelling, should take a moment with their child to enjoy the event.

“You’ve studied all you can possibly study,” said Kazdin of parent coaches. “You kind of run up and now you stop, flip it and enjoy yourself.”

Some of the students may not need too much help getting their nerves under control.

Elias Kondolis, 14, is participating in his first spelling bee, but so far has kept his nerves under control by acting “more confident” and practicing his vocabulary.

“It makes your mind a little bit more clear,” Elias said in a post on the spelling bee website. “Uncertainty is a bad thing for the Spelling Bee. If you think you know, but you’re not sure, it throws off your answer. You get rid of a lot of uncertainty by practicing.”

Kondolis’ mother Zenovia Kondolios has been helping the eighth grader prep for the competition and apparently might have a few more frayed nerves than her son.

“I’m always nervous,” Zenovia Kondolios said on the spelling bee website. “Did I help him prepare enough? I never feel like I did.”

Kazdin said it’s important for overwhelmed or nervous parents to keep their stress out of sight of their kids during a big competition.

“Children have two sources of stress, their’s and they also have the parents’,” said Kazdin. “We don’t want a mom panicked. [She] can leave the room…and practice being calm and supportive and not a wreck about it.”

Another factor for a certain group of contestants is dealing with a family legacy. This year the siblings of two former winners will vie for the title.

Kazdin said these children potentially face unique challenges since they are familiar with the competition, but might feel stress to win “for the family.”

“They might feel the pressure that no other child has, said Kazdin, who suggests parents focus on emphasizing the child’s success in making it to the National Spelling Bee.

Vanya Shivashankar will make her fourth appearance at the National Spelling Bee. Her sister Kavya won in 2009. But her parents have been adamant that the experience for Vanya is more than just winning or losing.

“She knows it’s not just about competition,” Vanya’s father Mirle Shivashankar told ABC News during the last National Spelling Bee year. “It’s a wonderful, wonderful atmosphere there, and there’s so much camaraderie between the spellers. Not everybody can win, and there’s a lot more to it than that anyway.”

One of the youngest competitors, 9-year-old Tushan Dargan, may have already figured out how to enjoy himself. The fifth grader is one of the youngest to make it to the competition and is simply happy to be there.

“It’s surreal,” Tushan said on the spelling bee website. “I can’t believe out of 11 million people, I somehow made it to the last 281. It’s amazing. It makes you feel proud of yourself.”

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Makers of Cialis Push to Make Drug Available Over the Counter

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The makers of Cialis are pushing to make their blockbuster erectile dysfunction drug available over the counter — a move that could land the little orange tablet on drug store shelves alongside decongestants and other bathroom cabinet staples.

Sanofi and Eli Lilly announced plans Wednesday to seek regulatory approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell Cialis without a prescription.

As they strive to prove that it can be sold safely without a doctor’s guidance, here are some things you might not know about the ED drug:

Cialis is different from Viagra

Viagra was developed to treat pulmonary hypertension and angina, but patients in the late 1990s told their doctors about a side effect popping up in a place they never expected: the bedroom. Cialis, on the other hand, was developed a few years later for the sole purpose of treating erectile dysfunction, and was approved in 2003. Unlike Viagra, it can be taken daily or “as needed” within 36 hours of sex. Viagra works for roughly four hours and must be taken 30 to 60 minutes before sex, according to the drug’s website. Although Viagra, dubbed “the little blue pill,” was the king of the market for years, Cialis beat it in 2013, reaching nearly $2.2 billion in sales in 2013 compared to Viagra’s $1.9 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Your erection could come with a runny nose

Cialis’ side effects range from nasal congestion to sudden blindness, according to the drug’s website. Runny nose, headache and indigestion are among the pill’s most common side effects, and sudden hearing and vision loss are rarer possibilities. And then there’s the well-advertised warning about erections lasting more than four hours. If not treated promptly, the condition called priapism can cause “lasting damage” and may result in an “inability to have erections,” according to the Cialis website.

Cialis may have OTC restrictions

It’s too soon to know whether the FDA will allow Cialis out from behind the pharmacy counter. And even if it does, the pill might not be available to everyone. The emergency contraceptive pill Plan B had a bumpy road to over-the-counter status after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA’s recommendation that it be sold on pharmacy shelves to everyone in 2011. President Barack Obama had said that as a father of young girls, he personally was against the sale of the pill without restrictions to women under 17. A federal judge ruled in April 2013 that Plan B be available without age restrictions, but it still took two months for the Obama administration to stop trying to block its over-the-counter status. The FDA approved the move that June.

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