Review Category : Health

FDA Warns Americans About Products Fraudulently Claiming to Treat Ebola

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to beware of products being sold online that fraudulently claim to treat or prevent the Ebola virus.

The FDA notes that there are currently no FDA-approved vaccines or drugs to treat or prevent Ebola. Additionally, while there are experimental treatments and vaccines, they “have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness,” and are not available for purchase on the Internet.

The agency said that it has received a number of consumer complaints about products making such claims since the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa.

Despite the concern, the FDA maintains that the disease does not pose a significant risk to the American public. Ebola is not water-borne or food-borne and can not be transmitted through the air.

Anyone who sees fraudulent products or products making false claims about their effectiveness in preventing or treating Ebola are urged to report them to the FDA, and anyone promoting such products could face FDA action if those claims aren’t removed or corrected.

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Want to Be the Most Unpopular Parent? There’s an App for That

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — A Texas mom has created an app that helps parents keep their kids on a virtual leash.

The “Ignore No More” app gives parents the ability to take control of their children’s smartphones when they believe their calls and texts are being ignored.

Sharon Standifird, a Houston mother and military veteran, said she created the app after she became frustrated and worried when her children did not answer her calls.

“We need to develop an app that just shuts their phone completely down and they can’t even use it,” she told ABC News’ Houston-owned station KTRK-TV. “I got on the Internet and I literally just started researching how to develop an app.”

Several months later, she debuted the “Ignore No More” app for Android devices.

When she wants to lock her son’s phone, Standifird opens the app and taps his name. She then enters an unlock code twice and then presses “Lock Bradley’s Phone.”

The activation of the app will take away a child’s ability to play games, call friends and surf the Internet. The ability to call 911 will always remain intact on the phone, according its description in the Google Play store.

So how is Bradley, and other teenagers who are locked out, able to get back on their parents’ good side?

With a single tap, they are provided with a list of contacts they can call to get the password to unlock the phone.

“I thought it was a good idea, but for other people, not me,” Bradley Standifird told KTRK.

So what’s the best hack for getting around the app? Just answer the phone when mom or dad calls.

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Want to Be the Most Unpopular Parent? There’s an App for That

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — A Texas mom has created an app that helps parents keep their kids on a virtual leash.

The “Ignore No More” app gives parents the ability to take control of their children’s smartphones when they believe their calls and texts are being ignored.

Sharon Standifird, a Houston mother and military veteran, said she created the app after she became frustrated and worried when her children did not answer her calls.

“We need to develop an app that just shuts their phone completely down and they can’t even use it,” she told ABC News’ Houston-owned station KTRK-TV. “I got on the Internet and I literally just started researching how to develop an app.”

Several months later, she debuted the “Ignore No More” app for Android devices.

When she wants to lock her son’s phone, Standifird opens the app and taps his name. She then enters an unlock code twice and then presses “Lock Bradley’s Phone.”

The activation of the app will take away a child’s ability to play games, call friends and surf the Internet. The ability to call 911 will always remain intact on the phone, according its description in the Google Play store.

So how is Bradley, and other teenagers who are locked out, able to get back on their parents’ good side?

With a single tap, they are provided with a list of contacts they can call to get the password to unlock the phone.

“I thought it was a good idea, but for other people, not me,” Bradley Standifird told KTRK.

So what’s the best hack for getting around the app? Just answer the phone when mom or dad calls.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Extra Weight Ups Risk of Common Cancers, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — By now you’ve probably heard that obesity increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. But you might not know that the extra weight can have other serious health consequences, including cancer.

A new study found that 10 percent of all gallbladder, kidney, liver and colon cancers could be attributed to excess weight. A whopping 41 percent of uterine cancers were tied to obesity, according to the study published Thursday in The Lancet.

More than 36 percent of Americans are now considered obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An additional 34 percent are considered overweight.

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Extra Weight Ups Risk of Common Cancers, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — By now you’ve probably heard that obesity increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. But you might not know that the extra weight can have other serious health consequences, including cancer.

A new study found that 10 percent of all gallbladder, kidney, liver and colon cancers could be attributed to excess weight. A whopping 41 percent of uterine cancers were tied to obesity, according to the study published Thursday in The Lancet.

More than 36 percent of Americans are now considered obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An additional 34 percent are considered overweight.

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Hand Surgery for Better Engagement Ring Selfies

Courtesy of Dr. Ariel Ostad(NEW YORK) — When Christa Hendershot got engaged last fall, she, like thousands of other women, wanted to show off her engagement ring on social media. But after snapping a few photos, she realized she didn’t like the way her hands looked.

So the 33-year-old from Mount Sinai, New York, turned to plastic surgery, hoping it would smooth out her hands in order for them to become more “selfie worthy.” She recently shelled out more than $3,000 for hand rejuvenation at her plastic surgeon Dr. Ariel Ostad’s office in New York.

Hendershot told Ostad she was unhappy with her hands because she thought they were veiny and her knuckles were “very red.”

Within minutes of the procedure, Hendershot was happier about the appearance of her hands. “The veins are not as blue,” she said.

Ostad said he has had several patients show him photos they had taken of themselves and point out their flaws.

“I’ve noticed over the last six months [that] patients actually bring a selfie in the examining room,” he said. “They show me what bothers them and what they would like to fix.”

The quest for the perfect selfie photo has gotten so extreme that filters and photo edits just aren’t cutting it for some people, who are instead going under the knife to psychically alter their appearance in hopes of a better selfie.

After seeing how she looked in photos from her wedding day, Jen Muir, 33, said she realized she hated the way her nose looked and has shied away from taking selfies ever since.

“I can see everybody posting pictures of themselves, and I’m thinking, ‘Why can’t I do it? What’s the problem?’” the Long Island, New York, woman who’s originally from Costa Rica said. “I saw a guy taking a selfie one of these days, and I thought, ‘I wish, I wish I could do it.’”

So Muir decided to have a nose job and spent $15,000, all for a better selfie.

“I want to change my profile. I feel like my nose hangs,” she said. “I also want to change my bump. I feel like it’s too big.”

Her plastic surgeon, Dr. Samuel Rizk of New York City, also credited social media for an uptick in business, the biggest trend he has seen in his 16-year career. “I personally would see two to three patients a day that have come in from selfies and social media,” he said.

Muir was so happy with her new nose that she started crying.

“I love it,” she said. “I just see my eyes and my lips and my teeth. I can see my teeth more, and that’s what I wanted.”

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

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Hand Surgery for Better Engagement Ring Selfies

Courtesy of Dr. Ariel Ostad(NEW YORK) — When Christa Hendershot got engaged last fall, she, like thousands of other women, wanted to show off her engagement ring on social media. But after snapping a few photos, she realized she didn’t like the way her hands looked.

So the 33-year-old from Mount Sinai, New York, turned to plastic surgery, hoping it would smooth out her hands in order for them to become more “selfie worthy.” She recently shelled out more than $3,000 for hand rejuvenation at her plastic surgeon Dr. Ariel Ostad’s office in New York.

Hendershot told Ostad she was unhappy with her hands because she thought they were veiny and her knuckles were “very red.”

Within minutes of the procedure, Hendershot was happier about the appearance of her hands. “The veins are not as blue,” she said.

Ostad said he has had several patients show him photos they had taken of themselves and point out their flaws.

“I’ve noticed over the last six months [that] patients actually bring a selfie in the examining room,” he said. “They show me what bothers them and what they would like to fix.”

The quest for the perfect selfie photo has gotten so extreme that filters and photo edits just aren’t cutting it for some people, who are instead going under the knife to psychically alter their appearance in hopes of a better selfie.

After seeing how she looked in photos from her wedding day, Jen Muir, 33, said she realized she hated the way her nose looked and has shied away from taking selfies ever since.

“I can see everybody posting pictures of themselves, and I’m thinking, ‘Why can’t I do it? What’s the problem?’” the Long Island, New York, woman who’s originally from Costa Rica said. “I saw a guy taking a selfie one of these days, and I thought, ‘I wish, I wish I could do it.’”

So Muir decided to have a nose job and spent $15,000, all for a better selfie.

“I want to change my profile. I feel like my nose hangs,” she said. “I also want to change my bump. I feel like it’s too big.”

Her plastic surgeon, Dr. Samuel Rizk of New York City, also credited social media for an uptick in business, the biggest trend he has seen in his 16-year career. “I personally would see two to three patients a day that have come in from selfies and social media,” he said.

Muir was so happy with her new nose that she started crying.

“I love it,” she said. “I just see my eyes and my lips and my teeth. I can see my teeth more, and that’s what I wanted.”

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

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Up in Your Head: Can Having Tourette Syndrome Make You a Superior Athlete?

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Soccer player Tim Howard, one of the best goalies in the world, became an American hero with his record 16 saves in a match against Belgium at the World Cup last month.

But Howard believes his incredible athletic ability is helped by a secret weapon that lies deep inside his brain.

The soccer stud suffers from a neurological disorder called Tourette syndrome that causes him to constantly twitch involuntarily.

It’s estimated that as many as 200,000 Americans suffer from Tourette syndrome, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and symptoms usually begin in childhood. Boys are three times more likely to have the condition than girls and there is no known cure.

Howard was first diagnosed when he was 10 years old.

“I remember being so exhausted at the end of days…trying to suppress it or maybe wait until I could get home in my room to really have an outburst,” Howard told ESPN. “People think they’re hiding it, but it’s very obvious to someone who has Tourette Syndrome that they’re being looked at and made fun of.”

As Howard struggled with the social stigma of the disorder, he flourished on the field, eventually becoming the top goalkeeper in the United States. Now, at age 35, Howard thinks his condition doesn’t hurt him, but rather helps him, on the field. Howard believes his Tourette’s gives him an edge, abnormally rapid reflexes allowing him to move faster than his opponents.

Olympic swimmer Anthony Ervin, who took gold at the 2000 summer games in Sydney, also suffers from Tourette’s, and reclaimed the national championship in the 50-meter freestyle just this week.

“The only sign at first was an uncontrollable spasmal blinking, and I would just keep blinking,” said the 33-year-old sprint swimmer. “It was really, really fast…and it would come in fits, and then I would kind of stop and I would almost be out of breath, because it was over.”

Whether his condition makes him one fastest swimmer in the country, Ervin said he can only speculate, but believes it does help him.

“There have been very positive ways that it has helped me,” he said, such as, “making me faster than everybody else…most of the time.”

While Ervin isn’t sure his Tourette’s gives him quicker reflexes, he, like Howard, believes he can somehow turn the tics into speed.

“The way that I have come to understand my Tourette’s is that there is an over excitation of the nervous system,” he said. “I can channel all that nervousness better than a majority of my competitors.”

Researchers believe Tourette syndrome originates in the basal ganglia region of the fore-brain, the same section of the brain that controls many motor functions.

Famed neurologist Oliver Sacks backs up the theory that Tourette’s can supercharge the brain, giving those with the disorder extraordinary quickness and swifter reaction times. However, Dr. Jonathan Mink, who specializes in Tourette syndrome and other movement disorders at the University of Rochester, and is the co-chair of the Tourette Syndrome Association’s scientific advisory board, is more skeptical, citing conflicting studies. He said the science isn’t there yet to definitively prove that Tourette’s can help give athletes with the condition superior skills and make, say, a basketball player the next Lebron James.

“The studies that have been done of people where actually measuring their movements, measuring how fast their movements are and the reaction times show that on average, people with Tourette Syndrome are about the same as people without,” he said.

In fact, Mink said there aren’t really any advantages to having Tourette’s, which carries heavy social stigma and physical exhaustion.

But it’s not just world-class athletes who see a positive side to their condition. TV and movie actor Dash Mihok, another Tourette’s sufferer, said he had every tic from involuntarily jumping up and down to vocal tics and touching his mouth to his knee.

“I think that the reason I became an actor, probably, underneath it, was that I spent my life acting normal,” the 40-year-old said. “I spent my life figuring out ways to make the room OK with me.”

But, remarkably, once he is on set and hears the director call “action,” his tics stop.

“Because it’s life or death, you know? It’s make it or break it,” Mihok said. “I don’t know if I ever realized, initially, that I didn’t tic when I was so focused on my acting. I think it was after I had already done it a few years, when I went, ‘Hey, interesting that this happens.'”

Likewise, Tim Howard said he never has tics when a ball is coming his way.

Dr. Jonathan Mink believes the reason for this may have to do with how these professionals are focusing their brains on the task at hand.

“I think it has to do with the mechanisms in the brain that are producing the tics, that they compete with the mechanisms of the brain that are producing the other activities: the playing, the sport, acting,” he said.

But once Howard leaves the field, or once a director on a movie set yells “cut” for Mihok, the tics reemerge.

“When we’re at rest, that’s when they come,” Mihok said. “But when you’re focused and your body, and your mind and your heart are set on what you are doing in that moment, you don’t tick. But then the minute it’s over, you get back to your twitching.”

Having learned how to deal with his condition over the years, Mihok said he now believes his Tourette’s is a gift.

“We are practicing, at all times, our reactions and how to hide, how to cover,” he said. “And with all these crazy contortions that we have to do…we’re quicker, dexterous. …I believe we have a tremendous amount of heart and work ethic.”

“There were many, many times where I looked up to whoever and shook my fist and balled my eyes out and just asked my mom, ‘Why? Why do I have this? Why? Why me? It’s not fair,’” Mihok added. “And I got through it. You become resilient and you get through it. …It’s completely a part of who I am, what my character is, and how I interact with the world, and people and relationships. And I don’t know what it would be like without it.”

For more information regarding Tourette syndrome, visit the National Tourette Syndrome Association website.

Watch the full story on ABC’s 20/20, Friday, Aug. 15 at 10 p.m. ET.

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US Consumes Most Calories of Any Country Around the World

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Given all the reports about how fat Americans have become over the past two decades, it’s been drummed in our heads that men should not exceed more than 2,400 calories daily while the limit for women is 2,000. Well, as the saying goes, good luck with that.

The health website Evoke.ie looked at the calorie intake of people from various countries around the world, and probably to the shock of no one, the U.S. ranks number one.

Americans consume an average of 3,770 calories a day, well over the limits set by health experts. Not to be undone, Austria is a close second at 3,760 while Italy is in third place with 3,660 a day.

Meanwhile, citizens of Israel, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and New Zealand all exceed 3,000 calories a day on average.

So, what’s the best way to burn off calories. Evoke.ie recommends running up and down the stairs for two-and-a-half minutes to melt off 200 calories. Doing jumping jacks for the same amount of time also burns 200 calories.

If you can figure out how to run up and down stairs while doing jumping jacks, you’ll lose weight in no time, provided you don’t lose your footing first.

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What’s Behind the Hunger for “The Hunger Games?”

Lionsgate(SALISBURY, Md.) — No doubt about it, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Twilight are three of the most popular book and movie series of our age.

However, Lance Garmon, a psychologist at Salisbury University in Maryland, says that the fascination many young adults have with these pop culture phenomena go beyond their sheer entertainment value.

To put it bluntly, Garmon says people who are really into The Hunger Games and the rest may have a fixation with death.

He had college students take surveys that dealt with The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Twilight as well as their own anxiety or obsession with dying. In some cases, the participants read The Hunger Games and Harry Potter books and watched the movies as many as six times.

Garmon and his research team surmised that these young adults were death-obsessed while those who saw the movies multiple times without having read the books had anxieties about death.

As for Twilight, these fans, particularly women, were drawn more by the romance in the series than any death aspect.

The bottom line: the attraction of these series is to satisfy a deep-seated fascination with death or romance, mainly to give fans some inner satisfaction.

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