Review Category : Health

Docs Warn Parents: Stay Away from ‘Measles Parties’

DragonImages/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — California health officials are warning parents not to hold “measles parties” that intentionally expose their children to measles and other childhood diseases.

The California Department of Public Health, “strongly recommends against the intentional exposure of children to measles as it unnecessarily places the exposed children at potentially grave risk and could contribute to further spread of the outbreak,” the agency said in a statement on Monday.

Measles parties were popular in the 1950s and 1960s before the MMR vaccine program was introduced for measles, mumps, and rubella. The practice of measles parties is based on the belief that infected children will build up immunity to the virus because once someone has the measles they cannot catch it again.

But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also strongly discourages intentional measles exposure. The virus is particularly dangerous for children under five. In a worst-case scenario, it can cause pneumonia, brain swelling or death.

Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News chief health and medical editor, echoed the same concerns about measles parties.

“This is a really bad idea,” he said. “Although most children recover from chicken pox and measles without a problem, not all do. The vaccines are far safer than the diseases.”

The CDC released new information earlier today revealing there are now 121 confirmed measles cases in 17 states since Jan. 1. Health officials believe the most recent outbreak originated earlier this year with group of unvaccinated people at Disneyland in California.

Besser cautioned that measles is a highly contagious disease that can linger in the air for up to two hours after exposure.

Symptoms include high fever, runny nose, pink eye, cough, and rash. People who are infected are contagious up to four days before symptoms appear and four days afterward.

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Group Treadmill Classes Give SoulCycle a Run for Its Money

YanLev/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Every Saturday morning, a pack of ten runners blasts through 45 minutes worth of sprints and hills. But rather than training on a track or the road, they take the Precision Running class held on a bank of treadmills at an Equinox Fitness Club in lower Manhattan, New York.

Gyms all across the country are adding similar treadmill classes to their group fitness schedules in hopes they will do for the treadmill what SoulCycle has done for the stationary bike.

Most exercisers approach treadmill workouts as a necessary yet mind-numbing evil for burning calories and improving fitness, said David Siik, who created the Precision Running class concept for Equinox. By building a class around the machines, you establish a group dynamic and add a motivational push, he said.

“Creating complex and mathematical runs and presenting them in an exciting and easy-to-follow format creates a very inspired and engaging experience,” Siik said. “You will never be bored again on the treadmill — that is a promise I make to everyone who takes this class.”

A typical treadmill workout starts with a few minutes of warm up, followed by a series of intervals choreographed with changes in pace and incline. It ends with a cool down, some stretching and work on the core muscles of the abs and back, an area where many runners are notoriously weak. Most workouts last between 30 and 90 minutes.

“Runners of all levels can do essentially the same routine and train together,” said Debora Warner, founder of Mile High Run Club, a treadmill class studio in Manhattan. “We have people who are training for their first race and some people training for ultra-marathons all in the same group.”

Because they follow the same basic set of instructions but adjust the machine’s controls to suit their own personal ability, a 10-minute miler can run alongside a 6-minute miler and get a similar workout, Warner said.

The classes have proven so popular that Equinox has added half a dozen to the weekly schedule. Mile High’s prime time workouts in the mornings, evenings and weekends are often sold out and they’ve recently added six additional treadmills. Clubs like Barry’s Boot Camp in Nashville, Tennessee and Miami, and Tread in Dallas are also filling up their classes.

Considering the modern treadmill started out as a punishment for prisoners and spent decades in the lab as a tool for medical research — according to scholars at Houston University — the classes aren’t as tough a sell as you might think, Siik noted.

“[People] often just walk by a class, observe, and decide on their own, they want in on that,” he said.

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HPV Vaccine Does Not Increase Likelihood of Unsafe Sex for Girls: Study

Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — The vaccine used to guard against the human papillomavirus does not lead young people and teens to engage in more unsafe sex, according to a study released on Monday.

The HPV vaccine has been on the market since 2006, but is not as widely used as other recommended vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The vaccine, given in three doses, is recommended for both boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 12. Just one dose of the vaccine cut down the risk of contracting HPV by 82 percent, according to a 2010 CDC study.

In spite of its success, just 57 percent of female teens received at least one dose and 38 percent of male teens had received all three doses in 2013, according to the CDC.

Dr. Anupam Jena, lead author of the study and a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, said one likely cause for the low use of vaccine is that many parents and physicians are apprehensive about the possibility that the vaccine could lead to an increase in unsafe sex among teens and young adults.

“I’d like to emphasize that it’s a real concern. It’s not something to automatically dismiss but that’s why we need some scientific evidence to show we’re on the right path,” said Jena, an assistant professor of Health Care Policy and Medicine at the Harvard Medical School.

In the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Jena and his colleagues combed an insurance database to figure out whether people who had the vaccine had higher rates of sexually transmitted infections than those who did not get the vaccine.

The researchers looked at the medical history between 2005 and 2010 of 21,000 girls between the ages of 12 to 18, who had been given the vaccine, and compared them with 180,000 women who did not have the vaccine. The study found that the vaccinated women did not have higher rates of sexually transmitted infections, suggesting that they did not have increased rates of unsafe sex.

Jena said U.S. HPV vaccination rates pale in comparison to similar countries such as Australia, where around 80 to 90 percent of eligible young people are vaccinated. He said he hoped the research would encourage parents and physicians to get their children vaccinated.

“This is a reasonable concern to have had, but the evidence suggests that it’s not important,” Jena said. “[Physicians] can be reassured by these findings and use them to talk to their patients.”

Robert Bednarczyk, assistant professor in the Hubert Department of Global health at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, wrote a commentary on the study for the Journal of the American Medical Association and said physicians have not recommended the vaccine as much as other recommended vaccines given to teens such as shots for meningitis.

Because HPV is a sexually transmitted virus, Bednarczyk said some doctors are uncomfortable talking about potential sexual activity with their patients and their parents.

“Some of them even said, ‘I think 11 is too young to have this discussion with patient,” Bednarczyk said.

But Bednarczyk points out the vaccine is supposed to be given well before an adolescent is exposed to the virus through possible sexual activity and that the way the virus is transmitted does not need to be discussed in detail.

“Do you go into a detailed discussion about why it can spread and how it can spread?” said Bednarczyk, who pointed out doctors don’t often go into great detail about how bacterial meningitis is spread before they suggest their patients get vaccinated. “This is a vaccine that’s recommended for you and it’s going to keep you from getting sick.”

Bednarczyk also pointed out another reason the shot is recommended at a young age is because younger patients tend to have a stronger immune response than older teens.

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College-Educated Cops Only Have Some Degree of Success

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(EAST LANSING, Mich.) — A new study suggests that a college degree may be a help and a hindrance for today’s police officers.

Michigan State University criminologist William Terrill says that on the one hand, college-educated cops are less likely to use force than their peers who didn’t earn a degree.

This choice to handle possibly volatile matters in a more controlled-way is seen as an important way of fostering better community relations.

Yet, the study of 2,100 police officers from seven departments across the U.S. finds that those who went to college expressed more frustration with their jobs and their supervisors.

Much of this has to do with getting assigned to patrolling high-crime areas, which often goes to the newer recruits.

Another problem is that cops who majored in criminal justice or other fields such as sociology or psychology often have to resort to older and more established ways of policing that aren’t as effective as what they learned in college.

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Older Baby Boomers More Health Conscious

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Baby Boomers might have thought they’d live forever when they were young but now that a growing number of them are 65 and older, many are focusing on just staying healthy.

That’s the finding of a consumer survey by the consulting firm AlixPartners, which reveals that 45 percent of senior Boomers are spending at least 20 percent of their grocery budget on health and wellness products.

Meanwhile, nearly two in ten of those 65 and older spend over 40 percent of their bill at the market on food and beverages considered good for their health.

Among other things, senior Boomers say they look for labeling on products that indicates foods are low carb, trans-fat free and sugar free.

They’re also eschewing old favorites like red meat and processed food for seafood and fiber.

However, one old habit that seems to die hard is flavor, with “taste” deemed an important attribute for 44 percent of Boomers 65 and older.

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Equal Finances Put One- and Two-Parent Homes on Equal Footing

iStock/Thinkstock(COLLEGE PARK, Md.) — No one doubts that a lot of single parents have a tougher job raising kids than when a household has two parents.

However, a new study by the Council on Contemporary Families says that quality of parenting has much less to do with whether there are one or two adults in the home than how well they’re doing financially.

Overall, Sandra Hofferth of the University of Maryland says the further away families are from the poverty line is a better predictor of parenting style.

For instance, kids whose parents are at least 200 percent above the poverty line are far more likely to engage in after-school sports than those in poverty. Although more children of two-parent homes take part in sports, the difference is negligible if single parents are also more financially secure.

Meanwhile, one- and two-parent households are also on equal footing when neither are financially disadvantaged when it comes to reading to their kids, limiting TV and even sharing meals five nights a week where single parents show a slight edge.

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Woman Defends Herself After Husband Says She Gave up Newborn With Down Syndrome

Courtesy Samuel Forrest(NEW YORK) — A woman accused by her husband of divorcing him and giving up their newborn son after learning he was born with Down syndrome called the decision the “hardest moment” of her life.

Ruzan Badalyan gave birth to Leo while in Armenia. Her husband, Samuel Forrest, told ABC News this week that she divorced him shortly after the boy’s birth.

“I remember the sad faces of my relatives and the doctors and the diagnosis that sounded like a verdict: ‘Your child was born with a Down syndrome.’ One can never imagine my feelings at that moment,” Badalyan wrote in a Facebook post. “Hardly had I recovered from the first shock, when the doctor approached me and told me to voice my decision whether I was going to keep Leo or not. I had to make the most ruthless decision in my life within several hours.”

Badalyan wrote that she spent several hours after her son’s birth trying to decide on his “best destiny.” She said that Forrest accepted that their son’s interest should be first and that “only his move to another country could remedy the situation.”

Calls to Badalyan and Forrest have not yet been returned.

While Forrest said that his wife gave him an ultimatum after learning their son had Down syndrome, Badalyan said her husband did not support her while she weighed the decision.

“In the hardest moment of my life when my husband should be next to me and support and help to take the right decision, I could not find any support from his side,” she wrote. “After that incident, he left the hospital notifying me hours later that he was taking the kid with him, that he is going to leave the country for New Zealand and I do not have anything to do with the situation. Without giving me any option and trying to find with me any solution in this hardest situation, he started to circulate the story on every possible platform without even trying to give me a voice accusing that I put him an ultimatum marriage or the baby, which is absolutely not true. I tried several times to communicate but he never tried to listen me and to find common solutions. The only response was the accusation from his part.

Forrest, who plans to take Leo to his native New Zealand, said Badalyan filed for divorce one week after Leo’s birth.

“Sam has never suggested joining him and bringing up the child together in his country,” wrote Badalyan. “Neither did he tell me anything on the day we filed for divorce. The only thing he kept saying was that he didn’t want us to separate, whereas my question what we should do always remained unanswered.”

“As a mother who has faced this severe situation, being in the hospital under stress and depression, experiencing enormous pressure from every side, not finding any support from my husband’s part on any possibilities of giving a child decent life in Armenia, I faced two options: to take care of the child on my own in Armenia, or to abandon my maternal instincts and extend the baby an opportunity to enjoy a decent life with his father in New Zealand. I went for the second option,” she continued.

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Woman Defends Herself After Husband Says She Gave up Newborn With Down Syndrome

Courtesy Samuel Forrest(NEW YORK) — A woman accused by her husband of divorcing him and giving up their newborn son after learning he was born with Down syndrome called the decision the “hardest moment” of her life.

Ruzan Badalyan gave birth to Leo while in Armenia. Her husband, Samuel Forrest, told ABC News this week that she divorced him shortly after the boy’s birth.

“I remember the sad faces of my relatives and the doctors and the diagnosis that sounded like a verdict: ‘Your child was born with a Down syndrome.’ One can never imagine my feelings at that moment,” Badalyan wrote in a Facebook post. “Hardly had I recovered from the first shock, when the doctor approached me and told me to voice my decision whether I was going to keep Leo or not. I had to make the most ruthless decision in my life within several hours.”

Badalyan wrote that she spent several hours after her son’s birth trying to decide on his “best destiny.” She said that Forrest accepted that their son’s interest should be first and that “only his move to another country could remedy the situation.”

Calls to Badalyan and Forrest have not yet been returned.

While Forrest said that his wife gave him an ultimatum after learning their son had Down syndrome, Badalyan said her husband did not support her while she weighed the decision.

“In the hardest moment of my life when my husband should be next to me and support and help to take the right decision, I could not find any support from his side,” she wrote. “After that incident, he left the hospital notifying me hours later that he was taking the kid with him, that he is going to leave the country for New Zealand and I do not have anything to do with the situation. Without giving me any option and trying to find with me any solution in this hardest situation, he started to circulate the story on every possible platform without even trying to give me a voice accusing that I put him an ultimatum marriage or the baby, which is absolutely not true. I tried several times to communicate but he never tried to listen me and to find common solutions. The only response was the accusation from his part.

Forrest, who plans to take Leo to his native New Zealand, said Badalyan filed for divorce one week after Leo’s birth.

“Sam has never suggested joining him and bringing up the child together in his country,” wrote Badalyan. “Neither did he tell me anything on the day we filed for divorce. The only thing he kept saying was that he didn’t want us to separate, whereas my question what we should do always remained unanswered.”

“As a mother who has faced this severe situation, being in the hospital under stress and depression, experiencing enormous pressure from every side, not finding any support from my husband’s part on any possibilities of giving a child decent life in Armenia, I faced two options: to take care of the child on my own in Armenia, or to abandon my maternal instincts and extend the baby an opportunity to enjoy a decent life with his father in New Zealand. I went for the second option,” she continued.

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Woman Defends Herself After Husband Says She Gave up Newborn With Down Syndrome

Courtesy Samuel Forrest(NEW YORK) — A woman accused by her husband of divorcing him and giving up their newborn son after learning he was born with Down syndrome called the decision the “hardest moment” of her life.

Ruzan Badalyan gave birth to Leo while in Armenia. Her husband, Samuel Forrest, told ABC News this week that she divorced him shortly after the boy’s birth.

“I remember the sad faces of my relatives and the doctors and the diagnosis that sounded like a verdict: ‘Your child was born with a Down syndrome.’ One can never imagine my feelings at that moment,” Badalyan wrote in a Facebook post. “Hardly had I recovered from the first shock, when the doctor approached me and told me to voice my decision whether I was going to keep Leo or not. I had to make the most ruthless decision in my life within several hours.”

Badalyan wrote that she spent several hours after her son’s birth trying to decide on his “best destiny.” She said that Forrest accepted that their son’s interest should be first and that “only his move to another country could remedy the situation.”

Calls to Badalyan and Forrest have not yet been returned.

While Forrest said that his wife gave him an ultimatum after learning their son had Down syndrome, Badalyan said her husband did not support her while she weighed the decision.

“In the hardest moment of my life when my husband should be next to me and support and help to take the right decision, I could not find any support from his side,” she wrote. “After that incident, he left the hospital notifying me hours later that he was taking the kid with him, that he is going to leave the country for New Zealand and I do not have anything to do with the situation. Without giving me any option and trying to find with me any solution in this hardest situation, he started to circulate the story on every possible platform without even trying to give me a voice accusing that I put him an ultimatum marriage or the baby, which is absolutely not true. I tried several times to communicate but he never tried to listen me and to find common solutions. The only response was the accusation from his part.

Forrest, who plans to take Leo to his native New Zealand, said Badalyan filed for divorce one week after Leo’s birth.

“Sam has never suggested joining him and bringing up the child together in his country,” wrote Badalyan. “Neither did he tell me anything on the day we filed for divorce. The only thing he kept saying was that he didn’t want us to separate, whereas my question what we should do always remained unanswered.”

“As a mother who has faced this severe situation, being in the hospital under stress and depression, experiencing enormous pressure from every side, not finding any support from my husband’s part on any possibilities of giving a child decent life in Armenia, I faced two options: to take care of the child on my own in Armenia, or to abandon my maternal instincts and extend the baby an opportunity to enjoy a decent life with his father in New Zealand. I went for the second option,” she continued.

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Sixteen Test Positive for Tuberculosis at California High School

Creatas/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — Sixteen people tested positive for Tuberculosis at a California high school, the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services said Friday night.

The testing was done as part of an investigation launched after one student was diagnosed with the active tuberculosis disease. The first case was announced on Feb. 1.

Of the 155 students and staff at Florin High School, 16 tested positive for exposure to tuberculosis. Those individuals will be evaluated further using chest X-rays and will be given preventative treatment. Further testing will be conducted in eight to 10 weeks, as it may take that long to develop a reaction to the test.

The SCDHHS informed residents that the latent form of tuberculosis is not infectious, but that preventative treatment is necessary to stop the disease from progressing to its active form.

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