Review Category : Health

Baby Born to Mother in Coma

Courtesy the Lande Family(SAN FRANCISCO) — John Farrell’s pregnant daughter went into a coma 10 weeks ago, but now it’s not hard for him to be joyful.

On Thursday, he became a grandfather.

“She’s wanted to have a child for years,” he told ABC News. “Today, I can’t begin to tell you how happy we are. It’s indescribable.”

Melissa Carleton, 39, became comatose in March after suffering a seizure caused by a benign brain tumor, Farrell said. Although she has been hospitalized and unable to speak since she was 26 weeks pregnant, she carried her baby boy to full term and delivered him by C-section Thursday in San Francisco.

Carleton’s husband, Brian Lande, has barely left her side, according to ABC News affiliate KFSN-TV.

“I know that being able to love this little guy is going to be a wonderful experience, but I also know it’s going to be very hard for me to know that I am going to be the one to hold this baby first,” Lande told KFSN-TV before the birth.

Doctors discovered Carleton’s tumor during her second trimester after headaches landed her in the emergency room, Lande wrote on a GoFundMe page created to help cover the family’s medical expenses and other bills.

Carleton decided to wait until the baby was born to undergo surgery to remove the tumor, but her health deteriorated too quickly, Lande told KFSN-TV. In March, she struggled to walk from the hospital parking lot to its doors, stopping frequently to rest on the ground.

The following morning, Carleton had a seizure that damaged part of her brain and prompted doctors to perform emergency surgery to remove the tumor, Lande said.

“She was also terrified that she would miss the baby and something would happen to her and she wouldn’t get to meet our son and she wouldn’t get to participate in being a mother,” Lande told KFSN-TV.

The surgery went fine, but the seizure left her “unable to fully wake up,” according to the station.

Although Carleton is in a coma, she’s able to open her eyes and squeeze her family members’ hands, Farrell said. And Thursday morning, just before surgery to give birth to her son, she was the most awake Farrell has seen her in weeks.

“In a few tender moments, she reached out to Brian, took his cheek, pulled his cheek down to her face and held it there,” Farrell said. “It was the first time she had hugged Brian since this trauma happened.”

He said they’ll be sure to let her hold her son, even if they have to help her a little bit.

Once Carleton recovers from surgery, she will be moved to a rehabilitation facility, where doctors hope she’ll come out of her comatose state, according to KFSN-TV.

“Though we have a daughter that is in the state that she’s in right now, we will also have a grandchild,” Farrell said just minutes before the birth. “To be here at this point is a great gift for her. It’s a great gift for us. It’s a great gift for her husband, Brian. It’s going to be easy today to be joyful and happy.”

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How Yelp Can Help Track Food Poisoning

Spencer Platt/Getty Images)(NEW YORK) — It’s a site designed to help consumers decide where to eat. Now, New York City health officials may have found a new use for the popular restaurant review site Yelp: spotting foodborne disease outbreaks.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) teamed up with Yelp and Columbia University researchers to comb through nearly 300,000 Yelp reviews of city restaurants. They then whittled the list down to 468 reviews that suggested experiences consistent with a foodborne illness, and found that only 3 percent of of them had ever been reported to the NYC Department of Health.

The researchers subsequently interviewed 27 of the reviewers. From these interviews, they identified previously unknown and unreported disease outbreaks at three restaurants, which accounted for 16 illnesses. Further investigation into two of the three restaurants identified multiple violations including mouse activity, live roaches and improperly sanitized work surfaces.

Dr. Sharon Balter, an author of the report published Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the idea of using Yelp to track potential outbreaks came from a member of her team, who was a fan of the site.

“[We thought], ‘Wow if we could sort through all these Yelp posts, when we found groups of postings where groups of people got sick… it could help us identify an outbreak,” she said.

The fact that the strategy worked to actually identify outbreaks, Balter said, holds possible promise for future investigations.

“We didn’t really know what we would find, but we were really excited that we found three outbreaks,” she said, adding that in the future her team will “try to broaden it by using other social media sites.”

Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University, said the approach was intriguing.

“My hat is off to the folks at DOHMH for pursuing it,” said Schaffner, who was not involved with the study. “It is innovative, and different public health agencies should try to do these experiments to see how we can integrate social media with public health.”

“This will be an article that will be read by all of us in public health,” Schaffner added, but he cautioned that uncovering true outbreaks in a sea of social media comments could be a challenge.

“Even among those who expressed a concern.. there was still a further profound reduction when they got to the actual number of outbreaks,” he said.

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Wrong Women Getting Double Mastectomies, Study Finds

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A growing number of women with cancer in one breast are choosing to have both breasts removed. But new research suggests that the women who should be doing this aren’t — and, ironically, those who don’t need to take this approach are opting for it.

The study, published Wednesday in JAMA Surgery, reveals what some doctors are pointing to as a problematic trend — as well as possible evidence of a breakdown in communication between women anxious about a breast cancer diagnosis and their doctors.

A team of researchers from various institutions surveyed nearly 1,400 women who had received a breast cancer diagnosis. For about 10 percent of these women, the procedure to remove both the cancerous breast and the non-cancerous breast — a procedure known as contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) — was medically indicated. The other 90 percent lacked the genetic risk factors and family history that would necessitate this more extreme option.

The researchers found that only about a quarter of the women who should have gotten CPM actually went through with the surgery. But they also found that, in seven out of 10 of the women who did opt for CPM, the surgery was not medically necessary.

“We’ve been interested in this for a while and knew something else had to be going on to explain why more women were having this surgery,” said lead study author Dr. Sarah Hawley, associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan. She said that the responses to the survey questions revealed that for nine out of 10 women who chose CPM, fear of recurrence was a strong motivator.

Hawley added that another factor may also be at play — the celebrity factor.

“We’ve seen some celebrities getting the procedure and it is getting a lot of media attention,” she said. “It would be great if we had another public figure who had the other options successfully get some media attention.”

Angelina Jolie has spoken pubicly about her decision to have a double mastectomy.

Breast cancer experts not involved with the research agreed that the role of fear in the decision to have both breasts removed is pervasive.

“This is a very important paper,” said Dr. Craig Henderson, an oncologist at UCSF. “This is my experience with my patients. I think that once diagnosed with breast cancer, patients are very apprehensive about the recurrence, especially in the opposite breast.”

“The main stimulus for CPM comes primarily from the patient, not from the physician,” he added.

This fear may be leading to unnecessary surgeries. According to the National Cancer Institute, most women with breast cancer actually have a low risk of developing the disease in their opposite breast. In these patients, CPM has not been proven to improve their chances of survival. Furthermore, this surgery carries the additional risks seen with any aggressive surgery.

Dr. Judy Boughey, a breast surgeon at Mayo Clinic who was not involved in the study, said breast cancer patients often have various reasons for either opting for or avoiding surgery to remove a healthy breast.

“I believe that both the fear factor, as well as the ‘taking control’ factor, weigh heavily on a patient’s mind,” Boughey said. “Often we educate them that removing the normal breast is unlikely to have significant impact on their outcome, yet patients frequently feel that at least they are taking the more aggressive route and doing everything in their own control to minimize the risk of… cancer [in the other breast].”

Boughey added that those women who go against advice to have both breasts removed may also do so for a number of reasons.

“Even for those with ‘an indication’ to pursue CPM, this is still a very personal decision and is not necessarily medically required, but an option for the woman to consider,” she said.

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Wrong Women Getting Double Mastectomies, Study Finds

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A growing number of women with cancer in one breast are choosing to have both breasts removed. But new research suggests that the women who should be doing this aren’t — and, ironically, those who don’t need to take this approach are opting for it.

The study, published Wednesday in JAMA Surgery, reveals what some doctors are pointing to as a problematic trend — as well as possible evidence of a breakdown in communication between women anxious about a breast cancer diagnosis and their doctors.

A team of researchers from various institutions surveyed nearly 1,400 women who had received a breast cancer diagnosis. For about 10 percent of these women, the procedure to remove both the cancerous breast and the non-cancerous breast — a procedure known as contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) — was medically indicated. The other 90 percent lacked the genetic risk factors and family history that would necessitate this more extreme option.

The researchers found that only about a quarter of the women who should have gotten CPM actually went through with the surgery. But they also found that, in seven out of 10 of the women who did opt for CPM, the surgery was not medically necessary.

“We’ve been interested in this for a while and knew something else had to be going on to explain why more women were having this surgery,” said lead study author Dr. Sarah Hawley, associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan. She said that the responses to the survey questions revealed that for nine out of 10 women who chose CPM, fear of recurrence was a strong motivator.

Hawley added that another factor may also be at play — the celebrity factor.

“We’ve seen some celebrities getting the procedure and it is getting a lot of media attention,” she said. “It would be great if we had another public figure who had the other options successfully get some media attention.”

Angelina Jolie has spoken pubicly about her decision to have a double mastectomy.

Breast cancer experts not involved with the research agreed that the role of fear in the decision to have both breasts removed is pervasive.

“This is a very important paper,” said Dr. Craig Henderson, an oncologist at UCSF. “This is my experience with my patients. I think that once diagnosed with breast cancer, patients are very apprehensive about the recurrence, especially in the opposite breast.”

“The main stimulus for CPM comes primarily from the patient, not from the physician,” he added.

This fear may be leading to unnecessary surgeries. According to the National Cancer Institute, most women with breast cancer actually have a low risk of developing the disease in their opposite breast. In these patients, CPM has not been proven to improve their chances of survival. Furthermore, this surgery carries the additional risks seen with any aggressive surgery.

Dr. Judy Boughey, a breast surgeon at Mayo Clinic who was not involved in the study, said breast cancer patients often have various reasons for either opting for or avoiding surgery to remove a healthy breast.

“I believe that both the fear factor, as well as the ‘taking control’ factor, weigh heavily on a patient’s mind,” Boughey said. “Often we educate them that removing the normal breast is unlikely to have significant impact on their outcome, yet patients frequently feel that at least they are taking the more aggressive route and doing everything in their own control to minimize the risk of… cancer [in the other breast].”

Boughey added that those women who go against advice to have both breasts removed may also do so for a number of reasons.

“Even for those with ‘an indication’ to pursue CPM, this is still a very personal decision and is not necessarily medically required, but an option for the woman to consider,” she said.

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Wrong Women Getting Double Mastectomies, Study Finds

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A growing number of women with cancer in one breast are choosing to have both breasts removed. But new research suggests that the women who should be doing this aren’t — and, ironically, those who don’t need to take this approach are opting for it.

The study, published Wednesday in JAMA Surgery, reveals what some doctors are pointing to as a problematic trend — as well as possible evidence of a breakdown in communication between women anxious about a breast cancer diagnosis and their doctors.

A team of researchers from various institutions surveyed nearly 1,400 women who had received a breast cancer diagnosis. For about 10 percent of these women, the procedure to remove both the cancerous breast and the non-cancerous breast — a procedure known as contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) — was medically indicated. The other 90 percent lacked the genetic risk factors and family history that would necessitate this more extreme option.

The researchers found that only about a quarter of the women who should have gotten CPM actually went through with the surgery. But they also found that, in seven out of 10 of the women who did opt for CPM, the surgery was not medically necessary.

“We’ve been interested in this for a while and knew something else had to be going on to explain why more women were having this surgery,” said lead study author Dr. Sarah Hawley, associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan. She said that the responses to the survey questions revealed that for nine out of 10 women who chose CPM, fear of recurrence was a strong motivator.

Hawley added that another factor may also be at play — the celebrity factor.

“We’ve seen some celebrities getting the procedure and it is getting a lot of media attention,” she said. “It would be great if we had another public figure who had the other options successfully get some media attention.”

Angelina Jolie has spoken pubicly about her decision to have a double mastectomy.

Breast cancer experts not involved with the research agreed that the role of fear in the decision to have both breasts removed is pervasive.

“This is a very important paper,” said Dr. Craig Henderson, an oncologist at UCSF. “This is my experience with my patients. I think that once diagnosed with breast cancer, patients are very apprehensive about the recurrence, especially in the opposite breast.”

“The main stimulus for CPM comes primarily from the patient, not from the physician,” he added.

This fear may be leading to unnecessary surgeries. According to the National Cancer Institute, most women with breast cancer actually have a low risk of developing the disease in their opposite breast. In these patients, CPM has not been proven to improve their chances of survival. Furthermore, this surgery carries the additional risks seen with any aggressive surgery.

Dr. Judy Boughey, a breast surgeon at Mayo Clinic who was not involved in the study, said breast cancer patients often have various reasons for either opting for or avoiding surgery to remove a healthy breast.

“I believe that both the fear factor, as well as the ‘taking control’ factor, weigh heavily on a patient’s mind,” Boughey said. “Often we educate them that removing the normal breast is unlikely to have significant impact on their outcome, yet patients frequently feel that at least they are taking the more aggressive route and doing everything in their own control to minimize the risk of… cancer [in the other breast].”

Boughey added that those women who go against advice to have both breasts removed may also do so for a number of reasons.

“Even for those with ‘an indication’ to pursue CPM, this is still a very personal decision and is not necessarily medically required, but an option for the woman to consider,” she said.

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Large Study of Mobile Phones’ Effects on Young Brains in the Works

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — The jury is still out on the possible effects mobile phones might have on the human brain, since the technology is relatively new.

However, British researchers might have a better understanding about phone usage by children once it finishes conducting a large study on how these gadgets could affect developing brains.

Scientists from the Imperial College London will measure cognitive skills of youngsters ages 11 and 12 and then follow up with more tests two years later to learn how phones and other wireless technologies are affecting adolescents.

In addition to classroom-based computerized tasks, the youngsters, as well as their parents, will be asked questions about their use of mobile phones and other technologies, along with details about their lifestyle.

The study involving 2,500 children, commissioned by the British Department of Health, will get underway in September. Imperial College London is currently conducting a separate study on the effects of phone usage on 29,000 adults in five European countries.

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Viral Cancer Ad the Result of Makeup and Bald Cap

Courtesy Children’s Cancer Center at University of Mississippi Health(JACKSON, Miss.) — A little boy’s sick/healthy cancer photo has gone viral in the last several days, garnering headlines about the “striking” and “inspiring” transformation he underwent. But the magic of medicine depicted in the advertisement is actually the magic of makeup, a bald cap and Photoshop.

The “Proof of Life” ad featuring a boy identified only as “Noah,” an “actual patient” at the Children’s Cancer Center at University of Mississippi Health Care, is a reenactment of the boy’s story rather than real photos of his progress, as several publications wrongly assumed.

“They did the makeup and everything on him,” the boy’s mother, Christy Moudy, told ABC News of the photo shoot, adding that the experience was positive but difficult for her. “It brought back so many memories. It was so heartbreaking.”

Noah Moudy really did battle cancer, but not when he was 7, which is how old he was when both photos were taken three years ago.

When Noah was 4 years old, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia called acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, said Moudy, 38, of Petal, Mississippi. He underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant about two years before the hospital asked him to participate in the ad.

Noah looked even worse when he was undergoing treatment than he did under the layers of makeup, Moudy said.

“During his transplant, oh my God, he was so skinny. Oh, it was horrible,” Moudy said. “After that, he was a champion.”

Now, Noah is 10 years old and has been cancer-free for five years, Moudy said. Her family loves to see the ad go viral, which she said happens about once a year.

“I don’t know if it’s the way they did the before and after of it, but it’s touched a lot of people,” she said. “It brought a lot of awareness.”

Although the ad made clear that Noah was diagnosed with cancer when he was 4 and “today, Noah is seven years old, living cancer free and dreaming,” it didn’t say that the photo was doctored to make him look sick.

“I suppose that the first response would be to cringe a little bit at that as being dishonest or not fully truthful, especially if there’s no caveat or small print that it’s a representation and not meant to depict reality,” said Dr. Matthew DeCamp, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.

Although DeCamp said he wasn’t aware of a specific code of ethics for hospital marketing, he said he would assume truthfulness would somehow be part of one.

Then again, he wondered whether photos of an actively sick child would actually be more exploitative than mocked-up photos, he said.

“I could at least imagine a scenario with a patient who is now very proud of what they just went through and wants to show people about it,” DeCamp said. “In a sense, wanting to normalize the experience of illness in a way that could be helpful to others.”

Jack Mazurak, a spokesman for Children’s Cancer Center at University of Mississippi Health Care, said some reports on the photo did not show it in the context of the full ad.

“This was part of an ad campaign centered on the concept of therapeutic success stories,” he told ABC News. “As the ad copy says, he was 4 when diagnosed and 7 when the campaign was created. … Some of the media attention in the last few days — social and traditional – didn’t include the ad copy.”

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Study Finds E-Cigarettes Successful in Helping Smokers Quit

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Smokers are more likely to succeed in quitting the habit if they use electronic cigarettes, compared to those who attempt to stop cold turkey or use replacements such as patches or gum, a new study finds.

A survey of 5,863 people discovered that those attempting to quit without professional help are approximately 60 percent more likely to stop with the help of e-cigarettes. The study, published in the journal Addiction on Wednesday, also found that 20 percent of smokers trying to kick the habit were successful when they used the devices.

Experts suggest that e-cigarettes could play a positive role in reducing smoking rates.

“E-cigarettes could substantially improve public health because of their widespread appeal and the huge health gains associated with stopping smoking,” said Robert West, professor at University College London and senior author of the study.

Still, the strongest evidence for success remains in government services offered for smoking cessation, he added, saying that they almost triple a smoker’s odds of quitting.

Another survey from the same team found that most e-cigarette users are partial toward “cigalike” products, instead of devices that use refillable cartridges and flavor variations.

“It is not clear whether long-term use of e-cigarettes carries health risks but from what is known about the contents of the vapour these will be much less than from smoking,” West said.

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High Cholesterol Levels Linked to Infertility, Study Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — High cholesterol levels may impact fertility in couples trying to conceive, a new study says.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the University at Buffalo, and Emory University in Atlanta found that couples which had a partner with high cholesterol took the longest time to reach pregnancy.

The effect was most apparent in pairs where women had the increased levels compared to couples where both partners had cholesterol levels in the acceptable range. A man with high cholesterol did not significantly impact pregnancy if the woman had normal levels.

Experts studied 501 couples from Michigan and Texas who were not being treated for infertility but were still trying to have a child. Women, ages 18 to 44, and men, who were over 18, provided blood samples. In general, those with high cholesterol either did not become pregnant or took a longer time to conceive. Among participants, researchers also discovered that Hispanic males had the highest cholesterol levels.

The data showed that cholesterol not only affects the risk for cardiovascular disease, but monitoring such rates may help those trying to become pregnant, study author Dr. Enrique Schisterman said.

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Mice Enjoy Running on Hamster Wheels, Researchers Find

Photos.com/Thinkstock(LEIDEN, Netherlands) — In the wheel of life, mice are really enjoying themselves.

Dutch researchers placed hamster wheels in natural settings to conduct an experiment into whether mice would actually run on the wheels for their own enjoyment. And it turns out, they did.

Johanna H. Meijer and Yuri Roberts, of Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, placed the exercise wheels outdoors in a yard garden and dune area, and were surprised to find multiple mice, as well as other animals, who chose to run on the wheels.

“Mice and some shrews, rats and frogs were seen to leave the wheel and then enter it again within minutes in order to continue wheel running. This observation indicates that wheel running may well be intentional rather than unintentional for these animals,” the pair wrote in their study, called “Wheel Running in the Wild.”

They did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

The researchers said that they were inspired to look into whether mice enjoyed running on the wheels after controversy over mice being held captive for experiments at research universities.

“Wheel running is often used in the laboratory for triggering enhanced activity levels, despite the common objection that this behaviour is an artefact of captivity and merely signifies neurosis or stereotypy,” they wrote.

“In a time when lifestyle in general and lack of exercise in particular are a major cause of disease in the modern world, research into physical activity is of utmost importance. Our findings may help alleviate the main concern regarding the use of running wheels in research on exercise,” they said.

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