Review Category : Health

Government Shutdown Baby Boom: Real or Coincidence?

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — It’s been nine months since the government shutdown, and some D.C. area hospitals are reporting a surprising development: Babies. Lots of them.

Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., has seen an additional three births per day in July, according to spokesman Gary Stephenson.

“We’re at near-capacity right now,” said Stephenson, joking that some furloughed workers “apparently found ways to amuse themselves.”

Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington delivered 99 more babies in April, May and June than they did in the same stretch last year, according to spokeswoman Maryanne Boster.

Both hospitals stopped short of crediting the two-week shutdown in October 2013 for the spike in births, stressing that the apparent link was purely anecdotal. But it’s not the first time a local baby boom has been blamed — albeit anecdotally — on an event nine months prior.

“It’s just so appealing to think, ‘Oh, it’s a full moon,’ or ‘it’s nine months after a blackout or Hurricane Sandy,’” said Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. “But there’s a lot of natural fluctuation.”

Some days Greenfield has 20 women in labor, she said. Other days, there are four.

“There are so many things that play into whether someone gets pregnant,” she said, explaining that a small proportion of furloughed couples would be fertile — not to mention eager to conceive — during the two-week shutdown.

“It’s such a sexy topic,” she said of the big event-baby boom link. “It just doesn’t appear to be real.”

But other OBs say they not only see an uptick in births nine months after unusual events like blizzards and blackouts, their patients say those events are why they got pregnant.

“I can say that I’ve definitely seen spikes after things like hurricanes, blackouts and blizzards,” said Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News’ senior medical contributor and a practicing OB/GYN. “I’m not aware of any hard data on this, but anecdotally, many obstetricians will ask their patients about the events nine months prior, and many women will say ‘Yes, we conceived during the blackout.'”

Ashton said it’s definitely possible that the link is coincidental, and said there tend to be seasonal fluctuations in birth rates as well.

Boster of Virginia Hospital Center said they expect to see the baby boom continue through the summer months “after the long, snowy winter.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Government Shutdown Baby Boom: Real or Coincidence?

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — It’s been nine months since the government shutdown, and some D.C. area hospitals are reporting a surprising development: Babies. Lots of them.

Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., has seen an additional three births per day in July, according to spokesman Gary Stephenson.

“We’re at near-capacity right now,” said Stephenson, joking that some furloughed workers “apparently found ways to amuse themselves.”

Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington delivered 99 more babies in April, May and June than they did in the same stretch last year, according to spokeswoman Maryanne Boster.

Both hospitals stopped short of crediting the two-week shutdown in October 2013 for the spike in births, stressing that the apparent link was purely anecdotal. But it’s not the first time a local baby boom has been blamed — albeit anecdotally — on an event nine months prior.

“It’s just so appealing to think, ‘Oh, it’s a full moon,’ or ‘it’s nine months after a blackout or Hurricane Sandy,’” said Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. “But there’s a lot of natural fluctuation.”

Some days Greenfield has 20 women in labor, she said. Other days, there are four.

“There are so many things that play into whether someone gets pregnant,” she said, explaining that a small proportion of furloughed couples would be fertile — not to mention eager to conceive — during the two-week shutdown.

“It’s such a sexy topic,” she said of the big event-baby boom link. “It just doesn’t appear to be real.”

But other OBs say they not only see an uptick in births nine months after unusual events like blizzards and blackouts, their patients say those events are why they got pregnant.

“I can say that I’ve definitely seen spikes after things like hurricanes, blackouts and blizzards,” said Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News’ senior medical contributor and a practicing OB/GYN. “I’m not aware of any hard data on this, but anecdotally, many obstetricians will ask their patients about the events nine months prior, and many women will say ‘Yes, we conceived during the blackout.'”

Ashton said it’s definitely possible that the link is coincidental, and said there tend to be seasonal fluctuations in birth rates as well.

Boster of Virginia Hospital Center said they expect to see the baby boom continue through the summer months “after the long, snowy winter.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Oldest Case of Down Syndrome Discovered in 1,500-Year-Old Skeleton

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A 1,500-year-old skeleton has shed new light on how ancient civilizations viewed those with genetic disorders. French researchers have found the oldest confirmed case of Down syndrome after uncovering the skeleton of a child with the genetic disorder.

A case study published in the International Journal of Pathology showed pictures of the skeleton buried near a church in Chalon-sur-Saône in eastern France. The skeleton featured a broad skull with flattened base and thinner skull bones, all telltale signs of Down syndrome.

Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition that is associated with intellectual disability, a characteristic facial appearance, and mild to moderate cognitive delays.

The researchers also noted that in spite of the evident genetic disorder the child did not appear to be stigmatized by the community, at least in its burial.

“This Down syndrome child was not treated differently at death than others in the community,” wrote lead author Maite Rivollat. “We interpret this as meaning that the child was maybe not stigmatized during life, the first time a Down syndrome individual has been so viewed in the context of the ancient community.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Girl Mauled by Raccoon Gets Man-Made Ear

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SPRING LAKE, Mich.) — An 11-year-old girl mauled by raccoon as a baby is recovering from surgery to attach a makeshift ear that was grown on her arm.

Charlotte Ponce of Spring Lake, Michigan, lost her right ear, nose and part of her lip in the 2002 attack.

“The raccoon pretty much ate the right side of her face, all the way back to the ear,” Charlotte’s adoptive mom, Sharon Ponce, told ABC News in an earlier interview. “Now, all she wants is to wear two earrings.”

In April, Charlotte underwent a seven-hour surgery to embed an ear-shaped scaffold carefully crafted from her own rib cartilage and embedded under the skin of her right her arm.

Doctors at Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Royal Oak transplanted the man-made ear to Charlotte’s head Thursday, according to the hospital.

Dr. Kongkrit Chiayasate, the plastic surgeon who performed the operation, said Charlotte was doing well and recovering in the hospital’s intensive care unit, where blood flow to her new ear is being monitored.

“First time we met her, she never made any eye contact, did not talk at all,” Chiayasate said of Charlotte’s growing confidence. “In the past two years, she’s transformed. She’s got more confidence.”

Charlotte has undergone at least 10 operations since 2012 and might need revision surgery as her face grows, Chiayasate said.

“If you look at her face, she’s beautiful,” said Chiayasate of seeing Charlotte’s transformation. “It’s just like your own child seeing them grow up.”

As for earrings, Chiayasate said Charlotte would be able to wear them as soon as she recovers and they no longer pose and infection risk.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

“Pawn Stars'” Corey Harrison Loses 192 Pounds

Photodisc/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — “Big Hoss” as they call Corey Harrison on Pawn Stars isn’t so big anymore as he’s dropped almost 200 pounds.

Harrison said that at his highest he weighed more than 400 pounds, but that after a doctor put him on preventative diabetes medication four years ago, he decided it was time for a change.

“I literally drove straight from the doctor to the lap-band center and had the surgery almost immediately,” Harrison told People magazine. “Back then, the surgery was too expensive for my bank account, so I had to pay with four credit cards, but it was something I had to do I was not going to get diabetes!”

The third generation pawn-shop owner said he dropped 50 pounds in the first few weeks and another 100 in the first year after having his surgery. Now he weighs 210 pounds.

“I could never go back to weighing as much as I did,” he added. “It made me realize what I ate, how I ate and what I did to myself.”

In the Pawn Stars season immediately after the surgery, viewers can see “Big Hoss” dedicated to dropping the weight, jumping rope in the back of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop that’s featured on the show. He also said he boxes 12 rounds five days a week, and now he can do things he hasn’t done since he was a kid, like snowboard.

“When I meet fans, they are always congratulating me on the weight loss,” Harrison said. “They actually say, ‘You look just like that guy from Pawn Stars, but you are a lot skinnier and better looking than him.'”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Should You Be Sipping Aloe Vera Juice this Summer?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Those prone to sunburn are no strangers to the healing properties of aloe vera. After all, the soothing succulent has been used to treat inflamed complexions for over 6,000 years.

But some enthusiasts have begun to incorporate the plant into not only their beauty routines, but also their diets. Katharine L’Heureux, who founded cult skincare line Kahina Giving Beauty in 2008, happily admits she’s drunk the “Kool-Aid.”

“We all know [aloe vera] heals sunburns, so it obviously has therapeutic properties,” she said.

“In terms of cosmetic use, it’s great,” L’Heureux said. “It’s lightly moisturizing without being greasy.”

The plant’s restorative potential so convinced L’Heureux that she based two Kahina products on it. Aloe vera leaf juice is listed as a lead ingredient in both Kahina Toning Mist and Kahina Night Cream. But while she had long used it “on its own” as a cooling treatment, L’Heureux had never sipped the hallowed stuff until a few weeks ago.

Last month, celebrated French facialist Kristina Holey prescribed L’Heureux the aloe-based elixir and guaranteed her a perceptible difference in the clarity of her skin.

L’Heureux confirmed that the practice, which is said to support good digestion, has had the promised effect: “It’s a holistic approach to skincare,” she said. “I just love it.”

Sabrina DeSousa, co-owner of health-conscious eatery Dimes in New York, is a believer as well.

“I take an ounce of aloe juice in the morning with apple cider vinegar,” said DeSousa, who blends aloe juice into the shop’s signature rose-water spray. “It’s not something I necessarily do every day for long periods of time. But I’ve been doing it on and off for about two years now.”

Rattling off the health benefits most often associated with the vitamin-rich juice and touted by L’Heureux and DeSousa, Real Nutrition founder Amy Shapiro, a registered dietician, told ABC News that she recommends a shot of it to dull-skinned patients seeking brighter complexions.

“It’s a great source of vitamin B-12 — especially for vegetarians and vegans, because that tends to be a vitamin that they’re lacking,” she said. The wonder plant, which is available at specialty stores and trendy outfits such as The Juice Press and Liqueteria, is also rich in antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, which are thought to combat free radicals.

“It’s 99 percent water, but it contains healing properties that act as an anti-inflammatory in the body,” said Lauren Felts, founder of The Holy Kale. Felts noted that the glycoproteins and polysaccharides that occur in aloe vera can help reduce swelling, calm intestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and even stabilize blood sugar.

Just don’t expect the tincture to go down easy.

“The flavor can be a little much for some people,” Shapiro said, which is why she advises that first-time imbibers mix it into a green juice or dissolve it in lemon water.

“The outside of the leaf can have a laxative effect, so start slowly,” Shapiro cautioned.

Converts claim the payoff is worth it. Shapiro emphasizes to clients that digestive health and radiant skin “go hand in hand.” Felts reminds them that many are more dehydrated than they realize.

Aloe vera “is extremely hydrating,” she said. It holds off thirst that can cause symptoms of exhaustion, fatigue and hunger. According to Felts, “an improvement in digestion” is the first benefit that those who drink it are going to enjoy.

“Eighty percent of your immunity lives in your gut,” DeSousa noted. “It’s just one of the things that you should definitely take care of. This is one good way to do it.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

CDC Holds Teleconference to Discuss Trio of Recent Scares

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control held a Friday teleconference to discuss three separate incidents involving CDC and National Institute of Health laboratories in recent weeks.

“Fundamentally what [these incidents] reveal is totally unacceptable behavior,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said. “These events should never have happened.”

In the first incident, the CDC said that a scientist working in one of the CDC’s bioterror labs, which supplied other, less secure labs, used a process that they thought would kill anthrax bacteria, but may not have. Still, the CDC says that the likelihood of people at other labs being exposed is “very, very unlikely.”

CDC tests say that it is “not impossible but extremely unlikely” that the active infectious anthrax bacteria ever left the CDC lab. Still, “that doesn’t excuse in any way what happened,” Frieden said.

Frieden called a second incident involving the inadvertent cross-contamination of a less dangerous form of animal influenza with the H5N1 avian influenza strain, “the most distressing [of the incidents].” The incident, which just came to light on Friday, took place about six weeks ago, the CDC said. The specimen, later sent to a United State Department of Agriculture lab, was determined to be behaving in unexpected ways before researchers identified the issue.

In response, the CDC is issuing a moratorium on biologic material leaving biosafety level three and four facilities, a director of lab safety was appointed and further investigation will be launched.

The third incident was the most recent, which involved the discovery of smallpox virus at an unapproved lab. All samples will be genetically sequenced and then destroyed, Frieden said.

Frieden cited ongoing health concerns involving MERS, Ebola and chikungunya in saying that the CDC has been “very busy,” saying that being busy is not an excuse. “When something like this happens here, I am deeply concerned about it.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Plus-Size Blogger’s Bikini Pic Goes Viral

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When author and blogger Jenny Trout made her New Year’s resolution in January to wear a two-piece bikini, her goal was not to lose weight.

Instead, Trout, a 33-year-old mother from Delton, Michigan, told followers of her blog, Trout Nation, that “this isn’t a weight loss goal because I don’t intend to lose weight to achieve it.”

Trout held true to her resolution, posing last month in a floral two-piece bikini on the shores of Michigan’s Lake Superior.

“I thought that this would be a good way to show people that it is not as scary as it sounds,” Trout told ABC News. “Look, if I could do it, you could too.”

“Doing this was a really big leap for me,” she said.

Trout wrote about the experience on her own blog and for Huffington Post in a post that has now gone viral.

“The reason these people do not want to see a fat body in a bikini is because traditionally, that garment is something a woman earns by proving herself attractive enough to exist,” Trout wrote.

The blog received over 300,000 likes on Facebook and comments like, “She’s beautiful,” “She looks fantastic” and “Good for her.”

The post also had its critics, with one commenter writing, “Fat isn’t just a look…it’s unhealthy.”

Body-image expert and the founder of “Break Free Beauty” Sarah Maria says the conflicting viewpoints are not surprising.

“We live in a culture that is very judgmental about the size of your body,” Maria told ABC News. “When someone like Jenny says, ‘I can wear a bikini if I want to regardless of what people think,’ it sparks a lot of debate.”

Trout says she hopes her bikini experience is inspiring. “If I could help someone push the limit, that would be the best thing in the world,” she said.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Cheryl Burke Condemns Body Bullies, Plastic Surgery Rumors

ABC/Craig Sjodin(LOS ANGELES) — Like many stars do, when dancer Cheryl Burke was on vacation in Cabo, Mexico, she decided to share a few photos with fans via her Facebook page.

She did not expect the bullying comments that would follow. While some attacked her figure, saying she has lost too much weight, others accused her of getting plastic surgery on her face.

“It’s one thing to see negative comments about yourself in the press, it’s another to be criticized by individual people on your own social media pages,” Burke told ABC News. “It’s much more personal. It hurts.”

The Dancing With the Stars pro, 30, is no stranger to controversy and even defended her 15-pound weight loss in May. But this latest round of insults caught her by surprise.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have a great group of fans who have always posted incredibly kind things on my pages. I was actually looking forward to posting vacation photos since I’ve been eating healthy and feeling so good,” she said. “I totally let my guard down and wasn’t expecting people to start hurling insults, especially things about me having fake lips and plastic surgery? That’s literally crazy. There are other photos where my lips look like that. I started thinking about re-posting those photos and then I realized I had to take a step back.”

What really shocked her were the people who made the mean comments. Burke noted that many of the commenters are adults, judging by their photos. Some of them even have children in their profile pictures.

“I’ve had some time to think about it all and I’ve found strength in just letting it go. I can’t let myself get hurt by it. I also can’t shut down and not post anything online,” she said. “There are all different types of people out there who are going to say all kinds of things, online and in real life. The important thing is to know which ones to listen to.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Study: Sex Addiction and Porn Addiction Trigger Similar Brain Activity

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study found that pornography triggers the same brain activity in individuals with so-called “sex addicts” as drugs do in the brains of drug addicts.

The study, published in the journal PLOS One, was led by researchers at the University of Cambridge and used functional MRIs to get a glimpse into the brain of 19 men affected by compulsive sexual behavior. Those scans were then compared to the same number of healthy volunteers.

Researchers found that three regions of the brain were more active in the sex addicts — the ventral striatum, the dorsal anterior cingulate and the amygdala. Those three regions of the brain are also activated in drug addicts who are shown drug-related stimuli. Researchers say the brain regions are linked to reward, motivation and cravings, as well as processing the significance of emotions and events.

Researchers also say that the patients with sex addiction began their exposure to pornography at an earlier age, on average, than the control group.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →