Review Category : Health

Snacking Makes the World Go Round

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Snacks are about as American as potato chips, chocolate and cheese. But they’re also popular in other parts of the world.

In fact, a Nielsen Global Survey of Snacking found that 91 percent of the 30,000 people polled in 60 countries say they snack at least once daily and one in five enjoy snacks three or four times on a typical day.

What’s more, snacking has become such a regular part of our routines that 45 percent of respondents say they sometime replace a regular meal. For instance, just over half claim to occasionally substitute a snack for breakfast while 43 percent have had one instead of lunch and 40 percent will make a snack dinner from time to time.

As for what people snack on in the U.S., the big three, in order, are chips, chocolate and cheese with close to two-thirds saying they’ve snacked on some kind of chip during the past month.

Meanwhile, the top snack globally is chocolate, although Europeans say their top pick is a piece of fruit.

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Cancer Doctors Target Obesity in Battle Against Cancer

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Top cancer doctors are calling for the recognition of obesity as a risk factor for some forms of cancer.

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, obesity is considered a risk factor for breast, prostate and colon cancers, among others. It is not, however, sufficiently recognized, doctors say. About 84,000 cancer diagnoses are believed to be attributed to obesity each year, along with 15 percent of cancer deaths.

The ASCO announced an anti-obesity initiative on Wednesday, including education, policy advocacy, research and clinical tools.

The group says that cancer diagnoses could be a “teachable moment” to motivate patients to improve their diet and lifestyle habits.

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Researchers Consider Link Between Adolescent Obesity and Colorectal Cancer

AlexRaths/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Adolescents who are obese may face an increased risk of colorectal cancer later on in life, researchers say.

According to a study presented at the American Association of Cancer Research Conference, researchers looked at data from 240,000 Swedish men and found that those who were obese as teenagers were 2.37 times as likely to develop colorectal cancer compared to those who they deemed “normal weight.”

The link between obesity and colorectal cancer has been seen in previous research, but the study is the first to find that risk begins at an earlier age.

Of note, the study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, and their restrictions for the categorization of “obese” are not clear.

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How the CDC Will Make Sure Ebola Doesn’t Spread in US

Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(DALLAS) — To stop the deadly Ebola virus from spreading in the U.S., health officials said they have already started tracking anyone involved with the first Ebola patient to be diagnosed here.

Officials from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control confirmed Tuesday that the first Ebola patient has been diagnosed in the U.S., after arriving from Liberia. In a press conference in Dallas, CDC director Tom Frieden said local health department officials were prepared and had already started tracking people who had come into contact with the unidentified Ebola patient now being treated in Dallas.

“I have no doubt that we will control this case of Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country,” said Frieden, who confirmed a CDC team was also en route to help track anyone connected to the infected patient.

To track any potential exposures and stop the outbreak, Frieden said medical officials will first interview the patient and then family members. From there officials will outline and investigate all of the patient’s movements after the symptoms appeared and he was contagious.

They will build “concentric circles,” with one circle representing everyone the patient could have exposed and then a second including all the other people those initial contacts have interacted with.

“With that we put together a map essentially that identifies the time, the place, the level of the contact,” said Frieden. “Then we use a concentric circle approach to identify those contacts, who might have had the highest risk of exposure, those with intermediate risk.”

Those at risk of being infected will be monitored for at least 21 days, which is the duration of the Ebola incubation period.

“This is core public health and it is what we do day in and day out and what we will be doing here to identify any possible spread and to ensure there aren’t further chains of transmission,” said Frieden.

Frieden confirmed the unidentified man arrived from Liberia on September 20 and was staying with family when he started to exhibit symptoms. Frieden repeated the unidentified patient did not have symptoms on his flight to the U.S., and that patients are not contagious until they exhibit symptoms.

The patient did not show symptoms until September 24, four days after arriving in the U.S. He sought medical care on September 26 and was admitted and placed in isolation on September 28.

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Thousands of West African Children Orphaned by Ebola

Bumbasor/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Nearly 4,000 children in West Africa have lost one or both parents to the ongoing Ebola outbreak, a staggering figure reported by the United Nations Children’s Fund on Tuesday.

“Thousands of children are living through the deaths of their mother, father or family members from Ebola,” UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa Manuel Fontaine said in a statement. “These children urgently need special attention and support; yet many of them feel unwanted and even abandoned.”

UNICEF’s report suggests that the number of children orphaned by the disease has “spiked” in the last few weeks and “is likely to double by mid-October.”

The organization is hoping to train 400 more mental health and social workers in Liberia to help support and provide care for those who “have been rejected by their communities or whose families have died.” An additional 2,500 Ebola survivors — now immune to the disease — will be given training in Sierra Leone in the next six months in the hope of providing care to quarantined children in treatment centers.

UNICEF will also provide “psychosocial support” to about 60,000 vulnerable children and families in Guinea.

“Ebola is turning a basic human reaction like comforting a sick child into a potential death sentence,” Fontaine said. “We cannot respond to a crisis of this nature and this scale in the usual ways. We need more courage, more creativity and far far more resources.”

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First Ebola Case Diagnosed in US Confirmed by CDC

James Gathany/CDC(ATLANTA) — The first Ebola case has been diagnosed in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday.

Although American Ebola patients have been treated in the United States prior to this diagnosis, they all contracted Ebola in West Africa.

Ebola has killed 2,917 people and infected 3,346 others since the outbreak began in March.

The CDC will hold a press conference Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. with Dallas and Texas state health officials as well as officials from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

A patient who arrived at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas on Monday was being evaluated to determine whether or not he or she had contracted the Ebola virus. The hospital said the patient was placed into strict isolation because of the patient’s symptoms and recent travel history.

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After Autistic Girl Finds Success in Art World, Parents Shield Her from Spotlight

Courtesy Arabella Carter-Johnson(NEW YORK) — When Iris Grace Halmshaw’s parents introduced her to painting, they were hoping the activity would be a fun diversion and a way to get their autistic child to express herself.

But as soon as Iris picked up a brush, her parents were blown away by how she approached the painting. She shied away from doing simple paintings of houses or smiling stick figures and, instead, created colorful abstract pieces that appeared to express deep emotion.

“It was on her first painting I noticed a difference in her painting compared with how you would normally expect a child to paint,” Iris’ mom, Arabella Carter-Johnson, wrote to ABC News in an email. “She filled the page with colour but with thought and consideration. …We didn’t think [too] much of it at the time, we were just so happy to have found an activity that brought her so much joy.”

When her parents shared her artwork online, people started to contact them and ask to purchase prints. When the parents started to sell her work online, Iris’ name and work grabbed headlines and high prices.

Last summer, several of Iris’ paintings were sold individually for as much as 1,500 pounds and the pint-size painter has nearly 90,000 likes on Facebook.

But as Iris’ work grabbed the spotlight, the family also focused on protecting her and keeping her day-to-day life stable.

“We are trying to keep our lives as normal as possible for Iris, so our same routine continues,” wrote Carter-Johnson. “I am educating her at home and this week we have been concentrating on animals, so nothing has changed in Iris’s world.”

While Iris’ parents say her autism likely helped her to create incredible artwork, it can also make her anxious around new people and she had trouble speaking until recently. While her art has been a way to express herself, her parents are careful not to overwhelm the 5-year-old.

“She has a fantastic concentration span but as her parent and educator I have to keep an eye on that and help her move onto other things,” said Carter-Johnson. “I can see nature in her paintings, water, trees, flowers, and also we can see Thula her cat in many of them.”

The family decided to sell Iris’ paintings both as a way to fund her private therapists and to raise awareness about her condition. According to the family, all the profits from Iris’ work will go to pay for her art materials and her ongoing private therapists. The money also goes to a savings account for Iris and to fund a club for autistic children run out of the Halmshaw home called the Little Explorers Activity Club.

After Iris was introduced to art, Carter-Johnson said, her daughter can now express herself in other ways besides speech or words. Iris’ mother said Iris can get lost in her work and spend as long as two hours painting her abstract pieces.

“She has an understanding of colours and how they interact with each other,” wrote Iris’ parents on a website dedicated to her work. “She beams with excitement and joy when I get out the paints, it lifts her mood everytime.”

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Face-to-Face with Patients in the Ebola Ward

ABC NewsREPORTER’S NOTEBOOK By ABC News’ Dr. Richard Besser

(MONROVIA, Liberia) — “Before we enter the Ebola ward, we pray,” Dr. Jerry Brown tells me as we stand just outside the second-oldest Ebola treatment unit in Monrovia, clad in layer after layer of protective gear.

I’m about to become the first journalist allowed inside. My head tells me we’re safe, but my heart is pounding.

A few minutes earlier, three people watched and made adjustments as I put on scrubs, boots, a pair of gloves, foot covers, a full-body Tyvek suit, a second pair of gloves, a respirator mask, a second hood, goggles, a third pair of gloves and a heavy, yellow apron. Not a speck of skin is exposed to the air. After just five minutes in this cocoon, I am saturated in sweat.

My producer hands me two GoPro cameras, and I follow Brown inside to see his patients. Although the ward was designed to hold 40 people, I’m told there are 60 patients here today.

“When you leave the clinic and see people lying on the ground, sick with Ebola and wanting help, how can you say no?” a doctor who works with Brown told me. “We make room.”

Our first stop is the area designated for suspected Ebola cases. These people have symptoms consistent with Ebola and exposure to a known Ebola patient, but they have not yet been tested.

Children mix in with adults. Some of the patients are in individual patient bays divided by canvas walls. Others are in the main room, an open area containing no more than 10 cots. I notice one major infection control issue: there is only one toilet, and everyone shares it. This is problematic because Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids. But it’s all they have to work with.

Brown makes his rounds, asking everyone how they are doing. If I saw some of these patients in my office, I wouldn’t think they were sick. Others look near death.

Loud music blares over the radio. “I want them to have some entertainment,” Brown explains.

I am struck by how frightening it must be for these patients, especially the children. To them, we are coming toward them in space suits with only our eyes visible to show we’re human. I focus on trying to smile with my eyes for each child I see.

We round a corner and move into the area with confirmed Ebola patients. The first two are out in the corridor under an awning. One man looks deathly ill. Dehydration from the diarrhea, Brown tells me.

Inside the main ward, there are more than a dozen patients. In a corner, I see 10-year-old Richmond, wearing an American shirt with “Wisconsin” written across the front. I catch myself before I ask him if he’s ever been there. Contaminated clothes are taken away from each patient when they enter the ward. He got that shirt as a replacement when he arrived.

I ask how he’s doing. He looks good.

“Fine,” he says. “My chest hurts.”

His mother tells us that he coughed up blood that morning, a very bad sign for someone with Ebola. Brown will keep a close eye on him.

Next, we stop by a single room no bigger than a closet to check on a 26-year-old man. He says he caught Ebola sharing a room with a man who had a fever. The man was tested for malaria and then typhoid fever. By the time he was tested for Ebola, he had infected his roommate.

“Brown, you gave me life!” he beamed as he reached down to touch Dr. Brown’s feet in a sign of respect.

Brown jumped back. “No touching!”

“But you are God!” he countered.

“I am not God,” Brown said. “I’m so glad you are feeling better.”

As we move into the main common room, I’m caught off guard. A flat screen TV hangs on the wall and 15 or so Ebola patients sit watching it, clearly no longer ill. Since the ward won’t release patients until they undergo two negative Ebola tests administered at least 10 days apart, patients need something to do as they get better. This room reminds me more of a community center than a ward for the deadliest disease on the planet.

Down the hall, I see many rooms with sicker patients: a nurse who’d been bleeding, a young man with anemia. Brown said he gave them blood transfusions.

“We can’t match blood types here so we give everyone O-positive.” He said, adding that the blood came from Ebola survivors — the same treatment given to Dr. Rick Sacra, the American Ebola patient treated in Nebraska. The blood had been tested to make sure it didn’t have HIV or hepatitis B.

Then, Brown explains one of the most amazing things about the unit. There were many health workers treated there, so as they started to improve, he put them to work. They became his monitoring system.

He gave instructions to a recovering nurse as we entered the room.

“I’ve just started blood transfusions on two patients,” he said. “Keep an eye on them. Look at their skin. If you see a rash, borrow a cell phone and call me.”

“Do I touch the skin?” the nurse asked.

“No, just look and let me know.”

What a wonderful idea, making use of the skills of the patients in the unit. It’s so hard to stay in the unit in protective gear. After 30 minutes, I was already worried that I was getting dehydrated. But putting recovering patients and those who have already had the virus to work solves that problem because they don’t need to wear the cumbersome gear.

After 40 minutes, I tell Brown that I should probably leave. He administers a couple IV medicines to patients, gives a big goodbye to the ward before leading me toward the exit.

Getting out of the protective suit takes even longer thank it took to put it on. Between every layer I take off, a hygienist sprays me down with bleach. Another layer, more bleach.

Stepping out into the sunlight, I feel a weight lifting off my chest. I know the feeling is more than just relief to be leaving the ward. What I saw filled me with hope. Each patient was a person first.

The unit was doing everything it could to save each life and, at least for some, it was succeeding.

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Face-to-Face with Patients in the Ebola Ward

ABC NewsREPORTER’S NOTEBOOK By ABC News’ Dr. Richard Besser

(MONROVIA, Liberia) — “Before we enter the Ebola ward, we pray,” Dr. Jerry Brown tells me as we stand just outside the second-oldest Ebola treatment unit in Monrovia, clad in layer after layer of protective gear.

I’m about to become the first journalist allowed inside. My head tells me we’re safe, but my heart is pounding.

A few minutes earlier, three people watched and made adjustments as I put on scrubs, boots, a pair of gloves, foot covers, a full-body Tyvek suit, a second pair of gloves, a respirator mask, a second hood, goggles, a third pair of gloves and a heavy, yellow apron. Not a speck of skin is exposed to the air. After just five minutes in this cocoon, I am saturated in sweat.

My producer hands me two GoPro cameras, and I follow Brown inside to see his patients. Although the ward was designed to hold 40 people, I’m told there are 60 patients here today.

“When you leave the clinic and see people lying on the ground, sick with Ebola and wanting help, how can you say no?” a doctor who works with Brown told me. “We make room.”

Our first stop is the area designated for suspected Ebola cases. These people have symptoms consistent with Ebola and exposure to a known Ebola patient, but they have not yet been tested.

Children mix in with adults. Some of the patients are in individual patient bays divided by canvas walls. Others are in the main room, an open area containing no more than 10 cots. I notice one major infection control issue: there is only one toilet, and everyone shares it. This is problematic because Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids. But it’s all they have to work with.

Brown makes his rounds, asking everyone how they are doing. If I saw some of these patients in my office, I wouldn’t think they were sick. Others look near death.

Loud music blares over the radio. “I want them to have some entertainment,” Brown explains.

I am struck by how frightening it must be for these patients, especially the children. To them, we are coming toward them in space suits with only our eyes visible to show we’re human. I focus on trying to smile with my eyes for each child I see.

We round a corner and move into the area with confirmed Ebola patients. The first two are out in the corridor under an awning. One man looks deathly ill. Dehydration from the diarrhea, Brown tells me.

Inside the main ward, there are more than a dozen patients. In a corner, I see 10-year-old Richmond, wearing an American shirt with “Wisconsin” written across the front. I catch myself before I ask him if he’s ever been there. Contaminated clothes are taken away from each patient when they enter the ward. He got that shirt as a replacement when he arrived.

I ask how he’s doing. He looks good.

“Fine,” he says. “My chest hurts.”

His mother tells us that he coughed up blood that morning, a very bad sign for someone with Ebola. Brown will keep a close eye on him.

Next, we stop by a single room no bigger than a closet to check on a 26-year-old man. He says he caught Ebola sharing a room with a man who had a fever. The man was tested for malaria and then typhoid fever. By the time he was tested for Ebola, he had infected his roommate.

“Brown, you gave me life!” he beamed as he reached down to touch Dr. Brown’s feet in a sign of respect.

Brown jumped back. “No touching!”

“But you are God!” he countered.

“I am not God,” Brown said. “I’m so glad you are feeling better.”

As we move into the main common room, I’m caught off guard. A flat screen TV hangs on the wall and 15 or so Ebola patients sit watching it, clearly no longer ill. Since the ward won’t release patients until they undergo two negative Ebola tests administered at least 10 days apart, patients need something to do as they get better. This room reminds me more of a community center than a ward for the deadliest disease on the planet.

Down the hall, I see many rooms with sicker patients: a nurse who’d been bleeding, a young man with anemia. Brown said he gave them blood transfusions.

“We can’t match blood types here so we give everyone O-positive.” He said, adding that the blood came from Ebola survivors — the same treatment given to Dr. Rick Sacra, the American Ebola patient treated in Nebraska. The blood had been tested to make sure it didn’t have HIV or hepatitis B.

Then, Brown explains one of the most amazing things about the unit. There were many health workers treated there, so as they started to improve, he put them to work. They became his monitoring system.

He gave instructions to a recovering nurse as we entered the room.

“I’ve just started blood transfusions on two patients,” he said. “Keep an eye on them. Look at their skin. If you see a rash, borrow a cell phone and call me.”

“Do I touch the skin?” the nurse asked.

“No, just look and let me know.”

What a wonderful idea, making use of the skills of the patients in the unit. It’s so hard to stay in the unit in protective gear. After 30 minutes, I was already worried that I was getting dehydrated. But putting recovering patients and those who have already had the virus to work solves that problem because they don’t need to wear the cumbersome gear.

After 40 minutes, I tell Brown that I should probably leave. He administers a couple IV medicines to patients, gives a big goodbye to the ward before leading me toward the exit.

Getting out of the protective suit takes even longer thank it took to put it on. Between every layer I take off, a hygienist sprays me down with bleach. Another layer, more bleach.

Stepping out into the sunlight, I feel a weight lifting off my chest. I know the feeling is more than just relief to be leaving the ward. What I saw filled me with hope. Each patient was a person first.

The unit was doing everything it could to save each life and, at least for some, it was succeeding.

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How This Enterovirus Outbreak Could Affect Adults

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — There’s one silver lining in the ominous news about the mysterious respiratory virus that has sickened children in 46 states since August, even causing paralysis in some: It does not seem to be spreading into adults.

But experts aren’t sure why.

“Everyone is scratching their heads on this one,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the department of medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

One possible theory is that the current pathogen, enterovirus 68, or a virus very similar to it has circulated undetected in the past, Schaffner said. That means adults may have already been exposed to it and have built up immunity.

However, Schaffner said it’s more likely that adults aren’t being infected because enteroviruses are so common.

“Older family members may have built up some antibodies to enteroviruses in general that are providing some cross-protection,” he said.

Dr. Michael Tosi, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, said he doesn’t expect to see many adult cases if any at all.

“In general we see enteroviruses more in children than adults anyway,” Tosi said. “When they do get them they are often asymptomatic or have less serious reactions that don’t require hospitalization.”

Schaffner agreed it’s unlikely there will be mass outbreak in older people. The virus has been around since the summer and children have been exposing their families to it for months, he said. If it was going to spread to adults, it probably would have already.

However, he noted that enterovirus 68 is a bit of a rogue.

“Many enteroviruses are transmitted and live in intestinal tract but this virus is spread by a respiratory route, more like how winter flus are spread,” he explained. “We’ll definitely have to watch it and see how it behaves.”

Enterovirus 68 is similar to the common cold, but symptoms can be more serious, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It causes wheezing and in some instances, neurological symptoms and temporary paralysis. How it spreads is unclear, though most enteroviruses spread through contact with respiratory secretions like saliva and mucous, as well as feces.

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