Review Category : Health

Some Dog Owners Also Wary of Vaccines

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The controversy over vaccines has also affected the animal world.

As New York Magazine reports, vets report that a growing number of pet owners are eschewing shots for their dogs, with veterinarian blogger Brennan McKenzie suggesting that “an increase in mostly unfounded concerns about vaccine safety for people…has raised people’s awareness and level of concern about vaccinations for their pets.”

Unlike human vaccines, there are virtually no official records kept about any uptick or decline in animal vaccinations.

However, Christopher Brockett, president of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, told New York Magazine, “The fewer animals that are getting the vaccine, the greater the likelihood that you’re going to have a firestorm if something that is that highly communicable comes along.”

Yet, pet owners may have some justification to be wary about vaccines due to combination shots, sometimes called “mumbo jumbos,” that can expose a dog to allergies, skin diseases and autoimmune diseases. Annual rabies shots, on the other hand, don’t carry the same risk.

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Blimey! British Accents Tapped as Sexiest

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Pick an accent, any accent. Do you think it’s sexy?

According to more than a quarter of the respondents asked by Time Out’s Global Dating Survey, a British one is evidently the sexiest.

About 11,000 people from 24 countries gave their opinions about the attractiveness of accents, and the U.S. came in second place, although given the country’s many dialects, it would be difficult to figure out which is the sexiest.

Rounding out the top five were the accents of Ireland, Australia and France — sorry, Pepe LePew.

However, Paris did rank first for the world’s best dating scene, followed by Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Chicago.

Wait. Kuala Lumpur?

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Stressed Out People Fare Worse After Heart Attack

stokkete/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Those who are more stressed out prior to a heart attack may end up having a worse recovery afterward.

Researchers at Yale University looked at nearly 3,600 heart attack patients in a new study published in Circulation.

Those who reported more stress in their lives before the heart attack had a harder time recovering, reported more pain, problems moving around, depression, and other important measures associated with quality of life.

Researchers said since women reported more life stress than men, women, in general, had more difficult recoveries.

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Rhode Island College Launches Meningitis Vaccination Program

Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Thinkstock(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) — A college in Rhode Island is offering free meningitis vaccines after two students were hospitalized with the potentially deadly virus.

Providence College started the program over the weekend.

Dr. Michael Fine, director of Rhode Island’s Department of Health, said the vaccine comes in three doses.

“It’s important that everyone complete that entire series, and we’ll be working with the college to make sure that’s doable,” he said.

Fine added that students can easily protect themselves against the potentially deadly disease.

“Things like not sharing drinking bottles, not sharing towels or tooth brushes, or lip gloss; not doing anything where saliva can be shared,” said Fine.

Bobby Arruda, a senior at the college, said he’s taking the college up on the offer.

“I actually live off-campus so I don’t live in the dorm-style housing anymore but, interactions with any student who does and interaction with so many students here, it’s just as much of a risk to go without the vaccine,” said Arruda.

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Illinois KinderCare Now Has Six Infants, One Adult Infected with Measles

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(PALATINE, Ill.) — The Illinois daycare center where five infants were diagnosed with measles last week has had two more positive measles diagnoses: one baby and one adult, health officials said on Monday.

All seven measles patients are unvaccinated, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health.

The cluster of cases occurred at a KinderCare in Palatine, Illinois, prompting the daycare chain with 1,900 locations nationwide to change its policy on Friday, requiring all employees working with infants to be vaccinated against the measles.

The first dose of the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, is not administered until a child is a year old, and KinderCare said in a statement that it hopes to protect its children who are too young to be vaccinated by also limiting access to infant rooms.

Health officials in Illinois were still trying to find how the virus got to the daycare over the weekend.

Measles is one of the most contagious viruses in existence and can infect 9 out of 10 exposed people if they are not immunized. The virus can cause rash, fever, conjunctivitis, and runny nose. In severe cases, the virus has caused swelling of the brain, pneumonia, or even death.

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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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