Review Category : Health

Your Body: When Should You Weigh Yourself?

Photodisc/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

If you’re trying to lose weight, the bathroom scale can sometimes feel like your enemy. But maybe we shouldn’t fear the scale so much after all.

A recent study published by researchers at Cornell University suggests that frequent weighing in — as much as once per day — can help weight loss efforts for overweight adults.

Checking the scale daily provides some benefits because the more information you get, the better off you’re going to be.

Adults can see their body weight fluctuate, on average, about 5 to 6 pounds a day depending on fluid retention or even the time of day they’re stepping on the scale.

My medical advice: Weigh yourself first thing in the morning right after using the bathroom. And don’t obsess with the number — just be aware of it, much like your blood pressure.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Blue Bell Still Can’t Pinpoint Source of Listeria Contamination

iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — Questions remain a year after a deadly listeria outbreak prompted a complete recall of Blue Bell ice cream.

The company stopped all production in April 2015 after three deaths were linked back to the outbreak. Another seven fell ill.

Little by little, the ice cream has been returning to grocery stores as the company recovers from the food safety scare. But Blue Bell says it still has not been able to isolate the precise source of the listeria contamination.

However, after disinfecting or throwing out equipment in plants across the U.S., the company says it’s confident it can prevent any future contaminations.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Why Frozen Yogurt May Not Be as Healthy as You Think

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — What’s better than a little froyo? And it’s yogurt, right? Yes, but the amount of added sugar may shock you.

Nutritionist Maya Feller says even the plain tart flavor at your local frozen yogurt shop is “absolutely different” from the plain yogurt in the grocery store.

“With plain yogurt you’re going to get protein, no added sugar, probiotics. Good choice. Really, really healthy,” she said.

But Good Morning America looked at the nutritional information for the plain/tart frozen yogurt from five national chains. They averaged 18 grams of added sugar per 113 gram (4 fluid ounce) serving, with some as high as 28 grams of added sugar. That’s equivalent to seven sugar cubes.

And there’s another problem: Of the six local self-serve yogurt shops I visited in the towns of Oakland, Berkeley and Walnut Creek, California, none offered a 4-ounce cup. One provided a 12-ounce cup, but most had 16-ounce, 20-ounce, and 32-ounce cups.

But maybe people just serve themselves a modest amount in those quadruple portion cups? To find out, I went to a yogurt shop franchise in Walnut Creek and weighed the cups of yogurt people purchased before they took a bite. I found weights of 5, 6, 8, 10, and 17 ounces.

In the case of the 17-ounce yogurt, there were 1 to 2 tablespoons of nuts on top, so I adjusted my yogurt weight down to 16 ounces. Even with that conservative downgrade on weight, the added sugar was 120 grams. That’s the equivalent of 30 cubes of sugar.

Feller put that in perspective, saying, “The World Health Organization recommends 15 grams of added sugar for kids, 25 grams for women and 37 grams for men per day.”

And keep in mind we’re talking about yogurt alone, before we even get to the toppings.

One yogurt customer told me she chooses yogurt over ice cream because she thinks of it as a healthier choice. She cited the fact that many frozen yogurt options are non-fat. But she also admitted that this perception is what she uses to give herself permission to add a few candy toppings, which roughly average 7 grams of added sugar per tablespoon (I used Gummy bears, brownie bites, Butterfinger and Heath bars to get to that average number). That bumps the added sugar numbers up even more.

When we compared the added sugar in the frozen yogurt to the same size serving of a higher-end international ice cream chain’s ice cream, the frozen yogurt had twice the sugar. Granted, the ice cream had 17 grams of fat — no small amount, but in a straight sugar comparison the difference was staggering.

So what can you do?

Tips for Eating Healthier When You Go for Frozen Yogurt


1. Visit yogurt shops that serve the yogurt for you.

In almost all of those shops I visited they offer 4-ounce cups.

2. Visualize 4 ounces.
A 4-ounce serving of frozen yogurt is slightly less than the size of your fist.

3. Pile on the fruit. Once you put a fist-sized serving of yogurt in your bowl, if you want more and you want toppings, add fresh fruit and a few nuts for crunch.

4. Consider it an occasional treat.

I love frozen yogurt, but now I know it’s not a freebie that I can indulge in all the time. When we reached out to one of the brand locations we visited — certainly not the only yogurt brand with significant sugar numbers — they offered that advice too: perceive yogurt as a “special treat.”

“…We offer a variety of custom frozen yogurt flavors and toppings that appeal to the tastes and dietary needs of our guests; these include gluten-free, non-dairy and no sugar added frozen yogurt flavors that are also all kosher,” the brand said in a statement. “Every day, our guests tell us how much they appreciate making their own creations knowing they can be as indulgent or as healthful as they choose, and they value the wide variety of choices we offer.”

A few notes to consider in methodology and specifics: While many yogurt shops do offer a no-sugar added option, most of those use artificial sweeteners.

We used the distinction “added sugar” here because dairy products all contain milk which has its own lactose sugar. We allotted 6 grams of lactose sugar per 4 ounce serving. Yogurtland’s listed sugar content was 36 grams per 4 ounces. We called that 30 grams of added sugar per 4 ounces to account for the lactose.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Why Everyone is Trading Contouring for Non-Touring

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Contouring is so 2015.

The beauty industry trick to seemingly change the shape of your face is going out of style thanks to a trend that some stylists say is perfect for Spring.

It’s called non-touring, and instead of using shadows and highlights on areas of your face to slim the nose and emphasize your cheekbones, those in the know are now only using highlights to illuminate the face for a fresh dewy look.

The look is being popularized by celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Khloe Kardashian and supermodel Gigi Hadid.

Celebrity make-up artist Renee Sanganoo told ABC News it’s easy to see why folks are ditching the contoured look.

“[Contouring] was getting a little crazy and out of hand. It was making people look harsh and older,” she said. “So moving forward, non-touring is a very natural way to get glowing skin. It’s all about the skin. It’s a more youthful look and everyone wants to look younger.”

Sanganoo, who has touched the faces of celebrities like Tamar Braxton, Christina Milian and Keshia Knight Pulliam, said it’s a great look for Spring because “less is more, especially when you’re outside more.”

“If you’re contouring and out in the sun, it’ll show everything. So if it’s not blended well, it will show or it can start running off your face,” she warned. “So non-touring is a more natural look.”

Want to achieve the look yourself? Here are Sanganoo’s steps for a perfectly non-toured face:

Step 1: Grab the Concealer

“You really want to invest in a good concealer,” Sanganoo said. “I suggest a corrector because it helps neutralize darkness under the eyes, discoloration on the skin and any puffiness.”

Step 2: Find a Primer

“Use a primer that fits your skin type [dry, oily or combination]. For people that are more oily, try a primer that will give you a look that’s not super matte. Remember, you want to have some type of glow to the skin. So definitely use a primer that has a luminous finish,” she suggested.

Step 3: Try a Light Foundation or Tinted Moisturizer

“You don’t want your make-up to look heavy, so pick a foundation that is more lightweight, maybe a tinted moisturizer,” Sanganoo said. “A BB Cream also works. If you have problematic skin or blemishes, try to avoid full coverage foundations and instead use your concealer as a spot treatment.”

Step 4: Get Your Glow!

“The final step is your highlighter. The highlighter should suit your skin color. If you’re skin is lighter, you may want to use a highlighter that has more frost in it, with pink undertones. If your skin is warm or darker, pick a golden bronze highlighter or shimmer brick. Avoid anything with glitter chunks and choose luminous sparkles instead,” she suggested.

“Concentrate on where the light is going to first hit when it’s shining on your face,” Sanganoo said. “So that’s basically right under your eyebrow — your brown bones — the bridge of your nose, your cheekbones, your cupid’s bow — the little dip where your lip is — and whatever is left over, put it on your chin. Some people like to put some in the corner of your eyes, near your tear duct.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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New PCSK9 Drugs Effective as Alternative to Statins, Study Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you’re unable to take statins, a study says another alternative can be just as effective.

As many as one in five people taking a statin for high cholesterol have to stop because of the side effects of muscle pain or weakness. Now, a study published in JAMA shows that a new injectable class of cholesterol drugs – known as PCSK9 inhibitors – are effective for these people, perhaps even more effective than their current non-statin options.

Researchers recruited 511 adults who have had muscle problems with two statins in the past and confirmed their intolerance by giving them either a common statin or a placebo. According to the study, about 200 of these patients truly had muscle problems only when taking a statin.

The researchers put some of these people on the new PCSK9 inhibitor drug evolucumab, while they gave the others the current non-statin option known as ezetimibe. After six months, the researchers found that evolucumab led to a drop in cholesterol of about 50 percent, while the ezetimibe only led to only a 20 percent drop. Only 20-30 percent of subjects had muscle symptoms with these newer medications.

Although the sample size is small for the study, and follow-up of six months is short for a medication that one would likely take for the rest of their life, the results still have relevance for patients who can’t take statins.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Anderson Cooper on Lack of Closure After Brother’s Suicide: ‘It Doesn’t Exist’

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Anderson Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, opened up to People magazine about losing Carter, Anderson’s late brother and Gloria’s son, 28 years ago in 1988.

Though it’s been almost three decades since his suicide, Gloria and Anderson say there is no “closure.”

“It doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing,” the CNN anchor, 48, told People and EW Editorial Director Jess Cagle.

Carter died at just the age of 23, and Gloria, 92, says she relied on her other son after the tragic loss.

“Well, I remember the first Christmas we were together after it happened — cause he died July 22 — and we went to the movies,” she said. Anderson echoed his mother, saying, “You can’t help but come closer going through something like that, and, you know, it left us with each other.”

He added the death of his brother is still fresh, “that sense of loss.”

“It’s stunning for me to think of how long ago it was that he died, that I’ve lived more of my life without him than I lived with him. That’s incomprehensible to me. He’s forever frozen in time,” he said.

Carter died after jumping from his mother’s 14th-floor apartment.

“When we were growing up, I used to imagine us being adults and being closer when we were adults and having families and kind of getting to know each other in a new way, and we never had that opportunity,” Anderson told People.

Gloria said it helps to talk about her beloved son still to this day.

“I love to talk about him … Because that brings him alive and it brings him closer and it means that he hasn’t been forgotten,” she said.

Anderson and his mother’s joint memoir, “The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son Talk About Life, Love, and Loss,” hits shelves April 5.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Statin Prevents Heart Attacks for Lower Risk Patients, Study Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study suggests more people might benefit from taking a certain type of drug to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

We know statins are helpful for those who have heart disease – but what about those who do not yet have heart disease, but have one or more cardiac risk factors?

In a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers examined the benefit of a daily cholesterol-lowering medication for men over 55, and women over 60 who were considered to be intermediate risk for heart disease. Authors randomly assigned more than 12,000 patients to receive either a statin alone, a statin plus blood pressure medication, blood pressure medication alone, or a placebo for both.

After following the patients for a little over five years, the researchers found that those who had received a statin either alone or with blood pressure medication were less likely to suffer from heart disease.

The authors also suggest that those with a cardiac risk factor should consider a daily statin for primary prevention, even if their cholesterol level alone does not dictate the use of a statin – in other words, using a statin as primary prevention at a much lower threshold than previously used.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Survivor of Rare Disorder Gets Make-A-Wish Trip to Final Four

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — A basketball-loving 19-year-old who survived a bone marrow transplant and the loss of his younger brother will be a guest of honor at this weekend’s Final Four games in Houston.

Austin Spencer, now a student at Illinois State University, was diagnosed with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH)three years ago after feeling ill. The teenager missed his entire junior year and much of his senior year of high school after undergoing a bone marrow transplant in 2014 to treat the life-threatening condition, which affects the immune cells, according to the NIH.

While undergoing treatment, Spencer never gave up his dream of playing basketball — working out while in the hospital — and was determined to defy his doctor’s expectations that he may never be able to play again. On his fourth day back at school in November 2014, Spencer not only rejoined his high school’s basketball team but started the game and ended as the game’s highest scorer.

“He had what would be called a miraculous recovery,” Spencer’s father, Bart Spencer, told ABC News.

Austin and Bart Spencer, along with Austin’s mom, Tamara, and sister, Raegan, are attending the Final Four games and getting a backstage experience thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The entire family will be rooting for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels to win it all this year for a very special reason.

Spencer’s younger brother, Mason, was diagnosed with the same genetic disorder at age 13. He also had a bone marrow transplant in 2014. But he suffered complications, passing away 13 months later, at the age of 15.

Mason always rooted for the Tar Heels while his brother rooted for the Duke Blue Devils, who won the NCAA Championship last year.

“He’ll definitely be the only Duke fan there, I’m sure, rooting for the Tar Heels,” Tamara Spencer said of her son, Austin. “Mason’s team is North Carolina so we’re happy to see them play.”

Spencer, who was taking part in Final Four activities and not able to speak to ABC News, is still closely monitored by doctors but is healthy. He’s pursuing a career in medicine.

The family says it is choosing to use their trip to the Final Four to focus on the positive, like what a truly remarkable recovery Spencer has made.

“Mason’s tragedy took over the spotlight and we kind of forget how good of a recovery it was for Austin,” Bart said. “This trip gives us a chance to remember how fragile it was and how we could have lost both sons.“

“We need to remember that he had a miraculous recovery and has a bright future ahead of him,” he said.

“We’re taking time to focus on the now because we know how fast that can go,” Tamara added.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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The Moment a Girl with Down Syndrome Finds Out She’s Going to College

Deb Grace(LANSDALE, Pa.) — The heartwarming moment a young woman with Down syndrome finds out she’s going to college is going viral, delighting the Internet with her raw, emotional excitement.

“I got in!! I’m going to college!” Rachel Grace, of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, yells in the sweet video of her acceptance into East Stroudsburg University.

Rachel looked at four schools, but only applied to ESU because “it’s the only one we were comfortable with,” her mother, Deb Grace, told ABC News. “It’s a big part of the independence, being able to live there.”

The family spent months waiting for a response from the school after Rachel sent in her paperwork on January 15.

“Finally we got a call for an interview March 17 and it felt really positive,” Deb recalled. “All you could hear was her talking, talking, talking. When they walked out they said how much they enjoyed her. And all I could think was, ‘We can’t get this far and have this kind of feedback and it not work out.’”

Fortunately for Rachel, it did.

“She was just so happy,” her mom said. “She’s been planning this her whole life. We’ve always told her, ‘You’re going to go to college and you’re going to get married and you’re going to have everything that everyone else has.’”

Deb credits Rachel’s high school, North Penn, for helping encourage and support her throughout her education.

“She’s been the manager of her basketball team for three years,” said Deb. “When the team got ahold of the video it went insane. They don’t see the difference. They see the opportunity and that’s incredible.”

Rachel will start school in the fall and she couldn’t be more thrilled.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Beloved Ohio K-9 Battling Cancer Joins Clinical Trial

Deputy Marc Nye(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — A beloved Ohio police dog is fighting for his life after being diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma.

“It’s been tough,” Deputy Marc Nye with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office told ABC News. “Although I’m pretty upset, I feel like the best way to deal with it is to simply keep working and not really change much in our daily lives.”

It was just last week when Nye took Nero, his canine partner of four years, to a veterinary hospital after discovering a lump on the Belgian Malinois’ throat. On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office was shocked to learn that Nero was battling B-cell lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer that affects blood cells, and had only one to two years left to live.

“If you saw him you would fall in love with him,” Sheriff Stephen J. Levorchick told ABC News. “He’s so good. That’s what makes it really sad.”

Nero is being monitored by doctors, free of charge, at The Ohio State University’s Veterinary Medical Center as part of a clinical trial program. Vets are using two different drugs to treat the four-legged crime fighter as he now fights for his own life.

“Both of the drugs have human equivalents, and are moving forward, hopefully, for approval from FDA to treat dogs with cancer,” Dr. Cheryl London, who is treating Nero, told ABC News.

“Most of our lymphoma patients will survive 10 to 14 months,” London added, explaining that some dogs may live up to two years or more with the disease.

But Nero, who has been “an instrumental part of patrol duties within Ottawa County” for more than four years,” according to a news release from the sheriff’s office, isn’t ready to retire from the force just yet.

“If Nero is having a good day and Deputy Nye feels that it would be beneficial for Nero to go to work, then he’ll go to work,” Levorchick said. “If he is having a bad day and should stay home, Nero will stay home that day.”

Well-wishers have left a flood of messages on Nero’s Facebook page. “Nero is a superhero,” “Praying for Nero” and “Stay strong, Nero” are just a few of them.

“He’s not your typical canine,” Levorchick said. “Whenever he comes up and you start petting him, he leans into your leg. He loves it so much, and he loves people, and he loves kids.”

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