Review Category : Health

Your Body: Sperm Quality and Exercise

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

Former couch potatoes who increase their activity level with a regular exercise regimen can actually improve sperm quality in as little as three months, a new study finds.

Researchers looked at different exercising groups and found that they all achieved significant weight loss and had improvement in sperm quality, with the fastest and most intense improvement seen in the moderate intensity exercise group.

So what’s moderate intensity? It could be as little as 45 minutes of walking or jogging just four times a week.

Here’s my prescription if you’re part of a couple trying to conceive:

  • Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
  • For guys, avoid warm or hot temperatures like Jacuzzis or tight underwear, which all can lower sperm count.
  • Consider a product containing the ingredient NAC. This has been shown in some studies to improve sperm function.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Scientists: You’d Need to Eat a Trillion Calories to Shoot “Star Wars” Force Lightning

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — While Star Wars isn’t science fiction, with the release of Rogue One, brilliant people have been examining some science facts with regard to that galaxy far, far away. That’s how we just learned, for example, it would take $7.8 octillion to run the Death Star for a day.

But now, they’re drilling deeper, and undergraduate researchers at the University of Leicester have determined that to fire lightning from your fingertips as did Sith Lords like Darths Sideous and Tyrannus — AKA Emperor Palpatine and Count Dooku — you’d need to consume a trillion calories.

That’s 1.85 million Big Macs.

The researchers crunched the numbers, using plate capacitors as stand-ins for a Sith Lord and his zapped victim. It’s as thorough as it is confusing for non-eggheads, with graphs and all, but the conclusion is easy to follow:

Essentially, any Sith Lord you encounter would appear more like Jabba the Hutt than the late Christopher Lee’s lithe Dark Side user.

“We can thus conclude that without drawing power from some other source, it is unlikely a Sith lord could healthily produce lightning,” the scientists conclude.

The findings were published in the Journal of Physics Special Topics, with the title, “How to be a Healthy Sith Lord.”

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President Obama Says ‘Obamacare’ Will Survive Beyond His Presidency

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — President Barack Obama says he believes his signature health care law will survive, noting he has told Republicans over his two terms in office to come up with a different solution if the law doesn’t work.

Asked by ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos whether he thinks the Affordable Care Act will survive, Obama quickly replied, “I think it will.”

“It may be called something else. And as I said, I don’t mind. If in fact the Republicans make some modifications, some of which I may have been seeking previously, but they wouldn’t cooperate because they didn’t want to — make the system work, and relabel it as Trumpcare, I’m fine with that,” he said in an exclusive interview on This Week Sunday.

On Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan pledged that Republicans will complete legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act “this year,” but Obama said he is skeptical the GOP will come up with a better system than Obamacare.

“I’m skeptical that they can do it, mainly because for seven years now, including when we first tried to pass health care, I said to them, ‘Okay, if this doesn’t work, tell me what does,'” he told Stephanopoulos. “If you think you got a better idea in terms of how to approach this that’s not going to result in more pollution, and more asthma, and more illness, then put your ideas out there. But don’t just depose things because, ‘This was Obama’s agenda.'”

He also noted that progress has been made during his time in office on access to health care.

“When it comes to health care, the gains that we’ve made are there. Twenty million people have health insurance that didn’t have it before. The uninsured rate is the lowest it’s ever been,” Obama said.

He warned Republicans against undoing that progress just because his name is attached to it.

“It is true theoretically that all that progress can be undone, and suddenly 20 million people or more don’t have health insurance,” Obama said on “This Week.” “I think Republicans now are recognizing that’s — may not be what the American people, including even Trump voters, are looking for.”

“Don’t undo things just because I did them. I don’t have pride of authorship,” he added.

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GoPro-Wearing Guide Dog Brings Awareness to ‘Super Hard’ Job

Amit Patel(NEW YORK) — One blind British man is using his beloved guide dog to raise awareness about the tough job the canines have maneuvering around the city.

When Amit Patel lost his eyesight nearly five years ago due to a disorder called keratoconus his entire life changed, he told ABC News.

Keratoconus is when the shape of one’s cornea changes, causing limited sight, blurred vision and glare, according to WebMD. It’s most often treated with transplants.

Patel had eight corneal transplants, four in each eye, that were eventually unsuccessful because his body rejected each one, he said.

“Before, I was outgoing. I was independent,” the Greenwich, England, man said. “Losing my eyesight was very difficult for me. I mourned the loss of my eyesight for nine months. I was in denial. I woke up every morning thinking my sight would come back again.”

But it didn’t. So Patel, 37, had to learn how to gain his independence again. First, it was through a walking cane and later with the help of a guide dog named Kika.

Up at 5.30am, back home at 5.30pm, 15km walked, 10 London stations visited – all in a day’s work! Sweet dreams everyone! pic.twitter.com/mzMdNqFBvs

— Kika (@Kika_GuideDog) January 6, 2017

After his rehabilitation officer suggested it, Patel was matched with Kika, a 3-year-old Labrador, in September 2015.

“It never crossed my mind at all [to get a guide dog] because I never had a dog,” he admitted.

Still, Patel said Kika has changed his life in immeasurable ways, helping him navigate the sometimes tough streets on London to commute to work. He volunteers at The Royal National Institute of Blind People.

“Ninety-nine percent of my journeys are absolutely fantastic. There are so many nice people out there, but it’s that 1 percent that makes life difficult,” Patel said.

Patel said that often Kika, who is highly decorated with badges to signify that she’s a guide dog, gets injured by “rude” people during his commute. He said sometimes people will “budge her,” “poke her or push her,” and one terrible incident when other commuters told him, “‘Oh, that lady just hit your dog with an umbrella.'”

He said these incidents can cause Kika to feel anxiety when taking him around the city.

So Patel started a Twitter account, @Kika_GuideDog, to raise awareness of the importance of guide dogs. He even recently strapped a Go Pro camera onto Kika so people can see what it’s like for a guide dog to do its tough job.

“The relationship I have with my guide dog is I trust her 100 percent,” Patel said. “If she has a bad day, I have a bad day and vice versa … I just wanted to tell people if you budge her or if you hit her, it’s unacceptable — especially a dog who’s guiding a blind person.”

Patel said Kika has changed his entire life, including allowing him to become a father to 4-month-old, Abhishek.

“We wouldn’t have even thought about having a family if it wasn’t for Kika,” the new father admitted. “That’s why it’s so passionate for me. It’s like harming a child. In our household, she’s not a guide dog … she’s the big sister to our little son.

“She’s so loyal,” Patel continued. “The moment the harness goes on, she changes from being a boppy little girl in the house … to being the most incredible guide dog.”

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Halsey Opens Up About ‘Multiple Terrifying Surgeries’ to Treat Endometriosis

Halsey/Instagram(NEW YORK) — Halsey wants fans to know she’s doing OK after undergoing several surgeries to treat endometriosis.

The “New Americana” singer, whose birth name is Ashley Frangipane, shared a photo of herself on Instagram in a hospital bed. In the photo posted Friday, Halsey gave a thumbs up to the camera while wearing a green hospital gown and blue surgical scrup cap.

“Today I braved multiple terrifying surgeries. The most important of which being the surgery that would hopefully treat my endometriosis,” she began in a lengthy caption.

Endometriosis is a disease of the uterus that affects millions of women. It occurs when the tissue that makes up the lining of the uterus begins to grow outside of the womb for unknown reasons. Endometriosis can cause pain, cramping, scar tissue, and infertility.

“For those of you who have followed this battle of mine or who may suffer with it yourself, you know the extremes to which it can be mentally exhausting and physically painful,” Halsey, 22, continued. “OK HONESTLY I’m in total agony right now (and I’m going to be in excruciating pain for a while cause I had quite the cocktail of procedures today).”

Addressing her fans, the singer said that during recovery she’s “thinking of all of you and how you give me the strength and stamina to power through and prosper.”

Halsey also used her caption to encourage others who may be suffering from “chronic pain or a debilitating disease.”

“Please know that I have found time to live a crazy, wild, rewarding life AND balance my treatment,” she wrote, “and I hope so much in my heart that you can too.”

The “Closer” singer concluded by letting fans know that she’ll “be off the map for a few days but please know even if I’m not on social media I am thinking of you.”

ABC News reached out to a rep for Halsey, but so far has not received a response.

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Five-Year-Old Boy Learns to Write First Word Thanks to Gwen Stefani’s ‘Hollaback Girl’

ABC News via Twitter(NEW YORK) — One kindergarten student, who is learning how to read and write, surprised his mother when he used a hit Gwen Stefani song to help him spell the word “banana.”

Mother of one Norah Jones often plays the radio-edit of the 2004 hit single, “Hollaback Girl,” in which the former No Doubt frontwoman croons, “This … is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!”

“We ride the subway all the time and he listens to that in the headphones so he hears it a lot,” the New York City woman told ABC News.

Still, she was shocked when her 5-year-old son Max started using the song to help him write his first word, “banana.”

“He has these words that he spells out, and writes them on flashcards. So we do that every night,” his mother recalled. “But one day he started writing something … and it wasn’t anything that we had practiced before.”

It was the word “banana.”

“And he just started singing the chorus to ‘Hollaback Girl’ and I was able to [record] that last bit,” Jones, 28, said, laughing.

Jones posted the video to her Twitter account with the caption, “When you realize @gwenstefani taught your 5 year old how to write his first word.” It quickly got the attention of Stefani herself, who retweeted the video.

❤️Gx https://t.co/2P2FwBCYqL

— Gwen Stefani (@gwenstefani) January 5, 2017

“I thought it was so neat,” Jones said.

She added that it’s no wonder her son used the song to help him write his first word. “He’s a very smart boy,” she continued. “He’s very sweet … and he loves dancing to it.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Daphne Oz Shares Her Cooking Hack for Busy Moms and Opens Up Her Fridge to ABC News

ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) — Daphne Oz, the co-host of The Chew and mom of two, has simple tips for staying happy in the kitchen: cook in advance and make in bulk.

“People always ask me, ‘How do you keep it fun in the kitchen and not make it feel like one more chore at the end of a long day,'” Oz, the author of The Happy Cook cookbook, said. “On Sundays I’ll make a big batch of lentils or quinoa or rice or whatever it is … that way I can spread it into side dishes, salads, soups, whatever it might be the rest of the week. Anytime I turn the oven on I’m making a double batch. We might want two squashes, but I’ll make four. It just goes a long way toward making your life easier for the amount of effort you’re putting in.”

She invited Good Morning America into her home for a Facebook live-stream lunch break, cooking chicken rollatini with kale-walnut pesto and a roasted butternut squash. Oz also shared her tips to keep it fun in the kitchen. Watch the recipe demo in the video above.

“It’s not about being perfect. It’s about having a good time and creating meals that you want to eat, but also that you want to share,” Oz, 30, said.

Oz opened up her fridge, which is covered with artwork by her 2-year-old daughter Philo, and filled with her healthy cooking staples. Check out her list of must-haves.

1. Chili peppers, mustard and hot sauce. “To add lots of flavor without a ton of calories or sugar, I’m always a big fan of chili peppers and you can see my wall of hot sauce. I love a chili in my mustard and I have a ton of different mustards that I use.”

2. Salad dressing in a jar. “When you have it already made it makes it that much easier to say, ‘I’m going to have a big salad with this meal,’” she said. “That’s sort of how I think about balancing what I eat. I crowd my plate with healthy options and then make the other dishes I want to indulge [in] with a side dish.”

3. Eggs and unsalted butter. “I always have unsalted butter. It’s all I cook and bake with.”

4. Nuts. “I keep my nuts in the refrigerator. Nuts are full of fat. Fat goes bad when there’s warm temperatures or exposed to a lot of light. I keep my flour in the freezer.”

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Nonverbal Boy Shares Unbreakable Bond with Deaf Dog

Brandi Guillet(NEW YORK) — A 6-year-old boy who communicates through sign language has found a new best friend in a deaf foster dog.

Connor Guillet met Ellie the boxer in December and the two have been inseparable ever since.

“It was immediate the way she reacted to my son,” mom Brandi Guillet of Cocoa, Florida, told ABC News. “She let Connor grab her face, hug her, kiss her, it was amazing. When he [the rescue employee] said that she responds to sign language, I had to try it. We brought her home a week before Christmas and that was it.”

Guillet, 42, and her husband Chad adopted Connor when he was 4 weeks old.

Connor was diagnosed with 22q deletion syndrome, a genetic disorder, at birth, and is as a result nonverbal. Connor was also born addicted to opiates, which may have contributed to his developmental delays as well, Guillet said.

“The second I saw him, I knew — he needed a family and we needed a family,” Guillet added of her son. “He literally is our wish come true.”

Today, Connor is developmentally, psychologically, physically and emotionally delayed. He receives occupational therapy.

Guillet decided in December that it would be beneficial for her son to have a special companion, and after meeting Ellie, an 8-year-old boxer from Coastal Boxer Rescue, Guillet knew it was love at first sight.

Connor and Ellie play tug-of-war, go on the playground and jump on the trampoline together. While Ellie is deaf, she is still able to respond to Connor’s simple sign language, Guillet said.

“He loves her, it’s his buddy,” she added. “He doesn’t have a lot of human friends, but he has her.”

The family is currently fostering Ellie, but will finalize the adoption in the coming days, Guillet said.

Liz Pobjecky, a registered behavior technician, has been working with Connor for a year at the Caladium Learning Center in Titusville, Florida.

Pobjecky told ABC News that she’s witnessed firsthand the heartfelt bond between the boy and his dog.

“It’s a win-win for both of them,” Pobjecky said. “It’s almost like she’s a human to him. Connor communicates mainly through sign language and that’s the whole thing about him and this dog. She answers him and most importantly, she understands him. She gets him and that’s something he doesn’t find a lot with his disabilities.”

She added: “With people, when they have a disability, they’re underestimated and it’s unfortunate because Connor especially is extremely intelligent. People often forget that there’s a person in there. With Ellie coming into his life and understanding him, it makes a world of a difference. I fell in love with Connor the moment I met him. He’s everybody’s sunshine on a rainy day.”

Guillet plans to document the adventures of Connor and Ellie, she said.

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Your Body: Alcohol and Heart Health

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

Even moderate alcohol consumption can lead to atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heart rhythm, a new review of previously published studies suggests.

The definition of moderate alcohol consumption is a maximum of seven drinks per week for women and 14 per week for men. When you consider that a 5-ounce glass of wine is considered one serving, it can be very easy to reach or exceed this number.

And while moderate alcohol consumption is known to be associated with a lower risk of heart disease, we also know that alcohol is linked to a higher risk of breast and other cancers and poor sleep quality.

My prescription? This is not a one size fits all — assess your personal risk. Moderate alcohol intake can be part of a healthy lifestyle, but it’s not for everybody.

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Hairdresser Sits on Floor to Ease Haircut Anxiety of Boy with Autism

Courtesy Jennifer McCafferty(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) — A West Virginia mom is thanking a hairdresser who went “above and beyond” her normal duties to ease the anxiety of her 4-year-old son, who has a hard time with haircuts and an autism spectrum disorder.

Jennifer McCafferty, of Charleston, West Virginia, did not know what to expect when she took her son, Isaiah Terrell, to get his haircut last month.

Isaiah was diagnosed last February with autism spectrum disorder. He has difficulty handling things like large crowds and loud noises and has a sensory sensitivity around his ears, according to his mom.

McCafferty decided to try a new salon, Sport Clips Haircuts, and was randomly matched with hairdresser Kaylen Barker, who had started working at the salon less than two weeks before.

Barker, 28, has been a hairdresser for nearly 10 years. She said she watched Isaiah getting uncomfortable in the chair and listened to what he said he wanted.

“He said he wanted to sit down on the floor, so I just got down on the floor,” Barker told ABC News. “I let him spray me with my water bottle. We talked about Finding Dory and he was telling me all about the fish.”

Barker was able to calm Isaiah down to the point that he climbed in her lap and let her cut his hair. She was even able to coax Isaiah back into the salon chair to finish his haircut.

“I’ve cut a lot of kids’ hair over the years and just learned that you have to go their level and connect with them where they are,” Barker said. “Most kids are afraid of haircuts and him being on the spectrum made it even scarier for him.”

McCafferty said she was amazed to watch Barker in action and witness the change in her son’s demeanor.

“He was laying on the floor at one point and trying to get out of her lap but once he got comfortable he was willing to do anything,” McCafferty told ABC News. “He went from screaming that he didn’t want to get a haircut to, by the end, screaming that he didn’t want to leave.”

McCafferty shared a photo of Barker cutting Isaiah’s hair on the floor on Facebook that has nearly 100,000 likes. Barker’s employer also commended the hairdresser for her actions.

“At Sport Clips our values are to do what’s right, do your best and treat others the way you want to be treated and that’s exactly what Kaylen did,” said Amanda Donovan, the salon’s owner. “She made sure to give Isaiah that great haircut experience that we would want any client to have, and also for Isaiah’s mother, Jennifer. We’re very proud of Kaylen for doing that.”

McCafferty said that remembering Barker’s actions still makes her emotional.

“You want your kid to experience things normally and not to hurt and kids with sensory, even little things it physically pains them,” she said. “Kaylen being able to take him out of that spot and work with him was just amazing.

“It really did mean the world to me,” she added.

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