Review Category : Health

St. Patrick’s Day tales from the emergency room

Ablestock.com/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Every March, millions of Americans don green garb, eat green food and drink green beer, all to celebrate a heritage that may not be theirs.

On St. Patrick’s Day, emergency room staffers prepare themselves for an uptick in patients, likely with several of them injured themselves in some sort of hilarious calamity. It differs from holidays such as Christmas or New Year’s, when patients in need of emergency care often wait a day or two before seeking it, preferring to wait for a more “convenient” time, said Dr. Michael Lynch, a toxicologist and an emergency physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The holiday is on a Friday this year, allowing millions to perhaps take their celebration of Irish heritage to the next — and possibly painful — level.

“It’s not a fun day to work because of the number of alcohol-related injuries,” said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.

“A lot of these people are law-abiding people, professionals who just got carried away,” said Dr. Rahul Sharma, the emergency physician in chief at New York–Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “Many times, it’s embarrassing for them.”

Beware of green food coloring

One St. Patrick’s Day, Glatter witnessed a group of advertising executives panicking after they had lunch outside the office, he said.

During the meal, they decided to take part in the day’s festivities by drinking green beer. The food coloring altered the appearance of not only the beer but the executives’ teeth as well — just before an important meeting.

“Four or five of them came to the ER,” Glatter said. “They were freaking out because they had to see the client.”

The food coloring stained the plaque buildup on their teeth, he said, and getting rid of it was no easy task.

“It takes time,” Glatter said. “It doesn’t go away immediately.”

Even with whitening strips, mouthwash, toothbrush and toothpaste, it can still take up to a week for the coloring to disappear and teeth to return to their normal shade, he said.

“People do stupid things on St. Patrick’s Day,” Glatter said. “And certainly the novelty of different foods is something that is interesting.”

It may not be wise to paint your car green

In Indiana one middle-aged man sought emergency care after attempting to paint his dark-colored Honda Accord, said Dr. Timothy Pohlman, the senior trauma surgeon at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital.

The man used a slippery enamel paint, spilled much of it on his driveway and ended up slipping in it, causing him to bump his head and break a few bones.

When the man got to the hospital, he was covered in so much green paint that doctors could not assess where his injuries were, Pohlman said.

“I saw him, and he was basically a green man,” Pohlman said, adding that after nurses cleaned off the patient, staffers determined he sustained a concussion and some broken bones.

Leprechaun costume gone wrong

Pohlman also treated a middle-aged man who inadvertently took an extra dose of his erectile dysfunction medicine on St. Patrick’s Day.

The man then decided to don a tight leprechaun outfit, Pohlman said.

The man was suffering from a painful, hourslong erection that was constricted by his costume when he arrived at the hospital, Pohlman said. His appearance sent emergency room staffers into a tizzy.

“Everyone tries to be professional, but you can’t help but smile or even kind of laugh and try to do your best for this guy,” Pohlman said.

Because of the man’s condition, the costume was putting so much pressure on his groin that he couldn’t remove it, Pohlman said. Initially, the man did not want doctors to cut the outfit off, because he spent a fair amount of money on it.

“He had to make a choice between his costume and his member,” Pohlman said. “Once it was put to him in that way … he prioritized accordingly.”

The emergency room can be a festive place on St. Patrick’s Day

Despite the uptick in alcohol-related injuries on St. Patrick’s Day, they are usually sustained in an innocent manner — such as tripping or losing balance — rather than in a bar brawl.

The jovial tone of St. Patrick’s Day “calms the furies that drive people’s violent nature,” Pohlman said.

Doctors say they see less trauma from fights or altercations on St. Patrick’s Day, and the patients tend to hobble into the emergency room much earlier than on other days, Pohlman said.

“Instead of all the trauma at night we normally see, it happens in the light of day,” he said.

On St. Patrick’s Day, the emergency room can resemble a sea of green as patients come in wearing their green clothing, hats and necklaces, Lynch said.

In addition to trauma, patients often come in suffering from hypothermia, he added. St. Patrick’s Day revelers can spend long stretches outdoors in cool weather, often wearing less than conditions warrant, and alcohol consumption can reduce body temperature.

Lynch even treated one patient who, after consuming hallucinogenic drugs, pranced around the emergency room thinking he was a leprechaun and throwing fake gold at hospital staffers.

One emergency room staple no one looks forward to on St. Patrick’s Day: green vomit.

“We have sort of a green patrol going around and mopping up green vomit,” Lynch said. “Every year, we know we’re going to get at least one or two green vomits.”

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CDC: Native Hawaiians and pacific islanders may be at increased risk of serious health issues

TongRo Images Inc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders may be at increased risk of a number of health hazards, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics said Wednesday.

That group was analyzed as a single category with Asians by the CDC until 1997, and in 2014, the agency put out its first survey focused solely on the health of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

That survey, compared with data from the 2014 annual National Health Interview Survey, found that NHPI adults are more likely to be in fair or poor health than the group the CDC named “single-race Asian adults.” NHPI individuals were also more likely to have serious psychological distress, cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes, lower back pain, arthritis, migraines and asthma.

Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders represent about 0.4 percent of the total United States population.

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New study raises concerns of ibuprofen’s apparent link to cardiac arrest

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Ibuprofen is a common over-the-counter painkiller found in many of our medicine cabinets. But now, a new study is raising a big alarm about the drug.

Danish researchers are calling for restrictions on its sales after linking it to a 31 percent increased risk of cardiac arrest.

Find out more about the study from ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser in the video below:

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Is reversing diabetes possible?

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes. But now, there might be some hope for them.

A new, small study found that a combination of medication, nutrition and intense exercise reversed the disease in some patients who’d had it for three years or less — compared to people who went through routine care for diabetes.

Watch the video below to learn more about the findings from ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser:

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Selena Gomez speaks about mental health

Image Group LA/ABC(NEW YORK) — Selena Gomez has found professional success as a musician and actress, but she’s also outspoken about her struggles with mental health.

“Tours are a really lonely place for me,” Gomez said in an interview with Vogue. “My self-esteem was shot. I was depressed, anxious. I started to have panic attacks right before getting onstage, or right after leaving the stage.”

The former Disney star is also the most followed user on Instagram, where her posts garner millions of likes and comments from her 113 million followers. But despite the love she receives from fans on social media, Gomez said she often feels inadequate.

“As soon as I became the most followed person on Instagram, I sort of freaked out,” Gomez said. “It had become so consuming to me. It’s what I woke up to and went to sleep to. I was an addict, and it felt like I was seeing things I didn’t want to see, like it was putting things in my head that I didn’t want to care about.”

After taking a step back and participating in therapy for 90 days last year, Gomez felt reinvigorated.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but it was the best thing I’ve done,” she said.

She no longer has Instagram downloaded onto her phone, and doesn’t even know her own password — her assistant takes care of that now.

Gomez said therapy should be something more people, particularly young women, embrace.

“I wish more people would talk about therapy,” she said. “We girls, we’re taught to be almost too resilient, to be strong and sexy and cool and laid-back, the girl who’s down. We also need to feel allowed to fall apart.”

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Five siblings hoping to be adopted together receive overwhelming response

anyaberkut/iStock/Thinkstock(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) — Five siblings are up for adoption in Kansas, and they hope to find a home together. After the Kansas City Star first reported about their unique situation, the response from the public has been overwhelming.

“Just since Friday, I think we’ve received about 1,300 emails [regarding the siblings],” Theresa Freed, communications director for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, told ABC News. “We’ve identified some possible families who may be a good fit.”

The siblings — Bradley, 11, Preston, 10, Layla, 8, Landon, 6, and Olive, 2 — are active in church and have hobbies ranging from hip-hop dance, to collecting Pokemon to soccer and tether ball, the Star reported. They are currently in foster care while the state works to find them a permanent home.

“This is the most attention any single child or sibling set has received since [the agency] can remember,” Freed said.

Freed was not able to disclose information on the children’s parents or the circumstances that led to the siblings’ need for an adoptive family. Due to the overwhelming response, the children’s listing has been pulled from the website of Adopt Kansas Kids, which works in conjunction with the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

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Study: ‘Low content’ nutrition labels are misleading

c-photo/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers say that claims on food labels such as “low-sugar” and “low-fat” may not be significant sources of meaning.

According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the labels on food and drinks that make such striking health claims often offer no valuable information on the nutritional quality of their contents. After looking at 80 million purchases from 40,000 households, researchers say that 13 percent of food and 35 percent of beverages make a nutritional claim on their label.

The most common claim found was “low-fat,” most common in “low-fat” dairy products.

The study found that, when compared with purchases that did not make any nutritional claim, those that did often claimed lower mean energy, lower sugar totals, lower fat and lower sodium.

The catch? Purchases featuring a given claim didn’t necessarily offer better overall nutritional product, or even better nutritional profiles of the claimed nutrient, relative to products that made no claim.

The study also found that middle- and high-income households were more likely to purchase both foods and beverages that made a nutritional claim when compared with lower-income households.

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How meditation helps Virginia military cadets be more effective warriors

Lauren Effron/ABC(LEXINGTON, Va.) — Deep in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, a prestigious military college in southern Virginia steeped in more than a century of tradition has embraced meditation courses as a way for cadets to become more mentally fit.

Dr. Matt Jarman, a psychology professor who focuses on leadership and mental fitness, and Dr. Holly Richardson, a physical education professor who specializes in exercise physiology, both teach courses involving meditation at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.

“Meditation is not this kind of soft, fluffy thing,” Jarman said. “You’re facing your fears, you’re facing your stresses head-on or leaning into them, and it’s giving you the tools to do that more effectively and not get swept away by them.”

Jarman has made mindfulness practice a centerpiece of his “Modern Warriorship” class. Mindfulness is a series of meditation techniques that are designed to slow the mind, focus on the breath and bring attention back from distraction.

“From my perspective, a warrior is one who … is creating change in a process for the benefit of others,” Jarman said. “And ‘warriorship,’ the way I’m talking about it, is the mental and physical training, the discipline training, to allow you to be a more effective warrior, to allow you to be more mentally and physically able to, when the time comes, to help others.”

Jarman said he has his students practice meditation for 15 minutes every morning and then five minutes before they start homework, as a way to tie the meditation to a habit.

“They have to do work, at some point, right? So if they can tie the meditation to that, then hopefully, even when they leave this class, they still have that cue to prompt this behavior,” he said. “Habits don’t require you to exert willpower because you just do it.”

Richardson teaches a mindfulness class following the University of Massachusetts’ Center for Mindfulness curriculum, which focuses on stress reduction. She introduced meditation on campus as a way to help cadets handle stress better, whether it’s studying for an exam, preparing for a big game or having to go see the commandant of cadets, who oversees the college’s daily military regimen.

“We talk about … when they have to go see the commandant for a demerit, again they have their breath, have that presence to breathe three-five times before going in and [then] having a more productive conversation,” Richardson said.

Many VMI cadets have plans to serve in the military after graduation or some have already served in the military and come to the college as veterans. Jarman acknowledged that there are critics who have raised ethical questions about teaching meditation to soldiers when they may be ordered to kill another person during wartime.

“From my perspective … the mental training allows you to be better at making decisions [while] acting quickly,” he said. “So in my mind, it allows you to do your job better which hopefully results in as few casualties as possible. So I would rather, if someone is in a profession that requires that sort of action, that they be as mentally sound as possible.”

Richardson added that there is science that shows meditation can help soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because the practice helps them “remain present,” and “reset the channel” instead of “playing the same tape over and over” when they come home from war.

Jarman and Richardson said they have received little pushback from VMI cadets when they have them practice meditation. Richardson said some cadets will say they don’t have time. Jarman added that some cadets have told him their roommates will make fun of them for practicing, but he says he turns that around to show the cadets that practicing meditation can help make them tougher.

“If you can’t do something as simple as meditating and be OK with the fact that others might think that it’s a little weird, then you’re not really getting into the training yet,” Jarman said. “In modern warriorship, part of being someone who can make change when change is necessary means you’re going to be going against a lot of people, so I view that as wonderful practice.”

Download and subscribe to the “10% Happier” podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher and TuneIn.

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Couple carrying terminally ill baby to term speaks out

ABC News(NEW YORK) — One couple who made the selfless decision to carry their terminally ill baby to term so that her short life can be used to save dozens of others spoke out in an interview with ABC News’ Good Morning America, saying that their daughter will do more during her short time on Earth “than maybe we’ll ever do in our lives.”

Royce and Keri Young decided to carry their daughter, who is missing the cortex of her brain, to term so that her organs can be donated to save the lives of potentially dozens of other ill infants.

The couple told ABC News that they found out about their daughter’s condition in December when they went in for their 19-week ultrasound, excited to find out whether they were having a boy or a girl.

“The ultrasound tech came in and said, ‘Your doctor wants to see you immediately,'” Keri Young said. “I mean, she just literally opened the door and said, ‘I’m really sorry to have to tell you this, but your baby doesn’t have a brain.’

“And then we both totally lost it,” Keri Young added. “The first 48 hours were very dark and very heavy and very testing.”

Royce Young added that during this time they “kind of found out who we are.”

Keri Young said they “made a pact that we were allowed to say whatever we wanted and you could not be judged for what you were going to say … even if it’s sad, even if it’s angry, even if it’s really bad … you can say whatever you want to say. It’s unhealthy to keep that inside.”

Keri Young said she questioned the existence of God after learning of her daughter’s condition: “There’s no way God exists. There’s no way … there’s just no way that this could happen … we did everything right, you know?”

“We were supposed to have a healthy pregnancy, so why us?” Keri Young added.

Royce Young added that he even wondered, “She doesn’t have a brain, so is she even a person?”

The Youngs’ baby suffers from a medical condition known as anencephaly, which affects approximately one in 100,000 pregnancies.

Dr. Jennifer Smith, a doctor of maternal-fetal medicine at the Perinatal Center of Oklahoma, explained to ABC News that the part of the brain that the Youngs’ baby is missing is essential to a human being’s survival.

“There is some brain stem tissue, and that is the part of the brain that controls breathing,” Smith said. “But there is no superior portion of the brain. And that’s the part of the brain that we all need to survive.”

The Young family said that their daughter is growing, developing and kicking like a healthy baby. She even gets the hiccups. But without the brain cortex, doctors say she will not survive long after delivery.

Royce Young told ABC News that after he heard his daughter’s prognosis, they asked the doctors what their options were.

“Our doctor at first kind of laid them out. You can induce early, and … in effect, terminate the pregnancy. Or you can carry it on,” Royce Young said.

Royce Young said they were torn about what they should do, and said that he and Keri Young did consider terminating the pregnancy.

“You can be the most pro-life person in the world, but until you sit there and you, you hear those words and you look at your future going forward, that’s when you have got to face the reality and make your own decision,” Royce Young said.

Ultimately, the couple decided to carry the baby to full term and donate her organs to save the lives of others. The couple will donate their daughter’s organs to medical research and to families in need.

Royce Young said that the main thing they discussed was how painful it would be for them in the short term, especially every time they felt the baby kick or had people ask them whether they were having a boy or a girl.

“We had to kind of decide that, like, ‘How are we going to feel about this when we’re 50 years old?'” Royce Young said.

Keri Young added, “The whole time it was very much … ‘How can we limit regret? What will we regret the least?'”

Royce Young told ABC News that “We’re going to focus on donating her organs and we’re going to be her parents.”

“There was freedom in that,” Royce Young added of their decision. “I think that that kind of lifted a weight off of our shoulders. And that’s when … I think we did kind of start to feel happiness.”

“For as long as she lives, 24 hours, 48 hours,” Royce Young said. “We realized we’re her momma and her daddy and we got to do … we have got to do our job.”

Keri Young said that the doctors told them their baby could survive “anywhere from five minutes to 36 hours.”

Royce Young said, “We look forward to holding her, kissing her, talking to her, telling her about her brother. And to think that that might have to be done in five minutes is really hard.”

Keri Young said she has been enjoying the pregnancy so far.

“I’m now terrified of delivery,” Keri Young said. “I don’t want her to come out, you know.”

“She’s healthy right now, and I love feeling her kick, and that, that was surprising. It was. It was very surprising,” Keri Young added. “She’s as perfect as she’s going to be right now. So I don’t want to give that up.

“Now is not the time to be sad,” Keri Young said. “I keep telling people we have a whole lifetime to be sad, after she’s born and after she passes, then that’s sad. But now, she’s alive and she’s kicked and … for this pregnancy, that’s the most joyful part.”

Royce Young wrote in a Facebook post that garnered more than 53,000 reactions and over 22,000 shares that he is in awe at his wife, and said seeing her handle this is like “watching a superhero find her superpowers.”

“I want to tell people how amazing my wife is because she’s an amazing woman,” Royce Young said. “But, also, my daughter has got a bigger purpose in life.”

“This is my chance to tell everybody about her. I don’t get to brag about how pretty her hair is, I won’t get to … tell people how good grades she made. I get to tell them about what she’s doing with her life,” Royce Young added.

Because her life could potentially save dozens of others, the couple decided to name their daughter Eva, meaning “life,” in Hebrew.

“There’s another family out there that’s sitting there with their fingers crossed hoping that their, their baby’s going to get a kidney,” Royce Young said. “They’re praying for a miracle themselves, but Eva can be that miracle.”

“She’s going to do more in her 24 hours or whatever than maybe we’ll ever do in our lives,” Royce Young said. “And to be able to remember our daughter in that way is pretty powerful.”

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Can children sleep through a smoke detector alarm?

iStock/Zerbor(NEW YORK) — While smoke detectors are credited with saving thousands of lives each year, some researchers suggest that you cannot always rely on their alarm sounds to wake up sleeping children during an emergency.

A small study conducted in the U.K. by researchers at the University of Dundee found that more than 80 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 13 did not wake up from a standard issue alarm.

The American Red Cross warns home fires are one of the biggest disaster threats in the U.S., with on average seven people dying and 36 people suffering injuries every day as a result of home fires.

“Good Morning America” decided to observe whether a regular smoke alarm would wake up two sleeping children with the McBride family from Connecticut.

Lauren McBride told ABC News that she was curious to see what happened “because our son sleeps through everything.”

She added that she and her husband, Pat, have an action plan in place in case there is a fire and have taught their children, Landon, 3, and Noelle, 1, what a smoke detector sounds like.

“He knows the sound,” McBride said of her son. “We have a fire ladder in our bedroom and our plan is to get them, get the ladder, and get out.”

Firefighter Travis Gluck told ABC News that that one of the most important things families can do is “just making sure your smoke detectors work.”

“The code nowadays is to put them in the bedrooms, have them outside the bedrooms, and one on every level specifically near the stairwell,” Gluck added, saying that smoke rises and often rises up through the stairwell in a home.

“GMA” set up cameras inside the children’s rooms to monitor them after they fell asleep and see if they woke up to the sound of a regular smoke alarm.

Gluck set off a smoke alarm, using a smoke device, in the hallway right outside of the children’s rooms with their doors open.

As the alarm continued to sound, the children did not even stir.

“He’s not waking up,” Pat McBride said, “and she’s not either.”

“I’m a little nervous,” Lauren McBride added. “Because, you know, what that makes me think is like, would we hear it?”

Next we set off the family’s smoke alarm system — it’s set up through their phones and alarms are found throughout the house in all the bedrooms, hallway and downstairs.

As the alarm system blared, neither child woke up.

“I truly thought they were going to wake up, like truly,” Lauren McBride said.

Pat McBride said that after the test he felt that he really had to react fast when he heard the alarm “because they’re not going to hear it.”

Lauren McBride added, “I don’t really know what to think right now.”

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