Review Category : Health

This Giant Treadmill Holds 10 Runners at Once

Oxford Fitness(NEW YORK) — With all 50 states inching below the freezing mark this week, runners are hitting the treadmill in droves. Now, 10 indoor athletes can hop on the same treadmill all at once, thanks to this extra-large mill designed by Chilean company, Oxford Fitness.

The gargantuan treadmill is built on a scale four times larger than a “run of the mill” machine. It is 5 meters high, 3 meters wide and 6 meters long. Speed increases in increments of just over half a mile per hour all the way up to roughly 10 miles per hour, or a 6-minute per mile pace.

Scott Douglas, the senior content editor for Runner’s World magazine, said it was not entirely clear how users reach the control buttons. The company could not immediately be reached for comment, but a video shows someone on a ladder hitting the controls.

Over the weekend, Oxford plans to host a pair of two-hour races on the machine in Santiago, Chile, according to Douglas.

For the first of two races, the treadmill’s speed will be set at a steady 6 miles per hour to test stamina. During the second race things get a little more interesting: Douglas said that organizers will gradually edge up the pace so that runners who can’t keep up get ejected off the back. The last runner remaining upright and on board will be declared the winner.

Douglas, a 60 mile a week runner who owns a treadmill he hardly ever uses, said he didn’t think the XL treadmill was the worst idea.

“When you run outdoors with a friend, you naturally lock into a pace so I don’t see why it would be a big deal to do the same on a treadmill,” he said.

Oxford Fitness and its creative partner, 10:10, plan a national tour with the machine and hope to lure Erwin Valdebenito, the Chilean holder of a Guinness World Record for running 24 hours non-stop on a regular treadmill, to super-size his efforts on their mill.

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How Zero Gravity Affects Men and Women Differently

NASA(NEW YORK) — With an upcoming mission to Mars, NASA is studying the ways that living in space affects both men and women.

In a study published this month in Journal of Women’s Health, researchers from NASA and National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) went through decades of data to understand how living in zero gravity takes a toll on both men and women.

The team reviewed data on the 534 people to have flown in space at the time of the study, including 57 women, and studied cardiovascular, reproductive, musculoskeletal, immunological and behavioral health.

Changes in zero gravity included worse vision problems among some men, calcium loss for both sexes, and for some female astronauts an inability to stand for long periods without fainting after landing back on Earth, according to the study.

Dr. Saralyn Mark, a lead author on the study and a senior medical adviser at NASA, told ABC News that one ongoing problem for those flying in space is that the eye and even eyeball can be affected by zero gravity.

While only a small portion of astronauts were studied, 82 percent of male astronauts, or 14 out of 17, were found to have suffered from changes to their vision that researchers called visual impairment intracranial pressure, or VIIP.

They called the impairment “one of the most serious spaceflight-related health risks.”

While a large majority of the male astronauts had a problem, statistically fewer women were struck with the same symptoms. Only 62 percent, or five out of eight female astronauts, reported the same symptoms and none had as severe symptoms as some of the male astronauts. Researchers were examining if the women’s age, hormones or vascular health helped them fare better in space.

While male astronauts battled to keep their eyesight, female astronauts have faced other difficulties back on terra firma. Female astronauts were more likely to faint while standing when they initially come back to Earth, the study found.

Causes for these fainting incidents could range from a loss of plasma volume in space to the different ways men and women’s cardiovascular systems react to stress, Mark said.

“Some have fainted, some feel like they’re going to faint,” Mark said of the female astronauts. “If you’re going to Mars, you need to be able to leave your space vehicle and perform your duties.”

In other cases, both men and women have faced similar problems, including “space motion sickness.” Women in space tend to report more motion sickness as they leave Earth and enter the space station, whereas men report feeling queasy more often as they return to Earth, the study found.

By reviewing the findings, NASA scientists are hoping to develop devices or medication for specific problems faced by both men and women as they travel into space or even to Mars, Mark said.

“It’s not a question of who is better equipped but really designing specific measures to protect men and women,” Mark said.

Dr. Bette Sigel, executive secretary for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Committee and a co-author of the study, said it’s important to recognize differences between female and male astronauts to ensure that appropriate and tailored steps are taken to protect the health of everyone in space.

“The real point is if we are planning to fly both men and women on long duration [spaceflights] we want to make sure that the countermeasures work for both men and women,” Sigel said.

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How to Shovel Snow Without Having a Heart Attack

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Fluffy, white snow may be the stuff of holiday greeting cards but, to cardiologists, it’s a heart attack waiting to happen.

That’s why they call it “heart attack snow,” said Dr. Clyde Yancy, chief of cardiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. It’s heavy and people try to clear it too quickly for their own good.

Already, the season’s first big snowstorm in Buffalo, New York, has led to several deaths, including at least three people who had heart attacks while shoveling.

Blood vessels are tighter in the cold weather, making it harder for blood to pass through them. Combine that with the stress of physical activity, and it can mean disaster for some unsuspecting shovelers, Yancy said.

Yancy, a spokesman for the American Heart Association, advises shovelers not to rush, to do the work in chunks and to avoid alcoholic beverages on the job.

“It’s a misnomer that people believe having an alcoholic beverage will warm them up,” he said. “It puts the heart at more risk.”

According to the American Heart Association, people also shouldn’t eat a big meal beforehand, and, if possible, they should use a smaller shovel to avoid lifting heavy weight.

Yancy suggested certain people skip shoveling altogether.

“If you know you already have heart disease, maybe a little bit of snow in driveway is not so bad,” he said.

Shoveling may be associated with heart attacks every year, but it’s not the only winter heart attack hazard, Yancy said.

“A number of things are really different in the winter season that can have direct bearing on your heart health,” he said. “Winter, itself, is a risk factor.”

Stress from the holidays and changes in daylight contribute to heart attacks in the winter — even for people who travel south for the cold months, he said.

And people are most at-risk for heart attacks when they wake up in the morning because their hormone levels are different and their blood is “stickier,” Yancy said.

The flu and hypothermia also can contribute to heart attacks.

“We should all realize that, over the winter season, we’re just more vulnerable,” Yancy said. “Take it easy.”

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Why Your Mom Was Wrong About Cold Weather and the Flu

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Your mom or dad probably told you to bundle up against frigid temperatures like the ones hitting much of the United States right now. That’s good advice if you want to stay warm and avoid frostbite or hypothermia — but they were wrong if they thought they were protecting you against colds and the flu.

“Grandma was being good-hearted to tell us to put on mittens,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, but a person is not more likely to catch a cold or flu because they’re freezing, according to health experts.

That’s because getting sick has much more to do with how people are exposed to cold and flu viruses.

In fact, there are two main theories for why cold and flu season peaks in winter and neither of them revolves around people being cold.

When a person with a respiratory virus coughs or sneezes, the virus escapes the host via a small droplet. In colder months, the virus can more easily remain in the air to infect another person, Schaffner said.

“When that moisture evaporates, that virus in its little core can be in the air for longer…and then inhaled by party [two], which causes the infection,” he said.

It’s also likely that the more people stay indoors or in school, in close contact, the more chances viruses get to spread, Schaffner said.

“It may be a combination of those things,” he added. “[Influenza is] picking up right about now. It will usually peak in February.”

Dr. Stephen Morse, an infectious disease expert at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, said school rooms, in particular, can lead to outbreaks of the flu because children are packed together and haven’t built up an immune response to combat different flu strains.

“Certainly, density, having people close together,” can help spread disease, said Morse. “Kids always have runny noses and are playing together.”

Schaffner added that that there is no truth to the myth that temperature changes will make people sick.

“Because cold and flu season occurs during the winter and we see the change in the temperature…we attribute our infection to the change in temperature,” Schaffner said. “But they’re not causally related.”

Most medical experts believe flu is spread mainly by droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population is infected with the flu every year, according to the CDC. Deaths associated with the flu have ranged between 3,000 to 49,000 annually according to the CDC.

Schaffner said the best advice for people wanting to avoid getting sick this year is wash their hands often and be sure to get a flu shot.

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The Germy Perils of a French Kiss

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — There is perhaps nothing more romantic than a French kiss. Apparently there is also nothing more disgustingly filthy.

A new Dutch study published in the journal Microbiome found that swapping spit for about 10 seconds transfers up to 80 million bacteria between lovers. The shorter partner in the smooch may take on even more germs because, as the researchers noted, saliva travels downward.

The longer a couple stays together the more similar the microbes in their mouth become, the study found. And the more than 700 different species of bacteria that live and breed in the mouth are mostly healthy and beneficial.

The Dutch study also revealed that couples only exchange about 1,000 germs in a straightforward lip lock. That’s fewer than found in a handshake.

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Chemical in Antibacterial Soap Promoted Tumor Growth in Mice

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) — A chemical in antibacterial soap promoted liver tumor growth in mice, researchers found.

Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine studied the effects of triclosan — an antimicrobial found in antibacterial soaps, toothpaste, body wash and other common household items — on mice, and said the results shocked them.

“It’s not a direct carcinogen,” said study author Robert Tukey, a professor of chemistry, biochemistry and pharmacology at UCSD. “It’s a tumor promoter.”

In other words, exposure to triclosan encouraged existing liver tumors to grow. The mice who were exposed to triclosan had more tumors, bigger tumors and more frequent tumors than mice who weren’t exposed to it, according to the study. The mice also developed liver problems, including scarring.

But experts not involved in the study cautioned that the mice were eating and drinking the triclosan in their food and water at “super high concentrations” for six months, which isn’t comparable to using it for hand or hair washing.

“There is a little bit of distortion,” said Dr. Frank Esper, an infectious diseases specialist at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. “It’s 100 times or 1,000 times more than in things we normally see in things like toothpaste or soaps.”

Tukey said he and his colleagues fed the chemical to the mice to make sure they got an equal, standard dose for their experiment. He said it’s more triclosan than a human is normally exposed to, but it’s not yet clear whether low doses of the chemical would have the same tumor-promoting effect.

Esper said the study is a good first step, and that it shows that more research into how triclosan affects humans is needed.

Triclosan has been used since 1972, but last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it had no evidence to prove products containing it worked better than regular soap. Indeed, the FDA said some studies showed negative effects of using soaps with triclosan and triclocarban, such as “bacterial resistance and hormonal effects.”

As a result, companies have until next winter to prove that soaps containing these chemicals are better than old-fashioned bar soap.

When it comes to the soap aisle, Esper said he recommends regular soap and good hand-washing techniques. The detergent in normal soap, he said, is enough to kill the germs without paying extra for soaps with added triclosan and other “antibacterial” chemicals.

Tukey said he doesn’t want to be alarmist, but he won’t use products containing triclosan.

“We don’t see a little bit of tumors,” he said. “We see very full blown tumorigenesis. It’s on the extreme end of a tumor promoter and it does it very rapidly.”

The American Cleaning Institute, an industry trade group, said in a statement that the study does not prove triclosan promotes tumor growth in humans.

“The fact is that overdosing mice with triclosan at levels they would never likely come in contact with does not represent a realistic circumstance for humans,” said Paul DeLeo, ACI associate vice president of environmental safety. “We’ve known for decades that the mouse is not a good model for human risk assessment of triclosan.”

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Couple Adopts Daughter as an Embryo

iStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) — Unable to have biological children of their own, Liz and Kevin Krainman turned to a relatively new and little-known way to adopt their now 4-month-old daughter.

The Krainmans, of Austin, Texas, used embryo adoption to bring their daughter, Sammy, into their lives.

“When I first discovered embryo adoption, it was like Christmas morning,” Liz Krainman, 33, told ABC News. “Something just clicked that was like I had no idea this existed, [that] I could be pregnant and I could have a child that’s adopted.”

The Krainmans got the embryo that became their daughter from a couple, Libby and Tony Kranz, who live almost 1,700 miles away.

The Kranzes underwent five rounds of IVF treatments and suffered through five miscarriages before they adopted a child of their own, a daughter they named Jennifer, in 2007.

Miraculously, after the adoption, Libby Kranz, 35, got pregnant naturally three times and delivered three healthy babies, now ages 5, 3 and 1.

With their family of six complete, the Kranzes were left with four unused embryos.

While most unused embryos are either destroyed or used for science, some couples, like the Kranzes, choose to put their embryos up for adoption. These frozen embryos are affectionately called “snowflake babies.”

“We gave them a gift and people like to say, ‘Oh, they gave such a generous gift,’ but they gave us a gift too,” Libby Kranz told ABC News. “They gave us the perfect landing spot for these embryos.”

The Krainmans’ daughter, Sammy, was actually conceived in 2006. The embryo that became her was on ice in a storage facility for seven years before being adopted.

“Just knowing that she was frozen for so long as a little ball of cells and then awakened, that process just blows my mind,” Krainman said. “Love is what made her. The love of so many people went into creating her and bringing her here.”

In a sad twist, the Kranzes’ adopted daughter, Jennifer, was diagnosed with cancer around the same time that Krainman became pregnant with Sammy and later died at the age of 6.

The Kranzes have since started a non-profit organization, Unravel Pediatric Cancer, to raise awareness and research funds for the disease.

The family calls the decision to donate the embryo to the Krainmans a “gift” they are proud of.

“This was a gift for Liz and Kevin and it is a gift for us,” said Libby Kranz. “It’s a gift that we gave ourselves, I guess, because we did the right thing and we know it.”

“I’m proud of it and it’s a nice feeling to be proud of yourself for something,” she said.

Click here, here and here to learn more about the Krainmans’ and the Kranzes’ journey through embryo adoption, courtesy of People magazine.

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New York Woman’s Death Not Related to Ebola, Health Officials Say

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A woman in New York City who died while being monitored for possible exposure to Ebola has tested negative for the virus, officials with the city’s health department said Wednesday.

The woman died Tuesday. The cause of death was not immediately released. She had recently arrived from Guinea, one of three countries that have been designated for special attention to travelers because of outbreaks of the lethal virus. Liberia and Sierra Leone are the other two countries.

The Ebola test was performed on the woman’s remains due to her travel history and an abundance of caution, a New York City official briefed on the woman’s death told ABC News. She had not exhibited any symptoms of the virus before her death and since she was being monitored, she was being checked daily, officials said.

There are about 350 people being monitored for Ebola by New York City authorities.

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Woman Monitored for Ebola Dead; NYC Department of Health Investigating

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A woman in New York City who was being monitored for possible exposure to Ebola has died, and her cause of death is being investigated by the city’s Department of Health.

The woman had recently arrived from Guinea, one of three countries that have been designated for special attention to travelers because of outbreaks of the lethal virus. Liberia and Sierra Leone are the other two countries.

The New York City Health Department said that the last time the woman was checked, she did not have symptoms of Ebola. People who are being monitored are checked daily.

There are about 350 people on the city’s list of people being monitored for Ebola.

A New York City official briefed on the woman’s death told ABC News, “Earlier today, an individual who came to the U.S. from one of the three Ebola-impacted nations in West Africa within last three weeks died of an apparent non-Ebola condition.

This individual at no time showed any symptoms of Ebola. However, due to travel history and an abundance of caution, an Ebola test will be performed on this individual’s remains. Test results are expected later tonight or early tomorrow morning.”

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Great Dane Gives Birth to 19 Puppies

ABC News(YORK COUNTY, Pa.) — A great Dane in York County, Pennsylvania gave birth to 19 puppies.

Brandon and Aimie Terry knew their dog – named Snowy – was pregnant, but they never expected this many puppies.

“We had made an appointment to take her into the vet, and they did an X-ray, and found out there were 15 spines in the X-ray,” Brandon Terry told ABC affiliate WHTM.

Great Dane litters usually contain about eight puppies.

The puppies were born three weeks ago – earlier than the family expected. Brandon Terry was doing yard work when he kept hearing a noise, similar to a kitten’s mewing. When he looked, he saw the first puppy. Six more of the puppies were born at the house, with the rest born at an animal hospital.

“It’s a shocker, but I’m glad that they’re all here,” Brandon Terry told WHTM.

The puppies recently opened their eyes.

“Right now they’re into exploring and playing, fighting with each other,” Aimie Terry said.

The puppies are small and cuddly now, but they’ll eventually grow to nearly three feet in height. The family is hoping to find new homes for the dogs.

The largest known litter of puppies is 24, born in 2004 to a Neapolitan mastiff in Cambridgeshire, England, according to Guinness World Records.

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