Review Category : Health

Meditation May Soothe Anxiety, Pain During Breast Biopsy

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A breast biopsy can be a very stressful, anxiety-provoking, painful, and exhausting experience for a woman. But new research suggests that there are easy and inexpensive measures women can take to ease these problems.

Researchers say meditation and music interventions may help make breast cancer biopsies, which are done while the woman is awake, more tolerable without the use of additional medications.

Researchers looked at 121 patients, divided into three groups: group 1 received guided medication, group 2 listened to music, and group 3 got standard care with no music or meditation. The tests showed both meditation and music interventions reduced patient anxiety and fatigue. Meditation also caused lower pain levels during the biopsy procedure.

It’s important to note that this study is small, and therefore, may not be generalizable to the public without more research.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: The Successes of In Vitro Fertilization

iStock/ThinkstockDR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Are you struggling to get pregnant and trying in vitro fertilization (IVF)? According to a new report in Journal of the American Medical Association, the procedure may work better than previously thought.

Data shows that most women or couples drop out of IVF after about three cycles because they’re discouraged. But researchers found that the chances of achieving a live birth actually continue to go up even after three unsuccessful cycles.

Here’s my fertility prescription: If you’ve been trying to conceive for more than six months without success, talk to your OB/GYN. Depending on your age, referral to a board-certified infertility specialist may be appropriate.

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Zika Virus: First Cases Reported in Spain

Popartic/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) — Spain says it has confirmed a case of the Zika virus, the first in Europe, says BBC News.

A pregnant woman was diagnosed with Zika after she had recently returned from Colombia.

The virus is currently spreading through the Americas and it is believed that it is linked to a birth defect called microcephaly. The World Health Organization recently declared microcephaly a global public health emergency.

The Spanish health ministry said that woman was one of seven confirmed cases, says BBC News.

All of the cases were “imported” and therefore there is no risk that the virus will spread, BBC reported.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Nurse Sweetly Sings ‘A Whole New World’ to 4-Year-Old Cancer Patient

Jose Torres(NEW YORK) — A video of a nurse in Houston singing to a 4-year-old girl with leukemia, who could not fall asleep, went viral this week after her father posted it on Facebook.

Brandon Waterhouse, a hematology-oncology nurse at Texas Children’s Hospital, sang Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” to the delight and comfort of four-year-old Sophia Torres, who listened attentively while perched in her wheelchair.

“Sophia was in the hallway with her dad that night, unable to sleep. As is usual for her, she had her iPad playing music. At the time, she was listening to ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen which, I’m sad to say, I do not know all the words to,” Waterhouse told ABC News. Sophia asked if he could sing a song for her and he said he knew all the words to Aladdin’s “A Whole New World.”

Jose Torres, Sophia’s father, filmed Waterhouse singing and uploaded it on Facebook. “I posted it on Sophia’s page for family members and friends, but I never thought it would reach out that far,” Torres told ABC News.

The father explained that music has become a huge source of comfort for the young girl.

“She loves to listen to music,” Torres told ABC, “On December 14 she suffered a stroke….It damaged some of her eyesight, so now the music is what she wants. She doesn’t really want to watch movies, she just loves music.”

Despite spending most of her time confined to a wheelchair and inside of a hospital building, Torres told ABC, Sophia still has a bright, positive personality.

“She is so happy,” Torres told ABC, “She loves princesses, my little pony, and she just loves to listen to music.”

Waterhouse, the male nurse who sang both the male and female parts of the Disney ballad told ABC News, “The last time I had a singing performance was during my 5th grade play … I am definitely not a singer.”

Waterhouse explained that even when there are no cameras rolling to catch the act, the hospital staff is always singing and playing with the kids at Texas Children’s Hospital.

“It’s definitely not uncommon to catch some of the staff singing or dancing throughout our shifts but honestly it’s because we all truly love what we do. There is not a single person on this unit who wouldn’t go above and beyond for any one of our patient.”

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Dad’s Photo of Baby’s Swollen Toe Raises Awareness of Rare Syndrome

Scott Walker(WICHITA, Kan.) — One dad’s photo of his baby’s swollen toe is sparking conversation among parents across the Internet.

Scott Walker, 32, of Wichita, Kansas, told ABC News that he posted a picture of his infant daughter’s foot after finding a strand of hair wrapped tightly around one of her toes.

“I was pretty freaked out,” Walker said. “I was lucky to have my wife Jessica there because she handles these situations like a pro. It’s never fun to see your child in pain, but for something like a hair tourniquet, it was a different feeling than the other [injuries] your kid may go through. It was something I’ve never seen before, so that helplessness kind of sunk in.”

Walker said it was the afternoon of Jan. 21 when his daughter, Molly, 5 months, was crying uncontrollably.

“Molly was screaming, crying and we just went through the normal checklist of feeding, changing, pacifier,” Walker recalled. “We noticed her right sock was wet and her left sock was dry. Her foot was sweating. Once we removed the sock, we immediately saw her toe was swollen.”

Walker said a hair tourniquet was attached to Molly’s foot, causing it to swell up.

Walker’s wife Jessica, who works as a registered nurse, was present during the incident and used a magnify glass and a pair of tweezers to carefully remove the hair from her daughter’s toe.

“The sooner you can find it the better chances you have to keep your kid from being injured or having to go through surgery or anything,” Walker said. “I’ve been researching non-stop.”

In an effort to raise awareness of hair tourniquets, Walker shared a photo on Facebook of Molly’s toe 45 minutes after the hair was removed.

In two weeks, the post was shared over 24,000 times.

Dr. Lolita McDavid, medical director of Child Protection and Advocacy at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, told ABC News that hair tourniquets, or acute digital ischemia, are “pretty rare” occurrences.

“You see on it on toes more than on fingers because a lot of parents have long hair and the baby will pull on the hair,” she said. “A lot of hair tourniquets that you see on feet my be strings from socks. “When you see a baby and the baby may be truly inconsolable, you may want to undress them to see if there’s something constricting that’s really upsetting to the baby.”

She continued: “What can happen is you can cut of the blood supply…so you could end up losing that toe. What parents can do is if they have it, try to take something very small and break it, but if it’s been there for a while and there’s swelling around it, you’ll want to head to to the emergency room, where somebody can actually get it off.”

Walker said Molly’s toe healed in less than a week.

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Painful Symptoms Persist After Zika Virus Infection, Virginia Woman Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A Virginia woman recounted her painful ordeal with the Zika virus and said she still has some lingering symptoms related to the earlier infection.

Heather Baker told ABC News that she is still dealing with health issues after being diagnosed with the Zika virus earlier this year.

Baker was diagnosed after going on a mission trip to Guatemala in November, according to ABC affiliate WHSV-TV.

“After I got home from my trip, I discovered as swollen lymph node on this side of my head and so I just knew immediately that my body was fighting something,” Baker told WHSV-TV.

She was tested for multiple diseases, including the tropical disease Chikungunya, but none of those tests turned up positive. She then heard about the Zika virus and was tested for that virus.

“When [the Chikungunya test] came back negative, by that point, I had heard the name Zika, and I was like, ‘I think that’s what it is,’” Baker said.

While the symptoms of the Zika virus generally last less than a week, Baker said some of her symptoms have persisted for nearly eight weeks.

“There are a lot of unknowns right now and we are just doing the best we can with what we have, and my hope is that there’s someone out there somewhere who has studied this,” Baker told WHSV-TV.

Baker declined to speak in detail to ABC News, due to feeling ill. She did say she wanted to share her story to encourage other people to take precautions when visiting Zika-affected countries.

The Zika virus usually results in mild symptoms including fever, rash and fatigue that rarely last longer than a week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus has been associated with a worrying rise in a birth defect called microcephaly in Brazil.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, said there may be multiple reasons that Baker has continued to have symptoms weeks after the virus. He explained that she may have unknowingly had a complication or a secondary infection that caused her symptoms to worsen.

“I haven’t heard of anything like this,” Schaffner said. “I’m not sure how long and which symptoms have persisted. But everything is possible and some things are very common and some things are unusual.”

He said another possibility is that Baker had an inflammatory immune response where she felt symptoms long after the virus has left her body.

“We don’t know if the virus can persist or if it can set up an inflammatory response that can continue to make you ill for a period of time,” he explained.

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New Book Examines Quarterbacks’ Attractiveness

Scott Clarke/ESPN(NEW YORK) — When Super Bowl 50 kicks off Sunday in California, all eyes will be on the competing teams’ quarterbacks: Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos and Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers.

Quarterbacks like Manning, Newton and the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady are the face of the NFL and often seen as the most attractive, and powerful, players on the field.

“It’s Tom Brady at the highest level but it’s also the good-looking high school kid who is dating the cheerleader,” Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated’s executive editor, told ABC News.

Wertheim joined with Sam Sommers, a professor of psychology at Tufts University, to examine why quarterbacks are seen as the most attractive players on the football field.

The pair used a photo experiment to answer the question in their new book, This Is Your Brain on Sports.

“We took media photos of all the quarterbacks and had a random sample of people who weren’t big football fans look at them,” Wertheim said.

The pair had the sample group judge the quarterbacks’ attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 10. They then repeated the same experiment using photos of defensive backs and wide receivers.

Wertheim and Sommers also ran the same experiment using photos of college football players.
The results, for many football fans, may sound surprising.

“The quarterbacks didn’t come out on top,” Sommers said. “If anything, they came out at the bottom.”

Sommers and Wertheim concluded that quarterbacks benefit from what is called the “halo effect.” The quarterback’s perceived power, leadership and success on the field amplifies their attractiveness.

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Kate Hudson Spills the Secrets Behind Her Fit Body

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Kate Hudson has a body that most people would covet, but the 36-year-old actress says she is more focused on how she feels inside than how she looks outside.

“I have fluctuated [in weight] my whole life,” the star told People in a new interview. “I fluctuate at least five pounds every month. I really want to reach people that are asking, ‘How do I get there?’ A lot of people are quite discouraged by the process of getting healthy because one, they think they can’t afford it, and two, it’s daunting. I wanted to start a dialogue. Because you won’t be able to even get there until you actually accept yourself and start connecting with yourself.”

That dialogue is part of her new lifestyle book, Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body, which, she said, is “not meant to be a tell-all, but rather a tell-true” about how to become “healthy, strong and beautiful from the inside out.”

“I think we’ve put so much focus on the results that everybody is forgetting to enjoy the process,” Hudson told People. “And really the only way you can get there in a way that is meaningful is if you enjoy it. And everybody has a different way of finding out what that is.”

Hudson credits dancing for helping her find body confidence and end years of yo-yo dieting.

“It’s about health and mindfulness,” she added. “Because you can have the greatest body and you can be really unhappy if that’s all you’re working toward.”

In fact, Hudson believes in indulging ever now and then. Her weakness?

“Pizza,” she said. “Like Hawaiian pizza. I’m always the person that orders the pizza that everybody goes, ‘Why did you order that?'”

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Your Body: Over-the-Counter Birth Control

Fuse/ThinkstockDR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Big news for women and birth control in Oregon.

In an attempt to increase access to contraception for women, an expert panel of doctors has recommended that birth control pills be available without a doctor’s prescription in the Beaver State. The change will also be implemented in California later this year.

In these states, women can simply see their local pharmacist to get the pill.

While there is no question that the pill is generally safe, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is against this new policy, stating that putting another person between a woman and her birth control does not help women’s health.

While pharmacists are definitely great resources for how medications work and interact with each other, they are not women’s health specialists.

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Study: Body Mass Index Readings Not Accurate Picture of Health

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In a study just published Thursday in the International Journal of Obesity, UCLA psychologists have declared that using BMI (Body Mass Index) to gauge health actually incorrectly labels more than 54 million Americans as “unhealthy.”

The BMI is not only used by personal trainers and diet shows like The Biggest Loser: of late health insurance companies have used it to adjust premiums for those they cover.

However, the study supports criticism that BMI alone shouldn’t be used to judge health, as it doesn’t take into account a person’s physical abilities, blood pressure, waist circumference, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, percentage of body fat, and other health markers.

Indeed, the researchers noted more than 30 percent of those studied who have “good” BMIs had other problematic health markers that would have gone unnoticed if BMI was the only method used to determine health.

Likewise, the study found close to half — 47.4 percent of Americans who are considered “overweight” because of their BMI readings — some 34.4 million people — are healthy. Same went for nearly 20 million whose BMI labeled them “obese.”

Many people see obesity as a death sentence,” said A. Janet Tomiyama, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of psychology in the UCLA College. “But the data show there are tens of millions of people who are overweight and obese and are perfectly healthy.”

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