Review Category : Health

The Reason Behind ‘Ice Water Challenge’ Trend

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you keep seeing people dump buckets of ice cold water on themselves, you’re not alone.

But it’s more than just an excruciating game — the social media stunt aims to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), according to Patrick Quinn, who suffers from the disease.

It’s called the ice water challenge and videos of participants are going viral on Facebook and Instagram.

“Someone nominates you to do the challenge. You have 24 hours to do it or you’re supposed to donate $100 to your choice of ALS charity,” Quinn, from Yonkers, New York, told ABC News Thursday.

Quinn for the Win, a charity he launched to raise awareness about the disease, has been encouraging people to participate in the challenge and post the videos on social media.

“The more people who get involved, the more money will be raised, the more research we can support,” he said.

Quinn, 31, said his life changed drastically after he was diagnosed with ALS last year.

“At this point, my arms are very weak, my hands are even weaker,” he said. “I have a lot of neck pain. My legs have been pretty tough. They’re shaky, they twitch a lot. But I’m still walking, so I’m pretty lucky.”

ALS is a progressive disease that attacks nerve cells that control movement, according to the Centeres for Disease Control and Prevention. It can cause paralysis, and most people die within five years of being diagnosed.

While most of the videos mention ALS, there’s not one cause tied to the challenge. People have been using the ice water challenge to support many diseases.

The movement mirrors another similar, albeit dangerous, campaign in which people were dared to jump into freezing Lake Michigan and then post a video of the leap online. At least one death was linked to the stunt.

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Smiling Through Hard Times Not So Good for You, Say Researchers

iStock/Thinkstock(HONG KONG) — The old saying “Smile and the world smiles with you” may have some kernel of truth to it but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

University of Hong Kong researchers say there’s nothing wrong with smiling when one feels genuinely happy. However, smiling all the time even through hardships might not be the best strategy.

Marketing professor Anirban Mukhopadhyay and his team conducted a series of experiments to test this theory, which included asking participants how often they smile and whether people forced themselves to smile. Researchers also asked participants about their own level of life satisfaction.

The results show that those who smile frequently because they’re actually happy felt much better than people who did not ordinarily smile often but forced themselves to do so anyway.

Mukhopadhyay says the bottom line is that it may be best for certain people not to smile until they resolve whatever it is that’s bothering them, otherwise it could “make them feel worse, because they may interpret smiling as trying to become happy.”

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Parents and Pre-Schoolers Who Diet Together, Lose Weight Together

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — The obesity epidemic in the U.S. affects all ages, even children of pre-school age.

Parents who are concerned about their youngsters’ weight are strongly advised to do something about it. And, as University of Buffalo researchers point out, they may want to join their kids in a weight-loss program as well.

According to a study of overweight and obese preschoolers, those who went through behavioral treatment and diet education with a parent gained four pounds less on average over 24 months than children who were treated separately.

But that’s not the only advantage to a joint weight loss program. The UB researchers say that parents also lost 14 pounds over a comparable period of time. Adults who tried the same program but without kids experienced no appreciable weight loss.

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Teen with Shorter Right Leg Designs Snap-On Underwear

Courtesy Robinson Family(NEW YORK) — Charlotte Robinson has endured painful fractures and surgeries since she was a toddler, but when the then 13-year-old needed to wear a massive brace to lengthen her right leg, there was one thing that bugged her:

A nurse told her the only pants she would be able to wear for her first year of high school were tear-away sweatpants — the ones with snaps up the sides so basketball players can rip them off. She waited until she and her mother got to the car before she said anything.

“‘I’m not going into high school wearing boys’ pants,’” Sarah Robinson said, mimicking her daughter with a laugh.

So Charlotte Robinson learned to make her own skinny jeans with snaps up the sides so she could get them on and off easily without having to resort to sweatpants. And now, she’s making clothes for other people with similar medical devices.

“It’s nice to know you can have a pair of underwear that you can put on after surgery that’s not too bad,” she said, arguing that surgery and healing is stressful enough without having to deal with itchy Velcro underwear.

Robinson, 17, was born with a hemangioma, a rare disorder that caused vascular tumors to grow in her right tibia, creating holes in her bones and damaging her joints and growth plate. By the time she was 13 years old, her right leg was 2.5 inches shorter than her left and turned at an odd angle.

“Blood vessels have taken over the bone of her right leg,” said her doctor, Dr. David Feldman, the chief of pediatric orthopedic surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Because of the disorder, Robinson’s bone had grown “honeycombed,” making it extremely fragile. But with drugs, the leg brace — called a Taylor Spatial Frame — was designed to lengthen the damaged leg and allow it to grow normally.

The cylindrical metal frame around Robinson’s leg was attached to pins that reached into her bone. For months, her mother turned the pins a little bit each night to help the bone lengthen.

“It really is similar to wearing braces on your teeth,” Feldman told ABC News. “Every time you move a tooth in your jaw bone…it fills in with bone behind it. That’s why it stays there. If you cut a bone and lengthen it slowly — a millimeter per day — the bone will fill in behind it and will create new bone.”

Though the process usually takes a few months, it took Robinson’s bones more than a year to grow to the desired length and required a stem cell transplant from the base of her spinal cord into the gap in her tibia. The device went on in June 2011 and off in July 2012.

Because Robinson initially couldn’t play tennis — which she’d been playing with a platform shoe on her right foot to maintain her balance — her mother signed her up for sewing classes. First, she made dresses, and then she made skinny jeans and covers for her frame to wear in the wintertime.

Although her mother initially made Velcro underwear for her to wear with the brace, Robinson eventually devised a better plan: snaps.

And so, her No Guts No Glory clothing line was born. She’s started by selling five different styles of snap-on underwear.

Though she envisioned them for only people with Taylor Spatial Frames like hers, it wasn’t until a follow-up surgery that she realized it could be bigger.

A young girl in the next bed recovering from spinal surgery to treat her scoliosis was getting a lecture similar to the one Robinson received when she was 13. Robinson, who had just come out of her own surgery, turned to her mother and said “Snap, snap is all they have to do. No bending at all.”

“When everything else is so difficult…make at least one thing easy in your life,” Sarah Robinson said.

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Boy Who Won Over College Football World Battling Cancer Again

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(ATKINSON, Neb.) — The 8-year-old boy who won over fans everywhere after running a 69-yard touchdown for the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers is again fighting for his life after doctors found his brain tumor is growing, despite being declared in remission.

Jack Hoffman of Atkinson, Nebraska, has spent the past few years fighting brain cancer and raising awareness about pediatric brain cancer, along with his family, as part of the Team Jack Foundation.

The pint-size football fan won over the hearts of millions last year after he made a 69-yard touchdown during a scrimmage game at the University of Nebraska.

Hoffman donned a specially sized uniform with the number of his favorite player, Rex Burkhead, and ran with the entire team for 69 yards to “score” the game’s final touchdown. The moment earned Hoffman an ESPY award for “Best Moment” and a chance to meet President Obama in the Oval Office.

While Hoffman was found to be in remission in October, his family confirmed on Thursday that the 8-year-old’s tumor was growing again.

Hoffman’s brain tumor had been declared stable or in remission after he underwent numerous operations and chemotherapy treatments. But new MRI scans revealed this week that the tumor had again started to grow.

“This is a mild setback and everyone remains optimistic for Jack, including and especially his Mom and Dad,” Jack’s parents, Andy and Brianna Hoffman, wrote online. “We love you all and can’t thank you enough for your support.“

Jack Hoffman will have to undergo treatment again, including chemotherapy and possibly another operation, according to the family statement. The 8-year-old was first diagnosed after suffering a seizure in 2011.

His parents have started the Team Jack Foundation in his honor, which aims to raise money for pediatric brain cancer research.

In spite of the bad news, Hoffman and his family managed to salvage the day by going out for a special treat.

“After getting some crummy news, about the only thing a person can do is go and eat a hot fudge brownie sundae,” the family wrote on the Team Jack Foundation Facebook page. “So that’s what we did.”

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Get Buzzed: Coffee Scrubs Promise Smooth Skin

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The beauty industry is abuzz.

According to a growing number of experts, there’s an easy secret to smoother skin and it’s hiding in your kitchen cabinet.

“Caffeine has long been used as a cellulite remedy,” explained Alexis Wolfer, editor-in-chief of and author of The Recipe For Radiance: Discover Beauty’s Best Kept Secrets In Your Kitchen. “It’s in most of the highest end cellulite creams that are currently on the market.”

Red Flower, a luxury organic skincare label, fortified its Lemon Coffee Blossom Olive Stone Scrub with Arabica beans.

Frank, which operates out of Australia, based an entire brand on the concept of caffeinated scrubs. The all-natural exfoliant, which bills itself as 200 grams of “tough love,” vows to reduce the appearance of cellulite, stretch marks, psoriasis, varicose veins, eczema and even acne.

But those looking to test-drive the trend, “don’t really need to spend a lot of money or buy a fancy ingredient,” said Wolfer. In fact, they don’t need to spend any money at all.

In her book, Wolfer whips up a DIY scrub from spent coffee grounds and wheat-germ oil. The paste is not only “literally free,” but also made of pronounceable, chemical-free ingredients that Wolfer swears by.

Wheat-germ oil, says Wolfer, is high in Vitamin E, which means the simple scrub will target, “not only cellulite, but stretch marks.”

Wolfer is quick to stress that even her miracle scrub will only temporarily minimize cellulite and mask stretch marks. And skeptics point out that even potent scrubs are not designed to penetrate skin for visible improvements in tone and texture.

Heidi A. Waldorf, a professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, confirmed that many topical treatments contain caffeine to combat cellulite, but said that scrub alone is unlikely to improve skin condition.

“We tell people, there’s no cure for cellulite yet. The best cure for cellulite is Spanx,” she said.

Still, Waldorf added that massage can stimulate blood flow, which will, “make the skin feel smoother” and promote increased blood flow.

If you do decide to concoct your own brew, be sure to apply a body oil or moisturizing lotion after the treatment.

“Exfoliating will get rid of an excess layer of skin,” said Waldorf. “But you want to maintain that [moisture] barrier.”

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Jaime Pressly Opens Up About Undergoing a Mastectomy

Cindy Ord/Getty Images for TV Land(LOS ANGELES) — Jaime Pressly revealed that after giving birth to her son Dezi in 2007, she suffered mastitis.

“I had something that happened to me years ago, I didn’t know,” she said on The Talk Wednesday. “I have a high threshold for pain, I was a dancer for 25 years. When I had my son, I got mastitis but I didn’t know, ’cause I thought it was just regular breastfeeding pain.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue, and treatment usually includes antibiotics.

For the actress, she ended up almost having a full mastectomy because it spread and mutated. She said four years after having her son, she noticed lumps all over her breasts.

“What do you immediately think of?” she said, alluding to breast cancer.

Pressly said she went to the doctor and had the scar tissue removed, but then it spread.

“I still have some breast tissue left, but almost a full mastectomy,” she said of her procedures.

She even said the mastitis mutated into something else and it was a big ordeal.

“[But] thank God it wasn’t [cancer],” Pressly said, knocking on the wood table.

A mastitis infection warranting a mastectomy would be extremely rare, said Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a practicing OBGYN and senior medical contributor for ABC News. Mastitis is typically treated with antibiotics and warm compresses, she said.

“While mastitis is painful, upsetting and potentially can lead to a systemic blood infection, it can usually be effectively treated and breastfeeding can continue,” Ashton said.

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Sex Every Day for a Month? Couple’s Experiment Leads to Greater Intimacy

ABC News(PROVO, Utah) — With small children, hectic jobs and busy schedules, Meg Conley and Riley Bingham, both 29, worried they were losing touch with each other.

When Conley realized that she and her husband hadn’t touched each other for about eight days, she said that was “crazy” for them. He agreed.

“I thought, you know, I — how can you miss someone that you sleep next to and that you spend all your days with, but, yet, you still somehow miss them?” Bingham said.

That’s when Conley came up with an experiment to get that spark back into their marriage of eight years.

“He got home from work that night and I was like, ‘What if we just have sex every night for the next month?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah! What if we do?’” she recalled, laughing. “So, so, so we did!”

Bingham said the idea made him feel as though he’d “hit the lottery.”

“I dropped my bag out of shock,” he added.

The pair stopped watching reruns on Netflix after their children — daughters Margaret, 5, and Viola, 2 — went to bed and, instead, they started reconnecting with each other.

The Provo, Utah, couple had sex every night for 30 days.

Asked whether she ever felt too tired to keep her promise, Conley admitted that she did.

“There were times where I would have to look in the bathroom mirror and, like, psych myself up, like, ‘You can do this!” she said. “And then, after two weeks — I, I craved it.”

“At the end of the day, under the bills, the mortgage, the years, the kids, he’s that same boy that you fell in love with and you’re that same girl. And you get to have that spark,” she said.

Conley wrote about her experiment on her blog, Meg in Progress, at the end of 2012, and it struck a chord with other couples. Some said her idea was brilliant, while others felt it was oversimplified, but Conley and Bingham felt it was just what they needed.

“It added excitement,” Conley said. “He would come home from work and he’d come into the kitchen, like, pick me up and twirl me around. It felt like we were kids again and we were, we were talking more to each other. Our communication — those lines, like, really opened up. We got on the same team again.”

Bingham agreed.

“We did talk a lot more. We became much more generous, less selfish,” he said.

They’re no longer having sex every day, but they still figure out ways to show their affection to each other.

“We still make it a point to be intimate every day, whether it’s hand-holding or kissing…or, something that’s just her and I, where we feel close, no matter how long the day is — it’s just us,” Bingham said.

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See the Special Ward Designed to Treat Ebola Patients

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — With the deadly Ebola outbreak continuing to ravage west Africa, medical officials across the globe are ramping up containment and treatment plans in case the virus arrives in local emergency rooms.

The virus has killed at least 932, mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

In Nigeria, one nurse died after becoming infected by a passenger with Ebola, who flew in from Liberia. Although the virus has not been confirmed outside of Africa in this outbreak, a man in Saudi Arabia was tested after showing signs of hemorrhagic fever following a trip to Sierra Leone.

In the U.S., two American aid workers were evacuated from Liberia to Emory University hospital, where they are being treated in a specialized ward.

In the U.K., the Royal Free Hospital in London is prepping their specialized unit that would handle any patient infected with the disease.


Because the virus is spread through bodily secretions, such as blood or urine, doctors and other medical personnel would have head-to-toe protective gear. The disease is not airborne and only spread through close bodily contact or contaminated surfaces.

Health workers are some of the most at risk population because they treat the sickest patients, when their viral load is the highest.

According to the World Health Organization, 145 health workers have been infected and 80 have died.

The isolated beds at Royal Free Hospital are not only for Ebola but can be used to house patients with any contagious disease, including other airborne pathogens like the avian flu.

According to the Express, the unit will even filter the air to protect against any dangerous pathogen escaping. There are two units, fitting one bed each.

“Everything is contained within the tent under negative pressure so the air is constantly added and removed,” Dr. Stephen Mepham, of Royal Free Hospital, told the Express. “Outside the tent, the air flows through a series of filters and is deposited outside the hospital.”

While the Ebola outbreak is the deadliest on record, health officials cautioned the scared public from over reacting. Mepham said the chances of meeting an undiagnosed Ebola patient in Britain were nearly impossible.

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Woman ‘Very Nervous’ Since Being Grazed by Lightning in Living Room

ABC News(WHEATFIELD, N.Y.) — A New York woman says she hasn’t been herself since she survived being grazed by lightning while sitting on a couch in her living room.

“I’m feeling the same, but…like very nervous,” Theresa Szelest told ABC News’ 20/20. “That’s not my personality. [I'm] even to the point of almost having panic attacks.”

While at her home in Wheatfield, New York, last week, Szelest said her mom was rubbing her feet for her when it began raining outside.

“And it was thundering, lightning. And one struck in the backyard, and I went, ‘Oh my god, Mom, that is so close,’” Szelest recalled. “I don’t remember feeling anything. I don’t remember seeing it. But it’s the sound that I remember. All I remember is the sound.”

That’s when Szelest said her mom felt a jolt through Szelest’s foot.

“I smelled her hair to make sure she wasn’t burning,” Lottie Waldron, Szelest’s mom, told 20/20. “And then it was too quick. We all jumped up, and the next thing I knew I was outside.”

Szelest, 52, said she was unharmed, except for being in such shock that she was having trouble breathing.

“It was funny because I guess I was hyperventilating, so my toes were starting to turn purple,” she said.

A neighbor, who is a volunteer fireman, came across the street and had them leave the house in case it was on fire. Fortunately, there was no fire in the house, just small pieces of plaster that fell on Szelest and in the area where the bolt of lightning entered the home.

Szelest’s home has no visible outside damage, but she worries it may be susceptible to another lightning strike. “Just because of the direction and the way the house sits, it’s one of the highest peaks in the neighborhood. Is it going to happen again? I hope not,” said Szelest.

The overwhelming number of lightning strikes occur outside, but can also strike inside, said the National Weather Service’s lightning expert John Jensenius.

“Lightning can go through the plumbing. It could easily go through water and get to you,” Jenenius told ABC News. “If it strikes outside, it can travel through the metal doorknob.”

Because she has trouble remembering what happened, Szelest feels like a part of her is gone.

“I just want everybody else to be aware that it can happen and to be careful,” said Szelest. “Just be aware of your surroundings.”

Watch the full story on ABC News’ 20/20 on Friday, Aug. 8 at 10 p.m. ET.

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