Review Category : Health

Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic Tops List of Best US Hospitals

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The US News and World Report on Tuesday released its annual ranking of the nation’s top hospitals, sprinkled from coast to coast.

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, took the No. 1 spot — for the first time — followed by Boston’s Mass General; Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins; the Cleveland Clinic; and the UCLA Medical Center.

To see how your area hospital measured up, click here for the report’s complete list.

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Mystery Stomach Bug Shuts Down Washington Lake

Photodisc/Thinkstock(BREMERTON, Wash.) — A mysterious stomach bug has shut down a lake in Kitsap County, Washington, where at least 20 weekend swimmers are coping with cramps, nausea and diarrhea.

Health officials are calling the outbreak at Horseshoe Lake “norovirus-like” as they await test results, according to a statement from the Kitsap Public Health District. The lake has been close until further notice.

“Although there is no laboratory confirmation of a specific virus or bacteria responsible for the illnesses at this time, Public Health and Kitsap County are issuing the temporary closure as a precautionary measure while they investigate and to protect the public and prevent any additional illnesses,” the statement reads.

Norovirus is highly contagious, spreading through food, liquid and surfaces that are contaminated with infected feces or vomit, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There’s no specific treatment, so the CDC recommends staying hydrated for the duration of symptoms, which is usually one to three days.

Kitsap County health officials are asking people who visited Horseshoe Lake between July 10 and July 13 to report any symptoms to the Public Health District and seek medical attention if they persist for more than 24 hours. They’re also urging “diligent and frequent hand-washing with warm water and soap” to prevent the spread of the illness.

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Kristin Cavallari Drops 20 Pounds Two Months After Giving Birth

Jonathan Clay Harris/E!(LOS ANGELES) — Kristin Cavallari gave birth to her second son, Jax, in May. However, she’s already dropped 20 pounds and is close to reaching her pre-pregnancy weight.

“I’m still a couple of pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight, but it took a solid three months with [my 23-month-old son] Camden and I think it will be the same this time,” the former reality TV star told E! News. “I’ve really been focusing on my legs and butt. My stomach needs the most work but that takes time more than anything and diet plays a huge role.”

Cavallari, 27, who married NFL quarterback Jay Cutler last year, said that her workout regimen includes four to five workouts at home each week, including squats, lunges and weight lifting. In the next few weeks, she’ll begin taking Pilates classes.

Meanwhile, her diet, chock full of organic veggies, chicken, beef, bison and fish, has remained the same.

“I either make a smoothie, oatmeal or eggs for breakfast and a salad or turkey sandwich for lunch. I have a snack in the afternoon — usually nuts with dried cherries, chips with hummus, or an apple and almond butter,” she said. “I also love avocados with olive oil and sea salt and I put coconut oil in or on everything.”

While getting in shape has helped her maintain the energy required to keep up with two growing boys, the former reality TV star also gushed that she was excited to fit into non-maternity clothes again.

“I couldn’t wait to wear this…romper,” she gushed. “Anything with a waist!”

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Why Americans Refrigerate Eggs and Europeans Don’t

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Why is it that European eggs are stored on supermarket shelves while American eggs chill in the cold section? The difference, experts say, has to do with the egg production process.

Unlike European eggs, American eggs are washed and sprayed with a sanitizer immediately after collection, then placed into a cooler. Bringing the eggs back to room temperature would increase the chance of bacterial growth, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s egg grading manual.

Bottom line: Americans have to refrigerate their eggs because their egg distributors do.

But even eggs that are clean on the surface can harbor unsafe bacteria, said Marianne Gravely, a technical expert with USDA’s food safety hotline.

“Up until about 20 years ago, we thought inside the egg was safe. But then we discovered that the chicken can pass salmonella infection through its ovaries to the egg,” she said, explaining that refrigerating eggs is any easy safeguard against bacteria wherever you live. Cooking eggs thoroughly also reduces the risk of foodborne illness, according to the USDA.

Though American eggs need to chill, these four foods are probably taking up space in your fridge when they can be stored safely on the counter:

Butter

Some people prefer to keep butter at room temperature because it spreads more easily. Gravely said that’s OK, though it might spoil more quickly.

There are two types of foodborne bacteria: those that cause illness and those that spoil food but don’t make you sick. Butter is more prone to the spoiling variety, Gravely said. She recommends keeping half a stick out on the counter and storing the rest in the fridge.

Whole Grain Flours

Processed white flour doesn’t spoil at room temperature, Gravely said. Whole grain flours, on the other hand, do spoil because they contain more oil, she said.

Tomatoes

Keeping tomatoes out of the fridge is not only safe, it makes them tastier, too.

French researchers recently found that the tomato’s flavor results from a complex mix of sugars acids and aroma-producing compounds called volatiles. Chilling tomatoes causes volatiles to breakdown and damages the texture, rendering the fruit flavorless and pulpy.

Most fruits and veggies are perfectly safe to eat when left at room temperature, Gravely said.

Condiments

Refrigerating your mustard and ketchup will prevent them from going rancid for longer, but leaving them out won’t put you at risk for foodborne illness, Gravely said.

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Widowhood Might Delay Dementia’s Onset

iStock/Thinkstock(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) — As strange as it seems, there may be a hidden benefit to becoming a widow.

Dr. Bryan Woodruff, an assistant professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, says that elderly women who lose their husbands may actually stave off the onset of dementia considerably longer than their married counterparts.

Woodruff studied 3,800 married men and women who began to show some brain decline and was astounded to learn that widowed women progressed to full-blown dementia at age 93, about a decade later than women who hadn’t lost a spouse.

More research will be necessary to explain and verify the findings, but Woodruff espouses at least one theory as to why this occurs. He suggests that the support and attention widows receive “trumps the widowhood effects we see in other conditions,” such as depression and the so-called “broken heart” syndrome.

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Holly Robinson Peete on Her Daughter’s ADHD

David Livingston/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Holly Robinson Peete is helping spotlight attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in girls with a new public service announcement with her daughter Ryan.

The 21 Jump Street actress and her daughter appear in the PSA, as part of a campaign to raise awareness about ADHD in girls. According to the campaign Keep Momming, girls are more likely than boys to experience inattentiveness as a symptom of ADHD than the more noticeable hyperactive and impulsive symptoms, sometimes making it more difficult to diagnose.

Peete, a mother of four, was one of those parents who initially mistook her daughter’s lack of attentiveness for something else.

“I was trying to fix all the things that were going on, especially when it came to Ryan’s daydreaming and inability to focus on her homework,” Peete says in the PSA. “There were tears — a lot of tears.”

Adds Ryan in the PSA, “It was really frustrating to get my mom to understand really what I was going through.”

Peete then says, “That’s when I thought there must be something else going on. So that’s when we talked to a doctor and she was diagnosed with ADHD.”

Since then, things have gotten “a lot easier,” Ryan says in the PSA.

Peete, who has openly shared about the challenges of raising her autistic son RJ, Ryan’s twin brother, said that in some ways, she was harder on her daughter.

“With mothers and daughters it’s a very different dynamic,” she said in behind-the-scenes footage. “We see ourselves in our daughters. We want them to be a certain way. We get more frustrated with our girls if they’re not acting a certain way.”

She added, “You have to stop and listen and take these esoteric moments and look your daughter in the eye and say, ‘Sweetie, what are you feeling? What’s going on in your life?”

Said Peete, “As a mom, all we want to do is provide answers for our kids.”

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Calorie Info on Menus Mostly Seen But Often Not Heeded

Jamie Rector/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — Mandated calorie information on menus is meant to help diners make more informed decisions about their food selections, preferably steering them toward healthier choices.

The good news, according to a poll conducted by the government of 10,000 people in 17 states, is that 97 percent of restaurant goers actually either see or look for this crucial data on menus.

However, about 43 percent of respondents to the survey published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report admit they ignore calorie information when ordering a meal.

Meanwhile, women are far more apt to actually use calorie info than men in restaurants, 67 percent to 47 percent, the survey found.

It was in 2010 that the government mandated that restaurants with 20 or more establishments feature caloric information on their menus.

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Colbie Caillat’s New Video Takes on Beauty Ideals

Republic Records(NEW YORK) — Singer Colbie Caillat’s new video is sending a powerful message to women about their appearance and society’s expectations of beauty.

In the song “Try,” Caillat — a pop singer/songwriter whose hits include “Lucky” and “Bubbly”– addresses women, with lyrics that talk about women putting on makeup, getting their hair done and keeping their bodies slim so they are may be liked by others.

But in the song’s hook, Caillat sings: “You don’t have to try so hard/You don’t have to give it all away/You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up/You don’t have to change a single thing.”

In the video, first posted to YouTube on July 8, Caillat and other women of diverse ages, races and body types are shown singing the song. At first they are in makeup, but as the lyrics progress, they can be seen removing the makeup from their faces. One woman also removes a wig to reveal a bald head, and Caillat herself removes hair extensions and fake eyelashes.

The song finishes: “Take your make-up off/Let your hair down/Take a breath/Look into the mirror, at yourself/Don’t you like you?/Cause I like you.”

The song is from Caillat’s new album, Gypsy Heart. In an interview that appeared on Elle magazine’s website on July 10, Caillat said she went into the recording studio with producer Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and explained to him she was tired of being pressured by others to look like someone she was not. He encouraged her to put those feelings to music.

“I don’t have Photoshop on my album cover,” she said in the interview. “At the video shoots, I’m doing less hair and makeup. For the ‘Try’ video I didn’t prep or starve myself and over-exercise. And then I didn’t get my nails done, I didn’t get my hair done. I didn’t get a facial. I didn’t have a stylist.”

The video appears to have struck a chord with viewers. It had been viewed more than 4.4 million times as of Sunday evening, and generated passionate debate in the video’s comments section.

Caillat told Elle that she still loves “getting dolled up,” but also relishes the days when she can walk around makeup-free. She said the hardest part about being a woman in today’s society was feeling pressured to live up to others’ expectations.

“When you have a cute outfit on and your makeup looks amazing, the first thing people comment on is your image. When you don’t wear makeup, you hear things like, ‘Oh wow, you look tired or you’re so brave for not wearing makeup!'” she said.

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Colbie Caillat’s New Video Takes on Beauty Ideals

Republic Records(NEW YORK) — Singer Colbie Caillat’s new video is sending a powerful message to women about their appearance and society’s expectations of beauty.

In the song “Try,” Caillat — a pop singer/songwriter whose hits include “Lucky” and “Bubbly”– addresses women, with lyrics that talk about women putting on makeup, getting their hair done and keeping their bodies slim so they are may be liked by others.

But in the song’s hook, Caillat sings: “You don’t have to try so hard/You don’t have to give it all away/You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up/You don’t have to change a single thing.”

In the video, first posted to YouTube on July 8, Caillat and other women of diverse ages, races and body types are shown singing the song. At first they are in makeup, but as the lyrics progress, they can be seen removing the makeup from their faces. One woman also removes a wig to reveal a bald head, and Caillat herself removes hair extensions and fake eyelashes.

The song finishes: “Take your make-up off/Let your hair down/Take a breath/Look into the mirror, at yourself/Don’t you like you?/Cause I like you.”

The song is from Caillat’s new album, Gypsy Heart. In an interview that appeared on Elle magazine’s website on July 10, Caillat said she went into the recording studio with producer Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and explained to him she was tired of being pressured by others to look like someone she was not. He encouraged her to put those feelings to music.

“I don’t have Photoshop on my album cover,” she said in the interview. “At the video shoots, I’m doing less hair and makeup. For the ‘Try’ video I didn’t prep or starve myself and over-exercise. And then I didn’t get my nails done, I didn’t get my hair done. I didn’t get a facial. I didn’t have a stylist.”

The video appears to have struck a chord with viewers. It had been viewed more than 4.4 million times as of Sunday evening, and generated passionate debate in the video’s comments section.

Caillat told Elle that she still loves “getting dolled up,” but also relishes the days when she can walk around makeup-free. She said the hardest part about being a woman in today’s society was feeling pressured to live up to others’ expectations.

“When you have a cute outfit on and your makeup looks amazing, the first thing people comment on is your image. When you don’t wear makeup, you hear things like, ‘Oh wow, you look tired or you’re so brave for not wearing makeup!'” she said.

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Why Doctors Oppose Criminalizing Drug Use During Pregnancy

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Though the first mother has been charged under a new Tennessee law that makes it a crime to use drugs while pregnant, many of the most respected medical groups have opposed the criminalization of drug use during pregnancy for decades, claiming it might actually deter women from seeking prenatal care and addiction treatment.

Deputies arrested Mallory Loyola, 26, last Tuesday as she was being discharged from UT Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, two days after giving birth. She was charged with misdemeanor assault after her newborn allegedly tested positive for meth, making her the first woman to be charged under the new law.

Loyola could face a year in jail.

“Anytime someone is addicted and they can’t get off for their own child, their own flesh and blood, it’s sad,” Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens told ABC affiliate WATE.

But experts say it’s not that simple.

“Virtually every state” has considered a bill like the law that led to Loyola’s arrest, but they didn’t pass it because medical groups advised against doing so, said Lynn Paltrow, executive director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

“They all deter women from care,” Paltrow said. “If you think that by getting care, you’re going to get arrested or have your kid taken away or get locked up in a mental institution, chances are you’re not going to come in. Or you’ll come in and not be honest.”

Dr. Ruth Faden, who directs the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, said that instead of giving addicted new mothers access to treatment to help them be better moms, the law rips them from their newborns, which isn’t in the best interest of the child.

“There is very little support among experts that laws of this kind actually improve outcomes for mothers or babies,” Faden said. “Putting them [the mothers] in jail does nothing.”

As far back as 1990, the American Academy of Pediatrics, March of Dimes and the American Medical Association each wrote in separate medical journals that arresting pregnant, drug-addicted women would discourage mothers-to-be from seeking treatment for fear that a medical record of their situation could lead to jail time.

In 2011, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wrote that these women shouldn’t be exposed to penalties under policies that treat addiction as a “moral failing.” They countered in their committee opinion piece that addiction is a, “chronic, relapsing biological and behavioral disorder with genetic components.”

Still, the Tennessee Medical Association supported the law that put Loyola behind bars to an extent.

“Right or wrong, at least we are doing something in Tennessee to try to deal with NAS [Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome],” Tennessee Medical Association President Dr. Douglas Springer wrote in an op-ed about the new law in May.

Springer said Tennessee has an “alarming” problem with narcotics addiction and babies, citing 855 newborns who suffered from withdrawal in the state last year alone.

“The Tennessee Medical Association has pushed for solutions because narcotics addiction — in babies or adults — is a disease that cries for medical intervention,” he wrote in the op-ed. “Babies born with NAS require prolonged treatment, usually in a hospital setting, with complicated medical issues and high-risk deliveries.

“Tennessee physicians like me remain concerned, however, that the new law will have unintended consequences,” Springer said. “If misinformed mothers do not seek prenatal care for fear of prosecution or losing their babies, then an already dreadful situation will worsen.”

The law will expire in two years, allowing experts to gather data to determine whether it helped or harmed mothers and their children.

Still, Paltrow is concerned about pregnant women losing their civil rights.

Though Loyola is the first woman to be arrested under the new Tennessee law, pregnant, drug-addicted women elsewhere have been arrested for years on charges of child abuse, giving drugs to a minor and other crimes without a specific state law to back them up. But in most cases, the states’ highest courts overturn the charges.

In a study Paltrow conducted with a Fordham University professor last year, she found 413 cases between 1973 and 2005 in which “pregnancy was a necessary element” and consequences included “arrests; incarceration; increases in prison or jail sentences; detentions in hospitals, mental institutions and drug treatment programs; and forced medical interventions, including surgery.” Not all of them involved drugs, but many did.

Paltrow noted that the crime under the new Tennessee law isn’t just drug use, given that drug use is almost never criminalized, though drug possession is criminalized. A ket part of the crime is being pregnant.

“What all these cases really are about is this profound question: Is there a point in pregnancy when women lose their civil rights?” she said. “There’s this notion increasingly for women that by carrying a fertilized egg, she can be subject to unique and certain penalties, punishment and control.”

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