Review Category : Health

Chicken Pox Outbreak Has Infected 75 Children So Far in Orthodox Jewish Community

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An chicken pox outbreak in Brooklyn, New York, that has infected dozens of children is being probed by the New York City Health Department, ABC affiliate WABC reported Monday.

The outbreak occurred in an Orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg, according to officials, with 75 cases reported so far.

Of the patients affected, 72 percent of them had not been vaccinated against the disease, officials said. The ages of the patients range from infants to children up to 10 years old.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Could You Measure Your Own Waistline?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — How accurate is it when you measure your own waistline?

Scientists and health professionals regularly use waist circumference to predict the risk of metabolic disorders and identify people at increased risk for weight-related problems. Researchers at Mayo Clinic and Vanderbilt set out to test whether “self-reported” measurements of waist circumference, which are often used for diagnostic screenings, were as accurate as those measured by professionals.

The study, published in Annals of Family Medicine, used 750 participants who were provided with standardized pictorial instructions on how to measure their waists.

People, it seems, are not so good at measuring their own waists, according to the study. Unsurprising too that they tend to err on the side of “thinner.”

More than half of the normal-weight women who professionals said had waistlines large enough to make them “high risk” for metabolic syndrome under-measured their waist, and believed they were below that cutoff. About a quarter of overweight men fell into the same “under-measuring” category.

This inability to self-measure struck the researchers as alarmingly high, and suggests that either better instruction or more professional measurement needs to be employed, or this useful way of knowing who is at risk won’t be that useful.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Mom Uses Son’s Forehead Cut to Turn Him Into Harry Potter

Courtesy Brittaney Benesh(VALLEJO, Calif.) — One mom turned her son’s forehead cut — which he found so embarrassing that he didn’t want to leave home — into a cool, Harry Potter-themed costume.

Brittaney Benesh, a fan of the hit Harry Potter series, told ABC News her 4-year-old son Ayden Benesh-Lastrella accidentally hit his head after jumping into a huge pile of laundry.

“The next morning, as we are getting ready to leave, Ayden is crying about leaving because he doesn’t like the big cut on his forehead, and that’s when the idea came to me,” the Vallejo, California, woman, said.

Benesh turned Benesh-Lastrella’s forehead scar into Harry Potter’s famous lightning bolt-shaped scar using a red marker. She completed Benesh-Lastrella’s look with a pair of round glasses.

“Ayden loved his transformation and was ready to get on with his day,” Benesh said.

Benesh said she didn’t expect the photos to go viral when she posted them on the image-sharing social network Imgur with the caption, “It’s okay, mommy can fix this…”

So far, the photos have been viewed more than 140,000 times.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Poll Says Majority of Americans Prefer ‘Medicare For All’ Health Care

ABC News(NEW YORK) — A growing number of Americans now support the idea of federally-funded healthcare, according to a new poll conducted by Gallup measuring response to each of the three remaining Presidential candidates’ proposed healthcare policies.

When presented with three different scenarios for the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), based on the candidates’ positions, 58 percent of U.S. adults favored Sen. Bernie Sanders’ idea of replacing the law with a single-payer, federally-funded healthcare system that provides insurance for all Americans.

For this poll, Gallup surveyed a random sample of 1,549 adults between May 6 and May 8 of this year about which of the three candidates’ healthcare policies they preferred, without using any of their names. The majority expressed a preference for Sanders’ proposal to replace the ACA with some form of the “Medicare for All” system, compared to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s proposal to maintain the ACA and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s proposal to repeal it.

A slight majority of those polled, 51 percent, favored repealing the ACA, as Trump proposes, and 48 percent favor keeping the ACA in place following Clinton.

Respondents could choose more than one option and many did. For example, 35 percent said they would favor keeping the ACA and also said they favored replacing it with a federally-funded healthcare system. Choosing both options was common among Democrats and those leaning Democratic — 59 percent favored both approaches. When those who chose both options were asked which they would prefer if they could only choose one, 64 percent said they would choose the federally-funded healthcare system.

Data from the poll suggests a recent shift, since a previous Gallup poll in March indicated that a majority of Americans still preferred a privately-run health care system to a government-run single-payer system.

Other surveys have also shown a growing trend in approval for so-called European-style government in America. In February, a Harvard University survey discovered that a majority of 18-to-29-year-olds, did not support capitalism, and preferred socialism instead.

Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist, has made health care reform and his notion of “Medicare for All” a focal point of his campaign.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Study Explores a Mom’s Voice and Her Child’s Brain

iStock/Thinkstock(STANFORD, Calif.) — What can a less-than-one-second, meaningless word spoken by a mother reveal about her baby’s brain? According to a new study out of Stanford University, it could be plenty.

In the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, babies were not only able to tell their mother from two other female voices in less than one second, but also that little noise from mommy stimulated a large amount of brain activity – auditory, emotional, facial recognition, memory and reward processes – on MRI scans.

The study also found that the strength of the babies’ inter-brain connections predicted the child’s social communication scores later in life (between ages 7 and 12).

According to the authors, the study findings may help provide a template to help better understand social development disorders such as autism, where babies may not be able to click in to these important voices during development.

Although the study was limited to only 24 children due to limited use of functional MRI scans, it still provides novel finding into the understanding of a mother’s voice on the development of her child.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Woman Hopes to Shed Light on Infertility with Pregnancy Photo

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Macy Rodeffer struggled to get pregnant for four years. After three miscarriages, surgery and medication, she was excited to share her pregnancy announcement with the world.

In a photo posted on her website Martinis and Medicine that’s inspired “so much love and support,” she said, Rodeffer placed a baby onesie and sonogram photo inside a heart made from the vials of medication and injection needles she used during IVF.

She was inspired, she said, by a woman who staged a similar photograph last year. That story was first reported by ABC News.

“I really just wanted the photo to show…how difficult infertility can be,” Rodeffer told ABC News. “My photo contains the medications from just one round of IVF. There are a lot more people that go through so much more than us, all the while dealing with hurtful words, unsolicited advice, and judgmental comments. It was also a way for me to show my friends and family what we had gone through for our baby, when words didn’t quite seem to cut it.”

Rodeffer has blogged about her journey to motherhood on her website. In her latest post, she celebrated her “first” Mother’s Day, though she acknowledges it will always be bittersweet because of the three babies she lost.

Rodeffer said the reaction to her pregnancy photo has been overwhelmingly positive, though she has received criticism for choosing not to adopt.

She explained that she actually hopes to adopt someday, as her mother and cousin are both adopted.

“Adoption can be just as emotionally and financially painful as fertility treatments,” she said, noting that three families she is close to are going through the process right now.

Despite the criticism, she’s happy her photo has touched so many.

“While my hope was to reach people with my story and raise awareness for infertility, I never imagined that it would reach as far as it has. There has been so much love and support poured out for us, and so many people now sharing their stories because of it,” she said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Chess Fanatic, 89, Takes On Students After Plea for Opponents

iStock/Thinkstock(LAFAYETTE, Ind.) — An 89-year-old chess fanatic desperate for opponents is now taking on student volunteers at the nursing home where he stays.

“Getting his chance to play chess has really fulfilled him because he loves it,” Bill Nangle’s daughter, Trish Gaylord of Lafayette, Indiana, told ABC News Monday. “He is very happy being able to do this. I kicked myself because I didn’t do this sooner.”

A few months back, Bill, who’s been an avid chess player for almost 70 years, posted a cardboard sign on the door to his room at Creasy Springs Health Campus in Lafayette, where he’s lived for three years. It read: “Anybody want to play chess?”

The plea broke the hearts of all who saw it, his daughter Trish said.

“It was just so sad,” she recalled. “I said, ‘Oh my gosh, how can I get him some chess players?’ I knew some schools have chess players or chess clubs….”

Trish reached out to Gloria Grigsby, the interim assistant principal at McCutcheon High School, from which Trish’s own kids graduated.

Grigsby told ABC News that she gathered six students who were willing to play chess with Bill. Some of the teens belonged to the school’s board game club, some were from the National Honor Society.

Now, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the kids challenge Bill to games of chess.

“Not only do these students have high academic standing, but they’re involved in multiple activities,” Grigsby said. “To then continue to give up more of their time to volunteer, to me, is very heartwarming. We are very proud of them.”

Paige Vester, life enrichment director of the nursing home, said Bill had been having trouble finding chess opponents until the seniors at McCutcheon came along.

“It’s tough to find someone, especially in a long-term care facility, who has the ability to do those kinds of things,” Vester said. “I think these kids are really special and the fact that they get to visit with Bill … it’s a special connection. [Bill’s] very talkative, very personable … he’s hilarious.”

Ryan Howard, 18, one of the students who plays chess with Bill during the week, said he’s learning a thing or two from his new opponent.

“I enjoy interacting with Bill,” Ryan said. “I have elderly grandparents that I don’t get to see much. Interacting with that generation is very meaningful for me. Bill enjoys the experience very much.”

Joshua Stalbaum, 18, also plays chess against Bill.

“I feel like Bill really is very passionate about the game of chess and at the place where he lives, he doesn’t feel there’s anyone who’s is good enough competition to give him a fair opponent,” Joshua said. “I think it’s really good for his daughter as well because it’s nice to be able to see him doing something that he loves.”

Joshua added: “He is very funny. His attitude is very comical and he’s a very good time.”

Bill’s daughter Trish said she’s extremely grateful for the kids spending time with her dad, and hopes it inspires more good deeds.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Your Body: What to Know About Comfort Dogs

File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)By DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

A dental assistant at an Illinois children’s dental clinic is helping ease the fears of terrified kids. But this isn’t your typical assistant — she has four paws and doggy breathe.

Her name is JoJo, a 6-year-old Golden Retriever. The youngsters find comfort and security by petting her or holding her paws during their procedures.

Dogs that act in this capacity must be certified and trained to do so, and JoJo only works with patients who are comfortable having her around them.

I was so inspired by recent stories involving service or therapy dogs, that I’m having my new puppy Mason trained and certified so that he can visit patients in the hospital.

If you think your pet may be a great candidate as a service or comfort dog, speak to a professional dog trainer about getting him or her certified and trained.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Tests Give Women, Men a Preview of Fertility

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Annie Gerhart is a 32-year-old single woman focused on her career. She is not ready for kids just yet but would like a family eventually.

“I’m in my early 30s and I know that I want to have kids at some point in my life,” the California resident told ABC News.

Gerhart took advantage of a test that helped her find out more about her fertility, including her hormone levels and ovarian reserve. It consisted of an ultrasound and blood work.

“One of my friends in her mid-20s got married and they started to try having kids and it wasn’t as easy as she thought it was going to be and so she ended up doing IVF [for] multiple rounds,” Gerhart said. “Their difficulties made me start to think about what that might look like for me.”

Fertility tests are also available for men to determine their sperm count and motility.

Dr. Kristin Bendikson, a Los Angeles-based fertility doctor, said she is seeing a growing number of single women and couples taking the fertility tests before trying to conceive.

“If they want to get pregnant, they want to make sure that things are okay before they start proceeding on that journey,” Bendikson told ABC News. “They also want to plan ahead. Do they want two children? Do they want three children? And how does that impact when they start having a family?”

Bendikson notes the tests are not a guarantee of a person’s fertility or infertility.

“There are limitations,” Bendikson said. “These tests, some of them are new. They haven’t really been examined and looked at using it in the general population, in patients that aren’t infertile yet.”

Bendikson added, “I think you have to be very careful.”

Gerhart said she, for one, is glad she took the test.

“The information that I got from the tests has definitely helped me,” she said. “If it’s something that, you know, a woman in her early 30s is thinking about then I, personally, I don’t know why you wouldn’t do it.”

ABC News’ Chief Women’s Health Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said Monday on Good Morning America that the test’s results should be taken “with a grain of salt.”

“My cardinal rule in medicine is don’t do a test unless you think you have an idea of what you will do with the results of that test,” Ashton said. “So could it be helpful information for a lot of women? Absolutely, but, as we heard, it’s no guarantee what will happen in three months or three years so you have to take it with a grain of salt.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends ovarian reserve testing for women over the age of 35 who are having difficulties conceiving.

“Ovarian reserve testing should be performed for women older than 35 years who have not conceived after 6 months of attempting pregnancy and women at higher risk of diminished ovarian reserve,” the College wrote in a January 2015 report, adding that certain cancer treatments and other procedures could lead to this condition.

The report added, “The main goal of ovarian reserve testing is to identify those individuals who are at risk of decreased or diminished ovarian reserve … At this time, ovarian reserve testing results cannot be extrapolated to predict the likelihood of spontaneous conception.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Massachusetts Man Undergoes First Penis Transplant in US

Courtesy Sam Riley/Mass General Hospital(BOSTON) — A former cancer patient is the first man in the U.S. to undergo a penis transplant in a breakthrough surgery that could affect many men with devastating genital injuries, according to officials from Massachusetts General Hospital.

Surgeons performed the operation earlier this month during a 15-hour procedure, officials said, noting that the patient, Thomas Manning, of Halifax, Massachusetts, had part of his penis removed after a cancer diagnosis.

“Today I begin a new chapter of my life with personal hope and hope for others who have suffered genital injuries,” Manning said in a statement Monday in which he thanked his medical team and the donor family. “In sharing this success with all of you, it’s my hope we can usher in a bright future for this type of transplantation.”

Manning’s doctors said on Monday they are “cautiously optimistic” about his recovery and said they expect he will be able to leave the hospital in about three to four days. While the operation took 15 hours, the planning had taken years, according to hospital officials.

Dr. Curtis Cetrulo, a plastic surgeon who was involved with the operation, said they suspected they would be able to perform the transplant after successfully performing a hand transplant four years prior. A deceased donor was used after special permission from the donor’s family.

An estimated team of 50 medical personnel, including plastic surgeons, urologists and anesthesiologists, took part in the marathon operation.

Cetrulo said Manning was inspired to speak up to give hope to others with similar injuries.

“His outlook is he wants to share this technology with others who need it,” Cetrulo said Monday. “He was telling me this morning that if you just give a little bit of hope it goes along way.”

Dr. Dicken Ko, a urologist involved with the operation, said many patients who have had similar operations as Manning’s or who have had severe genital injuries “suffer in silence.”

Hospital officials said they hoped this operation could eventually help many men in the U.S. including the thousands with genital injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We hope to open this up to other patient populations including wounded warriors,” Cetrulo said, noting many servicemen who had genital injuries are left “so despondent that they consider taking their own lives and often do.”

Manning spoke with the New York Times about the difficulty he faced after his cancer surgery.

“I wouldn’t go near anybody,” he told the New York Times of the possibility of relationships after his cancer surgery. “I couldn’t have a relationship with anybody.”

Ko told reporters that simply getting to the surgery proved to be an unexpected problem after a donor became available while Ko was at a urology conference in San Diego. Ko said after being delayed en route, his wife drove him straight from the airport to the operating room.

“Just like with a team that’s playing well — the combined synergy leads to success,” Ko said during a news conference Monday.

There have been at least two other penis transplants in other parts of the world, according to medical literature. A South Africa man underwent a successful surgery in 2014 and a Chinese man had an unsuccessful transplant in 2006.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →