Review Category : Health

Fetal Faces Hint at Mom’s Stress

Nadja Reissland, Durham University(NEW YORK) — If a fetus looks flustered, it might be because it’s picking up on mom’s stress, according to a new study of 4-D sonograms.

The study, which followed 15 moms-to-be and their unborn babies from 24 to 36 weeks gestation, found that fetuses were more likely to touch their faces with their left hands when their moms were stressed out.

What does face-touching have to do with stress?

“It’s related to soothing,” said Nadja Reissland, a researcher at the University of Durham in the United Kingdom and lead author of the study published Tuesday in the journal Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition.

Newborn babies rub their brows and suck their thumbs to soothe themselves, and Reissland wondered whether those habits formed in the womb. Where does the left hand fit in?

“Handedness is interesting in general because it’s related to mental health,” said Reissland, explaining how left-handedness has been linked to an increased risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia.

“There is some research indicating that high levels of prenatal maternal stress might be a risk factor for developmental disorders postnatally, since stress alters the biochemical equilibrium in the uterus,” Reissland wrote in her study, adding that the study “highlights the importance of reducing maternal stress in pregnancy.”

Reissland stressed that the study only supports an association between maternal stress and fetal face-touching, and said she hopes to explore the link more closely. She has also used 3D ultrasound to catch fetuses yawning and making faces.

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CDC Report: Norovirus More Common than You Think

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Norovirus, while commonly associated with cruise ships, is much more prevalent than most people think, according to a new report out Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials say the illness is responsible for nearly half — 48 percent — of all of the country’s foodborne outbreaks and sickens 20 million Americans each year.

But, as the report finds, foodborne outbreaks involving norovirus are not caused by the food itself. Rather, they are caused by food handlers who carry the infection themselves and spread it through unhygienic practices like coming to work while sick and not washing their hands adequately.

What may be even more interesting about this foodborne bug is that norovirus is not restricted to any type of food in particular. In fact, all types of food can potentially be affected, as more than 90 percent of contamination of food with norovirus happens in the last food handling step.

“Norovirus is one tough bug,” noted CDC Director Tom Frieden, who added that although norovirus is called “food poisoning,” the illness actually comes from people — that is, from infected food workers who come into contact with food.

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Newlyweds Ask for Blood Donation Instead of Gifts

iStock/Thinkstock(RICHMOND, Va.) — Instead of asking their guests to spend money on a gift registry, a newly-married couple only wanted their friends and family to give a gift for free — their blood — to the Virginia Blood Services in Richmond, Virgnia.

Barry Gamble, and his wife, Monica Gamble, arrived at the Virginia Blood Services dressed for their wedding on Sunday afternoon.

“We weren’t really into the whole registry thing,” Barry Gamble, 33, told WTVR-TV. “We figured gifts would be nice, but it would be nicer if our family and friends could save some lives.”

According to Gamble, friends and family came all the way from states including Florida and Indiana to support their decision.

Asked if he would regret not getting a free microwave in the future, Gamble laughed.

“The greatest gift of all is life,” he said. “It sounds awful cheesy, but it is a lot more important than a toaster.”

“Not all our friends and families were eligible to give blood, but they all really supported the idea,” Monica Gamble added. “We have a mix of donors and supporters.”

The staff at Virginia Blood Services decorated the donation room to look like a wedding chapel and offered cake as snacks to replenish after the donation.

The bride and groom are regulars at the blood donation center. They donated platelets on the day of their wedding as they just donated blood less than two months ago, and were not eligible to donate whole blood.

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Majority in US Favor Free Birth Control Through Employers

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Most adults in the U.S. believe they have a right to free contraception through health plans offered by both publicly-held and privately-owned corporations, according to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute.

About six in 10 of the more than one thousand respondents hold this view, while just over half say that privately-owned small businesses should be required to offer free contraception to employees.

Religiously-affiliated hospitals and religiously-affiliated colleges should also provide birth control at no cost through medical coverage with 56 percent and 52 percent agreeing with this, respectively.

However, 53 percent don’t believe churches or other places of worship must be required to offer free contraception, compared to 42 percent who believe it ought to be mandatory.

The survey also found that a majority of Roman Catholics and religiously unaffiliated Americans support comprehensive reproductive health care at the workplace with white evangelical Protestants being the exception.

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Tinder Nurse Aims to Educate Men on Health Issues

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A Tinder account purporting to be one that belongs to a beautiful nurse is dishing out advice about prostate cancer on the popular dating app.

Men lured by Nicole’s profile photo swipe right to launch a conversation — but are sidelined when she starts spouting about June being men’s health month and urging them to get a check-up. In her words, she’s “talking dirty to dirtbags in the name of men’s health.”

But not all men are fans.

“Thanks a lot for that information. That’s what I was looking for on Tinder,” one match wrote sarcastically.

“How are you even on Tinder at work, Shouldn’t you be saving lives??” another user wrote.

Others took the advice in stride but still tried to flirt. “That’s kinda hot haha. Can I get an exam?” one man wrote.

Others promised they would sign up for a check-up if Nicole would be their nurse.

The responses are posted on the website, matchesformenshealth.com.

Unbeknownst to the eager Tinder matches, the nurse isn’t real — she’s part of a project by two creative interns in New York — Vince Mak, 23, and Colby Spear, 24 — in support of Men’s Health Month, which is June.

“The responses were definitely mixed,” Spear told ABC News. “They got the message for sure. I think some guys were genuinely appreciative of it. Others didn’t know what to make of it.”

Spear and Mak plan to continue the project throughout June and post the funniest conversations online.

“We always thought there were funny things to do with Tinder — both of us use it and joke about it,” Spear said. “It seemed like a perfect way to raise awareness.”

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Ignoring a Hurricane with a Female Name Could Prove Deadly

Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — The term “hurricane” conjures up images of all kinds of mayhem but when a storm is given a woman’s name, Americans don’t seem to worry about it as much.

And that could be a fatal mistake, according to researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State University.

They took a look at death tolls from hurricanes going back to 1950 through 2012 and discovered that in the case of the 47 most severe storms, far more people on average died from hurricanes named after women (45) than from those with male names (23).

The difference in fatalities also widens when strongly masculine names are compared to those regarded as strongly female.

So what accounts for this disparity? The simple answer is that since people aren’t as intimidated by female-named hurricanes, they don’t take the same precautions.

As co-author Sharon Shavitt of the University of Illinois explains, the findings suggest “implicit sexism.” In other words, we don’t even realize we’re less fearful of a Mary than a Mark.

While the study is pretty astounding, there’s been no serious talk yet of changing the hurricane-naming system.

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Study Suggests Taxing Sugary Drinks by the Calorie

Hemera/Thinkstock(PRINCETON, N.J.) — There’s been an ongoing battle for years about whether taxing sugary drinks will help to ease the nation’s obesity crisis by discouraging people to pay extra for their favorite soft drinks.

The New York Times reports that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has a new study about this controversial topic, although it’s one that seems to shy away from politics in favor of what might work best about tacking on a surcharge to soda and other non-diet beverages.

Lead author Chen Zhen suggests that rather than taxing a sugary drink based on size, it would be more effective to do by the amount of calories per serving.

He calculated that calorie consumption would decline by 9.3 percent if there was four-hundredths of a cent tax per calorie rather than adding half-a-penny per ounce of beverage.

Zhen calls it a more equitable tax since it would provide “a better incentive to the consumer to switch to lower-calorie drinks, which would be taxed at a lower rate than higher-calorie drinks.”

The researcher does note that this tax might not be as effective as the high surcharge on cigarettes since people might get their sugar fix from other foods.

While trying to avoid the politics of boosting prices, Zhen argues, “We’re saying that if you’re going to tax them, the best way of doing that is on the basis of calories.”
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Five Beach Body Fit Tips from “Extreme Weight Loss” Host Chris Powell

ABC/Heidi Gutman(NEW YORK) — Warm weather is here, and for many, that means thoughts of dropping a few pounds to be ready for the beach.

Chris Powell, master fitness trainer and host of ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss, appeared on Good Morning America Tuesday to share his five summer slim down tips.

Chris’s Tips:

  1. Drink a gallon of water every day. You don’t have to drink it all at once, but make sure your total water consumption for the day equals a gallon.
  2. Cut sugar, sodium and fatty foods from your diet.
  3. Implement a carb cycle, which means that you eat carbs on one day but not on the next.
  4. Remember resistance training.
  5. Keep up the cardio. It’s important to get your heart rate up, and the best way to do that is to run. Powell said people can start with 10 minutes of running a day and increase five minutes per week.

Check out Powell’s recipe for protein waffles or chicken tostadas.

ABC US News | ABC International News

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Family Could Break GoFundMe Record to Save Child with Rare Disorder

Courtesy O’Neill family(NEW YORK) — The O’Neill family has been racing the clock to fund a cure for their 4-year-old daughter’s rare, terminal disorder, and in the process, they’re on track to break a fundraising record on GoFundMe.com.

Since early April, the O’Neills have raised more than $777,000 toward a cure for Sanfilippo syndrome, the deadly genetic disorder that’s now barely detectable in their daughter Eliza. It means she lacks an enzyme to break down heparin sulfate, which naturally occurs in cells, causing it to build up over time, causing a variety of medical problems. The result is that Eliza will lose the ability to speak by her 5th birthday, the O’Neills say, and she’ll die before she reaches her 20s.

“The O’Neill family’s efforts are a true testament of two parents’ unwavering love for their daughter, and the willingness to do whatever it takes to reach their goal,” GoFundMe CEO Brad Damphousse told ABC News.

All forms of Sanfilippo affect one in 70,000 births, according to the National Institutes of Health. Because funding for rare diseases is hard to come by, parents often wind up spearheading fundraising efforts.

about how the O’Neill’s video spread. | Watch Eliza’s brother explain her disease.

Researchers Doug McCarty and Haiyan Fu of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, have been working on a cure for about 16 years. They’ve found a gene therapy treatment that works in mice, and they hope to try it in humans. But setting up a clinical trial takes money –- about $2 million that they don’t have.

Desperate to help his daughter, Eliza’s father, Glenn O’Neill said he googled “how to make a viral video” and found filmmaker Benjamin Von Wong. Von Wong agreed to shoot and launch a video about Eliza to promote a GoFundMe fundraiser toward Sanfilippo research.

Now, they are about $31,000 away from breaking the GoFundMe record, which stands at $808,845 for Boston Marathon bombing victim Jeff Bauman. Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, two other Boston Marathon bombing victims, are in second place with $794,335.

The O’Neills announced Tuesday that the money raised so far is going toward making the drugs that will be used in the clinical trial, but they will still need to raise another $1 million this summer and fall to make it a reality by the end of the year.

“The first major step towards saving our daughter is complete,” the O’Neills said in a statement Tuesday. “The medicine will be ready in December and Eliza and others like her will have the chance to get the treatment they so desperately need.”

Damphousse said GoFundMe’s medical category is its most popular.

“The most successful fundraising campaigns are those that evoke strong emotions,” Damphousse said. “People are far more likely to support someone they know — especially when an individual’s well-being is on the line. Accordingly, GoFundMe campaigns related to medical emergencies, illnesses or accidents have always raised more money in less time than other, less urgent causes.”

Glenn O’Neill told ABC News that Eliza sometimes gets extra attention because of the campaign, but she doesn’t understand why. Since she’s shy, she covers her face when people recognize her from the viral videos. Overall, she’s doing well, he said.

“We do notice things related to the syndrome in the way that she processes information,” O’Neill told ABC News. “She is not regressing on anything though and still learning — just at a slow pace and behind her peers.”

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Study: Increased Screenings Helped Prevent Over 500,000 Colorectal Cancers

Purestock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study found that more than 500,000 colorectal cancers were prevented by screening in the United States between 1976 and 2009.

The study, published in the journal Cancer, was conducted by experts at Yale University. In the 33-year span, increased numbers of men and women underwent regular cancer screening tests, including colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies and fecal occult blood testing.

Experts say the testing contributed significantly to the decrease in colorectal cancer rates. In all, researchers claim 555,000 cancers were prevented.

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