Review Category : Health

Doctors Report More Women Asking About IUDs After Election

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Some doctors in the U.S. are reporting more women asking their physicians about long-lasting birth control devices following concerns about free access to contraception if Trump takes office and ends the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“We have seen a clear-cut increase in discussion through electronic medical records [and] discussions with patient at gynecologist visits,” Dr. Adam Jacobs, division director of family planning in the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Mount Sinai Medical Center, told ABC News.

He said patients have increasingly voiced their concerns about access to birth control and inquired about IUDs since the election.

On social media, many people have encouraged women to secure birth control before Trump enters office. They have expressed concern that Trump and the Republican-held houses of Congress will repeal the ACA, which requires participating insurers in the healthcare marketplace to cover contraception without any co-payment or coinsurance.

The trending discussions on birth control access have promoted long-lasting methods, especially intrauterine devices, or IUDs. Google searches for IUD spiked exponentially in the hours after Trump was elected, according to Google Trends.

An IUD is one of the most enduring forms of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) — it can can last between three and 10 years depending on the type.

Jacobs said it’s important that patients don’t make birth control decisions purely out of fear. But, even before the election, he has been recommending IUDs or other LARCs to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

“I make recommendations that long-acting reversible contraception is the best form of contraception in terms of effectiveness,” said Jacobs. “Regardless of what happened last week I was recommending this.”

For teenagers and young adults, he generally recommends trying a form of IUD or other LARC first, instead of a hormonal birth control pill or patch.

“LARC is the 21st century contraception,” Jacobs said. When he talks with adolescents, he explains that “pills and condoms were the flip phone” and asks them, “Do you want the iPhone 7 or do you want the flip phone?”

Other physicians have noted a sharp increase in patients wanting to discuss IUDs after the election, as well. Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, an obstetrician/gynecologist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, said that both patients and doctors have been talking.

“I’ve been hearing about it from [other doctors] about what patients are saying,” she told ABC News.

She added that some female physicians are considering the devices for themselves because they are highly effective, in addition to long-lasting.

“The number one thing about counseling IUDs is the effectiveness is remarkable,” Greenfield explained. “It’s comparable to getting your tubes tied.”

The popularity of IUDs has been increasing in recent years, before this recent surge in interest.

Planned Parenthood said they have seen both trends: an “unprecedented” uptick in questions about birth control and access after the election and a steady rise in IUD requests over time since the ACA has made them more accessible.

“We have seen an increase in IUDs over the last few years thanks to the Affordable Care Act and growing public awareness of their safety and efficacy, and we expect that trend to continue,” Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, the chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in an emailed statement to ABC News. “Planned Parenthood health centers nationally have seen the total number of patients using IUDs increase 91 percent over the last five years.”

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) wrote they hoped the form of birth control, which is “20 times more effective at preventing pregnancy than oral contraceptive pills, patches or rings,” will continue to be easily available to women.

“All women should have access to safe contraceptive methods, including Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC), which includes implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) which have a high up-front cost,” officials from ACOG said in an emailed statement to ABC News. “While I certainly hope birth control methods will be readily available under the Trump administration, I can understand women’s concern over losing such access, particularly to high cost methods.”

Both Greenfield and Jacobs cautioned that the birth control, while effective, many not be right for every woman.

“In terms of risks and benefits, there are two different kinds of IUDs,” said Greenfield. “People with copper IUDs have heavier periods or [more cramps].”

Hormone-based IUDs, which usually contain progesterone like some birth control pills, do not last as long as copper — three to five years as opposed to 10 — but can help lighten periods or diminsh menstrual cramps.

“It’s also used medically for people who don’t have manageable periods,” said Greenfield.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Molecules We Leave Behind Can Reveal Much About You

Monkey Business/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Personal details of a person’s lifestyle — including what medications you take, if you like drinking beer over wine, your mental health status, and even your shopping habits — can be detected just by chemically scanning common items you use, like pens and cellphones.

According to researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, molecules we leave behind can be picked up by a device called a mass spectrometer — familiar to watchers of crime shows like C.S.I.

Trace molecules we leave behind can be sniffed out by the device, then compared to something called the Global Natural Product Social Molecular Networking database, which the Telegraph reports, can be used to create a specific profile for the owner of that random item.

While the leap can be key for crimefighters, the technology could make privacy experts cringe.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: What You Should Know About Breast Lumps

Photodisc/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

A lump is the most common symptom of breast cancer so, naturally, women worry if they feel a mass or notice a change in their breast tissue.

But many breast lumps are common and most are not cancerous. That’s why it’s important to have them checked by a doctor to be absolutely sure. Most lumps and changes can be found during a breast exam.

Women may notice breast lumps that come and go with their menstrual cycle. This is common and normal. Noncancerous changes, growths like cysts or connective tissue changes called fibrosis, are common, too.

Breast infections like mastitis can also cause pain and tissue changes.

When it comes to lumps that are cancerous, early detection and knowing your body are key.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Weight Watchers Dessert Recalled After Listeria Concerns

FDA(CHICAGO) — A dessert from Weight Watchers is being voluntarily recalled after Listeria concerns.

About 100,000 cases of Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sundae frozen desserts are included in the recall. Weight Watchers said in a statement the dessert may pose health risks because the cookie dough pieces, from third party supplier Aspen Hills, Inc., tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

Weight Watchers said there were no consumer complaints or reports of illnesses, and the recall was done “as a precautionary measure.”

Consumers who purchased the product with a best if used date of December 28, 2016, January 28, 2017, February 28, 2017, March 28, 2017, May 28, 2017, June 28, 2017, and July 28, 2017, are advised to return it for an exchange or full refund.

Read more about the recall from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration here.

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Florida Homicide Rate Increased After Passage of ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — The rate of homicides, especially homicides by firearms, sharply increased in Florida in the years after the “stand your ground” law was passed, according to a new study published Monday by the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine.

Passed in 2005, the so-called “stand your ground” law in Florida allows residents to use force, including deadly force, if they “reasonably believe” they are at risk of bodily harm. The law also created a “no duty to retreat” provision if they felt at risk.

To see if they could find any measurable effects in the homicide rate after the law’s passage, researchers from the University of Oxford looked at Florida homicide data at various points in time from 1999 to 2014. They then compared increases or decreases in those rates with four control states (New York, Virginia, New Jersey and Ohio) where a “stand your ground”-type law does not exist.

By examining data from a database run by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found that in the years after the law was passed in Florida, homicides increased approximately 24 percent — from an average of 82 homicides per month between 1999 to October 2005 to 99 homicides per month between October 2005 to 2014.

Additionally, they found the rate of homicide by firearms went up approximately 32 percent — from a mean of 49 homicides per month to 69 during those same periods.

Researchers found no similar increases in the four control states that did not have a “stand your ground”-type law.

They also examined suicide data but did not find any comparable increase in either Florida suicide rates or, more specifically, suicide by firearm rates after the law’s passage. The authors acknowledged that it’s possible there may be multiple factors that led to an increase in the Florida homicide rate.

“Circumstances unique to Florida may have contributed to our findings, including those that we could not identify,” the authors wrote in the study.

There are 23 states that have implemented some form of a “stand your ground” law, according to the researchers.

Jeffrey Swanson, a professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University, has studied the effects of gun-related policies and said the study published Monday was “important.”

“These ‘stand your ground’ laws have proliferated and for the people who favor them, the point is that it’s going to make people safer,” Swanson told ABC News Monday. “You can stand your ground if you perceive your life is being threatened [but] what we’re seeing here empirically is exactly the opposite.”

While the researchers found an increase in homicide rates after the law’s passage, they did not find enough evidence to definitively find the law caused the increase in the homicide rate.

While the study had limitations, Swanson said the research of the four control states makes the study stronger.

“They look at comparable trends in states that didn’t pass the law and don’t see the effect,” Swanson noted.

Swanson said these kinds of studies must continue in order for policy makers to make clear and informed decisions about legislation.

“This is always the question of balancing risk and rights,” Swanson said.

The National Rifle Association, which backed Florida’s “stand your ground” law, did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment on the study.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: Help Lower Your Risk of Diabetes with Exercise

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Exercise has long been linked to health benefits, especially for those who are at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Doctors commonly recommend a diet and exercise regimen, so researchers from England combined results from 28 smaller studies and found that people who do moderate activity for 150 minutes a week have about a 26 percent less risk of developing diabetes. If you double that amount of exercise, the risk is reduced even more.

Here’s my prescription:

  • Read those food labels. Sugar content is the number one most important number on that label. Women should max out at no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day.
  • Get moving. Even if you hate exercise, try a group class — at least you’ll all be suffering together.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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How Well Can Kids Get Past Parental Control Software?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Who knows more about technology in your home: the children or the parents? That’s one of the questions ABC News asked a group of nine to 13-year-old children who took part in Good Morning America‘s software challenge.

Parental control software companies claim they can block inappropriate content that may be sexually explicit or violent. GMA designed an experiment with Eric Klopfer, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Director of the MIT Schiller Teacher Education Program, to find out whether children could get around these controls.

The 10 children tried out two of the best-known software blocking products: Qustodio, which on its website claims to be the “Internet’s best free parental control app,” and Net Nanny, which costs $40 for one device. Children were given half an hour to get to a site GMA had blocked —RoboFun — which is the name of the school helping with the experiment.

First, the children tried Qustodio. One of the girls, Lindsay, found a proxy site which allows users to bypass filters like parental controls. She got to the blocked site and word spread quickly to the other children.

If one child figures out how to get around blocking software, “all their friends are going to find out as well,” Klopfer told ABC News in an interview that aired on Monday.

But the second program, Net Nanny, stumped the children.

“I think they would have figured that one out too,” Klopfer said, had the children been given more time. “Some of them were on the right page, literally the right web page.”

GMA also checked the software programs’ abilities to block inappropriate content. Both programs allowed GMA to access the site of a violent video game popular with teens. Cyber security expert Theresa Payton confirmed GMA‘s results.

“The way these software products work is they will block the things they know to block based on the settings you gave them, “ said Payton. “But they’re always going to be in catch-up mode.”

Following ABC News’ experiment, Qustodio said in a statement that it will now block the proxy website the children used in the experiment, as well as the violent game, saying that in general these sorts of issues are detected and corrected quickly.

The statement added, “It’s important to note that we have a second layer of protection.” If a child is able to access a proxy site, “our advanced technology will still block attempts to access inappropriate content.”

Net Nanny told ABC News that it “performs well because of its unique technology. Unlike most filters, Net Nanny doesn’t block a website based on its URL — that’s the equivalent of judging a book by its cover, it said. Instead, Net Nanny’s technology analyzes the content on every page to determine if it meets the safety criteria set by the parent.”

“In today’s digital world, parents are facing a balancing act of epic proportion,” the statement from Net Nanny added. “They want to let their kids embrace technology in healthy ways within limits, yet also make sure family values transcend device, app or platform.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Study: Celebrex No Riskier for Hearts than Other Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study affirmed the safety of anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex.

According the the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the generic version of the drug, celecoxib, was tested against other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Naproxen and Ibuprofen. Researchers say that there was no evidence that Celebrex was not more likely to cause cardiovascular issues when compared to NSAID alternatives.

More than 24,000 patients were assigned daily doses of either Celebrex, Naproxen, or Ibuprofen. The baseline characteristics of the patients were deemed to be similar across all three groups.

The study also indicated that Celebrex might be less risky than other NSAIDs in other ways, including potential risk to the kidneys. However, some say that the results of the study aren’t necessarily an endorsement of the drug.

Celebrex is used by approximately two million Americans each year for arthritis, cramps, aches and pains.

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Brain Implant Helps ‘Locked In’ ALS Patient Communicate

University Medical Center Utrecht(NEW YORK) — A brain implant has allowed a woman with the so-called “locked-in syndrome” to finally communicate after amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) robbed her of the ability to speak.

The brain-computer interface was implanted into the unnamed patient’s brain, enabling her to communicate by translating a “brain click” into a mouse click, according to a study published Saturday in the New England Journal of Medicine. With the interface, the patient could click on letters of the alphabet to spell out what she wanted to say.

Nick Ramsey, senior study author and cognitive neuroscientist at University Medical Center Utrecht, said the patient is ecstatic about the experimental device.

“We feel like we succeeded because she really wants to use it,” Ramsey told ABC News. “She wants to keep the system.”

ALS is a neurodegenerative disease in which patients gradually lose their ability to move, speak and even breathe. While they ultimately become paralyzed, ALS patients’ cognitive function isn’t affected by the disease.

The 58-year-old female patient studied had progressed to the point of being “locked in” before the implant. While her ability to think was completely intact, she could not move any part of her body except her eyes.

To help her communicate, researchers surgically implanted electrodes on the region of the brain responsible for hand movement. When she thinks about moving her hand, the device decodes the electric signals, translating them into clicks on a tablet computer.

This means the new device does not require her to move at all in order to communicate. Instead, she only needs to think about moving.

For now, the device only has four sensors, enabling the patient to select letters on a keyboard in order to write.

While more research is needed to ensure the device is safe and effective in larger groups, Ramsey said that even after the study finished, the patient was excited to keep using the experimental device.

“She was quite adamant that nobody touches her system and she is still using it now,” he said.

In the future, Ramsey said they hope if they have 30 to 40 sensors, there could be quicker and more nuanced communication.

“[We] hope to be able to expand the capabilities of the next generation devices where we get more sensors,” he explained. “That will make their lives even easier.”

Ramsey has two other patients awaiting similar implants and plans on conducting additional trials, he said.

Before the implant, the woman in this study had lost her ability to make any noises and it became quite nerve-racking for her family to take her outside. “Worst case scenario, her breathing tube could get disconnected and nobody would know unless someone was looking at her,” Ramsey said.

Now she has a way to communicate that can help her stay active, said Ramsey.

“She is really a very active woman,“ said Ramsey. “She has three children in their late teens. She likes to go outside. She likes to go on holiday. She likes to do things that ordinary people do.”

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