Review Category : Health

New Cholesterol Guidelines Mean These Foods Could Be Back on the Table

Alexandrum79/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Now that an influential group of nutrition scientists have indicated the U.S. Department of Agriculture may drop the 50-year-old warning against eating cholesterol-laden foods, some changes to the American diet may be in order.

The current recommendation by the USDA is for adults to consume no more than 300 mgs of cholesterol per day from dietary sources. The agency won’t make any changes to those guidelines for at least six months and if they do, they will still caution diabetics and people who take statin medications to refrain from eating a lot of cholesterol.

But for the rest of us, here are some foods that would be back on the table if the new guidelines are adopted:

Eggs

Eggs have long been the poster child of the anti-cholesterol message, possibly because one large egg contains nearly a day’s worth of cholesterol, according to the USDA nutritional database. Assuming the new guidelines are accepted, the 636 mg in a three-egg omelet with cheese won’t matter to most people.

Bacon

Bacon might also make it back onto more breakfast tables. Some cuts deliver up to half the current daily limit of cholesterol. Of course, there are other health reasons for limiting your ration of all processed meats, including the high amounts of sodium, fats and nitrates they contain.

Liver

One ounce of chicken liver totals 180 mg of dietary cholesterol. So a typical 4-ounce serving of this organ meat is more than 200 percent above the current recommended daily intake of cholesterol. According to the USDA and American Heart Association, other meats considered high in cholesterol include lamb, duck, fattier cuts of beef and pork.

Shell Fish

Shrimp, with 194 mg per 3.5 ounce serving, could also swim back onto the menu more often if the cholesterol limits go away. Other shell fish too would once again be considered a healthy, low-calorie choice.

Whole Fat Dairy

New guidelines would mean less guilt when choosing whole milk with 24 mg of cholesterol compared to 5 mg from fat-free milk. You might also consider switching from a 3-ounce serving of a low fat cheese which has virtually no cholesterol to a full-fat cheese with approximately 30 percent of the current daily limit on the nutrient.

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Snorting Is Next Phase of Extreme Chocolate Obsession

Angel Canales/ABC News(NEW YORK) — In a possible attempt to one-up Willy Wonka, a Belgian chocolatier wants chocolate lovers to indulge not with their tongues but with their noses.

The chocolate shooter is a cocoa powder catapult that launches two small bumps of cocoa powder into the user’s nostrils.

While it is obvious that creator Dominique Persoone has found himself at the extreme of chocolate obsession, what’s less known are the possible health effects of snorting chocolate; there is no research on the impact to the nose or lungs, although medical experts are far from condoning this indulgence.

However, that has not discouraged Persoone from reportedly selling more than 20,000 kits online. Nor has it stopped a Vancouver, Canada, shop from becoming the first known North American store to offer these cocoa bumps.

Mary Jean Dunsdon has been selling the kits for $109 or $2 per sniff to more than to 100 customers. And so far, she has had no complaints.

“We get some people back who’d like to try it again. Or people that like to try both flavors, but no there’s no addict,” Dunsdon says.

So why are we snorting chocolate? It could be the same reason why we’re willing to plunk down big bucks for artisanal chocolate. The Mast Brothers, Rick and Michael Mast, sell $8 bars made in their chocolate factory in Brooklyn, New York.

“For people that want to take their pleasures to the next level you engage in a company like Mast Brothers,” says co-owner Rick Mast.

And for the Iowa natives the next level means bringing it back to basics. Rick’s brother Michael says they want people to “think of chocolate in the purest sense and not just as a bar with a laundry list of ingredients.”

They do so by sourcing cacao beans from small farms around the world, and bypassing large producers. The brothers use select beans for small batches that have a distinctively different taste from the chocolate bars you find at the grocery store checkout counter. Their chocolate is often referred to as bean-to-bar or craft chocolate.

This delicious trend is part of a $330 million premium chocolate category that, according to the National Confectioners Association, has seen 15 percent growth since 2013.

At the University of Michigan, Dr. Ashley Gearhardt runs a cleverly disguised room that looks like a fast food restaurant, but is actually a science lab where she studies food addictions. Chocolate, she has reported, is consistently ranked as the number one food respondents have trouble putting down.

And her research shows that the culprit for the obsession could be our brains.

“That same brain region is one of those regions that we know is really important in other drug addictions,” Gearhardt says. “This section of the brain is activating and saying you want that you crave that you really should get more of that.”

Which could explain how The Mast Brothers have sold more than a million bars sold around the world and are opening a factory this week in London. Rick Mast credits their success to one simple truth about chocolate.

“We said many times chocolate is the most popular food on the earth,” he says. “People start smiling just by hearing the sound of it and they just want to taste it, they crave it, they are addicted to it. It’s everything to a lot of people.”

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Don’t Get Too Specific When Buying a Valentine’s Day Gift

iStock/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) — You don’t have to be single to be depressed on Valentine’s Day. Even people in long-term relationships get anxious during this time of year, if for no other reason than that they get stressed about what present to give their significant other.

In that case, researcher Mary Steffel of the University of Cincinnati has some words of advice: don’t worry about trying to knock it out of the park and just concentrate on reaching base.

If the baseball metaphor is a little vague, what Steffel means is that people shouldn’t be overly concerned with trying to find the so-called perfect gift when something not so specifically intended to match their sweetheart’s personality will suffice.

For example, when choosing a gift card, go with versatility. Steffel says research shows that personalization often works against the giver and that “recipients prefer more versatile gift cards regardless of how close they are to the giver.”

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Everybody Wants a Soul Mate, Not Everybody’s Got One

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A soul mate is defined as a person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity. Meanwhile, only about two-thirds of Americans claim to have found one.

According to a survey conducted for Princess Cruises, 36 percent say they haven’t yet met their soul mate, and of that group, seven in ten don’t believe it will happen this year.

However, that doesn’t mean that people without that “special someone” are ready to throw in the towel.

Overall, 76 percent of Americans believe that everyone’s got a soul mate either now or in the future, while most say it takes an average of four relationships to get to that person.

Somewhat incredibly, 65 percent believe that they would know right away if someone is destined to be their soul mate.

Unfortunately, about 38 percent of Americans wind up kicking themselves for not making the first move to meet their potential perfect partner.

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‘Statement Lip’ Latest Way to Look Young & Avoid Trout Pout

NikiLitov/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Move over statement necklace. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the “statement lip” is all the rage.

That’s lip, singular. Just the top please, according to one New York City plastic surgeon.

“Lip augmentation has certainly been on the rise as it appears that more and more beauty trends and celebrities are touting the statement lip as a fashion accessory,” said Dr. Jody Levine, AOB Med Spa National Medical Director.

Levine said Kylie Jenner, Nicole Kidman, Liv Tyler and Megan Fox all appear to have gotten the statement lip treatment.

Driving the trend, Levine said, is the never-ending quest to look younger.

“Plumper, fuller lips can exude youthfulness and femininity and can certainly make a beauty statement when lip color is worn. Some patients have naturally thin top lips, while others notice significant volume loss in the lips over time,” she said.

And of course, the all-important selfie plays a role.

“As the lips lose volume, they can be less projected and lines can form around the edges. This could certainly impact the ability to ‘make a statement’ when wearing lip color or smiling for the camera,” she said.

Levine said she avoids the dreaded “trout pout” and “duck lips” by just injecting the edge of the lip.

“If you inject the border and leave the middle of the lip alone, it actually gives a very sexy look that is so natural and avoids the pout and the duck look. Also, if you inject filler around the border of the lip and then inject some Botox above the top lip, it turns the lip out in a sexy way without making the lips big,” she said.

And while Levine said it’s crucial to seek out a trained injector to perform the 20-minute, outpatient procedure, there’s good news for those who get plumped beyond perfection.

“If the patient doesn’t like the early result, the plastic surgeon or dermatologist can dissolve the hyaluronic acid with an injection of hyaluronidase,” Levine said. “And, if the patient should get tired of the new look, it will gradually disappear in time.”

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Your Chronic Fatigue Isn’t All in Your Head

iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Tired of people telling you that feeling constantly tired is all in your head?

You’ve got some ammunition now after Vanderbilt University researchers have verified that “systemic exertion intolerance disease” does really exist and that it affects as many as 2.5 million Americans.

This is the new name for what was previously called chronic fatigue syndrome, which sufferers claim seems to just downplay the condition of feeling tired all the time.

Lead researcher Ellen Wright Clayton says the disease is serious and should be treated as such by health care providers, who often contend patients are just imagining their fatigue.

The main symptoms are fatigue and a reduction in activity lasting over half a year; the condition growing worse, not better; sleep that does not provide relief from exhaustion; and cognitive impairment.

Although there is no cure at the moment for systemic exertion intolerance disease, doctors can treat individuals on a case-by-case basis depending on their symptoms.

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Napping at Work Movement Boosted by Eye-Opening Study

BONNINSTUDIO/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — There’s new science out attempting to debunk the commonly held workplace belief that if you snooze, you lose.

Researchers in France studying a small group of young, healthy men found that when the men experienced a night of sleep deprivation — just two hours of sleep were allowed — the group showed a significant increase in their stress-hormone levels the next day.

After the men were allowed to take two 30-minute naps, however, their hormone levels decreased to where they would be after a full eight-hour night of sleep.

The study’s findings were published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults get an average of seven to eight hours of sleep a night. But according to the National Institutes of Health, 40 percent of American adults are sleep-deprived.

Companies have been splurging on sleep pods because previous studies have found that sleep deprivation can decrease decision-making, reaction time and memory by as much as 50 percent.

MetroNaps, which produces the pods, said it had found people who took a 20-minute nap experienced a 30 percent boost in alertness, making them more productive.

Google, NASA and the Huffington Post are among the employers encouraging their employees to catch some Zs in sleep pods and the tiny spheres continue to grow in popularity.

“I’ve seen so many people who come up to me and say, ‘I’ve had like a second day given to me because I had a 20-minute nap,’” said Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post.

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Dad Donates Liver to One Toddler Daughter, Twin Sister Still Waiting for Donor

Courtesy of CTV(TORONTO) — The father of twin girls both in need of liver transplants donated a portion of his liver to one of the girls on Tuesday.

Michael Wagner underwent surgery to remove a portion of his liver that will then be used by doctors to help save the life of one of his daughters, Phuoc Wagner, 3.

Wagner’s wife Johanne Wagner updated family and friends on Facebook Tuesday, reporting that her husband’s liver was deemed good for transplant.

Wagner’s twin girls Binh and Phuoc have a genetic condition called Alagille syndrome, which can cause liver damage.

They both needed a liver transplant to survive, but Wagner could only give his liver to one child. Johanne Wagner told ABC News in an earlier interview that doctors would decide which of their daughters would receive the liver based on their medical condition.

The two surgeries were expected to take 18 to 22 hours, according to a statement from the Hospital for Sick Children, in Toronto, Canada.

In the hospital statement, the Wagner family confirmed they were still searching for a donor liver for Binh.

The twins were adopted in from Vietnam in 2012 by the Wagners, who were aware the girls’ livers were in trouble during the adoption. The couple also have seven other children.

“We knew they were very ill,” Johanne Wagner said of the girls when they were first adopted. “Those girls knocked on our doors and they were supposed to be with us and it just took a different path. As soon as we heard about them, we knew they were they were part of our family.”

Last year, the girls’ condition worsened to the point that they were put on a transplant list. While the girls each need their own donor, the family was delighted to find out that Michael Wagner was a donor match.

Wagner could only donate tissue to one child because of the way the liver regenerates.

“We found ourselves to be very lucky that we qualified right away,” Johanne Wagner said of her husband being a match. “[We’re] relieved but we need one more donor.”

The family has now turned to social media and public outreach in the hope that a stranger could be a match. On her website, Johanne Wagner said the hospital had received over 280 submissions from people offering to be a donor for Binh.

“Hopefully those courageous people who have submitted their applications will elect to leave their name there in order to help save others who are on the list waiting for a liver, and are just as important as my daughters,” she wrote. “I hope this media campaign is giving hope to the many who are suffering in silence.”

Wagner is directing anyone interested in becoming a potential donor to the Toronto General Hospital Living Donor Assessment Office to see if they fit the profile.

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Eighth Infant Diagnosed With Measles at Illinois KinderCare

Thinkstock/Stockbye/Thinkstock(PALATINE, Ill.) — Another infant has been diagnosed with measles at the Illinois daycare center where five babies were diagnosed with the virus last week, health officials told ABC News on Tuesday.

In all, eight babies and one adult at the KinderCare daycare center in Palatine, Illinois, have been diagnosed with measles, said Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold.

Another adult was diagnosed with measles on Jan. 27 before this cluster of cases, but it’s unclear whether it was related, she said, adding that they are still investigating.

The measles patients were unvaccinated, the Cook County Department of Public Health said Monday. The latest baby to be diagnosed was likely too young to be vaccinated.

The measles cases prompted KinderCare, a daycare chain with 1,900 locations nationwide, to change its policy on Friday, requiring all employees working with infants to be vaccinated against the measles.

The first dose of the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, is not administered until a child is a year old, and KinderCare said in a statement that it hopes to protect its children who are too young to be vaccinated by also limiting access to infant rooms.

Measles is one of the most contagious viruses in existence and can infect 9 out of 10 exposed people if they are not immunized. The virus can cause rash, fever, conjunctivitis and runny nose. In severe cases the virus has caused swelling of the brain, pneumonia or even death.

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Dad Makes Plea to Congress After 2-Year-Old with Leukemia Exposed to Measles

Courtesy Dr. Timothy Jacks(WASHINGTON) — Dr. Timothy Jacks is an Arizona pediatrician on the front lines of the measles outbreak that’s sweeping the United States, but when he spoke to Congress on Tuesday, it was personal.

He got a call from the hospital where his 2-year-old daughter Maggie just finished a round of chemotherapy telling him that Maggie and her 10-month-old brother Eli were exposed to measles, he told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which convened on Tuesday to discuss the re-emergence of vaccine-preventable diseases.

The chemotherapy rendered Maggie’s immune system unable to fight the virus even with the first dose of the MMR vaccine, and Eli is too young to get the vaccine, he said.

“My measles-exposed children have been quarantined at home for nearly two weeks now, and we anxiously watch for signs of disease,” Jacks said, explaining that because of Maggie’s compromised immune system, she has to go to the emergency room every time she gets a fever. “Every warm forehead, every sign of rash, and every runny nose could be the start of measles, and that brings me back to why I am here.”

So Jacks wrote a letter to the parents in the hospital who didn’t vaccinate their children and exposed Maggie and Eli to the measles, and he said the letter has been shared 1.3 million times.

“I assume you love your child just like I love mine,” he wrote to those anonymous parents. “I assume that you are trying to make good choices regarding their care. Please realize that your child does not live in a bubble. When your child gets sick, other children are exposed. My children. Why would you knowingly expose anyone to your sick unvaccinated child after recently visiting Disneyland? That was a bone-headed move.”

The measles outbreak, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say is linked to a group of unvaccinated Disneyland visitors, has now spread to 17 states with 121 confirmed cases, the CDC said on Monday.

Because of the exposure, both of Jacks’ children had to endure a round of painful antibody shots, and the family had to cancel their winter vacation, which had been planned for the only three weeks Maggie wasn’t doing chemo, Jacks said. He said he also feared the complications from measles, which can include pneumonia, swelling of the brain and death.

He urged Congress to promote the importance and safety of vaccinations.

“This issue is close to my heart as a father and pediatrician,” Jacks concluded. “With your help, we can put an end to vaccine-preventable illnesses and protect the innocent. We can protect our children.”

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