Review Category : Health

Reading on a Screen Rather Than Paper May Affect What You Learn, Study Shows

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN JOSE, Calif.) — A new study suggests that it’s not only what you read, but how you read it that matters.

Reading on paper versus on a digital screen may impact what you end up absorbing from the text, according to a study by Dartmouth researchers. This research is being presented at the Association for Computing Machinery conference in San Jose, California, this week, and has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

In the study, people who used computer screens for learning did better when it came to understanding concrete details, but they had more difficulty understanding abstract concepts.

To put this into perspective: consider reading a chapter from a history book. Concrete thinkers will tell you the timeline of what happened, and abstract thinkers will tell you why it happened.

“We weren’t sure what to expect,” said Geoff Kaufmann, assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science and one of the paper’s co-authors. “Some of our previous work showed that people had a hard time seeing ‘big picture’ information when they did activities on an electronic device compared to paper.”

A research team led by Kaufman and Mary Flanagan, a professor of digital humanities at Dartmouth, conducted four experiments on more than 300 young adults. They compared how the brain processed information using a computer screen and with good old-fashioned printed paper.

Whether they analyzed fake Japanese cars or took a pop quiz about a David Sedaris short story, in all four experiments, researchers looked at how well participants were able to grasp both concrete and abstract information from what they had read.

There was one overarching result: using computer screens for learning worsened abstract thinking, but improved recall of concrete details.

“Smartphones are great devices for looking up quick, concrete facts like the name of an actor or a restaurant we want to try,” Flanagan said. “They may not be best at helping us remember larger concepts, though.”

This study builds more specifically on the findings of prior studies that show people do respond differently if given computer or paper-based tasks, though sweeping conclusions should be avoided, according to some in the scientific community.

“This was a small, well-run study, but we have to be careful about extending the findings to the population at large,” said Craig Stark, a professor of neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved with the study. “We really need more research about how digital media affects us now and in the long-run.”

So, if you’re studying for your history test, look at this way: want to remember the dates of the French Revolution? Get out your laptop. Want to remember why the French Revolution happened? Time for the textbook.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Car Dealership Helps Cancer Patient Get Dream Car, Road Trip

iStock/Thinkstock(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) — A New York man living with an incurable form of cancer will be able to take a road trip in his dream car thanks to the generosity of his local car dealership.

Peter Hagberg, of Rochester, New York, went to a West Herr car dealership last week in hopes of crossing off the final item on his bucket list, purchasing a Ford Mustang GT convertible.

Hagberg, 59, was diagnosed in 2014 with Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, an incurable and rare form of blood cancer. Hagberg underwent six months of chemotherapy that put his cancer in remission, but the average survival rate is only six-and-a-half years, according to the National Institutes of Health.

While Hagberg was car shopping last week, he opened up to the car salesmen about his health struggles. The West Herr dealership responded by selling Hagberg his dream car at cost.

Days later, the West Herr auto dealership group — 23 dealerships in all — gave Hagberg and his wife, Jane, a check for $5,000 to help cover medical costs and pay for a road trip in the Mustang to visit their grandchildren in Maine and Pennsylvania.

“I was blown away,” Hagberg said. “It restored my faith in people. You kind of lose track of people who do good and you kind of have to search them out and they found me this time.”

James Raymond is the sales manager at West Herr Nissan of Lockport, where Hagberg purchased the car. He told ABC News that he and a fellow salesman knew immediately they wanted West Herr to help Hagberg even more.

“We were both in tears looking at each other saying, ‘We need to go a step further for Mr. Hagberg,’” Raymond recalled. “We were in awe of his spirit and his personality.”

Reynolds reached out to Matt Lasher, West Herr’s marketing director, expecting that the auto group could possibly give their customer $500. Instead, the dealership donated 10 times that amount.

“We were definitely touched by Peter’s story and wanted to do something special and allow him to go on a road trip and see his family and take full advantage of his car,” Lasher told ABC News. “We wanted to surprise him.”

Raymond added, “What we did is small compared to the battles that Mr. Hagberg faces everyday.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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“Modern Family” Star Jesse Tyler Ferguson Opens Up About Cancer Scare

(NEW YORK) — Jesse Tyler Ferguson is opening up about his cancer scare.

The Modern Family actor shared a photo last December where he sported a white bandage on his cheek. His caption thanked his doctor “for taking the cancer out of my face.”

Still, no one knew what type of surgery he had and how serious it was until now.

“I had to have a piece of skin taken out of my cheek,” Ferguson, 40, told ABC News before the launch of “Celebrating Local Eats,” PEPCID Tastemakers’ latest campaign in New York City. “It was nothing serious. There was no life-threatening thing that happened, but it was a little scary. I’ve never had a brush with cancer before.”

Ferguson added that because his surgery occurred on his face, it heightened his anxiety.

“Having to do something on my face was very scary. My face is my livelihood in this business. It was overwhelming,” he said.

The actor, who is now starring in a one-man show on Broadway called Fully Committed, said his health scare happened despite wearing sunscreen “on a day-to-day basis.”

“I grew up in New Mexico and I was exposed to a lot of sun at an early age, so I’m reaping the benefits of that,” he added.

Now, Ferguson is living life differently.

“I’m going to continue being smart about my choices and not sunbathe, which is not something I would do anyways,” he said.

Throughout the ordeal, it helped that Ferguson had his husband, Justin Mikita, to lean on, especially since Mikita, 30, went through his own bout with cancer as a teen.

“He certainly understands what it’s like to go through a scare like that. He was a lot younger when it happened for him … but he comforted me as any husband would,” Ferguson said. “He understood and sympathized with my fear of it.”

And although the two are enjoying life as a twosome, they are thinking about expanding their family.

“I know the type of dad that Justin is going to be. He’s going to be a great dad,” the actor gushed. “I look forward to seeing us as parents. We get to really participate in this fascinating project — to raise a child.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Expert Warns Olympics Could Turn Zika Into ‘Full-Blown Public Health Disaster’

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A report published in the Harvard Public Review warns that the 2016 Olympic Games could cause a “full-blown public health disaster,” and Amir Attaran, the author, is calling for the games in Brazil to be postponed, relocated or canceled.

Dr. Richard E. Besser, ABC News’s chief health and medical editor, highlighted five things Attaran identifies in defense of such a drastic recommendation, namely Rio’s proximity to the disease, the dangers associated with this particular strain, the increase in tourism that will risk spreading the Zika virus to other countries, the short amount of time health officials will have to develop control measures and, finally, what Attaran calls the irresponsibility in placing sports above public health.

“As a public health person,” Besser said, “the last thing you want during an outbreak is a lot of people coming in because it will spread it faster.”

Besser went on to cast doubt on the likelihood that Attaran’s recommendations would be followed, and suggested that pregnant women not attend the games. Other spectators, he said, should take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Attaran, a professor in the School of Public Health and the School of Law at the University of Ottawa in Canada, claimed in his commentary that the Zika infection is “more dangerous, and more extensive” than scientists had recently believed.

Brazil is typically considered Zika’s “ground zero,” and the disease causes cases of severe birth defects in infants, as well as high fever and muscle pain in adults.

Attran’s study was published earlier this week. The World Health Organization is expected to release a statement advising travel precautions related to the Olympic Games soon.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Service Dogs Help Wounded Warriors Win Gold at Invictus Games

ABC News(ORLANDO, Fla.) — Air Force Sergeant August O’Neill propelled down from a Black Hawk helicopter to a roaring crowd at the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games on Sunday night. No one was more excited to see him arrive than Kai, his service dog.

Retired Special Operations Command Sergeant Leonard Anderson stood in the center of the podium with a gold medal hanging around his neck after winning the 100-meter freestyle; at his feet, his service dog, Azza; smiling, wagging and, as always, protecting him.

In combat, man’s best friend can also become his greatest protector. Both men say they might not be alive today if it were not for their service dogs.

“Everything I do, everything I’ve ever competed in, everything ever since the injury has mostly been with her,” Anderson told ABC News’ Bob Woodruff after winning his gold medal. “I might not be here without her.”

Azza and Anderson were together when they were struck by an IED on July 28, 2012, a mile from their base camp in the Kandahar Province in Afghanistan. Azza prioritized Anderson’s life over her own, following and shielding him as he was taken on a stretcher to a helicopter to safety. Now, years later, she is retired from duty, but still always at his side.

O’Neill’s lower left femur was shattered and his right tibia fractured after he sustained gunshot wounds to both legs. More than three years later and after 20 surgeries, he made the decision to amputate his left leg. Kai came into his life during his recovery and trained to become O’Neill’s support in all areas.

“He does bracing — if my leg gets fatigued, he’ll lean up against me,” O’Neill told Woodruff.

Their presence is felt as both competitors strive for gold at the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida, this week. On the court or poolside, both dogs play important roles in their owner’s success — and are there with them on every podium.

“He’s my best friend. He’s been with me through the toughest times, and the best times,” O’Neill told Woodruff on the volleyball court after winning the semi-final.

Their successes in combat and in competition are shared. Both competitors have taken home medals in their respective sports, and each dog has earned the prize with them.

“When I go up here and I win a medal or two, it’s her earning it too,” said Anderson, with Azza lying at his feet. “She’s just not competing in the sport.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Domino’s Employees Save Regular Customer’s Life

Hemera/Thinkstock(SALEM, Ore.) — Two Domino’s employees called 911 and helped save a customer’s life after realizing he hadn’t ordered his “almost every evening” pizza in nearly two weeks.

Sarah Fuller and Jenny Seiber were the manager and assistant manager, respectively, on duty Saturday night at a Domino’s near Salem, Oregon, when they realized their regular customer, Kirk Alexander, had not placed his online order.

The pair sent a Domino’s delivery driver, Tracey Hamblen, to Alexander’s home.

“He went to Kirk’s house and the lights were on, the TV was going but no one was answering the door,” Fuller said Wednesday on ABC’s Good Morning America. “He came back to the store and that’s when we went ahead and decided to place the 911 call.”

Audio of the 911 calls shows Hamblen telling the emergency dispatcher that Alexander had not ordered pizza in 11 days.

“Well, I need some help on what to do. It could be an emergency … OK, this is Domino’s Pizza and we have a customer that usually orders like every night from us. And he hasn’t ordered in 11 days,” Hamblen said on the call. Fuller said Alexander places a pizza order “almost every evening,” sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight. When police got to Alexander’s home, they heard him yelling for help inside.

Alexander is now being treated at a hospital. Details about his exact condition have not been released but his friends at Domino’s said he is improving every day. She added, “He’s still really tired but he seems to be doing a lot better and making a recovery.”

Fuller and Seiber were told on GMA that they, as real-life superheroes, would get tickets to see the Marvel comic book variety onscreen in Captain America: Civil War.

They were also surprised to discover that Domino’s plans to fly the life-saving trio to Las Vegas for the company’s next corporate rally.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Study: A Beer a Day Is Good for the Brain, Heart

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — While drinking too much is harmful, you just may raise a glass to a new study that claims important health benefits of drinking a beer a day.

According to the Italian language publication Italia Salute, researchers at the IRCCS Mediterranean Neurological Institute say not only is beer loaded with healthy antioxidants, but also with compounds that help reduce inflammation, and therefore harm to the cardiovascular system.

The researchers also pointed to the findings of a Chinese study that revealed the compound xanthohumol, found in hops, can prevent oxidative stress in brain cells — one of the causes of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Is Nirvana Through Meditation Actually Possible?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — “The Progress of Insight,” or a series of experiences obtained during long, intense meditation practice – which culminates in Nirvana – is a taboo subject.

Many American meditation teachers don’t usually discuss it with their students. Some who say they have experienced it believe it’s a personal, private matter not to be shared. Others struggle even to describe what the experience was like for them.

Steve Armstrong, a longtime meditation teacher and co-founder of the Vipassana Metta Foundation, sat down with ABC News’ Dan Harris for his livestream/podcast show, “10% Happier with Dan Harris,” to discuss in-depth what “The Progress of Insight” means and whether nirvana, or what’s known as the “unconditioned,” is actually possible — though Armstrong says he has achieved it for himself before.

“The first visit to the unconditioned is a profound condition. It permanently transforms the mind,” he said. “You still realize that nothing is going to do it for you that hasn’t been done before but your understanding of what happiness is forever changed.”

Armstrong, who practiced as a monk in Burma for five years in the ’80s, is the managing editor of a new book project that translated Mahasi Sayadaw’s Manual of Insight, out in stores and on Amazon on May 17. The book is sort of an user’s manual for “The Progress of Insight,” or how to be enlightened through insight meditation as written by Mahasi Sayadaw, a renowned Buddhist monk.

As Armstrong says, the progress towards Nirvana is an adventure –- one that includes periods of both intense bliss, and also intense fear.

“As you become familiar with how the mind works, and you see how the mind works, it’s not what you think about yourself, it’s what your life actually is, that’s important,” Armstrong said. “Once you start looking at that and you start seeing how the mind works then you can start putting aside some of the reactivity, some of the recreational distractions that you indulge in, and actually see the mind.”

There are 16 “steps” or “knowledges” in the “Progress of Insight” achieved through meditation. The First Knowledge, Armstrong explained, is basic awareness, waking up to the fact that we exist.

“There’s a lot of times that we’re just living life and we don’t know what we’re doing…we’re on automatic pilot,” he said. “[First Knowledge] is when you come out of automatic pilot and you think, ‘this is what’s happening to me,’ breathing in, breathing out, walking down the street. Oh, hearing sounds, getting angry, getting excited, feeling bliss, whatever.”

The Second Knowledge is the knowledge of Discerning Conditionality, or realizing that things are not happening around you at random but that there are “causes and conditions” to everything. Next is the knowledge of the “three marks of existence,” impermanence, suffering (or “dukkha”) and non-self or selflessness.

This is where “you start to recognize the quality of your experience,” Armstrong said, and realizing “our mind is kind of out of control,” and that “we don’t control all the conditions of our life externally or internally.”

The Fourth Knowledge is the “arising and passing away,” which is when recognizing moments or objects are coming to your mind and passing through very quickly and “you’re not stopping the flow of experience to have a reaction to it or have a relationship with it, or cognitive story about it. The mind is just seeing things as the go by very rapidly,” Armstrong said.

This experience, he added, can cause “pseudo nirvana” or “spiritual goodies,” where the body and mind feels a moment of incredible bliss and you think you’re enlightened.

But then you come to the next stage of practice, which is when you realize that it’s hard to keep track of these moments as they fly by in your mind. In this stage, Armstrong said people can feel lost and eventually “there’s fear and disillusionment” from not feeling fulfilled by life anymore, which is why he stressed that having a good teacher is a must.

But for those who can get through what some call the “dark night phase,” there is “re-observation,” or reinvesting in getting back on the path towards enlightenment, where we recognize everything that arises in our consciousness without getting caught up in it.

“The spiritual goodies arise because you’ve had good practice but as soon as their arise they become an object of indulgence or feeling gratified,” Armstrong said. “It’s the gratification of those experiences that’s the corruption. Joy is not a corruption, tranquility is not a corruption. Faith is not a corruption, indulging and clinging to them is.”

From there, when the mind “doesn’t want to reach for what it sees,” Armstrong said, meaning you can recognize the feeling in front of you without attaching to it, that’s when people can enter the “unconditioned.”

“I can’t show it to you, but the experience of it is real,” he said. “Once you taste the experience of the unconditioned, you know what it is.”

Watch the full interview in the video player or download the “10% Happier” podcast iTunes.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Summer Shape-Up: What You Can Do Before Memorial Day to Look Your Best

Rowe Plastic Surgery(NEW YORK) — They say summer bodies are made in the winter.

Uh oh.

If the thought of swimsuit season has you searching for a cover-up, fear not. We’ve asked the experts for the fastest way to looking your summer best from head to toe.

A surefire way to get rid of fat fast, Dr. Norman Rowe of New York’s Rowe Plastic Surgery told ABC News, is the BodyFx and UltraShape machines that are running “around the clock” in his office. They’re an alternative to liposuction, he said, and one his patients love because there’s no downtime.

“For the right person [one that requires a no-downtime procedure], it’s actually better than lipo,” Rowe said. Between three and eight treatments are needed for best results. He added, however, that “there will always be a role for surgery.”

His office is buzzing this time of year. “People put on a bikini and don’t like what they see,” Rowe said.

He also said there are Botox appointments galore in the weeks leading up to summer, but not always in the traditional places. “Women get it in the soles of their feet and in their armpits to avoid sweating,” he said. Men, meanwhile, get Botox in their armpits and their hands, he said. They also get fillers in their jaw line to get more of a strong jaw look.

It’s the little-to-no downtime procedures that are the most popular, said Dr. David Shafer of Shafer Plastic Surgery. “Botox and fillers are going to give you the most bang for your buck,” he said. People come in this time of year for Botox in their forehead and around their eyes and then fillers in their cheeks and lips. “They want to freshen up and look their best for the summer season.”

Shafer also said he sees an increase in the requests for breast augmentation as the weather warms. “You can have it done on a Thursday and be back to work Monday,” he said.

There are less invasive ways to freshen up. Graceanne Svendsen, a licensed medical aesthetician who works at Shafer Plastic Surgery said new technology in makeup makes it possible to have a peel or even microneedling with platelet-rich plasma — sometimes called a vampire facial, as it uses the patient’s own blood — and go right back to work, thanks to makeup that’s specifically designed for doctors and aestheticians. “Breathable foundations such as Oxygenetix have an anti-inflammatory effect by using aloe gel and Ceravitae — yeast peptides — and it adds moisturizer and color with an SPF protection of 20.”

But what about good old diet and exercise?

Nutritionist Molly Rieger of Tovita Nutrition suggested keeping a food journal so people can keep track of exactly what they’re eating and “reducing mindless snacking and grazing.” She also said to make half your dinner plate veggies because they’re low in calories but high in fiber. Finally, she said, drink at least 64 ounces of water each day.

“Keeping hydrated helps to reduce feelings of hunger, fatigue, and cravings, which are all diet pitfalls.”

Staying well-hydrated is key from a fitness perspective, too, said Rebecca Kennedy of RK Fitness. She also suggested eliminating alcoholic beverages. “They pack a ton of unnecessary calories.”

As for a fitness routine, Kennedy said a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout works best. HIIT is combination of cardio and strength training with both high and low intensity bouts of work.

Her other favorite workout tip?

“Get into a Barry’s Bootcamp class as fast as you can,” said Kennedy, a Barry’s Bootcamp master trainer.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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New Guidelines Stress Pregnant Women’s Right to Order Alcohol in New York City

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Mixing pregnancy and booze is a controversial topic.

Many doctors recommend that women steer clear of alcohol for the entire nine months of pregnancy, but New York City’s Human Rights Commission is now weighing in with a caveat.

New guidelines unveiled last week say that bars cannot refuse to serve pregnant women alcohol, arguing that such treatment is discriminatory.

“Pregnant women should be allowed to enter any place of accommodation in New York City that a non-pregnant woman should be able to enter,” Carmelyn Malalis, commissioner and chairwoman of the city Commission on Human Rights, told ABC News.

It’s all part of a larger effort to enhance and protect the rights of pregnant women, particularly in the workplace.

“The law that these guidelines are based on was really focused on making sure that women are able to stay in the workplace and not be forced to miss out on economic opportunities,” Malalis said.

Cases that prompted the new guidelines include a pregnant woman’s being denied access to a bar that her two non-pregnant friends were allowed to enter because of her bump, and another where a pregnant woman was denied access to a concert venue because of her pregnancy.

But many people are up in arms about the new guidelines, speaking out on message boards.

“If a woman has to drink while she is pregnant, she is not fit to be a parent,” one critic wrote.

“NYC has become a joke,” wrote another.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns against drinking while pregnant, noting in guidelines earlier this year that no amount of alcohol during pregnancy, no matter how small, is advisable.

And 18 states consider the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy the equivalent of child abuse.

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