Review Category : Health

Sunscreen 101: SPF Explained and How You Should Apply It

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The American Medical Association says more Americans than ever are taking precautions against sun damage, but it’s not enough.

“People are not using enough sunscreen and they are not reapplying it often enough,” Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist, said.

Sunscreen can be confusing. A recent report in JAMA Dermatology — a monthly publication from the American Medical Association — says that only 51 percent of Americans understand what “SPF” means. The term generally appears on sunscreen tubes and bottles.

“SPF” stands for sun protection factor. An SPF of 15 blocks about 95 percent of UV rays. An SPF of 30 will block about 97 percent and an SPF of 50 will block 98 percent, Day said.

She said people often forget to apply sunscreen to their ears and the areas where their cheeks meet their necks.

“We see skin cancer mostly in sun-exposed areas … What happens is, you apply sunscreen [around the nose], you feather it out, you run out by the time you get the periphery, and then you let it go,” Day said.

People are also urged to remember to apply sunscreen to their hands.

Parents may be vigilant about keeping their children’s skin protected, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says only 34 percent of women and 18 percent of men use sunscreen on their faces every day.

“Make sure you apply your sunscreen before leaving the house, then apply it to your kids,” Day said. “My experience is when you apply it on your children first, life calls and you get busy.”

Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer, with about 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancers diagnosed every year throughout the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.

Melanoma, a far more dangerous kind of skin cancer, is expected to account for more than 73,000 cases of skin cancer in 2015, also according to the ACS.

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X-Rays to Confirm Child Abuse Given too Rarely, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For doctors, child abuse is often difficult to detect. Official guidelines urge imaging tests like X-rays. But, according to a new national multi-center study of non-pediatric hospitals, that doesn’t seem to be happening consistently.

Researchers found that, on average, only about half of infants with suspected physical abuse receive appropriate evaluation with a full-body skeletal X-ray looking for “occult fractures,” which are considered to be telltale signs of abuse.

The researchers looked at data on children younger than 2 with a prior diagnosis of physical abuse and children under 1 with femur fractures and traumatic brain injuries.

The children least likely to receive proper screening were black, went to non-teaching hospitals (those not affiliated with a medical school), went to hospitals with a lower patient volume, or lived in households of lower socioeconomic status.

The findings were published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

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Online Symptom Checkers Unreliable, Says Study

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Are you nervous because an online symptom checker is telling you your stomach ache is actually intestinal obstruction? A new study says it’s probably wrong, but you should still see a doctor.

A recent Harvard Medical School study published in The BMJ analyzed 23 online symptom checkers such as Mayo Clinic or Web M.D. to see just how accurate they were. The findings?

Researchers say the websites provided the correct diagnosis 34 percent of the time, listed the correct diagnosis within the top 20 results 58 percent of the time, and provided the correct triage advice 57 percent of the time.

In an age where more and more patients and physicians turn to the Internet for answers about healthcare, the study warns patients not to let the symptom checkers determine whether or not they should see a doctor.

There are some benefits to symptom checkers, however. According to researchers they may force a patient to seek emergency care and they may also help someone skip the doctor’s bill if it’s a non-emergency.

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Oklahoma Baby With Unique Illness Celebrates First Birthday

Victoria Rose celebrated her first birthday this weekend. Courtesy Anesha Davis(LAWTON, Okla.) — For Anesha Davis, celebrating her daughter’s first birthday this weekend was an unforgettable milestone.

Davis’ baby, named Victoria Rose, was born with a unique illness — she is missing her 72 genes on her 7th chromosome, Davis told ABC News affiliate KSWO-TV in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Victoria’s doctors at Oklahoma University Children’s Hospital said they’ve never seen anything like it before, Davis told ABC News Sunday.

“They really don’t know what to expect with her because we don’t have anything to reference it to,” Davis said.

Victoria’s medical issues include a missing heart chamber, an enlarged pulmonary artery, a cleft lip and a cleft palate.

At just 1 year old, Victoria has already had two heart surgeries and several medical scares, and she has another heart procedure coming up, Davis said.

So for Davis, taking the time to celebrate Victoria’s birthday this weekend was truly “celebrating that she made it to a year.”

Although Victoria is paralyzed from a recent surgery, Davis said it was great to get her a cake and get the family together.

“It was the best feeling in the world because I didn’t know if she would make it to a year,” Davis said. “Every day is just up and down. It’s been exhausting this year. She finally made it to a year and we just wanted to celebrate big.”

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Study: Smoking Associated with Earlier Onset of Psychosis

fuzznails/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study found a link between psychotic illness and cigarette smoking.

According to researchers, daily tobacco use can lead to an increased risk of psychosis and earlier onset of psychotic illness. The study, published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, involved analysis of more than 3,000 citations from various databases and observational studies and worked to calculate the average age at onset of psychosis and at initiation of smoking.

Researchers say daily smokers developed psychotic illnesses at an earlier age than non-smokers, and those with psychosis began smoking at a younger age than those without.

The study only notes an association, and not a causal link between smoking and psychosis. Researchers say further examination is necessary to determine whether smoking directly causes earlier onset of psychosis.

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Real-Life Forrest Gump Is Running Across US in Less Than 100 Days

Barclay Oudersluys, 23, is attempting a cross-country run across the US from California to Maine in less than 100 days. Courtesy Barclay Oudersluys(NEW YORK) — A 23-year-old is trying to make life imitate art — attempting to run about 3,200 miles across the United States in less than 100 days just like Tom Hanks’ character in Forrest Gump.

Barclay Oudersluys had logged about 2,000 miles of his run by Friday, which was day 63 of the trip.

“I’ve been through thunderstorms, snow a couple times, really windy days out in Kansas, heat waves; it’s a real mix,” he said.

According to his Crowdrise site, called Project Gump, Oudersluys is trying to raise $10,000 on his trip for the Hall Steps Foundation — a group that fights poverty by improving health.

The foundation was started by a couple, Sara and Ryan Hall, who are both professional runners.

“Ryan and I started the Hall Steps Foundation to engage the running community in taking their step towards ending extreme poverty worldwide,” Sara Hall told ABC News via email. “It’s awesome to see people like Barclay who have shared our vision, and taken a very big step! His efforts are incredibly inspiring and we have been following his progress. Through his efforts he is raising funds and awareness to bring clean water to communities in Mozambique.”

Oudersluys usually begins his runs around 6 a.m. and ends between noon and 2 p.m. and runs about 31 to 32 miles a day in around five to seven hours — rain or shine.

Just like his favorite movie, Oudersluys started his cross-country marathon at the Santa Monica Pier in California in May, and he plans to finish at the famed lighthouse in Rockland, Maine.

He said he’s done a lot of preparation for the epic run.

“I went on Google Maps and put in the two points asked for the turn-by-turn walking directions,” he told ABC News. “I printed 100 individual maps for each day, and I look at them before I run and memorize what I have to do.”

Sleeping, eating and showering are bit complicated when you’re attempting a cross country run, but Oudersluys makes it work, he said.

“I have a van that my friends have been driving that has all kinds of food, water, shoes and clothes,” Oudersluys said. “Some of them run with me sometimes, and some others will drive ahead, and I’ll meet them later on when I finish my run. I can sleep in the back of my van or drive to a nearby home or hotel, where I can sleep, use the bathroom and shower.”

But on days Oudersluys can’t find a hotel, he’s gotten creative in the hygiene department.

“If I can’t find a place to shower, then I use baby wipes,” he said. “I’ve become a real pro at taking baby wipes showers.”

Though strangers haven’t joined Oudersluys on his run, he said that he’s seen some pretty bizarre sights.

“I saw zebras in Colorado, and then there was this tree out in the desert either in California or Arizona, and it was standing on its own with shoes hanging from it,” he said. “I also met someone who was also running across the country but was going the opposite direction. It was really cool.”

The 23-year-old has made it through California, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois so far. If you want to catch him, you can see the rest of his route here.

“I don’t really have any celebration plans, but if anyone wants to meet me at the finish line, that’d be cool,” Oudersluys said.

After Oudersluys is done, he only has a week before he starts his next adventure — law school at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Kansas Police Officer Buys Diapers, Shoes for Mom Who Shoplifted Them For Kids

Roeland Park police officer Mark Engravalle bought diapers, shoes and other items for a mom who was trying to shoplift them from a Kansas Walmart for her children. Roeland Park Police Department(ROELAND PARK, Kan.) — A Kansas mom thought she was going to jail when she was caught stealing at Walmart. But what happened next left her in tears.

Sarah Robinson said she was running out of diapers for her 2-year-old twin daughters when she walked into Walmart in Roeland Park, Kansas, on July 6.

“I was just going to potty-train them, but I didn’t have a place for them to bathe,” Robinson, of Kansas City, Kansas, told ABC News. “I had lost my house and all of our belongings, and I don’t have a job.”

Robinson has been struggling to make ends meet since the death of her husband in 2012. She and her daughters, 15-year-old Emily, 13-year-old Sophia, 12-year-old Angelina, 4-year-old Miley and twins Becky and Bella, spent most of their time in their car, from which all of their possessions had recently been stolen, Robinson said.

“So I went to Walmart, grabbed clothes, shoes, diapers, wipes, and I just walked out, but they caught me,” said Robinson.

When Roeland Park police officer Mark Engravalle arrived, he noticed that some of the children with Robinson were barefoot and had dirty feet.

“He noticed [what she stole] were necessities like diapers, shoes for the kids, some clothing,” Roeland Park public information officer John Demoss told ABC News. “He asked her what the situation was, and she broke down crying.”

“My heart just dropped. I didn’t know what to say or do. It was horrible. I thought I was going to jail,” said Robinson.

After releasing Robinson with a citation for misdemeanor theft, Engravalle went back inside the store with her children and bought diapers, baby wipes and clothes for the children. He even let the girls pick out their own shoes.

“The officer had two children of his own, and he thought of his two kids,” Demoss said. “He thought it was the right thing to do.”

“He couldn’t have been nicer to my girls,” Robinson said. “And then I got a call the next day saying they wanted to help us further and help us get a place to live.”

Since the incident, there has been an outpouring of support from the community for Robinson and her daughters.

Demoss said the police department has been inundated with calls and people visiting the station asking how they can help. Until the police department can get an account set up at a local bank, they are accepting donations on Robinson’s behalf, and on Sunday they will hold an event where people can drop by the station and bring donations for the family.

“I’m so appreciative. I’m embarrassed that I was stealing, but it couldn’t go to more deserving girls,” Robinson said.

Robinson said she and her daughters have a place to stay until Sunday and will need to find a new home after that. She’s also looking for a job in office work.

“I’m bilingual. I speak English and Spanish, and I’m good with computers,” she said. “I just want to have a place for my girls.”

Demoss said the community has also offered to support officer Engravalle, but Engravalle instead asked that people donate to Robinson or to a good cause.

“There isn’t enough words in the world to thank him enough,” Robinson said. “Me and my girls are indebted to him forever.”

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Twitter Pulls Ads After Concerns of Causing Epileptic Seizures

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(LONDON) — Twitter pulled two advertisements Friday after an epilepsy charity called the marketing “dangerous.”

On Friday, Twitter posted two short advertisements on Vine with rapid flashing and flickering of colors. Epilepsy Action, a charity in the U.K. responded quickly after they were posted.

“Your #DiscoverMusic Vines are massively dangerous to people with photosensitive epilepsy,” Epilepsy Action tweeted. “Please take them offline now.”

According to the Epilepsy Society, people with photosensitive epilepsy have their seizures triggered by “flashing lights or contrasting light and dark patterns.”

Twitter International Communications Director Rachel Bremer responded less than an hour later saying the advertisements had been pulled. The videos were online for 18 hours before removal.

“For a huge corporation like Twitter to take that risk was irresponsible,” Simon Wigglesworth, Epilepsy Action’s deputy chief executive, told BBC.

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Teen Dies from Rare Brain-Eating Amoeba After Swimming in Lake

iStock/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) — A Minnesota teen has reportedly died due to a rare amoebic infection days after he went swimming in a freshwater lake.

Hunter Boutain, 14, died after developing symptoms consistent with an amoebic infection, according to a statement sent to ABC News affiliate KSTP-TV by the boy’s uncle, Bryan Boutain.

“Hunter’s condition deteriorated throughout the night and he was declared brain dead this morning (Thursday). Hunter was surrounded by his family. It is a deeply emotional time for all of us,” Bryan Boutain said in statement. “We ask for privacy and prayers as we remember our beloved Hunter.”

The Minnesota Department of Health is still investigating the incident, though officials released a statement saying they believe the teen likely was infected with a rare amoeba called Naegleria fowleri.

The Naegleria fowleri amoeba is naturally occurring in fresh water and can cause a fatal infection if it travels up the nose of a swimmer where it can enter the brain. Amoebic infections are extremely rare, infecting up to eight people every year in the entire country, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In comparison, nearly 10 people are killed every day from drowning, CDC data shows.

Last August, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals announced that the Naegleria fowleri amoeba was found in the water system of St. John the Baptist Parish.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert, said concerned swimmers in freshwater can take precautions, such as using nose clips. Swimmers should also avoid disturbing sediment where the amoeba might be in greater numbers, he said.

“The amoeba are in small numbers everywhere,” explained Schaffner, who pointed out it was impractical to avoid all freshwater. “They go hibernate in the winter time. They’re part of natural environment.”

The disease, while rare, is almost always fatal. Just four people are known to have survived the disease in North America.

Its symptoms include:

  • Severe frontal headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Seizures
  • Altered mental status
  • Hallucinations

Treatment can include intravenous antibiotics or other medications. In at least one successful case, therapeutic hypothermia was used to manage the patient’s brain swelling, according to the CDC.

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Your Body: Do Your Own Regular Breast Exams

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

Have you spent some quality time with your breasts lately? If not, it’s about time you should.

Every 13 minutes, one woman in the United States will lose her life to breast cancer. And when it comes to breast cancer, early detection saves lives.

Breast self-exams are a great way to start. You should do them in three positions: lying down, standing up and bending over. And in three depths of pressure: light, medium and deeper.

The more you know about your body, the better. One moment with your breasts can make all the difference.

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