ASIFE/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Diets that focus on low impact on blood sugar may not have a significant impact on risk of heart disease or diabetes.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston looked at data from 163 healthy adults who were either overweight or obese at five-week intervals. Each participant ate either a “low glycemic diet” which focuses on foods that have low impact on blood sugar, or a “high glycemic diet.”

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that those participants who ate a diet with low glycemic indexes did not have significant improvement in their cardiovascular risk factors and often had increased levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and decreased sensitivity to insulin.

The study was done over a short period of time, so researchers did not analyze medical outcomes, such as the development of diabetes or the rate of occurrence of heart attacks, but rather studied the risk factors associated with those outcomes.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Nadia Campbell (NEW YORK) — For more than 18 years, Nadia Campbell had no sense of taste or smell and lived with terrible sinus pain. Even after seeing five specialists and undergoing three surgeries, the 38-year-old said she was still left with a perpetually runny nose that kept her up all night.

“Every day there was a problem,” said Campbell, of Oaklawn, Illinois. “I had a dry mouth from breathing through my mouth and constant headaches.”

That all changed after doctors at Loyola University Health in Maywood, Illinois, diagnosed her with Samter’s triad, a newly recognized medical condition involving a combination of nasal polyps, asthma and a sensitivity to aspirin.

“My patients typically come in carrying a thick folder of medical records because they have tried for a long time to find a cure for their illness,” said Dr. Monica Patadia, the board-certified head and neck surgeon who treated Campbell at Loyola.

More than 37 million Americans have at least one sinus problem a year, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, making it one of the most common medical conditions the average person experiences.

Samter’s triad, also known as aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease, or AERD, affects an estimated 10 percent of people with asthma. About 40 percent of people with both asthma and nasal polyps and who are also sensitive to aspirin may have Samter’s, studies suggest.

The cause of the condition is not completely understood, though researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston believe it may be triggered in part by high levels of cells called eosinophils in the blood and sinuses, which leads to chronic inflammation of the airways. Patients often show elevated levels of another type of cell known as leukocytes, particularly after taking aspirin.

Once the problem was diagnosed, Campbell said the treatment itself was simple and painless. First Dr. Patadia performed outpatient surgery to remove the polyps and open up her sinus cavities. Next, she placed temporary spacers in Campbell’s nasal passages that were removed once the healing process was far enough along.

After surgery, Campbell spent several days undergoing a process to desensitize her to aspirin. This has enabled doctors to wean her off the strong steroid medications she took for almost two decades.

Patadia said the surgery was a success.

“When the sinuses light up like a pumpkin or jack o’ lantern you know the sinuses are wide open and that is a good thing,” she said of looking at Campbell’s sinuses with an endoscope.

Campbell said despite a few lingering allergies, she is thrilled with the results. When she first experienced the feeling of breathing freely again, she said she cried with relief.

“I now sleep through the night and I can taste food again,” she said. “No one can really understand what it’s like when you can’t do those things.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Nailah Winkfield said she will never forget giving her teenage daughter permission to die as she lay motionless and on a ventilator.

Months earlier, Jahi McMath, then 13, had been declared brain dead and become a household name as a legal battle to take her off life support was splashed across headlines nationwide. Winkfield and her family won the battle and moved McMath from California to a long-term care facility in New Jersey, but on this particular day, Winkfield didn’t think her daughter wanted to hold on any longer, she said.

“You have my permission to go. I don’t want you here if you’re suffering,” Winkfield recalled telling McMath, her voice breaking. “If you can hear me and you want to live, move your right hand.”

To Winkfield’s shock, McMath obeyed, she said. So Winkfield asked her to move her left hand. She did that, too, Winkfield said.

“That was the first time I knew that she could hear me,” Winkfield said. “It took me to cry for her to move.”

Doctors at Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California, declared McMath brain dead after what was supposed to be a routine tonsil surgery led to cardiac arrest on Dec. 9, 2013. But Winkfield said she and her family didn’t believe it. Attorney Christopher Dolan took on the case and helped them fight to keep her on a ventilator until she could be moved to New Jersey, where state law allows religious objection to brain death.

UCLA pediatric neurology professor Dr. Alan Shewmon wrote an official declaration this fall that although he hadn’t personally examined McMath, the videos and what he understands from others who examined her “leave no doubt that Jahi is conscious, and can not only hear but can even understand simple verbal requests…and make appropriate motor responses.”

He said the nursing records, her MRI brain scan results and other records indicate that she is “not currently brain dead,” though he doesn’t blame the doctors last winter for misdiagnosing her as such.

“She is an extremely disabled but very much alive teenage girl,” Shewmon wrote in an Oct. 3 court document.

Shewmon has published studies examining and questioning brain death for more than a decade. In his declaration, he referenced speaking to two other experts who witnessed McMath’s motor functions: Cuban neurologist Dr. Calixto Machado and Philip Defina, CEO of the International Brain Research Foundation, Inc.

Winkfield left her job in California and moved from across the country in the middle of winter last year with nothing but a knapsack, Dolan said. She even spent some time homeless.

Doctors had told Winkfield that McMath’s brain would liquefy and she would start to look different as her body shut down, but none of that has happened, Winkfield said.

McMath has been out of the long-term care facility since August, and she has been moved to Winkfield’s new New Jersey home, where she gets 24-hour nursing care.

But Winkfield said she makes sure to be the person who gives McMath a bath, talks to her, reads to her and plays her favorite music to her. Every two weeks, she does McMath hair. Every week, she gives her a manicure. This week it’s a purple French manicure.

“I talk to her like I would talk to anybody,” Winkfield said, adding that McMath can now respond by giving a thumbs up.

Winkfield said she’s reached puberty over the last year, and has had two menstrual cycles — something Dolan said can only happen to someone with a functioning brain.

The next step will be getting McMath’s California death certificate reversed so she can move back home and get disability benefits in California, Dolan said. Experts have already testified on her behalf, he said.

The family has posted YouTube videos of McMath moving her hand and foot seemingly on command.

Dr. Wei Xiong, a neurologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Ohio who has not treated McMath, said it’s not clear from the videos whether McMath is responding to instructions or whether she is “posturing” — which happens to brain dead patients when their spinal cords prompt limb movement after their brains have relinquished control. He said the hand movement was especially interesting because it was a “complex” motion.

“That would make it somewhat unusual in someone who is brain dead,” he said. However, a complex movement in someone who is brain dead is “not completely out of the question,” he noted.

For Christmas, Winkfield won’t be able to be with her husband or other children because she needs to stay where she is and can’t afford to fly them across the country. But she said she’ll still cook and buy McMath presents like a new night gown, lip gloss and some socks.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Kevin Tachman/Getty Images for amfAR(LOS ANGELES) — Sharon Stone has been considered one of Hollywood’s sexiest women for all of her more than 30 years in front of the camera. And she doesn’t fear growing older — especially after suffering what she describes as a “massive brain hemorrhage” in 2001.

The 56-year-old actress recounts in an essay published in the Hollywood Reporter that because of the health scare, “I don’t choose to make growing older a negative. I choose to get older. Growing older is my goal.”

“I spent two years learning to walk and talk again. I came home from that stroke stuttering, couldn’t read for two years,” she recounts. “I don’t need someone to make me feel bad about growing older. I’ll tell you what makes you feel bad: when you think you might not.”

Stone said she’s now doing well, which she credits to her hard work and determination to thrive. She tries to hit the gym four or five times a week and eats cleanly, because “people don’t want to see a fat Sharon Stone.”

Ultimately, Stone says, “The key to looking good as you get older is, it all comes from the inside. You have to do what you like to do. If you hate to go to the gym, don’t put yourself on a gym regimen. Do what you like to do, but do it every day. I love to dance, and I dance hard. When I started thinking about aging, I thought, ‘Who do I want to look like as I age?’ And the answer was dancers.”

Now, the actress is looking and feeling her best — and others are noticing too, both personally and professionally. Not only is she unafraid to audition for roles that aren’t originally meant for actresses her age, but also, she says younger men hit on her all the time.

“I believe there can be a movie plot where the leading hot guy who’s 43 falls for me instead of the 25-year-old girl,” she writes. “Every time I go into a Starbucks, some 20-year-old guy throws himself at me! Although it might be because he knows there’s a meal at the end of it. But these young guys know the sex would be better.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Mark Kegans/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — More than a dozen NHL players and referees have contracted mumps in recent weeks, with additional players tested amid fears that the disease could spread.

Players with the Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild and Pittsburgh Penguins have been affected so far.

The viral infection can cause swelling of the salivary glands, fever, headache, fatigue and loss of appetite.

Mumps can be spread by sneezing and coughing, and it can spread quickly in close quarters, with hockey’s physicality and locker room culture aiding in the outbreak.

Because mumps has an incubation period of up to three weeks, doctors say, it will take some time to know when the league’s outbreak is over.

Penguins forward Beau Bennett, who was tested Monday, is the latest player to be screened for mumps.

Days earlier, Bennett’s teammate Sidney Crosby appeared in the locker room with a swollen face, a tell-tale sign of the disease. Crosby is past the infectious stage and could return to the team as early as Tuesday, Penguins officials said.

Bennett was tested four days after he and other Penguins players visited the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to spread Christmas cheer.

In a statement to ABC News, the hospital said it plans to isolate patients and families who visited with Bennett and who had not received their age-appropriate doses of mumps vaccine, and will be monitoring them.

Children with immune problems are at a greater risk to have severe infections from the mumps.

Mumps was nearly eradicated in 1967, but made a re-emergence in 2000. A notable outbreak occurred in the Midwest in 2006, when thousands of college students were infected.

Americans are vaccinated against the mumps as part of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, the first dose of which is given to babies between 12 and 15 months old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The second dose is given at 4 to 6 years old.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBIA, Mo.) — A bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a shot of whiskey is not going to help you sleep better in the long run.

Mahesh Thakkar at the University of Missouri School of Medicine says about 20 percent of Americans have tried this method in an effort to get some shuteye.

While it might put them to sleep faster, Thakkar says many will also find their sleep interrupted at some point and that makes it even more difficult to doze off.

The study author explains the problem is that alcohol interferes with “sleep homeostasis — the brain’s built-in mechanism that regulates your sleepiness and wakefulness.”

The other downside to using alcohol is that it also acts a diuretic, meaning, more trips to the bathroom at night.

While it’s tempting, Thakkar recommend people skip the booze and if problems persist, talk to a health professional about what’s keeping you awake, which can be addressed with individualized treatments.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Google users were mighty curious about how many calories they were eating this year, but they were more curious about some foods than others.

Check out the top trending calorie count searches of 2014.

And because we’re super nice, we pulled together the answers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s calorie search tool.

1. How many calories in a banana? 105.

2. How many calories in pumpkin pie? There are 374 calories in one piece of pie.

3. How many calories in an apple? 72.

4. How many calories in an egg? That depends. If it’s boiled, it’s 77 calories. If it’s poached, it’s 71 calories. If it’s fried in butter, it’s 92 calories. If it’s raw, it’s only 63 calories.

5. How many calories in an avocado? A cup of avocado cubes is 240 calories.

6. How many calories in a cheeseburger? A homemade basic cheeseburger is 317 calories. A cheeseburger on a bun with 1/3 pounds of meat, mayo and a tomato is 845 calories.

7. How many calories in a Big Mac? A Big Mac, McDonald’s double cheeseburger with mayo on a double-decker bun, is 585 calories. According to the McDonald’s website, however, it’s 530 calories.

8. How many calories in a watermelon? A cup of diced watermelon is 46 calories.

9. How many calories in an orange? 62.

10. How many calories in a slice of pizza? A slice of regular cheese pizza is 231 calories. It’s 258 for thick crust. If you add meat and vegetables to a slice of regular crust pizza, it’s 272. Do the same to the thick crust and it’s 328.

“I think it is a positive sign in that people maybe are recognizing more how their overall individual intake plays into their body weight an energy balance,” said registered dietitian Jamie Pope, who teaches nutrition at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville, Tennessee. Though she said she was surprised to see fruits mixed in with burgers on the list.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Saša Prudkov/iStock/Thinkstock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) — A national survey of U.S. middle and high school students showed significant improvement in the levels of adolescent substance abuse.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Monitoring the Future Survey, an annual poll of more than 40,000 students, both alcohol and cigarette use among middle and high school students are at their lowest points since the survey began in 1975.

The survey looks at students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades. In each of those three grades, alcohol use continued a long-term decline, the study found. Use of alcohol peaked in 1997 when 61 percent of students surveyed reported any alcohol use in the 12 months prior. This year’s figure was just 41 percent, down from 43 percent last year.

Significantly, the percentage of students who report “binge drinking” — drinking five or more drinks in a row at least once in the two weeks before the survey — fell to 12 percent.

Cigarette smoking reached historic lows as well, with the combined rate of students surveyed from all three grades who had smoked in the month prior to the survey dropping to 28 percent.

The study’s principal investigator Lloyd Johnston said that the importance of a decline in smoking among adolescents “cannot be overstated.”

The percentage of students who said that alcohol or cigarettes were more difficult to acquire increased from last year’s survey.

The survey also noted that student use of synthetic marijuana, bath salts, marijuana, ecstasy, salvia, hallucinogens, prescription drugs, narcotics and cough and cold medicines all declined from last year.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

scyther5/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For the first time, more teens are smoking e-cigarettes than tobacco cigarettes, according to a new survey of 40,000 to 50,000 students in the 8th, 10th and 12th grades.

The annual University of Michigan “Monitoring the Future” report found that both alcohol and cigarette use in 2014 were at their lowest points since the study began in 1975. But they were most concerned about the rise of e-cigarettes, which are not regulated and whose formulas are undisclosed.

“As one of the newest smoking-type products in recent years, e-cigarettes have made rapid inroads into the lives of American adolescents,” Richard Miech, a senior investigator of the study, said in a statement. “Part of the reason for the popularity of e-cigarettes is the perception among teens that they do not harm health.”

The survey found that in the past 30 days, more than twice as many 8th- and 10th-graders reported using e-cigarettes versus tobacco cigarettes. Among 12th-graders, 17 percent reported e-cigarette use and 14 percent reported use of a tobacco cigarette. But 16 percent of 10th graders surveyed reported using an e-cigarette, while 7 percent reported using a tobacco cigarette.

“This could be a result of e-cigarettes being relatively new,” Lloyd Johnston, principal investigator of the project, said in a statement. “So today’s 12th-graders may not have had the opportunity to begin using them when they were younger. Future surveys should be able to tell us if that is the case.”

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices with a heating element that typically produces a nicotine-infused aerosol, or vapor, that users inhale. The products come in hundreds of flavors including bubble gum and milk chocolate cream.

The researchers did not determine whether those who used e-cigarettes were likely to go on to use tobacco products. But use of tobacco among high schoolers continued a decades-long decline.

In 2014, the use of tobacco cigarettes declined to 8 percent from 10 percent in 2013. The figure in 1998 was 28 percent.

Some 15 percent of 8th-graders said there’s a great risk of harm with regular use of e-cigarettes, compared with 62 percent who said there’s a great risk from tobacco cigarettes.

British researchers say electronic cigarettes could save 6,000 lives per year for every million smokers, a claim that has reignited the debate over the health impact of vaping.

In September, in an editorial published British Journal of General Practice, a research team from University London College argued that the public health community was jumping the gun in their rush to regulate e-cigarettes the same as tobacco products.

“Given that smokers smoke primarily for the nicotine but die primarily from the tar, one might imagine that e-cigarettes would be welcomed as a means to prevent much of the death and suffering caused by cigarettes,” they wrote.

The science on e-cigs as a smoking cessation tool is mixed. Earlier this year, the University London College team found that smokers were about 60 percent more likely to quit if they used e-cigarettes. But other studies have found that smokers who switched to e-cigarettes were less likely or no more likely to quit than if they used a patch or gum.

A recent study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found e-cigarette use among school-age children has tripled in the last three years, with half of kids who report vaping stating that they intended to smoke conventional cigarettes within the next year.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Polka Dot Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers in England say that feeling younger may actual help you live longer.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, researchers looked at data from about 6,000 participants aged 52 years old or older. In the hopes of gauging the relationship between age and perceived age — or the age the participants “felt” they were.

Participants were part of the study for eight years, and researchers say those who felt younger than their actual age had a mortality rate of 14.3 percent. Comparatively, those who felt their actual age had a mortality rate of 18.5 percent, while those who felt older had a mortality rate of 24.6 percent.

Even when correcting for baseline health and other potentially contributing factors, subjects who felt older than their actual age were at significantly higher risk of death than those who felt younger.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →