iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Proponents of the so-called paleo diet believe that humans who probably went by names like Grok, Thog and Dorn knew more about nutrition than we do today. But a new analysis by two anthropology professors suggests otherwise.

Short for Paleolithic, the popular paleo diet goes heavy on meat, fish and vegetables while shunning grain products and processed food. It’s supposedly patterned after the way our ancestors dined between 10,000 and 2.5 million years ago before the advent of agriculture, fast-food or Cronuts.

Ken Sayers, an anthropologist at Georgia State University in Atlanta and one of the lead authors of the just-released Quarterly Review of Biology paper, said there is very little evidence to suggest early humans subsisted on a specialized diet or considered any one food group especially important.

“Whatever angle you chose to look at the diets of our early ancestors, it’s hard to pinpoint any one particular feeding strategy,” Sayers said.

The study examined anthological, biological and chemical clues that suggest hominids lived in a wide range of environments. They were probably not the best hunters and their large, flat teeth would have made it difficult to chew many common plants, Sayers explained. Their diet can be more accurately described as an opportunistic buffet than meat-lovers menu, he said.

And even if one assumes early humans had access to some of the foods still around today, they wouldn’t be the same, Sayers pointed out. For example, langur monkeys whose eating habits closely resemble our Paleolithic brethren won’t touch the wild strawberries that grow high in the mountains near Nepal. While attractive, they are very bitter. They taste nothing like the plump, juicy supermarket strawberries that have been selectively bred for sweetness, Sayers said.

Caine Credicott, the founder and editor in chief of Paleo Magazine, said he can’t speak to this latest study but he can say that the paleo lifestyle is “about nourishing our bodies with real food that is grown and raised as nature intended, not manufactured in a sterile facility.”

And, he insisted, it goes beyond what’s on the plate.

“Paleo encourages other aspects such as getting more sleep, reducing time in front of blue screens, consuming locally grown foods, supporting local farmers that follow sustainable farming practices, reducing stress, playing outside, and getting out in the sun,” Credicott said.

Perhaps there’s some truth to that, Georgia State anthropologist Sayers said. There is certainly nothing silly about someone trying to eat a healthier diet, he reasoned. But why bother emulating a civilization where the average lifespan was only about 18 years?

“They lived short, tough lives that were focused on survival and reproduction,” Sayers said. “Most people on diets today are generally affluent and not worried about going hungry.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) — Old enough to vote. Old enough to join the military. Not old enough to pick out a doctor?

Although seven in 10 parents believe that by the time a child reaches 18 they should move to an adult-focused primary care provider, just 30 percent say their kids are no longer being seen by their pediatrician.

Researchers at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital made this discovery in their national poll of parents with children ages 13 to 30.

The problem seems to be a lack of faith in a child’s ability to handle their own health care responsibilities.

For instance, many parents with kids’ between the ages of 16-19 didn’t think these teens were capable enough to make a doctor’s appointment or refill a prescription.

Of those with children 18-19, half of parents were unsure whether their kids could fill out a medical questionnaire while less than 30 percent were confident in their youngsters’ understanding of what their insurance covers.

The bottom line, according to study author Emily Fredericks, is for parents to teach their children to be self-sufficient by getting them involved in making appointments, refilling prescriptions and asking questions about their insurance and health care providers.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Algebra has been the bane of many high school students going back in time. And yet, it appears that making some youngsters take algebra again because they didn’t do well enough the first time seems to do more harm than good, according to a new California study.

Anthony B. Fong, the lead researcher for the study conducted for the U.S. Department of Education, says that about half the students who received at least a “C” and passed California’s algebra assessment test actually saw their grades and tests scores decline when they repeated the course.

Fong’s study didn’t look into the reasons why this happened but he guesses that many of these students felt embarrassed about having to take algebra again and just did the minimum amount of work to get by.

He also questioned teachers’ motivations for making students repeat algebra. His conclusion is, “If you have a kid who’s on the borderline of repeating algebra or moving on, if you’re in doubt, it seems like it’s better to move on.”

In other cases, when a student flunked the course, repeating algebra tended to get their grade up to a “D” but there was really no indication that they mastered the material.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Algebra has been the bane of many high school students going back in time. And yet, it appears that making some youngsters take algebra again because they didn’t do well enough the first time seems to do more harm than good, according to a new California study.

Anthony B. Fong, the lead researcher for the study conducted for the U.S. Department of Education, says that about half the students who received at least a “C” and passed California’s algebra assessment test actually saw their grades and tests scores decline when they repeated the course.

Fong’s study didn’t look into the reasons why this happened but he guesses that many of these students felt embarrassed about having to take algebra again and just did the minimum amount of work to get by.

He also questioned teachers’ motivations for making students repeat algebra. His conclusion is, “If you have a kid who’s on the borderline of repeating algebra or moving on, if you’re in doubt, it seems like it’s better to move on.”

In other cases, when a student flunked the course, repeating algebra tended to get their grade up to a “D” but there was really no indication that they mastered the material.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Algebra has been the bane of many high school students going back in time. And yet, it appears that making some youngsters take algebra again because they didn’t do well enough the first time seems to do more harm than good, according to a new California study.

Anthony B. Fong, the lead researcher for the study conducted for the U.S. Department of Education, says that about half the students who received at least a “C” and passed California’s algebra assessment test actually saw their grades and tests scores decline when they repeated the course.

Fong’s study didn’t look into the reasons why this happened but he guesses that many of these students felt embarrassed about having to take algebra again and just did the minimum amount of work to get by.

He also questioned teachers’ motivations for making students repeat algebra. His conclusion is, “If you have a kid who’s on the borderline of repeating algebra or moving on, if you’re in doubt, it seems like it’s better to move on.”

In other cases, when a student flunked the course, repeating algebra tended to get their grade up to a “D” but there was really no indication that they mastered the material.

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Flying Colours Ltd/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Animated films meant for children feature more on-screen deaths than ever before, a new study found.

In a study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers analyzed the 45 animated films with the highest gross revenue from 1937 to 2013. Ranging from Snow White to Frozen, researchers compared, year-to-year, the films to the two highest-grossing non-children films.

Researchers then adjusted for run time and years since release, and found that children’s animated films feature 2.5 times as many deaths as the non-children films.

Researchers also suggest that parents may want to watch movies with their children, “in the event that the children need emotional support after witnessing the inevitable horrors that will unfold.”

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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