Health News

Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Approximately 8.4 percent of women report smoking tobacco at some time during their pregnancy, according to new data from a large national survey.

The statistic is an improvement when compared to past statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on smoking and pregnancy. However, given the risks associated with maternal smoking during pregnancy -- which include low birth weight, preterm birth and fetal/infant mortality -- health officials overwhelmingly agree that any level of this behavior is too high.

The lowest rate of tobacco use during pregnancy was noted to be in California, while the highest rate was in West Virginia.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) — It’s National Heart Month, and Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan sat down for a heart-to-heart conversation with his father, Gene Strahan, about improving his heart health.

In the video chat, Strahan said he decided to talk about his dad’s heart condition to help ensure his dad is “around as long as possible.”

“Sometimes the hardest thing to do is talk to your dad or your hero. Because you admire them,” Strahan said in the new video recorded for Meta, a wellness line, for which Strahan is a spokesperson. “Who doesn't want their father or the person who is most influential in their life to be around as long as possible?”

Have a conversation with parents or loved ones about their health can often be overlooked, according to ABC News Chief Medical Editor, Dr. Richard Besser.

"Looking to your parent, who’s always told you what to do for your health, and then saying, ‘I kind of need to suggest something to them,’ you have to be really sensitive about how you do it," Besser said Wednesday on GMA.

Besser advises including siblings in the conversation and handling the topic of your parents' health with sensitivity and respect.

"First, it’s not one conversation, it’s a series of conversations, so you want to talk early, talk often, and progress with that," Besser said. "If you start the conversation and it’s not going well, you can punt and come back to it and realize there are other opportunities."

Besser said it's also important to remember that health changes made at any point in life can make a difference.

"As you get older you want to make sure that you’re checking your blood pressure and cholesterol more but, more than tests, you want to try and make sure your parents are staying on track with a heart-healthy diet and regular exercise and stopping smoking," Besser said. "You can be in your 70s and 80s and make changes that are going to affect your life."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(STANFORD, Calif.) — While we tend to sigh when we're sad or depressed, scientists have discovered that, unlike the famous song noted, a sigh isn't just a sigh: instead, the deep breath is a lifesaving reflex.

According to the research from the Stanford University School of Medicine that has just been published in Nature, the same tiny clusters of nerve cells in the brain stem that unconsciously regulate our breathing actually call for us to sigh as many as a dozen times an hour in order to keep our lungs functioning properly.

Sighing over-inflates the myriad tiny sacs in the lungs called alveoli, which the research proved turns out is a key -- but until now unappreciated -- feature of healthy lung function.

The researchers noted that the importance of sighs could be why machines used to replicate lung function don't preserve lung function as well as the body's natural mechanisms can.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

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

It's cloudy, cold, dreary and gray outside -- and all of that can lead to a condition called seasonal affective disorder.

About a half a million people in the United States suffer from S.A.D. Three quarters of sufferers are women, and the condition is more commonly seen in the cloudy parts of the country or areas farther north or south of the equator.

So what can you do to combat these winter blues?

Try an exercise program. Sluggishness, tiredness, lethargy and avoidance are all hallmarks of S.A.D. If you get your body and your brain moving, you'll feel better.

Some people may even want to try light therapy. Simply opening the blinds in the morning or getting outdoors for a few minutes a day can be a step in the right direction.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study that has been published in the Journal of Physiology: London proved that running -- unlike other exercises -- boosts your brainpower.

According to the findings by scientists at the Department of Psychology and the Department of Biology of Physical Activity at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, aerobic exercise fires up the neurons in the hippocampus area of the brain, which is the portion of the brain responsible for learning.

Interestingly, while all exercise is good for your body, high intensity aerobic training and resistance training like weightlifting apparently don't mirror running's brain-boosting effects.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers have discovered a new species of bacteria that causes Lyme disease -- the second species known to transmit the potentially debilitating illness in North America.

The newly identified bacteria is called "Borrelia mayonii," in honor of the Mayo Clinic researchers who assisted with the discovery, along local health departments and scientists at the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

The bacteria species was discovered after six people with suspected Lyme disease ended up with unusual results and researchers did extensive genetic testing to determine that the patients were infected with a newly discovered bacteria. Previously only "Borrelia burgdorferi" was known to cause Lyme disease in North America, according to the study published Monday in the medical journal The Lancet.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said the findings show how new technology has helped advance our understanding of emerging infectious diseases.

"This was likely a bacteria that was there all the time but because our scientific tests couldn't identify it," Schaffner said. "It was an unknown infection."

The findings may help many others if they have suffered from a mysterious illness that turns out to be this new species of bacteria, Schaffner said.

"The information will go out to doctors in the communities. They will start to ask for testing for this bug in a wider variety of cases," he said. "The clinical picture will mature as it goes on."

The new bacteria causes slightly different symptoms during the infection, including acute symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diffuse rashes instead of the "bulls-eye" rash associated with Borrelia burgdorferi-caused Lyme disease.

“This discovery adds another important piece of information to the complex picture of tick-borne diseases in the United States,” Dr. Jeannine Petersen, a microbiologist at the CDC said in a statement Monday.

The new bacteria is also spread by the black-legged tick or "deer tick," according to researchers. However, after extensive testing, researchers believe the bacteria is confined to the upper Midwest of the United States, with just six cases found out of 9,000 samples drawn in the Midwest of infected patients. They found infected ticks in two counties in Wisconsin, but believe there are infected ticks throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Researchers also saw no sign of the new bacteria after examining at least 25,000 blood samples from people with suspected tick-borne illnesses in 23 states other than Wisconsin.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(RIO DE JANEIRO) -- The Zika virus may be associated with another birth defect in infants, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology.

Researchers from Brazil found that some infants exposed to the virus had ocular defects including atrophied retinas, abnormal iris pigmentation and lens that moved out of place.

The Zika virus has spread exponentially across the Americas, and especially in Brazil, since the outbreak was identified in May 2015. Brazil was the first to raise the alarm that the virus could be linked to a rare birth defect called microcephaly, characterized by an abnormally small head and brain in infants.

This study is the first to possibly connect the virus to eye abnormalities in newborns.

Researchers focused on 29 infants with microcephaly in Brazil. They found that 23 mothers reported Zika-like symptoms during their pregnancy. Of the affected infants, 10 had ocular abnormalities that ranged from minor to "vision-threatening" defects. Both eyes were affected in seven out of the 10 infants.

The most common defects were mottled pigments and atrophy. The optic nerve was also found to be abnormal in some of the infants.

Dr. Buddy Creech, an associate professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said other viruses, including herpes and rubella, are known to cause ocular birth defects in infants.

"This idea of a virus contracted during pregnancy causing damage to the central nervous system is not a shocking finding," Creech said.

Although the case study was small, Creech said these kinds of investigations will be key to uncovering how the Zika virus works and where there are "windows of risk" for pregnant women.

"We’re learning about this virus and we don’t know what to expect," said Creech. "We need papers like this that give us ability to move further down the road."

The researchers said they could not definitively link the ocular defects to the Zika virus until there were more studies to rule out that the ocular lesions were not caused by other diseases including West Nile or toxoplasmosis.

ABC News' Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser said this early study highlighted concerns that there could be an unknown "spectrum" of effects related to the Zika virus.

“One of the reasons that CDC [Centers for Disease Control] wants to create a registry of potentially exposed pregnant women is the recognition that for most infections that can damage the fetus, there is a spectrum of effects," said Besser, adding that rubella can also cause hearing loss and visual problems even if microcephaly does not develop. "Microcephaly may just be the tip of the iceberg.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- New cases of people diagnosed with the Zika virus in Florida has prompted government officials to expand a state of emergency to two additional counties, for a total of seven counties.

The Florida Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong announced Monday that 16 people in total have been diagnosed with the Zika virus.

The counties now under a public health emergency are Broward, Hillsborough, Lee, Miami-Dade, Osceloa, Santa Rosa and St. Johns.

Armstrong urged residents to help stop mosquito activity by draining "standing water weekly, no matter how seemingly small. A couple drops of water in a bottle cap can be a breeding location for mosquitoes."

Meanwhile, in related news, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said on Monday the U.S. is "better prepared" for an outbreak of the Zika virus compared to last year.

"I think we are clearly better prepared for an outbreak like Zika then [we] were, let's say, a year or so ago," Fauci told reporters. "I think that's testified by the fact that we have responded very, very rapidly to this. We had the president of the United States involved in a very thorough briefing and briefings of this very early on."

Unlike the Ebola outbreak, where the outbreak was not identified for weeks to months, the response to the Zika virus outbreak has been swift, Fauci said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(GREENWICH, Conn.) -- Strangers from around the country came together to make over a pickup truck for an 18-year-old kidney transplant survivor.

Nick Cesarini, of Greenwich, Connecticut, was surprised with the truck Saturday in a reveal so dramatic his twin sister flew home from college to attend it. Even his elderly grandfather made a rare trip out of the house to see his grandson's reaction.

“I was blown away,” Cesarini said. “I wasn’t expecting half of the things they’d done to it.”

Cesarini was born with a kidney condition that worsened as he became older. By the time he was a junior in high school, Cesarini had to travel 30 minutes three times each week for dialysis.

“I would get out of school a little early and then by the time treatment was over and I was home it’d be 9 p.m.,” Cesarini said. “I remember it like it was yesterday.”

Cesarini said he received a kidney transplant in December 2014 and has since been rebuilding his life. The college student purchased his own truck, a Ford F-250, last August from a local car dealership.

The teen’s wish was to have the Make-A-Wish Foundation revamp his truck.

“It was always a dream for me to have a truck,” Cesarini said.

The truck landed in the hands of Red Line Restorations, Inc., a Bridgeport, Connecticut, auto shop that specializes in restoring European and race cars. The shop made an exception for Cesarini.

“Nick and his dad came out to us with his truck and showed us the list of all the things he wanted done,” Red Line Restorations’ PJ Pitcher told ABC News. “You’d hope for him to have his dream of what he wants to come true be everything he wanted.”

While reviewing Cesarini’s long wish list, Pitcher discovered that the truck also needed a new transmission. That repair alone would have blown the $5,000 Make-A-Wish budget, according to Pitcher.

“I called Nick and told him and he said, ‘Well, I’d rather have a truck that’s reliable that I can drive than one that looks cool parked in my driveway,’” Pitcher recalled. “I said in my head, ‘We’re really going to go above and beyond for his wish.’”

Pitcher said Scott Johnson, who is involved in the local Make-A-Wish chapter, repaired Cesarini’s transmission for free. The Redline Restorations team then sought help from colleagues around the country who donated tires, rims, windows and more.

“As far as Nick knew, all he was getting back was his truck with a new transmission,” Pitcher said. “That let us surprise him.”

“When he pulled the sheet off it was this beautiful, jet-black monster of a truck,” he said of Saturday’s reveal. “He was literally at a loss for words.”

Cesarini said nothing can hold him back from driving his new truck.

“Unfortunately it’s snowing right now but I’ve already burned through a tank of gas,” he said. “My friends love it. My family loves it. It’s a great experience.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Things are apparently looking up in the effort to provide health insurance coverage to more Americans.

The National Health Interview Survey, which studies civilian populations across the U.S., published its estimates for the first nine months of 2015, based on interviews with a representative sample of nearly 80,000 people.

The report says 28.8 million people were uninsured at the time of interview in 2015, which is 7.2 million fewer uninsured than in 2014. Overall, the percentage of uninsured persons, both adults and children, fell from 11.5 percent in 2014 to 9.1 percent in 2015.

States that expanded Medicaid coverage to those with low incomes saw their percentage of uninsured people drop to a larger degree than those states which did not.

The report shows the largest magnitude of decline was seen in poor and near-poor populations, although non-poor persons showed a decline as well.

Racial difference also remained a prominent factor, according to the report. Hispanics continued to show the highest proportion of uninsured persons, at 27.9 percent.

Researchers note that the proportion of uninsured people had been on the rise from 1997 to 2010, and then stabilized until 2013.  The current decline continues a downward trend that has been detected since 2013.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

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

Depression can come in many shapes and sizes, and it does tend to affect women more than men. But now, new research shows that there may be a link between the age when a woman enters menopause and whether or not she develops depression.

Menopause itself is not a risk factor for depression, but the hormonal fluctuations that occur during menopause can increase the risk for someone who is already vulnerable.

My prescription: Don't assume that a change in your mood is all hormonal or due to menopause. You could be experiencing both at the same time.

And let's drop the stigma that exists with respect to mental illness and depression. It's common and it can definitely affect your life, so ask for help.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — With concern surrounding the Zika virus at an all-time high, Consumer Reports has re-released its exclusive ratings of mosquito repellents that best protect against the virus.

The new release highlights the results regarding the Aedes Egypti mosquito, the mosquito known to carry and spread Zika.

Officials Monday announced that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emergency Operations Center had been moved to Level 1, the agency's highest level, because of the risk of Zika virus transmission in the United States.

The Zika virus has been spreading throughout the Americas and the World Health Organization has deemed it a "global health threat."

Consumer Reports found three products to be most effective in combating the mosquito known for carrying Zika: Sawyer Fisherman’s Formula Picaridin, Natrapel 8 Hour and Off! Deepwoods VIII.

Click HERE to read the full list from Consumer Reports.

The magazine said its research found the best Zika-fighting repellents contained either 25 percent Deet or 20 percent Picardin.

The magazine warned consumers against using products made of natural plant oils.

“Some of those even failed our tests immediately and the mosquitos bit right through our testers’ arms,” Sue Byrne, Consumer Reports’ senior editor for health and food, told ABC News.

Common symptoms of the Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, according to the CDC. Approximately one in five people infected with the virus show symptoms.

The virus has also been associated with a rise of microcephaly birth defect cases in Brazil. The birth defect is characterized by a malformed or smaller head and brain and can result in serious developmental delays.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is an immunological reaction that can occur after viral or bacterial infections.

The CDC says it is safe to use insect repellent while pregnant or nursing. The agency recommends choosing an EPA-registered insect repellent and advises paying close attention to the directions on the product label.


ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The acclaimed HBO show Girls is back for a new season this month, but its biggest star will not being making press appearances due to a "chronic condition."

Lena Dunham took to Instagram Monday to write, "I just wanted to let you know that, while I am so excited for Girls to return on Feb 21, I won't be out and about doing press for the new season. As many of you know I have endometriosis, a chronic condition that affects approximately 1 in 10 women's reproductive health."

The writer and creator of the show, 29, added that she's going through a "rough patch" with the illness and that doctors told her to rest.

"That's a hard thing to do, but I'm trying, because all I want is to make season 6 of Girls the best one yet," she said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, endometriosis can result in "severe" pain and fertility problems due to tissue that grows outside the uterus instead of inside, which is normal in most women.

Usually, a star of a show would be on tour prior to the start of a new season, giving interviews and meeting with the media.

"So many women with this disease literally don't have the option of time off and I won't take it for granted," she added with the closing, "Back soon."

Dunham has starred on Girls since she helped create the show in 2012.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Mario Tama/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emergency Operations Center has been moved to Level 1, the agency's highest level, due to the risk of Zika virus transmission in the U.S., officials said Monday.

The Level 1 activation is "reflecting the agency’s assessment of the need for an accelerated preparedness to bring together experts to focus intently and work efficiently in anticipation of local Zika virus transmission by mosquitoes," the agency said in a statement.

The highest level activation means the CDC staff will work around the clock to combat a critical emergency. The three other Level 1 activations have been to combat Ebola, to combat H1N1 influenza in 2009, and after Hurricane Katrina.

The Zika virus has been spreading throughout the Americas and the World Health Organization has deemed it a "global health threat."

The operations center will be work on multiple fronts to stop the Zika virus, including developing different tests to diagnose Zika in people, conduct studies to understand if it's linked to the birth defect microcephaly and a rare paralysis syndrome called Guillain-Barre syndrome. Additionally, they will continue surveillance for the virus in the U.S. to identify an outbreak early on and to provide on the ground support in Puerto Rico, Brazil and Colombia.

Common symptoms of the Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, according to the CDC. Approximately one in five people infected with the virus show symptoms. The virus has also been associated with a rise of microcephaly birth defect cases in Brazil. The birth defect is characterized by a malformed or smaller head and brain and can result in serious developmental delays.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is an immunological reaction that can occur after viral or bacterial infections.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Mario Tama/Getty Images(RIO DE JANEIRO) -- Federal health officials weighed in Monday on the potential risks athletes may face from the Zika virus when attending the Olympics in Brazil, as U.S. Olympic Committee officials noted they are closely watching the outbreak.

U.S. Olympic Committee officials told ABC News that the committee cannot force athletes to go to the games and that it is not a health agency, so it is focusing on alerting athletes to travel advisories from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addressed concerns Monday about Olympic athletes competing in the middle of an ongoing outbreak in Brazil.

"It's very difficult to give advice to people who devoted the last X number of years training for that," he said during a news conference. "What we can do, and the CDC can do, is give them the facts. ... As an infection, Zika is a relatively mild. ... As an infection, it isn't serious."

"The issue we are focusing on is the issue of pregnant women," Fauci said.

The current Zika virus outbreak has been rapidly spreading through the Americas, but was first detected in Brazil last May. The virus usually results in mild symptoms including fever, fatigue and rash, that resolve in a week. However, it has been associated with a birth defect called microcephaly, which is characterized by an abnormally small brain and head.

"We are closely monitoring the situation through the CDC and have ongoing contact with the International Olympic Committee, the organizing officials in Rio, the World Health Organization and infectious disease specialists with expertise in tropical diseases, including the Zika virus," USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky told ABC News in an email. "Additionally, we’re taking steps to ensure that our delegation and those affiliated with Team USA are aware of the CDC’s recommendations regarding travel to Brazil."

The CDC has issued travel advisories focused on protecting pregnant women or women who may become pregnant. The agency advises all pregnant women to avoid traveling to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission. Additionally, since the virus can be spread through sexual contact, they are also advising men who have been in countries with ongoing ZIka transmission to abstain from sex with a pregnant partner or to use barrier contraception.

Sandusky also said that reports the USOC advised U.S. athletes to reconsider competing in Rio due to the Zika virus were "100 percent inaccurate."

"Team USA looks forward to the Games and we did not, would not and will not prevent athletes from competing for their country should they qualify. The inaccurate report cited an internal discussion with U.S. sports leaders pertaining to employees and the potential risks that the CDC has identified with travel to Zika-infected areas," Sandusky said in a statement.

Some athletes have expressed concern about the virus. George Boville, an Olympic bronze medalist swimmer for Trinidad and Tobago in the 200 meter individual medley and two-time world champion, told ABC News last week that he was worried about going to Brazil, where the outbreak of the Zika virus in the Americas started.

"It is definitely a concern," he told ABC News via Twitter. By the time of the Olympic games, "it should be rampant."

The Australian Olympic Committee has also said it is advising all athletes to wear long sleeves and that any team member who is "pregnant at the time of the Games need to consider the risks very carefully before deciding whether to proceed with travel to Brazil."

American wrestler Adeline Grey told reporters at a test event on Jan. 31 at Rio's Olympic Park that she didn't plan to skip the games, but that if she were pregnant she would reconsider participating.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



KJC Kennel Club



   

 




JET

2007-2009

"Always in our Heart! "

LinkedUpRadio Envisionwise Web Services