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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- No one likes to be cold enough to shiver, but what if being cold could actually increase your metabolism, improve blood sugar and help you lose weight?

A study done on mice at the University of Tokyo supports this idea. The researchers found that a certain type of cells called beige fat can actively break down fat and sugar to improve insulin sensitivity and increase metabolism. Beige fat was also found to help regulate energy balance.

Where do these fat cells come from? Exposure to cold for long periods of time can “stress” the body into turning the bad fat that most people have into good fat.

Some types of fat are good

We have three types of fat -- brown, white and, now we are finding out, beige.

Brown fat, which is the fat we are born with that allows babies at birth to go from a warm uterus of 98 degrees Fahrenheit to room temperature of around 74 degrees. This fat is not associated with health problems. It got its name because it looks brown under a microscope due to its containing many mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells that produce energy. Mitochondria contain a protein called UCP1 that breaks down fat to make heat.

Brown fat is usually found in the neck, upper back and around the spinal cord and is responsible for burning calories in order to generate heat. As we get older, we lose this good fat.

White fat is the opposite. It lacks those energy-producing centers, mitochondria, and is the most common type of fat for adults. It insulates and cushions our vital organs such as the kidneys and heart. This fat interacts with hormones such as cortisol, the stress hormone, and insulin. Having a lot of this type of fat is associated with heart disease, diabetes and many types of cancers.

How do we get rid of white fat and get more brown fat?

There have been many studies of how fat cells work. Humans were genetically made to survive in cold temperatures and to use fat as an energy source when food was hard to find.

Over time, these genes have become less dominant. Now we store fat even though food is readily available. We have the luxury of warm temperatures all the time through heat in our homes.

And, people are more likely these days to have an abundance of white fat, a symptom of an obesity epidemic in the United States.

Researchers in the study of mice at the University of Tokyo found that long-term cold exposure can actually stress the white fat cells into developing more mitochondria and eventually becoming more efficient, calorie-burning beige cells. One group of mice was kept at 39 degrees Fahrenheit and another at 86 degrees Fahrenheit for one week. Without any change in diet, the mice that were kept at the lower temperature had more thermogenic activity -- meaning their cells were able to burn calories and stored fat to create heat.

So how does it work?

Shivering creates body heat short-term by warming up the muscles. In a long-term process called thermogenesis, brown fat cells create heat to keep the body warm. When you are cold for a long enough time, the white fat cells are forced to start acting like brown fat. This protein, JMJD1A becomes altered to JMJD1A and this white cells becomes a beige cell, which is thermogenic.

For example, Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps spends much of his day in water of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Beyond the calories needed to swim, his body is also losing heat to the cool water environment which is increasing his calorie breakdown even more.

There is a broader significance to these findings, as the study shows that a molecular mechanism, which in this case occurs when a person is cold for a long-enough period, can affect how genes are expressed. In other words, as one of the study’s authors, Juro Sakai from the University of Tokyo and Tohoku University, believes, although a person’s gene sequence is determined at conception, lifestyle may be able to help determine how those genes are expressed.

"We believe that this is the first time that anyone has collected data to prove that there are two steps between the environmental stimuli and epigenetic changes," said Sakai, an expert in the epigenetics of metabolism, said.

There is a broader significance to these findings. As one of the study’s authors, Juro Sakai from the University of Tokyo and Tohoku University, believes. Although a person’s gene sequence is determined at conception, lifestyle may be able to help determine how those genes are expressed -- meaning that all people genetically have the ability to have more efficient beige fat, so why not tap into those genes?

How might we be able to use this science?

More research is needed on the potential to turn white fat into energy-burning beige fat cells and on how long-term exposure to cold may affect fat cells in humans.

Obesity, which is at epidemic levels in the United States, is a debilitating condition that is related to many fatal diseases. So it is worth exploring further if we could promote weight loss, treat diabetes and stabilize blood sugars through exposure to colder temperatures for enough time to change the bad fat into good.

Studies show that to make a difference in the fat cells the temperature has to be in the non-shivering zone, which has been found by some to be around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Becoming too cold can be dangerous and cause hypothermia and even cardiac arrest so it’s important for us to continue to further research this concept.

If more research confirms the findings of this study, maybe this could become a new fitness craze. We will have to play it cool and see.



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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Seniors recovering from trauma after being admitted to hospitals may be more likely to have falls when taking prescribed opioids, according to a new study.

While opioids are commonly used to manage acute pain, they can have harmful side effects, particularly for seniors. In this study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, those who had filled an opioid prescription within two weeks preceding their injuries were 2.4 times more likely to have suffered a fall.

The study looked at a decade of hospital records, between 2004 and 2014, for almost 68,000 people older than 65 in Quebec, Canada, who were admitted to the hospital after a trauma -- a catch-all term that generally includes falls, car accidents and penetrating injuries.

Falls were the most common type of trauma in this patient population. The average age of the patients was about 81 years old and the majority, 69 percent, were women.

Opioids help the brain manage pain, but can lead to drowsiness and dizziness in some people, the authors said. This combination of symptoms, they added, may affect balance and make falls more likely, particularly in older people.

The authors attempted to rule-out other common causes of falls like alcoholism, weakness, recent cancer diagnosis, and use of other medications that cause abnormal balance.

While this study cannot clearly state that opioid use causes falls, the authors argue that there is a clear link between the two in people over the age of 65.

One other concerning finding of this study: Patients with recent opioid use had a slightly increased risk of in-hospital death. While the study did not find a specific reason, the authors suggest that opioid use could be an overall marker of fragility and poor health in an older population.

Opioids are potent narcotics that have the power to effectively treat severe pain when used appropriately. But doctors and patients alike should remain aware of their side effects and be particularly careful with their use, especially for seniors.

This article was written by Dr. Laura Shopp for ABC News.

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Courtesy Stratford Rehabilitation Center(DANVILLE, Va.) -- Avicia Thorpe is a "star" in her community.

The former educator, who began teaching in segregated Virginia schools in 1933, celebrated her 110th birthday on April 16 to much fanfare.

Along with her fellow residents of Stratford Rehabilitation Center in Danville, Virginia, Danville Mayor John Gilstrap and Vice Mayor Alonzo Jones attended the celebration along with her family and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sisters, activities director Kim Holley told ABC News.

In between writing poems, some of which she read at her birthday party, Thorpe has learned a lot in her long life. And in fact, the former pastor's wife said she indeed believes in a heaven.

"I'm ready at any time when the Lord is ready to call me home," Thorpe told ABC News when asked what she's most looking forward to in this new decade of life.

"God has placed me here for a purpose and my purpose has been accomplished," she continued. "I’m still trusting in his divine guidance, but I'm ready anytime."

Thorpe, who taught high school English for 33 years before retiring, said that if she can help someone then "I shall not be in vain."

"I’ve seen and heard from people, and strangers, and my former students -- I stopped teaching 50 years ago and I still hear from my former students -- so I feel that I have accomplished that goal," she said.

When asked the secret to living a long life, Thorpe said she's "just been careful" about what she eats and drinks. But she mostly credits her faith.

"Always trust in God. He should always be number one," she said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The majority of cosmetic procedures performed in the United States last year -- more than 15.7 million of the overall 17.5 million -- were considered minimally invasive and did not require major surgery, according to a new report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The most common surgeries were breast augmentation, liposuction and nose reshaping.

The most common minimally invasive procedures were botulinum injections (7.2 million), tissue fillers (2.7 million) and chemical peels (1.4 million), according to the ASPS.

In 2017, there were about 350,000 noninvasive fat reduction procedures, also known as “body sculpting” or “body contouring.”

These are FDA-approved techniques to target unwanted fat on a person’s stomach, hips and thighs.

One “body-sculpting” technique is cryolipolysis. This process involves freezing fat cells close to the surface of the skin until the cells die and shrink away.

It is meant to be a less-invasive alternative to procedures like liposuction.

Side effects are typically temporary redness, bruising and numbness, according to a 2013 study from the German group Rosenpark Research in conjunction with Weill Cornell Medical College and Louisiana State University.

Cryolipolysis is not necessarily a new idea, although its popularity has been growing since its development in 2009.

Noninvasive fat reduction procedures, as a whole, increased 7 percent in the past year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Other techniques use laser or ultrasound to heat and destroy fat cells.

Dr. Darren Smith, a board-certified plastic surgeon, has performed multiple different types of “body contouring,” and finds that cryolipolysis is a “much better-tolerated procedure.”

Instead of heating the cells, which is painful, cooling the cells makes them numb, Smith said.

As with most cosmetic procedures, there is little to no reimbursement from insurance companies for cryolipolysis.

According to Smith, prices for this procedure vary based on a person’s size and the area they want to treat.

Smith says most people usually spend $1,000 to $3,000 on a cryolipolysis treatment.

It’s hard to study the effects of such a treatment when the results are so subjective.

After all, how do you measure a love handle? While one can technically measure the thickness of a fat pad, these numbers are likely inaccurate and may or may not actually reflect how a person feels about the size of their muffin top.

The good news is that the cryolipolysis study conducted in 2013 showed a 73 percent patient satisfaction rate after cryolipolysis therapy.

Dr. Smith states that most people are happy after one treatment, however, some people opt to have a second round.

Overall, physicians believe that a person has the best results when they’re already near their goal weight range, exercising and eating well.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The hair-care aisle can be an intimidating place for those who don't know what they're looking for.

To demystify the process of selecting a shampoo, "Good Morning America" spoke with celebrity hair stylists Brant Mayfield and Robert Lopez of Chris McMillan the Salon in Beverly Hills; Ashley Streicher of Striiike in Beverly Hills; and Michael Sparks of Cie Sparks Salon in Malibu about how to choose products and what to be aware of when it comes to higher-end brands.

Their seven tips include:

1. Consider your hair and your scalp Mayfield says that when selecting a shampoo, you have to find a type that's appropriate for your hair, but your scalp is something to think about too. For example, someone with an oily scalp may want to consider a shampoo with sulfates, he added, which strip impurities from the hair and get the oil out of the scalp. The important thing to do is obvious: read the label. "Most will say on the bottle what they're good for," he said.

2. Sulfates are not necessarily the enemy: Ever since "Queer Eye" grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness declared war on sulfates, some fans of the show have expressed concern about their sulfate-filled shampoos. Not so fast, Sparks said. "Sulfates can strip the hair a bit, but at the end of the day, some of my clients want it because if shampoos don't have it, it doesn't suds up," he explained. "They feel like their hair is still dirty!" Mayfield agreed, noting that sulfates allow for people to get "a deep clean." However, he warned, people with extremely color-treated, frizzy or curly hair should look for sulfate-free shampoos, which won't be as harsh. "With a sulfate-free shampoo, you'll have to work harder to get your scalp and hair clean," he added. "You'll have to do a more rigorous massage to break free all that stuff, whereas a sulfate shampoo does it for you."

3. Sometimes a splurge is worth it: Lopez is a fan of the higher-end brands Shu Uemura and Davines, and said he'll tell clients who can afford a bottle to use the pricey product every few days rather than every day to make it last longer. But in general, he added, he advises clients to splurge on conditioner instead of shampoo. "In general, conditioners are very good for the hair, especially for people who style their hair," he said.

For Streicher, however, a professional-line shampoo is worth the investment. "A shampoo with minimal ingredients, not necessarily 'green' but a shampoo that is clean is ideal," she said. "Drug store shampoos are filled with a lot of 'fillers' like soaps and sulfates. I suggest investing in a nice shampoo and conditioner, something with minimal ingredients." StriVectin Hair and Sisley Paris Hair Ritual, which Streicher said "have proprietary ingredients focused on the scalp and scalp health," are two specific brands she loves.

Mayfield also recommends splurging on products that could treat a specific issue. For example, he explained, those with scaling on their scalp might want to try DPHUE's apple cider vinegar scalp scrub.

"Talk to your stylist," Sparks added. "If your stylist is honest with you, he'll tell you a couple things that are worth it for your particular hair." (He often recommends his clients splurge on conditioning masks or texture sprays.)

4. Drugstore brands can do the trick: "I'm a true believer in you get what you pay for but there are [good] products out there that are [less expensive]," Mayfield said. "Schwarzkopf is a professional line, but they're also making an affordable line of products called GLISS." He also praised shampoos and conditioners by L'Oreal Paris (a brand Lopez loves as well) and Neutrogena, while Sparks gushed about Suave Professionals -- a line he worked with on the show "Fashion Stars." "The price point was down but for the results they were getting, I really liked it," he said.

5. Don't be afraid of dry shampoo: "Dry shampoo is great, especially for fine hair and oily hair but there are different ones to use: You can get rid of oil on your scalp, the smell if your hair smells or to get volume," Mayfield said. Both he and Lopez recommend Klorane, which Lopez said is one of the only brands that doesn't make hair look matte in photos.

However, Streicher cautioned about using it too often: "It can really dry out your scalp and create a harsh environment for hair to grow out of," she said. "Also, it can make your scalp start to create more sebum. I like to use dry shampoo and texturixers to create texture in the hair when styling or when needing some extra volume. I love SashaJuan Dark dry texture spray, and Rene Furterer texture spray."

6. Go ahead and mix brands: "Everyone makes something that goes together and I don't think it's necessarily the best thing," Mayfield said. Sometimes, he added, a client may want to accomplish different goals with her shampoo and conditioner. For example, he may recommend she use a sulfate-free shampoo with an extra-moisturizing conditioner to offset it.

7. After a while, switch things up: Mayfield said to be aware of how your hair is changing and make adjustments accordingly, and Lopez suggested it's a good idea to switch things up every once in awhile so that the hair doesn't get too used to one product. Using a clarifying shampoo once in awhile to get a deep clean is also smart, he said.

"There's so much stuff out there and you'll probably like something else better if you change anyway!" added Sparks, with a laugh. "Change is good in anything you do -- and you can always go back!"

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Centers for Disease Control is expanding its warning over romaine lettuce tainted with E. coli. The lettuce is responsible for at least 53 people falling ill, including 31 hospitalizations, in 16 states.

The CDC had previously warned consumers only about chopped romaine lettuce, but is now saying anyone who purchased any type of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, region should throw it out.

"Based on new information, CDC is expanding its warning to consumers to cover all types of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region," the CDC said in a statement. "This warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.

"Do not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region," it adds.

The warning was expanded on Friday after someone at a correctional facility in Alaska reported getting sick from whole heads of lettuce.

The CDC has not listed any brand or product names affected, just the location, saying "no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified."

Of the 31 people hospitalized due to E. coli, five have developed kidney failure, the CDC said. No one has died. Symptoms of E. coli infections include diarrhea, cramps and vomiting, and severe infections can even be life-threatening.

States which have reported illnesses include Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginian and Washington. Idaho and Pennsylvania have seen the most cases with 10 and 12, respectively.

This is the second time in a week the CDC has warned consumers about tainted food. More than 200 million eggs were recalled by a distributor last weekend over salmonella concerns.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Lawmakers have become more vocal about their support of legalization of marijuana, including talking about it on the campaign trail and in the halls of Congress.

It's a move that comes in the wake of a majority of states legalizing medical usage combined with the revenue coming in from those sales and polls showing growing public support on the issue.

Democrats tend to favor legalization the most. Many of them define it as an issue of racial injustice, citing statistics that show minorities are arrested at greater rates than whites for marijuana-related offenses.

“Our archaic and nonsensical laws on cannabis are turning everyday Americans into criminals, sending them to jail, ruining their lives, tearing their families apart and wasting huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate people for marijuana use, a substance that has been proven time and time again to be less dangerous than alcohol,” Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said at the National Cannabis Summit in Washington, D.C. on Friday.

It's also an issue that’s popular with two large voting groups in their party – minorities and youth – and one that Democratic candidates have touted on the campaign trail this cycle.

But there are Republicans who support legalization. They, however, tend to talk about the financial aspect, noting how the product that can boost their state’s coffers.

Republican Rep. Tom Garrett of Virginia, who introduced legislation last year that would take marijuana off the federal controlled substances list, said he changed his mind after meeting people who were helped by medical marijuana and, therefore, thought his agricultural-heavy state should benefit from it.

“Why, why, why are we importing nearly a billion dollars’ worth a year of industrial hemp from Canada when we can grow it better and create economic opportunities right here in Virginia? There's no good answer,” he said on a tele-town hall in February, according to a local news report.

An October Gallup poll found 64% of Americans supported legalization. Breaking that down, 72% of Democrats supported it while 51% of Republicans did.

Jon Gettman, an assistant professor at Shenandoah University in Virginia who studies marijuana policy, said the lawmakers’ moves aren’t surprising.

“You have not only pronounced public support in terms of legalization,” he told ABC News, “you have demonstrated support with the initiatives passed and the emergence of state law.”

And marijuana has become legal in large states that are represented by powerful members of Congress such as California, Colorado, and Florida.

“We’re getting some significant stakeholders in the United States Congress now,” Gettman said.

And they're likely hearing from the voters back home.

“They’re probably getting a lot more contact from constituents asking why they aren’t protecting their states’ programs,” said Morgan Fox, the communications director for Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-legalization group.

There are 29 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico that allow for medical use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while 9 states and D.C. allow for some type of recreational use. And Idaho and Nebraska, which have no legalization, may have initiatives on their ballots in 2018.

Federal law is a key issue because, while many states have legalized its use in some form, on the federal level it remains illegal, setting up a conflict between state and federal law. For example, Washington D.C. legalized the use of marijuana but the U.S. Capitol Police has said using it in the Capitol building, which is federal property, is a crime.

On the unofficial marijuana holiday 420, as the date of April 20 is known, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer announced his support for the decriminalization of marijuana at the federal level. He plans to introduce legislation includes provisions to respect state rights and protect children.

“The time has come to decriminalize marijuana,” Schumer said in a statement. “My thinking – as well as the general population’s views – on the issue has evolved, and so I believe there’s no better time than the present to get this done.”

Even his Republican counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, supports legalizing hemp, which can be grown in his home state of Kentucky.

McConnell’s bill, known as the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, would remove hemp from the federal list of controlled substances and allow it to be sold as an agricultural commodity.

"By legalizing hemp and empowering states to conduct their own oversight plans, we can give the hemp industry the tools necessary to create jobs and new opportunities for farmers and manufacturers around the county," McConnell said in a statement last week.

The benefits of both sides’ argument – increased voter turnout and more revenue – can be seen in Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana.

It saw a dramatic change in voting patterns between 2008 and 2012, the year the legalization initiative was on the ballot, according to a study from the Brookings Institute.

In 2008, 17% of self-described liberals voted. That number rose to 28% in 2012. More young people came out too for the initiative: in 2008, 14% of those aged 18 to 29 voted while it was 20% in 2012.

The state saw a boost in revenue too. The cannabis retail market generated $1.51 billion in sales last year and sales have totaled $4.5 billion since it was legalized in 2014, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.

The drumbeat on full legalization has been heard across the country, ranging from the small states like Hawaii all the way to New York.

And several Democrats running for office this year have made the issue part of their platform.

At the National Cannabis Summit, Ben Jealous, the former president and CEO of the NAACP and a candidate for Maryland governor, noted legalization was a major part of his criminal justice strategy.

New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon has called for its legalization, which she called a matter of “racial justice” when she spoke to a conference of progressives in Washington D.C. last week.

“We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something white people do with impunity,” she said.

Marijuana use is roughly equal among Blacks and whites, yet Blacks are 3.73 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, the ACLU reported in a 2013 study.

Even in states like Florida, where medical use is legal, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum pressed for its recreational use, citing the civil rights argument.

In a recent gubernatorial debate, he argued marijuana uses involves “over-criminalization of young people of communities of color.”

In Illinois’ gubernatorial race, Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker said he would sign legislation to legalize marijuana if he wins.

And Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, a longtime supporter of the issue, tweeted about it on 420 day.

Republicans have been joining the conversation.

Some state GOP lawmakers in Michigan, which allows medical usage, are considering allowing personal possession through legislative action instead of a statewide initiative.

The reasoning, reports the Detroit News, are fears the measure would boost Democratic turnout in November.

And former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner surprised political observers last week when he joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, one of the nation's largest cannabis corporations, saying "my thinking on cannabis has evolved" and that he now supports changing federal marijuana policy.

There are those who oppose legalization.

Kevin Sabet, the president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an anti-legalization group said science should guide policy.

“We need to slow this train down, we need to people before profit,” he said a press conference at the National Press Club on Friday. “And we need to get the science out about the truth about marijuana which every day is hurting more people as this country slides deeper into the legalization, really the commercialization of marijuana.”

“We don’t want to lock people up for using marijuana,” he added. “But to against criminalization isn’t to be for legalization.”

The administration will have ultimate authority on the federal legalization of marijuana as President Donald Trump would have to sign any congressional bill into law or set a federal policy initiative.

Some pro-legalization groups saw hope last month with Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., announced he’d spoken to Trump, who agreed to support states’ rights on the issue.

“Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana,” Gardner said in a statement. “Furthermore, President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.

These same groups were worried when, in January, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a trio of memos from the Obama administration that had a policy of non-interference with states when it came to marijuana use.

Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, who is the lead sponsor of the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, criticized Sessions when the decision was originally made. Rohrabacher has touted his support of marijuana in his competitive re-election campaign in a district that includes a lot of the state’s coastline.

“The attorney general of the United States has just delivered an extravagant holiday gift to the drug cartels,” he said in a statement. “By attacking the will of the American people, who overwhelmingly favor marijuana legalization, Jeff Sessions has shown a preference for allowing all commerce in marijuana to take place in the black market, which will inevitably bring the spike in violence he mistakenly attributes to marijuana itself.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(FLINT, Mich.) -- A judge has denied a man's request to resume the program that distributed free bottled water to the residents of Flint, Michigan.

The case involved a Flint man who said his home’s tap water is contaminated with high levels of lead, according to local outlet MLive. But it is also part of a larger view of the water crisis that has impacted residents in Flint for nearly four years.

The argument made April 20 was not convincing enough for U.S. District Judge Judith E. Levy, MLive reported. If compelled, Levy could have ordered the state to immediately resume the state-funded bottled water distribution in Flint.

The requests for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction were denied, according to MLive.

Resident Allen Bryant Jr. filed the lawsuit seeking the continued distribution of free water. According to the complaint, Bryant’s home registered more than 1,300 parts per billion (ppb) of lead when tested earlier this year, MLive reported. The federal action limit is 15 ppb.

But Bryant is no longer living at the home, and when asked, turned down an opportunity to have a water filtration system added, Levy noted, MLive reported.

The hearing held in downtown Ann Arbor lasted a couple hours, according to MLive.

It came two weeks after the program providing free water stopped.

At one point there were nine free bottled water distribution points in Flint, referred to as “water pods” by residents. There were only four left when the centers were closed earlier this month.

Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said then the state would stop supplying free bottled water to Flint residents because the water quality there had “tested below action levels of the federal Lead and Copper Rule for nearly two years.”

But resident Arthur Woodson said promises haven’t been kept and people still need help. “It seems like we worse now than when the crisis first started,” he told ABC News.

Resident Juani Olivares told ABC News folks just aren’t ready.

“The children don’t want to touch the faucets, they are traumatized," Olivares said. "We are all traumatized.”

Olivares, who is the president and CEO of the Genesee County Hispanic Latin Collaborative-La Placita, said there’s still a lot of work to do.

High levels of poverty and illiteracy have compounded the issue, in addition to deeply rooted trust issues, according to residents who spoke to ABC News.

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Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- We know that carrying around extra weight puts your heart health at risk. New research presented on Friday to the European Society for Cardiology shows that the location of your fat is just as important as the amount of it.

Adults with normal body mass index (BMI) and extra belly fat (termed “central obesity”) had a 79 percent higher risk of major cardiovascular events, compared to people who were mildly overweight but with normal fat distribution. This includes heart attack, stroke and death.

The study of nearly 1,700 citizens of Rochester, Minnesota, with 16 years of follow-up quantifies a risk that doctors already know about: There’s something about belly fat that makes it more dangerous than fat anywhere else.

Individuals with more belly fat, even with normal or near-normal weight, have above average rates of heart disease and diabetes. They have earlier overall mortality. Small studies have shown that individuals with central obesity are more likely to have worse cholesterol values, higher markers of inflammation and even lower resting metabolic rate than those without it.

What makes central obesity so bad?

This is an area of active research. There is probably more than one factor at play.

For the most part, central obesity is associated with low relative muscle mass, a sign of poor health. People with central obesity have extra fat inside the abdomen, surrounding the internal organs. This is known as visceral fat and it’s different than subcutaneous fat, or the fat just below the skin. Visceral fat tends to accumulate more in response to a high-stress state and in people with a sedentary lifestyle, both of which are linked to worse health outcomes.

What’s more, scientists are now exploring the concept of “lipotoxicity.” Visceral fat cells may release more fatty acids than other fat cells. These fatty acids also drain directly into the liver, where they collect and are distributed throughout the circulation. Free fatty acid build-up in the cells of the heart, pancreas and liver lead to problems with these organs -- decreased heart function, impaired processing of cholesterol and poor regulation of blood sugar. These issues, in addition to putting someone at risk for heart disease and diabetes, are associated with diminished tolerance for exercise and tendency to gain more weight. It’s a vicious cycle.

Central obesity is sometimes, but not always, a sign of a hormone or metabolism disorder. That’s another reason to see a doctor about belly fat.

There’s probably a genetic component too. People with a set of features termed “metabolic syndrome” are predisposed to hold onto their extra fat primarily in the midsection, giving these individuals the so-called “apple-shaped” body. People with the metabolic syndrome also have higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Whether they are at higher risk as a result of central obesity or whether there is another inherited process driving both weight gain and these disease conditions is the subject of ongoing research.

Diagnosing central obesity

Doctors diagnose central obesity using the most basic of tools: a measuring tape. The waist circumference is measured at the navel with the belly relaxed. For women, risk of heart attack and other conditions increases when the waist circumference is more than 35 centimeters. For men, the number is 40 centimeters. Some also measure the ratio of the waist circumference to the circumference of the hips at the widest point, called the waist-to-hip ratio.

Is belly size more important than body mass index (BMI)?

Most doctors think that knowing both of these numbers -- waist size and BMI -- will offer the best assessment of health status. BMI is a ratio of weight to height, measured in kilograms per meter squared. A healthy BMI is classified as between 18.5 and 24.9. Unfortunately, BMI does not tell you where those pounds are coming from. BMI can inappropriately classify well-trained athletes as overweight -- since muscle weighs more than fat. BMI can also underestimate the amount of excess fat, and therefore possibly underestimate heart disease risk, in people with dramatically low muscle mass.

That’s why physicians recommend aiming for both a healthy weight and a healthy waist.

The good news is that both can be improved with the same strategies. If you smoke, quit. Exercise regularly -- the AHA and USPSTF recommend 150 minutes of intentional aerobic activity per week. Choose a healthy diet -- full of lean meats, protein sources like nuts and beans, a variety of colorful vegetables and a limited amount of whole grain foods.

What do you do about your current waist size? Here’s a good rule of thumb: if your waist is bigger than your hips -- see your doctor to discuss your heart health risk.

This article was written by Dr. Kelly Arps, a resident physician in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Arps works with the ABC News Medical Unit.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Some were warned by a parent before every health care encounter. Some heard it from a doctor. Others remember an uncomfortable reaction. Around one in 10 people are told at some point in their lives that they are allergic to penicillin. Actually having a penicillin allergy, however, is far less common, and carrying the "allergy" label can, in fact, be harmful.

In a new study, researchers showed that, using formal allergy testing, many children with a reported penicillin allergy actually could take penicillin antibiotics without a problem.

Researchers in the pediatric emergency department at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin found that 76 percent of children with a penicillin allergy in their medical chart reported only low-risk symptoms, such as rash, vomiting or diarrhea. When 100 children with low-risk symptoms agreed to go through formal allergy testing, all 100 children passed the test -- they didn’t have a penicillin allergy. Then the important part: The allergy label was removed from the medical chart.

Lead author Dr. David Vyles, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Medical College of Wisconsin and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, told ABC News, "I have several kids myself. When I was in medical school, one of them was diagnosed with a penicillin allergy." He "never believed the allergy in the first place” because it didn’t fit the symptoms of a true allergy. "When I was paying for medications, there was a huge difference in cost between getting amoxicillin for an ear infection and getting an alternative antibiotic."

When he entered training, he said he realized just how many people think they have a penicillin allergy.

"You're getting 10 percent of [Americans] reporting that they're allergic, and that's causing huge problems down the line," he said. "We thought about how we could make a difference in young kids that could be carried through to adulthood. And that was de-labeling them."

The group published these findings last year. But then they were interested whether such de-labeling would convince the kids' pediatricians to prescribe penicillin antibiotics -- or whether families would be willing to actually take them.

About three-quarters of parents responded that they would feel comfortable with their child receiving penicillin antibiotics after the testing.

In fact, 26 of those 100 children did take a penicillin antibiotic in that year. None of these children had serious reactions, and only one developed even a rash.

Penicillin allergy: what’s the harm?

Many of the most effective antibiotics for common infections are penicillin derivatives. Often, the second-line antibiotics are not only less effective, but more toxic. Alternative antibiotics may be more likely to cause uncomfortable side effects or even adverse events such as kidney damage or a secondary infection. Studies have shown that kids with a penicillin allergy actually end up with longer average hospital stays than their non-allergic peers.

Avoiding penicillin antibiotics also means that providers have to use more powerful antibiotics in settings where they are not necessary. This breeds bacteria resistant to the strong antibiotics, potentially creating dangerous superbugs.

An added benefit: Penicillin drugs are often the least expensive option, so the use of second-line antibiotics for questionable allergies subjects parents such as Dr. Vyles and the health care system at large to higher costs. In this study group alone, the estimated cost savings achieved by getting penicillin antibiotics rather than an alternative were calculated at $1,368. The potential annual savings at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin emergency department has been estimated at $192,000.

And they're not stopping there. Vyles and his team are in the middle of a new study -- allergy testing right in the emergency room, with careful documentation of the difference in antibiotic spending in subsequent years.

Penicillin allergy by the numbers

Severe penicillin allergies are extremely rare. Experts estimate that a severe reaction, or anaphylaxis, occurs fewer than five times for every 10,000 times a penicillin medication is prescribed. An anaphylactic reaction happens within one to two hours after a dose and involves hives, facial swelling, difficulty breathing and low blood pressure with dizziness or fainting. Anaphylaxis can develop quickly and can be deadly.

Around 10 percent of people have a penicillin allergy noted in their medical records. But studies in adults have suggested that only around 10 percent of those individuals are actually allergic at all.

Regardless, medical professionals are hesitant to prescribe penicillin or to remove the allergy from the record, even for low-risk symptoms. The mindset is "better safe than sorry." Drug-allergy labels are tough to shake and tend to stay in the person's medical chart, even if they lack supporting information, until providers intentionally remove them and communicate this change to other providers.

Vyles pointed out that around one-fourth of parents in his follow-up survey were hesitant to give their child penicillin antibiotics, despite the child's mild symptoms with the first reaction and despite tests that showed the absence of an allergy.

"There is a stigma with a penicillin allergy when you get it," he said. "It breeds fear. We're going to have to tackle this moving forward."

Why all the mislabeling?

Like many drugs, penicillin antibiotics have side effects, which are simply symptoms related to the drug’s normal actions on the body. The most common side effects of penicillin are rash, diarrhea and nausea, which can be easily misinterpreted as an allergic reaction.

People can also have hypersensitivity reactions or an over-reactive response to a drug. These can look a lot like true allergies, and the best way to differentiate the two is by formal allergy testing. Hypersensitivity reactions can go away over time, so having one in the past does not guarantee the same symptoms the next time someone takes an antibiotic. This is particularly true for children.

An even more common scenario is when an illness itself mimics an allergic response. It is very common for children with viral infections to develop a rash several days into their illness, which is often the same time they receive an antibiotic. The antibiotic, rather than the infection, gets blamed for the rash.

Some children receive the allergy label because their parents have heard that a penicillin allergy is genetic, but it's not.

The most reliable method for drug-allergy testing involves three phases, starting with a skin test and ending with taking the medication under medical supervision. Because of the potential for a dangerous allergic reaction, allergy testing should only be done by a provider with expertise in the field. The time and cost required is one reason patients and providers often don't pursue this testing.

Deciding to get allergy testing, though, could ensure a person has a full range of antibiotic options next time he or she gets sick -- and could save them money as well.

"Anybody who has a penicillin allergy should at least talk to their physician about getting tested for that allergy," Vyles said. "It’s a two-hour process and could make a big difference in their life."

Dr. Kelly Arps is a resident physician in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Kelly is working with the ABC News Medical Unit.


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WCVB(BOSTON) -- Riding a bike for most kids is a rite of passage, but for kids with special needs attending the bike camp at Emerson Hospital, it’s like a dream come true.

For 8-year-old Chloe, who has a form of cerebral palsy, it can be a bit overwhelming, she told ABC Boston affiliate WCVB.

“Scared because not used to ride without training wheels, you might fall ..." she said.

For Chloe’s mom, Jenn Smagula, it’s exhilarating. “We live in a neighborhood, there's kids riding bikes all the time, and she hasn't been able to. I'm just so appreciative and thrilled,” she told WCVB.

The camp at Emerson Hospital runs about a week. Kids with special needs are paired up with coaches and special bikes, working to progressively get them on two wheels.

The camp is not just about learning to ride bikes; it also gives kids courage and determination to tackle many other things, Emerson Hospital spokesperson Mary Evans said.

“This changes lives, every parent will tell you, once their child learns to do something that they've never been able to do and thought 'I just can't do that' and they're like, 'I can DO THAT,'” said Evans.

For Molly, who has Down syndrome, learning to ride the bike, is an opportunity to do something together with her family.

“We're gonna ride together," said Molly, together with her mother Brenda Cassella.



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iStock/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- A new study in Australia looked at how much junk food advertising kids were exposed to and the numbers were staggering.

Food advertising can directly affect the types of foods that children actually eat, The World Health Organization has said.

To establish just how much food advertising children may be exposed to, researchers in this study examined the advertising content of a single TV network in Australia for the year 2016. Researchers sorted through 30,000 hours of TV and over 800,000 advertisements, paying special attention to the times in which children were most likely to be watching: before school (7 to 9 am) and after school (4 to 10 pm).

During these times, there were twice the amount of unhealthy foods advertisements, compared to the amount of healthy food advertisements. These unhealthy ads aired 1.7 times per hour. The most commonly advertised foods included snack foods like chips and popcorn, fried food and fast food. The least commonly advertised foods included vegetables, low sugar cereals and fruit.

The study calculated that an average school-aged child watched approximately 827 unhealthy food advertisements, amounting to 4 hours, in a single year.

The researchers made these calculations under the assumption that children watch 80 minutes of TV per day. But data from the American Academy of Pediatrics states that the average American child consumes more than 120 minutes of screen time per day so that estimate could be low for kids in the U.S.

Because of the long hours and the impact advertising can have on children, the authors of this study discuss the potential benefit of regulating unhealthy advertising on media children consume.

“Australian health, nutrition and policy experts agree that reducing children’s exposure to junk food ads is an important part of tackling obesity and there is broad public support for stronger regulation of advertising to protect children,” Professor Lisa Smithers, the article’s lead author, said in a statement.

Childhood obesity -- defined as a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to the 95th percentile, meaning the child weighs far more than what is ideal for their height -- is an epidemic on both a national and international scale.

In 2014, 17.4 percent of American children and teenagers were obese according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children are obese for the same reasons adults are obese, the agency says, meaning too much bad food and too little activity are the main culprits -- although certain medications, poor sleep and lack of community support also play a role.

People who are obese as children are more likely to be obese as adults, the agency added. Obesity leads to a host of well-known medical issues including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, arthritis, liver disease, and gall bladder disease.

To combat this rising problem, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein. They also recommend limiting sweetened beverages like soda or juice drinks, in addition to limiting all forms of sedentary entertainment like TV and video games.

When that entertainment includes advertisements for junk food, the study authors believe there may need to be limits set on how many can run, which could even include government policy.

"The first step in establishing whether to regulate is knowing what advertising children might be exposed to," she added. "Our work has done that more comprehensively than before."

More research would be needed to determine how much impact, and at what frequency, advertisements might have on children's food choices or their parents'.

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Courtesy Rebecca Hiles(NEW YORK) -- A woman who alleges that she was misdiagnosed by doctors because of her weight is sharing her story.

Rebecca Hiles, 28, said she was told by doctors that her health problems were related to her weight. But it turns out that Hiles was suffering from cancer.

"It was very scary to sort of exists in a body that I thought was failing me and have medical professionals who didn't seem to take me seriously," Hiles said on "Good Morning America.

Hiles credits the medical team for setting her health on the right path, which ultimately lead to the shocking cancer diagnosis.

In 2012, doctors found a tumor in Hiles’ bronchial tube. Less than two weeks later, she had surgery to remove her entire left lung.

"It was the first time in my life that I remember having a doctor take me seriously," Hiles said. "The first moment that I saw my surgeon who said, 'You have carcinoid cancer' and the time that I had to surgery was two weeks."

Carcinoid tumors are a type of slow-growing cancer that can develop in several places throughout a person's body, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Six years after her surgery, Hiles said she's speaking out to enourage women to be their own health advocates.

"Had the diagnosis been made two years prior, had it been made when I was 20, maybe things would have been different," she said.

ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said patients who feel they may be facing weight bias can take action.

"From the patient's side, it's really important to understand, we make a medical assessment first, visually -- what does a patient look like?" said Ashton, who is board-certified in obesity and medicine. "It is a fact being overweight or obese does carry certain risks of other things. It is also a fact that you can have more than one thing going on at the same time. So you can be overweight or obese, have a cough, have an infection and you can have lung cancer."

Ashton said that training more doctors in obesity medicine would be useful.

"Making a diagnosis is a very involved, complex process," she said. "But [patients] also need to hold their healthcare provider accountable and if they are being made to feel, 'You're not hearing me,' express your feelings. That can totally turn the table and give the patient more power."



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Sussex Police Department(LONDON) -- A British man has been jailed for life after being found guilty of deliberately trying to infect 10 men with HIV.

Prosecutors alleged that Daryll Rowe, 27, infected five men through unprotected sex, and attempted to infect several others by intentionally damaging condoms.

Rowe, who was diagnosed with HIV in 2015, met men on the gay dating app Grindr, prosecutors said.

After having sex with his partners, he would message some of the victims saying, “I have HIV. Lol. Whoops,” according to The Guardian.

Christine Henson, the judge at his sentencing, said, “The messages you sent make it crystal clear you knew exactly what you were doing. As well as the physical offenses, it is clear for the victims the psychological effects are immense."

"Many of those men were young men in their 20s at the time they had the misfortune to meet you," she said, adding, “I cannot see how and when you will no longer be a danger to gay men.”

One of Rower's victims testified during the six-week trial that he felt “pressured” into having sex with Rowe; another branded him as “grotesque” and a “sociopath.”

A third victim said Rowe had “destroyed my life. I would rather he had murdered me than left me to live my life like this.”

Rowe's lawyer pleaded with the judge for a lighter sentence, arguing that a life term would stigmatize HIV sufferers.

Henson said the sentence would not be about "stigmatizing anyone with HIV," but about the "immense" psychological effects Rowe caused his victims.

Rowe, who is 27, will serve at least 12 years of his sentence in prison. It is the first sentencing of its kind in the U.K., where a person is imprisoned for “grievous bodily harm” by intentionally infecting others with HIV.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The key to crushing your fitness goals may come down to something as simple as changing the time of your workout.

If you want to run faster and lift heavier, research shows you should hit that snooze button and workout in the afternoon, according to Daniel Pink, author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.

Morning workout benefits

If you want to lose weight, set your alarm for an early-morning workout, according to Pink, who analyzed decades of research for the book.

“There really isn't a perfect time to exercise,” he told ABC News. “It really depends on what you're trying to achieve.”

People who hit the gym for their mental health are better off exercising in the morning, according to Pink.

"One of the greatest benefits of morning exercise, at least in my view, is that exercise gives us a mood boost," he said. "We feel better."

Pink added, "That can last a long time, and if you exercise in the morning, you get that mood boost and it lasts a big chunk of the day."

Perks of an afternoon workout

On the other hand, if you want to set personal records, working out in the afternoon or early evening can help you reach your peak performance.

"Afternoon exercise seems to be better for performance overall," he said. "Lung performance is higher at that time of day, and eye-hand coordination is better that time of day. And also, speed is better."

Pink attributes that quality to the fact that our bodies are more warmed up by the middle to end of the day.

For that same reason, afternoon and evening exercise is preferred to avoid injury because, according to Pink, "you're literally more warmed up."

What an evening workout is good for

If you want to actually enjoy exercise -- and not dread it -- you can also sleep in and schedule an evening workout instead.

"Late afternoon, early-evening exercise -- people report enjoying it more at that time of day. Particularly, finding it less effortful," Pink said. "I think the reason for that is body temperature."

He continued, "We're more warmed up, and so people seem to enjoy it more and find it less of a strain."

When by Pink explains the best time to do anything, from running a marathon to asking for a raise.

No matter your goal, Pink found that motivation for exercise also comes when you are facing a life milestone, such as the end of a decade.

"Twenty-nine-year-olds are twice as likely to run a first marathon as 28-year-olds and 30-year-olds," he said. "Another age at which people are disproportionately likely to run a first marathon is 39 and also 49. It all has to do with endings."

"When we get to the end of something, even something as arbitrary as a life decade, it tends to energize us," Pink said. "We kick a little bit harder."

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 24, 2018

A Lakewood-area man has been identified by state Police in Jamestown as the person found dead in a rural area of the town of Randolph in Cattaraugus County last weekend...     ...

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