Health

Health
2:16 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Chronic Insomnia? Hitting The Treadmill Could Help ... Eventually

Can't sleep? Run down? Keep exercising.
CSA_Images iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 10:32 am

Studies on exercise and sleep come up with the same conclusion time after time: If you want to hit the hay earlier and sleep better, get a good cardio workout.

But if you're already sleep-deprived, don't expect a 30-minute run or stint on the elliptical to knock you out quicker tonight.

The sleep-boosting effects of exercise can take a few months to kick in for people who suffer insomnia, scientists report Thursday in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

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Health
10:01 am
Thu August 15, 2013

A Safety Checklist To Save Teen Athletes' Lives

Ray Copeland, a football coach at Bishop McGuinness High School, puts his players through a workout in Oklahoma City in 2007. As is often the case in much of the U.S., the first day of high school football practice that year began in a heat wave.
AP

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 8:03 am

For all the benefits of exercise and teamwork to the heart and head, high school athletes still lead the nation in athletics-related deaths. And it doesn't have to be that way, sports medicine specialists say.

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Health
4:07 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Obamacare: People With Disabilities Face Complex Choices

Speech-language pathologists Jill Tullman (left) and Mendi Carroll (right) work with Bryce Vernon at Talking with Technology Camp in Empire, Colo., on July 25.
Kristen Kidd KCFR News

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 7:59 am

The Affordable Care Act has set new standards — called essential health benefits — outlining what health insurance companies must now cover. But there's a catch: Insurance firms can still pick and choose, to some degree, which specific therapies they'll cover within some categories of benefit.

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Health
3:00 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Patients Can Pay A High Price For ER Convenience

In case of emergency, go to the strip mall or the hospital?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 7:59 am

Medical entrepreneurs are remaking the emergency room experience. They're pulling the emergency room out of the hospital and planting it in the strip mall.

It's called a "free-standing ER," and some 400 of them have opened across the country in the past four years.

The trend is hot around Houston, where there are already 41 free-standing ERs and 10 more in the works.

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Health
5:03 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Dementia Test Tweaked For Gen X: Hirohito Out, Oprah In

Is Oprah Winfrey a celebrity for the ages?
Surian Soosay Flickr

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 7:56 am

It's bad enough to have to be tested for dementia. It's even worse if the test isn't fair. Researchers in Chicago found they needed to update the screening test for a type of early onset dementia so that the measure would more accurately pick up symptoms among a new wave of patients — baby boomers and Gen Xers.

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Health
3:07 am
Mon August 12, 2013

New Muscle Drugs Could Be The Next Big Thing In Sports Doping

Belgian Blue bulls look like they are made of muscle because they have a mutation in the gene that codes for the protein myostatin. In humans, as in other types of cattle, myostatin normally limits the number of muscle fibers that form before birth and then limits the growth of those fibers later on.
Courtesy of Se-Jin Lee and Alexandra McPherron PNAS

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 11:03 am

Research intended to help people with muscle-wasting diseases could be about to launch a new era in performance-enhancing drugs.

The research has produced several muscle-building drugs now being tested in people with medical problems, including muscular dystrophy, cancer and kidney disease. The drugs all work by blocking a substance called myostatin that the body normally produces to keep muscles from getting too big.

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Health
6:12 pm
Sat August 10, 2013

Booze Restores Vigor, Nine Of 10 Charlatans Agree

When dealing with aches and pains, sometimes the best way to get better is to feel better — and fast. Some popular medicines of old favored additives like cocaine.
Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine

Originally published on Sat August 10, 2013 8:05 pm

Feeling bilious? Have a swig of tonic. Got a kid with a toothache? A dab of cocaine tooth powder could do the trick.

Much to the shock of our 21st-century sensibilities, popular remedies of the late 19th century often contained strong mind-altering substances like cocaine and opium. And while patients may not have understood what the ingredients were or what they did, these heavy-hitting patent drugs could deliver a feeling of well-being, which may, in some cases, have led to actual well-being.

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Health
7:04 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Experimental Malaria Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Test

A red blood cell infected with malaria parasites (blue) sits next to normal cells (red).
NIAID Flickr.com

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 11:02 am

A viable, effective vaccine against malaria has long eluded scientists. Results from a preliminary study have ignited hope that a new type of vaccine could change that.

The experimental vaccine offered strong protection against malaria when given at high doses, scientists report Thursday in the journal Science.

The study was extremely small and short-term. And the candidate vaccine still has a long way to go before it could be used in the developing world.

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Health
8:00 am
Thu August 8, 2013

What Makes Good Bacteria Go Bad? It's Not Them, It's You

S.pneumoniae bacteria may look harmless, but don't rile them.
CDC

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:01 am

Imagine a friend of a friend brings his family to stay with you — his family of tiny survivalists. For weeks or months you all live quietly side by side with no problems. You share meals. Your kids play together.

Then one day you get sick — maybe felled by a bad cold or the flu. Suddenly certain the end is near, your jittery houseguest breaks out an armory's worth of chemical weapons. He abandons his community to save himself and hunt for a new home, wreaking havoc on the way out the door.

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Health
1:57 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Decades After Henrietta Lacks' Death, Family Gets A Say On Her Cells

Henrietta Lacks and her husband, David, in 1945.
Courtesy of the Lacks family

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 11:03 am

The family of the late Henrietta Lacks finally got the chance to weigh in on how scientists use cells taken from her — without consent — more than 60 years ago.

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Health
12:43 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Falling Obesity Rates Among Preschoolers Mark Healthful Trend

This map from the CDC shows decreases (light blue) and increases (gray) in obesity prevalence among low-income, preschool-aged children from 2008-2011.
CDC

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 7:47 am

A fresh analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the tide may be turning on the childhood obesity front.

After decades of steady increases, 19 states and U.S. territories saw small decreases in their rates of obesity among low-income preschoolers. And another 20 states held steady at current rates.

A CDC map shows several Southern states — including Florida, Georgia and Mississippi — that are part of the downward trend.

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Health
3:25 am
Mon August 5, 2013

When Treating Abnormal Breast Cells, Sometimes Less Is More

Sally O'Neill decided to have a double mastectomy rather than "do a wait-and-see."
Richard Knox NPR

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 11:39 am

When Sally O'Neill's doctor told her she had an early form of cancer in one of her breasts, she didn't agonize about what she wanted to.

The 42-year-old mother of two young girls wanted a double mastectomy.

"I decided at that moment that I wanted them both taken off," says O'Neill, who lives in a suburb of Boston. "There wasn't a real lot of thought process to it. I always thought, 'If this happens to me, this is what I'm going to do.' Because I'm not taking any chances. I want the best possible outcome. I don't want to do a wait-and-see."

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Health
5:17 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

What Poisoned Pomegranates Tell Us About Food Safety

The label for the berry blend recalled in June because of pomegranates linked to a hepatitis A outbreak.
Food and Drug Administration

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 5:48 pm

Imported food is getting the kind of attention these days that no product wants. Health officials in Iowa and Nebraska are blaming salad greens for making hundreds of people sick with a parasite called cyclospora. That parasite usually comes from the tropics, so it's likely the salad did, too. Earlier this summer, pomegranate seeds from Turkey were linked to an outbreak of hepatitis A.

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Health
4:13 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Victims Of Bullying Are More Likely To Be Arrested As Adults

Children who are bullied over time are more apt to struggle as adults.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 3:48 pm

You'd expect bullies to grow up to get in trouble with the law.

But children who are consistently bullied also are more likely to run afoul of the law as adults, including being arrested and jailed.

Almost 14 percent of people who said they were bullied repeatedly in childhood and their teens had been in prison, compared to 6 percent of people who weren't bullied, according to a study.

Women who were repeatedly bullied before age 18 were more likely to use alcohol or drugs than men, and also more likely to be arrested and incarcerated.

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Health
12:16 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Want To Be A Morning Person? Take A Few Tips From Campers

All in the name of science: Volunteers hike in Colorado during their one-week hiatus from electrical lighting.
Courtesy of Kenneth Wright

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 2:07 pm

In the first episode of Downton Abbey, the Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith, complains about the newfangled electrical chandelier installed in her family's 1915 estate. "Oh, dear, such a glare," she says, shielding her eyes with a fan.

The countess may have a point.

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Health
6:09 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Panel Urges Lung Cancer Screening For Millions Of Americans

Some images of lung cancer are clear cut. But in many others, a nodule on the screen turns out not to be cancer at all.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 2:24 pm

A federal task force is planning to recommend that millions of smokers and former smokers get a CT scan annually to look for early signs of lung cancer.

The 16-member US Preventive Services Task Force gives that lung cancer screening test a grade of B, which puts it on the same level as mammography for women between the ages of 50 and 74.

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Health
4:34 pm
Sun July 28, 2013

The Rise Of Bloodsucking Insects You Can't Just Swat Away

Originally published on Sun July 28, 2013 6:24 pm

Steamy days, sultry nights and swarming bugs all make up the thrum of life in the heart of summer. But more and more, our summers are assaulted by the bloodsucking kind of bugs, namely mosquitoes and ticks.

More than a nuisance, new species can impact our health and indicate larger environmental trends.

Beautiful And Adaptable

One relative newcomer prowling the scene is the Asian tiger mosquito. Named for its unique markings, it is black with white stripes.

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Health
5:52 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Why Mosquitoes Love Me, And Other Mysteries Revealed

The mosquitoes that feed on people are attracted to over 300 gases and other compounds emitted by human skin.
CDC Public Health Image Library

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 1:44 pm

Come summertime, some of us here at Shots are reminded, as we lounge on decks and venture into overgrown gardens, that we are irresistible to mosquitoes. As we gripe about our itchy, pocked limbs, we can't help but wonder just why they unfailingly devour us and pass over our friends and loved ones. And when it comes to repellent, it's hard to tell just what works best.

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Health
11:27 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Menthol: Great In Aftershave, Not So Much In Cigarettes

Newport is the most popular menthol cigarette in the United States. Sales of menthols has increased though cigarette sales are declining overall.
Paul Sakuma Associated Press

Menthol gives cough drops, lip balm and other drugstore remedies that cool minty taste and slight numbing quality. Now the Food and Drug Administration has taken a long-awaited step toward saying that in cigarettes, those same qualities do more harm than good.

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Health
11:18 am
Wed July 24, 2013

NYC Doctors Are Now Prescribing Fruits And Veggies

Take two of these and call me in the morning.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 12:22 pm

Doctors typically give patients prescriptions for medications. But a new program in New York City has doctors prescribing fruits and vegetables to obese or overweight patients.

Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley launched the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program Tuesday. It aims to give at-risk families greater access to healthy foods.

Under the program, obese or overweight patients can be prescribed Health Bucks redeemable for produce at local farmers markets.

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