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NHL’s Mumps Outbreak Might Not Be Over Yet

NHL’s Mumps Outbreak Might Not Be Over Yet

Mark Kegans/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — More than a dozen NHL players and referees have contracted mumps in recent weeks, with additional players tested amid fears that the disease could spread.Players with the Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild and Pittsburgh Penguins have been affected so far.

The viral infection can cause swelling of the salivary glands, fever, headache, fatigue and loss of appetite.Mumps can be spread by sneezing and coughing, and it can spread quickly in close quarters, with hockey’s physicality and locker room culture aiding in the outbreak.

Because mumps has an incubation period of up to three weeks, doctors say, it will take some time to know when the league’s outbreak is over.Penguins forward Beau Bennett, who was tested Monday, is the latest player to be screened for mumps.Days earlier, Bennett’s teammate Sidney Crosby appeared in the locker room with a swollen face, a tell-tale sign of the disease. Crosby is past the infectious stage and could return to the team as early as Tuesday, Penguins officials said.Bennett was tested four days after he and other Penguins players visited the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to spread Christmas cheer.In a statement to ABC News, the hospital said it plans to isolate patients and families who visited with Bennett and who had not received their age-appropriate doses of mumps vaccine, and will be monitoring them.Children with immune problems are at a greater risk to have severe infections from the mumps.Mumps was nearly eradicated in 1967, but made a re-emergence in 2000. A notable outbreak occurred in the Midwest in 2006, when thousands of college students were infected.Americans are vaccinated against the mumps as part of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, the first dose of which is given to babies between 12 and 15 months old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The second dose is given at 4 to 6 years old.

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Retired Detective Says ‘Toxic Stress’ May Have Contributed to His Cancer

Retired Detective Says ‘Toxic Stress’ May Have Contributed to His Cancer

Benny Andujar(NEW YORK) — When 54-year old Benny Andujar went in for a routine checkup shortly after retiring from the New York City police force a few years ago, doctors found abnormalities in the cells close to his stomach, a condition called Barrett’s esophagus. Several months later he was diagnosed with cancer.Andujar said he didn’t realize how much of a toll all the years he’d spent investigating some of city’s most notorious gangs and drug cartels had taken on his body. But he’s convinced all the pressure he was under for so long contributed to his illness.

[Toxic Stress Tweet Chat Today at 1 P.M., ET]

“You go to work in the morning and you don’t know if you’re coming home in the evening,” Andujar said.What Andujar experienced goes so far beyond the normal day-to-day hassle, doctors refer to it as “toxic stress.” This is the type of stress that is so sustained and unrelenting it can cause long-term depression and anxiety and an increased chance of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.“This happens when stress is especially severe or long-lasting, and it exceeds support or coping mechanisms," said Dr. Amit Sood, Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic.Sood said that toxic stress puts your body at war by revving up the activity in the glands that secrete stress hormones. These glands can tolerate short periods of high activity well but don’t hold up during long periods of extreme wear and tear. If stress and anxiety levels continue unabated, blood pressure elevates and immunity plummets, leaving the body vulnerable to physical and mental disorders, Sood explained.People in dangerous or high stress jobs such as Andujar are candidates for toxic stress. So are victims of domestic abuse. It can be especially dangerous for children.The Adverse Childhood Experiences studies performed in the late 1990’s established a strong link between toxic stress in childhood and the risk of obesity, depression, alcoholism, smoking and other risk factors in adulthood. Additionally, children who have high stress levels due to poverty, neglect, abuse, or severe maternal depression have been shown to have a weakened architecture of the developing brain leading to long-term consequences for learning, behavior, and overall health.According to Dr. Robert Block, a former president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, toxic stress is so insidious, it affects individuals at the cellular level.“It can actually affect the way individual genes function, potentially turning on genes that increase risk of disease,” he noted.But Toxic stress doesn’t have to be a done deal, Sood said.“There are ways to decrease and even reverse the damage done,” he said.Simple lifestyle changes such as physical exercise, a healthy diet and adequate sleep can help, Sood pointed out. Contemplative practices such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, and even prayer can also help to manage stress in the moment and reverse some of its negative health consequences.“All of these lifestyle changes have been shown to reduce stress,” Sood said, adding that he also recommended “timeless virtues” such as gratitude and working to forgive old grudges.Fortunately for Andujar, his cancer was found in time. He’s now cancer-free, and extremely grateful. He said he’s made changes in his life that ensure stress can no longer overtake him. And the one positive remnant of his cancer battle is a new perspective on life.“I think it makes you a better person when you see the gates opening,” he said. “I now enjoy life, I stay in the moment. I won’t wait for tomorrow to do what I can today. I don’t have time for anger, hatred. Life is too short.”ABC News Health invites anyone who feels overtaken by stress to join us for a one hour tweet chat Tuesday at 1 p.m., ET. Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News chief health and medical editor, will be leading a discussion on how stress impacts your life and what you can do about it.We’ll be joined by experts from the Mayo Clinic as well as doctors, experts and advocates from other organizations. Joining in is easy. Here’s how.

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Skip the Booze to Get to Sleep

Skip the Booze to Get to Sleep

iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBIA, Mo.) — A bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a shot of whiskey is not going to help you sleep better in the long run.Mahesh Thakkar at the University of Missouri School of Medicine says about 20 percent of Americans have tried this method in an effort to get some shuteye.While it might put them to sleep faster, Thakkar says many will also find their sleep interrupted at some point and that makes it even more difficult to doze off.The study author explains the problem is that alcohol interferes with "sleep homeostasis -- the brain's built-in mechanism that regulates your sleepiness and wakefulness."The other downside to using alcohol is that it also acts a diuretic, meaning, more trips to the bathroom at night.While it's tempting, Thakkar recommend people skip the booze and if problems persist, talk to a health professional about what's keeping you awake, which can be addressed with individualized treatments.

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Most Googled Calorie Counts of 2014

Most Googled Calorie Counts of 2014

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

Check out the top trending calorie count searches of 2014.And because we're super nice, we pulled together the answers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's calorie search tool.1. How many calories in a banana? 105.2. How many calories in pumpkin pie? There are 374 calories in one piece of pie.3. How many calories in an apple? 72.4. How many calories in an egg? That depends. If it’s boiled, it’s 77 calories. If it’s poached, it’s 71 calories. If it’s fried in butter, it’s 92 calories. If it’s raw, it’s only 63 calories.5. How many calories in an avocado? A cup of avocado cubes is 240 calories.6. How many calories in a cheeseburger? A homemade basic cheeseburger is 317 calories. A cheeseburger on a bun with 1/3 pounds of meat, mayo and a tomato is 845 calories.7. How many calories in a Big Mac? A Big Mac, McDonald’s double cheeseburger with mayo on a double-decker bun, is 585 calories. According to the McDonald’s website, however, it’s 530 calories.8. How many calories in a watermelon? A cup of diced watermelon is 46 calories.9. How many calories in an orange? 62.10. How many calories in a slice of pizza? A slice of regular cheese pizza is 231 calories. It’s 258 for thick crust. If you add meat and vegetables to a slice of regular crust pizza, it’s 272. Do the same to the thick crust and it’s 328."I think it is a positive sign in that people maybe are recognizing more how their overall individual intake plays into their body weight an energy balance," said registered dietitian Jamie Pope, who teaches nutrition at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville, Tennessee. Though she said she was surprised to see fruits mixed in with burgers on the list.

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Alcohol, Drug Use Among Middle, High School Students on the Decline

Alcohol, Drug Use Among Middle, High School Students on the Decline

Saša Prudkov/iStock/Thinkstock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- A national survey of U.S. middle and high school students showed significant improvement in the levels of adolescent substance abuse.According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Monitoring the Future Survey, an annual poll of more than 40,000 students, both alcohol and cigarette use among middle and high school students are at their lowest points since the survey began in 1975.

The survey looks at students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades. In each of those three grades, alcohol use continued a long-term decline, the study found. Use of alcohol peaked in 1997 when 61 percent of students surveyed reported any alcohol use in the 12 months prior. This year's figure was just 41 percent, down from 43 percent last year.Significantly, the percentage of students who report "binge drinking" -- drinking five or more drinks in a row at least once in the two weeks before the survey -- fell to 12 percent. Cigarette smoking reached historic lows as well, with the combined rate of students surveyed from all three grades who had smoked in the month prior to the survey dropping to 28 percent.

The study's principal investigator Lloyd Johnston said that the importance of a decline in smoking among adolescents "cannot be overstated."The percentage of students who said that alcohol or cigarettes were more difficult to acquire increased from last year's survey.The survey also noted that student use of synthetic marijuana, bath salts, marijuana, ecstasy, salvia, hallucinogens, prescription drugs, narcotics and cough and cold medicines all declined from last year.

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More Teens Using E-Cigarettes Than Tobacco Cigarettes, Survey Finds

More Teens Using E-Cigarettes Than Tobacco Cigarettes, Survey Finds

scyther5/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For the first time, more teens are smoking e-cigarettes than tobacco cigarettes, according to a new survey of 40,000 to 50,000 students in the 8th, 10th and 12th grades.The annual University of Michigan "Monitoring the Future" report found that both alcohol and cigarette use in 2014 were at their lowest points since the study began in 1975. But they were most concerned about the rise of e-cigarettes, which are not regulated and whose formulas are undisclosed."As one of the newest smoking-type products in recent years, e-cigarettes have made rapid inroads into the lives of American adolescents," Richard Miech, a senior investigator of the study, said in a statement. "Part of the reason for the popularity of e-cigarettes is the perception among teens that they do not harm health."The survey found that in the past 30 days, more than twice as many 8th- and 10th-graders reported using e-cigarettes versus tobacco cigarettes. Among 12th-graders, 17 percent reported e-cigarette use and 14 percent reported use of a tobacco cigarette. But 16 percent of 10th graders surveyed reported using an e-cigarette, while 7 percent reported using a tobacco cigarette."This could be a result of e-cigarettes being relatively new," Lloyd Johnston, principal investigator of the project, said in a statement. "So today's 12th-graders may not have had the opportunity to begin using them when they were younger. Future surveys should be able to tell us if that is the case."E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices with a heating element that typically produces a nicotine-infused aerosol, or vapor, that users inhale. The products come in hundreds of flavors including bubble gum and milk chocolate cream.The researchers did not determine whether those who used e-cigarettes were likely to go on to use tobacco products. But use of tobacco among high schoolers continued a decades-long decline.In 2014, the use of tobacco cigarettes declined to 8 percent from 10 percent in 2013. The figure in 1998 was 28 percent.Some 15 percent of 8th-graders said there's a great risk of harm with regular use of e-cigarettes, compared with 62 percent who said there's a great risk from tobacco cigarettes.British researchers say electronic cigarettes could save 6,000 lives per year for every million smokers, a claim that has reignited the debate over the health impact of vaping.In September, in an editorial published British Journal of General Practice, a research team from University London College argued that the public health community was jumping the gun in their rush to regulate e-cigarettes the same as tobacco products."Given that smokers smoke primarily for the nicotine but die primarily from the tar, one might imagine that e-cigarettes would be welcomed as a means to prevent much of the death and suffering caused by cigarettes," they wrote.The science on e-cigs as a smoking cessation tool is mixed. Earlier this year, the University London College team found that smokers were about 60 percent more likely to quit if they used e-cigarettes. But other studies have found that smokers who switched to e-cigarettes were less likely or no more likely to quit than if they used a patch or gum.A recent study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found e-cigarette use among school-age children has tripled in the last three years, with half of kids who report vaping stating that they intended to smoke conventional cigarettes within the next year.

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Feeling Younger May Help You Live Longer

Feeling Younger May Help You Live Longer

Polka Dot Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers in England say that feeling younger may actual help you live longer.According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, researchers looked at data from about 6,000 participants aged 52 years old or older. In the hopes of gauging the relationship between age and perceived age -- or the age the participants "felt" they were.Participants were part of the study for eight years, and researchers say those who felt younger than their actual age had a mortality rate of 14.3 percent. Comparatively, those who felt their actual age had a mortality rate of 18.5 percent, while those who felt older had a mortality rate of 24.6 percent.

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

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Thousands of Americans Sent to ER Every Year for Tanning Bed Accidents

Thousands of Americans Sent to ER Every Year for Tanning Bed Accidents

.shock/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of Americans are sent to the emergency room each year after tanning bed accidents.According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at records from 66 emergency departments around the country. The data, from 2003 to 2012, led doctors to find that doctors treat about 3,000 indoor tanning-related injuries per year. The typical patient, researchers said, was younger non-Hispanic white women, aged 18 to 24. The majority of those patients suffered minor skin burns, while other injuries included cuts, eye injuries, muscle or bone problems or passing out. Overall, however, tanning-related injuries decreased over the span of the study, researchers said.

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Researchers Concerned About Increasing Number of High Schoolers Using E-Cigarettes

Researchers Concerned About Increasing Number of High Schoolers Using E-Cigarettes

diego_cervo/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study says that use of e-cigarettes among high school students, which has increased every year since 2010, could lead to nicotine addiction.Researchers at the University of Hawaii surveyed nearly 2,000 high school students and found that 29 percent said they use e-cigarettes. Researchers are concerned because 17 percent of those surveyed said they use only e-cigarettes, while 12 percent say they use e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes. Those students who only use e-cigarettes, the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, says, may view those devices as a safer alternative. However, the presence of nicotine in e-cigarettes may make them a gateway to nicotine addiction.Those students willing to try e-cigarettes tended to have better support at home, better grades and better behavior, researchers said. While those who said they used both e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes were more likely to be at greater risk of smoking risk factors, such as rebelliousness, sensation seeking, and having tobacco-smoking friends.

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“Fitness” Magazine Readers Name “Shake It Off” Top Workout Song of 2014

“Fitness” Magazine Readers Name “Shake It Off” Top Workout Song of 2014

ABC/Image Group LA(NEW YORK) -- Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" wasn't just a huge #1 hit: it also inspired many people to take its title literally. The readers of Fitness magazine have voted it the Favorite Workout Song of the Year.As part of Fitness magazine's Best of 2014 list, readers were asked to vote on which songs they most enjoyed sweating to in the past year. "Shake It Off" came in at #1, garnering 29 percent of the vote. In at #2 is Iggy Azalea's "Fancy," with 25 percent of the vote. Pharrell Williams' "Happy" was #3, followed by Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda." Rounding out the top five: "Chandelier" by Sia.The year-end poll also includes readers' choices for Favorite #BodyLove Moment, and the runner up was Meghan Trainor's "All About that Bass."Check out FitnessMagazine.com for the rest of the poll results.

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Sign Up Now to Get Coverage Under Affordable Care Act in January

Sign Up Now to Get Coverage Under Affordable Care Act in January

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Monday is the deadline for people who want health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act starting on Jan. 1."But otherwise, you have until February 15th to enroll in the Affordable Care Act," ABC News contributor Michelle Katz says.Katz says there's a time period during which you can "test out" your plan."There is, what a lot of people don't realize, a 90-day grace period," she explains. "If you're not completely happy with your plan, I recommend people getting their plans -- signing up for them -- and then actually making some phone calls, so that providers -- finding out how long their contracts are within the plan, what treatments are being offered within the plan. Even call up to find out what the appeals process is like. And if you're not happy with it, maybe switch to another plan within that 90-day grace period."Katz recommends people not go for the least expensive option when choosing a plan."The least expensive may turn out to be the most expensive in the end -- if your providers are not in it; if your treatments that you need are not covered; and maybe your pharmaceuticals that you need are not included in this list," she says.

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Metro-North Railroad to Screen Engineers for Sleep Apnea

Metro-North Railroad to Screen Engineers for Sleep Apnea

Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A New York commuter rail line is taking steps to potentially screen its engineers for sleep apnea after the fatal crash in the Bronx a little more than a year ago.Four people were killed and 61 people were injured on Dec. 1, 2013, when the Metro-North train rounded the curve in the Bronx at 82 mph, well above the 30-mph speed restriction. A report by the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the operator had "an undiagnosed severe obstructive sleep apnea exacerbated by a recent circadian rhythm shift required by his work schedule."Metro-North Railroad will spend $200,000 on a seven-month contract with Persante Health Care Inc. of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, which specializes in sleep disorders. “Today Metro-North is taking another big step in our pursuit of best safety practices,” said Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti. “This pilot will go a long way to ensuring safety of our customers as well as improving the overall health of our employees.” All 410 Metro-North engineers and about 20 engineers in training will undergo an initial screening by the railroad’s Occupational Health Services Department using use at-home, overnight sleep apnea tests . Engineers recommended for additional screenings will be referred to the contractor. The program could be expanded to the Long Island Rail Road and New York City Transit, depending on its results, according to transit officials. The $200,000 contract will go before the full board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for a vote on Wednesday.

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Jennifer Aniston Calls Motherhood Pressure ‘Unfair’ to Women

Jennifer Aniston Calls Motherhood Pressure ‘Unfair’ to Women

ABC/Image Group LA(LOS ANGELES) -- Actress Jennifer Aniston is a Hollywood superstar and is considered America’s sweetheart -- but she’s also not afraid to speak her mind about some of the hurtful rumors that have circulated about her.In an interview with Allure magazine, the Friends star was asked to name the most difficult thing she’s ever battled in the press.“Oh, God, so many painful things. The accusation that I’ve put my career before the want, the desire to be a mother. This continually is said about me: that I was so career-driven and focused on myself; that I don’t want to be a mother, and how selfish that is,” Aniston said.She said the intense scrutiny feels like “an unfair pressure” on women, not just her.“I have a lot of friends who decided not to have children, who can’t have children, or are trying but are having a difficult time. There’s all sorts of reasons why children aren’t in people’s lives, and no one has the right to assume. It’s quite rude, insulting, and ignorant,” she said. “I don’t like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women -- that you’ve failed yourself as a female because you haven’t procreated. I don’t think it’s fair. You may not have a child come out of your vagina, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t mothering -- dogs, friends, friends’ children.”Having to put up with the rumors and comments hasn’t gotten easier with time, Aniston, 45, said.“Even saying it gets me a little tight in my throat,” she said.The actress is hitting a high note in her already very successful career. Last week she received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award nominations for her acclaimed turn in the film, Cake.Aniston says her fiancé, 43-year-old actor Justin Theroux, is right beside her every step of the way. In the interview, she spoke glowingly of Theroux.“We’re equals,” she said. “He’s a nurturer. He is so fiercely loyal. Beyond protective. I mean, the way he takes care of our dogs, he takes care of me, he takes care of friends.”Aniston did not share any news about her pending nuptials to Theroux. Speculation about when the pair would wed has been rampant since they announced their engagement in the summer of 2012.The only thing Aniston would say about it to Allure was: “We do talk about it all the time."

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How Mock Mars Mission Will Simulate Life on Red Planet

How Mock Mars Mission Will Simulate Life on Red Planet

Mars Desert Research Station(HANKSVILLE, Utah) -- Martian explorers invaded the desert near the tiny town of Hanksville, Utah, early Monday morning and will remain there for the next two weeks to test technology that could be crucial on a long-distance mission.The four-member crew is part of an ongoing mission at Utah’s Mars Desert Research Station to study what life will be like for earthlings who make extraterrestrial visits to the Red Planet. And for the first time, they will be testing 3-D printed medical devices.Dr. Julielynn Y. Wong, a preventive medicine physician who is the director of the Center for Innovative Technologies and Public Health, is leading this -- the 145th simulation at the station -- to test out medical technologies in space.“Astronauts are at high risk for hand injuries,” explained Wong, who also founded the group 3D4MDs. “We want to see what happens if they hurt themselves on a space walk and need to get back to the habitat with a limited air supply.”Wong has brought along a 3-D printer, which quickly prints out customized finger splints, among other vital medical supplies. She said treating hand injuries will be important for astronauts who make the real trip to Mars because space on the craft will be limited and the ability to print on demand will be essential for survival.Astronauts who make the actual trip to Mars will face many other unique physical challenges, Wong said. They will spend up to a year in zero gravity during the 225 million-plus-mile trip, which will weaken their bones, shrink their muscles and strain their hearts. Their inner ears will suffer some damage too, so they will have trouble standing and balancing.Once they land on Mars, they will have to learn to function in an environment that has about 30 percent of the gravity of Earth. Wong said she and her team are testing out protocols that will help the Martian astronauts build their strength and conditioning back up as quickly as possible.Beyond the simulation's specific goals, Wong said the crew lives in a similar way to the actual conditions astronauts face.

Since living in a crowded, tight space and carrying a heavy workload will be part of the experience, Wong said they are holding daily yoga and meditation breaks while monitoring the effect of the sessions on the brain to see if they will help manage stress.The crew will also subsist on an astronaut’s limited diet that includes staples such as rice, nuts, dried fruit, cereal and candy. They’re growing some fresh vegetables, but Wong said real space and Martian conditions will limit what and how much can actually be grown.

The mock Martian visitors will also have to keep up with daily chores such as inventory, cleaning and taking out the trash.“Even in space you won’t be able to escape the same old mundane chores,” she said.

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Boy Struck by Lightning Leaves Hospital in Time for Christmas

Boy Struck by Lightning Leaves Hospital in Time for ChristmasiStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) — What does a 9-year-old want after being struck by lightning and forced to spend three months in the hospital? He wants to cuddle his dog and set up his family's Christmas tree."He made me do it the first day I w...

Study Examines Male ‘Idiotic Risk’

Study Examines Male ‘Idiotic Risk’

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Ask any woman -- she’ll tell you that most men are idiots.A new study examined “Idiotic Risk,” which is defined as senseless risk where the payoff is negligible and the outcome is disastrous and often fatal.The researchers looked at the individuals who had received the so-called “Darwin Award,” a dubious honor that is given to those individuals who injured themselves or died while taking an unnecessary and often idiotic risk.Out of the 318 individuals who were given the Darwin Award, 282 recipients were male, while 36 were female.The researchers calculated that guys comprised 88.7 percent of Darwin Award winners.The research is published in the British Medical Journal’s Christmas issue, which tends to be tongue-in-cheek with reports of scientific scrutiny being applied to less-than-serious subjects.

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Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby Diagnosed with Mumps

Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby Diagnosed with Mumps

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(PITTSBURGH) -- Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has tested positive for mumps.The National Hockey League team announced on its website Sunday that Crosby has been diagnosed with the viral illness."Crosby will continue to be monitored daily, but specialists believe he should be through the infectious period by Monday," the Penguins said on its site. "He will not play in Monday’s home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning."Crosby joins the ranks of nearly two dozen NHL players who have tested positive for mumps in recent weeks, according to local reports. Players for the Anaheim Ducks, the Minnesota Wild, the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils have been affected.Mumps is a viral illness that effects the salivary glands. Symptoms include swollen glands, fever and fatigue, and although complications are rare, they can be serious, according to the Mayo Clinic. Those include encephalitis and inflammation of the testicles.Although mumps was once common in the United States, most Americans are immunized against it via the MMR vaccine while toddlers. But the vaccine's protection weakens over time.Dr. William Schaffner, who has not treated these hockey players but is chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, said this outbreak reminds him of mumps outbreaks that occur at small colleges because those affected are young adults, including some from foreign countries that don't have the United States' "comprehensive" mumps vaccination program. And the players are in close contact."What you have in a traveling team that plays together and practices together -- sit on airplanes together -- is prolonged close contact," Schaffner said. "If somebody is sick, they need to stop playing, traveling. This virus can spread even before you become sick."

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Mother’s Intuition Leads to Rare Diagnosis for Son

Mother’s Intuition Leads to Rare Diagnosis for Son

Courtesy Whitnie Strauss(NEW YORK) -- When Whitnie Strauss saw her toddler son almost drunkenly stumble around the backyard -- just the latest in a list of strange symptoms -- she said she realized she'd had enough.Reid, then 2 and a half years old, had already been to 20 doctors, but no one could figure out what was wrong with him, and some sent her home without any answers at all, Strauss said. It wasn't just an allergy, autism, a seizure disorder, a gastrointestinal problem or an immunodeficiency. There had to be something else."I just think it's so important not to give up, not to stop looking just because you've had door after door slamming in your face," she said.So that day, she packed Reid up in the car and drove the more than two hours from outside Austin, Texas, to Houston. She said she knew she couldn't get an appointment at Texas Children's Hospital, but she could take him to the emergency room. And if they saw him, maybe they could solve the puzzle."This is drastic. You can say I'm 'that mom' if you want," Strauss said. "This is all I know to do."They spent two "surreal" days at the hospital, where a team of more than a dozen doctors and medical fellows peppered them with questions, she said, adding that it reminded her of an episode of House. Reid's ailment was still a mystery when they left, but one of the doctors told her that Dr. Michelle Holick, a pediatric neurologist there, wanted to solve the mystery."I wanted somebody to treat him as Reid and listen to his whole story, and they did," Strauss said. "They're not just going to stick a label on your child and send you on your way."After several rounds of tests, Holick found an abnormality related to Reid's creatine, an acid the body makes to help provide energy to other cells, Holick told ABC News. Strauss did her own research and learned that of the three known creatine disorders, two were treatable.But Strauss remembers the day Holick broke the news that Reid had the third kind: creatine transporter deficiency. Although creatine provides most of Reid's body with energy, he lacks the ability to get the energy-providing acid to his brain. And there's no treatment."You're hearing this terrible news, the worst news of my life," Strauss said. "But this weight is lifted because finally that burden of looking and trying to understand what's going on has been lifted."Now 4 years old, Reid is a happy, "feisty" little boy, but he'll only have limited speech, his mother said. Still, he's learning to push buttons and point.Creatine transporter deficiency is so rare that there isn't a lot of data on children older than Reid, but Holick said he's "leveling out.""At this point, there's no expectation of going downward," she said, adding that Reid is still an active child who loves to run around the room.Strauss said Reid understands instructions, but that doesn't mean he'll listen."Sometimes, he'll lay down on the floor and just giggle, 'No, sorry. Not gonna do that today,'" Strauss said. "He tries to be the boss of you."Reid tries to avoid clothes whenever he can, so Strauss sewed special buttons to hold his shirts and pants together to keep him from disrobing.The Strauss family is also trying to incorporate picture cards into his routine to help him communicate."Listen to your instincts and that gut feeling. Parents know," she said. "For us, it took 20 different doctors before we stumbled upon the one at Texas Children's, who for whatever reason dug deeper than all the others. ... You never know when you're going to open the door and your Dr. Holick will be standing there."

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Always Hungry Girl Gets ‘Childhood’ Back After Weight Loss Surgery

Always Hungry Girl Gets ‘Childhood’ Back After Weight Loss Surgery

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center(CINCINNATI) — A Texas girl who couldn't stop eating has lost more than 50 pounds after undergoing gastrectomy surgery at age 12.Alexis Shapiro ballooned from just 50 pounds to more than 200 pounds after undergoing surgery to remove a benign brain tumor left her with a rare condition called hypothalamic obesity, which caused her to always feel hungry.

Before surgery, Alexis Shapiro weighed just over 51 pounds. (Courtesy Jennifer Shapiro)

Her family turned to surgical options after trying to control her ballooning weight with exercise and diet plan.

Earlier this year Alexis became one of the youngest people in the U.S. to undergo a sleeve gastrectomy surgery.The surgery was supposed to be a full gastric bypass, but because Alexis' liver was enlarged, doctors in the operating room decided to try a gastric sleeve, which reduced Alexis' stomach to just 25 percent of its original size.Seven months after the surgery, Alexis' mother said that her daughter's health has improved remarkably and that she has her "childhood" back.In a post on the Cincinnati Children's Hospital website, Jenny Shapiro said her daughter lost at least 55 pounds and no longer needed to take medication for her type 2 diabetes."She has had zero hospital stays related to hypothalamic obesity, which is a record since her brain surgery three years ago," Shapiro wrote.The 2011 surgery removed the tumor but damaged parts of Alexis' brain, including the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, which affect how her body perceives signals from her digestive system."We've also seen wonderful growth in Alexis' independence, strength and stamina," said Shapiro. "She loves her school work and even recently joined an after-school club. I'm so happy to be able to see her get back parts of her childhood that she once enjoyed so much but had lost while she was so sick."In a statement posted to a Facebook documenting Alexis' recovery, Jenny Shapiro said her daughter still struggles with her engery but manages to walk a half mile to school every weekday."She likes learning!" Shapiro wrote. "She is still scared to try new things that she couldn't do while she was much heavier, but we are trying."

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Players on Four NHL Teams Sick with Mumps

Players on Four NHL Teams Sick with Mumps

christian ammann/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is being tested for mumps as the viral disease has struck four NHL teams.Crosby "has not been feeling well" and will miss the next two days while he undergoes testing for the viral illness, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said."There is no indication at this time that this is the mumps, but we are going to hold him out as a precaution," Rutherford said. "We'll have additional test results in a few days."If Crosby tests positive, he could join the ranks of nearly two dozen National Hockey League players who have tested positive for the mumps in recent weeks, according to local reports. Players for the Anaheim Ducks, the Minnesota Wild, the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils have been affected.Mumps is a viral illness that effects the salivary glands. Symptoms include swollen glands, fever and fatigue, and although complications are rare, they can be serious, according to the Mayo Clinic. Those include encephalitis and inflammation of the testicles.Although mumps was once common in the United States, most Americans are immunized against it via the MMR vaccine while toddlers. But the vaccine's protection weakens over time.Dr. William Schaffner, who has not treated these hockey players but is chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, said this outbreak reminds him of mumps outbreaks that occur at small colleges because those affected are young adults, including some from foreign countries that don't have the U.S.'s "comprehensive" mumps vaccination program. And the players are in close contact."What you have in a traveling team that plays together and practices together -- sit on airplanes together -- is prolonged close contact," Schaffner said. "If somebody is sick, they need to stop playing, traveling. This virus can spread even before you become sick."

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