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CDC Issues Health Alert Over Measles Outbreak

CDC Issues Health Alert Over Measles Outbreak

Photo by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- The Centers for Disease Control issued a health alert on Friday to health department and hospitals around the country to make them aware there's an ongoing outbreak of measles.The outbreak, originally linked to a single case at Disneyland in California in December, has grown to affecting 58 people and spread from California to Utah, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, and across the border to Mexico.  In 2000, the U.S. declared that measles had been eliminated, meaning the disease is no longer native to the U.S. The virus can however hitch a ride with people who have been overseas.Most of those who have gotten sick have been unvaccinated, according to health officials. Many young doctors and medical workers likely have never seen a case of measles, prompting the CDC’s alert to remind them what it looks like, and to review vaccination recommendations.

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Patients Get ‘Burned’ During Surgery at Oregon Hospital

Patients Get ‘Burned’ During Surgery at Oregon Hospital

XiXinXing/iStock/Thinkstock(SILVERTON, Ore.) -- A small number of patients at an Oregon hospital woke up to more than run-of-the-mill post-surgery scars -- their skin was burned. Thanks to unfiltered halogen operating room lights, about ten Silverton Hospital patients suffered from skin irritations ranging from redness to blistering to "full thickness" burns, according to Silverton Health in Silverton, Oregon. The hospital noticed the problem during a quality review process and said it has since fixed the problem. “For all of us working in health care, we're in it to help people get better, so it's difficult for us when safety of patients are compromised in any way," Dr. Joseph Huang, chief medical officer, said in a statement. "It's our responsibility to our patients and the communities that we serve that we respond in a transparent and accountable way." It may seem shocking, but this isn't the first time patients have been burned in the O.R. In 1989, a plastic surgeon published case study of injuries during the five months he used a certain surgical light fixture. He noticed that a 68-year-old woman who had an "uneventful" procedure unwrapped her bandages two weeks later to find a nine by seven centimeter purplish discoloration that progressed to scarring and skin loss. Another woman, this time 52 years old, also discovered an unexplained scar after her procedure and needed follow-up surgery to correct it.

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How a Sonogram Is Helping Gym Goers Lose Weight

How a Sonogram Is Helping Gym Goers Lose Weight

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Sonograms are the latest piece of technology gyms are using to help inspire their members to tone up and lose weight. But rather than scoping a growing baby in utero, the hand-held ultrasound scanners evaluate body fat percentage.Bari Studio in New York City uses this technique to give their members insight into their progress.“It takes measurements from four different parts of their body -- the triceps, waist, hip and thigh -- so we can see what’s going on in these specific areas and get information about their total body composition,” explained Courtney Romano, a certified personal trainer who is Bari’s head trainer in New York. The machine works by bouncing sound off the body’s various tissues to estimate fat thickness without using any radiation. Since sound rebounds off fat at a particular wavelength, the operator can use this information to calculate an overall body fat percentage. Each measurement costs $50, Romano said, and the typical gym member repeats the measurement about once a month to help fine tune her training program. Clients like Diem Tran said the checkup provides a different perspective on her training. “When I first started working out my weight stayed the same and I couldn’t figure out what was actually going on,” Tran told ABC News' Good Morning America. The 26-year-old credits the regular feedback she gets from the measurement for helping her lose 12 pounds and 7 percent body fat since August. But proceed with caution, urged Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News' senior medical contributor. “Anytime we have technology to improve our health, that can potentially be an exciting thing,” Ashton said. “But my concern is that this not be misused or abused.” The accuracy of sonogram body fat measurements is well established, Ashton said, but results can vary depending on the skill of the technician, the quality of the machine and how often the scan is repeated. Despite the caveats, Ashton said she feels the measurement may help some exercisers reach their goals. “Haters shouldn’t hate on this technology. At the end of the day, it’s whatever motivates the individual,” she said.

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Infant Grins After ‘Seeing’ Mom Clearly for First Time

Infant Grins After ‘Seeing’ Mom Clearly for First Time

Megan McMorris(DENVER) — An emotional video of a Denver infant smiling after "seeing" her mother clearly for the first time has also made millions of others share in that joy.Megan McMorris took the video of her 8-month-old daughter Louise after the girl was given new glasses to help address her sight problems.Louise was born with albinism, which means she has no pigment in her skin, hair or eyes. As a result, she has debilitating sight problems, according to McMorris."Once she could actually see me, it’s like 'Oh hi that’s you'," said McMorris of the moment her daughter looked at her with glasses. "She’s happy. At least she didn’t start crying."Video of the meeting has already garnered more than 3 million views in less than two weeks.In the video, Louise appears to break into a big grin as Megan speaks to her.With the new specially designed prescription glasses, McMorris also said that Louise has been able to finally play with her older brother Mason since she can more clearly see what she's doing."She’s able to reach out for things because she can see them now," McMorris told ABC News of Louise's new ability. "If I walk into a room, I can tell she can see something."McMorris said one result of the albinism is that Louise tends to rely on hearing more than sight. As a result, McMorris has taken to singing to her daughter to bond with her."I can sing to her and I know she’s really listening," said McMorris. "It’s our thing. It’s a special moment."

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Does Stressing Out Cause Your Hair to Turn Grey?

Does Stressing Out Cause Your Hair to Turn Grey?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Grey can be a difficult color to pull off especially when it’s on your head. So is the only way to avoid grey locks to live a life free of stress and strain?Not so fast. Each of us have two chemicals in our bodies: melanin, which is the pigment in our hair, and hydrogen peroxide. Early in life, it seems that melanin overpowers the hydrogen peroxide, allowing us to have a colorful head of hair.Later in life, though, the hydrogen peroxide seems to overtake the melanin, causing a loss of pigmentation and a greying of the hair.

“But in terms of stress causing grey hair, there is no scientific proof whatsoever,” Dr. Michael Stern, an Emergency Medicine Physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital, says.You may now resume your stress-filled lives without the added weight of worrying about hair color.

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Coroner Investigates Death of Girl Who Refused Chemotherapy

Coroner Investigates Death of Girl Who Refused Chemotherapy

Bhakpong/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The death of an 11-year-old girl who sparked headlines after her family agreed to let her stop chemotherapy will be investigated by a local coroner.Makayla Sault, a member of the First Nations tribe in Canada, died after suffering a stroke on Sunday, according to a family statement.Makayla’s case grabbed headlines after, at the girl's request, she stopped chemotherapy treatment for her acute lymphoblastic leukemia in May. The move led to the family being investigated by a division of Canada's Children’s Aid Society, which ultimately allowed the family to continue to care for Makayla without requiring the chemotherapy treatments.In a statement released this week, the girl's family blamed her death on the 12 weeks of chemotherapy she had undergone before she stopped treatment. The family said it was not the disease that killed Makayla, but rather the effects of the chemotherapy.“Makayla was on her way to wellness, bravely fighting toward holistic well-being after the harsh side effects that 12 weeks of chemotherapy inflicted on her body,” the family said in a statement. "Chemotherapy did irreversible damage to her heart and major organs. This was the cause of the stroke."McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, where Makayla was treated, said it had no comment on the claims in the family's statement. However, the hospital, part of the Hamilton Health Sciences family of hospitals, released its condolences for Makayla's family."Everyone who knew Makayla was touched by this remarkable girl," said the statement, signed by Peter Fitzgerald, the hospital's president. "Her loss is heart-breaking. Our deepest sympathy is extended to Makayla’s family.”Cheryl Mahyr, a spokeswoman for the office of the chief coroner in Ontario, told ABC News that there was an ongoing investigation into Makayla’s death, but that it was a routine investigation sparked by the earlier Children’s Aid Society probe.Brant Family and Children’s Services, the Children's Aid Society division that investigated the family, expressed its condolences in a statement issued after Makayla’s death."Makayla was a wonderful, loving child who eloquently exercised her indigenous rights as a First Nations person and those legal rights provided to her under Ontario’s Health Care Consent Act," the group’s statement read, in part. "The parents are a caring couple who loved their daughter deeply."Chief Bryan LaForme, a spokesman for Makayla's family, told ABC News that the girl did not have any signs of leukemia at the time of her death. He noted that it was Makayla, herself, who asked to stop treatment and that her family supported her decision.Dr. John Letterio, chief of pediatric hematology and oncology at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, said it was unlikely that chemotherapy drugs could have caused a stroke months after Makayla stopped treatment.“The drugs we use, literally thousands of patients have had these,” said Letterio, who did not treat Makayla. “One of the chemotherapy agents we use has the risk for some heart problems [but] it’s so very, very rare.”Letterio said the chance of complications would also be further reduced if Makayla was out of chemotherapy treatment for months.However, Letterio said if Makayla did have active leukemia disease, there’s a chance cardiac complications could occur.“Leukemia, in essence, goes everywhere the blood stream goes. Those cancer cells can accumulate,” said Letterio. “It could be a complication of her disease if it began to march along. It’s hard to tell.”Makayla’s death came a few months after an Ontario judge ruled on a similar case in which an unidentified girl, also part of the First Nations tribe, refused chemotherapy. In that case, the judge ruled the family of the girl would be allowed to pursue alternative treatment and stop chemotherapy in part because of their "aboriginal right."

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‘Six Pack’ Mom Reacts to Uproar over Her Abs-Baring Photo

‘Six Pack’ Mom Reacts to Uproar over Her Abs-Baring Photo

File photo. (Artem_Furman/iStock/Thinkstock)(NEW YORK) -- When Abby Pell posted a photo on Instagram showing her slim belly and toned, defined abs, she never expected the uproar that would erupt.In the photo, Pell, 33, a nutritionist and fitness competitor, posed next to her 6-year-old daughter, who pointed to her mother’s bared abs with a shocked look on her face. The photo’s caption read: “I have a kid, a six pack and no excuse.”“I just thought it would be funny,” the British woman said.Not everyone laughed. In fact, many people accused her of fat shaming other mothers and setting a bad example for her daughter, Bella.One commenter wrote: "She's teaching her kid that anyone who doesn't conform has no excuse, they're just lazy.”But many others have defended Pell, including one who wrote: “U have inspired me to work harder at the gym."Now, Pell, of West Sussex, England, is explaining herself. She said she simply wanted to motivate other mothers.“My message was about having a choice, and showing people that it can be achieved if you want to achieve it, and just by leading by example,” she told ABC News.The reaction to Pell’s photo was similar to the backlash against Maria Kang in 2013, when she posted a photo of her slim and toned figure with her three young sons. Her photo caption was “What’s your excuse?”Kang, too, said she wanted to encourage other women. She said she was an example of a mother who was healthy and could be a positive role model to other mothers.Still, some say photos like the ones Pell and Kang posted can send a far different message.“Let’s give props to this person who obviously is in great shape,” said ABC News’ Dr. Jennifer Ashton. "But let’s also recognize that shaming people is usually not a powerful motivational tool. And I think that, certainly, when you’re talking about moms bouncing back from pregnancy, we have enough pressure on us as mothers."

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Women of Child-Bearing Age Should Avoid Taking Addictive Painkillers

Women of Child-Bearing Age Should Avoid Taking Addictive Painkillers

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Prescription painkillers containing highly addictive opioids that can cause birth defects and other serious problems in early pregnancy are taken by more than a quarter of U.S. women of child-bearing age.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released this information Thursday as a warning to women who are thinking about having a child or might be in the early stages of being pregnant.Although much has been reported about the dramatic increase of overdoses from these medications, this is the first time the CDC has focused on the dangers Vicodin, Oxycontin and other drugs pose to women between the ages of 15 and 44.While women might stop taking opioid painkillers after becoming pregnant, the problem is that they might not know about their condition until after the first few weeks, especially if their pregnancy was unplanned as about half are in the U.S.These drugs can affect the brain and spine of the fetus as well as a pregnant woman's heart and abdominal wall.In terms of prescription use by women, the rate were highest in the South and lowest in the Northeast. Also, white women are one-and-a-half times more likely to take opioids than black or Hispanic women.

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Coffee May Be Work’s Only Saving Grace

Coffee May Be Work’s Only Saving Grace

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Forget about pay raises, promotions and more vacation time. What really floats the boats of workers is a good cup of coffee.Or so says coffee maker Keurig Green Mountain Inc., which polled 840 people about how coffee enhances their experience on the job.For instance, nearly nine out 10 respondents contend that coffee just makes the entire workday better while 85 percent say that sharing the beverage with a client or colleague improves relationships.Meanwhile, 84 percent believe making good coffee available is an important perk (no pun intended or maybe it was), although just over half complained that they wished their employer would supply a better quality brand, presumably Keurig.And then, there's the downside of missing out on a daily cup of joe. More than a third say that without it they feel exhausted while others griped about feeling irritable, unproductive, disorganized and even forgetful.

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Oranges vs. Orange Juice: Which Is Better for You?

Oranges vs. Orange Juice: Which Is Better for You?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Everyone knows that oranges are packed with vitamin C but some people prefer the convenience of drinking orange juice than having to peel through the fruit or cut up slices. This begs the question: is one better than the other?

Researchers at Hohenheim University in Germany says both an orange and orange juice each has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, Ralf Schweiggert, Julian Aschoff and their colleagues point out that the drawbacks to juice is that it contains more sugar than a regular orange and because of pasteurization, there are also lower levels of vitamin C and nutrients such as carotenoids.So that makes eating an orange the healthier choice, right? Not necessarily, according to the researchers. It turns out that the juice greatly improves the body’s ability to absorb vitamin C and the orange’s nutrients than by eating the fruit.Juicing oranges also has a plus and a minus side. While it does reduce the flavonoids, which can lower cancer and cardiovascular disease risks, the juice makes what remains easier for the body to absorb than eating slices.

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Chewing Gum, the Cavity Fighter?

Chewing Gum, the Cavity Fighter?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Those four out of five dentists who recommended Trident for their patients who chew gum knew what they were talking about.Actually, any kind of sugarless gum promotes better dental health, according to new research in the journal PLos ONE.Research showed that a stick of gum captures about 10 percent of the microbial load in saliva or up to 100 million bacteria that can lead to cavities.The amount of bacteria is about the same that’s removed through flossing although this method cleans out different regions of the mouth.The researchers also discovered that gum captures most of the bacteria within 30 seconds because after that, it start losing its adhesive quality.Bottom line: gum is good for your teeth. Just remember though that the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., which has something to gain from positive results, funded the study.

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Walnuts May Improve Cognitive Functions

Walnuts May Improve Cognitive Functions

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — Walnuts are not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s too bad because they may turn out to be a legitimate brain-food.UCLA researchers contend that people who eat walnuts improve their cognitive functions, that is, remembering, concentrating and making decisions.Led by Dr. Lenore Arab, the scientists did a meta-study of various National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys and discovered that performances on six cognitive tests were better among those who ate higher amounts of walnuts.What makes these nuts so special? Their content of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and an omega-3 fatty acid that benefits both the brain and the heart.Arab said the findings are important as the Baby Boomer generation ages and dementia becomes more prevalent. Walnuts are one possible way of slowing down degenerative memory diseases.

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Health Officials Discuss Status of Potential Ebola Vaccines

Health Officials Discuss Status of Potential Ebola Vaccines

luiscar/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Top officials from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration held a press conference on Thursday to offer an update on the testing of Ebola vaccines.During the call, four different vaccine candidates were discussed, including one developed by the NIAID and Glaxo Smith Kline and one developed in a partnership between Canadian health authorities and Merck, both of which are in Phase 1 of studies -- the earliest studies involving human subjects. Such testing is meant to assess safety for use, rather than the efficacy of the vaccine. Officials also discussed two potential vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson.A larger phase two and three study is planned in Liberia to help determine how effective the vaccines are. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci of the NIH, the study would involve about 27,000 subjects and could begin "in a couple of weeks." The study could take nine months to a year to conduct.A separate trial of the same vaccines is planned for Sierra Leone with a different study design. That trial could include an estimated 6,000 subjects. Officials also discussed ZMapp, the potential Ebola therapeutic treatment, saying that health agencies and the government of Liberia are working to evaluate ZMapp in studies in both the U.S. and Liberia.

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Laughing Gas Now Becoming Popular Option for Women Giving Birth

Laughing Gas Now Becoming Popular Option for Women Giving Birth

Brigham and Women's Hospital(NEW YORK) -- A Minneapolis mom who wanted a natural birth was more than 13 hours into labor when she felt she wasn't going to make it without something to take the edge off the pain. But rather than asking for an epidural or narcotics, she begged for laughing gas."It immediately took my fear away and helped calm me down, though I could still feel the pain," Megan Goodoien, who gave birth at the Minnesota Birthing Center this month, told ABC News Thursday. "I didn't laugh because the labor was so intense, but everything suddenly felt doable just when I thought I couldn't make it anymore. It's definitely a mental thing."Though nitrous oxide has long been used in European countries and Canada, the gas is now making a resurgence in the U.S., according to medical experts.The gas, once popular in the U.S., was sidelined after the advent of the epidural in the 1930s, midwife Kerry Dixon told ABC News, noting she believes epidurals took over because they were more profitable. Dixon did not treat Goodoien but works at the Minnesota Birthing Center."The average cost for a woman opting for nitrous oxide is less than a $100, while an epidural can run up to $3,000 because of extra anesthesia fees," Dixon said.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved new nitrous oxide equipment for delivery room use in 2011, which could also explain the resurgence, Dixon told ABC News."Maybe 10 years ago, less than five or 10 hospitals used it [for women in labor]," Dr. William Camann, director of obstetric anesthetics at Brigham and Women's Hospital, told ABC News. "Now, probably several hundred. It’s really exploded. Many more hospitals are expressing interest."He added the gas popular in dentists' offices has an "extraordinary safety record" in delivery rooms outside the U.S. But more studies are needed to confirm its safety, other doctors say.Laughing gas works differently than an epidural or narcotic in that it targets pain more on a mental level than physical, experts said."It's a relatively mild pain reliever that causes immediate feelings of relaxation and helps relieve anxiety," Camman said. "It makes you better able to cope with whatever pain you’re having."But gas can also change awareness, said Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a senior medical contributor for ABC News and a practicing OB/GYN."In delivering over 1,500 babies, I had never used it nor has anyone asked for [nitrous oxide]," Ashton told ABC News. "[M]ost moms want to be totally aware when they are in labor."Another difference between nitrous oxide and epidurals is that it's self-administered by the patient, who has total control over if and when it's used.A Nashville mother said she opted for the gas during labor only after she found herself too tense to push."I instantly felt relaxed," Shauna Zurawski told ABC News. "Before, I was so tense. I was fighting against the contractions, which definitely wasn't good. But after the laughing gas, my body was able to do what it was supposed to. It was so neat."Both Goodoien and Zurawski said they put a nitrous oxide machine's mouthpiece over their mouth and nose and inhaled about 30 seconds before their next contraction to get the maximum effect.Another advantage is that the chemical gets out of your system shortly after stopping inhalation."With my first child, I had an epidural, I was numb for so long after the delivery and it took a while to get back to normal," Zurawski said. "But with the nitrous oxide, I was walking around and taking pictures almost right after."Both Goodoien and Zurawski said they didn't experience any adverse side effects.Nitrous oxide's possible side effects are usually just minor nuisances such as nausea, dizziness or drowsiness, medical experts told ABC News.Patients can also choose to stop or get an epidural at any time if they find they don't want the laughing gas.It's still early to tell how popular this new option will get, but in countries like New Zealand, about 70 percent of women in labor choose to use laughing gas, Dixon said."When I was working in New Zealand, I told one of my patients, [laughing gas] wasn't really used in the U.S. and you know what she said?" Dixon asked. "'I thought they have everything in America!'"

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Mom Who ‘Burned’ After Taking Friend’s Medicine Leaves Hospital

Mom Who ‘Burned’ After Taking Friend’s Medicine Leaves Hospital

KABC(LOS ANGELES) -- A young mother has finally left intensive care after months battling a rare-but-serious reaction to a friend's prescription antibiotics that caused her to "burn" from the inside out on the day after Thanksgiving.Yassmeen Castanada, 19, spent 52 days in the University of California Irvine's burn unit after she was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare drug reaction that can even occur when drugs are prescribed by a doctor. She returned to her Fresno, California, home on Wednesday, where her 5-month-old daughter was waiting for her."She needs to be home with her family, her baby," Castanada's mother, Laura Corona, told ABC News' Los Angeles station KABC-TV. "I know she'll recover. She's really strong. She has a lot of will to live."More than 90 percent of Castanada's body is still affected, according to KABC. And she has a tube in her trachea to help her breathe because her throat was closing.Castanada wasn't feeling well on Thanksgiving, so she took a pill that her friend had left over from a previous illness. Soon, Castanada's eyes, nose and throat began to burn, and she was rushed to the emergency room, Corona said. Her body erupted in blisters over the next few days, and she had to be sedated and placed on a ventilator, she added."Her face changed within four days," Corona told ABC News. "I would wipe her face and all the skin was just falling off."Patients with Stevens-Johnson syndrome don't really have burns, said Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatology professor at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan who was not involved in treating Castanada."You're not truly burned, but what happens is you have compromised the skin barrier function," Zeichner said.Inflammation and blistering occur on the outer layer of skin as well as the lips, eyes and genitals, leaving the patient vulnerable to infection and unable to properly balance electrolytes and stay hydrated, Zeichner said. As such, these patients are treated like burn victims."You get very painful lesions on your skin that are basically blisters," said Neil MacKinnon, dean of the University of Cincinnati's Winkle College of Pharmacy. "Your whole body is in excruciating pain."Castanada was eventually transferred to the University of California Irvine's burn unit, where doctors said more than 70 percent of her body was damaged, Corona said. She's undergone several surgeries to remove damaged skin and help new skin grow back. But then she got a blood infection, a urine infection and an infection in her throat, Corona told KABC.Zeichner said he sees Steven-Johnson syndrome most often with antibiotics, but MacKinnon said this sometimes-fatal reaction is different from most reactions to antibiotics, which are usually limited to gastrointestinal symptoms."Unfortunately, we have no way of predicting who would have this type reaction," Zeichner said, advising that patients only take prescriptions given to them by their doctors.He said they should report any reactions following new medicines immediately to their doctors and, if necessary, go to the emergency room."Heartbreaking, just unreal," Corona told KABC shortly after Castanada's ordeal began. "Just watching your daughter burn in front of you, literally burn in front of you."

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‘Deflate-gate’ Is Scientifically Plausible, Physicist Says

‘Deflate-gate’ Is Scientifically Plausible, Physicist Says

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- If the NFL's New England Patriots did deflate their game balls, even slightly, it would have given them an advantage during their playoff win this past weekend, said Chang Kee Jung, who teaches a course on the physics of sports at Stony Brook University in Long Island, New York.Ninety percent of the time, you want a ball that’s properly pumped to give you the furthest throwing trajectory, Jung said. But when in bad weather, a squishier ball is easier to throw and catch.“On cold days, a fully inflated ball is...hard as a brick,” he said. “Having a softer ball would allow the quarterback to throw more accurately in a tighter spiral and make it easier for the receiver to catch.”If a quarterback has small hands, a mushier ball would offer even more of an edge in the rain, making it easier for him to grip, Jung added.

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What Your Tweets May Say About Your Heart Health

What Your Tweets May Say About Your Heart Health

iStock Editorial(PHILADELPHIA) -- Tweeting a lot of four-letter words about how miserable you are or how much you hate stuff? It may offer a glimpse into your heart health, new research shows.University of Pennsylvania researchers studied 140 million random tweets from 2009 and 2010, and learned that what people said on the social media site correlated with heart disease mortality rates where those tweets originated. Twitter data also served as a window into psychological status, said lead researcher Johannes Eichstaedt, a Ph.D. candidate at the university."The single most predictive feature -- the single word predictor of heart disease -- is 'hate,'" Eichstaedt said. "You couldn't make this up."The study was published this week in the journal Psychological Science.Eichstaedt said communities where people tweeted more about hostility, hatred and fatigue were also more likely to have higher rates of heart disease, according to data from Twitter and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On the flip side, areas where people tweeted about optimism seemed to have lower rates of heart disease, he said.The researchers did not have access to the health status of individual Twitter users.Having a reason to get out of bed in the morning seemed to be a protective factor when it came to heart disease, but the data predates the "#blessed" Twitter trend, Eichstaedt said. Getting the data from the social media giant today would be much more difficult and expensive, he said.Cardiologist Dr. Sahil Parikh, at UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, said he applauds the researchers' creativity but said readers should take the results with a "very large grain of salt."

He said it's "reasonable" to say that negative emotions related to stress can predict heart disease events because there's a significant body of research to back that up. But the age difference between social media users and people having heart attacks doesn't match up, he noted.Men are considered more at risk for heart disease and heart attacks when they reach 55 years old, and women are considered more at risk at 65 years old, Parikh said."I don’t know how many 65-, 75-year-old women are out there tweeting," he said. "While there might be a lot of angry young people in a a certain area, I'm not sure how well that correlates with emotional well-being in those who are older and not Twitter users."Eichstaedt said his team's research piggybacked on research about word frequency and psychological insight as well as their own work analyzing social media data. Eichstaedt's next project will be to see whether the Twitter data has any indication for other health issues, such as diabetes and cancer.

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Woman Repays Kindness of Adoptive Father by Donating Kidney to Him

Woman Repays Kindness of Adoptive Father by Donating Kidney to Him

Brandi Hicks(NEW YORK) -- Brandi Hicks said she learned selflessness and the spirit of giving from her adoptive parents starting from when she was 6 months old and they took her in. Thirty years later, she's giving back by donating her kidney to the man she knows only as "dad."Even though the two aren't biologically related, Hicks' kidney was a match for her father, Larry Hicks, 71. And she didn't hesitate to go under the knife for him."This is how they raised us," Hicks, 30, said of her adoptive parents. Her late brother died in 2004. "We believe that you treat others how you want to be treated."Hicks said she offered to give her father a kidney five years ago because he was on dialysis, but he said he wouldn't let her because she'd just had a little boy.

Last summer, he asked her if she was still willing to do it, and she didn't hesitate to say yes, she recalled. They underwent their respective surgeries on Tuesday, and when Hicks visited her father on Wednesday, she said he looked completely different."He had the biggest smile came on his face," Hicks said. "He looks at least 20 to 30 times better."Not only do kidneys from living donors last longer than those from deceased donors, but transplants are "life-changing" to people who have been on dialysis, said Dr. David Shaffer, chief of kidney and pancreas transplantation at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where the surgeries took place.And the sooner someone can get off dialysis, the better their prognosis, he said.Kidney transplants from people who aren't related aren't perfect matches, but they work as long as their blood types match, Shaffer said.Of the 24,383 kidney transplants that took place in 2014, 4,777 came from living donors, according to data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, the organization under contract with the federal government to allocate organs and manage transplant waiting lists.

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Bacon and Kale Lose Favor with Americans

Bacon and Kale Lose Favor with Americans

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Who liked kale in the first place?The leafy vegetable is not so popular anymore with Americans, according to Zagat's 2015 National Dining Trends Survey of over 10,700 diners across 17 major American cities.Just 27 percent of respondents said they loved kale while 36 percent admitted that they're "over it."  The rest don't mind kale or have no opinion about it.Perhaps even more surprising is America's attitude toward bacon. Thirty-four percent in the Zagat survey claim they're "over" bacon while 28 percent still profess a love for the pork product.But the biggest shocker of all is that a majority of people either love or don't mind Brussels sprouts. Only 18 percent said they were "over it."The survey also found that the average amount spent on dinner at a restaurant was $39.40 and 81 percent of respondents have sent food back to the kitchen. The same percentage admitted they've eavesdropped on other diners' conversations.

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College Freshmen’s Grades Hurt Most by Time on Facebook

College Freshmen’s Grades Hurt Most by Time on Facebook

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(AMES, Iowa) — One thing that new college students might hear from their parents as they head off to school is to focus on their grades and not to spend so much time on Facebook.Well, it’s wishful thinking on the part of mom and dad but does time spent on Facebook really hurt a college freshman’s GPA?  The answer is complicated, according to Iowa State University researcher Reynol Junco.He says that compared to the other levels of college, freshman are hurt most by their time on Facebook when it comes to GPA as time spent on the social networking site often occurred while they’re doing schoolwork.However, Junco says their grades are hurt, not so much by going on Facebook, but due to adjustment problems that come from being away from home for the first time and not having someone telling them frequently what to do.Meanwhile, as students continue on their way up through college, Facebook’s effect on grades wanes. By the time they become seniors, there was no noticeable relationship between Facebook and GPA.In fact, Junco goes as far to say that being online with friends seemed to have a positive impact on GPA.

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