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Mystery Stomach Bug Shuts Down Washington Lake

Mystery Stomach Bug Shuts Down Washington Lake

Photodisc/Thinkstock(BREMERTON, Wash.) — A mysterious stomach bug has shut down a lake in Kitsap County, Washington, where more than 200 weekend swimmers are coping with cramps, nausea and diarrhea.Health officials are calling the outbreak at Horseshoe Lake “norovirus-like” as they await test results, according to a statement from the Kitsap Public Health District. The number of sickened swimmers was revised to 202 Tuesday, up from 20 Monday.
The lake has been close until further notice.“Although there is no laboratory confirmation of a specific virus or bacteria responsible for the illnesses at this time, Public Health and Kitsap County are issuing the temporary closure as a precautionary measure while they investigate and to protect the public and prevent any additional illnesses,” the statement reads.Norovirus is highly contagious, spreading through food, liquid and surfaces that are contaminated with infected feces or vomit, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There’s no specific treatment, so the CDC recommends staying hydrated for the duration of symptoms, which is usually one to three days.Kitsap County health officials are asking people who visited Horseshoe Lake between July 10 and July 13 to report any symptoms to the Public Health District and seek medical attention if they persist for more than 24 hours. They’re also urging “diligent and frequent hand-washing with warm water and soap” to prevent the spread of the illness.
 

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Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic Tops List of Best US Hospitals

Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic Tops List of Best US Hospitals

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The US News and World Report on Tuesday released its annual ranking of the nation’s top hospitals, sprinkled from coast to coast. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, took the No. 1 spot — for the first time — followed by Boston’s Mass General; Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins; the Cleveland Clinic; and the UCLA Medical Center.To see how your area hospital measured up, click here for the report’s complete list.
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Kristin Cavallari Drops 20 Pounds Two Months After Giving Birth

Kristin Cavallari Drops 20 Pounds Two Months After Giving Birth

Jonathan Clay Harris/E!(LOS ANGELES) — Kristin Cavallari gave birth to her second son, Jax, in May. However, she’s already dropped 20 pounds and is close to reaching her pre-pregnancy weight.”I’m still a couple of pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight, but it took a solid three months with [my 23-month-old son] Camden and I think it will be the same this time,” the former reality TV star told E! News. “I’ve really been focusing on my legs and butt. My stomach needs the most work but that takes time more than anything and diet plays a huge role.”Cavallari, 27, who married NFL quarterback Jay Cutler last year, said that her workout regimen includes four to five workouts at home each week, including squats, lunges and weight lifting. In the next few weeks, she’ll begin taking Pilates classes.Meanwhile, her diet, chock full of organic veggies, chicken, beef, bison and fish, has remained the same.”I either make a smoothie, oatmeal or eggs for breakfast and a salad or turkey sandwich for lunch. I have a snack in the afternoon — usually nuts with dried cherries, chips with hummus, or an apple and almond butter,” she said. “I also love avocados with olive oil and sea salt and I put coconut oil in or on everything.”While getting in shape has helped her maintain the energy required to keep up with two growing boys, the former reality TV star also gushed that she was excited to fit into non-maternity clothes again.”I couldn’t wait to wear this…romper,” she gushed. “Anything with a waist!”
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Why Americans Refrigerate Eggs and Europeans Don’t

Why Americans Refrigerate Eggs and Europeans Don’t

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Why is it that European eggs are stored on supermarket shelves while American eggs chill in the cold section? The difference, experts say, has to do with the egg production process.Unlike European eggs, American eggs are washed and sprayed with a sanitizer immediately after collection, then placed into a cooler. Bringing the eggs back to room temperature would increase the chance of bacterial growth, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s egg grading manual.
Bottom line: Americans have to refrigerate their eggs because their egg distributors do.But even eggs that are clean on the surface can harbor unsafe bacteria, said Marianne Gravely, a technical expert with USDA’s food safety hotline.“Up until about 20 years ago, we thought inside the egg was safe. But then we discovered that the chicken can pass salmonella infection through its ovaries to the egg,” she said, explaining that refrigerating eggs is any easy safeguard against bacteria wherever you live. Cooking eggs thoroughly also reduces the risk of foodborne illness, according to the USDA.Though American eggs need to chill, these four foods are probably taking up space in your fridge when they can be stored safely on the counter:ButterSome people prefer to keep butter at room temperature because it spreads more easily. Gravely said that’s OK, though it might spoil more quickly.There are two types of foodborne bacteria: those that cause illness and those that spoil food but don’t make you sick. Butter is more prone to the spoiling variety, Gravely said. She recommends keeping half a stick out on the counter and storing the rest in the fridge.Whole Grain FloursProcessed white flour doesn’t spoil at room temperature, Gravely said. Whole grain flours, on the other hand, do spoil because they contain more oil, she said.TomatoesKeeping tomatoes out of the fridge is not only safe, it makes them tastier, too.French researchers recently found that the tomato’s flavor results from a complex mix of sugars acids and aroma-producing compounds called volatiles. Chilling tomatoes causes volatiles to breakdown and damages the texture, rendering the fruit flavorless and pulpy.Most fruits and veggies are perfectly safe to eat when left at room temperature, Gravely said.CondimentsRefrigerating your mustard and ketchup will prevent them from going rancid for longer, but leaving them out won’t put you at risk for foodborne illness, Gravely said.
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Holly Robinson Peete on Her Daughter’s ADHD

Holly Robinson Peete on Her Daughter’s ADHD

David Livingston/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Holly Robinson Peete is helping spotlight attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in girls with a new public service announcement with her daughter Ryan.The 21 Jump Street actress and her daughter appear in the PSA, as part of a campaign to raise awareness about ADHD in girls. According to the campaign Keep Momming, girls are more likely than boys to experience inattentiveness as a symptom of ADHD than the more noticeable hyperactive and impulsive symptoms, sometimes making it more difficult to diagnose.Peete, a mother of four, was one of those parents who initially mistook her daughter’s lack of attentiveness for something else.“I was trying to fix all the things that were going on, especially when it came to Ryan’s daydreaming and inability to focus on her homework,” Peete says in the PSA. “There were tears — a lot of tears.”Adds Ryan in the PSA, “It was really frustrating to get my mom to understand really what I was going through.”Peete then says, “That’s when I thought there must be something else going on. So that’s when we talked to a doctor and she was diagnosed with ADHD.”Since then, things have gotten “a lot easier,” Ryan says in the PSA.Peete, who has openly shared about the challenges of raising her autistic son RJ, Ryan’s twin brother, said that in some ways, she was harder on her daughter.“With mothers and daughters it’s a very different dynamic,” she said in behind-the-scenes footage. “We see ourselves in our daughters. We want them to be a certain way. We get more frustrated with our girls if they’re not acting a certain way.”She added, “You have to stop and listen and take these esoteric moments and look your daughter in the eye and say, ‘Sweetie, what are you feeling? What’s going on in your life?”Said Peete, “As a mom, all we want to do is provide answers for our kids.”Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Calorie Info on Menus Mostly Seen But Often Not Heeded

Calorie Info on Menus Mostly Seen But Often Not Heeded

Jamie Rector/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — Mandated calorie information on menus is meant to help diners make more informed decisions about their food selections, preferably steering them toward healthier choices.The good news, according to a poll conducted by the government of 10,000 people in 17 states, is that 97 percent of restaurant goers actually either see or look for this crucial data on menus.However, about 43 percent of respondents to the survey published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report admit they ignore calorie information when ordering a meal.Meanwhile, women are far more apt to actually use calorie info than men in restaurants, 67 percent to 47 percent, the survey found.It was in 2010 that the government mandated that restaurants with 20 or more establishments feature caloric information on their menus.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Widowhood Might Delay Dementia’s Onset

Widowhood Might Delay Dementia’s Onset

iStock/Thinkstock(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) — As strange as it seems, there may be a hidden benefit to becoming a widow.Dr. Bryan Woodruff, an assistant professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, says that elderly women who lose their husbands may actually stave off the onset of dementia considerably longer than their married counterparts.Woodruff studied 3,800 married men and women who began to show some brain decline and was astounded to learn that widowed women progressed to full-blown dementia at age 93, about a decade later than women who hadn’t lost a spouse.More research will be necessary to explain and verify the findings, but Woodruff espouses at least one theory as to why this occurs. He suggests that the support and attention widows receive “trumps the widowhood effects we see in other conditions,” such as depression and the so-called “broken heart” syndrome.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Why Doctors Oppose Criminalizing Drug Use During Pregnancy

Why Doctors Oppose Criminalizing Drug Use During Pregnancy

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Though the first mother has been charged under a new Tennessee law that makes it a crime to use drugs while pregnant, many of the most respected medical groups have opposed the criminalization of drug use during pregnancy for decades, claiming it might actually deter women from seeking prenatal care and addiction treatment. Deputies arrested Mallory Loyola, 26, last Tuesday as she was being discharged from UT Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, two days after giving birth. She was charged with misdemeanor assault after her newborn allegedly tested positive for meth, making her the first woman to be charged under the new law. Loyola could face a year in jail. “Anytime someone is addicted and they can’t get off for their own child, their own flesh and blood, it’s sad,” Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens told ABC affiliate WATE. But experts say it’s not that simple. “Virtually every state” has considered a bill like the law that led to Loyola’s arrest, but they didn’t pass it because medical groups advised against doing so, said Lynn Paltrow, executive director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women. “They all deter women from care,” Paltrow said. “If you think that by getting care, you’re going to get arrested or have your kid taken away or get locked up in a mental institution, chances are you’re not going to come in. Or you’ll come in and not be honest.” Dr. Ruth Faden, who directs the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, said that instead of giving addicted new mothers access to treatment to help them be better moms, the law rips them from their newborns, which isn’t in the best interest of the child. “There is very little support among experts that laws of this kind actually improve outcomes for mothers or babies,” Faden said. “Putting them [the mothers] in jail does nothing.” As far back as 1990, the American Academy of Pediatrics, March of Dimes and the American Medical Association each wrote in separate medical journals that arresting pregnant, drug-addicted women would discourage mothers-to-be from seeking treatment for fear that a medical record of their situation could lead to jail time. In 2011, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wrote that these women shouldn’t be exposed to penalties under policies that treat addiction as a “moral failing.” They countered in their committee opinion piece that addiction is a, “chronic, relapsing biological and behavioral disorder with genetic components.” Still, the Tennessee Medical Association supported the law that put Loyola behind bars to an extent. “Right or wrong, at least we are doing something in Tennessee to try to deal with NAS [Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome],” Tennessee Medical Association President Dr. Douglas Springer wrote in an op-ed about the new law in May. Springer said Tennessee has an “alarming” problem with narcotics addiction and babies, citing 855 newborns who suffered from withdrawal in the state last year alone. “The Tennessee Medical Association has pushed for solutions because narcotics addiction — in babies or adults — is a disease that cries for medical intervention,” he wrote in the op-ed. “Babies born with NAS require prolonged treatment, usually in a hospital setting, with complicated medical issues and high-risk deliveries. “Tennessee physicians like me remain concerned, however, that the new law will have unintended consequences,” Springer said. “If misinformed mothers do not seek prenatal care for fear of prosecution or losing their babies, then an already dreadful situation will worsen.” The law will expire in two years, allowing experts to gather data to determine whether it helped or harmed mothers and their children. Still, Paltrow is concerned about pregnant women losing their civil rights. Though Loyola is the first woman to be arrested under the new Tennessee law, pregnant, drug-addicted women elsewhere have been arrested for years on charges of child abuse, giving drugs to a minor and other crimes without a specific state law to back them up. But in most cases, the states’ highest courts overturn the charges. In a study Paltrow conducted with a Fordham University professor last year, she found 413 cases between 1973 and 2005 in which “pregnancy was a necessary element” and consequences included “arrests; incarceration; increases in prison or jail sentences; detentions in hospitals, mental institutions and drug treatment programs; and forced medical interventions, including surgery.” Not all of them involved drugs, but many did. Paltrow noted that the crime under the new Tennessee law isn’t just drug use, given that drug use is almost never criminalized, though drug possession is criminalized. A ket part of the crime is being pregnant. “What all these cases really are about is this profound question: Is there a point in pregnancy when women lose their civil rights?” she said. “There’s this notion increasingly for women that by carrying a fertilized egg, she can be subject to unique and certain penalties, punishment and control.”
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Modern-Day Nanny Says Fear Is Parents’ Biggest Problem

Modern-Day Nanny Says Fear Is Parents’ Biggest Problem

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Emma Jenner is a sort of modern-day Mary Poppins. She’s a proper British nanny with a fresh take on old-fashioned common sense, and she believes modern parenting is in crisis.Jenner, who has worked in homes and even starred in the TLC show Take Home Nanny, is sharing straight talk and advice in her new book Keep Calm and Parent On: A Guilt-Free Approach to Raising Children by Asking More from Them and Doing Less.In an interview with ABC News’ Deborah Roberts, Jenner said parents’ first big problem is fear.”I see a lot of moms, you know, I see fear in their body language, in their face,” Jenner said. “You know kids are clever, they know, ‘Gosh, if I throw a tantrum right now then my mom’s going to give me exactly what I want.’ So that’s what they do.”Jenner said parents allow bad behavior because expectations are lower.”I feel that children are capable of so much more than we expect of them today,” she said.And iPads and other electronic devices that are used to keep children quiet in restaurants are shortcuts that parents should not take, Jenner said.What parents should do instead is show their children how to behave, Jenner said.
“If children don’t comply, tell them, ‘Then we’re leaving … you’re done with dinner and we’re leaving the restaurant because you’re not going to ruin it for everyone in the restaurant.’ And you leave,” she said.What’s worse, she said, is that parents nowadays don’t seem to want to get involved in another family’s troubles, leaving many others without community support.Jenner said parents must be willing to set boundaries, stand firm and remind their children that parents are the ones in charge.And after 17 years of caring for the children of others, Jenner is having a baby of her own.Asked whether she would remember to practice what she preaches, she replied: “I am indeed, at least I hope so.”Jenner’s book will be available on Tuesday.
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Actress Amber Valletta: I’ve Been an Addict Since I Was 8 Years Old

Actress Amber Valletta: I’ve Been an Addict Since I Was 8 Years Old

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Hitch star and former model Amber Valletta, 40, has decided to open up about her bouts with alcohol and drug addiction.She spoke with an audience for MindBodyGreen for a piece called “How I Live with Addiction Every Day: Amber Valletta” and revealed her battle with addiction has been ongoing since she was 8 years old.”I’m coming out to you today,” Valletta told the audience. “I coming out to you today as an addict. … I’ve had it for as long as I can remember.””My hope is that someone, somewhere in this room, out of this room will hear something that will help them and perhaps get them out of the shadows and the darkness of addiction and bring them into the light,” she said of why she decided to reveal this addiction.Valletta said she started with drugs and alcohol because she was “predisposed for it” and that it’s genetic.”Once you kind of feed the monster, there’s a switch and it takes hold,” she said, saying that at 8 years old, she started trying to get outside herself. “I sniffed markers, I sniffed glue, fingernail polish, anything that could give me a buzz … then I found drugs that were around the culture of my family.”The actress added that she had been high from marijuana by age 10, but that she only blames herself.”I’m not a victim, I do not blame my parents,” she said. “I’m uncomfortable, I’m uncomfortable being a human being.”By the time Valletta was 18, she moved to Europe “and I found cocaine and alcohol and I was good to go.”Valletta added that she’s from Oklahoma and as a full-time model she said she was socially inept and “I couldn’t manage my feelings, so I had to take something to manage my feelings.”She explained how she could have lost everything at 22 years old, at the top of her game and a big-time model.”I had a multi-million [dollar] deal and I showed up the first day to shoot this campaign high and drunk,” she revealed. “Addiction takes you to the worst places. I showed up to my uncle’s bedside and he was dying and I was still high, still drunk and looking for a place to go do another line.”Valletta said she got sober at 25, because “I didn’t want to die.”Valletta stressed that addiction doesn’t discriminate and that you can’t just “buck up” and not drink that beer or do drugs.”It doesn’t allow you to stop on sheer will power,” she said.Valletta has sought out programs, support, along with being “humble” and praying to stay sober 15 years later. She’s also helped other people recover from addiction.”I had to be willing to lift the veil off the shame and say, ‘I’m addict, I can’t do this alone, I don’t want to do this alone, I don’t feel comfortable, can you help me?’” she said, breaking down a bit. “I needed help from other people, so that’s the way I stay sober.”
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Colorado Dog Battles Cancer to Live ‘Happily Every Day’

Colorado Dog Battles Cancer to Live ‘Happily Every Day’

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Colorado owner of a rescued shelter dog battling cancer refuses to believe her dog has only six months left and will make sure the American bulldog mix “lives happily every day.”Judy Jaros first noticed 5-year-old Marsha at the Humane Society of the South Platte Valley in July 2013. Jaros was a volunteer dog walker at the facility and Marsha had been living in the shelter for a while.“Our shelter is a low-kill shelter. We don’t put down animals just because they can’t find homes,” Jaros said. “When you know dogs for that long, you bond with them.”Among all the dogs at the Littleton center, Marsha’s energy first caught Jaros’ attention, and then won her heart. Jaros decided to give Marsha a permanent home.
“I noticed that she had some lumps on her sides,” Jaros told ABC News. “So I took her to the vet.”The veterinarian did a check on Marsha and confirmed that she had cancer.“I thought to myself, ‘This could be a very expensive adoption,’” Jaros said. “But if we don’t adopt her, she will never have good medical care.”Love conquered Jaros’ fear, and Marsha was brought back to Jaros’ home this January.“She had a surgery in March, and the vet said the prognosis was not great,” Jaros said. “They estimated that she has about six months left.”Jaros said she doesn’t believe that estimation. The cancer cells have moved to Marsha’s lymph nodes, but Jaros said she is not seeing any discomfort in Marsha.Before the adoption, Marsha was at the shelter, recovering from a former life that had left her battered and nearly broken.“She had so many problems when she came in. She had an infection, she had a broken toe, she had a bullet in her elbow,” Jaros said.But with the love and care from the Jaros family, Marsha is recovering well and embracing her new life.“She is the happiest dog you will ever meet,” Jaros said. “We take her walking, hiking, camping and fishing. She has play dates with her favorite dog friends.”“Her whole body wags, not just her tail,” Jaros said. “She will be so happy to see you even if you were just gone for 10 minutes.”Jaros said catching mice and lizards in fields with tall grasses is Marsha’s favorite thing to do.“My husband and I have looked into ways to boost her immune system,” Jaros said. “We give her supplements made for slowing cancer growth.”
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49ers Stadium Will Be Most Vegan Friendly in America

49ers Stadium Will Be Most Vegan Friendly in America

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — “Get your hot dog, your vegan-friendly hot dog.”That’s the chant that vendors at Levi’s Stadium, home to the San Francisco 49ers, might be yelling to customers this fall as the stadium overhauls its menu to become the most vegan-friendly arena in America.The stadium’s catering company, Centerplate, unveiled the new menu this month and showed off some of the vegan options, including the vegan frank and an Asian-inspired Portobello mushroom steamed bun, according to ABC News station KGO.“We are going to be the most vegan-friendly stadium in the entire sports industry,” Zach Hensely, manager of Centerplate, told the San Francisco Chronicle, which reported that there would be more than 30 vegan options at the stadium, including one at every permanent stand.The stadium is also going to source 85 percent of its ingredients from California, many from an even smaller radius around Santa Clara, according to the Chronicle.Other features include more than 1,000 beer taps and wood-fired ovens for pizzas, according to KGO.
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Warm Weather Stirs Up Brain-Eating Amoeba Warning

Warm Weather Stirs Up Brain-Eating Amoeba Warning

iStock/Thinkstock(JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan.) — Kansas health officials are urging swimmers to take extra care in warm freshwater, which could be home to millions of microscopic killers.A 9-year-old Johnson County girl is the latest victim of Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba that lurks in warm, standing water. The girl died July 9 from primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, an extremely rare but almost invariably fatal brain infection.“We are very saddened to learn of this unfortunate circumstance, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends during this difficult time,” state health officer Dr. Robert Moser said in a statement. “It is important for the public to know that infections like these are extremely rare and there are precautions one can take to lower their risk — such as nose plugs.”Naegleria fowleri enters the body through the nose, causing a severe frontal headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Early symptoms give way to seizures, confusion and hallucinations as the amoeba migrates through the nasal cavity to the brain.“After the start of symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly and usually causes death within about five days,” the CDC website reads.Of 132 people infected with Naegleria fowleri in the United States between 1962 and 2013, only three have survived, according to the CDC. One survivor, a 12-year-old girl infected in 2013, was diagnosed early and treated with “therapeutic hypothermia” and the experimental drug miltefosine.“Her recovery has been attributed to early diagnosis and treatment,” the CDC website reads.But spotting the signs of the infection is tricky, because tests to detect the rare infection are available in only a few laboratories in the United States.
“Because of the rarity of the infection and difficulty in initial detection, about 75 percent of diagnoses are made after the death of the patient,” the agency adds.The infection is most common in 15 southern-tier states, “with more than half of all infections occurring in Texas and Florida,” officials say. Three-quarters of all U.S. cases have been linked to swimming in freshwater lakes and rivers, but infections have also been associated with slip-n-slides, bathtubs and neti pots. The infection is not contagious and can’t be contracted from a properly chlorinated pool or saltwater. The CDC recommends the following tips for summer swimmers:

Avoid getting water up your nose by holding your nose shut, using nose clips or keeping your head above water when swimming or splashing in warm freshwater.
Avoid submerging your head in hot springs and other untreated thermal waters.
Avoid stirring up sediment in shallow, warm freshwater areas.

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Stress Eating Linked to 11 Extra Pounds a Year for Women

Stress Eating Linked to 11 Extra Pounds a Year for Women

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Turning to food for comfort is a familiar habit for many, but a recent study shows that stress eating can lead to extra pounds and fewer calories burned. Women who reported at least one stressor before eating a high-fat meal lost 104 fewer calories compared to those who weren’t stressed, according to a report in the journal Biological Psychiatry. The same participants also had higher levels of insulin, which contributes to fat storage, researchers said. “When we’re stressed we tend to reach for the comfort foods and so it really is kind of a double-whammy,” said Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, lead author and psychology professor at Ohio State College of Medicine. “Those are the foods we reach for and those are the very foods that with stress are more likely to slow metabolism.”The body burns calories more slowly after a stressful event, and combined with high-fat meals, it can add up to as many as 11 extra pounds annually. The study out of Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center looked at 58 healthy women who ate meals that included 930 calories and 60 grams of fat — comparable to fast food options like Burger King’s Double Whopper with cheese. Still, some experts take a more holistic approach to the data, saying people should be careful of what they eat, particularly when it comes to processed foods. “They’re high in fat, they’re high in sugar, they’re high in calories. That’s probably not a shock. What we now know conclusively is that they activate the reward centers in the brain that are the same centers that are activated when people use drugs,” said ABC News Senior Medical Contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton. “And you know, we can’t avoid stress, so it’s all a matter of coping.  Meditation is a great way to do it.”So if you’re looking to binge on some Oreos after a difficult day, have a glass of water first to balance it out, Ashton adds.
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Kristen Johnston Reveals Severity of Lupus, Grateful for Improvement

Kristen Johnston Reveals Severity of Lupus, Grateful for Improvement

Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Lupus LA(NEW YORK) — Actress Kristen Johnston is sharing details about her battle with lupus, saying the condition was so debilitating for her that she felt she was “swimming in molasses.”Johnston, who starred on the hit sitcom 3rd Rock From the Sun and now appears in TV Lands’ sitcom The Exes, said in an interview with People magazine that she realized something was wrong last summer when she had trouble climbing the stairs.It took visits to 17 doctors before Johnston, 46, had the correct diagnosis: lupus myelitis, a rare form of the disease that affects the spinal cord.The actress was treated with chemo and steroids and was in remission six months later, she told People.The illness affected her so badly she couldn’t lift her neck without a brace. “If I had to live like that forever, I would have killed myself,” she told People.Johnston’s doctor, rheumatologist Daniel J. Wallace, said the actress would have ended up a quadriplegic had treatment been delayed much longer.Now, she’s grateful for her health turnaround. “Every single day is a gift, and I don’t take one second of it for granted,” she said.In December the actress posted on her Facebook page to let her fans know that she would miss two episodes of the show because of the illness.Johnston has acknowledged having struggled for years with alcohol and drug addictions. In a video on People magazine’s website, Johnston said sobriety was one of the hardest things anyone could do.”Everything was always masked by drugs and alcohol, so to go through this terrible experience it’s — I don’t know, I’m just a really happy human being. I’m just very grateful, very grateful,” she said.
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Elderly Americans More Comfortable with Their Appearance

Elderly Americans More Comfortable with Their Appearance

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Getting older can be a source of dread for many, but one poll suggests the elderly seem to be a lot more comfortable with their looks compared to younger groups. Gallup asked 85,000 adults if they “agree” or “strongly agree” about always feeling good about their appearance, and 66 percent of those 65 or older chose one of those options.Meanwhile, only 54 percent in the 35-64 age group said they “agree” or “strongly agree” with feeling happy about their looks, while 61 percent of those 18-to-34 concurred with the statement.As for gender, men were more confident about their appearance than women until much later in life, while African Americans and Hispanic Americans liked the way they looked more so than either Asian Americans or whites.
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Colbie Caillat’s New Video Takes on Beauty Ideals

Colbie Caillat’s New Video Takes on Beauty Ideals

Republic Records(NEW YORK) — Singer Colbie Caillat’s new video is sending a powerful message to women about their appearance and society’s expectations of beauty.In the song “Try,” Caillat — a pop singer/songwriter whose hits include “Lucky” and “Bub…

Framing Exercise as Fun May Hold Key to Losing Weight, Study Says

Framing Exercise as Fun May Hold Key to Losing Weight, Study Says

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A study undertaken by researchers from Cornell University found that the more fun you have during a workout, the less you’ll eat afterwards.The study, published in the journal Marketing Letters, involved two experiments in which researchers tested how much adults ate following a period of exercise. In the first experiment, 56 adults were led on a 1.4 mile walk. The walk was alternately called either an “exercise walk” or a “scenic walk,” and afterwards, those who believed it was an “exercise walk” ate 35 percent more chocolate pudding for dessert than those who believed they had been on a “scenic walk.”In the second experiment, under similar parameters, those who were told they had been on an exercise walk ate 124 percent more calories of candy provided to them than those who were told they were on a scenic walk.Researchers believe their findings show that one of the reasons people involved in exercise programs may gain weight is because they reward themselves with food after working out.The key, researchers say, is to make exercise enjoyable. Among other suggestions, they note that individuals planning to begin an exercise routing to help them lose weight should try listening to music during a run, making phone calls during a walk, or watching a video during a treadmill routine.
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Study: Reducing Alcohol Consumption Could Improve Heart Health

Study: Reducing Alcohol Consumption Could Improve Heart Health

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study conducted by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that a reduction in alcohol consumption could lead to improved heart health.The study, published in the journal BMJ, looked at data from 50 previous studies that included information on over 260,000 individuals. Among those individuals who have a specific genetic variant linked to lower alcohol consumption, researchers found improved cardiovascular health. The study’s authors say that their findings suggests that reducing alcohol consumption — even for light to moderate drinkers — may be beneficial for heart health.Alcohol is among the leading risk factors for death and disability. Individuals who drink less alcohol had about a 10 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease. They also typically had lower blood pressure and a lower body mass index. The genetic variant that researchers used as a benchmark in their study typically break down alcohol more slowly, causing “unpleasant symptoms,” which previous studies have shown is linked to diminished alcohol consumption.
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National Blood Drive Protests Ban on Gay Donors

National Blood Drive Protests Ban on Gay Donors

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For the second year in a row, groups held a national blood drive to protest the ban against gay and bisexual men donating blood. Grassroots organizations collaborated Friday to draw attention to the policy and call for change. While the American Medical Association says the policy is no longer necessary with improved HIV blood screening, federal officials have indicated that they’re willing to change the rules only if research shows no risk to recipients.
In Portland, Maine, allies donated blood in the names of men banned. “I’m at as much risk if I were being promiscuous or living in a different kind of lifestyle as anyone,” said participant Karen Ball. “…Pretty shocking to find out that most gay people can’t donate blood and I just thought that was horrible.”The campaign is pushing for at least 100,000 signatures to amend the policy. Some experts agree with the call for change, explaining that the ban is outdated. “HIV carries with it a lot of stigma with it no matter what and on top of that, in some parts of the country, being gay still carries stigma with it although that has gotten better,” said University of Alabama Birmingham professor Dr. Michael Saag. “…The tests are much, much better and we don’t need that discrimination anymore.”
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