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The One Simple Diet Change to Shed Pounds

The One Simple Diet Change to Shed Pounds

Shaiith/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Diet plans can be a complex formula, but it turns out that one simple step may be all many people need to lose a moderate amount of weight.A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine recommends eating 30 grams of fiber per day. Researchers compared the American Heart Association diet with the fiber diet in around 240 participants with metabolic syndrome. At the end of the year, although the AHA group lost a bit more weight, the high fiber group did quite well and had near similar results to the AHA group. The high fiber group lost on average about four and a half pounds, while the AHA group lost a bit less than six pounds. Other measurements of health, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, were only slightly different between the groups at 12 months, with the AHA diet having a slightly greater improvement in these levels.

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Your Heart Attack Risk May Be Lower Than You Think

Your Heart Attack Risk May Be Lower Than You Think

BrianAJackson/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Your risk of heart attack might not be what your doctor tells you it is. Currently, doctors assess your risk for heart attack and stroke based on a variety of factors, such as smoking, cholesterol, blood pressure, and family history. Your doctor will then evaluate these factors with a risk assessment, or “calculator,” to determine your risk for a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years. However, new research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reveals these estimates may be missing the mark. After following nearly 7,000 patients for 10 years, researchers have found risk assessments or “calculators” used by doctors are overestimating patients’ risk for heart attack and heart disease by 30 to 150 percent.

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Shopping While Hungry Hazardous for Your Wallet

Shopping While Hungry Hazardous for Your Wallet

Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The advice to avoid shopping while hungry may not just apply to the grocery store.In a new study published in the journal PNAS, researchers studied 379 people and found that when they reported feeling hungry, they spent more money on non-food purchases than people who were not feeling hungry.The study’s authors believe that hunger is related to the concept of acquisition, which can then spill over in the non-food domain.

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Dentist Visit Tips Family Off to Daughter’s Grapefruit-Sized Tumor

Dentist Visit Tips Family Off to Daughter’s Grapefruit-Sized Tumor

Courtesy Woodward Family(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- A trip to the dentist saved an 11-year-old's life, tipping her doctors and mother off to a grapefruit-sized tumor that could have killed her. At a routine dental cleaning on Jan. 28, the hygienist told Journee Woodard's mother that the whites of Journee's eyes looked yellow, and suggested taking her to a doctor -- just in case. "I took her outside where there was more sunlight, and her eyes definitely looked yellow," Anna Woodard told ABC News. So she scheduled an appointment for the following Monday. Three days and several medical tests later, Woodard picked Journee up from school to take her to the doctor for an MRI, trying to keep her calm and informed at the same time. Doctors had found a mass, and though they didn't say it at the time, Woodard said they later told her they were expecting cancer. When the Woodards arrived at the Children's Hospital at the University of Oklahoma, Journee was admitted as a patient. "I could tell Journee was getting nervous, especially when we checked into the hospital Thursday night," Woodard said. "We assured her we weren't going to leave her side. And we stayed with her every night at the hospital from the time she was admitted until the time she was released." On Friday, Feb. 6, Journee underwent a 10-hour "Whipple" surgery to remove the tumor. It wasn't cancerous, but Woodard said doctors told her the tumor would have ruptured had they not caught it. Had this happened while Journee was sleeping, she could have gone septic and never woken up, Woodard said. And it could have happened while Journee, who plays basketball, was on the court. "It was one slide down the basketball court from rupturing," Woodard said. "We were that close." Doctors originally thought the surgery would be three hours, but they wound up needing to remove part of Journee's liver, pancreas, small intestine and stomach, Woodard said. They also had to remove her entire gallbladder. Then, they "rerouted everything," Woodard said. The Whipple procedure is necessary because the pancreas is so "integrated" with other organs, according to the Mayo Clinic. After spending a week recovering in the hospital, Journee got to return to her family's Edmond, Oklahoma, home on Thursday, but she's still hooked up to drains and intravenous lines, her mother said. She has IV nutrition and is unable to eat anything by mouth while her body recovers. And while she's lost the tumor and pieces of several organs, she hasn't lost her sense of humor. "I can still smell it!" she shouts at her family as they hover in the kitchen eating breakfast where she can't see. And though Journee couldn't play basketball on Saturday, she arrived to cheer on her team. The Children's Hospital confirmed that Journee was a patient from Feb. 5 through Feb. 12, and that she underwent a Whipple procedure.

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Dominatrix Whips Gym-Goers Into Shape for “Fifty-Shades”-Themed Class

Dominatrix Whips Gym-Goers Into Shape for “Fifty-Shades”-Themed Class

Courtesy Crunch(NEW YORK) -- A fitness instructor shouting instructions at her class doesn't sound so unusual, but when she's decked out as a dominatrix and has a crop in her hand, you get a Fifty Shades of Grey-themed workout that will whip you into shape -- and maybe make you blush. Crunch gyms in Miami, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco hosted special dominatrix-led workout classes called "Whipped: 50 Shades of Fitness," and they were a hit, said Donna Cyrus, senior vice president of programming at Crunch. The classes were packed, and some participants wore costumes to get into character. "Every now and then, I like to try something more fun and out of the box," Cyrus said, adding that the class blends traditional interval training with theatrics. "[The instructor] would say things like, 'If you don’t do these 20 push-ups, you're going to get whipped.'" Cyrus, who also founded one of the first cardio striptease classes after the 1996 movie Striptease came out, said she came up with the idea for "Whipped" three or four years ago and discovered that one of her New York yoga instructors, Melody Hardy, used to be a dominatrix in her "other life." So when it came time to revive the class for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie premiere, Cyrus said she knew she had the perfect person. "We all have two sides," Hardy said. The yoga instructor said her dominatrix name was Lady Absinthe, and she taught the "Whipped" class decked out in a leather outfit. "Being a fitness instructor and being a dominatrix are very similar," Hardy said with a laugh, "because I tell you what to do and I cause you pain and you pay money." Every instructor had their own take on the class, Cyrus said, adding that some instructors incorporated blindfolds into the workout and others instructed participants to crawl on their bellies to the other side of the room with a hint of sexual innuendo. "They don't even realize how hard they're working," Cyrus said of the participants. When she taught the class, Hardy said she walked around the room threatening to hit participants with her riding crop and, at one point, she made everyone start over because one man kept slacking. She stood behind another man, shouting "Get it up!" until he did his plank right, holding himself up with his abdominal muscles. Although there are no plans to make "Whipped" a more regular class, Miami Crunch is pushing for it, Cyrus said. Crunch wasn't the only gym to have a Fifty Shades of Grey-themed workout, but it may have been the only one to include a dominatrix instructor. Self magazine wrote of a "50 Shades of Glutes" workout, and British Olympian Louise Hazel taught a one-time-only Fifty Shades of Grey workout in London that involved ropes.

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What Aborted Fetuses Have to Do With Vaccines

What Aborted Fetuses Have to Do With Vaccines

Monkey Business/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A small but growing number of parents who object to vaccinating their children on religious grounds say they do so because many common vaccines are the product of cells that once belonged to aborted fetuses. There is a grain of truth to this statement. But even religious leaders, including a future pope, have said that shouldn't deter parents from vaccinating their children. Vaccine and Cell Line Science Some childhood vaccines, including the one against rubella -- which is part of the MMR vaccine given to millions of children worldwide for measles, mumps and rubella -- is cultured in "WI-38 human diploid lung fibroblasts," according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's fact sheet on the vaccine's ingredients. Merck, the vaccine's manufacturer, acknowledged that those cells were originally obtained from an electively aborted fetus. They were used to start a cell line, which is a cell multiplied over and over again to produce cells that are of a consistent genetic makeup. The WI-38 cell line is used as a culture to grow live viruses that are used in vaccines.Vaccines Developed Using Human Cell Strains "Merck, as well as other vaccine manufacturers, uses two well-established human cell lines to grow the virus for selected vaccines," Merck said in a statement to ABC News. "The FDA has approved the use of these cell lines for the production of these Merck vaccines." Other common vaccines, including those for chicken pox, hepatitis and rabies, are also propagated in cells originating from legally aborted human fetuses, according to the FDA. "These abortions, which occurred decades ago, were not undertaken with the intent of producing vaccines," said a spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers Disease Control and Prevention. The original cells were obtained more than 50 years ago and have been maintained under strict federal guidelines by the American Type Culture Collection, according to Merck. "These cell lines are now more than three generations removed from their origin, and we have not used any new tissue to produce these vaccines," the company added in its statement. To say that the vaccines contain a significant amount of human fetal tissue, as some objectors to the vaccines claim, is misleading, stressed Dr. Paul Offit, the director of the vaccine education center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "There are perhaps nanograms of DNA fragments still found in the vaccine, perhaps billionths of a gram," he said. "You would find as much if you analyzed the fruits and vegetables you eat." And to remove human fibroblast cells entirely from vaccines is out of the question, Offit explained, noting they are necessary because human viruses don't grow well in animal cells. "They have also been tested for safety and the fetal cells can go through many more divisions than most other cells before dying," he said. Ethical Considerations Religious organizations have sided in favor of vaccines as well, even those generally opposed to abortion. "We should always ask our physician whether the product he proposes for our use has an historical association with abortion," the National Catholic Bioethics Center states on its website, but then goes on to say "one is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion." "The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine," the center's position statement continued. "This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them." Offit said he was glad the Catholic Church supports vaccination. He noted it is particularly ironic to object to the rubella vaccine using fetal cells because Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI, commented on the subject in 2003, saying: "Universal vaccination has resulted in a considerable fall in the incidence of congenital rubella, with a general incidence reduced to less than 5 cases per 100,000 livebirths." In other words, Offit explained, the rubella virus increases the risk of spontaneous abortion. In the U.S., vaccination prevents up to 5,000 miscarriages each year in the U.S. alone, he said.

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Measles Continue to Spread, Reaching 141 Cases in 17 States

Measles Continue to Spread, Reaching 141 Cases in 17 States

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The measles outbreak isn't showing signs of waning yet, with 20 new cases in the last week, and there are now two separate outbreaks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reported on Monday that it had confirmed 141 cases of the measles since Jan. 1 as part of two separate outbreaks plus several additional cases not linked to those two outbreaks. As of Feb. 13, an outbreak linked to a group of unvaccinated people who visited Disneyland in December had 113 cases, another 10 cases were linked to a second outbreak, and 18 more cases weren't linked to a specific outbreak. The measles cases are heating up vaccine discussions nationwide, with daycare chain KinderCare changing its staff policies after several infants in one Illinois location were infected with the virus. Of the first 34 people with measles for whom the California Department of Public Health had vaccination records, only five had received both doses of the measles vaccine, as generally recommended, according to the agency. One received just the first dose. Nationally, officials are seeing the same trend, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, who directs the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Some of those 34 cases tracked by California may not be included in the 121 tally by the CDC because they were reported before Jan. 1. "This is not a problem with the measles vaccine not working," she said during a news conference Thursday. "This is a problem of the measles vaccine not being used." The CDC is seeing more adult cases of measles than usual during this outbreak, Schuchat said, adding that children are getting the virus, too. Cases have now been reported in 17 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington, according to the CDC. The agency issued a health advisory on Jan. 23, at which point the virus had only spread to six states beyond California and Mexico. The United States last year reported its highest number of measles cases in two decades, with 644 cases as part of 20 separate outbreaks, according to the CDC. Health officials attribute the spike to a measles outbreak in the Philippines and overseas travelers. The measles virus is contagious long before symptoms appear and it is airborne, which is what makes it so contagious, according to the CDC. One infected person with the measles can spread it to an average of 18 other people, and it can linger in the air and live on surfaces to spread after an infected person has left a room. Complications include hearing loss, pneumonia and swelling of the brain, according to the CDC. About one or two people out of every 1,000 people infected with the measles die of the virus.

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Why Body Builders Are Pounding Down Breast Milk

Why Body Builders Are Pounding Down Breast Milk

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Bodybuilders will try just about anything to build bulging biceps, including apparently, drinking breast milk.“It isn’t common, but I’ve known people who have done this. It’s certainly talked about quite a bit on the bodybuilding forums on the Internet,” said Brett Schoenfeld, a former competitive body builder and now an assistant professor of exercise science at CUNY Lehman College in New York City.But experts say human breast milk will not pump you up.“There is nothing specific in breast milk that will cause adults to gain muscle mass,” said Dr. Jacques Mortiz, the director of the division of gynecology at Mount Sinai Roosevelt in New York.While studies do indicate that breast milk has numerous advantages for newborns and infants, Mortiz said there are virtually no studies looking at what it can do for any adult, let alone bodybuilders. That’s because there is no scientific reason it should help.For example, if the idea is to take in more protein, one cup of breast milk contains 2.5 grams of protein per cup compared to 7.9 grams of protein in cow's milk, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Nutrition Database. It is also significantly higher in sugars and fat.It’s far more expensive than cow’s milk, too. A gallon of milk costs $3.44 cents on average, according to last week’s USDA’s National Retail Report. One ounce of breast milk from an Internet site costs up to $10 an ounce when purchased from a site such as onlythebreast.com or eatsonfeets.com.Because of poor collection, storage and shipping practices, milk from unregulated breast milk Internet sites is also more likely to be contaminated than milk donated to regulated milk banks.One recent study found that 89 percent of breast milk purchased over the Internet arrived above the recommended freezer temperature which potentially upped the risk of contamination. Another study confirmed this worry when it found Internet milk samples harbored high colony counts of the staphylococcus bacteria, known to cause serious infections.But Schoenfeld doesn’t believe the facts will stop a bodybuilder in search of an extra inch around the quads.“Bodybuilders are a strange breed of individuals,” he said. “Even if this type of thing is completely unsupported by research, they’re prone to gym lore and willing to give it a shot if there is any potential effect.”

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See Tearful Reunion Between Dad, Child After Liver Transplant

See Tearful Reunion Between Dad, Child After Liver Transplant

Liver Transplants for our Vietnamese Twin Girls/Facebook(TORONTO) -- A father had a tearful reunion with his daughter days after he acted as a living donor for the 3-year-old girl.Michael Wagner greeted his daughter Phuoc with, "Hey mon belle," or, "Hey, my beauty,” in a video posted to the family’s Facebook page. The reunion occurred just five days after he donated part of his liver to the child.Wagner was brought to tears as he sat down on his adoptive daughter's bed and asked her how she felt in French.Wagner underwent a lengthy surgery on Feb. 10 to donate a portion of his liver to Phouc. Both Phouc and her twin sister, Binh, needed liver transplants after suffering liver damage because of a genetic condition called Alagille syndrome.While Wagner was a match for both girls, he can only undergo the procedure to be a living donor once. Doctors picked Phuoc for the first donation because of her more advanced need.On Tuesday, Wagner's wife, Johanne Wagner, gave an update on Phuoc and her husband, saying both were still recovering.“So hard to believe we are hitting the one week mark: it seems like a blurr,” wrote Johanne Wagner on Facebook. “Michael still in hospital, Phuoc still on morphine, and mommy holding on on coffee. Still a fair amount of discomfort for Michael but he managed to visit his little girl two days in a row.”While Phuoc remains in recovery, the twins’ medical team and the Wagners have continued to search for a liver donor for Binh. The family has started a campaign on social media asking for the public’s help.Last week, doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto said that they have received 400 submissions from people offering to be a living donor for Binh, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.Dr. Gary Levy, the director of the living donor liver program at Toronto General Hospital, said the medical team hoped to find a donor for Binh within the next few days to weeks, and told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation at a news conference that the medical team expects they “will define several individuals who can step forward and be a donor for Binh.”Phuoc and Binh were adopted by the Wagners in 2012 from Vietnam. The couple also has seven other children.

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How Two Young Sisters Cope with a Rare Muscle Wasting Disease

How Two Young Sisters Cope with a Rare Muscle Wasting Disease

Sarah Kennedy(NEW YORK) -- Around the time of Brielle Kennedy's first birthday, her parents, Sarah and Eric, noticed that her physical development was a little slow."Our pediatrician told us not to worry at first but when she still wasn't walking at 16 months, he sent us to a specialist,” Sarah Kennedy recalled.The toddler was diagnosed with type II spinal muscular atrophy, a rare condition that is part of a group of childhood diseases that cause the muscles of young children to waste away. SMA, as the disease is called in shorthand, occurs when there is a missing "survival neuron gene" and the body cannot produce the necessary proteins to build up muscle.Their daughter would never walk, doctors told the Kennedys. She would have trouble holding up her head and neck and would likely need extensive medical treatment, including physical therapy and occupational therapy for the rest of her life, doctors told the couple.The diagnosis came soon after Kennedy gave birth to her second daughter, Brooke, and just five days before her husband, a physician’s assistant with the Army, was about to be deployed to Afghanistan for a year. Shortly after he left, Brooke was also diagnosed with SMA.“It was a really rough time,” Kennedy said. “But we tried to remain hopeful and learn everything we could about the disease.”SMA affects one in every 6,000 to 10,000 children, the Kennedys soon found out. There is no known cure or treatment.Doctors explained that when both parents are carriers for SMA there is a 25 percent chance their child will have the disease.The Kennedys did have some good luck. Eric Kennedy met another soldier who knew a physician at one of the top SMA programs in the country at Boston Children’s Hospital. They were invited to fly from their home in Michigan with their older daughter to attend a clinic.“I spent two days soaking up every bit of information I could while Brielle was seen by every doctor imaginable related to the disease,” Kennedy said, adding that the experience helped lift the family’s spirits immensely.The younger daughter also caught a break. She was entered into clinical trial for a medication given to infants diagnosed with SMA but who don’t yet show symptoms. While it hasn’t stopped the progression of the disease, the Kennedys say it has slowed it significantly.The Kennedys said they are hopeful about several other new trials in the works, including one that is a possible SMA cure. As they hope and pray for a medical breakthrough, the Kennedys said that Brooke and Brielle lead full, happy lives with lots of friends and a love of Disney princesses and animals.Last year, the family worked with their congressman, Rep. Fred Upton, and the National Organization of Rare Diseases to help pass a new law that funds medical research for rare and devastating childhood diseases. They say that focusing on the positive and finding support is key.“To other parents in a similar situation I would say take one day at a time,” Kennedy said. “Learn as much as you can and connect with other families who are dealing with the same disease so that you can really learn more about what is to come.”Are you or someone you know living with a rare disease that lacks research and funding? Come talk about it with patients and experts on Tuesday’s rare disease tweet chat at 1 p.m. ET. Here’s how to join.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Oversized Neurons Could Help the Aged Retain Memories

Oversized Neurons Could Help the Aged Retain Memories

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Although aging has been linked to cognitive decline, there are nevertheless seniors who demonstrate an amazing ability to demonstrate short- and long-term memory recall despite being well into their 80s or older.As The New York Times reports, Tamar Gefen, a grad student at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, not only got to know individuals described as SuperAgers, but also convinced some to donate their brains to science after their deaths.In that way, Gefen and her team were attempting to see what in their brains accounted for their remarkable memories. The short answer was that they had five times the number of oversized brain cells than other people.Known as von Economo neurons for an Austrian anatomist whose studies in the 1920s weren't rediscovered for more than 70 years, these stick-shaped neurons provide long-distance transmission of nerve impulses, resulting in a fast relay.Another scientist, John M. Allman of Caltech, theorizes that von Economo neurons may help us manage impulses and stay focused on long-term goals.But in terms of the SuperAgers, Gefen don't know how they wound up with more von Economo neurons than other people and somehow managed to retain so many of them as they got older.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

When We Get Less Sleep, We Want More Fat

When We Get Less Sleep, We Want More Fat

iStock/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Appetites for fatty foods are more pronounced when people are sleep-deprived, according to a new study out of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.Lead author and researcher Hengyi Rao's study says their discovery has special significance for those who work irregular schedules such as night  and rotating shifts.While weight gain has previously been linked to poor sleep habits in other studies, the Penn School of Medicine findings are the first to say that the brain craves more fat than carbs.During experiments, people in the sleep-deprived group consumed 1,000 calories while staying awake overnight and ate the same amount in the day following sleep deprivation.Generally, fatty foods were preferred over those with carbs.Rao and his team postulated that sleep deprivation affects the cravings for certain foods, particularly those with a high fat content. This enabled them to also zero in on a portion of the brain called the salience network that feeds our desire for fat.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Most Not Feeling Sick Enough to Avoid Work

Most Not Feeling Sick Enough to Avoid Work

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Through bitter cold, snowstorms and whatever else nature throws our way this winter, Americans, to their credit, still trudge to work. And many do so while feeling sick.A Staples survey from last year revealed that six in 10 people who were under the weather still turned up at the job despite the weather outside.Whatever their rationale, and a lot has to do with thinking the boss would want it this way, people who are ill at work are also about 60 percent less productive than when they're feeling their best.The Integrated Benefits Institute estimates that sick employees result in $229 billion in lost productivity annually, and that includes those who show up at the desk to possibly infect their co-workers.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

How to Tell If Winter Blues Are Seasonal Affective Disorder

How to Tell If Winter Blues Are Seasonal Affective Disorder

MariaDubova/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's that time of year again. The holidays are long over, the frigid weather seems endless, and it's hard to remember the last time we left work before sunset. But some winter blues are more serious than others. Those with seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, have seasonal depression because the lack of daylight exposure throws off their circadian rhythms. Symptoms echo depression and include sadness, fatigue, sleeping more and difficulty concentrating, but instead of experiencing a loss of appetite like people who have depression, SAD sufferers crave carbohydrates, said Dr. Joe Taravella, supervisor of pediatric psychology at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Rusk Rehabilitation Center. "It affects anywhere from five to ten percent of the population," Taravella said of the disorder. But by springtime, the symptoms disappear, he said. Taravella said more and more people seem to realize they have more than just post-holiday blues in the winter months, and there's good news: it's treatable. Taravella first recommends that patients try spending 30 minutes each day next to a full-spectrum light box that mimics daylight. He also suggested traditional talk therapy with a psychiatrist. When those don't work, some SAD sufferers take antidepressants. SAD is more prevalent in the northern hemisphere, where it gets colder during the winter, Taravella said. It's also more common among women, and more common among people in their 20s and 30s, he said. Although most symptoms go away with the change of seasons, complications can include suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and social withdrawal, according to Mayo Clinic. Taravella said he encourages his patients to eat well and exercise in the winter to help with their mood and energy levels. And because people with SAD tend to isolate themselves as the winter progresses, he recommends keeping a normal social calendar and getting out to see friends. "Your calendar forces you got get out," he said. "Because when you start feeling this way, you can become more of a hermit." If you think you may have SAD, Taravella said the winter months are a good time to talk to your primary care physician, who will determine whether you have depression or SAD.

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Mindfulness Meditation Helps Sleep

Mindfulness Meditation Helps Sleep

m-imagephotography/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An estimated 50 percent of adults 55 years old and older report some form of problem sleeping. Now, a new study released Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that “mindfulness meditation” can help, perhaps better than conventional approaches. Researchers separated participants into two groups.

One group underwent sleep hygiene education, such as being in a dark, cool room with no technology, while the other group underwent mindfulness practice such as meditation. Each group met weekly over six weeks, followed a curriculum on the respective topics, and had homework. At the end of six weeks, people in the mindfulness group reported more improvement in their sleep than the sleep hygiene group, according to researchers. The mindfulness group also reported more improvements in symptoms related to insomnia, depression, and fatigue than the sleep hygiene group.

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Today’s Teens Getting Less Sleep: Study

Today’s Teens Getting Less Sleep: Study

monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study which spanned 20 years shows that U.S. teens are getting sleepier.Researchers surveyed 8th to 12th graders in 130 schools across the country from 1991-2012 in a study released Monday in the journal Pediatrics. Students were asked if they got at least seven hours of sleep per night and if they thought their sleep was adequate. Fewer teens reported getting seven hours as they aged, and teens in the 2000s reported getting less sleep than those in the 1990s. Girls, minorities, and lower socioeconomic teens reported less sleep than their counterparts, but were more likely to report getting adequate sleep. Misperception of adequate sleep among these groups identifies the importance of reinforcing good sleep quality and duration with teens and parents, according to researchers.The National Institute of Health recommends nine to 10 hours of sleep for teens.

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Duchess Kate Appeals for Greater Care of Children’s Mental Health

Duchess Kate Appeals for Greater Care of Children’s Mental Health

Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, is urging greater awareness of and care for children's mental health.In a new public service announcement released on Sunday, Kate makes an appeal on behalf of Place2Be as the charity launches its first Children's Mental Health Week in the U.K.In the video that's just about two minutes long, Kate talks about the challenges to children's mental health -- including bullying, bereavement, domestic violence and family problems.Without support, she says, those challenges can become traumatic, leading to mental health problems in children such as anxiety, depression, addiction and self-harm."The stigma around mental health means that many children do not get the help that they so badly need. This needs to change. That is why the charity Place2Be is asking us all to talk openly this week," Kate, 33, said. "We need to help young people and their parents understand that it's not a sign of weakness to ask for help."She also said a child's mental health was "just as important as their physical health and deserves the same quality of support," noting that "no one would be embarrassed" to seek help for a child with a broken arm."We really should be equally ready to support a child coping with emotional difficulties," Kate, wearing a long-sleeved, belted, blue print dress and with her hair down, added.Kate also said she and her husband, Prince William, sincerely believe early action can prevent problems in childhood from becoming more serious later in life."That is why we're both supporting Place2Be this Children's Mental Health Week, and I hope you'll join us," she said.Kate is pregnant with the couple's second child, due in late April. They don't know the child's gender as they want it to be a surprise. Their first child, George, is 19 months.Place2Be is a charity that provides emotional support to children more than 230 schools across the United Kingdom. Kate is the organization's royal patron.According to Place2Be's website, depression and anxiety have increased among teenagers by 75 percent in the past 25 years, and three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health problem. The organization also said children were less likely to suffer from serious mental health difficulties later in life if they receive support at an early age.Children's Mental Health Week officially launches on Monday.

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Study Links Poverty with Obesity, Poor Fitness in Children

Study Links Poverty with Obesity, Poor Fitness in Children

Igor Stepovik/iStock/Thinkstock

(NEW YORK) -- Researchers at Johns Hopkins University noted a link between poverty and poor fitness and obesity in children.According to the study, published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, researchers analyzed data from more than 1.6 million students in fifth, seventh and ninth grades. Their findings indicated that children who came from low-income homes were at higher risk for obesity and did poorly, compared to their peers, on a physical fitness test.The findings were consistent across racial and ethnic lines, the researchers note.The study leads researchers to believe that children from those homes may find it more difficult to adhere to healthy eating or engage in outdoor play or organized sports. The findings are largely in line with previous studies.

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The Science of Attraction and Love: In Matters of the Heart, the Brain Reigns Supreme

The Science of Attraction and Love: In Matters of the Heart, the Brain Reigns Supreme

Ridofranz/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In matters of love, the conventional wisdom is to follow your heart. But you might want to consider following your brain instead this Valentine's Day.When you meet "The One," your brain releases a cocktail of three chemicals that make you fall in love, said Larry Young, a psychologist who studies love at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. The chemicals are oxytocin, dopamine and opiates, he said."All of those act together in the brain's reward system," he said. "Our reward system now becomes wired to be especially tuned to our partner -- the space, the sound, maybe the smell of our partner."Oxytocin, not be confused with the drug oxycodone, is sometimes called the "cuddle hormone," and is responsible for the bonding between mother and baby and between partners.Dopamine is involved in exhilaration and excitement, Young said. Cocaine and sex both cause the brain to release dopamine.Opiates cause feelings of warmth and pleasure. Heroine and sex both cause the brain to release opiates."The next time we see the partner, our reward system is activated," Young said, adding that love can also be like addiction. "Once the bond is formed, we stay together not only because we're attracted to our partner but the other part because of the negative feeling when we're away from our partner."Although humans rely less on pheromones to pick their mates than animals, scientists know that finding that special someone has something to do with chemicals that the person releases, said organic chemist George Preti, who works at the Monell Center in Philadelphia. But they haven't been able to isolate the specific attraction chemical, or pheromone, he said. They have, however, determined that chemicals produced in a man's underarms can alter a woman's neuroendocrine levels, which alter their menstrual cycles.Romantic, right?"We didn't study attraction," Preti said. "We studied something we could measure quantitatively."The chemicals enter through the nose, but what happens next isn't entirely clear, Preti said. He said he thinks they enter the hypothalamus and the amygdala, two parts of the brain that deal with emotion, mood and sex drive.

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Army Vet Amputee Reaches New Heights by Rock Climbing With New Prosthetic

Army Vet Amputee Reaches New Heights by Rock Climbing With New Prosthetic

Vladislav Ociacia/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new prosthetic arm dubbed "Luke" by its developers, allowed one Army vet to successfully rock climb.In a video put out by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, an Army veteran uses the DEKA arm system to scale a near-vertical rock wall.The prosthetic device is affectionately called "Luke" after Luke Skywalker of Star Wars fame, according to the DEKA Research and Development Corporation. The project was sponsored by DARPA.The agency has been working to revolutionize the world of prosthetics through its HAPTIX (Hand Proprioception and Touch Interfaces) program, which aims to create a "prosthetic hand system that moves and provides sensation like a natural hand."Luke Skywalker gets a prosthetic in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back after losing his hand in a duel with Darth Vader.

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